I have said before that no currently popular ideology acknowledges well-established results of behavioral genetics, quantitative genetics, or psychometrics. Or evolutionary psychology.

What if some ideology or political tradition did? what could they do? What problems could they solve, what capabilities would they have?

Various past societies knew a few things along these lines. They knew that there were significant physical and behavioral differences between the sexes, which is forbidden knowledge in modern academia. Some knew that close inbreeding had negative consequences, which knowledge is on its way to the forbidden zone as I speak. Some cultures with wide enough geographical experience had realistic notions of average cognitive differences between populations. Some people had a rough idea about regression to the mean [ in dynasties], and the Ottomans came up with a highly unpleasant solution – the law of fratricide. The Romans, during the Principate, dealt with the same problem through imperial adoption. The Chinese exam system is in part aimed at the same problem.

Every society, then and now, selects for something, but it’s hard to believe that selection pressures were deliberate choices, part of some long-term plan. Many past societies would have understood the notion of deliberately breeding people for certain qualities, but I don’t see much sign that anyone ever actually did it, not least because it would take longer than a human lifetime. Now today we could do a much better job: we have a quantitative theory of selection, buttressed with a detailed understanding of genetics, both routinely used in animal and pant breeding. At the same time all the powers that be plotz at the mere mention of selection on humans. Cause they’re nuts.

At least some past societies avoided the social patterns leading to the nasty dysgenic trends we are experiencing today, but for the most part that is due to the anthropic principle: if they’d done something else you wouldn’t be reading this. Also to between-group competition: if you fuck your self up when others don’t, you may be well be replaced. Which is still the case.

If you were designing an ideology from scratch you could make use of all of these facts – not that thinking about genetics and selection hands you the solution to every problem, but you’d have more strings to your bow. And, off the top of your head, you’d understand certain trends that are behind the mountains of Estcarp, for our current ruling classes : invisible and unthinkable, That Which Must Not Be Named. .

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124 Responses to Biopolitics

  1. Jacob Robino says:

    There’s a pretty serious guy on YouTube who has been working on that. He doesn’t have formal training in biology, but by using it to make the conclusions that need to be made he’s miles better than any other pundit I know. His big pitch is to break up the US on cultural and racial lines, which seems like a good idea to me given the demographics and the fact that our federal government is pathological.

    • If he wants to be taken seriously, he’ll need to write a book. Or one of his followers will need to write a book.

    • marshall lentini says:

      You can’t break up the US along “cultural and racial lines” with major port cities, transportation routes, utility infrastructure, and military installations everywhere — to name only a few such things. The idea is dumb and has been dumb for about seven decades.

      There’s nothing to do but wait this out.

  2. Cpluskx says:

    Law of fratricide was more about preventing civil wars (happened a lot before) but unintentionally
    may have caused some eugenic selection. Although far from perfect: Cem Sultan was much more competent than Bayezid II but higher-ups wanted a less aggressive guy after Mehmed II.

    • Yudi says:

      The Law of Fratricide was less about causing eugenic selection than about causing the best of the lot to be chosen for leadership, like the other examples Greg named.

  3. Nomen Est Omen says:

    I have said before that no currently popular ideology acknowledges well-established results of behavioral genetics, quantitative genetics, or psychometrics. Or evolutionary psychology.

    It’s worse than that. The most currently popular ideology acknowledges well-established results in order to deny them:

    When stereotypically masculine criteria such as gambling at a casino or going white-water rafting were used, men rated themselves as more likely to engage in risk-taking. However, when new behaviour was included, such as taking a cheerleading class or cooking an impressive but difficult meal for a dinner party, women rated themselves as equally or more likely to take risks.

    Co-author Prof Michelle Ryan noted: “Understanding the nature of gender differences in risk taking is particularly important as the assumption that women are risk averse is often used to justify ongoing gender inequality — such as the gender pay gap and women’s under-representation in politics and leadership.”

    (Sex, Drugs, and Reckless Driving. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2017, Thekla Morgenroth, Cordelia Fine, Michelle K. Ryan, Anna E. Genat)

    But I wonder whether a wrecker worded that first paragraph for maximum comic effect. It’s a Fine line between clever and stupid.

    • Hugh Mann says:

      Hmm. Difficult choice. Is it more risky to attempt things where failure causes social embarrassment, or things where failure causes poverty or death and injury? I’d have to leave a tricky call like that to a professor,

      • Jim says:

        But I think the assertion about males being less risk-averse was always more about the risk of death or serious injury not about the risks of social embarrassment caused by cooking a meal that nobody likes.

        • Historically, social embarrassment may have been a greater long-term physical risk for women, who needed acceptance from both males and other females in order to get resources like food and a seat by the fire. It could have been selected for as something that “seemed” terribly dangerous as an exaggerated effect, because it worked. Not as immediately dangerous as a pre-dawn raid to rustle cattle and stay awake for two days driving them home, but something.

  4. akarlin says:

    The big issue that will dwarf nigh anything else will be how fast different societies adopt/subsidize large-scale intellligence augmentation once the genomics of IQ + CRISPR are finalized.

    Some will push this at the state level (China is the most obvious bet). Some will flow along as their wealth and personal religious convictions permit (probaly what will happen in the United States so long as the so-called bioethicists aren’t given much say). In some countries, I can see it being banned on the grounds of social justice or religious obscurantism.

    Conventional eugenics works too slow to make any difference, as Greg himself points out here. But this is no longer valid once you acquire the capability of raising a 175 average IQ cohort. The country that does this in scale, first, will over a timescale of less than half a century attain a dominant advantage over all others.

    • Pierre says:

      Conventional eugenics works too slow to make any difference, as Greg himself points out here. But this is no longer valid once you acquire the capability of raising a 175 average IQ cohort. The country that does this in scale, first, will over a timescale of less than half a century attain a dominant advantage over all others.

      I think you are eliding over many important details. Any country that reaches an average IQ of 175 will have a huge fraction of people several standard deviations below that mean. In fact, the variance may be several orders magnitude higher than what we observe today. How stable would that country be politically and economically with such a high degree of inequality?

      • mtkennedy21 says:

        How will you deal with the equivalent of Tay Sachs in the engineered population ?

      • Zenit says:

        Historically the more unequal society, the more stable it is. Egypt of Pharaohs lasted for three thousand years. Hindu caste society is also 3000 years old and still going strong, and without modern weapon and surveillance technology.

        • Pierre says:

          I doubt that inequality was positively correlated with stability. Up until the industrial revolution, inequality was not that high, and quite unlikely to be close to what we have today.

          In any case, my point was not about simple inequality but the degree of it. A low-caste individual and a brahmin priest may be unequal millennia ago, but the difference would be nowhere then is no where near what you would observe today. For the simple reason that returns to education and talent is vastly higher today. Furthermore, the degree of inequality between an individual who is 3 SDs above an IQ of average 175 versus another 3 SD above is likely to be much higher higher than an equivalent SD separation around an IQ average of 100. The main reason being that the transformation of the economy that would likely accompany such tremendous changes in IQ could likely cause a whole a segment of the population to permanently stuck and isolated, and profoundly alter the returns to talent or ability. This is not an argument against CRISPR and similar technologies. Rather we should acknowledge that the changes to come are likely to be highly disruptive, and not in any easily predictable way.

          • gcochran9 says:

            “Up until the industrial revolution, inequality was not that high”

            sure it was.

            • Jim says:

              In discussing inequality I think it’s important to distinguish material inequality from status inequality. In a prison differences in material inequality among the inmates may not be that great but that doesn’t imply that differences in status are not great.

            • Pierre says:

              I was referring to income inequality relative to today. Sure inequality always existed. Anyway, I don’t have data to cite – so I can’t press this point too hard… but I doubt it was close to what we have today.

              • Ursiform says:

                People used to starve if they couldn’t grow enough food to both pay the land owner and eat. I think that’s pretty unequal income.

            • akarlin says:

              Greg Cochran is right (mostly).

              Inequality could be very high in Malthusian societies – as I recall, the Gini index of pre-Black Death Paris was something like 60. There were powerful mechanisms (e.g. the Law of Rent) that raised inequality as populations approached the carrying capacity of the land.

              On the other hand, when many people died off, inequality dropped to much lower levels.

              What was low was international levels of inequality. For instance, in the medieval world, someplace like Venice might only have been 2-3x as rich as some overpopulated Indian province (to the extent that historical GDP per capita estimates are legitimate).

          • Ursiform says:

            Large estate holders and serfs. Obviously pretty equal …

            • Jim says:

              I suppose that in many areas something like 90% of the population were serfs. In a particular area were there substantial differences in material welfare among the serfs or did they all live at a level barely above subsistence?

              • albatross says:

                The weird thing is that they were all churchmouse poor by our standards, or even the standards of a first-world country in 1912.

              • Jim says:

                Yes, that is why it is important to consider status inequality. A Roman Emperor may not have had air-conditioning, aspirin, cell-phones, useful medical care, sliced bread and many other things which a welfare recipient in our society probably has. But a Roman Emperor was a pretty big deal. A welfare recipient in our society is nobody.

          • Greying Wanderer says:

            “Rather we should acknowledge that the changes to come are likely to be highly disruptive, and not in any easily predictable way.”

            the current trajectory – deliberately engineered coming apart – is already leading to stable, permanent stagnation. CRISPR could (and probably will) be used to reinforce that process but it would just mean we get to the same destination quicker. alternatively it could be used to get off the current trajectory.

          • Yeah that Roman empire was built on sand.

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          stagnation is very stable

        • j says:

          In agricultural societies, which all were till a hundred years ago, land distribution was a critical issue. When inequality became severe, revolutions exploded and the land was re-distributed. The stablest society in Ancient Greece was Sparta, where all the citizens were equals and had the same amount of land. We know little of Dynastic Egypt’s peasant revolts.

    • asdf says:


      We don’t know if it can be achieved or if it will be as stable and positive as we hope. It could be worse then failure (the unabomber was a genius, imagine a lot more of him). So far I’m still waiting on my flying car.

      While we should all hope for the best on the genetic engineering front, there are many who use its potential as an excuse for ignoring biopolitics and dysgenics. A sort of get out of jail free card that justifies ignoring important problems. Unlike Star Trek, some technobabble solution might not come along and save us at the end of the episode.

    • Observer says:

      It’s a shame the late William Shockley and Dr Bob Graham who set up what was described as ‘the Genius Factory’ aren’t around to see this. Shockley’s Playboy interview is linked here.

      I also remember this 10 year old prediction from evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry.

      “While science and technology have the potential to create an ideal habitat for humanity over the next millennium, there is the possibility of a monumental genetic hangover over the subsequent millennia due to an over-reliance on technology reducing our natural capacity to resist disease, or our evolved ability to get along with each other.

      “After that, things could get ugly, with the possible emergence of genetic ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.”

      Dr Curry’s theory may strike a chord with readers who have read H G Wells’ classic novel The Time Machine, in particular his descriptions of the Eloi and the Morlock races.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      Well said. People often blame a bad ideology when the actual source of the problem is that the vast majority of the population is incapable of conceptually visualizing the world in anything but a simplistic ideology. The problem of stupid people thinking stupidly can’t be solved and it won’t be. We live in a frustrating world where popularity contests are held to solve complex problems which of course doesn’t work. We aren’t any smarter than our grandparents but the world is many multiples more complex. Our systems of government and the popular ideologies that try to rationalize them are incresingly clownish as our human world grows more and more complex.

      It isn’t a dire situation yet, and I seriously doubt that it will become one thanks to science eventually coming to the rescue. We can’t fix stupid yet but it isn’t a pipe dream that we can in the near future, which means a few more generations. The whole world is full of useless chatter of what should be or could be. It’s fun to observe, it’s infotainment. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the sciences that study why there is such a wide range in human intelligence are chugging along getting closer and closer to understanding why. Hurry up brain glasses. Boobs in charge are eventually going to push the wrong button.

  5. One of the things that keeps me reading this blog are the science fiction references. I may have to revisit some Norton now.

  6. Leonard says:

    At least some past societies avoided the social patterns leading to the nasty dysgenic trends we are experiencing today, but for the most part that is due to the anthropic principle: if they’d done something else you wouldn’t be reading this.

    A significant portion of past eugenic selection was simply a result of past societies being much poorer than us. They could not afford welfare, and therefore were constantly culling people via various means. (Of course how “fit” the losers of these processes were… hard to say.) The lack of welfare also meant that most societies were not obvious magnets for migrants seeking an easy life. And they routinely put to death criminals who we keep alive, perhaps imprisoning for a while, then let out into the breeding population.

    • Warren Notes says:

      Not just that – we let them breed while they are still in prison. Tex Watson, a professional associate of Mr. Charles Manson, fathered four children during conjugal visits with a woman he married in 1979 (he was convicted and sent to prison in 1971).

  7. Yudi says:

    “What if some ideology or political tradition did? what could they do? What problems could they solve, what capabilities would they have?”

    The closest there is in US public life to a genetically informed political ideology is the sort of libertarianism promulgated by Charles Murray. Which is either ignored or reviled, sometimes violently. Still, it’s good to have him and his books around.

    It’d be nice if a hereditarian left would ever show its face in public instead of just on the blogosphere. I think a lot of people honestly think it’s impossible to believe in the strong effects of genes on outcomes and also be on the left. Shattering that myth would be helpful in itself.

    • Toddy Cat says:

      Agreed that a more-hereditarian moderate Left would certainly be an improvement over what we have today, but a hereditarian hard Left doesn’t really bear thinking about. I can see things getting very nasty very quickly. Harrison Bergeron, call your office…

      • Yudi says:

        Political extremism or “hardness” of any kind is dreadful in combination with hereditarianism. It requires moderation, humility, humanity, and devotion to the truth to be handled properly. Society’s political problems indicate that the West still isn’t ready to do so…

        • Toddy Cat says:

          True enough. Of course, the modern West isn’t exactly doing a bang-up job with egalitarianism, either, which also requires moderation, humility, humanity, and devotion to the truth to be handled properly. So this seems to tell us more about the political incapability of modernity that anything about hereditarianism.

          To be honest, Yudi, given what the Communists did in the name of egalitarianism, I think that you could have concluded the above statement after the word “dreadful” and still had it be true…

      • Karl Zimmerman says:

        I define myself as essentially a “hereditarian” member of the far left. I believe it’s self evident that humans naturally vary in ability within populations, and probably to some degree between populations. But I’m also someone who believes strongly in socialist ideals, albeit not a doctrinaire Marxist.

        The reason is simple – if economic inequality is driven to a large extent by inborn differences in ability (largely intelligence and conscientiousness) then the modern western system of meritocracy is built upon a lie. Setting up harsh economic penalties for the lazy and stupid is as morally objectionable as doing so for the blind and paralyzed. It will not “improve” their behavior, and creates needless suffering in a society which has enough that everyone can have their basic needs met.

      • If they believe in genetics, can they really be considered “hard left”?

    • gcochran9 says:

      “The closest…s the sort of libertarianism promulgated by Charles Murray”
      Not very close..
      A government that was fully aware of the implications and possibilities of human genetics, one that had the usual kind of state goals [ like persistence and increased power] , would not necessarily be particularly libertarian.

      • spirit_of_negation says:

        Would you want to live there?

      • Jim says:

        Such a state might treat people such as Australian Aborigines like the Nazis treated Gypsies.

        • albatross says:

          I don’t think that even remotely follows from recognizing differences between populations. The natural authoritarian direction to go when you fully recognize those differences is what Herrenstein and Murray called the custodial state. Basically a high-tech reservation for the low-IQ underclass. Depending on the flavor of authoritarian, that might be weighted heavily toward harsh policing to keep the underclass terrorized and in its place, or toward intrusive social programs to keep the underclass behaving properly and following the instructions of its betters. (And in both cases, the people maintaining the programs to keep the underclass in line/behaving properly become a constituency for keeping those programs going/expanding them, and those programs become a place to put the non-underclass members of the low-functioning groups, as well as the lower-functioning members of the high-functioning groups. Policemen, prison guards, social workers, welfare program bureaucrats, prosecutors, senior bureaucrats, policy analysts, etc.

          • Toddy Cat says:

            Also, most people who lived before 1914 or so believed in biological differences between groups, and while some pretty nasty things happened back then, it was certainly no dystopian nightmare, and was arguably better than what happened in the “Age of Egalitarianism” (i.e. Holodomor, Great Leap Forward, Killing Fields, Cultural Revolution, Gulag, Boat People, etc.) Belief in hereditarianism no more necessarily leads to Auschwitz 1944 than belief in blank-slatism leads to Cambodia 1975. It can, of course, but it doesn’t have to.

          • Yudi says:

            Not necessarily. We have a custodial state apparatus right now despite strenuous public denial of such differences. A government that understood the possibilities of genetic modification would presumably want to change its populace, whether with harsh means or benign ones.

      • Yudi says:

        I chose the words I did for a reason. I said CM’s work is the only option among current American public intellectuals. Can you think of any other living thinker who talks that frankly about genetics and IQ and is read by as many people as Murray? I can’t.

      • j says:

        In a world ruled by America and allied Anglosaxon nations, it is dangerous to reject left-wing liberal democracy, including its PC gender and diversity ideology. Even Saudi Arabia is softening up.

    • iffen says:

      I think a lot of people honestly think it’s impossible to believe in the strong effects of genes on outcomes and also be on the left.

      I don’t see any insurmountable problems. I you want to toss a problem my way, I’ll give it a shot.

    • What do you think about “liberal race realism” blog?

      • iffen says:

        Is that an existing blog or something that you are contemplating?
        I do not think that the political and organizing potential of the blog/internet/social media vis-a-vis alternative politics has been fully realized.

      • bomag says:

        I find Libs/Left plenty real on genetics/nature. They tend to marry carefully, and comment on what traits their kids inherited from whom. They aren’t too shy about advocating a soft genocide of the white lower class as a means to improve the world; making plenty of comments about “thinning the herd”, etc.

        • another fred says:

          “They aren’t too shy about advocating a soft genocide of the white lower class as a means to improve the world; making plenty of comments about “thinning the herd”, etc.”

          That is for sure the truth, especially among the “cognitive elite” on the left. There is an iron fist under that velvet glove. White lower classes are the identified enemy, other lower classes are useful idiots.

          Leftism was and is not egalitarian. Leftism is most visibly about restraining those on top, far less visible is how it treats the lower classes once power is consolidated. Marx himself was quite ruthless about how the lumpenproletariat were to be treated. If members of the lower classes do not develop the proper social consciousness and “evolve” then they are out of luck.

  8. spirit_of_negation says:

    “Human nature is infinitely malleable”, O’brien said, invariably. Only this time he was right!

  9. Robin says:

    Frank Salter wrote an expansive book on this topic called On Genetic Interests.

  10. jb says:

    I would be happy if it simply became part of the conventional wisdom that genetics matters, and that it’s a good thing when smart people have large families!

    Instead of feeling social pressure from their peers to limit the number of children they have in order to “save the Earth,” smart and successful people would feel social pressure to have an extra child or two, as a contribution to society. Likewise, it would be seen as an obvious bad idea to have social policies that made it easy for dumb, unsuccessful people to have large families. No eugenics laws, no forced sterilizations, just an understanding that this is something that matters, and a willingness to take it into account along with other concerns.

    I think this would make a difference! I know so many smart and successful people who have only one child, or none, and this makes me sad. Raising that number to two or three, and correspondingly reducing the number for dumb people, might not have a huge immediate impact on overall gene frequencies (would it?), but it would noticeably enlarge the size of the “smart fraction” in our society, while reducing the size of the most problematic fraction. I think we were actually beginning to see this sort of thinking taking hold in the early 20th century, and then, alas, everything went to hell…

    • Society can buy eggcells and sperm from high-IQ people; raising own children per se not needed.

      • jb says:

        But people want to raise their own children, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Yes, widespread use of purchased high-IQ gametes would also have a eugenic effect, but that seems even less likely to me than a change in the conventional wisdom. And in any case, it isn’t either/or; we could have both.

    • albatross says:

      I am not convinced that the low fertility of the smartest/most driven people actually has anything to do with environmental concerns. The high achievers have one lavishly raised kid but then drive SUVs and fly several times per year for fun.

      Children are an expensive pain in the ass. (They’re worth it, but there’s no denying the expense and the time investment.). And they cramp your style even more when you’re on the tenure/partner/residency track. So high achievers tend to have fewer kids and have them later.

      Probably the only real counterbalance to that is culture and religion–Mormons, Catholics, and Orthodox Jews get some encouragement to have big families, which pushes back on the whole “we can’t afford to have a child in this real estate market” thing.

  11. Flemur says:

    behavioral genetics, quantitative genetics, psychometrics, evolutionary psychology

    A system which did not fight against those ideas, as does our current system, nor reinforce them, would allow for their natural consequences; libertarian.

  12. spirit_of_negation says:

    To what extent were the Spartans actively selecting? Citing Wikipedia:

    “When a boy was born, he was washed with wine in the belief that this would make him strong. Every infant was then examined by members of the Gerousia (a council of leading elder Spartans) from the child’s tribe to see whether he was fit and healthy enough to be allowed to live. In the event that the baby did not pass the test, he was placed at the base of Mt Taygetus for several days for a test that ended with death by exposure or survival.”

    There is the question whether this substantially differed in selective strength from normal child mortality. It must have increased mortality somewhat, unless the correlation with surviving childhood in antiquity and surviving this ritual was one, but maybe it just wheated out the kids that were likely to die anyway in similar proportion in the less wealthy classes of society than among spartan free citizens.

    Then there is the question whether the spartan elite was large /their gene pool isolated enough to make such selection matter. The slaves outnumbered them, but to what extent, and how much of their offspring made it into the spartan elite ranks? How many of the slaves were new, each generation? Is this island swamp, model or just 2 pools that are selecting for childhood health, one directly, one inderectly?
    I do not know enough history to answer these questions. maybe someone else might respond.

    If we know the answers, we can estimate whether it mattered.

  13. Bob says:

    C.D. Darlington wrote that Mohammad II instituted the Law of Fratricide to prevent sedition or secession. He argues that the Law had a dysgenic effect by eliminating many members of the dynasty in each generation.

  14. another fred says:

    “What if some ideology or political tradition did? what could they do? What problems could they solve, what capabilities would they have? ”

    I believe that all they could do is provide believers with better tools for survival.

    Societies are a kind of perpetual crisis machines. If “better” people are in control they will use their power to garner wealth and power a narrow group, corrupting their society, guaranteeing that there will be revolutionaries. Said revolutionaries ally themselves with the downtrodden, who are also less competent and eventually give way to “better” people.

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

  15. Jim says:

    Sad news. Vladimir Voevodsky died suddenly on September 30 in Princeton at the age of 51.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t game theory predict some big state will try out CRISPR to become more powerful, thereby setting off a genetic embetterment arms race?

    I sure hope so.

    The growth of the incompetent third world scares me a lot.

    • another fred says:

      A more consequential use would be to loose some rather nasty designer bugs. If robotics does all they say it will there are going to be a lot of idle hands about.

      • albatross says:

        There’s kind-of an obvious problem in assuming that once you’ve created a bunch of people who are enormously smarter than you, those people will be interested in taking your orders, or will feel loyalty to whatever things you want them to become loyal to. In some sense, the current crop of elites in finance and technology are a direct refutation of this idea, since they’re broadly not all that loyal to the nations that raised them or the institutions that nurtured.

  17. Smithie says:

    Always been struck by how absent biological differences seem to be from a lot of storytelling, particularly sci-fi. Perhaps, I misremember it, but I believe the Norton novel “Star Rangers” as well as different aliens, had some humans that were different from living another planet. Since she used the word “Federation”, I’ve long wished someone would use her work to create an imitation Star Trek that subverted some of the crazier ideas of that show.

    For instance, the idea that despite the endless aliens, hostile and friendly that would probably have radically different mean intelligences, despite the obviously more technically demanding society, eugenics was banned. Even engineering chiefs had great difficulty in mastering simple concepts, at first. And genetically treating a severely retarded boy so that he turned into a brilliant MD was considered a criminal offense.

    • Garr says:

      “She” — hunh? — consulting Wiki — “In 1934, she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton, a pen name she had adopted to increase her marketability since boys were the main audience for fantasy” — If robots pose as men, they’re pursued by Blade Runners; I wish the same were true of men who pose as women and vice-versa … this is really almost the vilest sort of deception imaginable.

      • Ursiform says:

        Why? If you like an author’s works of fiction, does it matter if he/she/it isn’t as you imagine? It’s not like an author of fantasy is writing from personal experience.

      • Jim says:

        What about George Eliot?

      • Smithie says:

        Well, honestly, I don’t really blame her. She did write stories more for boys, and a first time reader looking for an adventure story couldn’t really be blamed for being weary of any association with estrogen, for women often write very different sorts of stories.

  18. Greying Wanderer says:

    if a particularly wealthy industry had a parasitic business model, just as an example let’s say the central banks, they might believe a stupider population was in their interests.


    “What problems could they solve”

    most of the running with scissors happens at the low IQ end so on the 80:20 principle flattening the left side IQ curve would have a massive impact on almost all social problems and welfare costs.

    (it’s effectively the same problem religious cultural blueprints try to solve)

    if there are genes that effect homicide rates e.g. unusually low empathy, and population A has them at a frequency of 1% and population B has them at a frequency of 4% then the only way to reduce the latter homicide rate might be to reduce the frequency of those genes.

    tons of medical stuff.

    if it turned out innovation was the result of IQ + an x factor and civilization itself selected against the x factor they could institute an artificial program to maintain a minimum level of x.

    • MawBTS says:

      if a particularly wealthy industry had a parasitic business model, just as an example let’s say the central banks, they might believe a stupider population was in their interests.

      Mobile game developers have a term called “whales” – stupid or mentally ill people who compulsively spend money on in-game purchases.

      Some games’ entire business model relies on whales. There’s guides on how to to attract them to your game.

      • another fred says:

        As far as business models go, keep in mind that a lot of people who have disposable money today do so because of the redistribution of wealth. If you look at societies from a systems approach a substantial portion of the population are a net drag on the system. They engage in no productive activities but the system has to provide sustenance and services including waste disposal and police.

        Their supposed benefit to the system is as “consumers,” generating economic activity with its multiplier effect. The only problem with this “benefit” is that the current level of economic activity that generates it is based on debt and speculation.

        Some people say that debt does not matter and this can go on forever. They had better be right. If they are wrong there is a serious reckoning in our future.

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          “If they are wrong there is a serious reckoning in our future.”

          we’re in the end game now – although how long it can last is anyone’s guess

          • another fred says:

            “we’re in the end game now – although how long it can last is anyone’s guess”

            Odds are it will take an “exogenous event” since the bankers are scared shitless of triggering it. I don’t know if there’s balm in Gilead, but there’s dang sure a “printing press” at the Treasury.

  19. anonymous says:

    Christianity (admittedly plummeting in popularity but still rather popular), apparently engaged in large scale European eugenics without realizing it:

    Beginning in the 11th century, the Church allied itself with the State to punish murder, which previously had been a private matter to be settled through revenge or compensation. At the height of this war on murder, between 0.5 and 1.0 % of all men of each generation were sentenced to death, and a comparable proportion of offenders died at the scene of the crime or in prison while awaiting trial. Meanwhile, homicide rates plummeted from between 20 and 40 per 100,000 in the late Middle Ages to between 0.5 and 1.0 in the mid-20th century (Eisner, 2001). The pool of violent men dried up until most murders occurred under conditions of jealousy, intoxication, or extreme stress. Yes, people got the message to act nice, but the message was not delivered nicely.

    By pacifying social relations, Church and State also created a culture that rewarded men who got ahead through trade and hard work, rather than through force and plunder.

    Peter Frost,

    • MawBTS says:

      But how do you untangle the confounding variable, which is better medical care?

      If I stab someone in the chest in 2017, they’ll rush him to emergency, stabilize the injury, obtain a chest radiograph, perform an orotracheal intubation, clean the wound with saline, and if God is good, he might survive.

      If I stab him the same way in 1100AD, he’s dead. There’s nothing anyone can do.

      It seems that a lot of homicides in 1200AD would be classified as “attempted homicides” if they’d happened today. If fewer attacks end in death, there will be fewer murders (and fewer murderers).

      • anonymous says:

        Better medical care didn’t become a meaningful confounding factor til the discovery of penicillin. Stab someone in 1100 AD, or 1850 AD, the outcome isn’t much different.

      • Toddy Cat says:

        But of course, medical care was essentially worthless, or worse than worthless, until some time between 1910 and 1930 (depending on who you want to believe). So this shouldn’t be that hard to untangle.

        • dearieme says:

          For many people the big deal was the easy availability of antibiotics. So you press it as late as 1945-50. (Which is why the NHS is so popular in Britain: its introduction coincided with doctors actually becoming able to cure their patients. And so post hoc ergo propter hoc – a new state religion was born.)

          • emdriveisnonsense says:

            this has been studied to death, about ~ 2, 3-5× better outcomes now than in 1950s depending on the type of attack

            still the amount of serious attacs in the middle ages had to be about 10× more than it is now to explain the 20, 30-60× higher homicide rates

            • Jim says:

              Weapons used by murderers today are probably not much more lethal than in the 1950’s. So if trauma treatment today was at the same level as in the fifties current homicide rates would be much higher. So the increase in violence in places like Detroit or Chicago compared to the fifties is much greater than indicated just by the homicide rates.

              • on the other hand, today’s murderers, being aware of modern medicine, often “finish” their victims.
                I recall a cause in Russia where wrestling champion Mirzoev bashed and killed another (bad too) man and it wasn’t classified as homicide by court, well because he had intention only “to teach a lesson”.

              • Jim says:

                I think under US law in most states killing someone while only intended to hurt them is “manslaughter” not “murder”.

      • Jim says:

        On the other hand weapons today are probably more lethal. If you’re shot in the chest it’s even worst than being stabbed.

    • Karl Zimmerman says:

      I’ve often wondered if the rise in professional armies, relative decline in massacres of civilians, and quasi-enforcement of monogamous social structures have also played a role in “taming” people during the modern period. After all, during the “tribal” period a successful warrior was often more likely to survive than a non-combatant, and probably likely to have a bigger family. In contrast by the modern period soldiers had higher risk of death but likely didn’t get much of a reproductive “payoff” in the process.

      • Jim says:

        In traditional Comanche society a man’s status depended mostly on his success in raiding(shamanistic activity was the major alternative route to high status for men). No one was required to join raiding parties but men who choose not to, while not positively sanctioned, had less status and were less able to acquire a wife. Also raiding was the major source of wealth in Comanche society so men who did not participate successfully in raiding were also poorer.

        Now traditional Comanche society only existed for a few centuries but while it lasted it seems to have strongly selected for warlike males. Of course there was certainly some risk in Comanche raiding but participation in raiding probably lead to higher average reproductive success while for the men who landed on Normandy Beach the opposite was probably true..

  20. georgioxblog says:

    Lee Kuan Yew acknowledged results of psychometrics, so maybe the ideology would look like the policy of Singapore

  21. Greying Wanderer says:

    a lot of routine violence revolves around sexual jealousy and competition which would be one reason monogamous populations have less of it.

  22. crew says:

    And now we are told there can’t be races because genes and shutup!

  23. iffen says:

    The reason that there is no such ideology or political movement is because most of the woke bio people want to make immediate bold moves into genetic engineering.

    Stabilize, that is, take care of the existing populace with a restricted UBI. Then turn to implementing policies that will trend your society in a positive direction. For example, strict IQ cut-off for subsidized higher ed and concentration of subsidies in the hard sciences; no more student loans for 50 year olds to get degrees in basket weaving. Dis-incentivize having large families in the less capable; incentivize larger families among the more capable.

  24. RCB says:

    Any concrete policies in mind, Greg?
    Seems like attacking from both ends would be a good idea: pay violent/repeating criminals not to reproduce and give high-income/high-education folks a tax break for reproducing. Of course both of these are politically impossible right now.

    • Eugine Nier says:

      One might be able to get liberals to support sterilizing violent criminals, if one phrased it as giving them gender-change operations.

      • RCB says:

        Conservatives (some anyway) would be just as hard to convince. Controlling reproduction for the betterment of future society is a very progressive concept: not very “small-government” or libertarian.
        And giving tax breaks to college-educated liberals to have babies wouldn’t appeal much to Trump voters, methinks.

        • gcochran9 says:

          It might be worth making a reasonably comprehensive of the facts and preferences that a good liberal is supposed to embrace and seem to believe. You would have to be fairly quick about it, before it changes. Then you could evaluate about the social impact of having more of them.

        • Progs Don't Tilt Betterment says:

          Nah, not really. “Progressives” are mostly strong individualists who just lack libertarian arrogance that it’ll all be roses for them and so agitate for a welfare state to look after them when life’s hard knocks come. (A libertarians are a little like liberals with a dose of talent and another dose of subclinal degrees of autism and psychopathy).

          Their interest in the welfare state isn’t because of an interest in a nebulous social good – it’s driven mainly by the fear that something bad will happen to them, together with not wanting to have to turn themselves over to family or charity when it does.

          Progressives are generally fairly lukewarm about arguing for government spending that isn’t part of the welfare state – excepting those progressives who were actually employed in R&D, it’s not like they were particularly lining up against reductions in government R&D in recent decades, or protesting in the streets for it, and they never were. Eugenics just isn’t part of the welfare state (it’s “improving” people outright, not cushioning them when they’re down on their luck without the need to turn on family or charity), so no enthusiasm there.

          The actual group loyalty and group authority sorts with submission towards the “greater good” for society, and the social order, tend conservative or authoritarian. (See Jon Haidt for the details). They tend to support social institutions and state spending that preserves stability and social order – the military, army, police, prisons, courts, Though again this is another thing from eugenics.

          Long term orientation may helps for eugenics, but is orthogonal to conservatism or progressivism – on the whole it looks like Anglo cultures don’t have a lot of it (quick results, quarterly profits), East Asians (and others) do. That doesn’t always work out to the detriment of the Anglo West, mind.

    • MawBTS says:

      I don’t think you could make it work in a democracy. A dictator informed by modern genetic research could do some interesting things.

      There’s lots of nations in the world, and an infinity of nations that could possibly exist. Some of them respect human rights less than we do, and therefore have the capacity to speed past us.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        “I don’t think you can make it work in a democracy.”
        Sure you can, whereever and whenever there is a demand for a product and the profit margin is large enough there is a thriving black market that is virtually unstoppable. So lets skip the details of how science is going to bump the IQ of the next generation by a significant margin but simply assume it becomes technologically possible.

        Prospective parents will vacation to where ever in the world it is legal and there will be no stopping market demand reaching market supply. You could charge tens of thousands of dollars for junior to have a higher IQ and people will gladly shell out the big bucks.

        Black markets work great in a democracy.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      “pay violent/repeating criminals not to reproduce”

      you could fix this just by applying three strikes and you’re out to juveniles as they build up the violent rep that will help them reproduce later during their teens and then reap the benefit of that rep in their 20s until they eventually go to jail. if they were removed from the mating pool earlier this process would be disrupted.

  25. Warren Notes says:

    “…no currently popular ideology acknowledges well-established results of behavioral genetics, quantitative genetics, or psychometrics.” I have fantasized about a lawsuit that would challenge current employment law in the psychometric area; specifically, the concept of prima facie discrimination and the 2/3 rule. Based on the racial makeup of the geographic area in which a job exists, it would be possible to be calculate accurately what actually comprises on-the-face-of-it discrimination, as well as the size of the employment pool in that area for all groups who might qualify for a job given its cognitive requirements. Taking this into account would save employers the expense of countless lawsuits that have nothing to do with an individual’s rights, and would also save tax money by eliminating many bureaucrats from a bloated EEOC.

  26. Grumpy Old Man says:

    Genes that influence intelligence also may influence other traits, including personality traits. It’s uncertain which such traits we want to foster: courage vs caution, volubility vs reticence, concentration vs vigilance, u.s.w. I’m not convinced, CRISPR or no, that we’re wise enough to do this, or that we are likely to become so.

  27. Robert says:

    The Libertarians.

    They just don’t believe government should get involved so what they’re doing by voluntary action is invisible to most (and mostly pretty silly when they discuss Libertarianism) commenters here and the far-left academy.

    They’ve basically organized the likely 170+ IQ worldwide and been removing regulations that stand in the way of intelligent action and e.g. marriage by women for intelligence, hence the spread of democracy and innovation in the last generation.

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