Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Suicidal Empathy

The sage said, "all things in moderation," and that's good advice, even for things that we've been taught are purely good, like altruism and empathy. Both of these things are indeed good, but only in moderation.

I'm of the school of thought attributed to sociobiology or evolutionary psychology that altruism is a characteristic that evolved because it was adaptive. The altruistic behavior of an individual in defense of or in support of his family members protects the genes he shares with them, hence, altruism is selected for. But a lot of things have been selected for that are good things in the circumstance of the times they were being selected. But not necessarily now, or in current circumstances.

For one example, the whole human species seems to have a sweet tooth, and we tend to gorge on sweet food. This can be explained evolutionarily by the fact that we do indeed need sugar, and in hardscrabble primitive times, it was fairly hard to get in any quantity. When our remote ancestors encountered a beehive, we ate the whole honey supply, and that enabled us to store up sugar and gave us an advantage. We also were attracted to sweet berries and such foods, and ate as many as we could. It was an adaptive drive.

Now though, sugar is all over the place, but we largely retain that old drive to gorge on it, when we no longer need that urge to help us survive. So uncontrolled, that urge can hurt or kill us. We have to recognize it for what it is, and not let it lead us into suicidal behavior.

The same thing applies to our urge towards altruism and empathy, which is a very adaptive thing when it strengthens our family, or the extended family called a 'tribe.' But altruism towards the alien — those not closely related to us — can cause us to support and protect others to the neglect of our own. Right now, we're told that it's a good thing to allow, say Haitians, to emigrate because we should feel empathy for them and altruism towards them. But, like the sugar urge, we have to control that lest it kill us. We welcome Haitians, or Iraqis, or whatever, in, and they or their offspring absorb our tax money at best — therefore depriving us and our offspring of our resources. And at worst, of course, they get into crime, form gangs, and flat out kill our offspring. And our genes dwindle to the advantage of alien genes.  That is the problem with universalism, which is the practice of applying principles of family and tribe to the whole human species.

But here I go blathering on when we have an actual evolutionary psychologist to listen to. Over at, Kevin MacDonald writes:

The Camp of the Saints Invasion: Empathy for Helpless Children Versus Racial/Ethnic Interests

One of the main reasons for unplugging myself from cable TV is that I wouldn’t have to watch displays like Kirsten Powers on the O’Reilly Factor (6/17) discussing the Camp of the Saints invasion across the U.S. southern border. Wikipedia says that Powers is a serious Christian:

In her mid-30s, she became an evangelical Christian. The process of conversion began when she dated a religious Christian man, who introduced her to the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and the teachings of its pastor, Tim Keller, and culminated in an experience in 2006 when, during a trip to Taiwan, she believes that she was visited by Jesus. She has called her conversion “a bit of a mind bender” due to her political beliefs and former atheism, and prefers the term “orthodox Christian” over “evangelical” to describe herself, given the “cultural baggage” around the word “evangelical”. She has said that the biggest impact her new-found religiosity had on her political beliefs was that she came to “view everyone as God’s child and that means everyone deserves grace and respect.”

This last statement seems to mean that in her view, anyone who appears on the border should be taken in and supported for moral reasons. As Andrew Joyce notes, contemporary Chirstianity is a disaster for the ethnic interests of Whites (“Tales of Blood and Gods: Some Thoughts on Religion and Race,”)

On the O’Reilly show, she begins and ends with the “argument” that these are children after all. Of course we have to take them in — even 100,000 would be no problem. When O’Reilly said that pretty much the whole world would want to come, she had no principled answer—only that most poor people would have to get on a plane to get here which is unlikely. So in her view, if they can get here, the U.S. has a moral obligation to support them.

O’Reilly agreed that compassion and empathy are mandated by our “Judeo-Christian” heritage. (Somehow the Israelis don’t interpret the Judeo part as mandating that African illegal immigrants remain in Israel). But, unable or unwilling to phrase the issue in terms of ethnic displacement, he opposed the invasion for economic reasons: the country is broke, so we can’t possibly absorb all these people.

Powers replied that we have plenty of money. After all, at this point it’s only 50,000 children, and besides you (O’Reilly) wanted the war in Iraq which set the U.S. back over $2 trillion. She might have also noted that the U.S. already takes in over 1,000,000 legal mainly poor immigrants and refugees every year; what’s another 50,000-100,000?

And if the economic argument fails, whatever else could it be? O’Reilly a racist?? Perish the thought.

The exchange is a good example of mainstream “conservative” rhetoric these days. Stripped of the ability to phrase the issue in terms of legitimate fears of racial/ethnic displacement and presented with a compelling situation that pulls for empathy, opponents of such invasions are helpless. (See Ted Sallis, “What the immigration debate should really be about.”) They are children after all.

So in the end, we are once against up against the Western proclivity for moral universalism—the unique Western proclivity toward moral idealism motivated by empathy which has now become a pathology endlessly exploited cynically by leftists, often to attain their own ethnic interests.

As Frank Salter notes in his On Genetic Interests, the argument from ethnic interests is not an emotionally compelling argument. One feels a bit like the pedantic professor giving a lecture, while people like Powers are plugging into deep feelings for helpless children facilitated by Western proclivities toward individualism and moral universalism. Other costs of multiculturalism also remain abstract for most Whites, shielded from reality by the mainstream media and the ability to move to predominantly White areas.

The good news is it seems very unlikely that Congress could pass an amnesty/immigration surge law now given that the border is demonstrably uncontrolled.

And although for obvious reasons the mainstream media is not giving the story much attention (according to Bernie Goldberg, also on O’Reilly [6/17]), I suspect that it’s another one of those events that is gradually resulting in ever greater racial polarization of American politics. We are under siege.
Quibcag: This is Shampoo of  Ranma ½ (らんま½), who is afflicted with neither empathy nor altruism.

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