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Martin Sewell

Martin Sewell

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Martin Sewell

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  1. Ideology-free politics:A bottom-up approachCRASSH Postdoctoral Research Seminar SeriesCambridge21 June 2012 Martin Sewell

  2. ideology • Top-down politics are based on ideology. • An ideology accommodates one aspect of human motivation and behaviour, to the exclusion of all others, and asserts that it is or could become all inclusive. • All ideologies are false. • When implemented an ideology will always result in a degree of totalitarianism. • Ideology ultimately stems from the religious disposition that all humans share. • Western culture has been hugely influenced by Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) and their beliefs that we are progressing towards Utopia. • This is the basis of all left wing philosophies, neoconservatism and extreme neoliberalism.

  3. POLITICS • Politics should not be based on utopian-inspired ideology, but on science. • The scientific approach to constructing an accurate model of human nature involves using a bottom-up evolutionary approach. • In common with all other species, humans have evolved ‘as if’ reproduction was the sole goal for which they were ‘designed’, and everything they do is a means to that end. • As we cannot transcend our genes, if we are to avoid totalitarianism, we must align our politics so that they accommodate human nature. • Rubin (2002) wrote Darwinian Politics: The Evolutionary Origin of Freedom, but the greatest influences on my thinking here are Gray (2008) and Moxon (2010).

  4. The Selfish Gene Consider a sexually reproducing species. Assume that there are ‘things’ that are passed on from parents to child, the minimal ‘thing’ must be the unit of inheritance; this is called a gene. Every sexually-reproducing organism is the product of its parents, which in turn are the products of their parents, and so on. Therefore every single member of the entire lineage of every sexually-reproducing organism excepting the most recent generation reproduced. This creates a massive bias in the genes towards motivating the individual carrying the genes into reaching the age of reproduction and successful reproduction, which is equivalent to saying that genes are hugely biased towards survival. Whilst the gene is biased towards survival, the individual is biased towards reproduction. For the individual, survival is irrelevant except insofar as it affects reproduction. Humans have evolved ‘as if’ reproduction was the sole goal for which they were ‘designed’, and everything they do is a means to that end.

  5. We cannot transcend our genes • Moxon (2010) points out that we cannot transcend our genes, or ourselves. • Our high intelligence does not allow us to transcend our genes, quite the opposite, it better equips us to use the environment to our advantage so that we are better able to achieve our ultimate goal of reproduction. • The only thing that could transcend our genes is the genes themselves. • Nor would we want to transcend our genes.

  6. We’re only Animals • We’re only animals, albeit intelligent ones. • The basis of all of our Western Civilisation utopias (ideologies) is the false elevation of humans to be above and separate from nature. • Such ideologies assume that man is good but has been rendered bad by some historical condition that must be overcome.

  7. Free Will • As we become increasingly efficient at interacting with our environment, our behaviour becomes increasingly flexible, but we are ever more slaves to biology and our genes, just as we are provided with the illusion of being progressively freer of them. • Free will only became a central issue in western philosophy with the rise of Christianity and has never been prominent in non-western philosophies that do not separate humans so radically from other animals (Gray2008). Moxon (2010) identifies the following inconsistencies from an illustrious trio of scientists: • ‘We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators’ (Dawkins 1976). • ‘…if my genes don’t like it, they can go jump in a lake’ (Pinker 1997). • ‘…Dennet…spent much of his career labouring to show how scientific materialism can be reconciled with a form of free will — a project that would scarcely occur to someone from a culture not moulded by Christianity’ Gray(2008). Dennett (2003) wrote Freedom Evolves.

  8. Enlightenment Thinking • Gray(2008) argues that Enlightenment thinking aimed to supplant Christianity with a scientific view of the world, but could do so only if it was able to satisfy the hopes it had implanted. • The Enlightenment belief that humanity is an inherently progressive species is a by-product of Christianity. • The radical Enlightenment belief that there can be a sudden break in history, after which the flaws of human society will be for ever abolished, is a by-product of Christianity. • Actually, human history has no overall meaning.

  9. ‘Progressive’ Politics • Human knowledge increases in a cumulative fashion, science progresses and allows us to improve our material conditions. • Thanks to economic growth modern societies become richer. • However, we cannot expect improvements in ethics, politics, society or humanity (Gray 2008). Theories of such progress are myths, which rely on a teleological view and answer the human need for meaning. • History is not a movement in the direction of a universal goal or a march to a better world. • Gray (2008) states that humans are not becoming more civilized and that conflicts are becoming more savage, in contrast Pinker (2011) evidences the fact that violence is diminishing. • The conference organizers TED have a mission statement that begins with ‘We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.’

  10. Evolutionary Psychology • Natural selection is a slow process, and evolutionary psychology informs us that our minds today are adapted to seeking our ultimate goal of reproduction in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA), which roughly coincided with the Pleistocene where we lived in hunter-gatherer tribes on the African savannah. • Evolutionary psychology is an excellent hypothesis, as there is no viable competition. • But we’re unsure of the details.

  11. The Left–Right Political Spectrum Charlton (1997) explains the evolution of dominance and counter-dominance, and how the left–right political spectrum evolved. • Dominance = right-wing • Counter-dominance = left wing

  12. Dominance • 15 million to 2 million years ago • In our living primate relatives such as chimpanzees and gorillas, status differentials lead to corresponding resource differentials with ‘dominance hierarchy’ of high status males securing a disproportionate share of food, as well as mating opportunities. It is likely that the same applied to our pre-human ancestors. • Humans evolved from ape ancestors whose social structure was almost certainly a dominance hierarchy of economic stratification, so dominance social instincts derived from pre-hominid ancestors.

  13. Counter-dominance • 2 million to 12 000 years ago • Immediate-return economy • Humans underwent a transition from dominance hierarchies to the egalitarian arrangement of nomadic foraging. • Humans evolved counter-dominance or egalitarian instincts. • In hunter-gatherer societies we lived in small groups of around 150 people, most of whom would be closely related, so it made sense that resources were shared equitably, and hoarding was resented (Ridley 1997). • Food was shared equitably, but men still formed a dominance hierarchy in terms of mate value. • We have a tendency to reward labour and punish capital.

  14. Egalitarianism For a trait to evolve by natural selection, three conditions must be present: • the trait must be heritable; • the population must exhibit variation in expression of the trait; • the trait must affect the fitness of an individual (e.g. number of offspring). So any evolved trait must be both heritable and unequally distributed across the population, which makes egalitarianism and enforced equality totalitarian (Goldberg 2007).

  15. Examples of Egalitarianism • Salaries are simply the result of market forces efficiently directing labour towards higher-valued jobs leading to maximizing productivity and economic growth. A rise in directors’ pay is consistent with increases in productivity and growth of the economy and should be considered good news. Large salaries, via tax revenue, make the public better off. However, there exists a populist naive resentment of wage differentials. • Republicans tend to resent the wealth of the Queen, but the British monarchy add about £1 billion to the UK economy each year. • There is a pay gap between men and women because men and women perform different jobs because they are differently motivated (Moxon 2008). Egalitarians blame ‘sexism’. • In the West, Blacks underachieve relative to whites primarily due to a 15 point IQ differential (Lynn 2006). Egalitarians blame ‘racism’.

  16. Economics in the EEA • Little specialization • Little division of labour • Little capital • Low technological change • Little or no economic growth

  17. Folk Economics Rubin (2003) describes the intuitive economics of untrained persons as ‘folk economics’. Naïve understanding: • Zero-sum thinking • Distribution/allocation of wealth and income • Detecting cheating • Division of the pie Correct, but omitted from folk economics: • Production and productivity growth • Gains from trade • Size of the pie

  18. Present • 12 000 years ago to present • Relatively little evolution has occurred since humans became civilized (although it may have sped up (Cochran and Harpending 2009)) • Farming was invented • Delayed-return economy • Equilibrium between dominance and counter-dominance • No stable solution • Possible solution: encapsulation • Encapsulation operates when people in different social groups perceive themselves to be qualitatively different, hence not comparable. • Class system

  19. gene-centred politics J. Philippe Rushton’s genetic similarity theory (Rushton, Russell and Wells 1984; Rushton 1989) expands Hamiltonian kin selection and asserts that individuals have evolved to display non-reciprocal altruism towards other individuals in proportion to their genetic-relatedness. On this basis, Salter (2006) takes a gene-centred approach to politics and considers the relative investment allocated to each of the following, which are listed in order of importance according to genetic similarity: • self • offspring • ethny • humanity

  20. Gene-Centred Politics Gene-centred Universal Nationalism Multiculturalism Capitalism Humanism National Socialism Communism Radical Christianity Self Offspring Ethny Humanity

  21. UNIVERSAL NATIONALISM • Universal Nationalism (Salter 2006) is the idea that ethnic self rule is advantageous for optimizing the general good. The universal nationalist puts his or her own ethny first, but also respects the autonomy of other peoples. It contrasts with chauvinistic nationalism which is thoroughly ethnocentric. • The best way to globally optimize adaptiveness. • Seeks continuity rather than expansion (Hitler failed because he sought expansion).

  22. Humanism • We’re only animals • Humanism is a by-product of Christianity • Having human rights universally respected is a daydream

  23. Multiculturalism for Majorities • The difference between Multiculturalism and the ideal is best addressed by a degree of National Socialism. • This predicts that a multicultural society, such as the United Kingdom, is a catalyst for a far right party, such as the BNP and the EDL. • It also explains atrocities such as Anders Breivik’s2011 Norway attacks. His manifesto (Berwick 2011) highlights and explains his resentment of a multicultural society. + ≈ Multiculturalism for majorities National Socialism Gene-centred Self Offspring Ethny Humanity

  24. Multiculturalism for Minorities • Multiculturalism for minorities is equivalent to the gene-centred optimal. • Minorities should be content with the status quo. = Multiculturalism for minorities Gene-centred Self Offspring Ethny Humanity

  25. In-group/Out-Group Biases • The male contingent of a man’s in-group is his own dominance hierarchy. Individuals of a different nationality or race will clearly be from a different dominance hierarchy, so race/nationality acts as an in-group/out-group marker. In-group/out-group biases imply that men have a strong sense of identity with their own nationality/race, and tend to act so as to exclude others.

  26. Immigration • Ethnocentrism and anti-immigration attitudes are innate, and if they were not so, different sub-species (i.e. races) could not have evolved in the first place (McGregor 1986). • Vanhanen(1999) found that the correlation between ethnic heterogeneity and institutionalized ethnic conflict was 0.73. For example, to take the extremes, North Korea, South Korea and Lesotho were low in both ethnic heterogeneity and ethnic conflict, whilst Sudan was high in both. • Multiculturalism has failed in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Zaire, Iraq, etc. • Western governments have allowed mass immigration because it boosts tax revenue and keeps inflation down. They are forced to encourage cooperation by enforcing egalitarianism by stigmatizing perfectly natural in-group biases in the guise of ‘racism’.

  27. Economics Wealth is a proxy for the mate value of males, so economics is an approximation of psychology. The unboundedly rational economic man who seeks to maximize utility is consistent with Homo sapiens if and only if his utility coincides with gene replication. Economics is egalitarian. It starts from the premise that all races, social groups, societies and individuals are created equal, i.e. have equal potential. Economists speak of ‘developing nations’ and ‘developed nations’, there is never any question of whether or not the developing nations will one day be developed, it is taken that they will catch up. The problem with the assumption of egalitarianism is that scientific psychology and work on intelligence shows that it is profoundly wrong. See, for example, Lynn and Vanhanen (2002) and Lynn (2006).

  28. Economy Lynn and Vanhanen (2002, 2006) found that the wealth of a nation is largely determined by three factors: • the intelligence of the population • the extent to which the country has a market economy • natural resources The first two being the most important, and equally so. Note that it is neither capitalism nor ‘free markets’ that lead to economic growth, but a properly regulated market economy. The most common criticism of a market economy is that they give rise to class divisions. But as we have already seen, these are not necessarily a bad thing.

  29. SUSTAINABLE GROWTH • Economic growth is a measurement of the value that humans place on their own consumption, not the consumption of resources, so continual economic growth within a finite physical system is possible, as long as technology progresses. • For example, as oil runs out, it may be substituted with solar panels, and as technology progresses, solar cells may be sliced more thinly (thus doing more with less), and as technology progresses further still, nuclear fusion may become feasible. In other words, economic growth is bounded only by human ingenuity. • However, in practice currently much growth is indeed fuelled by the use of resources. Globally, fossil fuels currently supply around 80% of primary energy, and this figure is expected to remain largely the same through to 2030.

  30. Social Discount Rate • If we wish to perform a cost-benefit analysis on a future public sector project (such as climate change mitigation), we must choose a discount rate that reflects society’s preference for present benefits over future benefits. • Although humans are simply vehicles that have evolved as if to help ensure that their genes survive in perpetuity, all that is required of individuals is that their ultimate motivation is to reproduce, so we seek to maximize gene replication within our lifetime, but not beyond. During a lifetime, generally the risk that a reward will not be available decreases as one approaches the time that the reward is expected, which leads to a hyperbolic discount function. This account is descriptive, but as we cannot transcend our genes, a prescriptive social discount rate must accommodate our motivational set, so optimally coincides. An individual’s discount function is hyperbolic and reaches 100% at the end of their lifetime. An equitable social discount function should average the population’s individual discount functions.

  31. Democracy • Vanhanen (2009) shows that the level of democratization depends on resource distribution, which in turn depends on national IQ and mean temperature, whilst national IQ depends on mean temperature. • We should therefore accept that countries with a lower intelligence population are unlikely to establish and maintain democratic systems of the same quality as those in the West. • Vanhanen effectively predicted the Arab Spring: ‘Tunisia should be among the first Arab countries to cross the threshold of democracy’. He also predicted democracization for Libya and Egypt. Interestingly, Iraq was only slightly below the threshold of democracy. • The attempt to project democracy beyond the national level—in the European Union, for example—has been a failure. • With few exceptions, liberal democracy has taken root only in nation-states. • Undemocratic regimes are in the ascendancy, such as China and Iran. • To maximize number of votes, a political party should court the median voter. When a distribution is skewed this leads to policy becoming out of kilter with mean voter preferences.

  32. Neoconservatism • Neoconservatismoriginated from the political left, and is defined by its ideology of universal democracy and the war on terror. • Led by the US, Western governments launched a campaign to export American-style democracy to the Middle East and throughout the world, an impossible dream that in many countries could only produce chaos. • Overthrowing a tyranny may bring democracy without advancing liberty.

  33. Religion • Religious beliefs are ubiquitous across cultures and time, and are likely innate. • Human nature includes cultural conformism. Ritual reinforces cultural conformity, so religion (although irrational) should be accommodated. • Showing religion as an illusion will not make it disappear. • Western culture has been hugely influenced by Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) and their beliefs that we are progressing towards Utopia. As a scientist, to be objective it is crucial to be aware of this ubiquitous utopian thinking and as far as possible to keep it out of analysis. • The Christian promise of universal salvation was inherited by its secular successors such as communism, democracy or universal human rights.

  34. Political Correctness • Whilst trust is the foundation of virtue, political correctness is the dictatorship of virtue. • Political correctness is a major threat to both science and liberty and is accurately described by Browne (2006) as ‘an ideology that classifies certain groups of people as victims in need of protection from criticism, and which makes believers feel that no dissent should be tolerated’. • Hate speech laws in the UK mean that expressions of hatred toward someone on account of that person’s colour, race, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion or sexual orientation is forbidden. Prescription: repeal hate speech laws.

  35. The Origin of Feminism In all species, the relative investment that is made by the male and the female in their offspring determines the degree of discrimination exercised by the individual in selecting a partner. In humans, like many mammals and most animals, females can be expected to be the more discriminating in their choice of mates. Therefore females limit the reproductive success of males and men compete with other men for access to women. Males form a dominance hierarchy. A cognitive mechanism known as cheater detection evolved to police tactical subversion of the dominance hierarchy, i.e. keep lower ranked men ‘in their place’. Females seek only a minority of males at the top. The upshot of this is that women have an inherent prejudice towards most men. Misandry (hatred of men) is a common prejudice of women and not just feminists, but it is such misandry that led to feminism and the invention of ‘misogyny’ which is a myth used to excuse their misandry.

  36. Feminism • The division of labour according to the sexes is universal among humans. • In order to attract a high value mate, men have to compete with other men for their rank in the male dominance hierarchy and this translates directly into men contesting each other for positions within organisations. There is no parallel for women. See Moxon (2008). • Feminism is unscientific and over-emphasizes the innate prejudices against ordinary men.

  37. Homosexuality • Homosexuality is clearly maladaptive for the individual. • A gay person could be beneficial for the lineage if, for example, the individual helped close relatives. • The ‘gay gene’ could enhance fertility when found in women (sexual orientation is probably between 30% and 50% heritable). • Genuine bisexuality in men is near to non-existent (bisexuality is claimed by gay men wishing to hide their homosexual orientation). • Bisexual women exist, but it is likely a confusion with the vast range of what females find sexually arousing. • It is perfectly normal for 1–2% of a population to be gay. • ‘Homophobia’ is not a real problem, it tends to be anti-male prejudice directed towards low status men in general.

  38. Happiness Can science inform the politics of attempting to maximize happiness? We are not motivated to seek happiness per se, so we can only experience it as a by-product of acting on the motivations we are provided with. We are motivated to maximise our reproductive fitness, so participating in any activity which has the potential to increase our reproductive fitness is a potential source of happiness. For example, in men this could be any competitive activity. Examples for women could include going on a diet or getting engaged. However, happiness is unsustainable, as lasting happiness would breed complacency, which would compromise our motivation to continue attempting to maximise our reproductive fitness.

  39. Conclusions • We can’t change human nature in any radical sense, so it is better not to try. • Ethnic-national allegiances and market forces can elude the control of government. • Governments should aim to align policies such that they do not prevent that which is natural or inevitable.

  40. References BERWICK, Andrew, 2011. 2083: A European declaration of independence. Manifesto distributed by Anders Breivik. BROWNE, Anthony, 2006. The Retreat of Reason: Political Correctness and the Corruption of Public Debate in Modern Britain. Second ed. London: Civitas. CHARLTON, Bruce G., 1997. The inequity of inequality: Egalitarian instincts and evolutionary psychology. Journal of Health Psychology, 2(3), 413–425. COCHRAN, Gregory, and Henry HARPENDING, 2009. The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. New York: Basic Books. COSMIDES, Leda, 1989. The logic of social exchange: Has natural selection shaped how humans reason? Studies with the Wason selection task. Cognition, 31(3), 187–276. DAWKINS, Richard, 1976. The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DENNETT, Daniel C., 2003. Freedom Evolves. New York: Viking. GOLDBERG, Jonah, 2008. Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. New York: Doubleday. GRAY, John, 2008. Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. Penguin Books. LYNN, Richard, 2006. Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis. Augusta, GA: Washington Summit Publishers. LYNN, Richard, and Tatu VANHANEN, 2002. IQ and the Wealth of Nations. Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. MCGREGOR, Alan, 1986. The evolutionary function of prejudice. Mankind Quarterly, 26(3 & 4), 277–284. MEALEY, Linda, Christopher DAOOD, and Michael KRAGE, 1996. Enhanced memory for faces of cheaters. Ethology and Sociobiology, 17(2), 119–128. MOXON, Steve, 2008. The Woman Racket: The New Science Explaining How the Sexes Relate at Work, at Play and in Society. Exeter: Imprint Academic. MOXON, Steve, 2010. Culture is biology: Why we cannot ‘transcend’ our genes—or ourselves. Politics and Culture, 1. PINKER, Steven, 1997. How the Mind Works. New York: Norton. PINKER, Steven, 2011. The Better Angels of Our Nature. New York: Viking Books. RIDLEY, Matt, 1997. The Origins of Virtue. London: Penguin. RUBIN, Paul H., 2002. Darwinian Politics: The Evolutionary Origin of Freedom. The Rutgers Series in Human Evolution. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press. RUBIN, Paul H., 2003. Folk economics. Southern Economic Journal, 70(1), 157–171. RUSHTON, J. Philippe, 1989. Genetic similarity, human altruism, and group selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12(3), 503–559. RUSHTON, J. Philippe, Robin J. H. RUSSELL, and Pamela A. WELLS, 1984. Genetic similarity theory: Beyond kin selection. Behavior Genetics, 14(3), 179–193. VANHANEN, Tatu, 1999. Ethnic Conflicts Explained by Ethnic Nepotism. Volume 7 of Research in Biopolitics. Stamford, CT: Jai Press. VANHANEN, Tatu, 2009. The Limits of Democratization: Climate, Intelligence, and Resource Distribution. Augusta, GA: Washington Summit Publishers.