Radix Journal

Radix Journal

A radical journal

Category: Science

Where Are They?

Ed and Richard discuss the possibilities of alien life in the universe. If they’re out there, where are they? And if they come here, might they conquer and kill us?…

Ed and Richard discuss the possibilities of alien life in the universe. If they’re out there, where are they? And if they come here, might they conquer and kill us? Moreover, will we ever be “they”? What historical cycles prevent humanity—and maybe all life in the universe—from achieving galactic dominance and interstellar travel?

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Born Again

Transsexuality, Gender Dysphoria, and Sexual Alienation as an Identity My Friend Alex In October 1999, I began my degree in Theology at Durham University. Durham is a small, Medieval Cathedral…

Transsexuality, Gender Dysphoria, and Sexual Alienation as an Identity

My Friend Alex

In October 1999, I began my degree in Theology at Durham University. Durham is a small, Medieval Cathedral city in the northeast of England. Like Oxford and Cambridge, Durham University (England’s third oldest university) is composed of a number of colleges in which you live. Mine was called the College of St Hild and St Bede. In the first week of term, there were many “getting-to-know-you” events, to make it easier to become friends with people beyond those who lived on your corridor. Somehow, I got talking to a very unusual young man. He was called Alex Waddell.

We had a few things in common. Alex was from Reading, in the southeast of England, not far from London, where I came from. Like me, he had been to a “state school” (in U.S. English, a “public school”), as opposed to a private school, which so many students at the college had attended. Most importantly, Alex was studying Philosophy. This interested me a great deal, and I had toyed with reading a Philosophy degree myself. He’d also had a “Gap Year” in the Czech Republic, teaching English and reviewing cocktails for magazines. This fascinated me because, at the time, I’d only been to France, Spain, and Holland. He also dabbled in writing poetry, as did I. So we had things about which to converse. Making conversation with Alex was rather hard work, however. He spoke in a very idiosyncratic way; a sort of staccato, with pauses in unexpected parts of the sentence. And he tended to deal with everyday statements as though they were philosophical propositions.

“So, are you trying to tell me that you’re going to go to the college bar?”

“Yes, Alex, I am.”

“And you’re asking me if I’d like to come with you to the college bar?”

“That is correct.”

“And when you propose going to the college bar, do you mean that we’re just going to go there and hang out or are you implying that we’re going to go there and have a drink.”

“I’m asking you if you’d like to come with me to the college bar and have a drink, Alex.”

“And do you literally mean a drink, or is that a term for a more indefinite number of drinks? If so, I might have to go to the cash point . . .”

Alex moved around a great deal, unable to sit still, a habit which was very distracting. He told me that this was due to suffering from curvature of the spine. This had been corrected a few years earlier in a lengthy operation in which metal rods had been inserted into his back. He also mentioned some kind of “syndrome” that caused muscle and abdominal pain. I later discovered that suffered from fibromyalgia, which causes not just muscle pain and abdominal problems but also sleeplessness and depression. And Alex was a vegetarian, for philosophical reasons, something that was considered extremely eccentric at the time.

The word “eccentric” really encapsulated Alex. The word “autistic” was not yet widely known, but it seems fairly clear now that this is what he was. He had trouble understanding how others might feel, which led him to be socially clumsy, thoughtless, and generally bizarre, but he was also highly analytical in his thinking, congruous with evidence that “systematizing” and “empathy” (in the sense of “theory of mind”) sit at opposite ends of a spectrum.[1]

In line with this autism diagnosis, Alex was almost child-like in his guilelessness and lack of self-awareness. The small number of us that were his friends—there were two of us at his 21st birthday party in June 2001—euphemistically referred to him as “avant-garde.” This “party” was a plaintive affair. His parents had given him a substantial amount of money to take all of his friends out for a meal. But there were only two of us. Our pleas with him to just let us go to McDonalds and then blow all the dosh on gin were not well-received. His parents would be displeased, he told us, if they knew that the money had not been primarily spent on eating at a restaurant.

As the academic year continued, evidence of Alex’s autism became increasingly clear. He woke up the entire college out-building in which he lived—Hild Gym—at about 4 AM one morning by burning toast in the kitchen and thus setting off the fire alarm. Another time, a girl who lived on his corridor ran herself a bath and then left it, momentarily, to take a phone call. Upon her return, the bathroom door was locked. This was because, while she had been on the phone, Alex had gone to the same bathroom, with the same ablutionary intentions, found that a bath had been run already, and presumably thought to himself, “That’s lucky. Someone must have run the bath and then changed his mind.” He thus locked the door and got in. As the year passed, Alex became withdrawn, stopped washing, grew his hair long, and got shouted down at the Durham Union Society (a debating society) for a laughable and rambling intervention on the subject of prostitution. I remember someone hollering at him, “Sit down, sir!” Every time he tried to speak. The audience clapped, and this continued until he finally gave up and resumed his seat.

The following academic year, we didn’t live in college, as most second years “lived out,” in houses in the city, so I didn’t see Alex as much. Not having any close friends, he was living with a group of students whom he didn’t know. In that academic year (2000-2001), Alex was pursuing an American international student to whom he was attracted. He was also after a girl who studied at the university’s campus in Stockton, a sizable industrial town 34 miles away. The two were, effectively, separate universities, so I don’t know how Alex had made a connection to Stockton—possibly he had done so by using “the Internet,” something we normal students tended to eschew. But it transpired that Alex was going there on the bus, buying cannabis and selling it to students in Durham, where cannabis was more difficult to obtain and thus more expensive.

In the Spring term, Alex became president of the Philosophy Society. These student societies usually took your money at “Fresher’s Fair” and then did very little. But, with philosophy-obsessed Alex at the helm, things were different. He managed, in about October 2001, to persuade the Oxford philosopher of religion Richard Swinburne (b. 1934)—who has been described as “the premier rational defender of Christianity of our time”[2]—to come and speak to the society. Everyone who had done A-Level Religious Studies had read about this giant. His appearance was so wildly popular that Alex hired the Durham Union Society Debating Chamber for it, and it was full to capacity, mostly with people who weren’t members of the Philosophy Society and so had to pay to be there. As Alex introduced Oxford University’s Nolloth Professor of the Christian Religion, so many people must have been asking themselves: Who was this eccentric—by then sporting a tennis-player’s headband—who had managed to achieve this coup? It was the same eccentric that told a group of teenage “locals,” from the window of my ground-floor flat, that all “Geordies” (people from Newcastle Upon Tyne and its environs, including Durham) were stupid, leading to Alex, myself, and two others having to cower in my flat while the offended Geordies threw stones at it. And it was the same eccentric who, the following academic year, did something very eccentric, indeed.

I met up with Alex in early October 2001. I didn’t see him again, other than at the Richard Swinburne meeting, for the rest of the term. It was December 2001, the night of the Christian Union’s Carol Service in Durham Cathedral. The Christian Union was a fundamentalist Christian student society, in which I had many friends. A third of my 15-person out-building in my first year—“Bede Gym,” a corridor over a gym—had been members, and I ended-up living with “God Squad-ers” for the rest of my time at university. Later, I even wrote my doctoral thesis, and first book, about them.[3] At their encouragement, I always attended their Christmas Carol Service, held in the splendor of Durham Cathedral, which has been voted “the best building in Britain.”[4] However, for some reason, the Christmas Party of the university’s LGB (Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual) Society always took place on the same evening as the Christian Union’s Cathedral Carol Service. As the two groups, in many ways, couldn’t be more different (the Christian Union opposed homosexuality, for a start), and because I was young and pretentious, I made a point, in order to be “avant-garde,” of always going to both events: the evangelical carol service, and then the LGB party in the Student Union building.

So this is what I did in December 2001. The tattooed-lesbian, Kerry, who was in charge (tattoos were very rare at the time) was an acquaintance of mine. In the darkened, disco-light-illuminated room, she introduced me to people and, eventually, she led me over to a rather pretty, young girl, whom I was immediately convinced I’d met before. She seemed out of place. She was very feminine. She had long hair, make-up, and an ankle-length skirt. She stood in stark contrast to the “butch” lesbians that constituted the bulk of the other females at the party.

“This is Dreya,” said Kerry. “This is her first time here.”

“Have we met before?” I asked, innocently.

“Um . . . no, I don’t think so,” came the high-pitched reply.

“I’m sure I recognize you.”

“Um . . . no, I don’t think we’ve met.”

There was a long pause and then, genuinely shocked, it came to me.

“Alex! What the fuck is going on?!”

My memories after this are vague. I recall Kerry telling me that I shouldn’t ask what was “going on” because “This is a safe space for Dreya.” I’d never heard of the concept of a “safe space”—meaning “place where your comforting delusions may not be questioned”—that was later to become so ubiquitous. I went upstairs to the bar and told my two friends—one of whom had been at Alex’s 21st and who also studied Philosophy—what was “going on.” I persuaded Alex to come upstairs and explain himself to them. What had happened?

What is Transsexuality?

We’ll return to what happened to Alex later. But, clearly, he was beginning the process of “transitioning” from being a “male” to being a “female.” Cross-dressing, of course, has been perennial throughout human history, usually confined to performative contexts: erotica, satire, theater, camp, or, in some cases, religious and folk rituals. But by the turn of the 21st century, something distinctly new has emerged in the Western world: transgenderism as an identity—one that is demographically significant, legally recognized, and, seemingly, on the rise.

It is difficult to be sure what percentage of Western populations are transgender, not least because the numbers are increasing. In 2016, UCLA’s Williams Institute estimated that 0.6 percent of the U.S. population (1.4 million people) were transgender.[5] Rates were slightly higher in the states of California, New Mexico, and Georgia. Age also plays a factor: while 0.5 percent of adults over 65 are transgender, the rate is noticeably higher about 18- and 24-year-olds. A recent study of school children from Finland, aged 16 to 18, estimated that 3.6 percent of males, though only 2.3 percent of females, displayed some symptoms of Gender Dysphoria.[6]

Moreover, there is also a certain aggressive and assertive character to the “trans” identity that is hard to miss (though, granted, this quality is not unique in today’s political climate). In 2019, a journalist for The Guardian, a biological woman, halted and reversed her “transition” to manhood in order to have a baby, then took up her transition once more afterwards. She demanded that a British registrar falsify history by designating her as the child’s “father” on its birth certificate. When the registrar refused, this “transman” took the authorities to court. Upon losing her case, she remarked on how “not fair” it all was.[7] A similar determination or spitefulness was seen at the Democratic Socialists of America Conference that same year, when a transwoman made a “point of personal privilege” in order to angrily demand that speakers not to use the term “guys” (a typical American colloquialism meaning “everyone”) when referring to delegates, which he condemned as “gendered-language.”[8]

And this spitefulness has, to a large degree, succeeded in changing the academic and legal arenas. Under English Law, despite the fact that no biological change has taken place, if you “transition” in this way, to the extent of having surgery so that you appear (often not very convincingly) to be of the “opposite sex,” then you are, legally, of that opposite sex and can obtain a “Gender Recognition Certificate” to prove it. A court case in December 2019 found that it was not legitimate to refute or undermine such a change. It became legal to fire somebody if they publicly expressed the opinion that a transsexual could not, in good conscience, assert that they were a member of the sex into which they had transitioned. Specifically, a 45-year-old woman, Maya Forstater, was removed from her job at the Centre for Global Development in London for tweeting “Men cannot become women.” She took her employers to a tribunal, claiming that the sacking breached her Human Rights, because she was fired due to her beliefs. She lost the case.[9] The Canadian psychologist and author Jordan Peterson (b.1962) rose to fame largely due to his refusal to abide by state-mandated regime of using the chosen pronouns choice of transsexual students. This small act of defiance made him a conservative hero. Regardless, pronouns themselves have multiplied in recent years—many have adopted the non-binary “they” as first-person singular—and entered public consciousness in a way previously unimaginable.[10] Newspapers’ style-guides have been altered to accommodate transsexuals, and even non-transsexuals have begun defining their pronouns of choice on their social-media pages. Everyone, it seems, is encouraged to rethink themselves and their sexual identity.

This is a major social trend, and I have discussed the ideological and religious perspectives that lie behind it elsewhere.[11] But what I want to focus on here is the causes of transsexuality or, more properly put, Gender Dysphoria. Gender Dysphoria is a condition whereby a person feels profound distress due to what they regard as a mismatch between their biological gender and what they feel like on the inside, or what they feel that their gender should be. They believe that they can alleviate these feelings by, as much as possible, outwardly becoming their desired gender. Other recognized “dysphoria” include anorexia, when a person believes that they are fat, despite the fact that they are dangerously thin; and Mind-Body Integrity Disorder, when someone believes they are physically mutilated, yet they are not, and thus they mutilate their body.

What are we to make of this? What are the root causes of this, for many, baffling phenomenon?

Homosexual Transsexuals

A common conception (or you could say cliché) about transsexuals is that they are people “born in the wrong body.” This begs an important question: “How did they come to believe this?” How could they become convinced—to the point of drastically changing their appearance and lifestyle and even undergoing medical treatment and surgery—that they have, say, a female “soul” and a penis?

Transsexuals could suffer from this conception because they really do have the brain of X and the genitalia of Y. They were, in a way, “born into the wrong body.” However, if transsexuals also suffer from other delusions and personality disorders, then it is probable that there is some underlying factor that explains why they passionately feel this way. This is particularly true if these delusions and disorders manifest in advanced age.

This is what has been proposed by the psychologist Ray Blanchard in his so-called Transsexualism Typology.[12] Blanchard argues that some “transwomen” (male-to-female transsexuals) are homosexual transsexuals. They are highly feminized, and they want to become, as far as possible, heterosexual women. And they show signs of opposite-sex behavior at a very young age. The rest are what he calls autogynephilic transsexuals. These are male fetishists who are sexually aroused, or otherwise profoundly satisfied, by the idea of having a female body, something which correlates with wanting to take action to obtain one, and which becomes an interest for such people during or after adolescence. In other words, autogynephilic transexuals transform their own body into an object of desire—a kind of erotic loop. More recently, Blanchard has averred that his model is also likely to apply to “transmen” (female-to-male transsexuals).[13] Blanchard has estimated that at least 75 percent of transsexuals are autogynephilic and that percentage is growing, as more and more people “discover” that they are trans.[14]

Not surprisingly, trans activists generally find Blanchard’s Typology difficult to deal with and often attempt to suppress discussion of it. As Alice Dreger has summarized in her book Galileo’s Middle Finger (2015):

There’s a critical difference between autogynephilia and most other sexual orientations: Most other orientations aren’t erotically disrupted simply by being labeled. When you call a typical gay man homosexual, you’re not disturbing his sexual hopes and desires. By contrast, autogynephilia is perhaps best understood as a love that would really rather we didn’t speak its name. The ultimate eroticism of autogynephilia lies in the idea of really becoming or being a woman, not in being a natal male who desires to be a woman.[15]

Clearly, my friend Alex was in the autogynephilious category, and this category is the far more common of the two.

So let us make sense of the more unusual category first: those who display gender dysphoria from a very early age. The earlier a condition manifests itself, the more likely it is to be primarily an expression of genetics, or an epigenetic phenomenon, which has occurred early in development, especially in utero. In this regard, the heritability of Gender Dysphoria is relatively low. A review concluded that Gender Dysphoria is about 0.5 heritable in males and 0.4 heritable in females.[16] Another review found that Gender Dysphoria was approximately 0.3 heritable among adults. The authors reviewed three studies of child samples, one of which contradicted the other two. Two of the studies found a heritability of about 0.3.[17] Thus, the common belief that some people are “born into the wrong body” is, broadly-speaking, inaccurate. Gender Dysphoria is as much environmental as it is genetic, if not more so, in males; in females, it is certainly more so.

There is a convincing case for arguing that homosexual transsexuality is a direct result of “developmental instability.” “Developmental Instability” refers to development occurring in a suboptimal fashion. An example of this would be a person growing up to have an asymmetrical face. Developmental instability is caused by a combination of environmental pressures—if you are fighting off disease then you don’t have the bio-energetic resources left over to grow a fully symmetrical face—and also by mutant genes. If you have lots of mutant genes—a condition known as “high mutational load”—then you have a poor immune system and must use proportionately more of your resources in fighting off disease, leading to a less symmetrical face. You may also have inherited mutant genes relating to the face. Homosexual transsexuality—and, less directly, Gender Dysphoria in general—appears to be a manifestation of developmental instability.

One indication of developmental instability is left-handedness. Humans are generally right-handed, and, if their brain has developed symmetrically, then that is what they will tend to be. Accordingly, left-handedness betokens an asymmetrical brain and, thus, developmental instability, and correlates with many neurological and auto-immune problems, including asthma and allergies.[18] Blanchard reports that there are elevated levels of non-right-handedness among both homosexual and autogynephilous transsexuals. He also shows that there is elevated left-handedness among homosexuals, pedophiles, and many others whose object of sexual arousal is atypical. Blanchard proposes that these may all be explicable, in part, by developmental instability. Specifically, in the case of a male homosexual, a pregnant female will react to male hormones, emitted by a male fetus, by releasing female hormones. If she releases too many of these, or if the fetus’ immune system cannot protect itself against them—which, in both cases, may be due to mutation—the result may be a highly feminized child, such as a homosexual. In this regard, it has been found that homosexual males, on average, are more physically and mentally feminized than are heterosexual males, yet they still regard themselves as male. An important piece of evidence in favor of this model is that there is a clear birth order effect on male homosexuality. Every older brother a male has increases his odds of being homosexual by 0.3. This is partly because the mother’s immune system will react more strongly with every male pregnancy, and there might be group-level evolutionary benefits, as well: if there are already a large number of boys, then a homosexual boy will not elevate inter-male conflict any further.[19] Blanchard’s model of the causes of homosexuality has been applied to people suffering from Gender Dysphoria. There is a clear birth order effect: male homosexual transsexuals fall into a significantly later birth order than do autogynepilious transsexuals.[20] Consistent with this, it has been shown that the brains of homosexual transsexuals (whether transmen or transwomen) differ significantly from those of the same gender who are not homosexual transsexuals:

Cortical thickness and diffusion tensor imaging studies suggest that the brain of [Males-to-Females] presents complex mixtures of masculine, feminine, and demasculinized regions, while [Females-to-Males] show feminine, masculine, and defeminized regions.[21]

These data would indicate that the minority of transsexuals who are “homosexual transsexuals” are, to a certain degree, “born into the wrong body.” This is principally due to epigenetic processes that occur in utero. Homosexual transsexuals are likely to be marked out by the way in which they will have intense difficulty conforming to the expectations of their biological sex from an extremely young age.

Further evidence of both forms of transsexuality being manifestations of developmental instability can be seen in the health of transsexuals. Their physical and mental health is far worse than is that of so-called “cis-gender” people. Transwomen, compared to males, report markedly elevated levels of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, vision problems, hearing problems, chronic pain, arthritis, digestive problems, lung problems, kidney complaints, diabetes, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and anxiety. They are also more likely to abuse alcohol, and even hard drugs such as heroin and crack, and engage in commercial sex work. Transmen are elevated in terms of obesity, smoking, asthma, depression, schizophrenia, sexually transmitted diseases, pubic lice, inflammatory conditions, previous menstrual irregularities, and premature or delayed menarche. They are also elevated in hyperandrogenism and, therefore, in a series of complications associated with elevated testosterone in females, including adrenal hyperplasia, polycystic ovary syndrome, and hypogonadism.[22] Transmen also have elevated rates of fibromyalgia (the condition Alex suffered from), though this is not significantly higher in transwomen than it is among the general population.[23] Some of these conditions help to explain why the sufferers are transsexual (as we will see below) or reflect the stresses inherent in being transsexual. But others, such as hearing problems, are likely to simply reflect the underlying factor of high mutational load and developmental instability.

Transsexuality and Fetishism

For Blanchard, the kind of transsexual who most attracts public attention—and who are behind the prominence of transgenderism in contemporary public discourse—is the kind who suffers from autogynephilia. This is a fetish, or paraphilia, whereby a man, for example, is “sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a female.”[24] Autogynephilia ranges in its severity from mere transvestitism, where a man is deeply satisfied by dressing as a female, to, in its most extreme cases, transsexualism, where a male wants to alter his body such that it is more female-like. Perhaps it could be argued that demanding that society accept them as “real women” with precisely the same rights as “biological females” is an even more extreme manifestation of this paraphilia. Remaining a “she-male” would merely be a partial manifestation of this paraphilia.[25] It can be argued, however, that autogynephilia is more than simply a paraphilia, as there is a strong element of delusion involved in autogynephilia, which is not found in other paraphilia. In this sense, as discussed above, autogynephilia is as much an example of dysphoria as it is an example of a paraphilia.

If it is reasonable to conceptualize transsexuality as a paraphilia, then the correlates of transsexuality and other paraphilia should be very similar. The same should be the case with the correlates of other dysphoria. So, what is associated with more widely experienced fetishes—such as masochism, sexual sadism, or paedophilia? Reviews have consistently found that paraphilia is comorbid with hypersexuality, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Psychopathic Personality Disorder.[26]

Hyper-Sexuality

Paraphilia experience is placed on a spectrum ranging from no arousal to extreme and exclusive arousal by the paraphilia in question. It has been found that paraphilics have low cerebral serotonin levels, something which leads to high testosterone levels and thus a high sex drive. They report higher levels of sexual arousal, meaning that they might associate non-sexual targets, such as objects, with arousal because they are so easily sexually aroused. They report more diverse sexual interests, greater sexual orientation fluidity, more sexual activity, and a higher number of lifetime sexual partners than do non-paraphilics. These findings are very interesting in evolutionary terms, because they would potentially help to explain how paraphilia remains in populations.[27] In line with the predictions made by Blanchard’s model, it has been found that transsexuality is comorbid with hypersexuality.[28] Hypersexuality, and other sexual dysfunctions, also correlate with anorexia.[29]

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as already discussed, is associated with deficiencies in empathy and a concomitant propensity towards extreme analytical thinking. It has been conceptualized as the “Extreme Male Brain,” and autistic people tend to be physically masculinized, displaying various markers associated with high levels of male hormones.[30] Congruous with this, autistics tend to attach meaning to concrete visual representations: they are interested in “things,” rather than people, disliking the unpredictable and unscripted nature of human interaction. You probably know someone who seems highly detached socially, overly logical, and is obsessed with his job, hobby, or some arcane, whether it be video games, online gambling, or evolutionary psychology.

Paraphilia crosses over with autism in the sense that paraphilia involves strong attachment to an object (usually a visual stimulus) and is highly scripted, in the sense that specific situations involving this stimulus can be particularly sexually arousing. It has been found that High Functioning (intellectually normal) autistics, particularly those who are male, are more likely to have paraphilic interests than are the general population.[31] Consistent with Blanchard’s model, it is quite clear that transsexuality is associated with autism. Gunter Heylens and his colleagues found that transgender persons were six times more likely than the general population to suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder, with transwomen being more likely to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder than transmen.[32] Anna Van der Miesen and colleagues, who conducted a systematic literature review, found that children with Gender Dysphoria score higher on all subdomains of Autism Spectrum Disorder than do controls.[33] It is therefore a reasonable conclusion that transsexuality is associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Anorexia, a prominent example of a dysphoria, is also robustly associated with ASD, according to a systematic review of eight studies.[34]

Borderline Personality Disorder

Autism is associated with Borderline Personality Disorder and is characterized by a weak sense of self. Autistics lack the feeling that they are the same person across time and lack the feeling that they are in control of their thoughts and actions, possibly because, lacking empathy, they find that they cannot predict the consequences of their actions and, hypersensitive to stimuli, they easily become overwhelmed by the world. The result is a chaotic and frightening void, which can result in a coping mechanism whereby you create an extreme and certain identity. However, eventually, chronic self-doubt results in the collapse of this identity and the adoption of another, sometimes very different one. This, in turn, is the essence of Borderline Personality Disorder, which is elevated in both paraphilics and autistics.[35] BPD is characterized by difficulties regulating emotion, feeling intense emotions, and having problems returning to a stable baseline, frequent mood swings, a fear of abandonment, and a disturbed sense of self. Specifically: “The self is impoverished, poorly developed, or there is an unstable self-image, which is often associated with excessive self-criticism; chronic feelings of emptiness; and dissociative states under stress.” Such a person has difficulty developing a sense of self that is stable in terms of beliefs, and life goals over time. He can have extreme and polarized self-conceptions, sometimes to the extent of developing multiple personalities; he can lack a coherent image of who he is; he can undergo “explosive shifts into states where the perception of self is distorted and shows weak correspondence with external reality”; and he may lack a capacity to flexibly adapt to change. Sufferers experience discontinuity in their development of self, rapidly alter their roles and relationships, and “identify only with their present affective states and have no sense of their continuity over time.”[36]

It has been found that sexual masochism is 10 times higher in women with Borderline Personality Disorder than it is among controls.[37] Many other studies, also of men, have found a robust association between paraphilic sexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder.[38] It is also associated with Gender Dysphoria. At least two separate studies have found that 80 percent of transgender people display symptoms of Borderline Personality or related disorders.[39] Anorexia, as another example of a dysphoria, is also associated with Borderline Personality Disorder.[40]

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

In terms of a strongly distorted sense of self, Borderline Personality Disorder crosses over with the related condition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Indeed, in some respects, Narcissism can be understood as an example of Borderline Personality Disorder, though it is more common among males than females. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by:

  1. Grandiosity, with expectations of superior treatment from other people;
  2. Fixation on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, or attractiveness;
  3. Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions;
  4. Needing continual admiration from others;
  5. A sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others;
  6. Being exploitative of others to achieve personal gain;
  7. Unwilling to empathize with the feelings, wishes, and needs of other people;
  8. Being intensely envious of others, and believing that others are equally envious of them;
  9. A pompous and arrogant demeanour.[41]

Narcissistic Personality Disorder has also been found to be a key predictor of paraphilic sexuality.[42] It is also associated with Gender Dysphoria. One study found that, of a male and female sample of people suffering from Gender Dysphoria, 57 percent fit the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder and 81 percent fit the criteria for some kind of personality disorder, mainly Borderline Personality Disorder.[43] A review has found other studies that have highlighted this relationship between Transsexuality and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.[44] It has been found that Anorexia is associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, specifically with the “vulnerable Narcissism” sub-type.[45] Such people display all of the symptoms of standard Narcissistic Personality Disorder except “grandiosity.” This is replaced by “vulnerability,” characterized by a constant need for reassurance that one is exceptional, by introversion and by being self-absorbed, high in Neuroticism (feeling negative feelings strongly) and hyper-sensitive to criticism. In all of these senses, the Vulnerable Narcissist is the opposite of the Grandiose Narcissist, for the latter will be confident that he is exceptional, will be extraverted, and will appear relatively impervious to criticism.[46]

Thus, we can see why Narcissism would be associated with transsexuality. The autistic is prone to sexual arousal by objects (fetishes), to a weak sense of self (fundamentally questioning who and what he is), and to Narcissism (as a means of coping with his fundamental sense of fear and chaos). These would come together in his being sexually aroused by the ideal of himself as the perfect female. Those who questioned his femaleness would, therefore, risk destroying his necessary coping-mechanism, resulting in “Narcissistic Rage.” It has been suggested that this makes sense of the often aggressive and furious way in which trans activists seem to respond to those who dare to disagree with them.[47]

Psychopathic Personality Disorder

Psychopathic Personality Disorder, now officially known as “Anti-Social Behavioral Disorder,” is characterized by,

  1. Inability to sustain consistent work behavior;
  2. Non-conformity, irritability and aggression;
  3. Failure to honor financial obligations;
  4. Frequent lying, failure to plan ahead and impulsivity;
  5. Reckless behavior;
  6. Inability to function as a responsible parent;
  7. Failure to maintain long-term monogamous relationships;
  8. Lack of remorse;
  9. Conduct disorder in childhood.[48]

Psychopathic traits are associated with paraphilia, possibly because of the way in which psychopaths are highly interested in power and control, causing them to be aroused by voyeurism and sadism, in the case of males.[49] However, it may simply be that psychopathic personality and paraphilia are both expressions of developmental instability. As we would predict, there are elevated levels of psychopathology among transsexuals.[50]

In summary, it can be seen that people who suffer from Gender Dysphoria display all of the key psychological traits that are associated with paraphilics. And like paraphilics, they are more likely than controls to be hyper-sexual, to suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder, to be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and to display evidence of Psychopathic Personality Disorder. In addition, we have noted that all of these characteristics are found, to an elevated degree, among those who display another well-researched dysphoria—namely anorexia nervosa.

Gender Dysphoria and Masculinization

We are confronted with additional question. Are late-onset transsexuals suffering from a delusion about themselves? Or are they correct in their assertion that they were “born into the wrong body” but have, for some reason, only recognized this as adolescents or adults? If it is the former (that is, they are delusional), then sufferers from Gender Dysphoria should display the same, or similar, correlates to those who suffer from other mind-body dysphoria, such as anorexics. Specifically, they should display evidence of masculinization, and it is masculine traits that are associated with other dysphoria, including anorexia, which is generally a dysphoria from which females suffer.

A study led by Riittakerttu Kaltiala-Heino has tested this possibility. The authors conducted a series of systematic reviews on original studies in order to test the relationship between Gender Dysphoria and at least one correlate of androgens (male hormones) out of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Left-handedness, 2D:4D Ratio (the shape of the hands[51], being male, and male heterosexuality. They found that people with Gender Dysphoria did, indeed, tend to display these signs of masculinization. They were more likely to be left-handed, suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder, have a low (masculinized) 2D:4D ratio, be male, and want to have sex with females, even if they were male-to-female transsexuals. The authors found studies indicating that 65 percent of gender transitions in the U.S between 2002 and 2013 were male-to-female. They also found research from Finland, from 2019, which found that 3.6 percent of male children—but only 2.3 percent of female children—displayed some symptoms of Gender Dysphoria.[52] They also pointed out that a 2015 survey of 3,000 transwomen reported that at least 60 percent claimed to be gynephilious (sexually attracted to women) in their new gender; 27 percent were exclusively gynephilious; and 19 percent exclusively androphilious (sexually attracted to men). For what it’s worth, the most famous transwoman of them all, Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner), is reportedly in a relationship with another transwoman.[53] Among transmen, in contrast, only 12 percent were exclusively gynephilious, while 23 percent were exclusively androphilious, but the proportions of those who were non-exclusively attracted to either sex were not reported. They observed that 2 percent of the British population claim to be lesbian, gay or bisexual; so, clearly, transwomen, as the authors would predict, overwhelmingly retain male sexual interests. And even among transmen, what is effectively lesbianism, which is associated with masculinization, is strongly over-represented.[54]

The authors also found that other dysphoria display similar correlates. Female anorexics, compared to controls, are not only higher in autism but also have a lower 2D:4D ratio: their hands are more masculinized than is generally the case with females. The authors hypothesized that autism may be key to understanding the development of dysphoria. Dysphoria are also comorbid. Thus, transsexuals have elevated levels of anorexia.[55] The authors argue that autistics tend to have a weak sense of self, making them more prone to the disturbed sense of identity, and of reality, that is inherent in all dysphoria; in other words, you believe that you are something that you are not. Autistics would also be more likely to develop fetishes, and it is in its paraphilic nature where gender dysphoria diverges from other dysphoria. This is consistent with Gender Dysphoria being characterized as a paraphilia of “erotic target identity inversion,” whereby people attempt to become the object by which they are sexually aroused.[56] Accordingly, it appears that transsexuality should be characterized both as a paraphilia and as a dysphoria and, moreover, that there is considerable crossover between these two concepts in terms of their correlates. Autism itself, for example, has been found to be a manifestation of developmental instability. Not only is it associated with numerous markers of developmental instability, such as sinistrality, but it is robustly correlated with paternal age. This is because, as men age, their semen includes more de novo mutations, including those which lead to the development of autism.[57]

What are the Environmental Causes of Transgenderism?

So, having established that there is a sound theoretical case for understanding transsexuality both as a paraphilia and as a dysphoria, we now need to make sense of its environmental causes. This is crucial because, as we have seen, it is significantly a function, in the case of autogynephilious transsexuals, of environmental factors, although many of these may be confounded by genetics. That transsexuality is strongly environmental is consistent with evidence that it develops in adolescence, as the later a phenomenon develops, the less strongly genetic it is likely to be, generally speaking. Indeed, the persistence of Gender Dysphoria is predicted by how young a person is when they first display symptoms: and the younger it develops, the more persistent it is.[58] A primarily environmental explanation would be congruous with a growing body of evidence that many transsexuals wish to revert back, such that they physically resemble their biological sex, some years after transitioning.[59] Indeed, this would be congruous with transsexuality being a paraphilia that becomes more or less intense due to environmental variables.

Gynaecologist Lisa Littman has referred to what she calls “rapid-onset Gender Dysphoria,” in which adolescents with no previous indication of gender confusion appear to very suddenly declare themselves “non-binary” or transgender. Littman avers that this may be the expression of a “social coping mechanism” for other issues, such as adolescent homosexual phases. This is rendered increasingly common by “social contagion.” Indeed, Littman notes that:

Parents describe that the onset of gender dysphoria seemed to occur in the context of belonging to a peer group where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe. Parents also report that their children exhibited an increase in social media/internet use prior to disclosure of a transgender identity.[60]

Unlike with most cases of late-onset transsexuality, this is a predominantly female phenomenon: 82 percent of a sample of parents who reported having an adolescent child who experienced rapid-onset Gender Dysphoria were referring to a daughter, 41 percent of these had expressed interest in a non-heterosexual orientation prior to declaring their Gender Dysphoria, 62 percent had a history of mental illness, and 38 percent belonged to a peer group who had all declared themselves “non-binary” or “trans” at around the same time. In these respects, Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria is highly comparable to anorexia. This also seems to occur, in a socially contagious fashion, among adolescent female peer-groups and, as we have discussed, it has the same corollaries as Gender Dysphoria and also correlates with it.[61] It is thus not without good reason that a number of commentators have asked “Is Transgender the New Anorexia?”[62] This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask, at least with regard to Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria.

Due to the relative rarity of transsexuality, the studies on its environmental causes are generally clinical studies with small sample sizes, meaning that it behoves us to be cautious of their results. With that caveat, it has been observed that boys who later suffer from Gender Dysphoria tend to be raised in suboptimal environments, in which the parents frequently fight with each other and in which the fathers have low self-esteem and are emotionally distant, while the mothers are high on psychopathology, leading to the boy having an unclear sense of self-value and a high level of anxiety. It has been averred that these conditions may result in sexual identity problems, and that Gender Dysphoria thus has a significant environmental component. Clinical observation of girls with Gender Dysphoria indicates that they tend to have emotionally distant mothers, with whom they are often in conflict and fathers who abuse their mothers, possibly leading the girl to identify as a boy.[63] Another study found elevated levels of Borderline Personality Disorder among the mothers of boys who suffer from Gender Dysphoria.[64] A study in Taiwan found that students with Gender Dysphoria are more likely to have unaffectionate parents.[65] There is evidence that girls with anorexia tend to have emotionally distant mothers as well. Their mothers are more likely to suffer from Alexithymia, that is, having difficulties verbalizing and otherwise expressing emotions.[66] Females with Gender Dysphoria tend not merely to exhibit Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms but also evidence being higher on measures of psychopathology.[67]

The problem with all of these studies, in terms of understanding the environmental causes of dysphoria, including Gender Dysphoria, is that they are heavily genetically confounded. If the mothers of transgender boys are high on psychopathology, then it may be that being raised by such a mother elevates the likelihood of Gender Dysphoria. But it may also be that such a mother is highly masculinized, or otherwise high in mutational load, and it is this that has led to in utero developmental instability, eventually manifesting in a transsexual son, who is also likely to have inherited, to some extent, his mother’s psychopathic personality traits. The same is true with regard to Borderline Personality Disorder, which is elevated among both transsexuals and their mothers. So, it is extremely difficult to tease out the environmental causes of Gender Dysphoria. It is possible that there is a symbiotic relationship between genetics, in utero developmental instability, and childhood environment, whereby the son of a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder is more likely to manifest this, and thus potentially Gender Dysphoria, due to genetic tendencies, developmental instability due to high mutational load in both himself and his mother leading to developmental instability in utero, and the unstable childhood environment created by his mother. But this hypothesis, while plausible, needs to be formally tested.

The Breakdown of Selection and Gender Dysphoria

This leaves us with a further question: Why has there been a rise, in recent years, in the prominence of transgenderism? This may be partly explicable in terms of the Social Epistasis Amplification Model, which has been presented by Michael Woodley of Menie and his colleagues.[68] They note that Darwinian selection has relaxed considerably since 1800 in advanced Western countries. In 1800, the child mortality rate was 40 percent; it is now 1 percent.[69] Before the Industrial Revolution, those who had mutations (which are almost always detrimental to mental and physical health) were purged from the population every generation. These mutations of the body, which led to a poor immune system and dying from childhood diseases, for example, were comorbid with mutations of the mind, such as inclinations towards maladaptive sexuality or any form of behavior that would likely reduce fertility. This is because the mind is 84 percent of the genome. This renders it a massive target for mutation, meaning that if you have mutant genes of the body, you will almost certainly have mutant genes of the mind.[70]

This dramatic change in infant mortality would have a number of related effects. Firstly, there would be more people with maladaptive mutations of the mind, such as deviant sexuality or even a propensity towards Gender Dysphoria. Secondly, these people would be more likely to be maladaptively influenced by hormones in utero. Thirdly, society would be influenced, in a maladaptive way, by these maladapted people—thus the term “spiteful mutants,” coined by Woodley of Menie and his team—which would interfere with the development of some non-mutants. Indeed, some of these “spiteful mutants” might actively encourage easily influenced young people to experiment with the idea that they are “non-binary,” to believe that this was “normal,” or to believe that it was a social good to be non-binary or transsexual.

Moreover, such “spiteful mutants” would act to undermine institutions and ideas that promoted the development of adaptive behavior and ways of thinking, such as religiousness. In modern societies, religiousness is associated with mental and physical health, as well as fertility.[71] This would be consistent with evidence that significantly genetic conditions, such as depression, can be socially contagious.[72] If you, as a genetically healthy person, spend time with a “spiteful mutant,” he can render you maladaptively inclined.[73] And we would expect the process to occur relatively quickly. Religiousness would hold maladaptive ideas at bay until a tipping point was reached, after which a society would switch relatively promptly to maladaptive behaviors. It seems that once approximately 25 percent of the population holds a particular counter-cultural view, then the society loses confidence in the dominant viewpoint and starts to move, quite rapidly, towards the counter-cultural one.[74] This would explain the relative rapidity with which traditional religious ideas, including religion-inspired sexual taboos, have collapsed in many Western countries since the 1960s.

In the 1950s, in Western countries, a person would be less likely to know about the existence of transsexuals. If he happened to suffer from Gender Dysphoria himself, he would likely do he could to repress this, knowing that he would be shunned if he did not. He might, possibly, even believe that such behavior would anger his god. This ability, to force yourself to think in a socially adaptive manner, is known as “effortful control.”[75] In the following decade, these social controls that militated against maladaptive thinking and behavior, such as religion, began to collapse. At the time of writing, it might be argued that it is “socially adaptive” to force yourself to believe that much in the above discussion must be false, despite the fact that it is based on careful scientific studies, with the results often being widely replicated. This is best exemplified in the firing of Maya Forstater, mentioned above, for stating a scientific fact. As we noted, she lost her Employment Tribunal in which she challenged her firing. Judge James Taylor, presiding over the tribunal, made the following ruling:

If a person has transitioned from male to female and has a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), that person is legally a woman. That is not something [Miss Forstater] is entitled to ignore. [Miss Forstater’s] position is that even if a trans woman has a GRC, she cannot honestly describe herself as a woman. That belief is not worthy of respect in a democratic society. Even paying due regard to the qualified right to freedom of expression, people cannot expect to be protected if their core belief involves violating others’ dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for them.[76]

In other words, believing in the empirical truth, and asserting that you believe in the empirical truth, is a stance that is not, in itself, “worthy of respect in a democratic society.” There should be no legal protection for those who construct a worldview based on science, reason, and empirical evidence, if aspects of this worldview lead to negative emotions in some people, specifically people who have mind-body dysphoria. Such a ruling might be seen to strongly incentivize “effortful control” in order to convince oneself that “Black is White.”

A Cuckoo in the Nest

As transsexuality have become increasingly prominent, it’s only natural that many have grown suspicious that transsexuals are taking on these new identities mendaciously—that is, they are swapping genders as a way of gaining attention or even advantage. It could be argued that if you are a narcissist—and thus strongly desire validation, admiration, and sympathy—then you might be able to convince yourself that you are born in the wrong body. In a society in which being a member of a supposedly victimized group is valued—a reversal of what was previously the case—then unscrupulous people are incentivized to reinvent themselves on occasion.

Rachel Dolezal is the most notorious example of this kind of behavior. A biologically White woman raised in Montana, Dolezal adopted typically African-American dress, hair, and speech patterns and, at a relatively young age, became President of the NAACP chapter of Spokane, Washington—a high-status position that, presumably, would not have been open to a White. When Dolezal’s deception was revealed, she was excoriated int he media as a liar or con artist—or even, ironically, as the ultimate expression of “whiteness”[77]; but there is reason to believe that Dolezal genuinely felt that she was part of the Black experience, either through effortful control or, perhaps, childhood trauma.[78] More recently, Dr. Jessica Krug, formerly of George Washington University, did something similar, posing as Black for many years and apparently taking advantage of the “diversity” regime currently dominant in Western academia.[79]

So, if you are a White, heterosexual male—and excluded from the new victimhood nobility—you may find yourself drawn towards transgenderism, particularly if you already suffer from the array of psychological problems associated with it, which we discussed above. There has been some notable pushback to transwomen entering women’s domains, particularly women’s sports.[80] But the trend is well underway and seemingly unstoppable. In 2019, CeCe Telfer became the first transsexual athlete to win an N.C.A.A. track-and-field championship (in the 400-meter hurdles), and across all sports, transwomen are competing as women and, not surprisingly, finding success. Sports are segregated by sex for a reason, and biological males have obvious advantages in the areas of strength, quickness, and aggression in intersexual competition; this rule holds even for biological men who have undergone hormonal therapy after transitioning.[81]

Regarding the “consciousness” of transexuals, we should remember that deception—and even self-deception—can sometimes be an evolutionary strategy. The cuckoo bird, for instance, engages in what is known as “nest parasitism”: the cuckoo mother lays an egg in the nest of another species, usually after kicking out one of the eggs already there. The cuckoo hatchling then proceeds, instinctively, to banish other competing hatchlings from its new nest, becoming its adoptive mother’s sole focus. Whether or not the hatchling is “conscious” of its ruthless subterfuge is of academic concern. The fact is, it acts in a way that increases its well-being and ability to survive. If society is structured to incentivize and valorize transsexuals, then we should not be surprised that it produces more transsexuals—along with a myriad of new ethical and identitarian dilemmas.

Returning to Alex

So, we have substantially made sense of transgenderism, which is best understood as both a dysphoria and as a paraphilia. In this regard, it has the key correlates of both, including severe disturbances of personality. This would perhaps explain the aggressive narcissism which many people have observed in transsexuals, with autism (and thus masculinization) possibly being the factor that connects everything together.

This brings us back to Alex, my friend from Durham University. There was an irrational and bombastic side to Alex. He attended left-wing protests, where he could be rather rambunctious. His Master’s thesis, Logic in Context: Some Considerations Concerning the Philosophy, Sociology and History of Logic (2006), begins with a quote from the English philosopher A. A. Luce (1882-1977), beneath which Alex wrote: “I will remark without hesitation that I regard the contents of this quote as arrant and polemical nonsense.” Part of the quote is further referred to as “gibberish.”[82] In the student bar that night back 2001, Alex’s logical abilities rather broke down in the face of a student of Arabic, who asked Alex what he hoped to achieve by what he was doing. Alex commented that what he was doing was only logical to other transgender people, to which it was retorted that there’s no such thing as subjective logic—something Alex well knew. Indeed, Alex could be rather dogmatic. This led him, for example, to present the fallacious argument, in the pages of Philosophy Now magazine, that “race” is a purely social construct, simply because “races” have some genes in common.[83] This position, manifestly, fails due to the fact that races, as examples of humans, will, by definition, have some genes in common. This, however, was the same person who set up a talk at the Durham University Philosophy Society entitled, “Is Feminist Philosophy a Contradiction in Terms?” This event was advertised on a poster featuring Pamela Anderson in black underwear.

My friends and I were dumbfounded by what we discovered about Alex back in December 2001. One of my classmates, who was also at Alex’s 21st, later remarked that such behavior was simply a manifestation of Alex’s “avant-garde genius”:

He’s going to do it. He’s actually going to mutilate his body. Maybe he’s not mentally ill at all. Why would anybody who was a man want to become a girl? Most men wouldn’t even entertain something so fucking insane. But not Alex. No way! He’s too avant-garde! That guy is a fucking avant-garde genius. I can only conclude that this is some sort of ultimate act of violent, avant-garde artistic sarcasm.

Interestingly, in 2008, there was an essay competition in the magazine Philosophy Now, where you had to answer the question: “Who is the Best Philosopher?” Rather than advocate for Heraclitus or David Hume, “Andrea” argued that she was. This breathtakingly original tactic meant that she was one of the winners. Her essay was entitled: “The answer is: Me!”[84]

I didn’t see Alex, or Dreya, much in the Spring term. But in my final term at university, the same comical situation kept recurring. I would walk up the road of Victorian houses to the university library and a slender, pretty blonde girl would smile at me and wave from the other side of the road. “This is my lucky day!” I would think to myself . . . before realizing that it was Alex.

I last saw Alex (or Dreya) in September 2002, when we met up in Bristol in the southwest of England. Just back from a holiday in Malta with his parents, Alex was planning to do a Master’s degree in Political Philosophy at the University of Sussex in Brighton, a seaside town in southern England, known for its gay scene. We lost touch.

In October 2009, I was scrolling through the Mail Online, when my attention was drawn to a photograph of a pretty girl wearing a mortar board and graduation robes. I knew her from somewhere. Who was she? You guessed it: it was Alex. So much had happened in the meantime. He had been working as a prostitute in Brighton, operating out of his own home. And he had been found dead, and the flat, set on fire. The report said nothing about his transsexuality. Once I got over the shock, I knew immediately what must have happened. I could imagine it vividly. Some middle-aged, single man, probably uneducated, a laborer or something, pays Alex for sex. He comments on how amazingly neat Alex’s vagina is or how uncommonly perfect his breasts are. Alex, in his autistic innocence, replies, “Yes. Well, they are very perfect, unnaturally perfect, but that’s because I was actually born male, so, like, that would explain their near-perfect shape.” The manly builder, who prides himself on his manliness, realizes that he’s had sex with a man. He completely loses all self-control. He strangles Alex and then he sets fire to the flat in the hope of avoiding detection.

I was sure that this was what had happened. I was so sure that I telephoned the newspaper to tell them so. The News Desk journalist was incredulous at being informed that “Andrea Joanna Waddell” (as was now the name) was once “Alexander John Waddell.” He didn’t believe me. He asked if anyone could corroborate what I was saying, so I gave him the phone number of a friend from university who did just that. It turned out that my instinct was shared even by the prosecution when the case came to trial in May 2010. The murderer, a 42-year-old Sky TV fitter called Neil McMillan, pleaded “not guilty,” but was convicted due to forensic and CCTV evidence. He had paid Alex £140 for sex but, at some point, also being very drunk, he lost his temper, punched Alex in the face, and strangled him. Alex fought back, leading to scratches and cuts on McMillan, but to no avail. We’ll probably never know why McMillan strangled Alex, but the prosecution was convinced that it was likely because McMillan discovered that Alex was transsexual. The prosecuting barrister, Mr. Russell-Flint, said “McMillan may have attacked her in anger and in drink after discovering she had once been a man.”[85]

As the trial progressed, Alex’s naivety became ever clearer. He kept £37,000 in cash at his flat in a filing cabinet in the sitting room. He advertised his services on websites such as one called “Adult Works.” Alex had even contacted the “National Union of Prostitutes” to ask how he could go about paying tax on his earnings.[86] In June 2010, McMillan was handed a life sentence, with the judge instructing that he serve a minimum of 22 years.[87] Then in November, McMillan was found guilty of having raped a woman in a hotel room in September 2009, just a few weeks before he had murdered Alex. He was sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.[88] After the original trial, Alex’s family revealed yet more tragic information about him:

Her life reads like a catalogue of disasters. She was bullied at school, knocked down by a car in Battersea, mugged in Prague, and once attacked by a gang of young thugs in Reading. While completing her second degree she developed acute ulcerative colitis which was nearly fatal, but she underwent successfully surgery resulting in an ileostomy, which was later reversed.[89]

The family had said, in 2009: “Andrea was often incapacitated by pain and unable to work, and we know she was concerned about how to make a living and be independent. If her decision on how to achieve this took her down unusual paths, who are we to judge?”[90]

I am not so much interested in judging Alex, either. But we should try to understanding him and people like him. This is especially important now that such people are increasingly socially prominent—and particularly now that you can lose your job if you fail to accept their assertions about gender and identity as unconditional facts. In January 2020, Rachel Levine was appointed by U.S. President Joe Biden as assistant health secretary, making “her” the first openly transgender federal official.[91]

Alex suffered from Gender Dysphoria and Paraphilia. Consistent with these being manifestations of dysphoria and paraphilia, Alex was autistic and seriously physically and mentally ill, points also congruous with these traits being products of developmental instability and high mutational load. Even his left-wing viewpoints have been shown to be associated with evidence of mutational load, which makes sense, as they tend to correlate with not having children, meaning that those who hold them are maladaptive.

Of course, saying this may be regarded as a “judgment” upon Alex (albeit one empirically based). But if more people had “judged” Alex, and helped him through his mental illness—rather than encouraged him to make a virtue out of it—he may well have been alive today, perhaps writing poetry, reviewing cutting-edge cocktails, and leading his local Philosophy Society.

 


 

References

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  29. Giovanni Castellini, Lorenzo Lelli, Valda Ricca, and Mario Maggi, “Sexuality in Eating Disorders Patients: Etiological Factors, Sexual Dysfunction and Identity Issues. A Systematic Review,” Hormone and Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation, 25 (2016): 2. ↩︎
  30. Baron-Cohen, “The Extreme Male Brain Theory of Autism,” op cit. ↩︎
  31. Daniel Schöttle, Peer Birken, Oliver Tuescher and Daniel Turner, “Sexuality in Autism: Hypersexual and Paraphilic Behavior in Women and Men With High-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder,” Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 19 (2017): 381-393. ↩︎
  32. Gunter Heylens, Lore Aspeslagh, Jesper Dierickx, et al., “The Co-occurrence of Gender Dysphoria and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults: An Analysis of Cross-Sectional and Clinical Chart Data,” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48 (2018): 2217-2223. ↩︎
  33. Anna van der Miesen, Annelou de Vries, Thomas Steensma, et al., “Autistic Symptoms in Children and Adolescents with Gender Dysphoria,” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48 (2018): 1537-1548. ↩︎
  34. Heather Westwood and Kate Tchanturia, “Autism Spectrum Disorder in Anorexia Nervosa: An Updated Literature Review,” Current Psychiatry Reports, 19 (2017): 41. ↩︎
  35. Viktoria Lyons and Michael Fitzgerald, “Atypical Sense of Self in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Neuro- Cognitive Perspective,” InTech Open (March 6, 2013, doi: 10.5772/53680. ↩︎
  36. Natalie Gold and Michaelis Kyratsous, “Self and Identity in Borderline Personality Disorder: Agency and Mental Time Travel,” Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 23 (2017): 1020-1028. ↩︎
  37. Álvaro Frías, Laura González, Cárol Palma, and Núria Farriols, “Is There a Relationship Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Sexual Masochism in Women?” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46 (2017): 747-754. ↩︎
  38. Antonio Prunas, Rossello Di Pierro and Roberto Bernorio, “The Relationship Between Personality Organization and Sexual Life in a Community Sample of Men,” Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 4 (2016): 345-358. ↩︎
  39. Atefeh Ghanbari Jolfaei, Azadeh Mazaheri Meybodi, and Ahmad Hajebi, “The Frequency of Personality Disorders in Patients With Gender Identity Disorder,” Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 28 (2014): 90; Kurt Seikworski, Sabine Gollek, Wolfgang Harth and Michaela Reinhardt, “Borderline Personality Disorder and Transsexualism,” Psychiatrische Praxis, 35 (2008):135-41  ↩︎
  40. Clive Kelly and Matthew Davies, “A Review of Anorexia Nervosa, Its Relationship to Autism and Borderline Personality Disorder, and Implications for Patient Related Outcomes,” Journal of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Disorders, 3 (2019): 207-215. ↩︎
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  42. Ashley Watts, Madeline Nagel, Robert Latzman, and Scott Lilienfeld, “Personality Disorder Features and Paraphilic Interests Among Undergraduates: Differential Relations and Potential Antecedents,” Journal of Personality Disorders, 33 (2018): 22-48. ↩︎
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  44. Anne Lawrence, “Shame and Narcissistic Rage in Autogynephilic Transsexualism,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37 (2008): 457-461. ↩︎
  45. Federico Amianto, et al., “Narcissism and Eating Disorders in Adolescent Population,” EC Paediatrics, 5 (2017): 58-63. ↩︎
  46. Emanuel Jauk, Elena Weigle, Konrad Lehmann, et al., “The Relationship between Grandiose and Vulnerable (Hypersensitive) Narcissism,” Frontiers in Psychology, 8 (2017):1600. ↩︎
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  48. Richard Lynn, “Racial and ethnic differences in psychopathic personality” Personality and Individual Differences, 32 (2002): 273-316. ↩︎
  49. Rob van Bommel, Kasia Uzieblo, Stefan Bogaerts and Carlo Garofalo, “Psychopathic Traits and Deviant Sexual Interests: The Moderating Role of Gender,” International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 17 (2018): 256-271. ↩︎
  50. Cecilia Dhejne, Roy Van Vlerken, Gunter Heylens , and Jon Arcelus, “Mental Health and Gender Dysphoria: A Review of the Literature,” International Review of Psychiatry, 28 (2016): 44-57. ↩︎
  51. Males tend to display relatively little difference in finger length compared to females. ↩︎
  52. Riittakerttu Kaltiala-Heino, Marja Työläjärvi, and Nina Lindberg, “Gender Dysphoria in Adolescent Population: A 5-year Replication Study,” Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, (2019), doi.org/10.1177/1359104519838593. ↩︎
  53. Owen Tonks, “Love Is In The Air: Who is Caitlyn Jenner’s Partner Sophia Hutchins and How Long Have They Been Dating?” The Sun, November 26, 2019, https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/6773717/caitlyn-jenner-girlfriend-sophia-hutchins-age-married/ (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  54. Edward Dutton and Guy Madison, “Gender Dysphoria and Transgender Identity is Associated with Physiological and Psychological Masculinization: A Theoretical Integration of Findings, Supported by Systematic Reviews,” (2020),  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-020-00489-z ↩︎
  55. Simona Giordano, “Eating Yourself Away: Reflections on the ‘Comorbidity’ of Eating Disorders and Gender Dysphoria,” Clinical Ethics (2017), https://doi.org/10.1177/1477750916661977 (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
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  58. Thomas D. Steensma, Jenifer K. McGuire, Baudewijntje Kreukels, et al., “Factors Associated With Desistence and Persistence of Childhood Gender Dysphoria: A Quantitative Follow-up Study,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52 (2013): 582-590. ↩︎
  59. Jack L. Turban and Alex S. Keuroghlian, “Dynamic Gender Presentations: Understanding Transition and “De-Transition” Among Transgender Youth,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 57 (2018): 451–453; S. Danker, S.K. Narayan, R. Bluebond-Langner, “A Survey Study of Surgeons’ Experience with Regret and/or Reversal of Gender-Confirmation Surgeries,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open, 6 (2018): 189. doi:10.1097/01.GOX.0000547077.23299.00. ↩︎
  60. Lisa Littman, “Parent Reports of Adolescents and Young Adults Perceived to Show Signs of a Rapid Onset of Gender Dysphoria,” PLoS ONE, 13 (2018): e0202330, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202330 (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  61. Stephen Allison, Megan Warin, and Tarun Bastianpillai, “Anorexia Nervosa and Social Contagion: Clinical Implications,” Australia and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48 (2014): 116-120. ↩︎
  62. Robert Tracinski, “Is Transgender the New Anorexia?” The Federalist, September 6, 2018. https://thefederalist.com/2018/09/06/transgender-new-anorexia/ (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  63. Kenneth J. Zucker, Susan J. Bradley, Dahlia N. Ben-Dat, et al., “Psychopathology in the Parents of Boys With Gender Identity Disorder,” Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 42 (2003): 2-4. ↩︎
  64. S. Marantz and S. Coates, “Mothers of boys with gender identity disorder: a comparison of matched controls,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 30 (1991): 310-315. ↩︎
  65. Meng-Chuan Lai, Yen-Nan Chiu, Kenneth D. Gadow, Susan Shur-Fen Gau and Hai-Gwo Hwu, “Correlates of Gender Dysphoria in Taiwanese University Students,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39 (2010): 1415-1428. ↩︎
  66. L. Balottin, R. Nacinovich, M. Bomba and S. Mannarini, “Alexithymia in parents and adolescent anorexic daughters: comparing the responses to TSIA and TAS-20 scales” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 10 (2014): 1941-1951. ↩︎
  67. R. Kaltiala-Heino, M. Sumia, M. Työläjärvi, and N. Lindberg, et al., “Two years of gender identity service for minors: overrepresentation of natal girls with severe problems in adolescent development,” Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 9:9. ↩︎
  68. Woodley of Menie, Sarraf, Pestow, and Fernandes, “Social Epistasis Amplifies the Fitness Costs of Deleterious Mutations, Engendering Rapid Fitness Decline Among Modernized Populations,” op cit. ↩︎
  69. Anthony Volk, and Jeremy Atkinson, “Is Child Death the Crucible of Human Evolution?” Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 2 (2008): 103-116. ↩︎
  70. Woodley of Menie, Sarraf, Pestow, and Fernandes, “Social Epistasis Amplifies the Fitness Costs of Deleterious Mutations, Engendering Rapid Fitness Decline Among Modernized Populations,” op cit.. ↩︎
  71. Edward Dutton, Guy Madison and Curtis Dunkel, “The Mutant Says in His Heart, ‘There Is No God’: The Rejection of Collective Religiosity Centred Around the Worship of Moral Gods is Associated with High Mutational Load,” Evolutionary Psychological Science, 4 (2018): 233-244. ↩︎
  72. Joiner, “Contagious Depression,” op cit. ↩︎
  73. See Matthew Sarraf, Michael A. Woodley of Menie, and Colin Feltham, Modernity and Cultural Decline: A Biobehavioral Perspective (Basingstoke, Hants: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). ↩︎
  74. Damon Centola, Joshua Becker, Devon Brackbill, and Andrea Baronchelli, “Experimental Evidence for Tipping Points in Social Convention,” Science, 360 (2018): 1116-1119. ↩︎
  75. Kevin MacDonald, “Effortful Control, Explicit Processing, and the Regulation of Human Evolved Predispositions,” Psychological Review, 115 (2008): 1012-1031. ↩︎
  76. Forstater v. CGD Europe & Anor (Religious or Belief Discrimination), United Kingdom Employment Tribunal, December 18, 2019. ↩︎
  77. See Ijeoma Oluo, “The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black,” The Stranger, April 19, 2017, https://www.thestranger.com/features/2017/04/19/25082450/the-heart-of-whiteness-ijeoma-oluo-interviews-rachel-dolezal-the-white-woman-who-identifies-as-black (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  78. Richard Spencer, “Black Like Her,” Radix Journal, June 18, 2015, https://radixjournal.com/2015/06/2015-6-18-rachel-dolezal-and-the-quest-for-identity/ (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  79. Guardian Staff, “Jessica Krug: White Professor Who Pretended to be Black Resigns From University Post,” The Guardian, September 10, 2020), https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/09/jessica-krug-professor-resigns-george-washington (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  80. See Martina Navratilova, “The Rules on Trans Athletes Reward Cheats and Punish the Innocent,” The Times (London), February 17, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-rules-on-trans-athletes-reward-cheats-and-punish-the-innocent-klsrq6h3x (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  81. Gillian R. Brassil and Jeré Longman, “Who Should Compete in Women’s Sports? There Are ‘Two Almost Irreconcilable Positions,’” New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/18/sports/transgender-athletes-womens-sports-idaho.html (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  82. Andrea Waddell, Logic in Context: Some Considerations Concerning the Philosophy, Sociology and History of Logic (Master’s Thesis, University of Sussex: 2006), 2; OrnaVerum, Andrea Joanna Waddell (1980–2009), http://www.ornaverum.org/family/waddell-andrea.html (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  83. Andrea Waddell, “Race and Science,” Philosophy Now, February/March 2006, https://philosophynow.org/issues/54/Letters (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  84. Andrea Waddell, “The Answer Is: Me!” Philosophy Today November/December 2008, https://philosophynow.org/issues/70/Who_Is_The_Best_Philosopher (accessed January 15, 2021. ↩︎
  85. Get Reading, “Andrea Waddell ‘Strangled by Her Client,’” May 12, 2010, https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/andrea-waddell-strangled-client-4226743 (accessed January 15, 2021. ↩︎
  86. Alison Cridland, “£37,000 Found at Murdered Prostitute’s Brighton Flat,” The Argus May 14, 2010, https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/8164339.37000-found-at-murdered-prostitutes-brighton-flat/ (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  87. Metro, “Neil McMillan Jailed For 22 Years For Andrea Waddell Murder,” June 4, 2010, https://metro.co.uk/2010/06/04/neil-mcmillan-jailed-for-22-years-for-murdering-transgender-prostitute-356623/?ito=cbshare (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  88. Get Reading, “Andrea Waddell Murderer Sentenced For Rape,” November 22, 2010, https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/andrea-waddell-murderer-sentenced-rape-4220359 (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  89. Laura Miller, “Family tribute to brave Andrea Waddell,” Get Reading, June 9, 2010, https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/family-tribute-brave-andrea-waddell-4225690 (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  90. Laura Miller, “We Will Never Stop Loving Andrea Waddell,” Get Reading, October 21, 2009, https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/never-stop-loving-andrea-waddell-4233931 (accessed January 15, 2021). ↩︎
  91. Samantha Schmidt, John Wagner, and Teo Armus, “Biden Selects Transgender Doctor Rachel Levine as Assistant Health Secretary,” January 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/01/19/rachel-levine-transgender-biden-hhs-pick/ (accessed January 25, 2021). ↩︎

 

1 Comment on Born Again

Ethnogenesis in America

Interracial marriage in the United States foretells, not so much a post-racial society, as the birth of new peoples. This essay is drawn from the new book Making Sense of…

Interracial marriage in the United States foretells, not so much a post-racial society, as the birth of new peoples.

This essay is drawn from the new book Making Sense of Race, which can be purchased here.

When we hear the word “ethnicity,” we tend to think of peoples, like the Irish or Han Chinese, that trace their ancestry and history back millennia. But, of course, race and ethnicity are dynamic and evolving. Ethnic groups that have a “timeless” conception of themselves have, in fact, experienced more genetic change and engaged in more interbreeding than they might want to admit. Furthermore, there is no reason why we wouldn’t expect new and different ethnicities to emerge in the future.

Race is best understood as a subspecies of mankind; and ethnicity, a kind of “sub-sub-species” or hybrid cline. In other words, sometimes an ethnicity is a subgroup of a race, which has been relatively isolated for some reason or another; other times, ethnicities emerge through the combination of two or more races. Over the past 50 years, the world, and particularly the Western world, has become increasingly multicultural and multiracial, due to immigration and the tremendous advancements in transportation and communication. This has led, unsurprisingly, to increased interbreeding between races and ethnicities—and interbreeding between groups that, before the age of globalization, would have scarce contact with one another. There comes a point at which a hybrid between two groups merits being understood as an ethnicity all of its own. This process of ethnogenesis—literally, the generation of a new ethnicity—takes centuries, but we can look at current trends in mating and dating and at least speculate about the ethnicities of the future.

The United States has emerged as a kind of laboratory in this regard. As of this writing, (non-Hispanic) Whites compose roughly 60 percent of a population of 330 million; African-Americans, 13 percent; Hispanics, 20; Asians 6; and American Indians, just over 1. According to current projections, America will become a “majority-minority” nation in the next 25 years; that is, no one race will hold sway demographically. Even in such an environment, marriages are still overwhelmingly intra-racial.1 If love were truly blind, that would not be the case. At the turn of the century, Americans were 75 percent less likely to know a person of another race “with whom they discuss important matters” than would happen by chance.2

It is important to point out, however, that the number of mixed- marriages has more than tripled since the overturning of anti- miscegenation laws in 1967. The Pew Research Center reports that, as of 2015, “intermarriage” occurred among around 17 percent of newlyweds (people married in the past year). The intermarriage rate is slightly higher in metropolitan areas, where Americans are more likely to encounter people of other races.3

Among 2015 newlyweds, White people chose a spouse of another race just over 10 percent of the time. Rates of intermarriage are significantly higher among other races: African-Americans, 18 percent; Hispanics, 27 percent; and Asians, 29 percent.4 While Asians are intermarrying slightly less often than 40 years ago (from 33 to 29 percent), the rate at which Blacks intermarry has tripled in the same period of time (from 5 to 18 percent).

Table 1: Percentage of U.S. Newlyweds Who Are Intermarried

1980 2015
Asian 33 29
Blacks 5 18
Hispanics 26 27
Whites 4 17
Total 7 17

There are significant racial and sexual differences in intermarriage. While White and Hispanic men and women intermarry at largely the same rate, Blacks and Asians do not. Twice as many Black men (24 percent) intermarry as Black women (12 percent). With Asians, something like the reverse is true: more than a third of Asian women intermarry, while 21 percent of Asian men do.

Table 2: Percentage of 2014-15 U.S. Newlyweds Who Are Intermarried, Broken Down By Sex

Men Women
Whites 12% 10%
Hispanics 26% 28%
Blacks 24% 12%
Asians 21% 36%

The most common form of intermarriage by far is between Whites and Hispanics, which makes up 42 percent of the total, followed by White and Asian partnering (15 percent) and White and Black marriages (11 percent).

Table 3: Percentage of 2014-15 Opposite-Sex Newlywed Couples

Coupling % all intermarried couples
White/Hispanic 42%
White/Asian 15%
White/Multiracial 12%
White/Black 11%
Hispanic/Black 5%
White/American Indian 3%
Hispanic/Asian 3%
Hispanic/Multiracial 3%

Male and female Whites and Hispanics marry each other, more or less, at the same frequency. But from there, significant disparities emerge. As mentioned, Asians are the most likely race to “marry out,” and when they do, 75 percent of them marry Whites. The number of couples with a White husband and Asian wife is almost three times the size of a pairing of an Asian husband and White wife. Similarly, couples with a Black husband and White wife are more than twice as common as ones with a White husband and Black wife.

Table 4. Percentage of opposite-sex Newlywed Couples, Broken Down By Husband and Wife Pairing

Couplin Share of intermarried
White Husband/Hispanic Wife 22%
Hispanic Husband/White Wife 20%
White Husband/Asian Wife 11%
Asian Husband/White Wife 4%
White Husband/Black Wife 3%
Black Husband/White Wife 7%
Hispanic Husband/Black Wife 1%
Black Husband/Hispanic Wife 4%

In many ways, the Pew Research Center’s Report from a half- decade earlier provides more detail than the one which employs data from 2015.5 According to this data, in 2008, when Whites males who had married someone of a different ethnicity in the last 12 months were asked what ethnicity it was, 46.1 percent said “Hispanic” and 26.9 percent said “Asian,” the second highest category. Only 6.9 percent said “Black.” For White women, only 9.4 percent said “Asian,” whereas 51.4 percent said “Hispanic” and 20.1 percent said “Black.”

A White-Hispanic partnering, the most common intermarriage in America, does not foretell ethnogenesis. The term “Hispanic” has always been ambiguous, because it is a linguistic, not an ethnic, category. Genetically speaking, “Hispanic” connotes people of mixed European and Amerindian backgrounds—which is not being fundamentally affected through these intermarriages. Their offspring will simply be regarded as Hispanic or White, depending on the case. It’s worth pointing out, however, that this identity choice will have a small, though significant, effect on overall demographics as it is calculated by the U.S. Census.

More noteworthy is the next most common interracial pairing: Whites and Asians (again, usually East Asians), which accounts for 15 percent of the total. This is a new cline. Just as breeding between White males and Amerindian females produced Hispanics—who then went on to intermarry—there is an on-going process whereby White American males forming unions with East Asian American females might become an example of ethnogenesis.

This high rate of out-marriage among Asians likely reflects the relatively low number of Asians in the U.S.; indeed, as their population has grown, Asian “marrying out” has become slightly less common, falling by some 12 percent between 1980 and 2015. It may also reflect the way that females in particular would be predicted to wish to marry hypergamously and thus, potentially, to someone of another race, and especially to a White man, if being White is associated with status.

Consistent with this, according to 2008 data, 39.5 percent of Asian American women marry people of a different race—76 percent of these to Whites—compared to 19.5 percent of Asian American males who do so. Among African-Americans, this relationship is reversed: 22 percent of Black males marry someone of a different race (in 57 percent of cases to White women), compared to 8.9 percent of African-American women (58 percent of these cases to White men).

We see this “inequality of attraction” in dating as well. In 2009 and 2014, the popular dating site OkCupid released meta-data on race and gender generated by its tens of millions of users. It was analyzed by the site’s co-founder, Christian Rudder—who subsequently deleted his post. As New York magazine lamented, “the results did not quite suggest a colorblind utopia of post-racial love.

Most races preferred to date within their own race. Asian men and black men received fewer messages than white men, while black women received the fewest messages of all users.6

One of the most salient analyses was based on “QuickMatch” scores, in which the user is asked to rate a photo of a potential date between 1 and 5. The scores below are separated out by race and sex and show the percentage compared to the average; for example, Asian men rate Asian women 15 percent above the average woman, but rate Black women 20 percent below the average. We find that women strongly prefer men of the same race, somewhere between 18 to 24 percent above the average. The same, however, is not true for men. Both Black and White men seem to prefer Asian women slightly more than women of their own races. Black men are the least picky in terms of the race of the women they seek to date, as revealed by the small range of their responses. And overall, Black women and Asian men receive the lowest scores from other races.

Asian Women Black Women Latina Women White Women
Asian men rating… 15% -20% 2% 3%
Black men rating 2% 1% 2% -6%
Latino men rating… 4% -18% 10% 4%
White men rating… 9% -17% 3% 6%

 

Asian men Black men Latino men White men
Asian women rating… 24% -27% -15% 18%
Black women rating… -13% 23% -3% -6%
Latina women rating… -14% -16% 18% 12%
White women rating… -12% -8% 1% 19%

These differences would be explicable in terms of three strands of research. On the one hand, when White women are shown photos of male Black, White, and East Asian people, they tend to regard Blacks as the most attractive, probably because they are the most masculinized, and East Asian males as the least. This is reversed in White males, because East Asian females have typically ultra-feminine and neotenous features (rendering them “cute”), whereas Black females typically have the least feminine features, as researchers on race and attractiveness have pointed out.7 This would also help to explain why Black women are particularly unlikely to “marry out.” Males, as we have discussed, mainly select for youth and beauty and are less interested in status. Traditionally, being Black is regarded as low status; and, more importantly, Black females are low in neoteny.

In addition, with regard to the racial marriage patterns noted, Genetic Similarity Theory would predict that Whites and Hispanics would be attracted to each other, due to their relative genetic similarity. Finally, there is some evidence that U.S. inter-racial marriages involve a trade-off of desirable traits, especially in Black male/White female unions. In these unions, the Black male tends to be of relatively high educational status compared to the woman, meaning that the female marries hypergamously in terms of education. It is proposed that this compensates for the fact that the female is marrying hypogamously (that is, socially downwards) in terms of racial status. In other words, she has engaged in status exchange.8

Regardless, we can see that a process of ethnogenesis is occurring in the U.S., primarily based around unions between White males and East Asian females. This has long been occurring in Hawaii, due to the established Japanese minority there, and the products of these unions are known by the Hawaiian word “Hapa,” which refers to a person of mixed ethnicity. Young people throughout the U.S. who are part White and part East Asian have increasingly embraced Hapa as a marker of their identity, though some Hawaiian activists have criticized this as an example of “cultural appropriation.”9 It is worth noting that Black-White biracials in the U.S. likely have a White mother, whereas Asian-White biracials are likely to have a White father. It is possible that this may lead to some effects in terms of which traits are inherited, but with the current state of research, this can only be speculated upon. According to Pew’s research, contracting a mixed-race marriage is positively correlated with education level. This may be due to the relationship between educational attainment and intelligence, something which is in turn associated with Openness. It may also be because of “exposure”: as Blacks, in particular, become more educated, they are more likely to live in areas where there are many Whites.10 However, there remains only a very weak relationship with education level.

What is clear is that the American nation is changing dramatically. To understand this, one can look to Silicon Valley, California—America’s avant-garde region in terms of technology, culture, finance, and, increasingly, demographics. As of 2017, “Asians”—mostly from China and India—made up the largest majority (34 percent) in Silicon Valley, a collection of counties of 3.1 million. Among the share of highly skilled and educated workers, some 14 percent alone were from China, which rivaled the numbers from the state of California (17 percent) and the U.S. at large (16 percent). India outnumbered them all, making up 26 percent of high-skilled tech workers.11

A situation like this will not render race “irrelevant” so much as it will generate a new people—or, more likely, peoples. We shouldn’t expect Peoria, Illinois, to resemble Silicon Valley anytime soon; however, the dramatic transformation that America is currently undergoing will unquestionably transform its collective feeling of nationalism—and xenophobia—in the not-too-distant future.


  1. Del Thiessen and Barbara Bregg, “Human Assortative Mating and Genetic Equilibrium: An Evolutionary Perspective,” Ethology and Sociobiology, 1 (1980): 111-140. ↩︎
  2. Miller McPherson, Lynn Smith-Lovin, and James M Cook, “Birds of a Feather: Homophily in Social Networks,” Annual Review of Sociology, 27 (2001): 415-444. ↩︎
  3. Gretchen Livingston and Anna Brown, “Intermarriage in the U.S. 50 Years After Loving v. Virginia,” Pew Research, May 18, 2017, https://www. pewsocialtrends.org/2017/05/18/intermarriage-in-the-u-s-50-years-after-loving-v- virginia/ (accessed May 15, 2020). ↩︎
  4. “Asian” in a U.S. context appears to refer mainly to East Asians, while in Britain it refers to South Asians. In the following discussion, I use “Asian” in the U.S. sense. ↩︎
  5. Paul Taylor, Jeffrey Passell, Wendy Wang, et al., “Marrying Out: One-in- Seven New U.S. Marriages in Interracial or Interethnic,” Pew Research, June 4, 2010, https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2010/06/04/ marrying-out-oneinseven-new-us-marriages-is-interracial-or-interethnic (accessed May 15, 2020). ↩︎
  6. Allison P. Davis, “New OkCupid Data on Race Is Pretty Depressing,” New York, September 11, 2014, https://www.thecut.com/2014/09/new-okcupid-data- on-race-is-pretty-depressing.html. ↩︎
  7. Michael Lewis. “A Facial Attractiveness Account of Gender Asymmetries in Interracial Marriage,” PLoS ONE, 7 (2, 2012): e31703, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0031703 (accessed May 15, 2020). ↩︎
  8. Aaron Gullickson, “Education and Black/White Interracial Marriage,” Demography, 43 (2006): 673-689. ↩︎
  9. Ameki Johnson, “Who Gets to be ‘Hapa?’” National Public Radio, August 8, 2016, https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/08/08/487821049/who-gets-to-be-hapa?t=1596013424206 (accessed May 15, 2020). ↩︎
  10. Gullickson, “Education and Black/White Interracial Marriage,” op cit.. ↩︎
  11. Joint Venture Silicon Valley, “2019 Silicon Valley Index,” Institute for Regional Studies, https://jointventure.org/images/stories/pdf/index2019.pdf (accessed May 15, 2020). ↩︎
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The Arguments Against “Race”

“Race” is a coherent biological category, as much as is “species,” and the cases against it simply don’t add up. This essay is drawn from the book Making Sense of…

“Race” is a coherent biological category, as much as is “species,” and the cases against it simply don’t add up.

This essay is drawn from the book Making Sense of Race, which can be purchased here.

 


 

Is “race” an outmoded, morally dubious idea that was deservedly cast into the dustbin of history, along with Stalinism, astrology, and blood-letting? Many say so. Indeed, there is a vociferous movement in anthropology, as well as in the mass media, opposed to the use of race as a biological category. Their opposition functions through a series of “memes” or “variations on themes,” which recur again and again. It is to these arguments that we now turn an informed and critical eye.

How Can You Draw a Line Between Different Races?

A chapter summary in Race and Intelligence includes the lines:

There are no biological races. Human physical appearance varies gradually around the planet, with the most geographically distant peoples generally appearing the most different from one another.1

In other words: there is no clear way to divide different races. They merge into each other, with great variation in-between. A version of this argument is that there is no specific gene that is found only in one specific race. It can be countered that races are, of course, not entirely discrete categories because, if they were, they would be more like species, or perhaps genera, families, or orders on up the taxonomic scale.

Even if it were true that no unambiguous line can be drawn between races, this does not undermine the utility of race. The line between Grizzly bears and Brown bears is blurry, too—but you still know one when you see one and making distinctions between these subspecies is meaningful. Moreover, even if we were to accept that a species varies in small ways due to slightly different environments, then those at the extremes would differ so much, and in consistent ways, that it would become useful to distinguish between them.

Ultimately, it seems like people who make this argument are flirting with a kind of “tactical nihilism.” After all, no concept about the real world is mathematically pure. If “race” is “problematic” because it has blurry borders, then the concept of “history” is equally “problematic”—indeed, the term “problematic” is “problematic.” We use categories to divide our world into manageable chunks and thus negotiate it successfully. If we could not do that, we’d die. So the “blurry borders” argument fails the philosophical test of pragmatism. There exist population clusters that differ profoundly due to varying degrees of evolutionary isolation. These allow correct predictions to be made. That is all that is being argued.

Race is a “Western” Concept

Some say that race is illegitimate or immoral because it is steeped in Western history (and thus things like slavery and oppression), as well as the supposedly myopic and suffocating outlook of “Western science.” But this same argument could be made about almost any concept—including the ones that supposedly undermine or overcome Western hegemony. At some point, we have to accept a basic framing.

And the central question is whether race is a predictive category or not. If race is “problematic” because it’s Western, then, presumably, we cannot use Western concepts at all to analyze anything non-Western. Following this logic, we shouldn’t even talk about anything that is non-Western using a Western tongue. Such argument may sound profound, but under inspection, they’re rather shallow. And for what it’s worth, non-Western cultures clearly have words and concepts that track with the Western notion of “race.”

Race Has Meant Different Things

It has been noted that the word “race” can mean different things. Historically, it has been used in ways that “culture,” “ethnic group,” “nation,” or even “family” are now employed. Lord Acton’s Cambridge Modern History, for instance, referred to the “Habsburg race” in reference to the dynastic line.2 While the history of words is interesting, the fact that the meaning of words change over time is simply irrelevant to our purposes here. We are clear that by “race” we mean breeding populations separated in prehistory and adapted to different environments. If anyone uses race to mean anything else, then our use of race and his are merely homonyms. For what it’s worth, the word “mean” has meant different things historically. In Middle English, it meant “to intend.” Only by 1834 was “mean” widely being used in the way in which it is above.3 Does that “mean” that we cannot use the concept of “meaning”?

Studying Race Leads to Bad Things

Another supposed problem with race is that developing the concept leads to bad consequences. It legitimizes “racist groups,” “inspires hatred,” and so forth. That it might do this is clearly of no relevance to whether or not it is a scientifically justifiable and predictive category. This argument commits the fallacy of an “appeal to consequences” and, depending on how the consequences are described, an “appeal to emotion.” Firstly, it’s obvious that concepts of all kinds can have bad effects. Ecology—as well as awareness about pollution and natural degradation—has, on some level, “inspired” eco-terrorism and murder. Does that mean that research into cleaning the oceans and preserving their ecosystems should cease because it has led, in some way, to violence? To ask the question is to answer it.

Beyond that, it can be convincingly argued that suppressing the concept of race leads to very bad consequences. If a South Asian person has a kidney transplant and is given the kidney of a White person, then his body will likely reject it, elevating the possibility that the patient will die of kidney failure. This scenario is the reason why Britain’s National Health Service regularly appeals for more Black and South Asian organ donors.4 During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, it was found that mortality was particularly high among Blacks and South Asians living in Northern Europe, something that was argued to be for genetic reasons. Specifically, Vitamin D deficiency rendered one more susceptible to serious complications from Covid-19, and non- Europeans were much more likely to be deficient due to their darker skin, leaving them less able to absorb Vitamin D from the sun.5

There are consistent genetic racial differences in the prevalence of many serious medical conditions. Sometimes these stay in populations because a single inherited allele had positive consequences in ancestral environments, overwhelming the negatives consequences for individual carriers of two alleles. An example is sickle cell anaemia, a condition associated with Sub-Saharan Africans. If you carry two copies of the mutant allele, then you develop this debilitating condition. If, however, you carry one copy, then you will likely be immune to malaria.6 Cystic Fibrosis, a congenital disease among Northern European, is similar.7 It only appears when two carriers of the faulty allele have a child, there being a 50 percent chance that such a child will have Cystic Fibrosis. Various hypotheses have been advanced to explain why Cystic Fibrosis has remained in European populations. One states that carrying a single copy of the faulty allele causes carriers to be better able to fight off tuberculosis.8

In some cases, something is adaptive under Darwinian conditions but is maladaptive under modern conditions. For example, South Asians are particularly good at storing fat, and this is useful in the context of food scarcity, for obvious reasons. But with food abundance brought on by the Industrial Revolution and the use of fossil fuels, South Asians become diabetic more easily than Europeans.9 Helping South Asians deal with these problems can only occur with a proper understanding of their nature.

There is evidence that Northeast Asians are less well-adapted to flu-like viruses than either Europeans or Sub-Saharan Africans. This may be because flu thrives in cold and wet or hot and wet ecologies, meaning that Europeans and Sub-Saharan Africans would be more strongly selected to be resistant to flu.10 Moreover, races that never developed complex agriculture—such as the Inuit, the Australian Aborigines, the Pacific Islanders, and many Native American groups—have low resistance to flu because animal husbandry often causes viruses to jump the species barrier, and races that evolved in such a context developed better adapted immune systems.11 This would imply that, during an influenza pandemic, East Asians in Western countries should get special protection from the flu. Denying that race exists would simply put people in danger. All of these are poignant illustrations of why race is definitely not a “social construct” and a proper understanding of it is literally a matter of life and death.

Lewontin’s Fallacy

A more scientifically informed criticism of race can be found in the common criticism, “There are more differences within races than there are between them.” This is wheeled out with great profundity by biased scientists when interviewed in biased newspapers, without any references. It has come to be known as “Lewontin’s Fallacy,” named after biologist Richard Lewontin (b.1929), who argued that 85 percent of human genetic differences are due to individual variation, and only 15 percent due to differences between populations and ethnic groups; ergo, “there are more difference within races than between them.”

This fallacy can be easily dispatched. The sheer number of differences is less important than the direction of the differences. If a variety of small differences all push in the same direction—which they will in the case of subspecies evolved to different ecologies— then this can add up to significant overall differences between average members of different races.12

British biologist A.W.F. Edwards presented a systematic critique of Lewontin’s argument (along the way, coining the phrase “Lewontin’s Fallacy”).13 He noted that Lewontin simply looked at a small number of genetic loci and found that, indeed, 85 percent of human variation was due to individual differences. However, argues Edwards, if you look at lots of loci, then you will find these loci correlate differently in different groups, due to gene frequency differences, leading to very different results. Indeed, this leads to races being very different in numerous predictable ways, rendering “race” a scientific category. Edwards pointed out that, using Lewontin’s logic, we wouldn’t be able to distinguish between different tree structures, because these differences are hidden in the correlational data, just as race differences are. But using only genetic data, scientists were able to correctly highlight 15 forms of tree structure. As Edwards notes, Lewontin’s argument could only work if each of the genetic loci highlighted were randomly distributed between races, but it is in the very nature of races—being adaptations to different ecologies—that genes are not randomly distributed. Thus, Lewontin presents us—albeit wrapped up in abstruse scientific language—with nothing more than a circular argument.

To make matters worse, the loci which Lewontin used do not vary substantially between races. He used markers such as blood-type, and, as anthropologist Peter Frost has noted, these are “not particularly selectively important. . . . [W]hen genes vary within a population, despite similar selection pressures, it’s usually because they have little or no selective value.”14 When methods were used with markers that do vary between races, such as craniometric variation and skin color, it was found that 81 percent of the variation is between races.15 Lewontin, therefore, only uncovered the findings he did by using genetic loci that aren’t especially relevant to regional evolution—despite evolution to different regions being the essence of race. So, Lewontin’s argument is a kind of sleight of hand.16 What he is actually proclaiming is this: When you use genetic loci that are distributed very similarly in all races, and in which there is much variation within races due to these loci not being very important to selection to different ecologies, then there are, indeed, more differences within races than between them. He hardly disproved the reality of race.

We’re All 99% The Same

In recent years, an argument against race has arisen that is much like the Lewontin fallacy: “Science has proven that every individual is more than 99 percent identical to every other.” This meme of “99%” was introduced at the turn of the century by none other than the Human Genome Project.17

On the individual level, tiny genetic differences (humans only differ by 0.0012 percent on average) have important consequences, and it is highly misleading to downplay them. The genetic differences in heritable musical ability between a professional musician and Mozart are probably rather small, but they are obviously profound. Moreover, on the level of species, humans share a remarkable amount of genetic similarity (upwards of 98 percent) with our closest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee. We even share much in common with other animals, like pigs and dogs. Clearly, small differences can have dramatic physical, psychological, and behavioral effects. And no one is willing to assert that since humans and chimpanzees are “98% the same,” we should not make distinctions between the two.

The Concept of Race Makes Me Uncomfortable

Another argument—and there are many versions of it—amounts to an appeal to emotion, in which a person essentially argues that “race” makes him feel unhappy. All that can be said is that this is manifestly fallacious and thus should be dismissed out of hand. How you feel is irrelevant to whether or not something is true. If being told that you have a rare blood disorder makes you feel unhappy, does that mean that it is not true or that you shouldn’t be told about it?

On a deeper level, we should understand that science is fundamentally amoral. It is about the relentless search for the objective truth. New scientific discoveries almost always offended some vested interest or other. This is why the kind of scientists who tend to make really important discoveries—so-called “geniuses”— seem to combine outlier high IQ with moderately low Agreeableness (altruism and empathy) and moderately low Conscientiousness (impulse control, rule following). This means that they can “think outside the box,” not bound by conventional rules—maybe they even take pleasure in slaughtering sacred cows. It also means that they either don’t care about offending people or they are sufficiently high on the “autism spectrum” that they wouldn’t be able to anticipate offending people even if they did care.18

If You Are Interested in “Race,” Then You Are Probably “Racist”

This criticism—that discussing race is “racist”—amounts to a so-called “fact-value conflation.” That a person presents something as being a “fact” has no bearing at all on his “values.” Facts are value-neutral. If a doctor tells you that you only have a week to live, does that mean he wants you to die? Furthermore, we should probably be, at the very least, suspicious of those who regularly employ the word “racist.” The first recorded use of the word “racist” was in 1932, with “racism” first observed in 1928. These terms gradually came to replace “racialist,” which was first recorded in 1910, and “racialism,” first noted in 1882.19 In 1928, “racism” meant the belief that each “race” (meaning “ethnic group”) should have their own state and that civic society was optimal if states were racially based.20 “Racialism” referred to prejudices against other races and the belief that one’s own race was superior.

In the wake of World War II, “racist” gradually came to mean what “racialist” had once meant.21 However, the term “racist” has been extended far beyond this, to refer to anybody who is seen to deviate from ideological orthodoxy with regard to the issue of race. Terming such a person the “racist” associates him with that which is accepted as somehow evil and immoral. As this association is damaging, the term “racist” is an emotionally manipulative means of keeping people on the “correct” ideological path. In other words, it is an ad hominem criticism. The essence of the accusation is that the subject has strayed sufficiently far from orthodoxy that he is immoral; he is a heretic. There are many terms of this kind. As English historian Alexandra Walsham summarizes, in her analysis of Early Modern religious non-conformity in England, the accusation of “atheist” was “available for the expression and repression of disquiet about ‘aberrant’ mental and behavioral tendencies—for the reinforcement and restatement of theoretical norms.” Both “atheist” and “papist” were “categories of deviance to which individuals who were even marginally departed from the prescribed ideals might be assimilated and thereby reproved.”22

There is simply no logical reason to reject the concept of race, and there are very persuasive reasons to accept it as what it is—a scientific category. On this basis, one should be rather guarded about the motives of those who refuse to accept it, who resort to name-calling and obfuscation, or who are mired in the contradictions and incoherence.


References

  1. Jefferson M. Fish, ed., Race and Intelligence (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2011) ↩︎
  2. Lord Acton, Stanley Mordaunt Leathes, Sir Adolphus William Ward, and G. W. Prothero, eds., Cambridge Modern History, vol. 2 (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1902). ↩︎
  3. Online Etymology Dictionary (2019), “Mean,” https://www.etymonline.com/ word/mean (accessed May 15, 2020). ↩︎
  4. Sandish Shoker, “The Health System’s Struggle to Get More Black and Asian Donors,” BBC News, July 4, 2015, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england- nottinghamshire-33101610 (accessed May 15, 2020) ↩︎
  5. Susanne Bejerot and Mats Humble, “Inhabitants of Swedish-Somali Origin Are at Great Risk for Covid-19,” British Medical Journal, 368 (2020): m1101. ↩︎
  6. Lucio Luzatto, “Sickle Cell Anaemia and Malaria,” Mediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious Diseases, 4(1) (2012): e2012065. ↩︎
  7. Brian P. O’Sullivan and Steven D. Freedman, “Cystic Fibrosis,” Lancet, 373 (2009): 1891–1904. ↩︎
  8. Joanne K. Tobacman, “Does Deficiency of Arylsulfatase B Have a Role in Cystic Fibrosis?” Chest, 123 (2003): 2130–2139. ↩︎
  9. Emma Pomeroy, Veena Mushrif-Tripathy, Tim J. Cole, et al., “Ancient Origins of Low Lean Mass Among South Asians and Implications for Modern Type 2 Diabetes Susceptibility,” Scientific Reports, 9 (2019): 10515. ↩︎
  10. Office of the Ministry of Health, Monthly Bulletin of the Ministry of Health (1954), 173. ↩︎
  11. C. L. Chen, Li Xiao, Y-P. Zhou, et al., “Ethnic Differences in Susceptibilities to A(H1N1) Flu: An Epidemic Parameter Indicating a Weak Viral Virulence,” African Journal of Biotechnology, 8 (2009): 25. ↩︎
  12. Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (New York: Basic Books, 2009). ↩︎
  13. A.W.F. Edwards, “Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin’s Fallacy,” BioEssays, 25 (2003): 798-801. ↩︎
  14. Peter Frost, “Lewontin’s Fallacy?” Evo and Proud, July 31, 2008, http:// evoandproud.blogspot.com/2008/06/lewontins-fallacy.html (accessed May 15, 2020). ↩︎
  15. John H. Relethford, “Apportionment of Global Human Genetic Diversity Based on Craniometrics and Skin Color,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 118 (2002): 393-398. ↩︎
  16. Nathan Cofnas, “Science Is Not Always ‘Self-Correcting’: Fact–Value Conflation and the Study of Intelligence.” Foundational Science, 21 (2015): 477-492. ↩︎
  17. Eric S. Lander, John Sulston, Robert H. Waterston, et al., “Initial Sequencing and Analysis of the Human Genome,” Nature, 4 (2001): 860–921. ↩︎
  18. Dean K. Simonton, “Varieties of (Scientific) Creativity: A Hierarchical Model of Domain-Specific Disposition, Development, and Achievement.” Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4 (2009): 5. ↩︎
  19. Online Etymological Dictionary, “Racist,” https://www.etymonline.com/word/ racist (accessed May 15, 2020). ↩︎
  20. Ibid. ↩︎
  21. Robert Miles, Racism (London: Routledge, 1989). ↩︎
  22. Alexandra Walsham, Church Papists: Catholicism, Conformity, and Confessional Polemic in Early Modern England (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999), 108. ↩︎
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The Death of Atheism

It seemed like only yesterday that all those online atheists were dominating YouTube—owning the fundies with facts and logic. *The dinosaurs are real—take that, Christians!* Chief Atheist Richard Dawkins just…

It seemed like only yesterday that all those online atheists were dominating YouTube—owning the fundies with facts and logic. *The dinosaurs are real—take that, Christians!*

Chief Atheist Richard Dawkins just released a new book, *Outgrowing God*. If anything, it expresses the intellectual exhaustion and growing irrelevancy of the movement he launched some 15 years ago.

Ed, Keith, and I look back at so-called “New Atheism,” revealing how those liberal edge-lords never asked any serious questions and how the battle between science and religion is not what it’s cracked up to be.

 

Podcast Version:

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The Mythoid of the Neutrality of Science

Editors Note:  By Israel Lira, Peruvian Political Theorist. Translated by Zero Schizo. In order to have myth, what is needed is that the culture in which it appears would be…

Editors Note:  By Israel Lira, Peruvian Political Theorist. Translated by Zero Schizo.


In order to have myth, what is needed is that the culture in which it appears would be a mythological one. This culture supposes a complex group of mythical categories, among them those of time, space and causality. Mythoid lacks the transcendental character of myth, it isn’t, above all, overlapped with the totality of the culture in which it works. It is, in certain sense, isolated and could even oppose essential aspects of a given culture, but possess the fundamental characters of myth. (Miro Quesada Cantuarias, 1986:84-86). As exposed, myth, understood as a fact or event which does not have empirical correlate, is differentiated from mythoid, by the socio-cultural framework in which it is produced, by which in contemporaneity we would talk more of the generation of mythoids than myths, given that our current culture is found inside of a logocratic (reason) framework eminently and not a mythocratic one.

Following the aforementioned, one of the mythoids of our contemporaneity is configured in the belief in the fact that science enjoys of an absolute neutrality in which scientific research (creation of explicative theories) and technological application (execution of theories already given to concrete cases) are not just one. Disconnected, but instead they are at the same time, estranged from external powers which could exert influence in them.

This mythoid has a clear origin in Popperian vision inside of the philosophy of science, in which precisely the separation between scientific research and technological application is made. For Popper (1970), scientific research has, as such, an intrinsic value which is guided by determined norms of methodological character that could have a moral content, insofar as the objective of the investigation is the discovery, and thus the results of such research also have that inherent value, but are neutral regarding the moral. That one could make good or bad use from the results of a scientific research a-posteriori is an entirely different thing. So, the scientist has two obligations, to follow the moral requirements of the very same scientific praxis (the scientist as scientist), and to limit himself to foresee the possible uses of his results and denounce its bad praxis (the scientist as citizen).

This Popperian approach, which is the traditional one, opposes the historic-sociological approach of epistemologists like Bernal (1939) and Richta (1971), where it is remarked that by the nature of the scientific research, the scientist –in effect– has a double responsibility, to follow the norms of the scientific method, but above all to involve himself in an active way in the changing of society in order for science to fulfill its role of serving mankind, insofar as one is conscious that scientific knowledge could be used both in order to liberate and in order oppress mankind. These are symptomatic facts which are derived from the lacking of the very same social system to which science serves. Meaning, scientific research and technological application are not separated concepts, but instead they keep an intrinsic relationship.

This last point is reaffirmed by the fact that in the praxis of scientific research, the search for some theories or others and the choice between them is not an entirely free enterprise, remembering Quintanilla (1978), regulated exclusively by the canons of objectivity and in service of truth, as the unmistakable reality is that the scientist is a wage worker whose priorities of research are given as such to an order of priority which is established by particular interests which are the ones who direct, what things can be researched and what things are left relegated, “to the extent, for example, that research devoted to a determined topic are financed and not others, etc” (1978:54). As was exposed, “it is clear that we must renounce the comfortable consolation or illusion that science, in itself, has guaranteed autonomy and value despite the wrong applications that would be made of it circumstantially or despite its historical insertion in an unjust society” (1978:56).


References

MIRO QUESADA CANTUARIAS, Francisco. (1986). «Ciencia y técnica [en América Latina]: ideas o mitoides», in: Leopoldo Zea (Ed.), América Latina en sus ideas. Mexico: UNESCO/Siglo XXI; pp. 72-94.

POPPER, K.R. (1970). «The Moral Responsibility of the Scientist» in P. Weingarther and G. Zecha (eds.), Inducfton. Physis and Ethics. Dordrecht, p. 22-326.

BERNAL, J.D. (1939). «The Social Function of Science». London.

RICHTA, R. (1971). «La civilización en la encrucijada». Madrid.

QUINTANILLA A. Miguel. (1978). «El Mito de la Neutralidad de la Ciencia: la responsabilidad del científico y del técnico». EL BASILISCO, Revista de Materialismo Filosófico. En: http://fgbueno.es/bas/pdf/bas10105.pdf

 

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Accelerationism and Coronavirus

Two weeks ago, on the “Chimerica” stream, audience member Diem Golightly asked to “apply Nick Land to current Chi-Virus situation.” Let’s give it a short try and talk Accelerationism.

Two weeks ago, on the “Chimerica” stream, audience member Diem Golightly asked to “apply Nick Land to current Chi-Virus situation.” Let’s give it a short try and talk Accelerationism.

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Madison Grant and the American Nation

The critic Northop Fye wrote of Oswald Spengler’s magnum opus, “If _The Decline of the West_ were nothing else, it would still be one of the world’s great Romantic poems.” Much the same could be said Madison Grant’s Conquest of the Continent, or rather that it is, all at once, a great history and a great poem. The book is exhaustively researched, with some four years of preparatory work, and it announces itself, modestly and scholarly, as “an effort to make an estimate of the various elements, national and racial, existing in the present population of the United States and to trace their arrival and subsequent spread.” At the same time, Conquest is a grand vision of bio-cultural struggle and evolution, in which demography comes alive. 

The critic Northop Frye wrote of Oswald Spengler’s magnum opus, “If The Decline of the West were nothing else, it would still be one of the world’s great Romantic poems.”[1] Much the same could be said Madison Grant’s Conquest of the Continent, or rather that it is, all at once, a great history and a great poem. The book is exhaustively researched, with some four years of preparatory work[2], and it announces itself, modestly and scholarly, as “an effort to make an estimate of the various elements, national and racial, existing in the present population of the United States and to trace their arrival and subsequent spread.” At the same time, Conquest is a grand vision of bio-cultural struggle and evolution, in which demography comes alive.

Personages and historical actors are few and far between; personalities are entirely absent. With Conquest, as with his earlier Passing of the Great Race (1916), Grant creates a genre of his own—racial history. The 19th century had witnessed the flowering of biography—in-depth portraits of men and their individual minds. Grant writes “bio-graphy” in a new sense of the word—the story of the movements and developments of peoples across great swaths of earth. Much like the French Annales School[3], Grant gives the reader a vision of the longe durée: time ticks away in decades and centuries; familiar tropes like leaders, events, and intrigues, if they appear at all, are subordinated to the flow of peoples; geography becomes a kind of character in that it forges race through natural selection.

As Henry Fairfield Osborn, the President of the American Museum of Natural History, notes in the first sentence of his preface, “The character of a country depends upon the racial character of the men and women who dominate it.” Thus, Grant turns historiography on its head (almost in a way comparable to Marx): History is no longer to be understood merely in terms of the actions of “Great Men” or the “culture” bestowed on peoples by king, artists, and churches; to the contrary, what is called culture, morality, and society are the outward effects of millennia of evolution.

As demography is destiny, Conquest is the story of how America became, not just the White Man’s Country, but a Nordic country. Grant writes of his historical subject, circa 8,000 B.C.:

There is was, through the fogs and long winters of the north, that they developed in complete isolation their great stature and musculature, their fair or flaxen hair, and their blue eyes.

The race survived the Ice Age by means of its peculiar Geist, whose modern manifestations include individualism, Protestantism, uprightness, and the pioneer spirt. It was these hearty souls who crossed the Atlantic to the New World and, unlike Whites in South America, resisted intermixing with the natives. In Grant’s words, “It is probably accurate to say that there never has been a nation which was so completely and definitely Protestant as well as Nordic as was the United State just after the American Revolution.”

Conquest is certainly an act of patriotism, in a broad sense; however, it is important to remember that Grant was never enthralled with what is often called the “American Experiment” or “American Exceptionalism”—that is, the idea that the country traces its political tradition back to the Age of Enlightenment and that it is nation rooted on values, not blood. In Grant’s mind, the Nordic race made America. Ideals like “equality” might reflect Nordic self-regard; however, left free-floating and all-encompassing, they are temptations to race suicide and pointless crusades, for which Grant gives ample evidence in Conquest.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Grant’s demographic history is that it is so compelling and readable. Reacting, no doubt, to its propagandistic value more than anything, the Anti-Defamation League labelled the book “even more destructive than Mein Kampf” and urged U.S. and British not to review the volume, or even mention it.

 

Madison Grant in 1920 Madison Grant in 1920

 

While the text of Conquest speaks for itself, Madison Grant the man—who he was, what he accomplished, and what his ideals were—remains more elusive. This is only partly due to the passage of time. The Second World War, the dominance Boasian anthropology, the decline of Grant’s class, and the postwar “Conservative Movement” each in its way cloud our understanding of this colossus of prewar conservationism, eugenics, and the scientific study of race.[4]

Madison Grant (1865–1937) was “to the manor born” (as the modern doggerel goes); he hailed from an aristocratic family in what was still Anglo-Dutch Manhattan. Through his mother, Grant was descended from Walloon Huguenots who settled “New Netherlands” in the 1620s. His father’s side included a signer of the Declaration of Independence, recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor for valor on the battlefield, and various prominent and wealthy professionals. Grant was graduate of Yale and held a law degree from Columbia (though he never practiced with any seriousness.)

One cannot understand Grant, and The Conquest of a Continent, without understanding his place in this pre-war, East Coast, Protestant—simply put, “WASP”—Establishment. Grant was a “conservative” in the most basic and concrete sense of the word—he sought to defend and conserve his people, his class, and his way of life. He defended Nordic America because it was his own.

Grant’s life and work were animated, first and foremost, by naturalism—put simply, his love of the wild and what he viewed as the most excellent expressions of the human species. This awe led him to abandon his law training and dedicate himself to the new sciences of conservationism and eugenics.

One could say that Grant is an avatar of two great “Old Americas” (both of which are ceasing to exist). The first of these is the aforementioned WASP Establishment, increasingly displaced or absorbed by a global elite. While the contemporary “Conservative Movement” is comprised of a strange coalition of free-market apologists, advocates for military hegemony, and Biblical fundamentalists, Grant’s sensibilities were aristocratic and European in character, his pessimistic historical outlook closely resembling that of his analogues Henry and Brooks Adams.[5]

The second “America” that Grant represents is that of the frontier and the “undiscovered country” of the West. This was the America of big-game hunting beneath Rockies and Tetons—a world where man’s existence hung in the balance, threatened by savages and the elements. One of Grant’s most emblematic accomplishments was not only to help preserve the dwindling American Bison but to bring a herd of them to the Bronx Zoo, not too far away from his redoubt in the hoity-toity Upper East Side. The act stands as an almost comical conflation of the two worlds he straddled.

Grant was a compulsive “joiner” and “founder,” and he was involved in the creation of a host organizations and entities with social purposes, many of which remain prominent today, such as the Save the Redwoods League and Glacier National Park. Through his membership in the Boone and Crocket Club—dedicated to “promoting manly sport with the rifle” and protecting the endangered Bison—Grant broke bread with future presidents, senators, explorers, diplomats, and writers; he counted Rudyard Kipling and Theodor Roosevelt among his circle of friends and acquaintances.

Fresh out of law school, the young Grant acted an eminence grise in the creation of the municipal New York Zoological Society, whose crown jewel was the Bronz Zoo, which first realized the then-quite novel conception of broad enclosures, which allowed Bison, and even at one point an African Congolese Pygmy named Ota Benga, to roam in great refuges within urban modernity.[6] Through his involvement with the American Bison Society, Grant helped preserve the majestic creature that had, shocking, dwindled from some 30 million to less than 100 in the first decade of the 20th century.

Ota Benga in the Bronx Zoo in 1906 Ota Benga in the Bronx Zoo in 1906

On top of this, Grant was one of the premier advocates of eugenics in the Western world, acting as President of the Galton Society (named after Charles Darwin’s cousin and eugenic’s progenitor). Most all of Grant’s societies were interlocking in nature, as he would recruit his naturalist colleagues to collaborate with him on his political efforts and eugenic research, tasks which were seen as deeply related.

Grant’s naturalism—what might be termed his “green,” “environmentalist,” or even “tree-hugging” inclinations—inflected his racialist writings. The title Conquest of the Continent might lead one to believe that it is a brutalist, “Might Makes Right” history of expansion. In fact, Grant’s admiration for the “the most vigorous race in history” is always tempered with an abiding concern for the natural world. As he writes, in the period between the Colonial era and the Civil War, “A continent was occupied and the territory of the Union was swept westward to the Pacific.”

The forests were cut down and the wild life destroyed. The Indians were evicted. The mineral wealth of the western mountains was ransacked. The coal was exploited, and the once fertile soil of the Southern States greatly depleted through the reckless growing of tobacco and cotton. Waste was the order of the day in America.

All this was perhaps inevitable, but never since Caesar plundered Gaul has so large a territory been sacked in so short a time. Probably no more destructive human being has ever appeared on the world stage than the American pioneer with his axe and his rifle.

One major reason for the neglect of Grant today, especially by self-styled conservatives, is that he does not “fit in” with the current Left-Right dialectic nor the portraits the mainstream Right and Left like to paint of themselves. Grant comes down to us at a time when environmentalism has never been more popular and White racialism, never more reviled. And yet, as Grant’s recent critical biographer, Jonathan Peter Spiro, writes,

There was no duality to Madison Grant’s life, no basic conflict between his espousal of conservation and his preaching on behalf of Eugenics and immigration restriction.”[7]

 


 

The Conquest of the Continent is inseparable from Grant’s greatest achievement as a political activist—the 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act and 1929 National Origins Act (which superseded the former). Indeed, both pieces of legislation inform the structure of the book and reveal many of Grant’s motivations in writing it.

Today, the Johnson-Reed Act enjoys scarce support among mainstream commentators; and in truth, it was quite unlike any piece of immigration legislation being proposed today, even by avowed restrictionists. The ’24 and ’29 Acts were not merely attempts to “control the borders” or “shut the gates” (though they were that), and they were decidedly not efforts to “keep America the same,” in the sense of pulling an emergency break on the Second Great Wave of immigration. From a Grantian perspective, they were Acts of racial reconstruction: they marked abrupt reversals of the immigration trends that had predominated for the previous 75 years and were aimed at recreating a specifically Nordic America. Not all of the Acts’ supporters, including legislators and the Presidents who signed them into law, would use such terminology; yet all were well aware of the Acts’ overarching goals. Moreover, the Act was conceived by Grant and his colleagues as a eugenic project. Indeed, much as the Communist “Third International” (1919–1943) looked to Moscow, the Second International Eugenics Congress (which met in 1921 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City) looked to America as the premiere homeland of the Nordic race.

Though Grant founded so many organizations, he joined the one that would play a determined, behind-the-scenes role in passing immigration restriction—the Immigration Restriction League (IRL), created by friends from the Harvard class of 1889.

The IRL’s first political effort was to advance a Literacy Test for entry, which it promoted over the course of the William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson administrations. Restricting immigration on the basis of literacy (a test could be taken in a variety of languages) certainly gave restriction a neutral, non-racialist patina; however, when Grant was lobbying politicians, he explained his motivations in no-uncertain terms. Writing to President Taft,

[T]he old theological views in regard to the unity of the human race and its relatively recent origin (some six thousand years ago), is giving away to the knowledge that man as such dates back two or three hundred thousand year, and that consequently the line of cleavage between the so called races of mankind is fundamental and cannot be modified by any change in environment in the life time of a nation.[8]

In turn, Grant later lobbied Woodrow Wilson by explaining that his advocacy for restriction was based “solely in blood.” Both Presidents were not persuaded.

The IRL had better luck with congressmen, who avidly passed a series of Literacy Test Acts by broad margins—only to have them consistently vetoed by Taft and Wilson. Success finally came in February 1917, when yet one more Literacy Test Act was vetoed by Wilson—who was then overruled by two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate.[9]

A decisive influence on Congress was the pressure of the American Federation of Labor, led by Samuel Gompers (himself an immigrant Jew), who recognized the simple arithmetic that, all things being equal, more laborers equals lower wages. The bill thus marked an interesting point in time at which elitist racialists were in a functional coalition with “big labor.” On the other hand, those who opposed the bill—and would oppose future restrictionist acts, including Reed-Johnson—are recognizably the same cohorts who push for “open borders” today: the industrialists who seek cheap labor and (in Grant’s words) the “wishy-washy sentimentalists” of either Christian or liberal persuasion.[10]

Bolstered by the enactment of the Literacy Test, the Grantians felt the time was ripe for substantial immigration reform made on a racialist foundation. The subsequent political victories of the 1920s included three connected pieces of legislation: the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924, and the National Origins Act of 1929 (which replaced the former bill). The “Emergency” bill was justified on the fears of mass European immigration following the Great War, and in particular “radical” and “anarchist” immigrants from Eastern Europe. The Acts of ‘24 and ’29, however, were meant as lasting, principled expressions of America’s character; Representative Albert Johnson, indeed, called the piece of legislation that bears his name “a second Declaration of Independence.”

Each of these Acts regulated immigration not simply on the raw number but on each immigrant’s ethnic and national origins and, in turn, the place of this ethnicity within the American nation. The 1924 Act established an immigration quota of two percent of the foreign-born presence in the country, as enumerated by the 1890 census.[11] The choice of the base year 1890 was key, for, as mentioned above, the Act did not seek to “keep things the same”; it instead sought to re-constitute the American nation that existed before the Second Great Wave of Southern and Eastern European immigration. The National Origins Act (which originated in the Senate’s version of the ‘24 restriction) capped total annual immigration at just over 150,000—a dramatic reduction considering that more than a million immigrants per annum obtained permanent-resident status during the first decade of the 20th century.[12] It also regulated immigration based on the national origins of the existing population (as of 1920), which was, of course, soundly Northern and Western European.[13] As Grant writes in Conquest, the purpose of both the ’24 and ’29 Acts was, “frankly, to encourage new arrivals from the countries of the old immigration”—

the countries of northern and western Europe who had contributed most to the American population and whose people were, therefore, most easily assimilable in the United States; and, conversely, to discourage immigration from the countries of souther and eastern Europe most of whose nationals had come here since 1890.

The law reduced the total possible immigration under quota to 167,750 as against 357,800 permitted by the act it supplanted, and favored the European Nordic whose people made the United States what it is, as against the European Alpine and the Mediterranean who were late comers and intrusive elements.

A full understanding of the racial constitution of the United States—so as to aid in administration of the National Origins Act—was, as Grant puts it in Conquest, “the reason for the existence of this present book.”

Though the Grantians were effective activists behind the scenes, it is wrong to think that the ’24 and ’29 Acts were passed in a stealthy fashion, without any meaningful debate or popular support, or that the Acts appealed only to the educated classes interested in Darwinism. Representative William Vaile of Colorado certainly spoke for million of majority Americans when he said plainly that Czechs, Jews, Italians, et al. immigrated to a country that was “already made as an Anglo-Saxon commonwealth.”

They added to it, they often enriched it, but they did not make it, and have not yet greatly changed it. We are determined that they shall not. It is a good country. It suits us. And what we assert is that we are not going to surrender it to somebody else or allow other people, no matter what their merits, to make it something different.[14]

While immigration restriction appealed to the common sense of the common man, Grant saw the Act in more lofty terms: “one of the most decisive events in the racial history of America.” Perhaps he might call the Reed-Johnson and National Origins Acts the final chapter of The Conquest of the Continent.

President Coolidge signs the Johnson–Reed Act on the White House Lawn on May 26, 1924. President Coolidge signs the Johnson–Reed Act on the White House Lawn on May 26, 1924.

In 1933, Conquest appeared at an equivocal, and, in many ways, doleful, moment in Grant’s life. Grant could look back on major successes, most prominently the ’24 and ’29 Acts and the success of his first book,The Passing of the Great Race. On the other hand, Conquest amounted to Grant’s Last Stand: he would die some four years after its publication and the eugenics and racialist movement he led was in the process of losing legitimacy and its ability to affect politics and culture.

The critical reception and popularity of Grant’s two magna opera is, in fact, a lesson in the changing winds of social mood. Though The Passing of the Great Race might never have been a “bestseller,” it achieved something more powerful—the formation of elite opinion. The book, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, was endorsed by university presidents and Pulitzer Prize winners; it was used as a textbook in college classrooms. Its powerful status was, ironically, confirmed by the fact that F. Scott Fitzgerald deemed it worthy of being parodied in The Great Gatsby (1925); the author expected his audience would readily recognize the fictional Nordicist known as “this man Goddard”—a conflation of Grant and his disciple Lothrop Stoddard— whom Tom Buchanan bombastically paraphrases in a famous scene.

An even more telling sign of racialist hegemony in the ‘20s was that Grant’s ideas were appearing in William Randolph Hearst ladies magazine Good Housekeeping. Take, for instance, this Grantian editorial on immigration from February 1921.

Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. The Nordics propagate themselves successfully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides. Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law.

The writer mentions some economic arguments for restriction, which “respectable” restrictionists today might favor, but he leaves no doubt as to the true character of his injunction: “Our country must cease to be regarded as a dumping ground.”[15]

The author of the passage was President Calvin Coolidge

By 1933, so much had changed. The Conquest of the Continent was published with little fanfare or public interest. By 1940, only 3,000 copies had been sold, and apparently not believing that the book had a future, Charles Scribner’s Sons melted down the plates.[16]

In Conquest, Grant observes that “American public sentiment regarding the admission of aliens has undergone recently a profound change”:

At the end of the nineteenth century a fatuous humanitarianism prevailed and immigrants of all kinds were welcomed to “The Refuge of the Oppressed,” regardless of whether they were needed in our industrial development or whether they tended to debase our racial unity.

The “Myth of the Melting Pot” was, at that time, deemed by the unthinking to be a part of our national creed.

But ultimately Grant was wrong. The tremendous shift in public sentiment that had occurred in the 1920s was fleeting, and by the time of Conquest, things were trending in the opposite direction. The “Melting Pot Myth”—however hokey and seemingly outmoded—would get a second life (despite that actual immigration in the Depression era was virtually nil).

Grant went from making public opinion to being unmade by it; the reasons why are worth enumerating, for many of the dynamics involved are very much still in play 70 years later.[17]

Certainly, “Reductio ad Hitlerum”—the spoiling of anything that can be associated, however tangentially, with the Third Reich—played a decisive factor in this regard; indeed, the Second World War would utilized by egalitarians of every stripe. Moreover, Grant laments many times in Conquest the tendency towards sentimentality over Ellis Island and the “unity of mankind,” which seems to be part an permanent part of the American national psyche.

Another important factor was the Great Depression. The popularity of Grantian racialism and eugenics came in the 1920s, at a point when majority Americans were, generally speaking, proud of their race and culture and had a forward-looking outlook. With the onset of the Great Depression, Darwinism in the social sphere became associated with advocates of “survival of the fittest” qua dog-eat-dog capitalism.[18] The Grantians were mostly uninterested in economics, outside vague warnings of the implications of importing low-quality immigrants; they were certainly not concerned with weeding out those who lacked business acumen. Nevertheless, the Depression made it easy for egalitarians to smear eugenics as an expression of haughty, even sadistic “class privilege.”

This new stance towards the Grantians was taken by the paper of record (then and now), the New York Times. which had actually endorsed immigration restriction in 1924. Reporting on the Third International Eugenics Conference of 1932, the Times declared that for the participants,

[eugenics] seems to have become a disguise for race prejudice, ancestor worship and caste snobbery… . Such were the views of the promoters of the now discredited doctrine that social salvation lies with the supposedly pure Nordics.”[19]

The Grantians also failed to control academia. As racialism gained hegemony in the ‘20s, it was inevitable that it would spur some kind of strong left-wing reaction. This came in the person of German-born Jew Franz Boas (1858–1942) and his disciples, who across two decades produced a library of Anthropology, so much of which was directed polemically against the Grantians.[20] The Boasian shift from race to “culture”—in the form of tribal customs, primitive rituals, and, most famously, “coming of age in Samoa”[21]—was, in itself, neutral. However, all of Boasian writing was undergirded by an egalitarian faith in “the psychic unity of mankind.”[22]

 

Franz Boas in 1940 Franz Boas in 1940

 

On a more pragmatic level, the Boasians were quite astute at professionalizing their movement and co-ordinating mutual promotion. And the fact that they were successful in academia gave them a decisive advantage over the Grantians, who as a class were gentlemen amateurs.

Jonathan Spiro writes,

On a theoretical level the debate between the Grantian and the Boasians pitted the defenders of heredity against the proponents of environment. Intellectually, the split was a disagreement between adherents of polygenesis, who were obsessed [sic] with the classification of races, and adherents of monogenesis, who were fairly certain that races were socially constructed myths. And professionally, it was a conflict between an older generation of physical anthropologists (often gentlemen amateurs with no academic affiliation or perhaps an association with a museum) and the newer generation of cultural anthropologists (usually trained professionals with full-time positions in academia).[23]

But for all that, it was difficult not to notice that at heart it was a confrontation between the ethos of native Protestants and immigrant Jews.

The older generation of amateurs were aristocratic WASPs with the money and leisure time to ponder fossils as an avocation, whereas the younger generation of professionals were immigrant Jews who saw higher education as a route to social respectability…

Though evolutionism (if not racialism) is paradigmatic in the biological sciences, the Boasians have not lessened their grip on Anthropology departments. For better and for worse, a revival of racial thinking will have to emerge, at least at first, outside the walls of the academy.

Happy Days! A eugenics exhibit at the Kansas State Fair, Topeka, Kansas, 1920. Happy Days! A eugenics exhibit at the Kansas State Fair, Topeka, Kansas, 1920.

What made The Conquest of the Continent anathema to the Boasians—and what makes it notorious to this day—is not its demographic history per se so much as the eugenic spirit that underlies it.

In the popular imagination, the word “eugenics” conjures up images of death panels, concentration camps, and piles of bodies … or a faustian “super villain” who seeks to wipe out humanity and breed a Master Race in space (a scheme that was thwarted by James Bond in the campy adventure Moonraker (1979).) For those who love to hate it, eugenics amounts to little more than rhetorical bogeyman or scarecrow—something to point at in horror.

Interestingly, in these depictions, eugenics alternates between being, on the one hand, a “pseudo-science”—that is, ineffective, ungrounded, fraudulent, and bizarre—and, on the other, all-too scientific—that is, marking the point at which religious or governmental authorities must intervene to prevent science from “going too far.”

But ultimately, the “totalitarian” connection to eugenics has never held much water. For instance, the eugenics programs in Nazi Germany were, historically speaking, quite unremarkable: they were begun during the Weimar Republic and were no more advanced than those of Sweden or the State of California.

Furthermore, the Nazis’ brutally against Jews, in what has come to be known the Holocaust, and Slavs, during campaigns on the Eastern Front, were not eugenic in any real sense of the word and should be criticized in other contexts.[24]

It is worth pointing out that state science during the other reviled totalitarian regimes of the 20th century was based on the very opposite of Darwinism. The head of Soviet Biology during Stalin’s regime (and beyond), Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (1898–1976), believed, quite literally, that a plant could be genetically altered by its pot—and that these acquired characteristics would be passed down to its offspring. “Lysenkoism” was applied as both agricultural policy during collectivization as well as “political science,” with equally disastrous results. The philosophy of “environmentalism”—the ideal of the “Blank Slate” that can be written upon by progressive leaders—justifies, much more so than Darwinism, the treatment of people as “material,” whose nature can be altered at will, with the “reactionary” parts simply cut off and discarded.[25]

Madison Grant never sought to create a “New Man.” He sought, instead, to conserve the results of natural selection, as he sought to conserve the natural world.[26] Moreover, eugenic thinking is a logical implication of the Darwinian and the Mendelian (i.e., genetic) scientific revolutions. The first chapter of Charles Darwin’s (1809–1882) On the Origin of Species (1859), “Variation under Domestication,” is an extended analogy between evolution through natural selection, Darwin’s thesis, and evolution through artificial selection, which was well known to his readers as the breeding and domestication of birds, dogs, livestock, and the like. As Darwin notes, “the great power of this principle of selection is not hypothetical.” Francis Galton (1822–1911), Darwin’s cousin and originator of the theory of eugenics, was likely thinking of that passage when he quipped, “If a twentieth part of the cost and pains were spent in measures for the improvement of the human race that is spent on the improvement of the breed of horses and cattle, what a galaxy of genius might we not create!”[27]

Whatever the case, it is eugenics, and Darwinism generally, that is forever associated with mass-murder, whereas the Blank Slate is let off scott free. (For instance, whenever a public figure denies the reality of race, he rarely get scolded by journalists—“What are you saying!? We know where that kind of thinking leads!”)

Franz Boas—whose scraggly visage appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1936 announcing the triumph of “environmentalism”[28]—actually theorized that as Italian immigrants entered the United States, their head shapes would mutate according to environment, with the second generation having a shape closer to that of the American majority than their parents.[28] This marked Boas’s frontal assault on Grant, in particular, his distinction between Dolichocephalic (long-headed) Nordics and Brachycephalic (round-headed) Eastern and Southern Europeans (i.e., Second Great Wave immigrants.)

And as it turns out, Boas’s study was bunk. He “fudged” his data for a good cause (in this case, the myth of the American “Melting Pot,” where democracy dissolves heredity).[29] More importantly, Boas’s thesis is preposterous and risible on its face from the standpoint of Darwinian evolution, that is, from the standpoint of accepted biological science in the 21st century. Boasianism is, at its core, little different than Lysencoism or various other experiments in Marxian biology. Madison Grant’s oeuvre, on the other hand—however we might want to revise Nordicism—remains scientifically and rationally defensible.

Indeed, one of the primaries lessons that racial idealists can draw from studying Grant’s career is that, as trite as it may sound, science matters—and it is likely no coincidence that the most successful effort in racial idealism in modern American history was grounded in Darwinism.

Of course, as good science, Darwinism can be revised, expanded upon, and, potentially, falsified. Also, as good science, Darwinism does not favor or justify any one group or desired outcome. Indeed, as the 2005 science-fiction comedy Idiocracy painfully points out, natural selection does not even favor what one might call the strongest, most beautiful, and most intelligent.[30]

That said, Darwinism offers a compelling and rational justification for Whites to act on behalf of their ancestors and progeny and feel a shared since of destiny with their extended kin group. As Kevin MacDonald correctly points out, “rational, scientific discourse” is granted pride of place in advanced Western societies; and one shouldn’t underestimate the “emotional commitment” that Darwinism can instill in Whites—as it raises politics to the level of collective survival, above claims to fairness that dominate the language of liberalism. Darwinism is seemingly more “effective in rallying Whites, especially elite Whites, than religious feelings.” Indeed, “the story of religious feeling in the modern age has been to either sink into irrelevance for secular Whites (who are likely to be more educated) or be diverted into causes that are suicidal for religious Whites.”[31]

Viewed from another angle, Madison Grant had become relevant for contemporary racial idealists due to the increasing irrelevancy of what might be called “respectable” or “patriotic” immigration reform, that is, restriction on the basis of legality or concerns about assimilation (which are the only restrictionist arguments that are granted a hearing in the mainstream media).[32]

According to the U.S. Census Department, by the summer of 2011, the majority of births in the United States were non-White infants. This means that if all immigration, legal and illegal, were (quite miraculously) halted immediately, nothing of significance demographically would change. The proverbial 2050 “tipping point”—when America reaches “majority-minority” status, with no single racial or ethnic groups defining the national character—will merely be delayed by a decade or two. Moreover, “assimilation” has become a deceptive and misleading term, as it begs the question “To What?” Hispanic immigrants have been assimilating downward across generations towards the culture and behavior of African-Americans.[33] Indeed, one possible outcome of the ongoing demographic transformation is a thoroughly miscegenated, and thus homogenous and “assimilated,” nation, which would have little resemblance to the White America that came before it.

Put simply, the discourse that has predominated for the past 60 years on the Immigration and National Questions is increasingly disconnected from reality; for the racial idealist, it has become useless. To even understand the phenomenon of mass immigration—and the globalized world that underlies it—one must, following Grant, think racially. And for the racial idealist, the point is not just to understand…

This essay was first published in 2012.


  1. Northrop Frye. “The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler,” Daedalus, Vol. 103, No. 1, Winter 1974. ↩︎
  2. Grant’s chief research assistant, who compiled the bibliography, was Paul Popenoe. ↩︎
  3. The Annales School is associated with academic journal by that name, founded in Strasbourg by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre in 1929 and later relocated to Paris. The School sought to examine long-term evolution of societies, geographies, and economies. ↩︎
  4. The name Madison Grant does not appear anywhere in the two official chronicles of the American conservative movement, George Nash’s The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America and Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind. Grant is a non-person as well as The Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s putatively exhaustive 1,000-page American Conservatism—An Encyclopedia. In the face of all this, one can be forgiven for thinking that Grant was simply an artifact of a benighted, bigoted age, perhaps best treated like the “haters” one reads about in the bulletins of the Southern Poverty Law Center. (The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, 7th edition (Regnery Publishing, 2001); George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, 2nd Edition (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2006); Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer, Jeffery O. Nelson (Eds.), American Conservatism—An Encylopedia (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2006).) ↩︎
  5. A useful, though often hostile, introduction to such thinkers is Arthur Herman, The Idea of Decline in Western History (The Free Press, 1997). ↩︎
  6. The Zoological society was later transformed into the Wildlife Conservation Society, which currently manages some 200 million acres worldwide. ↩︎
  7. Jonathan Peter Spiro, Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant (Vermont University Press, 2009), 136. ↩︎
  8. Quoted in Spiro, 201. ↩︎
  9. In the U.S. political system, the power to legislate is vested in Congress. The President can only has veto bills he deems unsatisfactory. Congress has the additional authority to override a presidential veto with two-thirds majorities in both Houses. ↩︎
  10. In his books, Grant rarely dilates on the Jewish Question; however, his correspondence reveals that he was quite prickly about Jews in positions of power, such as Congressmen Isaac Siegel and Adolph Sabath and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of the American Jewish Congress, whom he considered the most aggressively and effective opponents of immigration restriction. ↩︎
  11. The Act also extended the restriction on the Chinese to include the Japanese. ↩︎
  12. Accessible and accurate histories of American immigration can be found in Peter Brimelow, Alien Nation (HarperCollins, 1995), Byron Roth, The Perils of Diversity (Washington Summit Publishers, 2010); and Otis L. Graham, Unguarded Gates: A History of America’s Immigration Policy (Rowen and Littlefield, 2006). ↩︎
  13. Worth noting, the 1924 and ’29 Acts did nothing to address immigration from South America, which was not politically significant at the time. Quite prophetically, Grant laments this oversight in Conquest. ↩︎
  14. Quoted in Roth, 294 ↩︎
  15. Good Housekeeping, volume 72 number 2, February 1921. ↩︎
  16. Spiro, 346. ↩︎
  17. “The Melting Pot,” for instance, has returned as self-styled conservatives’ answer to multiculturalism. ↩︎
  18. Notably, “survival of the fittest” was coined by Herbert Spencer, not Darwin; the former attempted to associate his economic theories with evolution through natural selection. ↩︎
  19. “Genes and Eugenics,” New York Times, August 24, 1932; quoted in Spiro, 231. ↩︎
  20. See, for instance, Franz Boas, The Mind of Primitive Man (MacMillan, 1911) and “This Nordic Nonsense,” The Forum, October 1925. ↩︎
  21. Margaret Meade, Coming of Age in Samoa (William Morrow & Co., 1928). ↩︎
  22. This term was coined, not by Boas, but by German ethnologist Adolf Bastian (1826–1905), whom Boas worked for briefly at the Museum of Folkart in Berlin. ↩︎
  23. Spiro, 302. This conflict also brought to the fore some of the painful ambivalences of assimilation for immigrant Jews, something best expressed by the Polish immigrant Moses Israel Ehrenberg, who as an academic and public intellectual—the man who would write UNESCO’s statement rejecting the existence of race—refashioned himself with the absurdly WASPy name “Ashley Montagu.” ↩︎
  24. For a discussion of this issue, see John Glad, Future Human Evolution: Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century (Schuylkill Haven, PA: Hermitage Publishers). ↩︎
  25. See Steve Pinker, The Blank Slate (Viking, 2002). ↩︎
  26. Galton, “Hereditary Talent and Character.” ↩︎
  27. Time, May 11, 1936. ↩︎
  28. Franz Boas and Helene M. Boas, “The Head-Forms of the Italians as Influenced by Heredity and Environment,” American Anthropologist, April-June 1913. ↩︎
  29. Corey S. Sparks and Richard L. Jantz, “A Reassessment of human Cranial Plasticity: Boas Revisited,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 8, 2002. See also, Nicholas Wade, “A New Look at Old Data May Discredit a Theory on Race”, New York Times, October 8, 2002. ↩︎
  30. In film’s opening scenes, a stereotypical high-IQ WASP and Jewish couple is depicted as a continually forego child-rearing (“Not now, not with the market as it is…”), while a stereotypical low-IQ redneck family breeds with passionate intensity. The ultimate outcome, by 2050, is a collapsing, exceedingly vulgar world in which the average IQ of the population is at retardation levels. ↩︎
  31. Kevin MacDonald, “The Dispossessed Elite,” in Richard B. Spencer (ed.), The Great Erasure (Washington Summit Publishers, 2012). ↩︎
  32. As Byron Roth observes, the “debate” on immigration in the Western world throughout the 2000s was over whether Third World immigrants should or should not assimilate to the dominate culture, not whether this is possible or desirable. Roth, The Perils of Diversity, Chapter 1. ↩︎
  33. See Richard Spencer, “Who’s Taking Over?” American Renaissance, Vol. 21, no. 4, April 2010. ↩︎
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Infinite Monkey Theorem: Redux

With the largest vocabulary of any rap artist ever at over 150,000 words and generates unique word count scores in the region of 10,000 plus- easily surpassing the all hip hoppers and even the totals of many of the average rappers combined, I feel it has accomplished the mission.

Whilst many ideas are theoretically possible, they are also practical impossibilities. The well-known idea that enough monkeys, given enough time, could type out the entire works of Shakespeare, by pressing keys at random, is certainly an example of this, as even a billion diligent monkeys would be hard pressed to develop a passable copy of Macbeth, before the entire universe evaporated into cold, dead soot.

**

Now, on a completely unrelated topic, a New York based data scientist, Matt Daniels, has undertaken a purely quantitative analysis to determine and compare the vocabulary depth of various rap artists. Ordinarily, an event such as this would (and should) elicit absolutely zero interest amongst myself and Radix Journal readers, however Daniels happened to use both Shakespeare and Moby Dick as benchmarks for the analysis, where it seems both the Bard’s and Herman Meville’s works have been surpassed in vocabulary by the more loquacious rappers.

Daniel’s himself, went to some pains to point out that quantities does not necessarily equate to quality, however, predictably, certain exotic parts of the internet, then soon followed by the more the mainstream news sites, started to herald titles such as “Science Proves it: Today’s Rapper’s More Poetic than Shakespeare.”

Clearly, claims such as the above need to not go unanswered, lest the lack of response be taken for bludgeoned acceptance of Cultural Marxist inspired iconoclasm, particularly such as that outlined in Michael McGregor’s “Modern Art Comes Full Circle,” where it’s suggested a Wu Tang Clan album will soon be played in a high-end art gallery for “pretentious SWPLs” to enjoy. The fact that Wu Tang appears to possess are larger lexicon than Shakespeare will be used to give intellectual credence to this type of display.

Presumably, a peer review won’t be forthcoming from the gang-banging set either, so the ball remains reluctantly in the court of the alternative Right.

Initially, I performed a couple of spot checks and found similar numbers to the original research, however, this isn’t surprising – any significant errors are likely to be conceptual, rather than merely arithmetical.

To wit, methodology used involved determining the number of unique words used in the various rappers’ works to determine their breath of vocabulary. For reasons Daniels himself points out, there are a few issues here, as for instance “pimps, pimp, pimping and pimpin” will be counted “as four unique words,” along with the myriad of bizarre spelling permutations which seem to be de rigueur for the hip hop crowd, which will further inflate the apparent depth of vocabulary.

Now, when I initially started writing this article, I based it on the notion that the rigid sentence structure used in Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter and the narrative flow in Moby Dick, would hinder the “unique word count”, however, whilst most likely technically correct, even to my own ears, this argument came across shrill and whiny – unlikely to sway any opinions in either the mah dick and wigger brigades, nor the self-myopia suffering SWPLs, who would likely deliberately pretend not to understand the argument.

Puzzled as to how to continue, I mused that that cruel satire and sarcasm had always been the S.O.P. of the Left, (no matter how severe the mis-application either…) so, all that was required whip up a few rap songs, plug them in the analysis to demonstrate numerical superiority and then point out that the unique word count used in a rap song is not in any way congruent to other literary works, and even an amateur can surpass even the best rap artists with ease.

Unfortunately, given my minimal interest in the genre I couldn’t really consider how to start. Fortunately however, salvation was a hand, as I do have at least moderate Microsoft Excel skillz. So with creativity augmented with a half bottle of merlot, and a nod to the novel writing machines of Orwell’s 1984,1 without further ado, I present:

The RadixJournal RAPBOT™.

With the largest vocabulary of any rap artist ever at over 150,000 words and generates unique word count scores in the region of 10,000 plus- easily surpassing the all hip hoppers and even the totals of many of the average rappers combined, I feel it has accomplished the mission.2

Admittedly, as the bot actually plucks words at random on the screen, without cause nor consciousness, and would hence fail the Turing Test miserably, I was concerned that the output would be mere gibberish, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that probability was on our side and most of the output seems like a bona fide approximation to the structure and content of the seemingly all pervasive hip hop that saturates the MSM airwaves at present. Here’s a sample:

“….

Kings unlimited, here, Africa, the counterweight.

Rome, hook, hoes, penetrate,

Hail Luciano, y’all obligate.

…”

I can’t discern any difference.

However, not content with trolling the hip hop fraternity, I think we can go one step further here.

All that is now required is to market the bot’s output with an imaginary thug, who has a fabricated and appropriately lengthy criminal record, in order that deluded fans can interpolate their own narrative, where none exists at all (in short: so dem suckas know, ‘dis Bot’s from da streets,dawg!) and let the profits roll in, all of which, will of course be wholly donated to Identitarian causes.

The next stumbling block is to find a music label that isn’t controlled by members of the Tribe, which is sadly proving somewhat more difficult…

Footnotes:

1) If anyone is at all interested, the bot grabs words at random via VLOOKUP from a word list with the RAND function, around a weighted RAND function from a smaller pool of “Rap” words (pimp, bitch, hoes etc) to give the output a more rap flavour, and then ends the line with rhyme, selected from another data set. A bit of experimentation with a few different variables to fine tune sentence length and number of syllables etc. was also employed.

2) After this exercise, I actually wouldn’t be at all surprised if the lyrics of modern pop icons Miley Cyrus et al were algorithmically generated, as commentator “TS1709” suggested in this Paul Treitschke article. It seems the cultural vacuity described in Huxley’s “Brave New World” is almost upon us.

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