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Those loving bonobos -- did we pick the wrong primate to evolve from?

Those loving bonobos -- did we pick the wrong primate to evolve from! Many women would prefer it otherwise, but in the real world, the tough guy finds himself besieged with female admirers, while the self-effacing friend sadly clutches his glass of Chablis at the fern bar alone. The individual men and women who make up our species are extraordinarily ready to admire, to love, and to reward male demonism in many of its manifestations; and that admiration, love, and rewarding perpetuates the continuation, for generation after generation, of the demonic male within us. Women don't ask for abuse. Women don't like many specific acts of demonic males. But paradoxically, many women do regularly find attractive the cluster of qualities and behaviors -- successful aggression, dominance and displays of dominance -- associated with male demonism. Both men and women are active participants in the very system that nurtures the continued success of demonic males; and the knot of human evolution, with the demonic male at center, requires an untying of both strands, m ale and female. (Demonic Males, DM)

The debates that revolve around human aggression, war, hatred, racism, wife beating, and generally bad behavior are never resolved. As soon as some groups reach out for world peace or community concern for the variously oppressed, the violence just spurts out somewhere else. "A global assessment of the ethnographies for 31 hunter-gatherer societies found that 64% of them engaged in warfare once every two years, 26% fought wars less often, and only 10% were considered to fight rarely or never. So the record suggests regular, almost constant war for most foraging cultures." (Demonic Males, 115) Philosophers, politicians, religious leaders and social scientists keep trying to formulate an adequate social structure and morality to get beyond the fighting -- but so far nothing works. And over the past fifty years, there has simultaneously been a battle between blaming nature or nurture for our troubles, with the simultaneous plea that we are all of the human race and should get along.

However, we have been compared to our closest genetic ancestor the chimpanzee. And new evidence is emerging that we, like the chimps, were naturally selected to hate and kill our enemies with a special lust for rape, torture, mutilation and genocide. We are one of the five great apes that include chimpanzees and bonobos on one side of out genetic heritage and gorillas and orangutans on the other. That is, chimpanzees are closer to us genetically than they are to gorillas, despite their close physical resemblance to gorillas. In behavior, we seem to have kept the chimpanzee social structure and behavioral traits, with primarily our higher intelligence differentiating us from the chimps.

To shed some light on the above issues, it would be helpful to look at our closest genetic relatives, the chimpanzees and the bonobos. As I tell this story, please keep in mind that up until 1928, no one knew that there were two species of chimpanzees. But eventually, in the case of the less populous bonobos, experts recognized not one species but two, and the bonobos or pygmy chimpanzees were reclassified as a separate species -- for fifty years they were thought to be the same.

We are all familiar with the chimpanzee. And bonobos look almost identical to chimps but have a radically different culture and behavioral traits. Without repeating what can be found in numerous books about each primate's traits, I shall list them succinctly:

Bonobos (the good guys):

Chimpanzees (the bad guys):

What is interesting about these two primate species, the two that are our closest relatives, and two that are physically the same in appearance, is that they are only separated by the Zaire river in Africa. They are so close physically that many human population groups have more variation between them than these apes do. On the north side of the river, the chimpanzees share their ecological niche with gorillas, and the gorillas eat the available herbs. This means that chimpanzees have to fight over fruit and meat for their dietary needs. On the south side of the river, the same ecology exists, but there are no gorillas and the bonobos have free access to the herbs, and eat far less meat. Meat is not required because of other abundant foods. So here we have two species, separated only by a river, who have changed radically in their behaviors but not in outward appearance. They were even kept in captivity for decades, and allowed to mate, while it was not recognized they were sep arate species.

So only the separation of a river and the difference of one competitor for food -- the gorilla -- in the ecological niche occupied by chimpanzees, is enough to change the innate social behavioral traits of the two species. One passive, promiscuous, non-violent; and the other a warring, shrieking, stalking killing machine. Chimpanzees were ready to go to war for the singular purpose of group survival because with genocide in mind, the group that can eliminate another group will be evolutionarily more successful where food is scarce. And we humans seem to be much more like the chimpanzees than bonobos. Again from the Demonic Male:

As an emotion promoting intragroup solidarity and intergroup hostility, ingroup-outgroup bias is perfectly expected in a species with a long history of intergroup aggression. Stupid and cruel as it often is, this bias may have evolved as part of the winners' strategy. Darwin put it this way: 'A tribe including many members who, from possessing in a high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to aid one another, and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes, and this would be natural selection.' Darwin wrote that passage to show how morality could emerge out of natural selection for solidarity. And, of course, the concept that moral behavior, the 'ingroup' half of ingroup-outgroup bias, has roots in evolutionary history is attractive. But from beneath that attractive idea we can also dig out the unattractive one: that morality based on intragroup loyalty worked, in evolutionary histor y, because it made groups more effectively aggressive.(DM)

So we have variety in behavior between two species. So what? Well, let's contrast this with human subspecies. Humans left Africa about 150,000 years ago and wandered off into radically different ecological niches all over the globe. Some stayed behind in Africa while others occupied every conceivable niche possible. And the differences at times were radically more severe than what we could even dream of, with wooly mammoths and glaciers in the north, and warm weather in the south; sparse population groups in the north who had to cooperate, and dense population groups in the south who preferred to kill each other -- much like the bonobos versus the chimpanzees.

What this shows is that we have a model of how differences can occur from slight differences in ecological niches, and humans likewise have altered their own behaviors based on the ecology of the area where they lived for thousands of years. And now evolutionary psychology is beginning to document these differences between human population groups. One attempt to turn back the awareness of these differences in gene frequencies has been by the radical environmentalists -- as put forth by Lewontin et al. It is said that the average difference between any two people is greater than the average difference between population groups (races, ethnic groups, etc.) as defined by Cavalli-Sforza in The History and Geography of Human Genes. But this is extremely misleading. Humans are almost identical to chimpanzees, we share 98.5% of our genes. And chimpanzees and bonobos are even closer genetically while looking to us to be identical in outward appearance. And yet, human behavior correlate s much closer to chimpanzee behavior than to bonobo behavior. We share much of our social structure with chimpanzees, as can be seen by the ethnographic record of tribal genocide. So it is absurd to think that differences in population groups are not real and genetically based, as gene frequencies shifted under radically different environments. These behavioral and intelligence differences have been thoroughly documented by many researchers, with Rushton's 1995 Book Race, Evolution, and Behavior being the best single source of documenting these differences around the three main population groups -- Asians, Europeans, and Africans.

In the United States, with an increasing level of ethnic diversity, two traits seem to be significant with regards to all the others that have been studied and found to have a strong genetic basis -- intelligence and ethnocentrism. It is now understood that different population groups differ significantly in intelligence, and depending on how groups are disaggregated, the average IQs are:

Actually, from Cavalli-Sforza's studies according to Arthur Jensen, there should be four major racial groupings that would include two population groups from Asia, Caucasians and sub-Saharan Africans (African scholars try to claim Egypt, etc. but genes from these regions are shown to be Caucasian) . Southern Asians also seem to have lower IQs as one moves from Northern Asia to the Equator. Jensen points out that these groupings of 42 populations can be clustered by distances from sub-Saharan Africa as well as climate.[1] In addition, there is no population group of Hispanics according to Cavalli-Sforza. Hispanics are an arbitrary ethnic group used in the United States as a means of grouping primarily non-whites that do not fit into a rational population group. It was made up by politicians and radicals who wanted to dilute European culture.

Finally, the most controversial trait that has had very little public exposure is ethnocentrism. It is true that we toss around the label of "racism," but this term only confuses the issue of ethnocentrism and its evolutionary basis. Ethnocentrism is what causes groups to form ingroup/outgroup alliances, attitudes, ethnic hatred, and makes us act like our chimpanzee ancestors. And when minorities accuse others of racism, this is just a tool used in the ethnic warfare itself, not an appeal to put ethnocentrism aside by all parties. Ethnocentrism is the basis for war, wrapped in patriotism. It is the glue that holds gangs together, or for people to move away from neighborhoods where blacks are moving in. It is innate, real, and a powerful evolutionary strategy that to a great degree, modern culture has been able to keep in check by expanding resources and using forms of government to keep the peace between ethnic groups. Some countries are lucky enough to be ethnically homogeneou s so that ethnic rivalries are kept to a minimum. But even in Japan, a very homogeneous country, the Eta are an ethnically different and hated minority, that has remained genetically separate from the Japanese for thousands of years, even though they pose no threat to the dominant culture.

Do all ethnic groups have the same level of ethnocentrism? Clearly not, as most groups differ significantly on those traits that are selective in differing environments. And research has now shown that Northern Europeans score significantly lower on ethnocentrism than do most other population groups, and yet we are the very group that is accused of racism![2] How can this be? Well, it occurs for the very simple reason that individualist cultures, who are low in ethnocentrism and high on universal altruism (versus tribal altruism), are the very groups that can be easily intimidated and attacked by others. That is, it is the very nature of other highly ethnocentric groups to use labels like "racism" against Europeans because our nature is not to react adversely, but to try harder to help those in need. It is an advantageous strategy for the more highly ethnocentric groups in the United States to gain advantages against the majority; whether it is blacks, Asian Indians, Hispanics o r Ashkenazi Jews -- these highly ethnocentric groups can extract enormous political and monetary benefits from the majority. But can this continue?

Europeans can only be blamed for so much, and the excuses for other's failures can only take so long to correct, before whites realize that it is not racism that causes disparity but the levels of intelligence and innate abilities that each group has that determines success. The Ashkenazi Jews are far wealthier than the average white gentile, and blacks are much poorer, not because of racism but because of differences in average IQs. The shift to the right is a natural occurrence by a group that has been attacked for trying to help the oppressed, while those with political power and influence seek to undermine white culture by promoting immigration. After a point, there is a natural sense of rebellion and outrage felt by whites, as betrayal by less tolerant groups becomes too readily apparent. Thirty years ago, when the counter-culture of the sixties was preaching world peace and universal love, we were totally ignorant of our evolutionary past and our innate behaviors. Now, thanks to behavior genetics, evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, the Minnesota Twin studies, and a renewed interest in eugenics and human population differences, we are starting to get in touch with our real selves. And peace is not assured, where disparate groups live together but all want an equal share of the pie. We must be wary of political formulations that have ignored our primate past. Multiculturalism, diversity, cultural relativism, postmodernism, radical environmentalism, Marxism; these are all formulas for disaster because they all ignore who we really are.

Western culture is noted for its lack of a patriarchal system of oppression:

Any full analysis of patriarchy should take into account the veiling, sequestering, and regimentation of women in Muslim societies; the tradition of foot binding in China; the suttee tradition of the Indian subcontinent; the deeply institutionalized practice of clitoridectomy among many cultures in 26 different nations across the African continent, a mutilation affecting 2 million girls each year; the near ubiquitousness of wife beating around the world; and the fact that polygyny -- multiple wives -- is an accepted practice in far more cultures than not. It ought to examine the fact that 67 percent of married women in rural Papua New Guinea describe themselves as battered, with one in five hurt severely enough to require hospitalization at least once. It should note that in Pakistan the mortality rate for girls is half again as high as that for boys, who are better fed; and that in many parts of Africa and the Middle East women cannot visit health clinics without their husbands' perm ission. We might hear more about the problem of patriarchy outside the West if more non-Western women were freer from grinding poverty and, in some instances, rigid cultural restrictions against expressing themselves. In Bangladesh, one must remember, feminist poet Taslima Nasrin has been placed under fatwah, the Muslim death sentence, for writing the wrong thing.(DM)

From our genetic heritage we have adopted a form of egalitarianism between couples, a form of romantic love that is not found in any other culture. No doubt, this unique form of muted individualism, hierarchical harmony, and universal altruism was an emergent property of our ecological niche, not yet fully explicated, but no less apparent. And along with this devotion to family was no doubt the need to reason about our enemies, as human groups do, and take action before a possible threat becomes real. So even though the unique Western cultural form is far more tolerant of others, it will still react when necessary with passion and self-sacrifice to defend the nation, as warranted. All other ethnic groups suffer from extreme forms of,

Deindividuation, the formal name for the mindless sinking of personal identity into the group of us. There is no particular reason for it to appear in the temperament of a species that lacks intense intergroup aggression. But when we view humans at full length, as a smart and upright species emerging into the present from a 5-million-year history of selection for effective intergroup aggression, deindividuation makes perfect sense. Deindividuation produces, in the words of sociologist Georg Simmel, a 'noble enthusiasm and unlimited readiness to sacrifice.' That it also produces irresponsibility and deeply unpleasant behavior is only relevant from the point of view of Them. . . .The downtrodden of the earth can rail against the imperialism of the temporarily dominant, but imperialist expansionism is nevertheless a broad and persistent tendency of our demonic male species.(DM)

Whites therefore have nothing to apologize for, except to other whites for their universal altruism to the detriment of white interests. Can this be changed? Well, we could adopt a more ethnocentric evolutionary strategy by becoming more collectivist or nationalist, and start defending our culture against those who wish ill will but want what we have produced in wealth and scientific advancements.

Or, we could try and change human nature through eugenics so that we are all less demonic:

UNTYING THE STRANDS. Animal breeders have readily produced aggressive and pacific strains of various mammals, including mice, rats, and dogs. Although we don't know exactly how temperaments are genetically defined, and although each individual's experience also affects his or her temperament, we have every reason to think that genes significantly influence the development and maintenance of aggression in all mammals, partly because aggressive behavior is increased by the action of testosterone on the brain. And just as nonaggressive strains of other mammals can be bred by artificial selection, so a peaceful strain of human could be bred, too. With some concerted worldwide action we could probably get measurable results within a few generations. Society could, through its own reproductive choices, actually breed a kinder, gentler man -- with a temperament less like a chimpanzee's, more like a bonobo's.(DM)

My perspective on promoting social eugenics combines both views, but at different times. First, whites must become national once again to mobilize the collective mind into one of action and competition. That is, by recognizing our common goals and history, we must once again unite around a brotherhood that surpasses liberalism that was only possible when we were not a divided nation. Now, because we are threatened with extinction, it is time to recognize our contributions and to take control of our future. And in that renewed nationalism, coupled with ethnic egalitarianism, we must once again improve our gene pool so that we will never again be threatened by outsiders, but coexist with them in economic competition. Warfare has become too dangerous to contemplate, but nationalism is in the mind of the people. If diversity means anything, it also means keeping white ethnicity in tact.

Notes

[1] The Human Genome Diversity Project found isolated samples of population groups that could trace their lineage back to 1500 B.C. before the great migration. Using blood samples and DNA markers, language, and migration routes of early humans, the following 42 population groups can be placed into four larger population groups. However, population groups can be aggregated and disaggregated to any level for analysis, from all humans to every individual. The study of genetic differences is an attempt to trace our ancestors migrations out of Africa and how they mixed along the way, as well as changing genetic frequencies due to ecological pressures that each group found themselves faced with. The combination of migratory gene flow and ecological pressures have made human traits vary over these different groups. See The History and Geography of Human Genes (abridged paperback edition) for further breakdowns of each population group as well as the geographic locations.
Caucasian: Basque, Chukchi, Danish, English, Greek, Indian, Iranian, Italian, Lapp, Near Eastern, Sardinian, & South Dravidian.
North Asian: Ainu, Australian, Central Amerind, Eskimo, Japanese, Korean, Mongol Tungus, Na-Dene, New Guinean, North American, North Turkic, South American, Tibetan, & Uralic.
South Asian: Filipino, Indonesian, Malaysian, Melanesian, Micronesian, Mon Khmer, Polynesian, South Chinese, & Thai
African: Bantu, Berber, East African, Mbuti, Nilo-Saharan, San, West African

[2] "Ethnocentrism vs. pragmatism in the conduct of human affairs" by Silverman and Case, York University Research Report #231, November, 1995.

Bibliography

Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence by Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson, 1996.

The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability by Arthur Jensen, 1998.

The History and Geography of Human Genes by L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi, and Alberto Piazza, 1994.

War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage by Lawrence H. Keeley, 1996. This book documents early human warfare, and yet in one telling sentence completely dismisses an evolutionary basis. Still, it is an important resource in anthropological documentation of human aggression and genocide.

Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior by Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson, 1998. This book goes into the evolutionary strategies of the selfish genes at the level of the gene, the individual and the group. They all play an evolutionary role in human behavior. Heavy reading but well worth the effort.

Darwinism, Dominance & Democracy: the biological bases of authoritarianism by Somit and Peterson, 1997. Indoctrinability is a key factor in flexible evolutionary strategies that I did not go into here. This book however is extremely important in helping us understand where we may be headed as America and Western culture begins the new millennium. Ethnocentrism and tribal morality require that groups buy into the dogma and the beliefs of the majority, utilizing deception and self-deception. This is a fascinating book, and additional books are in print by these remarkable authors.