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Evolution's Arrow: The direction of evolution and the future of humanity by John Stewart; April 2000. An on-line book that will be available until the book is published, at:

John Stewart seems to have a firm grasp of most evolutionary principles.  But as a scientist who has jumped into that forbidden area, prescribing a normative use for evolutionary principles to create a better society, he seems quite confused.  Reading this book left me feeling like I was facing once again, a totalitarian globalism where all humans would be provided for and made to evolve together like an anthill. And that is what my take is of this strange book.  I tried hard to see some evidence of a eugenic approach, or even a mention of society today as a dysgenic cesspool. But not a mention of either subject, and yet the author seems to want evolutionary principles applied to all people, while ignoring the inherent tribalism that has allowed us to evolve to the level we are at today. That is, group evolutionary strategies were necessary for us to arrive at our present anthill while we suppressed any feelings of universal brotherhood.

In chapter 1 he states: "Organisms improve as evolution unfolds in the sense that they become more competitive and better adapted than those they replace. They get better at surviving. But they will not necessarily get better against criteria that are important to humans.  For example, the competitiveness of an animal might increase if it develops that ability to physically terrorize other members of its species to get a greater share of food, but many of us would not consider it to be progress in human terms."

With statements like this, he alludes to a higher form of human being, one that is collectively evolving together, in some form of holistic state, to one where there is a single human collective managed by an evolutionary vision. Sound confusing? It was for me. Mainly by omission however. He never really gets at the free-rider problem.  Modern liberalism along with egalitarianism will eventually allow the free-riders to return in greater numbers.  That is, in the past people were controlled by the community and those who did not conform were suppressed. Now we are beginning to see signs that the free-riders have a free hand. Criminals let out of jail to kill again. Lawyers that use their talents to terrorize others by using the law to their own personal advantage. Demagogues in politics (is Clinton really an intelligent sociopath?).  Corporations that care little for their own workers, their own nation or even their own race.  The list could go on and on. But it seems to me that the free-riders have in fact won, and we are now just waiting for their genetic traits to again become dominant in numbers.

In the past, sociopaths,  free-riders, those without shame or guilt, etc. were taken care of by the tribe. That is, after humans developed weapons, the bad apple in the clan was merely eliminated one night with a hatchet to the head. That is in fact how humans overcame primate hierarchy and dominance and established a tribal egalitarianism that we have been able to maintain on the communal level up until the last 10,000 years.  But now with the modern state, the free-riders will return.  This book never addresses these problems. That is, it seems to ignore the part of evolution that clearly shows that species advance by differential selection.  That is, if humans are to become more intelligent than they are now, the less intelligent must not be allowed to breed and the more intelligent must be bred at a faster rate.

That brings us to the next big problem with this book, the author ignores population differences (race if you like). It is never even mentioned as far as I can tell. And yet it is highly salient to group intelligence. Human intelligence is primarily genetic, as is shown by the Ashkenazi Jews success of breeding a highly intelligent race.  As Kevin MacDonald has shown, this group has been able to breed while living amongst gentiles for several thousand years, while maintaining their genetic purity, and evolving to the point where they have an average IQ of 117.  This could only have occurred by adhering to a doctrine of us versus them. That is, the Jewish religion was based on eugenic principles of communitarianism, expelling the weak, developing extreme ethnocentrism where the tribe counted for everything through blood, while living amongst a host population that could provide resources.  That is, Jewish eugenics was an evolutionary group strategy that has made the Jews the most powerful and economically successful people in the world. (see my review of MacDonald's trilogy at )

Does this book ignore group evolutionary strategy? "I will show that the direction of evolution is towards increasing cooperation between living organisms.  As evolution proceeds, living things will increasingly coordinate their actions for the benefit of the group rather than acting only in their own individual interests. Cooperators will inherit the earth, and eventually the universe."

Well he does mention group, but which group? The human group? That is in fact what he seems to be trying to justify. It seems like the same old Christian or egalitarian pronouncement: "the weak shall inherit the earth!"  But of course there is no evidence that nature gives a damn about such cooperation.  If humans do in fact evolve to higher levels of intelligence and cooperation, it will only come about through group conflict and differential reproduction. That is, we are headed for socialism-egalitarianism and a dysgenic future, or we will return to competition between groups where the more fit will win out over the less fit. Nationalism -- or group rivalries in a diverse or multiculturalist state -- will determine the winners and losers. That is groups will compete genetically either through nations competing or groups competing within nations through political control. And as we are seeing now, groups are competing for resources by race throughout the Western nations.  And this group conflict will only accelerate in the future. 

So what is this book about?  I have to admit that it does weave in a great deal of evolution, but it is really a reformulation of a totalitarian vision of the future.  It does not seem that far from Communism, where a normative desire to remake humans in the image of the controllers (the Bolsheviks) was used to slaughter over 100 million people to bring about the cooperation that John Stewart desires so much.  He is willing to trust a few individuals to use their absolute power, based on evolutionary principles (replace Marxism) to bring about a new cooperative society because the perfect utopian society can be revealed by evolution itself.

Is he delusional?  No, but he is suffering from a great deal of self-delusion.  Usually the undercurrents of totalitarian wishful thinking are based on a deep rooted  hostility towards the ruling elite -- and John thinks he and his kind should be the rulers.  This is a scenario that we see played out again and again.  A deconstructionist interpretation of this book reveals in almost every passage a desire for John's people to subjugate the masses, all for the betterment of those masses -- because John's people can see the future, and the future is good!  Sound like a lot of religious flagellation of the other? Well it is. So how is it different from a neo-eugenicist's perspective?  Because neo-eugenicists do not pretend to be all-knowing, but are competitively based.  That is, we are not promising everyone a rose garden -- only the winners in the genetic wars.  We are fully aware of group conflict, and wish to use that conflict to improve intelligence while reducing the modularity of the mind that makes people like John so self-delusional.

That's right, reduce the modularity of the mind.  Humans have an incredible capacity to be both intelligent and self-delusional or put another way irrational.  Our minds are survival machines -- capable of arranging social reality according to evolutionary reproductive rules.  Our proximate drives are made up of numerous conflicting desires placed in our behavioral patterns to maximize fecundity.  But with birth control and the rise of the modern socialist state, those desires are no longer translated into reproductive success.  And with the book Evolution's Arrow, we are witnessing first hand how the desire for success can overwhelm the rational part of the brain in writing a tract that is clearly another manifestation of the Bolshevik desire for the few to control the masses.  It is quintessentially universal totalitarianism all over again.  Because, only in a universalist state can the parasite prosper at the expense of the host (the masses).

Reviewed August 2000 by Matt Nuenke