Saturday, 31 October 2009

Léon Degrelle: The Revolution of the Souls

Léon Degrelle: The Revolution of the Souls

Europe is going mad. Mad with scandals. Mad with egoism. Mad with revolt against Heaven. Mad with blood. […] Corrupt in its morality, debased in its faith, puffed up with individualism, fanaticism, and pride, having lost touch with charity, with the love of God and man, anaemic, modern Europe is waiting for the final blow, the last convulsions, the last corpses. The hour is approaching when all accounts will be settled. The hour is also coming when to save the world it will need a handful of heros and saints who will carry out the Reconquest. […]

A country soon gets back on its feet after financial set-backs. It is not too hard for it to find a new political structure. It just calls for able technicians and a collective will to join forces. […] The real revolution is much more complicated, the one which puts right not the mechanism of the State, but the secret life of each soul. […]

It is only the quality and vibrancy of the soul which matters, the capacity for giving oneself unstintingly, its will to place an ideal above all other considerations in a spirit of total disinterest. Only faith counts, burning confidence, the complete absence of egoism and individualism, the striving of the whole being towards service, however lowly it is, wherever it may be, however it may be fulfilled, for a cause which transcends man, asks everything of man, and promises him nothing.

In a century where people only live for themselves, hundreds, thousands of men must no longer live for themselves, but for a collective ideal, and be prepared in advance to endure for its sake every sacrifice, every humiliation, every heroic act. […] I can hear in the night’s darkest hour crowds of people rising to their feet to protest their will and their faith. I see these thousands of men and women renewing their vow. How can one doubt that this heroism will bear fruit? It is these souls which will change the world.

[From Révolution des âmes [The Revolution of Souls] (Ĕditions de la France: Paris, 1938) 145-62]

Pakistanis in Britain

Alison Shaw is a social anthropologist who turned her Ph.D thesis into a book, A Pakistani Community in Britain (1988). Her four years of research into the Oxford Pakistani community was funded by the Social Science Research Council and included a seven month stay in Pakistan with the relatives of her Oxford subjects. Her book is a sympathetic study of that community but does not avoid revealing some troubling - for us - aspects of Pakistani culture and conduct. I shall be posting some excerpts from the book over the next week or so.

These extracts from the introduction echo a previous post about the biraderi/biradari - extended family networks offering mutual support - that went some way to explaining why Pakistanis turned up here in large numbers buying our land and property so soon after driving us from their country: a social solidarity that is largely absent among the English.

From Alison Shaw, A Pakistani Community in Britain (Blackwell Ltd., Oxford, 1988):

It is commonly assumed that the Pakistani minority will inevitably ‘assimilate’ western values (however these may be defined), and for many English people ‘assimilation’ carries a positive value, while ‘non-assimilation’ carries a negative one. Rather than entering into the debate on whether ‘assimilation’ is a good or bad thing, I am concerned to portray the Pakistani community as far as possible on its own terms rather than from a western perspective and to show how there is much more continuity of tradition than is generally recognized. The reasons for this lie in the migrants’ historical background and in the social organization of their communities.

Pakistanis come from a society with a history of previous migrations within the Indian subcontinent, both within Pakistan and to Pakistan from India. These previous migrations have not made a dramatic impact on cultural values and social organization; rather, the migrants have carried their cultural values with them and have generally regarded their migrations as a means of enhancing their status and bettering their existing position. It is therefore not surprising that their culture and social organization should be capable of adapting to migration to Britain.

The biradari, or extended kinship group, continues to have a major influence over individuals’ activities and over their expectations of life in Britain. […] The biradari perpetuates itself through the institution of arranged marriage, crucial to its persistence and stability. Traditionally marriage is with first cousins, and this has the effect of maintaining the biradari as a kinship group. When a family’s immediate relatives have remained in Pakistan, marriages may be arranged with relatives there or new links may be formed across the boundaries of kinship and even caste with other Pakistani settlers in Britain. For example, two men in Oxford became close friends of a man from a different caste to whom they eventually arranged for their sister to be married. This arrangement, apparently going against the traditional ideal of cousin marriage, was nevertheless accepted by the families concerned, and was justified by reference to Islamic ideology which denies caste differences. It cemented a friendship and forged new links which proved crucial to a joint business venture. The biradari is therefore not static but flexible; it can even, as in one or two cases, accept English women into it through marriage, providing they fulfil the expectations made of them.

One important way in which the biradari ensures this flexibility is through the principle of giving and taking, called lena-dena (taking-giving) which underlies many social relationships within the community. The ties created through lena-dena maintain old relationships and permit new ones with non-kin to develop. These ties, backed up by ideologies of community and


religion, enable the biradari to adapt to a new environment and at the same time have a cohesive and conservative influence.


From a western point of view, an individual who fulfils her or his role within the family, biradari and community, does so at the cost of individual freedom. However, most Pakistanis themselves, including the younger generation, do not see the matter in this way. They do not prize ‘individuality’ as highly as westerners do, and for most of them the sacrifice of ‘individuality’ that the culture requires is more than offset by the advantages of fulfilling one’s role within the family, biradari and community. Occasionally, of course, there is conflict between an individual’s inclinations or convictions and the expectations made of him or her by the family and community; hence the elopements and other incidents that reach the press. But such incidents are not as common as the media’s sensational reporting suggests; the conflicts are usually short-lived and rarely pose a fundamental threat to the community’s social structure. They may involve questioning and challenging and gradual change in particular aspects of the culture, but, as in any culture, such development is in part a result of the culture’s own internal dynamics as well as a response to external environmental changes. As young Pakistanis themselves point out, many of the events and changes occurring within the Pakistani community in Britain, such as questioning the importance of aspects of the arranged marriage, are also taking place within Pakistan. While such changes may be motivated at least in part by western values, the justification for them is generally made in terms of Islamic values. Some of the second generation even claim that such change is taking place more quickly among sections of Pakistan’s society than among Pakistanis in Britain, citing examples from among their own relatives in Pakistan. The fact that the Pakistani population in Britain is a minority has tended to make it more conservative.


Shaw identifies something here that was not widely recognised in the eighties but which would become politically significant in the nineties and in this decade: the Pakistani community in Britain is more Pakistani, more conservatively so, than that in Pakistan.

This point stands out, too, and a future post will go into this subject in more detail:

The biradari is therefore not static but flexible; it can even, as in one or two cases, accept English women into it through marriage, providing they fulfil the expectations made of them.

But only English women, of course, Pakistani men do not allow their women to marry Englishmen. According to Pierre L. van den Berghe,

The sociobiological paradigm provides a [simple] explanation. In nearly all species, the female is the scarce reproductive resource for the male rather than vice-versa. […]

[T]he ethny is a corporation of related men seeking to enhance each others’ fitness by retaining a monopoly of sexual access to the women of their own group. This, however, does not preclude men from further enhancing their reproductive success by making the most of every opportunity to inseminate women from other groups. In fact, the whole history of ethnic relations powerfully confirms this interpretation. Men jealously ‘protect’ ‘their’ women from men of other groups, deeply resenting ethnic exogamy on the part of women, while at the same time seeking access to women from other groups. […]

Between ethnies, men use power and violence to secure access to women from other groups, and this reduces the level of inbreeding. When the ethnies in presence are equally matched, male competition for foreign women takes the form of interethnic raids. After an ethnic hierarchy has been established, subordinate-group men loose all or part of their control of ‘their’ women and their reproductive success is curtailed, while upper-group men are polygynous and incorporate subordinate-group women. An ethnic hierarchy, therefore, generally results in a reduced fitness for subordinate-group males. The classical scenario for conquest is to rape the women and kill, castrate or enslave the men. [p.26]

He elaborates on that point later in his book:

Even when conquest is relatively mild and not openly genocidal, the subordinate group in an ethnic hierarchy almost invariably ‘loses’ more women to males of the dominant group than vice versa. Hypergamy (mating upward for women) is a fitness-enhancing strategy for women, and, therefore, subordinate-group women do not always resist being ‘taken over’ by dominant-group men. But subordinate-group men lose fitness by losing potential mates from their group without any hope of access to dominant-group females. It is not accidental that the most explosive aspect of interethnic relations is sexual contact across ethnic (or racial) lines; nor is the asymmetry of the resentment surprising. No group is concerned about gaining women; every group resents losing women.

Conquest and domination mean, in the first instance, a fitness loss. The loss is felt both at the individual and at the collective level. Collectively, since the offspring of subordinate-group women who mate with dominant. group men are generally ‘lost’ to their maternal group, the subordinate group suffers a decrement of reproductive power. Over several generations, this loss can be reflected in serious demographic changes in ethnic group ratios. Dominant groups tend to grow disproportionately. Individually, there is only a fitness reduction if the circulation of women between groups is asymmetrical, as it almost invariably is. Through the suction of women into the upper group (without getting women in return), the pool of mates for lower-group males is correspondingly reduced and, therefore, so is their fitness. Females of the subordinate group also indirectly lose fitness through the lowered fitness of their male relatives. Individual females who choose the hypergamous strategy, however, can gain fitness if their children become assimilated to the ruling group and gain access to upper-group privileges (including polygyny). This sex asymmetry in fitness strategies in ethnically stratified societies often creates tension between the sexes, within subordinate groups. The female option of fitness maximization through hypergamy is deeply resented by subordinate-group males. [p.75-76]

Rolão Preto: ‘Oiro’

Rolão Preto was the leader of the Portuguese National Syndicalists of the 1930s, these quotes are from the movement’s weekly newspaper, União Nacional, the issue of February 25th, 1934:

‘Oiro’ (Gold)

A terrible wave of utilitarianism and baseness is sweeping through the world, and is threatening to subvert and vulgarize everything, plunging it into a quagmire of tragic moral degradation. [ ... ] Where are we going? Day by day more is being chopped away. The clear and holy light of ideas is covered up and lost sight of under a cheap blanket of unfettered commercialism which darkens the soul. Justice, independence, nobility of feeling or thought: empty words. Contemporary man feels increasingly a pawn in a game of material interest, more a slave of gold than ever.

Every so often these acts of extraordinary moral decadence sweep over the world. Man abandons his supreme position in the scale of what is valuable on this earth to surrender to the lure of material objects and the state of supreme wretchedness which goes with them. Only his vanity, his comforts, his material possessions seem to him a worthwhile goal, a path to follow. To achieve this goal, to follow this path, any contradiction of his spirit, any abdication of responsibility, any amount of baseness or shame are justified. Now more than ever all means serve to fulfil this end.

This is the way of the world.

But there are independent spirits, free spirits, those who are prepared to embark on a hard road of sacrifice to preserve their pride and the glory which their independence and freedom give them. They should not despair. Already the signs of reaction are becoming manifest in the noisy protest on every side from those able to resist the temptation to trade their own dignity for material comforts, to swap strength of character for the possibility of making money.

This reaction against the materialist and corrupting utilitarianism of a whole age is the beginning of the great Revolution whose spirit is going to burn and purify the earth. It is a singular aspect of the human condition that the onset of man’s decadence and death always create the conditions of his salvation and deliverance. [ ... ]

The Revolution is under way. It will redeem man, raising him to the height of all the divine greatness that is his. Friends, the glitter of gold, however intense and brilliant, will never obscure the light of the ideal which we carry inside our breast and which is like the pure, redeeming brightness of the dawn in the tragic night of human distress.

The Human Right to Home and Identity

The Human Right to Home and Identity
by Hartwig Huber

These quotes are taken from an article published in the German ‘Nation Europa’ journal in July 1989:

When two hundred years ago the rights of man were solemnly declared, anthropology as a natural science was still in its infancy. Human rights are the creation of jurists and philosophers. The premiss of their thinking was an isolating and speculative one: Man was abstractly conceived as an individual; not as a man, or a woman, or a child, or as someone with ties to a family, an ethnic group [Stamm], a people [Volk]. The heterogeneous world which had grown up over centuries, and which even in the age of absolutism had started to become rationally organized, was now radically simplified.

An abstractly conceived being, Man, was recognized to have fundamental freedoms in 1789, but not to be a communal being. In those days nothing was known of genetics and the like. They were building on speculations about a noble savage, who was contrasted with the European who had been corrupted by his society. [ ... ]

Charles Darwin discovered the natural history of man. The history of his development was uncovered step by step. [ ... ] Modern man emerged in the Ice Age, the quaternary. [ ... ] Research into human behaviour, which made leaps and bounds with the work of the Nobel prize-winner Konrad Lorenz, who died recently, has done a lot to establish a realistic and scientific picture of man. However, the resistance of older, better established sciences such as sociology is still strong. The conflict between empirical natural science and speculative human sciences has not yet been fought out to a conclusion. The picture of man founded on the natural sciences should be taken into account in a redrafting of human rights. […]

Man is a territorial being. That was not yet known in 1789. Every man strives to possess space to dispose of as he alone sees fit. These are the roots of the right to a home [Heimat]. But the right to a home can be found in no constitution which incorporates human rights. If human rights are to mean anything, however, then the right to a home should be included in the list!

Man is as much an individual as a collective being. In every human group a hierarchy establishes itself very quickly and instinctively: men are unequal. Every scientist knows that to establish differences he must experimentally create the same conditions. (Before the law all men are equal.)

The development of man is a combination of natural and cultural factors. This has given rise to an abundance of ethnic groups. American ethnographers have counted at least 4,000 cultures on the earth. The wealth of the human species is in its abundance of cultures.

Let us sum up: the human rights of 1789 were incomplete. The right to a home and an identity must now be added to them. The human rights of the Enlightenment are abstract, individual rights. If they are to be complete and to be implemented, they must include collective human rights, namely the human rights to home and identity! In other words, the human rights of the individual and those of the community should complement each other harmoniously. Every people has a right to its own identity. Whoever violates this right is playing with fire.

[‘Menschenrecht auf Heimat und Identität’ [The human right to home and identity], Nation Europa, 39/7 (July 1989), 5-6.]

The English Nationalist School of Music

From Humphrey Searle and Robert Layton, Twentieth Century Composers: Britain, Scandinavia and the Netherland (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1972)

Nationalism in music was a product of the nineteenth century. Its origins were partly political; in Czechoslovakia and Hungary, for instance, native composers revolted against the Germanic culture imported by the occupying Austrians. They wished to create a national music of their own, based on their folk-songs and using their own language. The melodies and rhythms of native folk-songs influenced even the symphonic works of Smetana and Dvorak in Czechoslovakia, and even a cosmopolitan composer like Liszt was very much affected by the music of his native Hungary. In other countries, too, music began to grow more nationalistic in revolt against the cosmopolitan culture which usually flourished at the courts; thus in Russia the nationalist school under Balakirev wrote Russian music based on Russian and even Caucasian folk-songs in order to replace the French and Italian influences in music favoured by the Imperial Court. Similarly, in Norway a nationalist school grew up with Grieg at its head which spoke in a different voice from the German music which was then prevalent. In England where … German influences were dominant throughout the nineteenth century, the nationalist tide did not begin to flow until the beginning of the twentieth century, and the leading figures in this movement were


two very dissimilar composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst, who nevertheless shared common aims.

Both Vaughan Williams and Holst were certain that it was English folk-song which had liberated music in England from the German tradition and given it a voice of its own. Vaughan Williams once wrote: ‘My intercourse with Cecil Sharp (the pioneer collector of British folk-songs) crystallised and confirmed what I already vaguely felt about folksong and its relationship to the composer’s art. With him you had to be either pro-folk-song or anti-folk-song, and I came down heavily on the folk-song side’. This was the basis of his famous article, published in 1912; ‘Who wants the British composer?’ And Imogen Holst declared of her father: ‘The other important event (of 1905) was the revival of folk-song. Folk-songs finally brushed all trace of Wagner from his work. He had the deepest admiration for Cecil Sharp and felt that when the time came for the English musical history of the twentieth century to be written, Cecil Sharp’s name would stand out above all others’. Frank Howes, in his book The English Musical Renaissance, points out that ‘other influences besides folk-song operated in the formation of both men’s respective styles. In the case of Vaughan Williams, one was the hymn tunes he examined for his edition of the English hymnal. In that of Holst it was Weelkes and Purcell, which he made his various choirs sing. Both were touched by the new interest in plainsong, and both found in Bach an antidote to too much Beethoven and Wagner’. Both were interested in writing for amateurs, including choral societies and brass bands, and in musical education - they possessed a social as well as an artistic conscience.

Ralph Vaughan Williams came of mixed Welsh and English blood. His father was born into a legal family from Wales; his grandfather was a judge who settled with his family at Leith Hill, near Dorking. The house next door belonged to the Wedgwood family, descendants of the famous potter, who had also intermarried with the Darwins


(Charles Darwin was Vaughan Williams’s great uncle). The two households soon developed a close friendship, and in 1868 Arthur Vaughan Williams married Margaret Wedgwood. Arthur was a clergyman, and had the living of Down Ampney in Gloucestershire. He had three children; Ralph, the third, was born at Down Ampney on 12 October 1872. Arthur died only two and a half years later and Margaret brought her family back to her parents’ house in Leith Hill. Here Vaughan Williams was brought up and was given music lessons by his aunt. He learnt first the piano and then the violin. He went to Charterhouse in 1887 where he played the viola in the school orchestra and sang in the school choir. In the summer of 1890 he was able to go to Munich to hear Wagner’s operas for the first time. In the same year he entered the Royal College of Music, where he remained for two years, and in 1892 went up to Trinity College, Cambridge.

At Cambridge his official subject was history, but he continued his lessons at the Royal College of Music. During this period he met a number of men with whom he formed lifelong friendships: the philosopher G. E. Moore, the historian G. M. Trevelyan and H. P. Allen, later Sir Hugh Allen, director of the Royal College of Music.

Although an allowance from his family made it unnecessary for him to earn his living, he took an organist’s post at Lambeth in London. He had become engaged to Adeline Fisher; they were married in October 1897 and went to Berlin. Here Vaughan Williams studied with Max Bruch, returning in April of the following year to London and his organist’s position in Lambeth, which left him time to write music of his own, including a setting of Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach. Some of his song settings, among them Linden Lea, which was to become well-known, stem from this period. Though he had not yet achieved a really mature style in these, it was clear that he was reacting against German influences, which he found actually repugnant; apart from folk song, the chief influence on his music was


that of the Elizabethan composers, Purcell and even mediaeval music at times. He also admired Parry for his mastery of choral technique. It was at this period that he began to think about composing a large choral work with the sea as its subject. This was eventually to become the Sea Symphony.

It was a period when great interest was shown in collecting folk music, and Bartók and Kodály were beginning their collections of Hungarian folk-songs. 1903 saw the beginning of Vaughan Williams’s collection of English folksongs, in which he collaborated with Cecil Sharp.

In 1905 he began the first of his mature works, a setting of Walt Whitman’s poem Toward the Unknown Region. He still felt that he was not sufficiently equipped as a composer, and he travelled to Paris to study with Ravel. Ravel helped him to refine his style, concentrating on lessons in orchestration. Vaughan Williams wrote of this experience: ‘As far as I know my own faults he hit them all exactly and is telling me to do exactly what I half felt in my mind I ought to do’. Ravel took a keen interest in the English composer, and the two remained friends for many years.

The time spent with Ravel must have given Vaughan Williams the confidence he needed to complete larger, orchestral works. The Sea Symphony was first performed at the Leeds Festival in October 1910, and made a tremendous impression. It is a setting for soloists, chorus and orchestra of several poems about the sea by Walt Whitman, in four movements resembling those of the classical symphony, though the form of each movement is often dictated by the structure of the words. It is a powerful work which also contains many beautiful lyrical moments, though the finale is perhaps too extended to balance the rest. It was then that Vaughan Williams met Isadora Duncan and began work on a choral ballet based on The Bacchae for her. And always much concerned with the richness of English folk culture, he gave a lecture early in 1912 in which he set forward his ideas on English folk music: ‘The evolution of the English


folk-song by itself has ceased but its spirit can continue to grow and flourish at the hand of our native composers ... we have made the mistake in England of trying to take over “ready-made” a foreign culture, a culture which is the result of generations of patient development, and of attempting to fit on to it our own incompatible conditions. This is merely to reap where we have not sown and the result must be failure’.

His London Symphony was first performed on 27 March 1914 in a concert of modem orchestral music conducted by Geoffrey Toye at the Queen’s Hall. ‘A better title’, wrote Vaughan Williams, ‘would perhaps be Symphony by a Londoner, that is to say, the life of London (including possibly its various sights and sounds) has suggested to the composer an attempt at musical expression, but it would be no help to the hearer to describe these in words’. And in fact the music does contain various London sounds such as the Westminster chimes, a theme derived from the street-cry ‘sweet lavender’, the sound of a mouth-organ and the jingle of hansom bells; but these are all worked into a true symphonic structure in four movements, and only appear incidentally. Although the piece enjoyed great success, the composer was unable to find an English publisher, so he sent his only score to Breitkopf and Härtel in Leipzig.

As soon as war broke out, Vaughan Williams enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps, although he was over forty. In June 1916 his unit left for France, where they were stationed at Ĕcoives. It was here that the ideas for A Pastoral Symphony had their origin; the long trumpet cadenza in the second movement owed its inspiration to a bugler who used to practise in the evening. In the autumn the unit embarked for Salonika; Vaughan Williams remained with it till early 1917, when someone in authority arranged for him to be sent back to England to train for a commission. He said: ‘My only regret at leaving is that I shall cease to be a man and become an officer’.

Peace brought with it a new period of success. On re-


turning to London, he was invited to teach at the Royal College of Music. He was made an honorary Doctor of Music at Oxford, and his Sea Symphony was performed on that occasion in celebration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Sheldonian Theatre. The unaccompanied Mass in G Minor belongs to that period. Of the latter he said: ‘There is no reason why an atheist could not write a good mass’.

During the next six years he completed many works and was working on his opera based on Falstaff, Sir John in Love. In 1929 he wrote a Fantasia for cello and orchestra for Pablo Casals, as well as a concerto for two violins. By now Vaughan Williams’s mature style had been fully developed. One could describe it as a mixture of modal harmonies and melodies derived from folk song with poly tonal counterpoint and a fondness for moving in block chords. This style was characteristic of him for the rest of his life, though certain of his later works show a rather more austere character.

As early as 1927 he had begun work on the ballet Job. The scenario had been provided by Geoffrey Keynes, and the work had originally been intended for Diaghilev who, however, thought the idea ‘too English’, as it was based on Blake’s illustrations to the Book of Job. With no immediate prospects of a stage production Vaughan Williams designed the work as an orchestral suite, in somewhat expanded form, for the Norwich Festival. Meanwhile, however, the Camargo Society had become interested in it after Ninette de Valois and Lilian Baylis had seen the model sets and designs, and the ballet was first performed by the Camargo Society in July 1931 at the Cambridge Theatre.

In the winter of 1931-2 Vaughan Williams began a new symphony, his fourth. It was first performed on 10 April 1935 by Adrian Boult and the BBC Orchestra; it was a more powerful and violent work than anything he had written before, and remains one of his most original pieces. It is very much more chromatic and dissonant than his usual pastoral style and has a mood of bitterness which is


absent from most of his other works. […]

Shortly after the first performance he was offered the Order of Merit; although he had previously refused all honours, he was prepared to accept this. During the summer he was engaged on three major works, the Five Tudor Portraits for chorus and orchestra to texts by John Skelton, the fifteenth-century poet, a comic opera The Poisoned Kiss, and another choral work, Dona Nobis Pacem. The text of this last work was a setting of three poems by Walt Whitman, and this certainly was a clear presentiment of the coming world war. […]

About this time he received some suggestions for ballet scenarios, one based on Spenser’s Epithalamion from Ursula Wood. After a long correspondence they met for the first time in early 1938. They soon became friends, and she was in fact later to become his second wife.


[…] In 1940 Vaughan Williams undertook composing for a new medium, films. At the suggestion of his former pupil, Muir Mathieson, Director of Music at London Films, he wrote the music for his first film, The Forty-Ninth Parallel. This was shown with great success in 1941, and as a result he was asked to write music for two further films, Coastal Command and The People’s Land.

From this time dates a long and interesting letter to a friend who had sought advice on a possible musical career for his son. This letter, contained in Ursula Vaughan Williams’s biography of her husband, gave the advice that a young composer should take part in as much practical music-making as possible, study the great masters, and work at home, going abroad only when mature. Vaughan Williams, always reacting against any form of pomposity, calmly answered Walford Davies, who said that he had written his Solemn Melody on his knees, ‘I write my music on my bottom’.

The fifth symphony, more pastoral in style than its predecessor, had been completed and Vaughan Williams con-


ducted its first performance at a Promenade Concert on 24 June 1943.

Advanced age did not diminish the composer’s energies. In 1944 he provided incidental music for Richard II for the BBC, and wrote an oboe concerto for Leon Goossens. After the war ended, he began his sixth symphony. Early in 1948 its first performance was given at a Royal Philharmonic concert; like the fourth symphony, it is a powerful and dramatic work, and many people felt that it was not only inspired by the war, but also that the quiet and sinister last movement represented earth after total destruction by atomic bombs. Vaughan Williams, however, said that the last movement was based on Prospero’s speech from The Tempest: ‘The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself ... shall dissolve and ... leave not a wrack behind’.

In May 1951 Adeline died. After her death, Vaughan Williams asked Ursula Wood to help him with his domestic affairs. In the summer of 1952 they spent a holiday in France together. Early the next year they married.

Though Vaughan Williams was close to eighty, his creative energies did not flag; he wrote a Romance for harmonica and orchestra for Larry Adler, and a seventh symphony, the Sinfonia Antartica, partly based on his music for the film Scott of the Antarctic. In the summer of 1955, after a holiday in Greece, he gave a lecture in Cork, in which he attempted to prove that almost all the good Irish (not Gaelic) folk-songs were really derived from England; his audience was naturally somewhat outraged. The eighth symphony, on which Vaughan Williams had been working for some time, had its first performance at Manchester under Barbirolli in May 1956; the score is notable for its inclusion of a number of tuned gongs. He had already started on a ninth symphony, and continued to work on it while on a summer holiday in Majorca. In 1957, while on holiday in Austria, he heard a Hugel horn for the first time and decided to incorporate it in his new ninth symphony. He lived


through a major operation, and his eighty-fifth birthday, in October, was celebrated with a concert of his works at the Festival Hall.

After a short holiday in Dorset in 1958 Vaughan Williams returned to London, and here, on 26 August 1958, he died suddenly of a coronary thrombosis.

By basing his melodic and harmonic style on English folksong, Vaughan Williams was able to free English music from German influences; certain traces of a French style appeared instead, however, especially in his more lyrical works such as the Pastoral and fifth symphonies. […]

Vaughan Williams’s principal collaborator in the English folk-song school was Gustav Holst, born at Cheltenham on 21 September 1874. His great-grandfather was a Swedish musician who taught the harp to the Imperial Family at St Petersburg and left Russia with his wife and his small son early in the nineteenth century because of his political views. Later the son settled in Cheltenham. Both Holst’s grandfather and father were musicians. His mother was English, and died when Holst was only eight. He was looked after by his father’s sister, Nina, who was a keen musician.

Holst started early to play both violin and piano, and at the age of thirteen he had set the poem Horatius for chorus and orchestra. Later, when he was seventeen, he was given some counterpoint training at Oxford. Having tried unsuccessfully to win scholarships at various London colleges of music, he returned to Cheltenham, where he obtained an organist’s job at a village in the Cotswolds. He was given the conductorship of a local choral society, and wrote an operetta, Lansdowne Castle, which was produced in 1893 in Cheltenham with great success. As a result, his father borrowed a hundred pounds from one of his relations and sent Holst to the Royal College of Music.


[…] In the autumn of 1895, just after his twenty-first birthday, he met Vaughan Williams for the first time; they soon became friends and got into the habit of playing each other their works. Holst was writing an opera called The Revoke. He became interested in socialism and ran the Hammersmith Socialist Club, attending Bernard Shaw’s lectures at Kelmscott House.

In 1897 he was asked to conduct the Socialist Choir, and there he met his future wife, Isobel Harrison, who sang in the choir as a soprano. He earned a living as organist in several churches in London, and continued to play the trombone in various theatre orchestras. In the autumn of 1898, however, the Carl Rosa Opera company offered him an appointment as first trombone and repetiteur. […]


Holst married Isobel Harrison in the summer of 1902, and coming into a small legacy on the death of his father, he and his wife were at last able to afford a honeymoon: in the spring of 1903 they went to Berlin.

On returning to England, Holst decided to give up trombone playing and to devote his life to composition. His first efforts were a good many songs, invariably rejected by publishers. But he was soon able to begin his career as a teacher and in 1905 was appointed Director of Music at St Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith, a post which he held until his death. He began to be interested in English folk-song and wrote his Country Song and Marching Song for orchestra, as well as sketching his Somerset Rhapsody. The influence of folk-song in these early works is fairly slight though they do contain some modal elements. […]


[…] In the summer of 1913 the new music wing at St Paul’s was opened, and Holst was given a large sound-proof room to work in. Working mostly on Sundays, he wrote the St Paul’s Suite for the school orchestra as a token of his gratitude. His earlier interest in Hinduism gradually gave way to one in astrology, and this became the point of departure for his new work, The Planets. He had just finished the sketch of Mars, the bringer of war, when war in fact broke out, in 1914; Holst at once tried to enlist, but was turned down because of his neuritis and weak sight.

The Planets is a large-scale suite for full orchestra which contains a great variety of styles, ranging from the savagery of Mars, the delicacy of Venus, the scherzo-like character of Mercury and the mysticism of Uranus to the remoteness of Neptune. This variety however does not mean that the composer’s personality is lost: there is always an astringency and power in his handling of his material. The Planets has remained Holst’s best-known work.

In the summer of 1917 he set the Hymn of Jesus, from the Apocrypha, and for this purpose he taught himself Greek so as to be able to understand the original. Long wanting to take a more active part in war work, he was at last offered the job of musical organizer to the YMCA among the troops in the Near East.

Returning from the Near East and back at St Paul’s, he began setting Walt Whitman’s Ode to Death for chorus and orchestra, struggling at the same time to write the libretto of his opera The Perfect Fool. Meanwhile The Hymn of Jesus had been published in the Carnegie Collection of British Music, and Holst conducted its first public performance at the Queen’s Hall in March 1920. This had an overwhelming reception - Holst was becoming successful at last. But Holst was never very good at public relations and simply did not know how to deal with press photographers or


journalists, as well as consistently refusing to accept any honours, degrees or titles.

[...]. Now living alone at Thaxted, looked after by a manservant, he wrote his Choral Symphony, settings of poems by Keats. Admittedly it is difficult to make a setting of the Ode on a Grecian Urn which can add much to the poetry of the words, and the last movement, Bards of passion and of


mirths is rather on the long side, but the first movement’s Bacchanal in 7/8 time and the Scherzo, Fancy and Folly’s Song are both delightful and exciting, and it seems a pity that this work is performed so rarely nowadays.

About the same time he began a new short opera At the Boar’s Head, an interlude based on the Falstaff scenes from Henry V; it was built to a great extent on Morris and country dance tunes which happened to fit Shakespeare’s words.

[…] Holst was a close friend of Robert Bridges and Thomas Hardy, and was now inspired by the latter’s Return of the Native to write an orchestral piece, Egdon Heath, one of his most interesting and remarkable works. The music catches the austere and remote quality of Hardy’s description of the scene, and a good deal of it is more experimental harmonically than anything Holst had written before - so much so that listeners to its first performance failed to understand it, and its true stature has only been appreciated in recent years.

During the summer he was unwell and at the end of the year he decided to stop work and have three months’ holiday in Italy. On returning to England he was as active as ever. In 1930 he finished a Concerto for Two Violins for the sisters Jelly d’Aranyi and Adila Fachiri. The concerto was played at a Philharmonic concert at the Queen’s Hall in April, and on the same occasion Holst was presented with the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society. He was working on his Choral Fantasia, in homage to Robert Bridges, as well as on Hammersmith, a Prelude and Scherzo originally commissioned by the BBC Military Band, and afterwards rewritten for orchestra. His sixth and last opera, The Tale of the Wandering Scholar, with a libretto by


Clifford Bax, was written in 1930.

[…] In May 1934 he was operated on; the operation was successful but his heart could not stand the strain, and he died on 25 May.

Holst was a composer of a remarkably original turn of mind, and he absorbed many influences. English folk-song was by no means the only one, and to some extent he was an eclectic. He made a notable contribution to English music although this is only just beginning to be appreciated today. In many ways he was in advance of his time, and the austerity of many of his works is more in keeping with modern music than with the somewhat lusher and more romantic style of his contemporaries.

Three other English composers of this generation deserve to be mentioned; although they were not so directly affected by English folk-song as Vaughan Williams and Holst, they definitely represent a nationalist school in that they wished to eradicate German influences from English music, however much they admired the German classics themselves.


The eldest of these was Frank Bridge (1879-1941), whose contribution was mainly in the field of chamber music, although he also wrote a small number of orchestral works. Beginning as a romantic, his style became increasingly ‘modern’ during the 1930s, especially in such works as his Divertimenti for wind quartet and his later chamber music, which show an experimental use of harmony. He is also remembered for his teaching of Benjamin Britten.

John Ireland (1879-1962) is also chiefly remembered for his chamber music and songs, though he wrote an important piano concerto which still remains in the repertoire. His other works show a genuinely individual gift, and his settings of the poems of Hardy and Housman are extremely subtle. He had an extraordinary ability to reproduce the atmosphere of a poem in music by apparently simple means: he did not aim at bold effects, but his settings show a far more real understanding of his chosen poets than the more superficial ones of his contemporaries like Arthur Somervell, for instance. His music shows some influence of his French contemporaries, particularly Debussy, but he worked out an individual style which combines both English and French elements.

Arnold Bax (1883-1953) was very much a romantic: apart from his music he also attached himself to the ‘Celtic twilight’ school of literature, whose protagonists were Synge and Yeats, and he wrote prose under the name of Dermot O’Byrne. He is chiefly remembered for his seven symphonies, highly romantic and passionate and based partly on folk elements, but characterized by a certain turgid texture which has prevented them from becoming popular. He was a brilliant musician who could read any score at sight, and this possibly tempted him into over-writing. As a person, he was extremely quick-witted and astringent, in complete contrast to the romanticism of his music.

An interesting survivor from this period is Havergal Brian; he was born in 1877 and is still alive at the time of writing. Between the ages of seventy-eight and ninety-


three he wrote no less than twenty-two symphonies, in addition to the ten which he composed earlier. Though stemming from the romantic style, his music is very much more austere and ‘modern’ than that of his contemporaries; many of his symphonies are one-movement works of fairly short duration, and he has added an entirely original element to English music. His principal virtue in his later works is compression and reduction of the music to its bare essentials; in achieving this he got away both from his romantic background and the folk-song school of his youth. His music is often harsh and violent in a manner which is well attuned to the present day.


Friday, 30 October 2009

L’Œuvre Française: racist-anti-racism

L’Œuvre Française is a French nationalist movement active from the late sixties ’til the present. These quotes are from a leaflet they produced in 1993. I like the argument used here, and the aggressive style -- Griffin received his loudest applause from the ‘Question Time’ audience for making a related point in a similar fashion about Straw and Greer’s assault on English ethnicity:

International Anti-Racism is the Negation of National Patriotism

In government, in the Church, in parliament, in political parties, in the media and art, in the judicial system, in the street, the insolence and maliciousness of those who claim to be ‘anti-racist’ seem no longer to have any limit.

Their aim is to ensure the victory of cosmopolitanism through the use of all intellectual and material forms of subversion.

Their plan involves the negation of the Christian essence of our national existence and the denial of the European source of our French identity.

Their tactic consists in systematically accusing French people of good stock, and who are prepared to defend themselves, of ‘fascism’ and ‘nazism’. It is what they call ‘the struggle against racism’, ‘anti-racism’.

Anti-racism is the negation of French France

Self-styled anti-racism is an internationalist ideology which abusively exploits phoney humanitarian sentiments to encourage the invasion of the nation’s inner world, to the detriment of the physical and moral health of France. It is the negation of natural rights - never called into question till now - of the French to live peacefully as masters in their own homes in accordance with the genius of their blood, the nature of their soil, the faith of their heaven.

The pretext invoked is the pseudo-philosophy of the ‘rights of man’, the ideology of the so-called liberation, the frenzy of what was supposed to be the ‘resistance’ … This has culminated in the anomaly of a new state doctrine: anti-racism, which leads to the hatred of every normal society, i.e. one which is hierarchical, traditional, and national.

The result which anti-racism banks on achieving is a France which is under occupation, disfigured, changed beyond recognition: a cosmopolitan ‘Hexagon’ which would no longer be historical France, the France of the French.

Anti-racism is the enemy of our freedoms, our jobs, the future of our children, the enemy of civil peace at home and a fruitful co-operation between states abroad.

L’Œuvre Française wants to safeguard national identity

A strictly nationalist movement, L’Œuvre Française, was founded and directed by Pierre Sidos. Its symbol is the Celtic cross, its slogan ‘France for the French’, and its action is based on a political creed which affirms the existence of a single France, historically constituted as a sovereign state, whose unity and continuity is assured by a principle of authority allied to personal responsibility. It is composed of a people of European extraction, generally of French language, of a Christian tradition, of a classical education, and of a millennial nationality, living in Western Europe within fixed boundaries. The power of integral nationalist thought on all acts of public life must form the basis of the preservation of its spiritual and intellectual identity, its physical and moral integrity, its political and cultural independence, for the common good of the French and the healthy balance of the international community.

This profession of nationalist faith rejects the division of France into ‘left’ and ‘right’ by asserting a national sentiment which transcends the various cleavages within society, and exists over and above elections and parties. It obviously rejects anti-social theories, anti-national machinations, anti-natural practices, all engendered by cosmopolitanism and its modern successor, anti-racism.

The precondition for safeguarding French national identity is first and foremost not to confuse but to differentiate, to make selections between people, to make choices between ideas, by opting for definite preferences and establishing hierarchies. In this respect, L’Œuvre Française … is superbly well placed to make a valuable contribution to the re-establishment of France in every sphere.

Indoctrinabilty, Ideology, and Warfare II

From Indoctrinability, Ideology, and Warfare, the chapters by Richerson & Boyd and Kevin Macdonald can be found at the following links:

‘The Evolution of Human Ultra-sociality’ by Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd
‘Indoctrination and Group Evolutionary Strategies: The Case of Judaism’ by Kevin Macdonald

I only post stuff to the blog that can’t be found online anywhere else, so shan’t post anything here from these chapters.

Inspirational Ibsen

One day generations may come after us
Who form the mainstay of popular unity
At this point the old greatness will arise once more
And wise words will become gloriously true

~ Henrik Ibsen, 1872

Rushton: Race and Racism in History

A useful corrective to the oft-heard ‘racism originated during the enlightenment to justify oppression by Europeans of other races’ canard. From J. Philippe Rushton, Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, 1997), chapter five, ‘Race and Racism in History’:

For millennia, racism was not a word, it was a way of life. Ethnic nepotism and prohibitions against hybridization are a matter of historical record. Downgrading the importance of race not only conflicts with people’s evolved tendency to classify and build histories according to putative descent, but ignores the work of biologists studying other species. In his 1758 work, Linnaeus classified four subspecies of Homo sapiens: europaeus, afer, asiatic, and americanus. Most subsequent classifications recognize at least the three major subdivisions considered in this book: Negroid, Caucasoid, and Mongoloid.


The most fundamental relationship recognized by tribal man is that of blood, or descent; in many cases anyone not made a relative becomes an enemy. Primitive society often seems to be organized on two major principles: that the only effective bond is a bond of blood, and that the purpose of society is to unite for wars of offense and defense. Sometimes tribes take the name ‘men,’ meaning we alone are men, whereas outsiders are something else, often not defined at all. […]

Identification of racial variation in man based on differences in morphology and pigmentation is as old as recorded history. As referenced by Loehlin et al. (1975), in 1200 RC. the Egyptians of the Nineteenth Dynasty painted polychromatic human figures on the walls of their royal tombs depicting peoples of different skin color and hair form: red (Egyptians), yellow (Asiatic and Semitic), black (sub-Saharan African), and white (western and northern European, also shown with blue eyes and blond beards).


In the Bible, from a single ancestor, the three sons of Noah are mythically divided into the descendents of Shem (Semites), Ham (non-Semitic Mediterraneans, sometimes said to include Negroids), and Japheth (northern peoples, sometimes said to mean Indo-Europeans, or Aryans). The Jews were descended from Shem and were warned by Jehovah to preserve themselves as ‘a special people unto himself, above all the people that are upon the face of the earth’ (Deut. 7: 6). The patriarch Noah condemned Canaan, one of Ham’s sons and his descendents to be ‘a servant of servants ... unto his brethren’ (Gen. 9: 25-27). This verse was used by the Israelites to sanction their subjugation of the Canaanites when they conquered the Promised Land and later by both Christians and Muslims to justify their slavery of blacks.

In the Bible, from a single ancestor, the three sons of Noah are mythically divided into the descendents of Shem (Semites), Ham (non-Semitic Mediterraneans, sometimes said to include Negroids), and Japheth (northern peoples, sometimes said to mean Indo-Europeans, or Aryans). The Jews were descended from Shem and were warned by Jehovah to preserve themselves as ‘a special people unto himself, above all the people that are upon the face of the earth’ (Deut. 7: 6). The patriarch Noah condemned Canaan, one of Ham’s sons and his descendents to be ‘a servant of servants ... unto his brethren’ (Gen. 9: 25-27). This verse was used by the Israelites to sanction their subjugation of the Canaanites when they conquered the Promised Land and later by both Christians and Muslims to justify their slavery of blacks.

Other groups generated their own religious justifications for separateness. The Aryan or Indo-European people who invaded India 2,500 years ago built up a complex caste system to preserve their original physical type. They began to compose the Rig-Veda, a distillation of their religious beliefs. Eventually these were combined in the Upanishads (composed c. 800 RC., first written c. 1300 A.D.) which, among other things, placed strong social barriers against free hybridization. The caste system may have been the most elaborate and effective barrier against the mixing of contiguous ethnic groups that the world has ever known. It continues to this day despite the attempts of governments to dismantle it. Nonetheless, the once fair complexions of the Brahmans have darkened considerably.

At the Battle of Blood River in Zululand, South Africa, on Sunday, December 16, 1838, the White Boer Voortrekkers entered into a covenant with God. If he would deliver them from the overwhelming numbers of Zulu warriors that surrounded them, they would observe the day as an anniversary every year and conduct their lives in accord with the spirit of the covenant. In the battle, 4,000 Zulu soldiers armed with assegai and shields were killed while one member of the small force of Boer soldiers, armed with rifles and a cannon, suffered a cut hand. The Boer nation had become a theocracy.

Caucasoids, of course, are not the only ethnocentrics. It is impossible to understand modem Africa without comprehending the nature of tribal rivalry. For example, The Times Higher Education Supplement (August 30, 1985: 8) reported that the Kenyan government had warned lecturers and administrators at the University of Nairobi to stop awarding higher marks to students of their own tribe.

The character yi, ‘barbarian,’ has been the normal Chinese word applied to all non-Chinese peoples for over 2,000 years. The Chinese had always felt superior to the rest of the world, long before women of the Roman Empire craved the alluring effects of Chinese silk to the point of alarming the Roman Senate about the drain on its treasury. The European traders, priests, and soldiers who came later gave the Chinese no reason to


doubt their judgment about themselves. The very name that the Chinese called their country, Chung Kuo, the centrally located ‘Middle Kingdom,’ from whence culture radiated outward, was ethnocentric. Today China is convinced that her communism is the only right and true communism, and that her way out of communism is the only right and true way forward.


Islamic Ethnology

Hostility and hybridization both characterized ethnic relations among those ancient Middle Eastern groups who affected history -- the Egyptians, the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Israelites, the Hittites, the Persians, and later, the Greeks and the Romans. The nobility and leadership of the varying factions often urged against hybridization. The Bible provides many examples of the Hebrews being enjoined to avoid it. Tribes and nations thought it natural and legitimate to despise, conquer, enslave, and displace each other. Slavery is attested from the very earliest written records among the Sumerians, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians, as well as the Greeks and the Romans. The wall paintings of ancient Egypt, for example, typically depict the gods and pharaohs as larger than life while Negroes and other outlanders were posed as servants and slaves.

In the seventh century A.D. Islam arose among the Arabs. Under them, and later under the Ottoman Turks, a universal civilization was created from the Atlantic Ocean to China, and from Europe to West Africa. The creation through conquest of far-flung empires into which different races and ethnic groups were pulled, especially through the institution of slavery, led to a considerable body of writing, extending over almost a thousand years, about the characteristics of the various groups. Written in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, discussion focused on the suitability of various races for different tasks and occupations.

Among Arabs, where intense tribal loyalties spilled over into feuding and warfare, there existed the usual ethnocentrism. In his book Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Lewis (1990) examined the common stereotypes that emerged for various national groups. In early Arabic poetry, many nuances of human coloration are described. The Arabs saw their own olive coloring as generally preferable to either the redder color of the Persians, Greeks, and Europeans or to the black and brown peoples of the Horn of Africa and beyond. As Ibn al-Fagih al-Hamadani, an Iraqi Arab author put it around A.D. 902: ‘The Iraqis are neither half-baked dough nor burned crust but between the two’ (cited in Lewis, 1990: 46). One exception was the preference for blondes as concubines; these typically brought the highest prices.

Sa’id al-Andalusi (d. 1070), writing from the then Muslim city of Toledo in Spain, classified ten nations as having achieved distinction in cultivating civilization: the Indians, Persians, Chaldees, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Arabs, Jews, Chinese, and Turks. But the northern as well as the southern barbarians were seen as more like beasts than men. It was thought that the Slavs and Bulgars, because of their distance from the sun, had a frigid temperament and dull intelligence. In the South Sa’id thought that the blacks, because of the hot thin air, lacked ‘self control and steadiness of mind and are overcome by fickleness, foolishness, and ignorance’ (cited in Lewis, 1990: 47-48).

Lewis (1990) examined Arabic relations with blacks with whom the Muslims had dealt as slave traders for over 1,000 years. Although the Koran stated there were no superior and inferior races and therefore no bar to racial intermarriage, in practice this pious doctrine was disregarded. Arabs did not want their daughters to marry even hybridized blacks. The Ethiopians were the most


respected, the ‘Zanj’ (Bantu and other Negroid tribes from East and West Africa south of the Sahara) the least respected, with the Nubians occupying an intermediate position.

The negative views of black people are traced by Lewis (p. 52) to Mas’udi (d. 956) who quoted the Greek physician Galen (A.D. c. 130-c. 200) attributing to the black man ‘a long penis and great merriment. Galen says that merriment dominates the Black man because of his defective brain, whence also the weakness of his intelligence.’ This description is later repeated, with variations.

Most Arab geographers speak of the nudity, paganism, cannibalism, and primitive life of the Africans, particularly of the Bantu-speakers of East Africa alongside Zanzibar, which the Arabs had colonized in 925 A.D. Maqdisi depicted blacks as having the nature ‘of wild animals ... most of them go naked ... the child does not know his father, and they eat people’ (cited in Lewis, 1990: 52). A thirteenth-century Persian writer, Nasir al-Din Tusi, remarks that Negroes differ from animals only in that ‘their two hands are lifted above the ground ... the ape is more teachable and more intelligent’ (cited in Lewis, 1990: 53). In the fourteenth century, Ibn Butlan held a musical rhythm stereotype, suggesting that if an African ‘were to fall from heaven to earth he would beat time as he goes down’ (cited in Lewis, p. 94); another stereotype held that black people may be particularly pious because of their simplicity.

Throughout Islamic literature there is also the image of unbridled, sexual potency in blacks, as related, for example, in stories and illustrations from The Thousand and One Nights. Black females, as well as males, are portrayed with greatly endowed genitalia. One Persian manuscript from 1530 A.D. (Lewis, 1990: 97, and color plate no. 23) contains a pictorial illustration accompanying a poem in which a white woman watches while her black maidservant is able to accommodate to copulation with an ass; when the white woman tries do so, there are disastrous consequences.

In the main, black people are considered destined for menial occupations. Whereas slaves and their offspring from other parts of the empire were able to, and did, rise to the highest levels of office, black slaves did so rarely. Black slaves were seen as unintelligent, a view not held of non-African slaves, nor of those on the empires’ borders, including the European Christians, the Indian Hindus, and the Chinese.

Racial characteristics were often attributed to the environment. Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) whom Lewis describes as the greatest historian and social thinker of the Middle Ages, devoted a chapter to climatic effects. Even the merriment attributed to black people was considered climatic rather than genetic in origin (Lewis, p. 47). One writer, Jahiz of Basra (ca. 776-869) attributed the widely perceived low intelligence of black people to their existing socioeconomic position and asked his readers whether they would have anticipated the existence of the achievements in Indian science, philosophy, and art from their


experience of Indian slaves. Since the reply was likely to be no, then the same argument might apply to black lands (cited in Lewis, p. 31).

Reference: Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Rushton: Genetic Similarity Theory, Ethnocentrism, and Group Selection

From Indoctrinability, Ideology, and Warfare.

Genetic Similarity Theory, Ethnocentrism, and Group Selection
by J. Philippe Rushton


Genetic similarity theory, an extension of the kin-selection theory of altruism, postulates that people detect genetic similarity in others ("nonkin" as well as "kin") in order to provide mutually supportive environments, such as marriage, friendship, and social groups. In line with prediction, studies using blood antigens and heritabilities reveal that sexually interacting couples and samesex friendships are based partly on genetic similarity. As such, a new theory of attraction and friendship is constituted, and the conditions for the evolution of human altruism are enhanced. Genetically biased preferences are not limited to social partners but extend to adopting other cultural practices maximally compatible with genotypes. Ethnocentrism and patriotism may be fitness-enhancing mechanisms that enable group selection to occur.

Choosing social partners is among the most important decisions individuals make affecting their social environment. The tendency is to choose similarity. For example, spouses tend to resemble each other in such characteristics as age, ethnic back-


ground, socioeconomic status, physical attractiveness, religion, social attitudes, level of education, family size and structure, intelligence, and personality. The median assortative mating coefficient for standardized intelligence tests averages about 0.35. Correlations tend to be higher for opinions, attitudes, and values (0.40 to 0.70) and lower for personality traits, personal habits, and physical features (0.02 to 0.30).

Most explanations of the role of similarity in human relationships focus on immediate, environmental effects, for example, their reinforcement value. Recent analyses, however, suggest that genetic influences may also be involved. According to "genetic similarity theory," genetic likeness exerts subtle effects on a variety of relationships and has implications for the study of social behavior in small groups and even in large ones, both national and international. The main purpose of genetic similarity-seeking is to enhance altruism.

The Paradox of Altruism

As recognized by Darwin (1871), altruism represents a paradox for theories of evolution: How could altruism evolve through "survival of the fittest" when, on the face of it, altruistic behavior diminishes personal fitness? If the most altruistic members of a group sacrifice themselves for others, they run the risk of leaving fewer offspring to pass on the very genes that govern the altruistic behavior. Hence, altruism would be selected against, and selfishness would be selected for.

The resolution of the paradox of altruism is one of the triumphs that led to the new synthesis called sociobiology. By a process known as kin selection, individuals can optimize their inclusive fitness rather than only their individual fitness by increasing the production of successful offspring by both themselves and their genetic relatives (Hamilton 1964). According to this view, the unit of analysis for evolutionary selection is not the individual organism but its genes. Genes are what survive and are passed on, and some of the same genes will be found not only in direct offspring but in siblings, cousins, and nephews and nieces, as well as more distant kin. If an animal sacrifices its life for its siblings' offspring, it ensures the survival of common genes because, by common descent, it shares 50 percent of its distinct genes with each sibling and 25 percent with each sibling's offspring.


From an evolutionary perspective, altruism is a means of helping genes to propagate. By being most altruistic to those with whom we share genes, we help copies of our own genes to replicate. This makes "altruism" ultimately "selfish" in purpose. Promulgated in the context of animal behavior, this idea became known as "kin selection" and provided a conceptual breakthrough by redefining the unit of analysis away from the individual organism to his or her genes, for it is these that survive and are passed on. Another way sociobiologists have suggested that altruism could evolve is through reciprocity. Here there is no need for genetic relatedness; performing an altruistic act need only lead to an altruistic act in return.

Detecting Genetic Similarity

In order to pursue a strategy of directing altruism toward kin, the organism must be able to recognize degrees of relatedness. There is clearly no such thing as "genetic extrasensory perception." For individuals to direct altruism selectively to genetically similar individuals, they must respond to phenotypic cues. This is typically accomplished by detecting similarities between self and others in physical and behavioral cues. Four processes have been suggested by which animals recognize relatives: (1) innate feature detectors, (2) matching on appearance, (3) familiarity, and (4) location. They are not mutually exclusive. If there are evolutionary advantages to be gained from the ability to detect genetic similarity, all the mechanisms may be operative.

Innate feature detectors. Individuals may have "recognition alleles" that control the development of innate mechanisms allowing them to detect genetic similarity in strangers. Dawkins ( 1976) suggested a thought experiment to illustrate how this could come about, known as the "green beard effect." In this, a gene has two effects: it causes individuals who have it (1) to grow a green beard and (2) to behave altruistically toward green-bearded individuals. The green beard serves as a recognition cue for the altruism gene. Altruism could therefore occur without the need for individuals to be directly related.

Matching on appearance. The individual may be genetically guided to learn its own phenotype, or those of its close kin, and then to match new, unfamiliar individuals to the template it has


learned -- for example, Dawkins' ( 1982) "armpit effect." Individuals that smell (or look or behave) like oneself or one's close kin could be distinguished from those that smell (or look or behave) differently. This mechanism would depend on the existence of a strong correlation between genotype and phenotype.

Familiarity or association. Preferences may also depend on learning through social interaction. This may be the most common means of kin recognition in nature. Individuals that are reared together are more likely to be kin than nonkin.

Location. The fourth kin recognition mechanism depends on a high correlation between an individual's location and kinship. The rule states: "If it's in your nest, it's yours." Where an individual is and whom the individual encounters can also be based on similar genes, for example, if parents exert discriminatory influence on where and with whom their offspring interact.

Kin Recognition in Animals

There is dramatic experimental evidence that many animal species recognize genetic similarity. For example, bees block the nest to prevent intruders from entering. In one study, bees bred for 14 different degrees of genealogical relationship were introduced near nests. There was a strong linear relationship (r=0.93) between the ability to pass the guard bee and the degree of genetic relatedness.

Mammals are also able to detect degrees of genetic relatedness. For example, squirrels produce litters that contain both sisters and half-sisters. Despite the fact that they shared the same womb and inhabit the same nest, full sisters fight less often than half-sisters, come to each other's aid more, and are less prone to chase one another out of their home territory. Recent experiments with squirrels demonstrate how rearing (together or apart) and relatedness (littermates or non-littermates) affect juveniles' social interactions. Play-bout frequencies were ordered (high to low): littermates reared together 〉 non-littermates reared together 〉 littermates reared apart 〉 non-littermates reared apart. Statistical analysis revealed that both rearing and relatedness contributed to this ordering.


Similarity Recognition in Humans

In earlier papers, my colleagues and I extended the kin-selection theory of altruism to the human case by proposing that, if a gene can ensure its own survival by acting so as to bring about the reproduction of family members with whom it shares copies, then it can do so by benefiting any organism in which copies of itself are to be found. Rather than merely protecting kin at the expense of strangers, organisms might identify genetically similar others so as to exhibit altruism toward these "strangers" as well as toward "kin." Kin recognition would be just one form of genetic similarity detection.

Humans are capable of learning to distinguish kin from nonkin at an early age. Infants can distinguish their mothers from other women by voice alone at 24 hours of age, know the smell of their mother's breast before they are 6 days of age, and recognize a photograph of their mother when they are 2 weeks old. Mothers are also able to identify their infants by smell alone after a single exposure at 6 hours of age, and to recognize their infant's cry within 48 hours of birth.

Human kin preferences follow lines of genetic similarity. For example, among the Ye'Kwana Indians of South America, the words "brother" and "sister" cover four different categories ranging from individuals who share 50 percent of their distinctive genes (identical by descent) to individuals who share only 12.5 percent of their genes. Hames has shown that the amount of time the Ye'Kwana spend interacting with their biological relatives increases with their degree of relatedness, even though their kinship terminology does not reflect this correspondence.

Anthropological data also show that in societies where certainty of paternity is relatively low, males direct material resources to their sisters' offspring (to whom their relatedness is certain) rather than to their wives' offspring. Paternity uncertainty exerts other predictable consequences. Grandparents spend 35 to 42 percent more time with their daughters' children than with their sons' children. Following bereavement, grandparents grieve more for their daughters' children than for their sons' children. Family members feel only 87 percent as close to the fathers' side of the family as they do to the mothers' side. Finally, mothers of newborn children and her relatives spend more time commenting on resemblances between the baby and


the putative father than they do about the resemblance between the baby and the mother.

When the level of genetic similarity within a family is low, the consequences can be serious. Children who are unrelated to a parent are at risk: a disproportionate number of battered babies are stepchildren. Children of preschool age are 40 times more likely to be assaulted if they are stepchildren than if they are biological children. Unrelated people living together are more likely to kill each other than are related people living together. Converging evidence shows that adoptions are more likely to be successful when the parents perceive the child as similar to them.

Mate Choice

A well-known phenomenon that is readily explained by genetic similarity theory is positive assortative mating, that is, the tendency of spouses to be nonrandomly paired in the direction of resembling each other (described in the introduction). This tendency even extends to socially undesirable characteristics, including aggressiveness, criminality, alcoholism, and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and the affective disorders. Although alternative reasons can be proposed for this finding, such as unsuccessful competition for the most attractive and healthiest mates, it does suggest that the tendency to seek a similar partner may override considerations such as mate quality and individual fitness.

A study of cross-racial marriages in Hawaii found more similarity in personality test scores among males and females who married across ethnic groups than among those marrying within them. The researchers posit that, given the general tendency toward homogamy, couples marrying heterogamously with respect to ethnicity tend to "make up" for this dissimilarity by choosing spouses more similar to themselves in other respects than do persons marrying within their own ethnic group.

Assortative mating is found in taxa ranging from insects to birds to primates, and it can be observed in the laboratory as well as in nature. Assortative mating also occurs in plants. To have evolved independently in such a wide variety of species, assortative mating


must confer substantial advantage. Advantages thought to accrue in human mates include (1) increased marital stability, (2) increased relatedness to offspring, (3) increased within-family altruism and (4) greater fecundity.

The upper limit on the fitness-enhancing effect of assortative mating for similarity occurs with incest. Too much genetic similarity between mates increases the chances that harmful recessive genes may combine. The negative effects of "inbreeding depression" have been demonstrated in many species, including humans. As a result, the "incest taboo" has been hypothesized to have an evolutionary basis, possibly mediated through negative imprinting on intimate associates at an early age. Optimal fitness, then, may consist in selecting a mate who is genetically similar but not actually a relative. Van den Berghe speculates that the ideal percentage of relatedness is 12.5 percent identical by descent, or the same as that between first cousins.

Other animal species also avoid inbreeding. For example, several experiments have been carried out with Japanese quail, birds that, although promiscuous, proved particularly sophisticated. They preferred first cousins to third cousins, and both of these relatives to either unrelated birds or siblings, thus avoiding the dangers of too much or too little inbreeding.

I tested the hypothesis that human mating followed lines of genetic similarity by examining blood antigen analyses from nearly 1,000 cases of disputed paternity. Seven polymorphic marker systems (ABO, Rhesus (Rh), MNSs, Kell, Duffy (Fy), Kidd (Jk), and HLA) at 10 loci across six chromosomes were examined in a sample limited to people of North European appearance (judged by photographs kept for legal identifications). These blood groups are sufficient to correctly identify more than 95 percent of cases in paternity disputes. They also reliably distinguish between fraternal twins. My results showed that genetic similarity within pairs related to (1) whether the pair was sexually interacting or randomly generated from the same sample, and (2) whether the pair produced a child. Sexually interacting couples shared about 50 percent of measured genetic markers, part way between mothers and their offspring, who shared 73 percent, and randomly paired individuals from the same sample, who shared 43 percent. Couples who produced a child together were 52 percent similar on this metric, whereas those who did not were only 44 percent similar (p〈0.05).


In other tests of the genetic similarity theory of assortative mating, studies show that mate choice is greater on the more heritable of a set of homogeneous items. This prediction follows from theory because more heritable items better reflect the underlying genotype. Examples of differing heritabilities used to establish the theory include: for physical characters, 80 percent for mid-finger length versus 50 percent for upper arm circumference; for intelligence, 80 percent for the general factor versus less than 50 percent for specific abilities; for personality, 41 percent for having a preference for reading versus 20 percent for having many different hobbies; and for attitudes, 51 percent for agreement with the death penalty versus 25 percent for agreement with Bible truth. Thus, Russell, Wells, and Rushton (1985) found spouses were more similar on the more heritable of 36 anthropometric variables, 5 perceptual judgment variables, and 11 personality variables. Rushton and Russell (1985) found heritabilities predicted similarity between spouses for 54 personality traits, 15 cognitive tests, and 13 anthropometric variables. Rushton and Nicholson (1988) found that spouses were most similar on the more heritable of 15 IQ subtests from the Hawaii Family Study of Cognition and 11 subtests from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.

Intrafamilial Relationships

One consequence of genetic similarity between spouses is an increase of within-family altruism. Several studies have shown that not only the occurrence of relationships but also their degree of happiness and stability can be predicted by the degree of matching on personal attributes (reviewed in Rushton 1989a).

A related prediction can be made about parental care of offspring that differ in similarity. Sibling differences within families have often been overlooked as a topic of research. Positive assortative mating makes some children genetically more similar to one parent or sibling than to another. For example, if a father gives his child 50 percent of his genes, 10 percent of which he shares with the mother because of parental similarity, and the mother gives the child 50 percent of her genes, 20 percent of which she shares with the father because of parental similarity, then the child will be 60 percent similar to the mother and 70 percent similar to the father.


Genetic similarity theory predicts that parents and siblings will tend to favor those who are most similar. Littlefield and Rushton (1986) tested this hypothesis in a study of bereavement following the death of a child. Respondents picked which side of the family the child "took after" more, their own or their spouse's. Spouses agreed with each other 74 percent of the time on this question. Both mothers and fathers grieved more intensely for children perceived as resembling their side of the family.

Other evidence of within-family preferences comes from a review by Segal (1988) of feelings of closeness, cooperation, and altruism in twin pairs. Compared with fraternal twins, identical twins worked harder for their co-twins on tasks, maintained greater physical proximity, expressed more affection, and suffered greater loss following bereavement. Subsequently, Segal, Wilson, Bouchard, and Gitlin (1995) found that degree of genetic relatedness predicted degree of bereavement and that the loss of a cotwin resulted in the same level of grief as the loss of a child or a spouse.

A Genetic Basis for Friendship

Friendships also form on the basis of similarity, whether as perceived by the friends or for a variety of objectively measured characteristics, including activities, attitudes, needs, personality, and anthropometric variables. Moreover, in the experimental literature on who likes whom and why, one of the most influential variables is perceived similarity. Apparent similarity of personality, attitudes, or any of a wide range of beliefs has been found to generate liking in subjects of varying ages and from many different cultures.

The tendency to choose similar others as friends is genetically influenced. In a study of delinquency among 530 adolescent twins by Rowe and Osgood (1984), path analysis revealed not only that antisocial behavior was about 50 percent heritable, but that the correlation of 0.56 between the delinquency of an individual and the delinquency of his friends was mediated genetically. Adolescents genetically disposed to delinquency were genetically inclined to seek each other out for friendship. In a study of 396 adolescent and young adult siblings from both adoptive and nonadoptive homes, Daniels and Plomin (1985) found that genetic influences were implicated in choice of friends: biological siblings


were more similar to each other in the types of friends they had than were adoptive siblings.

In a study to examine similarity among male friendship pairs, I used the same blood markers and differential heritabilities as in my study of sexual partners. The best friends were 54 percent similar to each other using 10 loci from 7 polymorphic blood systems (ABO, Rhesus (Rh), MNSs, P, Duffy (Fy), Kidd (Jk), and HLA). An equal number of randomly chosen pairs from the same overall sample were significantly less similar. Stratification effects were unlikely because within-pair differences in age, education, and occupation did not correlate with the blood similarity scores. Similarity between friends was strongest on the more heritable of 36 conservatism items and 81 personality items.

Independent corroboration that attitudes with high heritability are stronger than those with low heritability has come from a series of studies by Tesser (1993). Each subject responded "Agree" or "Disagree" to attitudes with known heritabilities. Attitudes higher in heritability were responded to more quickly, were more resistant to change when attempts were made at social influence, and were more predictive of liking of others who shared similar attitudes. For example, similarity on more heritable attitudes correlated higher with attraction to a stranger imagined as a potential friend, a romantic partner, and a spouse than did similarity on less heritable items.

Epigenetic Rules in Social Development

Both the evolutionary and social sciences err in not making more explicit that social learning is dependent upon the innate capacities and biases of the learner. For example, most models of cultural transmission within the family (i.e., vertical, from parent to child, and horizontal, from sibling to sibling) imply that siblings will resemble each other, over and above shared genes, as a result of a common family environment. An epigenetic model, in contrast, in which genes incline individuals to acquire patterns of behavior best fitting their particular genotype, leads to the expectation that siblings will differ from each other. While it may seem intuitively correct to assume that common family environment shapes individual development, consideration of data reveals quite a different set of relationships.


Social development is guided by epigenetic rules that incline individuals to particular learning experiences. As in the studies of friendship formation among delinquents described in the last section, behavior genetic designs provide powerful tests of alternative hypotheses about the genetic and social influences on family resemblances. Comparing 573 pairs of adult monozygotic and dizygotic twins who had been reared together, Rushton, Fulker, Neale, Nias, and Eysenck (1986) examined the cultural and genetic inheritance of individual differences in altruism and aggression. We found not only a strong association of genetic factors with the characteristics in question but also a negligible influence of the twins' shared environment. Rather, the distinct experiences of the individual accounted for almost all the environmental influence.

The discovery that common family environment plays a very limited role in social development (even for traits that parents are expected to indoctrinate, such as altruism) runs counter to prevailing theories of personality development that assume that the important environmental variance is between families, not within. Yet the observation that the environmental factors that influence development are those that are specific to each sibling, rather than common, is robust, having been replicated using other research designs (like adoption studies) and other social characteristics. Regardless of whether one considers the transmission of socially undesirable traits, such as crime, obesity, and schizophrenia, or more normative personality characteristics, such as vocational interests and value systems, the evidence reveals that whereas genetic influences have an important role to play, the common family environment alone has little apparent effect.

A compelling test of models of transmission has been made in the context of social attitudes. Since attitudes are more flexible than personality, purely cultural models of transmission might be considered especially likely, with at least some vertical transmission occurring from parent to child. Yet in one compilation of results, Eaves, Eysenck, and Martin (1989) showed that social scientists have typically misconceived the role of cultural inheritance in attitude formation. Individuals acquire little from their social environment that is incompatible with their genotype.

So far the discussion has been limited to individual social development. However, the potential of epigenetic rules to bias behavior and affect society goes well beyond ontogeny. Via cognitive phenotypes and group action, altruistic inclinations may be amplified into charities and hospitals, creative and educative dis-


positions into academies of learning, and martial tempers into institutes of war. Such macrocultural innovations can be expected to influence the genetic composition of future generations.


The implications of the finding that people moderate their behavior as a function of genetic similarity and epigenetic biases are farreaching. They suggest a biological basis for ethnocentrism. Despite enormous variance within populations, it can be expected that two individuals within an ethnic group will, on average, be more similar to each other genetically than two individuals from different ethnic groups. According to genetic similarity theory, people can be expected to favor their own group over others.

Ethnic conflict and rivalry, of course, is one of the great themes of historical and contemporary society. Local ethnic favoritism is also displayed by group members who prefer to congregate in the same area and to associate with each other in clubs and organizations. Understanding modern Africa, for example, is impossible without understanding tribalism there. Many studies have found that people are more likely to help members of their own race or country than they are to help members of other races or foreigners, and that antagonism between classes and nations may be greater when a racial element is involved.

Traditionally, political scientists and historians have seldom considered intergroup conflict from an evolutionary standpoint. That fear and mistrust of strangers may have biological origins, however, is supported by evidence that animals often show fear of and hostility toward strangers, even when no injury has ever been received. Analogies may be drawn between the way monkeys and apes repel intruding strangers of the same species and the way children attack another child who is perceived as being an outsider.

Many of those who have considered nationalist and patriotic sentiment from a sociobiological perspective, however, have emphasized its apparent irrationality. Johnson (1986) formulated a theory of patriotism in which indoctrination through socialization and conditioning engage kin-recognition systems so that people behave altruistically toward in-group members as though they were genetically more similar than they actually are. In Johnson's analysis, for example, patriotism may often be an ideology indoc-


trinated by the ruling class to induce the ruled to behave contrary to their own genetic interests, while increasing the fitness of the elite. He noted that patriotism is built by referring to the homeland as the "motherland" or "fatherland," and that bonds between people are strengthened by referring to them as "brothers" and "sisters."

According to genetic similarity theory, patriotism is more than just "indoctrinated" altruism working to the individual's genetic detriment. It is a strategy by which genes typically replicate copies of themselves more effectively. The developmental processes that Johnson (1986) and others have outlined undoubtedly occur, as do other forms of manipulated altruism. However, if these were sufficient to explain the human propensity to feel strong moral obligation toward society, patriotism would remain an anomaly for evolutionary biology. From the standpoint of optimization, one might ask whether ethical systems would survive very long if they consistently led to reductions in the inclusive fitness of those believing in them.

If epigenetic rules do incline people toward constructing and learning ideologies which increase their fitness, then patriotic nationalism, religious zealotry, class conflict, and other forms of ideological commitment can be seen as genetically influenced cultural choices that individuals make that, in turn, influence the replication of their genes. Religious, political, and other ideological battles may become as heated as they do partly because of implications for fitness; some genotypes may thrive more in one ideological culture than in another. According to this view, Karl Marx did not take the argument far enough: ideology serves more than economic interest; it also serves genetic fitness.

Two sets of falsifiable propositions follow from this interpretation. First, individual differences in ideological preference are partly heritable. Second, ideological belief increases genetic fitness. There is evidence to support both propositions. With respect to the heritability of differences in ideological preference, it has generally been assumed that political attitudes are mostly determined by the environment; however, as mentioned, both twin and adoption studies reveal significant heritabilities for social and political attitudes as well as for stylistic tendencies (Eaves, Eysenck, and Martin 1989). Of course, no behavioral geneticist believes that genes are 100 percent responsible for complex social behavior. The battle is between those who believe 100 percent in


environmental determinism and those who think that both genes and environments affect behavior.

Examples of ideologies that increase genetic fitness include religious beliefs that regulate dietary habits, sexual practices, marital customs, infant care, and childrearing (Reynolds and Tanner 1983). Amerindian tribes that believed it important to cook maize with alkali had higher population densities and more complex social organizations than tribes that did not, partly because cooking with alkali releases the most nutritious parts of the cereal, enabling more people to grow to reproductive maturity (Katz, Hodiger, and Valleroy 1974). The Amerindians did not know the biochemical reasons for the benefits of alkali cooking, but their cultural beliefs had evolved for good reason, enabling them to replicate their genes more effectively than would otherwise have been the case.

By the way of objection, it could be argued that although some religious ideologies confer direct benefits on the extended family, ideologies like patriotism decrease fitness (hence, most analyses of patriotism rest on indoctrination and social manipulation). Genetic similarity theory may provide a firmer basis for an evolutionary understanding of patriotism, for benefited genes do not have to be only those residing in kin. Members of ethnic groups, for example, often share the same ideologies, and many political differences are genetic in origin. One possible test of genetic similarity theory in this context is to calculate degrees of genetic similarity among ideologues in order to examine whether ideological "conservatives" are more homogeneous than the same ideology's "liberals." Preserving the "purity" of an ideology might be an attempt to preserve the "purity" of the gene pool.

Because ethnic conflict has defied explanation by the standard social science disciplines, genetic similarity theory may represent an advance in understanding. Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1989b) agreed with me that if attraction toward similarity has a genetic component then it provides a basis for xenophobia as an innate trait in human beings. He reiterated that ethnocentrism is a phenomenon manifested in all cultures so far studied and presented his view that generalized altruism began with maternal caretaking, a turning point in the evolution of vertebrate social behavior, which up to that time had been based on dominance and submission. The mother-child bond established the possibility of gradients in familiarity-trust/strangeness-suspicion.


Van den Berghe (1989) also endorsed the genetic similarity perspective, stating that ethnicity had a "primordial dimension." In his 1981 book, The Ethnic Phenomenon, he had suggested that ethnocentrism was a case of extended nepotism, with even relatively open and assimilative ethnic groups policing their ethnic boundaries against invasion by strangers by using badges as markers of group membership. These were likely to be cultural rather than physical, he argued, such as linguistic accent or clothing style. Now, it seemed to him (van den Berghe 1989), identifying fellow ethnics using shared traits of high heritability provided a more reliable method than cultural, flexible ones, although these other membership badges could also be used.

Adopting a gene-based evolutionary perspective for ethnic conflict may prove illuminating, especially in the light of the conspicuous failures of environmentalist theories. With the breakup of the Soviet bloc, many Western analysts have been surprised at the outbreak of the fierce ethnic antagonisms long thought over. Lynn (1989, 534) put it directly:

Racial and ethnic conflict is occurring throughout the world -- between Blacks and Whites in the United States, South Africa, and Britain; Basques and Spaniards in Spain; and Irish and British in Northern Ireland. These conflicts have defied explanations by the disciplines of sociology, psychology, and economics...genetic similarity theory represents a major advance in the understanding of these conflicts.

Lynn (1989) raised the question of why people remain as irrationally attached as they do to languages, even almost dead ones such as Gaelic and Welsh. One function of language barriers, he suggested, was to promote inbreeding among fellow ethnics. The close mapping recently found to occur between linguistic and genetic trees is compatible with Lynn's hypothesis. Cavalli-Sforza, Menozzi, and Piazza (1994) combined 120 allele frequencies from 42 populations into a phylogenetic tree based on genetic distances and related it to a taxonomy of 17 linguistic phyla. Despite the apparent volatility of language and its capacity to be imposed by conquerors at will, considerable parallelism between genetic and linguistic evolution was found.

The theoretical stance taken so far predicts that the ease of producing patriotic sentiment and internal harmony varies with the genetic homogeneity of the national group. As van den Berghe (1981, 27) put it: "Ethnicity can be manipulated but not manufactured." Since ethnic aspirations are rarely justified in terms of


naked genetic self-interest, any analysis will necessarily have to be conducted at a deeper level than surface ideology. Political interests are typically couched in the highest of ethical terms, no matter how utilitarian, transparent, or heinous these appear to opponents.

Genetic similarity is only one of many possible influences operating on political alliances. Obviously, causation is complex, and it is not intended to reduce relationships between ethnic groups to a single cause. Fellow ethnics will not always stick together, nor is conflict inevitable between groups any more than it is between genetically distinct individuals. As indicated, people can be manipulated into working for "other groups." People also work for other motives, such as economic success as well as reproductive success. However, as van den Berghe (1981) pointed out, from an evolutionary perspective, the ultimate measure of human success is not production, but reproduction.

While cultural evolution and organic evolution are undoubtedly different, they are linked reciprocally in complicated ways and seem to share certain properties. Both appear to "strive" to replicate their units, if necessary at the expense of the other system's units (alleles in the case of organic evolution; "memes" or "culturgens" in the case of cultural evolution). Their seat of battle is the individual human mind, which only dimly perceives the consequences of its choices, based as they are on many competing elements. Thus, ideologies can arise which have the paradoxical effect of dramatically decreasing fitness. A classic example of such a lethal culturgen is found among the Shakers, a religious sect which considers sex to be so sinful that it imposes celibacy upon even its married members. This ideology has nonetheless been quite successful in replicating itself through several generation, new adherents being recruited, largely via adoptions. The members' genes, of course, fail to replicate.

Selection of Groups

Humans have obviously been selected to live in groups. Typically, they hold a territory in common that they fill with symbols of their group and that they are willing to defend (Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1989a). The line of argument presented so far may have implications for determining whether group selection occurs among humans. Although the idea of group selection, defined as "selection that


operates on two or more members of a lineage group as a unit" (E. O. Wilson 1975, 585) was popular with Darwin, Spencer, and others, in recent decades it has often been thought not to play a major role in evolution. Hamilton's (1964) theory of inclusive fitness, for example, has been typically regarded as an extension of individual selection, not group selection (Dawkins 1976; 1982).

Group selection was brought to center stage by WynneEdwards (1962) in the context of altruism. He suggested that whole groups of animals collectively refrained from overbreeding when the density of population became too great, even to the point of killing their offspring. Such self-restraint, he argued, protected the animals' resource base and gave them an advantage over groups that did not practice restraint and became extinct as a result of their profligacy. This extreme form of the group selection claim was immediately disputed, and a great deal of argument and data was marshaled against the idea (Williams 1966). There did not seem to exist a mechanism (other than favoring kin) by which altruistic individuals could leave more genes than selfish individuals who cheated.

A compromise was offered by E. O. Wilson (1975), who suggested that although genes are the units of replication, their selection could take place through competition at both the individual and the group levels; for some purposes these can be viewed as opposite ends of a continuum of nested, ever enlarging sets of socially interacting individuals. Kin selection is thus seen as intermediate between individual and group selection. Group selection may have been prematurely rejected due to a failure to see that with genes as "replicators," it is irrelevant whether it is individuals, social groups, or still higher-level entities that are the "vehicles" of selection (for an extended discussion see D. S. Wilson and Sober 1994).

Among humans, genetic similarity theory makes group selection especially likely because altruism is conferred beyond immediate kin. Through language, law, religious imagery, and patriotic nationalism, all replete with kin terminology, ideological commitment extends altruistic behavior enormously. Groups made up of people genetically disposed toward honesty, trust, temperance, willingness to share, loyalty, and self-sacrifice will have a distinct genetic advantage over groups that do not have this makeup. In addition, if strong socialization pressures, including "mutual monitoring" and "moralistic aggression," are used to shape values


within the group, a mechanism is provided for controlling, and even removing, the genes of cheaters.As indicated, social learning is genetically biased. Social psychological studies of cultural transmission show that people pick up trends more readily from role models who are similar. It is likely that different ethnic groups learn from different trendsetters and that the variance among groups is increased, thereby increasing the efficacy of group selection. Those groups adopting an optimum degree of ethnocentric ideology may have replicated their genes more successfully than those that did not. Evolution under bioculturally driven group selection, including migration, war, and genocide, may account for a substantial amount of change in human gene frequencies. E. O. Wilson (1975, 573-74) put it forcefully:

If any social predatory mammal attains a certain level of intelligence, as the early hominids, being large primates, were especially predisposed to do, one band would have the capacity to consciously ponder the significance of adjacent social groups and to deal with them in an intelligent organized fashion. A band might then dispose of a neighboring band, appropriate its territory, and increase its own genetic representation in the metapopulation, retaining the tribal memory of this successful episode, repeating it, increasing the geographic range of its occurrence, and quickly spreading its influence still further in the metapopulation. Such primitive cultural capacity would be permitted by the possession of certain genes.... The only combination of genes able to confer superior fitness in contention with genocidal aggressors would be those that produce either a more effective technique of aggression or else the capacity to preempt genocide by some form of pacific maneuvering. Either probably entails mental and cultural advance. In addition to being autocatalytic, such evolution has the interesting property of requiring a selection episode only very occasionally in order to proceed as swiftly as individual-level selection. By current theory, genocide or genosorption strongly favoring the aggressor need take place only once every few generations to direct evolution. This alone could push truly altruistic genes to a high frequency within the bands.