Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The E-Word: Eugenics

"The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils." — Enoch Powell

Powell goes on to say a lot more, and I may blog about that later, but it pretty much demonstrates that statesmanship isn't operating very well in 21st Century America. This is related, I think. Just bear with me.

Eugenics is practicing reproduction with an eye to maintaining the quality of the species, or even improving it. Steve Sailer said elsewhere something to the effect that when you avoid cousin marriage, you're practicing eugenics. Indeed, when you choose a healthy mate, or an intelligent, or beautiful, or athletic mate, you're practicing eugenics insofar as you consider those qualities good, because your offspring will tend to inherit them. The opposite of eugenics is dysgenics, where you try to lower the quality of subsequent generations through selective breeding. It's hard (though not impossible, God knows) to imagine an individual choosing mates with an eye to making the species worse. But governments do it all the time. Now we're getting to the point.

When governments subsidize family growth among unproductive people, they're actually encouraging reproduction of the unfit — Yes, I know some such people aren't unfit, but statistically, that's what's happening, because they average less fit than the general population. That's why they need subsidies..  And in doing so, of course governments are forcing taxpayers, who of course average more fit than welfare recipients, to pay taxes for it, therefore discouraging to some extent their reproduction. Idiocracy. So Enoch Powell said statesmen should provide against preventable evils, and not only are they not doing that, but they're making at least one evil — dysgenics — more likely, therefore providing for preventable evils.

Anyhow, eugenics is now a bad word, but it wasn't always. Steve Sailer explains all this, and shifts a paradigm or two while he's at it, in TakiMag:

The Strange Evolution of Eugenics

Predictably, responses to veteran New York Times genetics reporter Nicholas Wade’s new book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History are already starting to break down along ethnic lines.

For example, the quite intelligent and extremely hostile anthropologist Jonathan Marks, who coined the term “human biodiversity” in 1995, continues his long-running War on Wade with some classic bile.

Much of the anger at Wade derives from a sense that a victory that seemed like it had been won in the 1970s is slipping away as the human genome data pours in. Luke Ford interviewed Wade and asked:

Would it be fair to say that many of the principal ideas in your book were taken for granted as commonsense wisdom say 70-80 years ago?

Nicholas laughs. “I think a lot of that is true. People took it for granted that races existed and had a biological basis. … Many social scientists now say they don’t think that races exist. And the fact that the genome says otherwise is, as you say, a throwback to the wisdom of 70 years ago.”

Wade is an Englishman—his grandfather survived the Titanic—and the British-American Darwinian tradition comes naturally to him. Darwin’s intellectual predecessors, such as Benjamin Franklin, Adam Smith, and Thomas Malthus, and leading descendants, such as Francis Galton, R.A. Fisher, J.M. Keynes, and W.D. Hamilton, illustrate that the concept of self-organizing evolution, whether in government, economics, or biology, has been largely a British idea. An awareness of the advantages of competition in business, nature, or politics is related to John Milton’s and John Stuart Mill’s defenses of free expression as making possible a marketplace of ideas in which the best would win.

Ford asked Wade, “How much has your thinking been influenced by your upbringing in Britain?”

In Britain [then], there was almost no civic virtue more highly prized than tolerance and if people thought differently, you just let them be, while in America today, there’s a great tendency to stamp out any heretical thoughts and make everyone think alike, particularly in controversial issues like this.

The British superiority at evolutionary thought doesn’t imply overall supremacy. Other ethnicities enjoyed other accomplishments. For instance, rocket science was developed predominantly by Germans such as Wernher von Braun and other V-2 engineers brought to America by Operation Paperclip. Space flight was promoted in America by the anti-Nazi refugee popularizer Willy Ley and the German-American dean of science fiction, Robert A. Heinlein.

At the same time, Jews such as Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller took the lead in the development of nuclear weapons.

While it can’t be ruled out, there’s no need for a genetic explanation for these national specialties. Rocketry, for example, was in large part a challenge to harness potent fuels, and the Germans were the best at chemistry.

Physics was convenient for urban Jews. (Those interested in living things tended to become doctors rather than naturalists.)

By contrast, Britain’s brightest scientists tended to live in close contact with the countryside, both natural and agricultural. For example, Hamilton (1936-2000), the most creative evolutionary theorist of the later 20th century, grew up in bucolic Kent, only five miles from Darwin’s Down House. It’s not surprising that a bourgeoisie that mostly stayed out of the burghs would take an interest in evolution.

Of course, an inevitable side effect of ethnic specialization was that each group didn’t have as much to brag about outside its specialty. For example, while Jews in the 20th-century United States could rightly boast of the accomplishments of physicists like Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman, they largely lacked role models among the great Darwinians in biology and psychology, who tended to be representatives of the WASP old elite.

By the 1970s, this state of affairs was becoming less tolerable to rising scientists such as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, and Leon Kamin. While Darwin’s immense prestige made his memory almost unassailable, their envy was focused upon a suitable scapegoat, Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton.
(And it gets better after this. The "ethnic specialization" in science is one of those paradigms that Steve is shifting.  Read the rest HERE.)
Quibcag: Who better to illustrate a quote about science and engineering than Rika Shiguma (志熊 理科) again, from Haganai (はがない)?

1 comment:

  1. Create an environment in which the genetically influenced characteristics you desire will improve the chance of reproductive success. Allow full competition for success. Eventually the people with desirable characteristics you were breeding for (and some you weren't expecting) will take that environment over. As like as nit survival of the group you are trying to breed will depend on the unplanned traits. that's the weakness of eugenics, no room for surprises.