hbd chick v. Francis Fukuyama
June 08, 2011, 11:24 PM
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hbd chick has made an interesting response to my review in The American Conservative of Francis Fukuyama`s The Origins of Political Order. First, another excerpt from my review:
William D. Hamilton`s math was popularized by Edward O. Wilson`s 1975 bombshell Sociobiology and by Richard Dawkins`s 1976 bestseller The Selfish Gene. (A more accurate title would have been The Dynastic Gene.) According to Fukuyama, however, political science has scandalously ignored the implications of these famous books. That`s true in general, although I have on my bookshelves academic works pointing out the fascinating political implications of kin selection by Pierre L. van den Berghe, Frank Salter, Tatu Vanhanen, and J.P. Rushton, none of whom Fukuyama cites.
... Fukuyama is worried enough by this unpublicized but powerful line of logic that he tries to brush off the entire concept of ethnic nepotism:
"Since virtually all human societies organized themselves tribally at one point, many people are tempted to believe that this is somehow a natural state of affairs or biologically driven. It is not obvious, however, why you should want to cooperate with a cousin four times removed rather than a familiar nonrelative just because you share one sixty-fourth of your genes with your cousin."
Indeed, it is "not obvious," but Fukuyama`s challenge is hardly unanswerable. In arranged-marriage cultures, clans, tribes, and castes can perpetuate themselves indefinitely, making states typically either ineffective or tyrannical. For example, as I`m writing, Colonel Gaddafi has so far survived NATO aerial bombardment by rallying many Bedouin tribes to his banner. Even though most Libyan nomads have settled down, they`ve maintained tribalism as what anthropologist Stanley Kurtz calls their "social structure in reserve" precisely for violent times like these when you can only trust blood relations.
In the West, in contrast, over the generations familiar nonrelatives-i.e., neighbors-tend to turn into relatives, or at least potential in-laws, because European cultures frequently permitted love marriages with the girl next door. Moreover, as Fukuyama notes, the Catholic Church discouraged even fourth-cousin marriages. The resulting broad but shallow regional blood ties help explain why Western cultures were able to organize politically on a territorial basis without always being looted by self-interested clans.
hbd chick expands my rebuttal to Fukuyama into a General Theory of the West:
No, being tribal is not necessarily the natural state of affairs, but it IS biologically driven. as is being non-tribal.
Europeans used to be tribal, but that`s because they used to marry their cousins, too, just like the afghanis or iraqis or saudis or libyans of today. the church put an end to all that and then some — it also put an end to all sorts of endogamous practices like polygamy and marrying your dead brother`s wife. first- and second-cousin marriage was banned in 506 a.d., and by the 11th century the church had banned marriage up to SIXTH cousins.
This forced exogamy resulted in, as steve describes it, "broad but shallow regional blood ties." almost all of european (and western) history hinges on these loose genetic ties. the whole evolution of european societies from tribes to city-states (think of the venices and the hamburgs of europe) to the nationalistic movements — this was made possible because extended family ties were continually loosened over centuries of european history (from the fall of rome onwards). the broadening of political structures (tribe, city-state, national-state) mirrors the underlying broadening of the genetic ties.