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Western Europe, State Formation, and Genetic Pacification
Homicide rates seem to correlate with the recentness of state formation and the imposition of the state's monopoly on violence.
Homicide rates seem to correlate with the recentness of state formation and the imposition of the state's monopoly on violence.

Henry Harpending and I have written a paper on the historical decline of personal violence in European societies. It has just been published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology. I wrote the following press release:

While war has always been with us, personal violence has been declining in Western societies over the last millennium. Is this a case of our better angels triumphing over our inner demons, as Steven Pinker has argued? Or does the change lie in our inner demons? Have they become kinder and gentler?

In this newly published paper, two anthropologists, Peter Frost and Henry Harpending, argue that the last thousand years have seen a radical change in the legitimacy of personal violence. Previously, every man had the right to settle personal disputes as he saw fit, even to the point of killing, and it was only the threat of retaliation from the victim’s kinsmen that kept violence in check. This situation began to change in the 11th century throughout Western Europe with a growing consensus that the wicked should be punished so that the good may live in peace. Courts imposed the death penalty more and more often and, by the late Middle Ages, were condemning to death between 0.5 and 1.0% of all men of each generation, with perhaps just as many offenders dying at the scene of the crime or in prison while awaiting trial. Meanwhile, the homicide rate plummeted from the 14th century to the 20th, decreasing forty-fold. The pool of violent men dried up until most murders occurred under conditions of jealousy, intoxication, or extreme stress.

The immediate causes were legal and cultural: harsher punishment and a shift in popular attitudes toward the violent male—who went from hero to zero. This new social environment, however, also tended to favor the survival and reproduction of individuals who would less easily resort to violence on their own initiative. Given that aggressive behavior is moderately to highly heritable, as shown by twin studies, is it possible that the high rate of capital punishment gradually removed propensities for violence from the gene pool? This hypothesis is modeled by Frost and Harpending, who conclude that such natural selection could explain a little over half of the reduction in the homicide rate. The rest of the decline may have partly resulted from violent men being increasingly marginalized in society and on the marriage market.

Of course, we are still left with the original legal and cultural causes: personal violence is deterred by fear of punishment and by a cultural norm of nonviolence. But how strong are these external and internal controls today? Relaxation of these controls has caused only a modest rise in personal violence among young men of Western European background, there being no reversion to the levels that were once normal less than a millennium ago. Perhaps our inner demons have indeed changed for the better.

For the full document, please click here.

Two HBD writers, hbd chick and Jayman, have commented on the paper here. My replies are reproduced below:

Homicide decline in England before 1500

Hbd chick – their theory does not account for 1) why the homicide rates appear to have dropped significantly in england *before* 1500?

We focused on the 1500-1750 period because that was when the execution rate was at its peak, but this rate was already increasing during the previous five centuries. It would have been difficult to model the effects of this earlier period partly because we had less data to work with and partly because we didn’t know whether the execution rate increased linearly or, as is more likely, exponentially with a levelling off toward 1500.

Hbd chick – but the fact remains that the drop in homicide rates in england and germany, according to eisner, was *much* more dramatic between 1300-1500 than post-1500?

Eisner doesn’t make that claim, the pre-1500 data being too sparse and variable. I should quote the passage in question:

In the thirteenth and fourteenth century, the mean of almost 40 different estimates lies around 24 homicides per 100,000. The average homicide rates are higher for the late fourteenth century than for the thirteenth century, but it seems impossible to say whether this is due to the difference in the sources used or reflects a real increase related to the social and economic crises in the late Middle Ages. When estimates start again after a gap of some 150 years, the average calculated homicide rates are considerably lower with typical values of between 3-9 per 100,000. (Eisner, 2001)

This is another reason why we excluded the pre-1500 data. Homicide rates may have fallen more rapidly pre-1500 than post-1500 but it’s impossible to say for sure. Assuming that the decline was faster pre-1500, we may be looking at nonlinear effects in the removal of violence-prone males, i.e., if we raise the threshold for expression of impulsive, personal violence by 10%, the reduction in the homicide rate may be much more than 10%.

Hbd chick – that’s not eisner’s interpretation of the english data at all.

ORDER IT NOW

We may have to agree to disagree. The steep pre-1500 decline is due to a rise from the 13th century to the 14th, and Eisner notes that “it seems impossible to say whether this is due to the difference in the sources used or reflects a real increase related to the social and economic crises in the late Middle Ages.” If one looks at Figure 1 “Homicide rates in England” (p. 622), the data points are much more variable before 1400 than after 1500. If we draw a straight line from the 13th century to the 16th, the steepness of the decline is actually less than it is later on. Your argument essentially rests on a 14th century peak that may or may not be illusory.

You may be right. I just don’t have the same degree of faith in the pre-1500 data.

Increase in the execution rate before 1500

Hbd chick – it very much was – in england, anyway – a gradual, linear increase in the execution rate over the course of the medieval period, not an exponential one.

You’re using soft sources. Before 1500, we don’t have good data on execution rates, although the rates were clearly lower. I’m not really arguing with you. I just don’t have much confidence in the pre-1500 data.

Why did homicide rates remain higher in Italy?

Hbd chick – the homicide rates remained much higher in italy even though italy had some very strong states in the medieval period (city-states) – ones that that *did* execute murderers (although i don’t know at what rates)

We tried to locate data on execution rates from elsewhere in Europe but were unsuccessful. In any case, the selection pressure was not simply court-ordered executions but also extrajudicial executions, i.e., killing of the offender at the scene of the crime or death while awaiting trial. Extrajudicial executions seem to have been frequent. There is evidence that trials were often deliberately postponed so that the accused would conveniently die in prison while awaiting trial (life in prison was no great shakes if you had no friends on the outside).

I suspect that there were cultural differences between Northwest Europe and Italy in popular willingness to collaborate with authorities in the “war on murder.” A parallel can be made with witch-hunting, which reached unusually high levels in the Holy Roman Empire while being much less common elsewhere. The difference was due to grassroots participation in the war on witches. I suspect that the “war on murder” in Italy was largely carried out by civil authorities with much less popular support than was the case in England or Flanders. These are just my impressions, however.

Hbd chick – and that pattern, as i’ve said, is in stark contrast to Italy

I agree, although there are significant regional differences within that country. Keep in mind that Italy experienced the State’s monopoly on violence for a much longer time than did Northwest Europe, which went from barbarism to pacified social relations over a much shorter time. In addition, the Italian trajectory of pacification is probably different both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Other reasons for the homicide decline

Hbd chick – i bet that the reduction in homicide rates from 1200-1500 has more to do with that [increased outbreeding and decline of clannishness] than with a strong state enforcing its laws.

It may be both with a synergy effect as well. Grassroots support was a critical factor in the “war on murder.” The alliance between Church and State was also a factor in getting people to internalize this new cultural norm.

Hbd chick – Durkheim saw the decline of homicide rates as resulting from the liberation of the individual from collective bonds rather than as the consequence of the coercive potential of the state.

I see the arrow of causality running in the opposite direction. Pacification of social relations made it possible for individuals to survive as individuals in a much larger, freer and more anonymous social environment. People no longer had to turn to their kinsmen for help and protection.

Jayman – Frost and Harpending admit in their paper that their scenario cannot on its own explain the results we see.

I agree that the execution rate was not the sole factor in the removal of violence-prone males. Once nonviolence became the desired norm, the violent male went from hero to zero. He became marginalized on the marriage market and in opportunities for social and economic advancement à la Clark and Unz (Clark, 2007; Clark, 2009; Unz, 1980; Unz, 2013).

Global variation in homicide

Jayman – We see that around the world, all Europeans and their offshoots (with the exception of the East Slavs, and the Sami, apparently) as well as Northeast Asians stand out as being particularly less violent, at least as gauged by homicide rates. These are the pacified peoples. Whatever processes that operated, some or all of them must have operated in all these places.

[...] There are regional high points in Europe. All are the usual suspects: Scotland and Northern Ireland, southern Portugal, southern Italy, Greece, Albania (i.e., the PIIGS). The West and the South Slavs, while not as far gone as their East Slavic cousins, do stand out for themselves.

I would suggest some caution in interpreting the world map of homicide rates. In many countries, some homicides end up being reported as “accidents.” This is especially so in the case of domestic disputes or in cases where the murderer is the top dog in the village. With that caveat, the map is not too far from reality. We see an east-west cline in Europe, which may be related to the relative lateness of state formation in Eastern Europe.

Even within European-descended societies, we see interesting variations (which don’t always appear on the map). There is good evidence that personal violence is more common in the U.S. among white southerners than among white northerners. Southern whites are descended disproportionately from settlers who came from the northern English borderlands, where endemic violence persisted until the 18th century and where any encounter with non-kin, however innocent, could turn violent. ” In a world of treachery and danger, blood relationships became highly important. Families grew into clans, and kinsmen placed fidelity to family above loyalty to the crown itself” (Fischer, 1989, p. 628).

White southerners also tend to attach more importance to “honor.” Disputes over honor (insults, slights on one’s reputation or the reputation of one’s family, etc.) are a major cause of personal violence. The homicide rate could not have easily declined without a reduction in the importance of honor.

Jayman – Indeed. That’s a key point in support of “HBD Chick selection”: clannish societies are hard to pacify because individuals have to be ready to defend kin.

Yes, I see the two processes as being complementary. The dissolution of clannishness was both a cause and an effect of the pacification of social relations.

References

Clark, G. (2007). A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford.

Clark, G. (2009). The indicted and the wealthy: surnames, reproductive success, genetic selection and social class in pre-industrial England, http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/Farewell%20to%20Alms/Clark%20-Surnames.pdf

Eisner, M. (2001). Modernization, self-control and lethal violence: The long-term dynamics of European homicide rates in theoretical perspective, British Journal of Criminology, 41, 618-638. http://www.antoniocasella.eu/nume/Eisner_2001.pdf

Fischer, D.H. (1989). Albion’s Seed. Four British Folkways in America, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford

Frost, P. (2010). The Roman State and genetic pacification, Evolutionary Psychology, 8(3), 376-389. http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP08376389.pdf

Frost, P. (2015). Western Europe, state formation, and genetic pacification, Evolutionary Psychology, 13, 230-243. http://www.epjournal.net/articles/western-europe-state-formation-and-genetic-pacification/

Unz, R. (1980). Preliminary notes on the possible sociobiological implications of the rural Chinese political economy, unpublished paper. http://www.ronunz.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/ChineseIntelligence.pdf

Unz, R. (2013). How Social Darwinism made modern China, The American Conservative, March 11 http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-social-darwinism-made-modern-china-248/

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Evolution, Homicide Rate 
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  1. Maybe you’ve talked about it before, but why did East Asia develop such low crime rates (lower than Europe) despite being relatively clannish? (I wonder if shame culture is a product of however this occured)

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    One interesting aspect of the punishment of criminals in the Sinosphere is a concept of shared familial responsibility. If a person committed a crime, not only the criminal himself would be punished, but often his entire family or clan would also be punished (stripped of rank, enslaved, have wife and children "confiscated," etc.). This might have contributed to the relative lack of warmth in East Asian families -- they tend to be hawkishly vigilant, constantly on the lookout to discover and reprimand family members and relatives (especially subordinate ones) for suspicious activities or even minor social faux pas. Presumably, individuals who treated their kinsmen harshly and who were susceptible to shaming by said kinsmen would leave significantly more descendants than individuals who either left their kinsmen up to their own devices or were thick-skinned and immune to their kinsmen's heckling. The amount of paranoia and animosity toward family members that I have observed in many of my East Asian friends is quite shocking.
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  2. Forget about these bloggers. With Professor Harpending on board you ought to be going after the mainstream readers; the kind who would read discussion about violence that is proposing purely cultural explanations. For example, John Gray: Steven Pinker is wrong about violence and war.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Agreed. Peter, you have a PhD and publish in real journals. It's fine to interact with amateurs in comment threads, but it's beneath you to mention them in the actual post. You have bigger fish to fry.
  3. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Sean
    Forget about these bloggers. With Professor Harpending on board you ought to be going after the mainstream readers; the kind who would read discussion about violence that is proposing purely cultural explanations. For example, John Gray: Steven Pinker is wrong about violence and war.

    Agreed. Peter, you have a PhD and publish in real journals. It’s fine to interact with amateurs in comment threads, but it’s beneath you to mention them in the actual post. You have bigger fish to fry.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
    Giving such prominence to the issues raised by certain bloggers may perhaps be somewhat unprofessional - at least in terms of the impression one leaves - but it's far too much to state that mentioning those bloggers is beneath him. Good grief.

    Another way to look at interaction with amateur bloggers is that the points they make serve to highlight the notorious (and shameful) reticence many academics have when it comes to dealing forthrightly with issues of race and heredity.
  4. @Anonymous
    Agreed. Peter, you have a PhD and publish in real journals. It's fine to interact with amateurs in comment threads, but it's beneath you to mention them in the actual post. You have bigger fish to fry.

    Giving such prominence to the issues raised by certain bloggers may perhaps be somewhat unprofessional – at least in terms of the impression one leaves – but it’s far too much to state that mentioning those bloggers is beneath him. Good grief.

    Another way to look at interaction with amateur bloggers is that the points they make serve to highlight the notorious (and shameful) reticence many academics have when it comes to dealing forthrightly with issues of race and heredity.

    • Replies: @JayMan

    Giving such prominence to the issues raised by certain bloggers may perhaps be somewhat unprofessional
     
    Did you ever read Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit? You should do so.

    Also, for the record, to you and everyone for that matter: you don't know who I am or what I do. That is by design. So, four letters for you (I'll give you two, starts with S and ends with U).
  5. why did East Asia develop such low crime rates (lower than Europe) despite being relatively clannish?

    In East Asia, and China in particular, pacification of social relations was never complete, being largely limited to land-owning peasants of Han extraction. This process of cultural and genetic pacification did not diminish banditry for two reasons:

    1. Bandits were often non-Han:

    In many parts of China the racial factor also contributed to bandit traditions, usually as a result of Han Chinese expansion displacing indigenous groups and leaving them few other means of survival. Along the Inner Asian frontier, disinherited Mongols became the scourge of the encroaching Chinese communities. To the south, in Hunan, Guizhou, and Yunnan, local minorities like the Miao, the Yi, and the Tujia were forced by Han pressure to move to higher, more marginal land, where a mixture of resentment and poverty helped them to develop reputations as dangerous, predatory raiders.

    Billingsley, P. (1988). Bandits in Republican China, Stanford University Press, p. 74

    2. Other bandits were landless peasants who, as such, had already been condemned to genetic extinction. Billingsley describes the landless as an “out class” who had to live on the outskirts of Chinese villages and were subject to social exclusion. By fleeing to the hills and becoming bandits they simply chose another way of exiting the Han gene pool. Billingsley notes that many bandits had started out as “village bullies”; by leaving Han society, they furthered the pacification of the Han gene pool while forming a caste of violent individuals on the margins of Han society.

    We thus have the apparent contradiction of Han society being progressively pacified despite the continuing presence of violent, non-pacified individuals. Unlike the situation in Western Europe, pacification did not lead to the creation of a peaceful, high-trust environment where individuals could survive as individuals without having to seek help and protection from kinsmen.

    There are other differences that distinguish China from Western Europe in its historical trajectory of genetic pacification. For one thing, this trajectory seems to have arisen in a somewhat different set of behavioral and mental characteristics. China has always been more of a shame society than a guilt society. There has also been, correspondingly, less development of affective empathy. Finally, China — and East Asia in general — never had the same alliance of Church and State to promote pacification of social relations. There was less ideological internalization of the “war on murder.” Bandits were hated, but this hatred was less embedded in religious thinking.

    Sean and Anon,

    Hbd chick and Jayman provide high-quality HBD-informed criticism, and that’s a rare commodity. A lot of other academics seem to think I want to justify capital punishment and they criticize this paper from that standpoint. For the record, I am opposed to capital punishment. If you want to use capital punishment to produce a peaceful society, you would have to execute 1 to 2% of all men of each generation for a few centuries. It would be more useful to conserve societies that are already pacified.

    • Replies: @unit472
    Don't we have something akin to 'capital punishment' operating in America today among our most violent cohort of young black males? I was struck by the sharp decline in the murder rates in a number of US cities over the decade of the 1990's. Washington, D.C. e.g. started the decade with upwards of 500 homicides per year. Richmond, Virginia peaked at about 150. The decline over 10 years was extraordinary and while police will claim a lot of the credit I think something else was going on.

    In any population cohort, even young black males, there are going to be a limited number of super aggressive violent males. As some are murdered by other super aggressive males ( or police) and others are arrested and imprisoned this population gets culled. Age also plays a role as those who live to their late twenties and beyond become less of a danger. So my hypothesis was the murder rate would be cyclical as the most violent were killed or imprisoned and then start to rise again about 15-20 years later as their children ( and most of these young black violent males have children before they are 'decommissioned') reach the peak age for violence. Empirically this seems to be the case as the murder rates fell for a time but then seemed to start rising again.

    , @Sean

    THE study, authored by Luke Glowacki of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, found that, among members of the East African herding tribe, those who engaged in conflict - in the form of violent raids carried out on neighbouring groups - had more wives, and thus more opportunities to increase their reproductive success through having more children. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provided clear evidence that violence offers a benefit to warriors, the team say. 'The currency of evolution is reproductive success,' Glowacki said. 'By having more wives you can have more children.'
     
    Chagnon found something similar I believe. If they don't get killed they have more children and the men they kill may be of a pacified biological type narrow-faced males are more likely to die from contact violence. So the alteration in genes with violence may be on both sides of the equation. And maybe when the killers got removed things changed a lot faster than calculations.Pinker explains why it was too fast to be genetic at 24-5 minutes. Thomas Hobbes, who Daniel Dennett calls "the first sociobiologist" said man was a wolf.

    THE wolf accompanied Rowlands to lectures, restaurants and sports complexes, joined him on his walks, runs and road trips, woke him up in the morning (sometimes by presenting him with a dead bird) and lay under his desk while he worked. After an initial period in which Rowlands applied a softer version of the methods of a famous animal trainer, William Koehler, the wolf was rarely on a leash. Having learnt to follow Rowlands's lead, and knowing what it could and could not do, Brenin needed no restraint.
     

     Wolves are amenable to discipline, as are humans (praise and blame would be pointless otherwise as Anthony Collins pointed out three hundred years ago). You would have to train a wolf very carefully to have it around humans who were strangers to it; with a golden labrador training would not be required. Yucatán has a lower homicide rate than Canada.

    PREVIOUS immigrant groups typically saw progress with each passing generation, but Hispanic numbers have a habit of stalling or even heading backwards. American-born children of Hispanic immigrants tend to be less healthy than their parents, have higher divorce rates and go to jail more often. Jump from migrants’ children to their grandchildren, and studies have shown academic results slipping in the third generation. Conservatives fret about “downward assimilation” [...]Steve Murdock of Rice University, a former boss of the US Census bureau, recently published a paper warning Texans that Hispanics are not getting enough advanced degrees and qualifications to replace highly educated whites retiring from their state’s workforce. By 2050, his study predicts, Hispanic workers will outnumber white ones in Texas by almost three to one, but without a change in education policy the state will be poorer and less competitive.
     
    .
  6. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Maybe you've talked about it before, but why did East Asia develop such low crime rates (lower than Europe) despite being relatively clannish? (I wonder if shame culture is a product of however this occured)

    One interesting aspect of the punishment of criminals in the Sinosphere is a concept of shared familial responsibility. If a person committed a crime, not only the criminal himself would be punished, but often his entire family or clan would also be punished (stripped of rank, enslaved, have wife and children “confiscated,” etc.). This might have contributed to the relative lack of warmth in East Asian families — they tend to be hawkishly vigilant, constantly on the lookout to discover and reprimand family members and relatives (especially subordinate ones) for suspicious activities or even minor social faux pas. Presumably, individuals who treated their kinsmen harshly and who were susceptible to shaming by said kinsmen would leave significantly more descendants than individuals who either left their kinsmen up to their own devices or were thick-skinned and immune to their kinsmen’s heckling. The amount of paranoia and animosity toward family members that I have observed in many of my East Asian friends is quite shocking.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @nanashisan - "If a person committed a crime, not only the criminal himself would be punished, but often his entire family or clan would also be punished (stripped of rank, enslaved, have wife and children 'confiscated,' etc.)."

    yes. i've been calling this "confucian pacification" for want of a better -- or another -- term. i think you're on to something here.
    , @Anonymous
    I had the opposite impression but ascribed it to the same reasons. Among the East Asians I knew, it seemed like there was relatively greater warmth among their families than is the norm in Western families. I assumed this was due to their more family oriented societies.
  7. for the record (and peter already knows this, i hope!), i think peter and henry harpending are most likely right about all the post-1500s executions reducing the homicide (violence) rates in (especially northwest) european populations via genetic pacification. i said so back in 2012 when the discussion first came up. i think it makes absolute sense — and fits the facts — that enough of the most violent members of medieval northern european society were removed from the population so that the frequencies of “genes for violent behavior” were significantly lowered in those populations.

    having said that, i think that this explanation only accounts for a part of the picture. there are two additional issues or nuances to the question of the reduction of violence beginning in the middle ages in europe: 1) the fact that violence was already declining before the appearance of strong, centralized states and efficient executions, and 2) the fact that the homicide rates declined regionally in a very specific and familiar (if you’ve been reading my blog) pattern: england and the netherlands first, germany next, scandinavia after that, italy and other peripheral countries like ireland last (like literally in the nineteenth century). these are two very important aspects of the question that i think require explanation.

    @peter – “Your argument essentially rests on a 14th century peak that may or may not be illusory.”

    i did repsond to this on my blog here, but i guess you missed it.

    and in case anyone missed my tweets and blogpost on this paper, i did say that i love it! (^_^)

  8. @Anonymous
    One interesting aspect of the punishment of criminals in the Sinosphere is a concept of shared familial responsibility. If a person committed a crime, not only the criminal himself would be punished, but often his entire family or clan would also be punished (stripped of rank, enslaved, have wife and children "confiscated," etc.). This might have contributed to the relative lack of warmth in East Asian families -- they tend to be hawkishly vigilant, constantly on the lookout to discover and reprimand family members and relatives (especially subordinate ones) for suspicious activities or even minor social faux pas. Presumably, individuals who treated their kinsmen harshly and who were susceptible to shaming by said kinsmen would leave significantly more descendants than individuals who either left their kinsmen up to their own devices or were thick-skinned and immune to their kinsmen's heckling. The amount of paranoia and animosity toward family members that I have observed in many of my East Asian friends is quite shocking.

    @nanashisan – “If a person committed a crime, not only the criminal himself would be punished, but often his entire family or clan would also be punished (stripped of rank, enslaved, have wife and children ‘confiscated,’ etc.).”

    yes. i’ve been calling this “confucian pacification” for want of a better — or another — term. i think you’re on to something here.

  9. the fact that violence was already declining before the appearance of strong, centralized states and efficient executions, and

    I’m sorry, but I fundamentally disagree. In Western Europe, states began to strengthen and consolidate with the end of the Dark Ages, around the 11th century. About the same time, both jurists and clergy began to argue that the State had a moral obligation to execute murderers so that the good may live in peace. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) played a role in this process by arguing that it is right for the State to kill murderers, just as it is right for a physician to remove a decaying limb from a healthy body.

    I agree that the homicide rate was already declining before 1500. The period from 1500 to 1750 represents the peak of the “war on murder” but this war was already under way well before 1500.

    I maintain my position that the pre-1500 data are much less reliable than the post-1500 data. I also maintain my position that Eisner was unsure whether the apparent 14th century increase in the homicide rate was real or not. To me, this is clear from what he wrote: “The average homicide rates are higher for the late fourteenth century than for the thirteenth century, but it seems impossible to say whether this is due to the difference in the sources used or reflects a real increase related to the social and economic crises in the late Middle Ages.”

    the homicide rates declined regionally in a very specific and familiar (if you’ve been reading my blog) pattern: england and the netherlands first, germany next, scandinavia after that, italy and other peripheral countries like ireland last (like literally in the nineteenth century).

    These trends mirror the strengthening of the modern state, specifically its ability to monopolize the use of violence and to locate and execute violators of that monopoly.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @peter - "In Western Europe, states began to strengthen and consolidate with the end of the Dark Ages, around the 11th century."

    yes, they began to, but they really didn't have full control of the justice system until much later. the success of the earliest efforts was very patchy.

    @peter - "I also maintain my position that Eisner was unsure whether the apparent 14th century increase in the homicide rate was real or not."

    yes, that is correct. but he's unsure if the 14th century rates increased in relation to the 13th century rates, which, of the two sets of data, are the rates that are less certain. if you haven't already, you need to look at the original sources -- i mean at given's work (1200s) and hanawalt's (1300s). hanawalt has 16,000 data points in Crime and Conflict alone (there's also a second publication of hers that eisner refrences). given's only got 2400. the later data are the better, more reliable data. the question is not are the 1300s data giving a too high homicide rate, but are the 1200s data giving a too low rate.

    @peter - "These trends mirror the strengthening of the modern state, specifically its ability to monopolize the use of violence and to locate and execute violators of that monopoly."

    but there were strong city-states in northern italy. very powerful and wealthy city-states -- venice, florence, bologna. why didn't they manage to lower their rates until the 1800s?

    let's leave these questions for now. i've got some data/info for italy that i'll try to post next week.
    , @Director
    The monopoly of violence is directly connected to Artillery and small arms. In this case the drop in homicide is strongly associated with the King having an artillery train and battalions of men who enforced the peace.

    They called it peace...
    , @Anonymous
    I would place my bet on the Black Death culling high-testosterone knuckle draggers at a higher rate than the others. High test does affect the immune system in a negative way.

    The ability to comprehend the consequences of one's actions would increase in the populations also.

    Mother Nature breeding tamer people like the Russians bred tame Siberian foxes.
  10. I took a look at the paper, Peter, and I’ll admit I’m quite skeptical about the genetic side of the theory.

    First, we’re really talking about a tiny genetic impact, maybe executing 1-2% of the males in each generation.

    I also very much doubt the victims were at the extreme end of the violence curve since with lots of local brawls and fights, the difference between committing a murder and just injuring an opponent was probably more chance than anything else. So I think it’s more plausible that most of the 1-2% executed tended to come from a fairly random sample of (say) the 20-30% most violent fraction of the population. Therefore, the impact on the genetic mean wouldn’t seem to be very large.

    Second, I’d guess that most of the executed criminals weren’t young teenagers but rather adults, and given relatively early age of marriage/reproduction, I’d think that quite a reasonable fraction of them might have already had children when they were killed, largely eliminating any genetic impact. For example, if a successful bandit was able to afford to marry and have lots of children before he was finally caught and hanged, I don’t see any much selective pressure against banditry.

    So to the extent there was any selective pressure against violence/criminality genes, I think on net it would have been a very small fraction of 1% per generation.

    Obviously, all my estimates were totally speculative, but since I doubt there’s any hard data, what else can we do?

    Meanwhile, the apparent reduction of violence was absolutely gigantic, supposedly a 90% reduction in homicide rates in just 10 generations. The genetic/execution explanation just seem totally implausible to me.

    On the other hand, if social changes made it very difficult for violent men to find wives and have children, there might have been a significant impact, but that’s also speculation since we don’t have any data. And obviously the same social pressures would have caused men with violent tendencies to be less violent, which is just the standard “social” model of violence reduction. Either way, I really doubt the genetic aspect of the large number of executions had any significant impact, while their “deterrent effect” very likely did.

    You’d referenced my Chinese Social Darwinism paper, but the situation I discussed was quite different.

    http://www.unz.com/article/how-social-darwinism-made-modern-china-248/

    First, the evidence suggests that in each generation perhaps 15% of the poorest males couldn’t afford to marry and therefore disappeared from the gene pool. 15% is a fairly substantial fraction and their genetic line ended with them due to poverty so I wouldn’t be surprised if the selective pressure was 50x that of a 1-2% adult execution rate.

    Second, to the extent that much of rural China spent most of the last thousand years near its Malthusian limit, we’re talking about 40 generations rather than just 10.

    And the ultimate result of such enormous pressure over a thousand year period really wasn’t all that great, perhaps shifting the genetic distribution of intelligence and diligence by just a few points, a fraction of a single SD. Meanwhile, I would think a purely genetic explanation for cutting the homicide rate by 90% would require a shift of more like 1.5-2.0 SD.

    • Replies: @Randall Parker
    Regards adult murders who already had children: What I took away from John Boswell's The Kindness Of Strangers is that child abandonment was extremely common in the period. Take away dad (because he just got executed) and suddenly mom is taking kids to a foundling home where they'll die of hunger and disease.

    So I think you are underestimating the selective pressure of execution on progeny.

    Regards the mechanisms of selective pressure: Yes, I agree it wasn't just execution. If the state grew stronger then the ROI on violence for robbery and plunder went down. A society not at war is going to select for pro-social behavior.
    , @hbd chick
    @ron - "I also very much doubt the victims were at the extreme end of the violence curve since with lots of local brawls and fights...."

    homicides that occurred in brawls or barroom fights only amount to between 4 and 6% of all homicides in fourteenth century england (greater amounts in urban than rural areas). the majority of homicides took places in the victims' homes, but, unlike today, were NOT committed mostly by family. the culprits were typically male and someone from the neighborhood/village -- often a person in business, like the local baker. the typical cause seems to have been people getting all hot and bothered in the course of an argument -- not being able to control their temper.

    i get all of this from barabara hanawalt's "Violent Death in Fourteenth- and Early Fifteenth-Century England." she's got data on almost everything, but most annoyingly, she doesn't mention the average age of the killers! (unless i missed it.) argh.
  11. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous
    One interesting aspect of the punishment of criminals in the Sinosphere is a concept of shared familial responsibility. If a person committed a crime, not only the criminal himself would be punished, but often his entire family or clan would also be punished (stripped of rank, enslaved, have wife and children "confiscated," etc.). This might have contributed to the relative lack of warmth in East Asian families -- they tend to be hawkishly vigilant, constantly on the lookout to discover and reprimand family members and relatives (especially subordinate ones) for suspicious activities or even minor social faux pas. Presumably, individuals who treated their kinsmen harshly and who were susceptible to shaming by said kinsmen would leave significantly more descendants than individuals who either left their kinsmen up to their own devices or were thick-skinned and immune to their kinsmen's heckling. The amount of paranoia and animosity toward family members that I have observed in many of my East Asian friends is quite shocking.

    I had the opposite impression but ascribed it to the same reasons. Among the East Asians I knew, it seemed like there was relatively greater warmth among their families than is the norm in Western families. I assumed this was due to their more family oriented societies.

  12. @Ron Unz
    I took a look at the paper, Peter, and I'll admit I'm quite skeptical about the genetic side of the theory.

    First, we're really talking about a tiny genetic impact, maybe executing 1-2% of the males in each generation.

    I also very much doubt the victims were at the extreme end of the violence curve since with lots of local brawls and fights, the difference between committing a murder and just injuring an opponent was probably more chance than anything else. So I think it's more plausible that most of the 1-2% executed tended to come from a fairly random sample of (say) the 20-30% most violent fraction of the population. Therefore, the impact on the genetic mean wouldn't seem to be very large.

    Second, I'd guess that most of the executed criminals weren't young teenagers but rather adults, and given relatively early age of marriage/reproduction, I'd think that quite a reasonable fraction of them might have already had children when they were killed, largely eliminating any genetic impact. For example, if a successful bandit was able to afford to marry and have lots of children before he was finally caught and hanged, I don't see any much selective pressure against banditry.

    So to the extent there was any selective pressure against violence/criminality genes, I think on net it would have been a very small fraction of 1% per generation.

    Obviously, all my estimates were totally speculative, but since I doubt there's any hard data, what else can we do?

    Meanwhile, the apparent reduction of violence was absolutely gigantic, supposedly a 90% reduction in homicide rates in just 10 generations. The genetic/execution explanation just seem totally implausible to me.

    On the other hand, if social changes made it very difficult for violent men to find wives and have children, there might have been a significant impact, but that's also speculation since we don't have any data. And obviously the same social pressures would have caused men with violent tendencies to be less violent, which is just the standard "social" model of violence reduction. Either way, I really doubt the genetic aspect of the large number of executions had any significant impact, while their "deterrent effect" very likely did.

    You'd referenced my Chinese Social Darwinism paper, but the situation I discussed was quite different.

    http://www.unz.com/article/how-social-darwinism-made-modern-china-248/

    First, the evidence suggests that in each generation perhaps 15% of the poorest males couldn't afford to marry and therefore disappeared from the gene pool. 15% is a fairly substantial fraction and their genetic line ended with them due to poverty so I wouldn't be surprised if the selective pressure was 50x that of a 1-2% adult execution rate.

    Second, to the extent that much of rural China spent most of the last thousand years near its Malthusian limit, we're talking about 40 generations rather than just 10.

    And the ultimate result of such enormous pressure over a thousand year period really wasn't all that great, perhaps shifting the genetic distribution of intelligence and diligence by just a few points, a fraction of a single SD. Meanwhile, I would think a purely genetic explanation for cutting the homicide rate by 90% would require a shift of more like 1.5-2.0 SD.

    Regards adult murders who already had children: What I took away from John Boswell’s The Kindness Of Strangers is that child abandonment was extremely common in the period. Take away dad (because he just got executed) and suddenly mom is taking kids to a foundling home where they’ll die of hunger and disease.

    So I think you are underestimating the selective pressure of execution on progeny.

    Regards the mechanisms of selective pressure: Yes, I agree it wasn’t just execution. If the state grew stronger then the ROI on violence for robbery and plunder went down. A society not at war is going to select for pro-social behavior.

  13. @Peter Frost
    the fact that violence was already declining before the appearance of strong, centralized states and efficient executions, and

    I'm sorry, but I fundamentally disagree. In Western Europe, states began to strengthen and consolidate with the end of the Dark Ages, around the 11th century. About the same time, both jurists and clergy began to argue that the State had a moral obligation to execute murderers so that the good may live in peace. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) played a role in this process by arguing that it is right for the State to kill murderers, just as it is right for a physician to remove a decaying limb from a healthy body.

    I agree that the homicide rate was already declining before 1500. The period from 1500 to 1750 represents the peak of the "war on murder" but this war was already under way well before 1500.

    I maintain my position that the pre-1500 data are much less reliable than the post-1500 data. I also maintain my position that Eisner was unsure whether the apparent 14th century increase in the homicide rate was real or not. To me, this is clear from what he wrote: "The average homicide rates are higher for the late fourteenth century than for the thirteenth century, but it seems impossible to say whether this is due to the difference in the sources used or reflects a real increase related to the social and economic crises in the late Middle Ages."

    the homicide rates declined regionally in a very specific and familiar (if you’ve been reading my blog) pattern: england and the netherlands first, germany next, scandinavia after that, italy and other peripheral countries like ireland last (like literally in the nineteenth century).

    These trends mirror the strengthening of the modern state, specifically its ability to monopolize the use of violence and to locate and execute violators of that monopoly.

    @peter – “In Western Europe, states began to strengthen and consolidate with the end of the Dark Ages, around the 11th century.”

    yes, they began to, but they really didn’t have full control of the justice system until much later. the success of the earliest efforts was very patchy.

    @peter – “I also maintain my position that Eisner was unsure whether the apparent 14th century increase in the homicide rate was real or not.”

    yes, that is correct. but he’s unsure if the 14th century rates increased in relation to the 13th century rates, which, of the two sets of data, are the rates that are less certain. if you haven’t already, you need to look at the original sources — i mean at given’s work (1200s) and hanawalt’s (1300s). hanawalt has 16,000 data points in Crime and Conflict alone (there’s also a second publication of hers that eisner refrences). given’s only got 2400. the later data are the better, more reliable data. the question is not are the 1300s data giving a too high homicide rate, but are the 1200s data giving a too low rate.

    @peter – “These trends mirror the strengthening of the modern state, specifically its ability to monopolize the use of violence and to locate and execute violators of that monopoly.”

    but there were strong city-states in northern italy. very powerful and wealthy city-states — venice, florence, bologna. why didn’t they manage to lower their rates until the 1800s?

    let’s leave these questions for now. i’ve got some data/info for italy that i’ll try to post next week.

  14. @silviosilver
    Giving such prominence to the issues raised by certain bloggers may perhaps be somewhat unprofessional - at least in terms of the impression one leaves - but it's far too much to state that mentioning those bloggers is beneath him. Good grief.

    Another way to look at interaction with amateur bloggers is that the points they make serve to highlight the notorious (and shameful) reticence many academics have when it comes to dealing forthrightly with issues of race and heredity.

    Giving such prominence to the issues raised by certain bloggers may perhaps be somewhat unprofessional

    Did you ever read Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit? You should do so.

    Also, for the record, to you and everyone for that matter: you don’t know who I am or what I do. That is by design. So, four letters for you (I’ll give you two, starts with S and ends with U).

    • Replies: @Stan D Mute

    Also, for the record, to you and everyone for that matter: you don’t know who I am or what I do. That is by design. So, four letters for you (I’ll give you two, starts with S and ends with U).
     
    I would add to this that who/what is irrelevant. For all I know you may be the guy who scrubs the toilets in the world's worst mexican restaurant. That is the real beauty of open forum discussion using pseudonyms - ideas must be judged solely on their merits. We have a major problem with credentialism throughout our society and it has played no small role in our decline. "Dr. Muckity Muck, MD, JD, PhD, ED, says 'Race does not exist, it is only a social construct!'" And otherwise sane people decide their own senses are deceiving them. Look at the absurdly obvious falsehoods put forth by "government experts" which are accepted blindly because authority. Are the ideas argued in The Fereralist Papers any more compelling for knowing the identities of Publius?

    The work done by JayMan and HBDChick is very high quality (as far as I can tell anyway) and that doesn't change whether they're secretly Watson & Crick or Laurel & Hardy.
  15. @Ron Unz
    I took a look at the paper, Peter, and I'll admit I'm quite skeptical about the genetic side of the theory.

    First, we're really talking about a tiny genetic impact, maybe executing 1-2% of the males in each generation.

    I also very much doubt the victims were at the extreme end of the violence curve since with lots of local brawls and fights, the difference between committing a murder and just injuring an opponent was probably more chance than anything else. So I think it's more plausible that most of the 1-2% executed tended to come from a fairly random sample of (say) the 20-30% most violent fraction of the population. Therefore, the impact on the genetic mean wouldn't seem to be very large.

    Second, I'd guess that most of the executed criminals weren't young teenagers but rather adults, and given relatively early age of marriage/reproduction, I'd think that quite a reasonable fraction of them might have already had children when they were killed, largely eliminating any genetic impact. For example, if a successful bandit was able to afford to marry and have lots of children before he was finally caught and hanged, I don't see any much selective pressure against banditry.

    So to the extent there was any selective pressure against violence/criminality genes, I think on net it would have been a very small fraction of 1% per generation.

    Obviously, all my estimates were totally speculative, but since I doubt there's any hard data, what else can we do?

    Meanwhile, the apparent reduction of violence was absolutely gigantic, supposedly a 90% reduction in homicide rates in just 10 generations. The genetic/execution explanation just seem totally implausible to me.

    On the other hand, if social changes made it very difficult for violent men to find wives and have children, there might have been a significant impact, but that's also speculation since we don't have any data. And obviously the same social pressures would have caused men with violent tendencies to be less violent, which is just the standard "social" model of violence reduction. Either way, I really doubt the genetic aspect of the large number of executions had any significant impact, while their "deterrent effect" very likely did.

    You'd referenced my Chinese Social Darwinism paper, but the situation I discussed was quite different.

    http://www.unz.com/article/how-social-darwinism-made-modern-china-248/

    First, the evidence suggests that in each generation perhaps 15% of the poorest males couldn't afford to marry and therefore disappeared from the gene pool. 15% is a fairly substantial fraction and their genetic line ended with them due to poverty so I wouldn't be surprised if the selective pressure was 50x that of a 1-2% adult execution rate.

    Second, to the extent that much of rural China spent most of the last thousand years near its Malthusian limit, we're talking about 40 generations rather than just 10.

    And the ultimate result of such enormous pressure over a thousand year period really wasn't all that great, perhaps shifting the genetic distribution of intelligence and diligence by just a few points, a fraction of a single SD. Meanwhile, I would think a purely genetic explanation for cutting the homicide rate by 90% would require a shift of more like 1.5-2.0 SD.

    @ron – “I also very much doubt the victims were at the extreme end of the violence curve since with lots of local brawls and fights….”

    homicides that occurred in brawls or barroom fights only amount to between 4 and 6% of all homicides in fourteenth century england (greater amounts in urban than rural areas). the majority of homicides took places in the victims’ homes, but, unlike today, were NOT committed mostly by family. the culprits were typically male and someone from the neighborhood/village — often a person in business, like the local baker. the typical cause seems to have been people getting all hot and bothered in the course of an argument — not being able to control their temper.

    i get all of this from barabara hanawalt’s “Violent Death in Fourteenth- and Early Fifteenth-Century England.” she’s got data on almost everything, but most annoyingly, she doesn’t mention the average age of the killers! (unless i missed it.) argh.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    For heaven's sake hbd chick, capitalise the first letter in your sentences!
  16. We see an east-west cline in Europe, which may be related to the relative lateness of state formation in Eastern Europe.

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there, in particular in the ex-USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics). Note that Finland has an unusually high homicide rate for a rich, high IQ nation – twice as high as in Sweden/Denmark, and they have far fewer immigrants from “non-pacified” societies to boot. This is almost certainly a remnant of Finland’s alcohol consumption patterns, which are more vodka bingeing orientated than in the rest of Europe, albeit nowhere near in scale to the situation in the ex-USSR.

    On the more general thesis:

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?

    In the American Wild West, annual homicide rates were fifty to several hundred times higher than those of eastern cities and midwestern farming regions: 50 per 100,000 in Abilene, Kansas, 100 in Dodge City, 229 in Fort Griffin, Texas, and 1,500 in Wichita.

    – Steven Pinker.

    Those guys were after all the descendants of largely “pacified” populations. Seems that alcohol bingeing – and in their case, a huge surfeit of men – would tend to play a much greater role. See also the huge homicide rates of Irish immigrants to the US in the 19th century vs. Ireland today.

    • Replies: @anon

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there
     
    That's no doubt true as well but I'd suggest that all kinds of risk taking / fearless / drug taking behavior also correlate with propensity/capacity for violence genes.

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?

    Those guys were after all the descendants of largely “pacified” populations. Seems that alcohol bingeing – and in their case, a huge surfeit of men – would tend to play a much greater role.
     
    I agree alcohol and lack of women will add to whatever the base level is but no population is ever totally pacified and Britain and Ireland in particularly illustrate this because of the disparity in pacification between the south on one hand and the north and west on the other.

    So the question is where did those cowboys come from? If they'd come from the Anglo-Scottish border their ancestors were still skinning each other (literally) in the 1600s.
    , @JayMan

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there, in particular in the ex-USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics).
     
    Oh? Let's see about that. Let's compare this (global alcohol consumption per capita, Wikipedia) - also here. And for good measure this map of "risky" alcohol consumption.

    Now let's compare this to the U.N.'s homicide map. Some alignment, but not perfect. Indeed, there's a lot more booze drank in certain countries than their level of violence would predict, and vice versa. The fact that the alignment improves when you look at "risky" behavior suffers from a cause and effect problem. Is risky drinking causing the violence, or do they drink in a risky manner because their are more reckless in general?

    Or maybe the West Slavs, and to a lesser extent, the Portuguese and the Irish can hold their liquor while the East Slavs can't. And apparently the Albanians don't need booze at all, and perhaps the Italians to a lesser extent.

    In short, I'm not convinced alcohol is the explanatory variable. It may not even be a contributing factor if South Korea's behavior is to be believed.


    Note that Finland has an unusually high homicide rate
     
    Perhaps because of its Sami population.

    for a rich, high IQ nation
     
    As hbd chick would say, there's more to HBD than IQ.

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?
     
    Easy: founder effects/assortative migration. The western states have the highest White crime rates to this day.

    Those guys were after all the descendants of largely “pacified” populations.
     
    No. See my post a few comments up and the ones linked above.
  17. The existence of firearms must have some connection.

    The cannon was the king’s weapon which allowed the state to solidify. Especially France. The small arms also allowed the state to outcompete the strong arm local bully boy.

    Guns in this case had more impact locally than they did perhaps in the New World.

    The exception of Shogunate era Japan not withstanding.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @director - "The existence of firearms must have some connection. "

    a paper about this was just published recently, but i haven't had a chance to read it yet, so i don't know if there's anything to it or not:

    Firearms and the Decline of Violence in Europe: 1200-2010 [pdf]

    "Personal violence, has declined substantially in Europe from 1200-2010. The conventional wisdom is that the state’s monopoly on violence is the cause of this happy result. I find some evidence that does not support this hypothesis. I suggest an alternative hypothesis that could explain at least some of the reduction in violence, namely that the invention and proliferation of compact, concealable, ready-to-use firearms caused potential assailants to recalculate the probability of a successful assault and seek alternatives to violence. I use structural change models to test this hypothesis and find breakpoints consistent with the invention of certain firearms."
  18. @Peter Frost
    the fact that violence was already declining before the appearance of strong, centralized states and efficient executions, and

    I'm sorry, but I fundamentally disagree. In Western Europe, states began to strengthen and consolidate with the end of the Dark Ages, around the 11th century. About the same time, both jurists and clergy began to argue that the State had a moral obligation to execute murderers so that the good may live in peace. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) played a role in this process by arguing that it is right for the State to kill murderers, just as it is right for a physician to remove a decaying limb from a healthy body.

    I agree that the homicide rate was already declining before 1500. The period from 1500 to 1750 represents the peak of the "war on murder" but this war was already under way well before 1500.

    I maintain my position that the pre-1500 data are much less reliable than the post-1500 data. I also maintain my position that Eisner was unsure whether the apparent 14th century increase in the homicide rate was real or not. To me, this is clear from what he wrote: "The average homicide rates are higher for the late fourteenth century than for the thirteenth century, but it seems impossible to say whether this is due to the difference in the sources used or reflects a real increase related to the social and economic crises in the late Middle Ages."

    the homicide rates declined regionally in a very specific and familiar (if you’ve been reading my blog) pattern: england and the netherlands first, germany next, scandinavia after that, italy and other peripheral countries like ireland last (like literally in the nineteenth century).

    These trends mirror the strengthening of the modern state, specifically its ability to monopolize the use of violence and to locate and execute violators of that monopoly.

    The monopoly of violence is directly connected to Artillery and small arms. In this case the drop in homicide is strongly associated with the King having an artillery train and battalions of men who enforced the peace.

    They called it peace…

  19. One point that should be considered is the criteria used to define “homicide”. If a Chechen comes to the US and kills people, we count that as a homicide. If our armed forces or proxies kill a Chechen in Iraq or elsewhere, I doubt that it is counted as a homicide. The “official homicide rate” is not an un-biased natural phenomenon; it is a culturally produced data-point and depends on many factors; the main one being the identity of the compiler and their cultural relationship to the possible homicide candidate.

    • Replies: @Jim
    Obviously violence in war and internal personal violence within a society are two different phenomena whose causal dynamics can be very different. Your point has only limited validity in the extent to which "terrorism" ie politically/ideologically motivated violence is a different phenomena from personal violence within a society which is mainly what is being discussed here.

    There is some overlap as in the case mentioned by Peter of non-Han bandits in China preying on Han.
  20. lots of local brawls and fights, the difference between committing a murder and just injuring an opponent was probably more chance than anything else.

    Excellent point.

    What about the availability of different types of weapons? Easy and wide-spread possession of deadly weapons could skew the data as to make comparisons between different cultures meaningless.

    Homicide rate is not a simple concept.

    What about vehicular homicide?

    • Replies: @IBC

    What about the availability of different types of weapons? Easy and wide-spread possession of deadly weapons could skew the data as to make comparisons between different cultures meaningless.

     

    Wasn't it common for people in medieval Europe to carry a personal knife to eat with? I'm guessing these were more like small hunting knives rather than butter knives.

    Some possible examples:

    http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/russia2006/HermitageRussianMedievalKnives419.jpg

    There also would have been regular kitchen knives, pokers, and pitch forks; not to mention stones, possibly cookware, and of course suffocation.
  21. You guys reckon East Slavic peasants of the Kievan Rus got offed less frequently by their states?

    I’m very suspect of this. This handwave of “later state formation in Eastern Europe” is very weak. How much older is the Russian state than Western European states, really? But is there any evidence either way? Neither of you seem to have any real knowledge of the history of far Eastern Europe.

    Maybe Anatoly Karlin could comment.

  22. AP [AKA "Dr. Preobrazhensky"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    On this map Ukraine isn’t divided into provinces. Within Ukraine, eastern Ukraine has a homicide rate similar to or even higher than Russia’s; western Ukraine has a western European-like homicide rate.

    Map of serious crimes within Ukraine:

    http://pollotenchegg.livejournal.com/41081.html

  23. 896929

    The amateurs don’t have to be specified, their points can be paraphrased, etc.

    Oh you must hate this then. This too.

  24. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    1) The breeder’s equation involves the strength of selection over generations so you can get the same effect with either strong selection over 1000 years or weaker selection over 3000 years.

    #

    2) I think the connection with hbdchick’s general clannishness theory – which I generally agree with – is that the breakdown in clannishness in NW Europe made the state apparatus more efficient and so made the selection process much stronger. (The state apparatus being more efficient is shown simply from the fact that the data is available so early compared to most other places.)

    There might be a direct connection as well but to my mind it’s not necessary to explain the data.

    The same argument in reverse applies to the Italian connection. If a guilty Capulet was up before a Montague judge for killing a Montague would the judge convict, yes. If a guilty Capulet was up before a Capulet judge for killing a Montague would the judge convict, possibly or probably no.

    I think the clannishness factor comes into play with how well the state applies the selection pressure.

    So
    East Asia ~ 3000 years of weaker selection pressure
    Southern Europe ~ interrupted 3000 years of weaker selection pressure
    Northern Europe ~ 1000 years of stronger selection pressure (where the strength of the selection pressure was partly (I’d say largely) a result of the de-clanning)

    #

    3) Violence

    If both propensity for violence and capacity for violence have a genetic component on a bell curve and if it requires both types of gene for an individual to have a high chance of killing someone (by accident or design) then the selection pressure is much more concentrated than might first appear.

    Even if 50% of a population had genes for high propensity (bad temper, impulsive etc) and 50% had genes for high capacity (calm violence, unusually strong, inclined to use of weapons etc) then

    25% high capacity + high propensity (high chance of murder)
    25% high capacity + low propensity (low chance of murder)
    25% low capacity + high propensity (low chance of murder)
    25% low both (low chance of murder)

    so the selection pressure would only be on 25% of the population. If over time the percentage of high propensity genes dropped to 12% and high capacity to 18% then the percentage of likely murderers would drop to c. 2% and a further drop in propensity and capacity to 6% and 15% would lead to a likely murderer percentage of 1% etc.

    There’s a kind of square law in effect.

    If correct then it should be possible to have a population somewhere which has a relatively high frequency of killer genes combined with an extremely low frequency of propensity genes leading to a low level of violent crime despite the high level of violence genes (probably combined with tentacle pron).

  25. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Second, I’d guess that most of the executed criminals weren’t young teenagers but rather adults, and given relatively early age of marriage/reproduction

    This is another way the unusual culture within the hajnal line might have magnified any selection pressure.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajnal_line

    West of this line, the average age of marriage for women was 23 or more,[3] men 26

    If propensity for violence is at it’s maximum among males aged 16-24 (cos magnified by peak testosterone years) then late marriage and late reproduction would magnify any selection pressures that occurred before that.

    So a violent,clannish culture might *require* early marriage to sustain itself.

    • Replies: @JayMan

    So a violent,clannish culture might *require* early marriage to sustain itself.
     
    Fair point.
  26. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anatoly Karlin

    We see an east-west cline in Europe, which may be related to the relative lateness of state formation in Eastern Europe.
     
    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there, in particular in the ex-USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics). Note that Finland has an unusually high homicide rate for a rich, high IQ nation - twice as high as in Sweden/Denmark, and they have far fewer immigrants from "non-pacified" societies to boot. This is almost certainly a remnant of Finland's alcohol consumption patterns, which are more vodka bingeing orientated than in the rest of Europe, albeit nowhere near in scale to the situation in the ex-USSR.

    On the more general thesis:

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?

    In the American Wild West, annual homicide rates were fifty to several hundred times higher than those of eastern cities and midwestern farming regions: 50 per 100,000 in Abilene, Kansas, 100 in Dodge City, 229 in Fort Griffin, Texas, and 1,500 in Wichita.
     
    - Steven Pinker.

    Those guys were after all the descendants of largely "pacified" populations. Seems that alcohol bingeing - and in their case, a huge surfeit of men - would tend to play a much greater role. See also the huge homicide rates of Irish immigrants to the US in the 19th century vs. Ireland today.

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there

    That’s no doubt true as well but I’d suggest that all kinds of risk taking / fearless / drug taking behavior also correlate with propensity/capacity for violence genes.

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?

    Those guys were after all the descendants of largely “pacified” populations. Seems that alcohol bingeing – and in their case, a huge surfeit of men – would tend to play a much greater role.

    I agree alcohol and lack of women will add to whatever the base level is but no population is ever totally pacified and Britain and Ireland in particularly illustrate this because of the disparity in pacification between the south on one hand and the north and west on the other.

    So the question is where did those cowboys come from? If they’d come from the Anglo-Scottish border their ancestors were still skinning each other (literally) in the 1600s.

    • Replies: @IBC

    So the question is where did those cowboys come from?
     
    A lot of the cowboys, specifically, were from the southern states and especially from Texas. There were also people of Mexican background and even some black people moving west after the Civil War. Quite a few of the most famous criminals in those days were of Irish background, e.g. Billy the Kid and Jack Powers, but there were other backgrounds too. Miners could be from anywhere, north, south, and quite a few foreigners too.

    But wouldn't a frontier situation where the law is weak and the possibilities to get-rich-quick are strong, attract more big-risk-taking types from wherever? For example, is it any coincidence that gambling was so popular in Western cow-towns and mining camps? What about whore houses? That was risky for the prostitutes and for the clients, at least healthwise. And in many cases, the red light district was the first part of the town they built!

    The people who went West first, were a self-selecting group who either went there to seek their fortune, get away from the law, or both. There were other factors too, but given the situation, it's not surprising that the rate of violent crime would be way higher there than "back east" at least until the demographics started to normalize and the forces of the law grew strong enough to guarantee the peace over hired guns and gangsters.
  27. I have some questions:

    1) How does the weregeld system fit in here? For a long time, the killing of another person had a price in gold that was paid by the offender. That’s a different view of murder than we have in modern times, thus making comparisons a little difficult.

    2) Since no distinction existed between murder and manslaughter until about the 12 century, wouldn’t that also create problems comparing murder rates across time spans?

    3) How about the Hundred Years War and the Thirty Years War? Both were meat grinders drawing in violent men to fight and die. Reasonable estimates say both reduced the number of men by far more than administrative processes.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @the z blog - "How does the weregeld system fit in here?"

    the weregeld system disappeared (or started to disappear) in england in the 1100s. however, interestingly (at least i think it's interesting), the members of the extended family (the kindred) began to be replaced as the beneficiaries of weregeld in the late-800s by friends and associates (a sworn group of friends and associates, the gegildan), and by the 900s in southern england the gegildan dominated the weregeld/vengeance system. but, then, like i said, the whole weregeld system disappears beginning in the 1100s.

    on the other hand, a weregeld/vengeance/vendetta system remained in place in northern italy right into (at least) the 1400s (i don't actually know when it disappears in northern italy). i'm going to try to post about this difference later in the week (i hope!), so stay tuned. (^_^)
  28. The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks. Visit any jail in the South today to see what I mean. It is amazing.

    • Replies: @JayMan

    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks.
     
    Not exactly. White homicide rates a bit higher there.

    They were even more so in the recent past.

    , @Ron Unz

    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks.
     
    That's certainly true, but the residual white rate is almost certainly much higher as well.

    For example, a couple of years ago I pointed out that the age-adjusted non-Hispanic white incarceration rate in various large Southern states was often 200% or even 300% higher than the corresponding rate in large Northeastern or Midwestern states, and it seems unlikely that the difference is entirely due to differences in the harshness of sentencing:

    http://www.unz.com/article/the-myth-of-hispanic-crime/
  29. @Peter Frost
    why did East Asia develop such low crime rates (lower than Europe) despite being relatively clannish?

    In East Asia, and China in particular, pacification of social relations was never complete, being largely limited to land-owning peasants of Han extraction. This process of cultural and genetic pacification did not diminish banditry for two reasons:

    1. Bandits were often non-Han:

    In many parts of China the racial factor also contributed to bandit traditions, usually as a result of Han Chinese expansion displacing indigenous groups and leaving them few other means of survival. Along the Inner Asian frontier, disinherited Mongols became the scourge of the encroaching Chinese communities. To the south, in Hunan, Guizhou, and Yunnan, local minorities like the Miao, the Yi, and the Tujia were forced by Han pressure to move to higher, more marginal land, where a mixture of resentment and poverty helped them to develop reputations as dangerous, predatory raiders.

     

    Billingsley, P. (1988). Bandits in Republican China, Stanford University Press, p. 74

    2. Other bandits were landless peasants who, as such, had already been condemned to genetic extinction. Billingsley describes the landless as an "out class" who had to live on the outskirts of Chinese villages and were subject to social exclusion. By fleeing to the hills and becoming bandits they simply chose another way of exiting the Han gene pool. Billingsley notes that many bandits had started out as "village bullies"; by leaving Han society, they furthered the pacification of the Han gene pool while forming a caste of violent individuals on the margins of Han society.

    We thus have the apparent contradiction of Han society being progressively pacified despite the continuing presence of violent, non-pacified individuals. Unlike the situation in Western Europe, pacification did not lead to the creation of a peaceful, high-trust environment where individuals could survive as individuals without having to seek help and protection from kinsmen.

    There are other differences that distinguish China from Western Europe in its historical trajectory of genetic pacification. For one thing, this trajectory seems to have arisen in a somewhat different set of behavioral and mental characteristics. China has always been more of a shame society than a guilt society. There has also been, correspondingly, less development of affective empathy. Finally, China -- and East Asia in general -- never had the same alliance of Church and State to promote pacification of social relations. There was less ideological internalization of the "war on murder." Bandits were hated, but this hatred was less embedded in religious thinking.

    Sean and Anon,

    Hbd chick and Jayman provide high-quality HBD-informed criticism, and that's a rare commodity. A lot of other academics seem to think I want to justify capital punishment and they criticize this paper from that standpoint. For the record, I am opposed to capital punishment. If you want to use capital punishment to produce a peaceful society, you would have to execute 1 to 2% of all men of each generation for a few centuries. It would be more useful to conserve societies that are already pacified.

    Don’t we have something akin to ‘capital punishment’ operating in America today among our most violent cohort of young black males? I was struck by the sharp decline in the murder rates in a number of US cities over the decade of the 1990′s. Washington, D.C. e.g. started the decade with upwards of 500 homicides per year. Richmond, Virginia peaked at about 150. The decline over 10 years was extraordinary and while police will claim a lot of the credit I think something else was going on.

    In any population cohort, even young black males, there are going to be a limited number of super aggressive violent males. As some are murdered by other super aggressive males ( or police) and others are arrested and imprisoned this population gets culled. Age also plays a role as those who live to their late twenties and beyond become less of a danger. So my hypothesis was the murder rate would be cyclical as the most violent were killed or imprisoned and then start to rise again about 15-20 years later as their children ( and most of these young black violent males have children before they are ‘decommissioned’) reach the peak age for violence. Empirically this seems to be the case as the murder rates fell for a time but then seemed to start rising again.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    Well, when you examine the official government statistics, it appears that in recent years over one-quarter of all urban black men have "disappeared," being either dead or in prison. And with extremely few exceptions, our MSM seems to have never noticed that remarkable fact.

    When over one-quarter of all urban black men are removed, and these removals are heavily skewed towards the most violent, we might expect crime rates to be impacted:

    http://www.unz.com/article/race-and-crime-in-america/

    However, there just hasn't been time for any possible genetic change to manifest itself. We're simply talking "removal."
  30. @iffen
    One point that should be considered is the criteria used to define “homicide”. If a Chechen comes to the US and kills people, we count that as a homicide. If our armed forces or proxies kill a Chechen in Iraq or elsewhere, I doubt that it is counted as a homicide. The “official homicide rate” is not an un-biased natural phenomenon; it is a culturally produced data-point and depends on many factors; the main one being the identity of the compiler and their cultural relationship to the possible homicide candidate.

    Obviously violence in war and internal personal violence within a society are two different phenomena whose causal dynamics can be very different. Your point has only limited validity in the extent to which “terrorism” ie politically/ideologically motivated violence is a different phenomena from personal violence within a society which is mainly what is being discussed here.

    There is some overlap as in the case mentioned by Peter of non-Han bandits in China preying on Han.

    • Replies: @iffen
    Thanks for your comment Jim, but I will stand with my comment. The question as to whether a death is defined as personal violence within a society is a contingent, political and cultural statement. It is not a fact. One person’s murder is another person’s state sponsored execution. My main observation was that we need to look a closer look at how homicide is defined in “homicide rates”. But as you can see from the comment thread it is a lot more fun if we don’t get our facts down at the beginning. I am not knowledgeable about Chinese history, but I would just guess that if the non-Han bandits had compiled the homicide rate it would have been much lower.
  31. @iffen

    lots of local brawls and fights, the difference between committing a murder and just injuring an opponent was probably more chance than anything else.
     
    Excellent point.

    What about the availability of different types of weapons? Easy and wide-spread possession of deadly weapons could skew the data as to make comparisons between different cultures meaningless.

    Homicide rate is not a simple concept.

    What about vehicular homicide?

    What about the availability of different types of weapons? Easy and wide-spread possession of deadly weapons could skew the data as to make comparisons between different cultures meaningless.

    Wasn’t it common for people in medieval Europe to carry a personal knife to eat with? I’m guessing these were more like small hunting knives rather than butter knives.

    Some possible examples:

    http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/russia2006/HermitageRussianMedievalKnives419.jpg

    There also would have been regular kitchen knives, pokers, and pitch forks; not to mention stones, possibly cookware, and of course suffocation.

    • Replies: @unit472
    Related to the lethality of weapons is the availability of and quality of medical care. I suspect the US homicide rate would double or treble if our trauma centers had the same technology of 40 or 50 years ago. While I might question the value of providing ICU care to an indigent gangbanger with multiple gunshot wounds so he can live to fight another day, nevertheless, our society does it.

    Of course this factor would little relevance over the centuries but it does make comparing US homicide rates difficult over the last half century. Might be more accurate to use gunshot wounds as a more consistent measure of lethal violence.
  32. @Anatoly Karlin

    We see an east-west cline in Europe, which may be related to the relative lateness of state formation in Eastern Europe.
     
    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there, in particular in the ex-USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics). Note that Finland has an unusually high homicide rate for a rich, high IQ nation - twice as high as in Sweden/Denmark, and they have far fewer immigrants from "non-pacified" societies to boot. This is almost certainly a remnant of Finland's alcohol consumption patterns, which are more vodka bingeing orientated than in the rest of Europe, albeit nowhere near in scale to the situation in the ex-USSR.

    On the more general thesis:

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?

    In the American Wild West, annual homicide rates were fifty to several hundred times higher than those of eastern cities and midwestern farming regions: 50 per 100,000 in Abilene, Kansas, 100 in Dodge City, 229 in Fort Griffin, Texas, and 1,500 in Wichita.
     
    - Steven Pinker.

    Those guys were after all the descendants of largely "pacified" populations. Seems that alcohol bingeing - and in their case, a huge surfeit of men - would tend to play a much greater role. See also the huge homicide rates of Irish immigrants to the US in the 19th century vs. Ireland today.

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there, in particular in the ex-USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics).

    Oh? Let’s see about that. Let’s compare this (global alcohol consumption per capita, Wikipedia) – also here. And for good measure this map of “risky” alcohol consumption.

    Now let’s compare this to the U.N.’s homicide map. Some alignment, but not perfect. Indeed, there’s a lot more booze drank in certain countries than their level of violence would predict, and vice versa. The fact that the alignment improves when you look at “risky” behavior suffers from a cause and effect problem. Is risky drinking causing the violence, or do they drink in a risky manner because their are more reckless in general?

    Or maybe the West Slavs, and to a lesser extent, the Portuguese and the Irish can hold their liquor while the East Slavs can’t. And apparently the Albanians don’t need booze at all, and perhaps the Italians to a lesser extent.

    In short, I’m not convinced alcohol is the explanatory variable. It may not even be a contributing factor if South Korea’s behavior is to be believed.

    Note that Finland has an unusually high homicide rate

    Perhaps because of its Sami population.

    for a rich, high IQ nation

    As hbd chick would say, there’s more to HBD than IQ.

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?

    Easy: founder effects/assortative migration. The western states have the highest White crime rates to this day.

    Those guys were after all the descendants of largely “pacified” populations.

    No. See my post a few comments up and the ones linked above.

  33. @anon

    Second, I’d guess that most of the executed criminals weren’t young teenagers but rather adults, and given relatively early age of marriage/reproduction
     
    This is another way the unusual culture within the hajnal line might have magnified any selection pressure.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajnal_line


    West of this line, the average age of marriage for women was 23 or more,[3] men 26
     
    If propensity for violence is at it's maximum among males aged 16-24 (cos magnified by peak testosterone years) then late marriage and late reproduction would magnify any selection pressures that occurred before that.

    So a violent,clannish culture might *require* early marriage to sustain itself.

    So a violent,clannish culture might *require* early marriage to sustain itself.

    Fair point.

  34. @anon

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there
     
    That's no doubt true as well but I'd suggest that all kinds of risk taking / fearless / drug taking behavior also correlate with propensity/capacity for violence genes.

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?

    Those guys were after all the descendants of largely “pacified” populations. Seems that alcohol bingeing – and in their case, a huge surfeit of men – would tend to play a much greater role.
     
    I agree alcohol and lack of women will add to whatever the base level is but no population is ever totally pacified and Britain and Ireland in particularly illustrate this because of the disparity in pacification between the south on one hand and the north and west on the other.

    So the question is where did those cowboys come from? If they'd come from the Anglo-Scottish border their ancestors were still skinning each other (literally) in the 1600s.

    So the question is where did those cowboys come from?

    A lot of the cowboys, specifically, were from the southern states and especially from Texas. There were also people of Mexican background and even some black people moving west after the Civil War. Quite a few of the most famous criminals in those days were of Irish background, e.g. Billy the Kid and Jack Powers, but there were other backgrounds too. Miners could be from anywhere, north, south, and quite a few foreigners too.

    But wouldn’t a frontier situation where the law is weak and the possibilities to get-rich-quick are strong, attract more big-risk-taking types from wherever? For example, is it any coincidence that gambling was so popular in Western cow-towns and mining camps? What about whore houses? That was risky for the prostitutes and for the clients, at least healthwise. And in many cases, the red light district was the first part of the town they built!

    The people who went West first, were a self-selecting group who either went there to seek their fortune, get away from the law, or both. There were other factors too, but given the situation, it’s not surprising that the rate of violent crime would be way higher there than “back east” at least until the demographics started to normalize and the forces of the law grew strong enough to guarantee the peace over hired guns and gangsters.

    • Replies: @anon
    Yes absolutely. I was just pointing out that the available pool for that self-selection included a wide spectrum from relatively very highly pacified (southern England) to not even remotely pacified (Anglo-Scottish borders) as the hajnal line in the west cuts through Britain and Ireland.
    , @Bill P

    The people who went West first, were a self-selecting group who either went there to seek their fortune, get away from the law, or both. There were other factors too, but given the situation, it’s not surprising that the rate of violent crime would be way higher there than “back east” at least until the demographics started to normalize and the forces of the law grew strong enough to guarantee the peace over hired guns and gangsters.
     
    They didn't always have a choice. The Westerners in my family were Southerners who had connections in the West due to the Mexican War and then went West permanently following their defeat in the Civil War. A large part of the other element was Irish fleeing the famine, destitute Cornish and Welsh miners and Scots displaced by the clearances. The people who settled the SW in particular, many of them from Missouri, were essentially nomads for decades. For example, Mark Twain and my family crossed paths in the 19th century in both Missouri and Nevada. The time from roughly 1840 to the end of Reconstruction was one of constant movement of peoples and functional anarchy across a huge area.

    Oddly enough, there are a lot of parallels between the frontier West and early Icelandic society, which was also chaotic and anarchic. This is why Njal's Saga seems so "modern" to Americans, even though it hardly fits into the European norm.
  35. @Epaminondas
    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks. Visit any jail in the South today to see what I mean. It is amazing.

    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks.

    Not exactly. White homicide rates a bit higher there.

    They were even more so in the recent past.

  36. @IBC

    What about the availability of different types of weapons? Easy and wide-spread possession of deadly weapons could skew the data as to make comparisons between different cultures meaningless.

     

    Wasn't it common for people in medieval Europe to carry a personal knife to eat with? I'm guessing these were more like small hunting knives rather than butter knives.

    Some possible examples:

    http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/russia2006/HermitageRussianMedievalKnives419.jpg

    There also would have been regular kitchen knives, pokers, and pitch forks; not to mention stones, possibly cookware, and of course suffocation.

    Related to the lethality of weapons is the availability of and quality of medical care. I suspect the US homicide rate would double or treble if our trauma centers had the same technology of 40 or 50 years ago. While I might question the value of providing ICU care to an indigent gangbanger with multiple gunshot wounds so he can live to fight another day, nevertheless, our society does it.

    Of course this factor would little relevance over the centuries but it does make comparing US homicide rates difficult over the last half century. Might be more accurate to use gunshot wounds as a more consistent measure of lethal violence.

    • Replies: @IBC
    Yes, that's a good point. The number of murders plus attempted murders, or near cases of manslaughter, would probably give a more accurate picture although it'd further complicate comparing modern and historic data.

    There's also a medical factor when comparing historic vehicle fatality rates, not to mention modern fatality rates in different locations. For example, a high speed crash in northern Arizona is more likely to be fatal than in New Jersey, partly because it'll take longer for help to arrive and also because there are probably fewer hospitals nearby as well.
  37. @Epaminondas
    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks. Visit any jail in the South today to see what I mean. It is amazing.

    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks.

    That’s certainly true, but the residual white rate is almost certainly much higher as well.

    For example, a couple of years ago I pointed out that the age-adjusted non-Hispanic white incarceration rate in various large Southern states was often 200% or even 300% higher than the corresponding rate in large Northeastern or Midwestern states, and it seems unlikely that the difference is entirely due to differences in the harshness of sentencing:

    http://www.unz.com/article/the-myth-of-hispanic-crime/

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Ron,

    Did you take into account the fact that many hispanic criminals get counted as white in crime stats?
  38. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Ron Unz

    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks.
     
    That's certainly true, but the residual white rate is almost certainly much higher as well.

    For example, a couple of years ago I pointed out that the age-adjusted non-Hispanic white incarceration rate in various large Southern states was often 200% or even 300% higher than the corresponding rate in large Northeastern or Midwestern states, and it seems unlikely that the difference is entirely due to differences in the harshness of sentencing:

    http://www.unz.com/article/the-myth-of-hispanic-crime/

    Ron,

    Did you take into account the fact that many hispanic criminals get counted as white in crime stats?

    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    Did you take into account the fact that many hispanic criminals get counted as white in crime stats?
     
    Naturally. That's the entire reason that the FBI statistics are helpful in finding black crime rates, but are totally useless in determining white or Hispanic crime rates.

    However, incarceration statistics are an entirely different matter and they always separate out the white and the Hispanic numbers. And one reason they're careful in their classifications is that so much prison violence is racially-based and there's often a need to segregate innates by race though courts sometimes try to block this.

    So while I'm not necessarily claiming that the racial incarceration statistics are perfect, they're certainly the best racial metric we have for crime rates with regard to whites or Hispanics.
  39. @unit472
    Related to the lethality of weapons is the availability of and quality of medical care. I suspect the US homicide rate would double or treble if our trauma centers had the same technology of 40 or 50 years ago. While I might question the value of providing ICU care to an indigent gangbanger with multiple gunshot wounds so he can live to fight another day, nevertheless, our society does it.

    Of course this factor would little relevance over the centuries but it does make comparing US homicide rates difficult over the last half century. Might be more accurate to use gunshot wounds as a more consistent measure of lethal violence.

    Yes, that’s a good point. The number of murders plus attempted murders, or near cases of manslaughter, would probably give a more accurate picture although it’d further complicate comparing modern and historic data.

    There’s also a medical factor when comparing historic vehicle fatality rates, not to mention modern fatality rates in different locations. For example, a high speed crash in northern Arizona is more likely to be fatal than in New Jersey, partly because it’ll take longer for help to arrive and also because there are probably fewer hospitals nearby as well.

    • Replies: @iffen
    and @IBC

    Excellent points. Just think about comparing the "homicide rate" of modern day China with a state in the Southern US. Do you think they have the number of weapons at hand to do the violence that they "might" want to commit? Hell, look at those unfortunate Uyghurs, reduced to attempted homicide with knifes. Compare that to what Timothy McVeigh did. He bumped the "homicide rate"! "Homicide rates" between different cultures and countries cannot be safely compared in 2015, much less 500 years ago.
  40. @Anonymous
    Ron,

    Did you take into account the fact that many hispanic criminals get counted as white in crime stats?

    Did you take into account the fact that many hispanic criminals get counted as white in crime stats?

    Naturally. That’s the entire reason that the FBI statistics are helpful in finding black crime rates, but are totally useless in determining white or Hispanic crime rates.

    However, incarceration statistics are an entirely different matter and they always separate out the white and the Hispanic numbers. And one reason they’re careful in their classifications is that so much prison violence is racially-based and there’s often a need to segregate innates by race though courts sometimes try to block this.

    So while I’m not necessarily claiming that the racial incarceration statistics are perfect, they’re certainly the best racial metric we have for crime rates with regard to whites or Hispanics.

  41. @Peter Frost
    why did East Asia develop such low crime rates (lower than Europe) despite being relatively clannish?

    In East Asia, and China in particular, pacification of social relations was never complete, being largely limited to land-owning peasants of Han extraction. This process of cultural and genetic pacification did not diminish banditry for two reasons:

    1. Bandits were often non-Han:

    In many parts of China the racial factor also contributed to bandit traditions, usually as a result of Han Chinese expansion displacing indigenous groups and leaving them few other means of survival. Along the Inner Asian frontier, disinherited Mongols became the scourge of the encroaching Chinese communities. To the south, in Hunan, Guizhou, and Yunnan, local minorities like the Miao, the Yi, and the Tujia were forced by Han pressure to move to higher, more marginal land, where a mixture of resentment and poverty helped them to develop reputations as dangerous, predatory raiders.

     

    Billingsley, P. (1988). Bandits in Republican China, Stanford University Press, p. 74

    2. Other bandits were landless peasants who, as such, had already been condemned to genetic extinction. Billingsley describes the landless as an "out class" who had to live on the outskirts of Chinese villages and were subject to social exclusion. By fleeing to the hills and becoming bandits they simply chose another way of exiting the Han gene pool. Billingsley notes that many bandits had started out as "village bullies"; by leaving Han society, they furthered the pacification of the Han gene pool while forming a caste of violent individuals on the margins of Han society.

    We thus have the apparent contradiction of Han society being progressively pacified despite the continuing presence of violent, non-pacified individuals. Unlike the situation in Western Europe, pacification did not lead to the creation of a peaceful, high-trust environment where individuals could survive as individuals without having to seek help and protection from kinsmen.

    There are other differences that distinguish China from Western Europe in its historical trajectory of genetic pacification. For one thing, this trajectory seems to have arisen in a somewhat different set of behavioral and mental characteristics. China has always been more of a shame society than a guilt society. There has also been, correspondingly, less development of affective empathy. Finally, China -- and East Asia in general -- never had the same alliance of Church and State to promote pacification of social relations. There was less ideological internalization of the "war on murder." Bandits were hated, but this hatred was less embedded in religious thinking.

    Sean and Anon,

    Hbd chick and Jayman provide high-quality HBD-informed criticism, and that's a rare commodity. A lot of other academics seem to think I want to justify capital punishment and they criticize this paper from that standpoint. For the record, I am opposed to capital punishment. If you want to use capital punishment to produce a peaceful society, you would have to execute 1 to 2% of all men of each generation for a few centuries. It would be more useful to conserve societies that are already pacified.

    THE study, authored by Luke Glowacki of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, found that, among members of the East African herding tribe, those who engaged in conflict – in the form of violent raids carried out on neighbouring groups – had more wives, and thus more opportunities to increase their reproductive success through having more children. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provided clear evidence that violence offers a benefit to warriors, the team say. ‘The currency of evolution is reproductive success,’ Glowacki said. ‘By having more wives you can have more children.’

    Chagnon found something similar I believe. If they don’t get killed they have more children and the men they kill may be of a pacified biological type narrow-faced males are more likely to die from contact violence. So the alteration in genes with violence may be on both sides of the equation. And maybe when the killers got removed things changed a lot faster than calculations.Pinker explains why it was too fast to be genetic at 24-5 minutes. Thomas Hobbes, who Daniel Dennett calls “the first sociobiologist” said man was a wolf.

    THE wolf accompanied Rowlands to lectures, restaurants and sports complexes, joined him on his walks, runs and road trips, woke him up in the morning (sometimes by presenting him with a dead bird) and lay under his desk while he worked. After an initial period in which Rowlands applied a softer version of the methods of a famous animal trainer, William Koehler, the wolf was rarely on a leash. Having learnt to follow Rowlands’s lead, and knowing what it could and could not do, Brenin needed no restraint.

    Wolves are amenable to discipline, as are humans (praise and blame would be pointless otherwise as Anthony Collins pointed out three hundred years ago). You would have to train a wolf very carefully to have it around humans who were strangers to it; with a golden labrador training would not be required. Yucatán has a lower homicide rate than Canada.

    PREVIOUS immigrant groups typically saw progress with each passing generation, but Hispanic numbers have a habit of stalling or even heading backwards. American-born children of Hispanic immigrants tend to be less healthy than their parents, have higher divorce rates and go to jail more often. Jump from migrants’ children to their grandchildren, and studies have shown academic results slipping in the third generation. Conservatives fret about “downward assimilation” [...]Steve Murdock of Rice University, a former boss of the US Census bureau, recently published a paper warning Texans that Hispanics are not getting enough advanced degrees and qualifications to replace highly educated whites retiring from their state’s workforce. By 2050, his study predicts, Hispanic workers will outnumber white ones in Texas by almost three to one, but without a change in education policy the state will be poorer and less competitive.

    .

  42. @unit472
    Don't we have something akin to 'capital punishment' operating in America today among our most violent cohort of young black males? I was struck by the sharp decline in the murder rates in a number of US cities over the decade of the 1990's. Washington, D.C. e.g. started the decade with upwards of 500 homicides per year. Richmond, Virginia peaked at about 150. The decline over 10 years was extraordinary and while police will claim a lot of the credit I think something else was going on.

    In any population cohort, even young black males, there are going to be a limited number of super aggressive violent males. As some are murdered by other super aggressive males ( or police) and others are arrested and imprisoned this population gets culled. Age also plays a role as those who live to their late twenties and beyond become less of a danger. So my hypothesis was the murder rate would be cyclical as the most violent were killed or imprisoned and then start to rise again about 15-20 years later as their children ( and most of these young black violent males have children before they are 'decommissioned') reach the peak age for violence. Empirically this seems to be the case as the murder rates fell for a time but then seemed to start rising again.

    Well, when you examine the official government statistics, it appears that in recent years over one-quarter of all urban black men have “disappeared,” being either dead or in prison. And with extremely few exceptions, our MSM seems to have never noticed that remarkable fact.

    When over one-quarter of all urban black men are removed, and these removals are heavily skewed towards the most violent, we might expect crime rates to be impacted:

    http://www.unz.com/article/race-and-crime-in-america/

    However, there just hasn’t been time for any possible genetic change to manifest itself. We’re simply talking “removal.”

  43. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @IBC

    So the question is where did those cowboys come from?
     
    A lot of the cowboys, specifically, were from the southern states and especially from Texas. There were also people of Mexican background and even some black people moving west after the Civil War. Quite a few of the most famous criminals in those days were of Irish background, e.g. Billy the Kid and Jack Powers, but there were other backgrounds too. Miners could be from anywhere, north, south, and quite a few foreigners too.

    But wouldn't a frontier situation where the law is weak and the possibilities to get-rich-quick are strong, attract more big-risk-taking types from wherever? For example, is it any coincidence that gambling was so popular in Western cow-towns and mining camps? What about whore houses? That was risky for the prostitutes and for the clients, at least healthwise. And in many cases, the red light district was the first part of the town they built!

    The people who went West first, were a self-selecting group who either went there to seek their fortune, get away from the law, or both. There were other factors too, but given the situation, it's not surprising that the rate of violent crime would be way higher there than "back east" at least until the demographics started to normalize and the forces of the law grew strong enough to guarantee the peace over hired guns and gangsters.

    Yes absolutely. I was just pointing out that the available pool for that self-selection included a wide spectrum from relatively very highly pacified (southern England) to not even remotely pacified (Anglo-Scottish borders) as the hajnal line in the west cuts through Britain and Ireland.

  44. @IBC

    So the question is where did those cowboys come from?
     
    A lot of the cowboys, specifically, were from the southern states and especially from Texas. There were also people of Mexican background and even some black people moving west after the Civil War. Quite a few of the most famous criminals in those days were of Irish background, e.g. Billy the Kid and Jack Powers, but there were other backgrounds too. Miners could be from anywhere, north, south, and quite a few foreigners too.

    But wouldn't a frontier situation where the law is weak and the possibilities to get-rich-quick are strong, attract more big-risk-taking types from wherever? For example, is it any coincidence that gambling was so popular in Western cow-towns and mining camps? What about whore houses? That was risky for the prostitutes and for the clients, at least healthwise. And in many cases, the red light district was the first part of the town they built!

    The people who went West first, were a self-selecting group who either went there to seek their fortune, get away from the law, or both. There were other factors too, but given the situation, it's not surprising that the rate of violent crime would be way higher there than "back east" at least until the demographics started to normalize and the forces of the law grew strong enough to guarantee the peace over hired guns and gangsters.

    The people who went West first, were a self-selecting group who either went there to seek their fortune, get away from the law, or both. There were other factors too, but given the situation, it’s not surprising that the rate of violent crime would be way higher there than “back east” at least until the demographics started to normalize and the forces of the law grew strong enough to guarantee the peace over hired guns and gangsters.

    They didn’t always have a choice. The Westerners in my family were Southerners who had connections in the West due to the Mexican War and then went West permanently following their defeat in the Civil War. A large part of the other element was Irish fleeing the famine, destitute Cornish and Welsh miners and Scots displaced by the clearances. The people who settled the SW in particular, many of them from Missouri, were essentially nomads for decades. For example, Mark Twain and my family crossed paths in the 19th century in both Missouri and Nevada. The time from roughly 1840 to the end of Reconstruction was one of constant movement of peoples and functional anarchy across a huge area.

    Oddly enough, there are a lot of parallels between the frontier West and early Icelandic society, which was also chaotic and anarchic. This is why Njal’s Saga seems so “modern” to Americans, even though it hardly fits into the European norm.

  45. @Director
    The existence of firearms must have some connection.

    The cannon was the king's weapon which allowed the state to solidify. Especially France. The small arms also allowed the state to outcompete the strong arm local bully boy.

    Guns in this case had more impact locally than they did perhaps in the New World.

    The exception of Shogunate era Japan not withstanding.

    @director – “The existence of firearms must have some connection. “

    a paper about this was just published recently, but i haven’t had a chance to read it yet, so i don’t know if there’s anything to it or not:

    Firearms and the Decline of Violence in Europe: 1200-2010 [pdf]

    “Personal violence, has declined substantially in Europe from 1200-2010. The conventional wisdom is that the state’s monopoly on violence is the cause of this happy result. I find some evidence that does not support this hypothesis. I suggest an alternative hypothesis that could explain at least some of the reduction in violence, namely that the invention and proliferation of compact, concealable, ready-to-use firearms caused potential assailants to recalculate the probability of a successful assault and seek alternatives to violence. I use structural change models to test this hypothesis and find breakpoints consistent with the invention of certain firearms.”

  46. So I think it’s more plausible that most of the 1-2% executed tended to come from a fairly random sample of (say) the 20-30% most violent fraction of the population.

    Most cases of murder went unsolved in the late Middle Ages. Executed offenders tended to be highwaymen, bandits, and cattle rustlers. It’s a bit like imprisonment today for drug possession, which is usually a proxy for a more serious crime that is harder to prove. Highway robbery was easy to prove because many witnesses were available and motivated to testify. So the death penalty fell disproportionately on people who committed murder not on an individual or accidental basis but rather as part of a gang of young men. The death penalty was aimed not so much at individuals but at a certain social and behavioral class of people.

    I’d think that quite a reasonable fraction of them might have already had children when they were killed, largely eliminating any genetic impact. For example, if a successful bandit was able to afford to marry and have lots of children before he was finally caught and hanged, I don’t see any much selective pressure against banditry.

    In medieval and post-medieval England, most of the population had below-replacement fertility. Only the upper class and the nascent middle class were able to raise more than two children to adulthood (cf. Clark).

    Did some bandits manage to have children who survived to adulthood? Undoubtedly. But most were single men who did not have the means to get married. I have trouble believing your argument that they had above-replacement fertility at a time when most of the population did not.

    We discuss this point in the paper in our discussion of the model’s shortcomings. A much more serious shortcoming in the mathematical model, however, is the assumption that each executed offender would, if not executed, have killed only one person over the course of a normal lifetime. In general, the assumptions in the model err on the side of being too conservative.

    Meanwhile, the apparent reduction of violence was absolutely gigantic, supposedly a 90% reduction in homicide rates in just 10 generations. The genetic/execution explanation just seem totally implausible to me.

    Why? If you have a problem with the mathematical model, can you please spell it out? The breeder’s equation is a standard mathematical model and is widely accepted. If it’s wrong, then much of modern genetics is wrong too. I’m frankly baffled by this line of criticism.

    yes, that is correct. but he’s unsure if the 14th century rates increased in relation to the 13th century rates, which, of the two sets of data, are the rates that are less certain.

    Perhaps (sigh). I’d be more sympathetic to your position if we had a continuous set of data from the 14th century to the 16th century, but we don’t. The 14th century peak looks like an anomaly. Keep in mind that we are comparing different datasets that were collected by different groups of people under different conditions. So this spike may be an artefact of the way the original data were collected or, perhaps, of the way we estimate the denominator of the homicide rate, i.e., the size of the population of each local area. If we underestimate the population size, the homicide rate will look higher than it really was.

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there, in particular in the ex-USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics). Note that Finland has an unusually high homicide rate for a rich, high IQ nation – twice as high as in Sweden/Denmark, and they have far fewer immigrants from “non-pacified” societies to boot.

    Finland’s alcoholism rate is not twice that of Sweden’s. A recent study found little difference in binge drinking between the two countries:

    ‘What my findings add to the field is, primarily, that the Baltic countries may be placed alongside the countries of northern Europe in terms of how alcohol consumption may be expected to result in negative consequences. This can be viewed in the context of a “European north to south” gradient in the strength of the risk relationship, that is, strongest in the northern part of Europe such as Sweden and Finland, and gradually decreasing while moving south, such as France and Italy.’

    http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/34005_en.html

    I’m sure Finns have high IQs, as do Russians, but the genes that influence intellectual capacity are not the same as the ones that influence latent aggressiveness, violence aversion, and anger threshold. Genes don’t come in packages marked “Good stuff” and “Bad stuff.” In any case, personal violence is not universally considered to be “bad.” In many cultures, violent males are admired and considered to be role models.

    Russians aren’t Chechens, but in comparison to Western Europeans they show a stronger tendency toward familialism and defence of their families against perceived threats or insults. From my observation, when Russian men are with each other, they are more likely to engage in mildly aggressive behavior with each other or with strangers to see how far they can go. I’ve repeatedly seen this kind of brinkmanship in perfectly sober Russian men.

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?

    The main reason was the high ratio of men to women in frontier communities. In Russia, we actually see the reverse: women generally outnumber men. A secondary reason was ethnicity. A disproportionate number of Western bandits and frontier gangs were Mexican or Scots-Irish from Appalachia and the American South.

    See also the huge homicide rates of Irish immigrants to the US in the 19th century vs. Ireland today.

    The homicide rate is still higher in Ireland than in most of Western Europe. Keep in mind that the median age in Ireland is now 35.4 and that male violence usually involves young men. This is one shortcoming of the map at the top of this column. The relevant statistic is not the homicide rate for the entire population but rather the homicide rate among young men.

    The monopoly of violence is directly connected to Artillery and small arms.

    There was also an ideological factor, largely driven by the influence of Christianity. I’ve come across cases of young unmarried girls being hanged for infanticide. In what way did such girls pose a challenge to King and Country? The “war on murder” was an ideological war in the sense that it was not solely motivated by a desire to keep the peace.

    If propensity for violence is at it’s maximum among males aged 16-24 (cos magnified by peak testosterone years) then late marriage and late reproduction would magnify any selection pressures that occurred before that.

    Yes, this is a point I should have explored more. There was a strong stigma attached to young men and women who wanted to get married before they had the resources to support a family.

    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks.

    Even when we look only at white people, we find a higher incidence among southern whites than among northern whites. White southerners also exhibit a behavioral profile that corresponds more to what we see in less pacified human populations, e.g., greater importance attacked to “honor” and “face”, familialism, etc.

    Don’t we have something akin to ‘capital punishment’ operating in America today among our most violent cohort of young black males? I was struck by the sharp decline in the murder rates in a number of US cities over the decade of the 1990′s.

    That was largely thanks to Roe vs. Wade (1973). It’s not just because the abortion rate rose among African Americans; it’s also because it rose especially high among the women of AA “alpha males.” Those males are still having plenty of sex, but it’s no longer translating into reproductive success.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @peter - "Keep in mind that we are comparing different datasets that were collected by different groups of people under different conditions. So this spike may be an artefact of the way the original data were collected or, perhaps, of the way we estimate the denominator of the homicide rate, i.e., the size of the population of each local area. If we underestimate the population size, the homicide rate will look higher than it really was."

    yes. quite so. that's why i recommend looking at the original work (given's and hanawalt's) and not just relying on eisner.
    , @Ron Unz
    Perhaps you can clarify something for me that I might have missed in reading your paper.

    You suggest that the 90% decline in homicide rates over the 10 generations may have very substantially been driven by changes in the genetic propensity to violence.

    For the sake of argument, let's assume that the cause was entirely genetic. According to your model, by how many standard deviations did the genetic tendency toward violence change in the general European population during that period?
    , @iffen

    That was largely thanks to Roe vs. Wade (1973). It’s not just because the abortion rate rose among African Americans; it’s also because it rose especially high among the women of AA “alpha males.” Those males are still having plenty of sex, but it’s no longer translating into reproductive success.
     
    Please read this and think about what you have written. You have serious potential as a scholar. You will not have any degree of success unless you can recognize the above paragraph as the nonsense that it is.
  47. @The Z Blog
    I have some questions:

    1) How does the weregeld system fit in here? For a long time, the killing of another person had a price in gold that was paid by the offender. That's a different view of murder than we have in modern times, thus making comparisons a little difficult.

    2) Since no distinction existed between murder and manslaughter until about the 12 century, wouldn't that also create problems comparing murder rates across time spans?

    3) How about the Hundred Years War and the Thirty Years War? Both were meat grinders drawing in violent men to fight and die. Reasonable estimates say both reduced the number of men by far more than administrative processes.

    @the z blog – “How does the weregeld system fit in here?”

    the weregeld system disappeared (or started to disappear) in england in the 1100s. however, interestingly (at least i think it’s interesting), the members of the extended family (the kindred) began to be replaced as the beneficiaries of weregeld in the late-800s by friends and associates (a sworn group of friends and associates, the gegildan), and by the 900s in southern england the gegildan dominated the weregeld/vengeance system. but, then, like i said, the whole weregeld system disappears beginning in the 1100s.

    on the other hand, a weregeld/vengeance/vendetta system remained in place in northern italy right into (at least) the 1400s (i don’t actually know when it disappears in northern italy). i’m going to try to post about this difference later in the week (i hope!), so stay tuned. (^_^)

    • Replies: @The Z Blog
    Yes, the weregeld did begin to fade prior to the period in question, but if we're comparing murder then I think you have to adjust for it. Just as capital punishment is not considered murder today, taking out the guy down the street and paying off his kin was not "murder" in a previous era.

    As an aside, British scholars think the blood feud had lower violence rates than the weregeld, which did not come to Britain until the 8th century. That would suggest state retribution for murder would lower violence.

    But, I'm getting off the topic here.
  48. @Peter Frost
    So I think it’s more plausible that most of the 1-2% executed tended to come from a fairly random sample of (say) the 20-30% most violent fraction of the population.

    Most cases of murder went unsolved in the late Middle Ages. Executed offenders tended to be highwaymen, bandits, and cattle rustlers. It's a bit like imprisonment today for drug possession, which is usually a proxy for a more serious crime that is harder to prove. Highway robbery was easy to prove because many witnesses were available and motivated to testify. So the death penalty fell disproportionately on people who committed murder not on an individual or accidental basis but rather as part of a gang of young men. The death penalty was aimed not so much at individuals but at a certain social and behavioral class of people.

    I’d think that quite a reasonable fraction of them might have already had children when they were killed, largely eliminating any genetic impact. For example, if a successful bandit was able to afford to marry and have lots of children before he was finally caught and hanged, I don’t see any much selective pressure against banditry.


    In medieval and post-medieval England, most of the population had below-replacement fertility. Only the upper class and the nascent middle class were able to raise more than two children to adulthood (cf. Clark).

    Did some bandits manage to have children who survived to adulthood? Undoubtedly. But most were single men who did not have the means to get married. I have trouble believing your argument that they had above-replacement fertility at a time when most of the population did not.

    We discuss this point in the paper in our discussion of the model's shortcomings. A much more serious shortcoming in the mathematical model, however, is the assumption that each executed offender would, if not executed, have killed only one person over the course of a normal lifetime. In general, the assumptions in the model err on the side of being too conservative.

    Meanwhile, the apparent reduction of violence was absolutely gigantic, supposedly a 90% reduction in homicide rates in just 10 generations. The genetic/execution explanation just seem totally implausible to me.


    Why? If you have a problem with the mathematical model, can you please spell it out? The breeder's equation is a standard mathematical model and is widely accepted. If it's wrong, then much of modern genetics is wrong too. I'm frankly baffled by this line of criticism.

    yes, that is correct. but he’s unsure if the 14th century rates increased in relation to the 13th century rates, which, of the two sets of data, are the rates that are less certain.

    Perhaps (sigh). I'd be more sympathetic to your position if we had a continuous set of data from the 14th century to the 16th century, but we don't. The 14th century peak looks like an anomaly. Keep in mind that we are comparing different datasets that were collected by different groups of people under different conditions. So this spike may be an artefact of the way the original data were collected or, perhaps, of the way we estimate the denominator of the homicide rate, i.e., the size of the population of each local area. If we underestimate the population size, the homicide rate will look higher than it really was.

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there, in particular in the ex-USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics). Note that Finland has an unusually high homicide rate for a rich, high IQ nation – twice as high as in Sweden/Denmark, and they have far fewer immigrants from “non-pacified” societies to boot.

    Finland's alcoholism rate is not twice that of Sweden's. A recent study found little difference in binge drinking between the two countries:

    'What my findings add to the field is, primarily, that the Baltic countries may be placed alongside the countries of northern Europe in terms of how alcohol consumption may be expected to result in negative consequences. This can be viewed in the context of a "European north to south" gradient in the strength of the risk relationship, that is, strongest in the northern part of Europe such as Sweden and Finland, and gradually decreasing while moving south, such as France and Italy.'

     

    http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/34005_en.html

    I'm sure Finns have high IQs, as do Russians, but the genes that influence intellectual capacity are not the same as the ones that influence latent aggressiveness, violence aversion, and anger threshold. Genes don't come in packages marked "Good stuff" and "Bad stuff." In any case, personal violence is not universally considered to be "bad." In many cultures, violent males are admired and considered to be role models.

    Russians aren't Chechens, but in comparison to Western Europeans they show a stronger tendency toward familialism and defence of their families against perceived threats or insults. From my observation, when Russian men are with each other, they are more likely to engage in mildly aggressive behavior with each other or with strangers to see how far they can go. I've repeatedly seen this kind of brinkmanship in perfectly sober Russian men.

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?


    The main reason was the high ratio of men to women in frontier communities. In Russia, we actually see the reverse: women generally outnumber men. A secondary reason was ethnicity. A disproportionate number of Western bandits and frontier gangs were Mexican or Scots-Irish from Appalachia and the American South.

    See also the huge homicide rates of Irish immigrants to the US in the 19th century vs. Ireland today.


    The homicide rate is still higher in Ireland than in most of Western Europe. Keep in mind that the median age in Ireland is now 35.4 and that male violence usually involves young men. This is one shortcoming of the map at the top of this column. The relevant statistic is not the homicide rate for the entire population but rather the homicide rate among young men.

    The monopoly of violence is directly connected to Artillery and small arms.

    There was also an ideological factor, largely driven by the influence of Christianity. I've come across cases of young unmarried girls being hanged for infanticide. In what way did such girls pose a challenge to King and Country? The "war on murder" was an ideological war in the sense that it was not solely motivated by a desire to keep the peace.

    If propensity for violence is at it’s maximum among males aged 16-24 (cos magnified by peak testosterone years) then late marriage and late reproduction would magnify any selection pressures that occurred before that.


    Yes, this is a point I should have explored more. There was a strong stigma attached to young men and women who wanted to get married before they had the resources to support a family.

    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks.

    Even when we look only at white people, we find a higher incidence among southern whites than among northern whites. White southerners also exhibit a behavioral profile that corresponds more to what we see in less pacified human populations, e.g., greater importance attacked to "honor" and "face", familialism, etc.

    Don’t we have something akin to ‘capital punishment’ operating in America today among our most violent cohort of young black males? I was struck by the sharp decline in the murder rates in a number of US cities over the decade of the 1990′s.

    That was largely thanks to Roe vs. Wade (1973). It's not just because the abortion rate rose among African Americans; it's also because it rose especially high among the women of AA "alpha males." Those males are still having plenty of sex, but it's no longer translating into reproductive success.

    @peter – “Keep in mind that we are comparing different datasets that were collected by different groups of people under different conditions. So this spike may be an artefact of the way the original data were collected or, perhaps, of the way we estimate the denominator of the homicide rate, i.e., the size of the population of each local area. If we underestimate the population size, the homicide rate will look higher than it really was.”

    yes. quite so. that’s why i recommend looking at the original work (given’s and hanawalt’s) and not just relying on eisner.

  49. @Peter Frost
    So I think it’s more plausible that most of the 1-2% executed tended to come from a fairly random sample of (say) the 20-30% most violent fraction of the population.

    Most cases of murder went unsolved in the late Middle Ages. Executed offenders tended to be highwaymen, bandits, and cattle rustlers. It's a bit like imprisonment today for drug possession, which is usually a proxy for a more serious crime that is harder to prove. Highway robbery was easy to prove because many witnesses were available and motivated to testify. So the death penalty fell disproportionately on people who committed murder not on an individual or accidental basis but rather as part of a gang of young men. The death penalty was aimed not so much at individuals but at a certain social and behavioral class of people.

    I’d think that quite a reasonable fraction of them might have already had children when they were killed, largely eliminating any genetic impact. For example, if a successful bandit was able to afford to marry and have lots of children before he was finally caught and hanged, I don’t see any much selective pressure against banditry.


    In medieval and post-medieval England, most of the population had below-replacement fertility. Only the upper class and the nascent middle class were able to raise more than two children to adulthood (cf. Clark).

    Did some bandits manage to have children who survived to adulthood? Undoubtedly. But most were single men who did not have the means to get married. I have trouble believing your argument that they had above-replacement fertility at a time when most of the population did not.

    We discuss this point in the paper in our discussion of the model's shortcomings. A much more serious shortcoming in the mathematical model, however, is the assumption that each executed offender would, if not executed, have killed only one person over the course of a normal lifetime. In general, the assumptions in the model err on the side of being too conservative.

    Meanwhile, the apparent reduction of violence was absolutely gigantic, supposedly a 90% reduction in homicide rates in just 10 generations. The genetic/execution explanation just seem totally implausible to me.


    Why? If you have a problem with the mathematical model, can you please spell it out? The breeder's equation is a standard mathematical model and is widely accepted. If it's wrong, then much of modern genetics is wrong too. I'm frankly baffled by this line of criticism.

    yes, that is correct. but he’s unsure if the 14th century rates increased in relation to the 13th century rates, which, of the two sets of data, are the rates that are less certain.

    Perhaps (sigh). I'd be more sympathetic to your position if we had a continuous set of data from the 14th century to the 16th century, but we don't. The 14th century peak looks like an anomaly. Keep in mind that we are comparing different datasets that were collected by different groups of people under different conditions. So this spike may be an artefact of the way the original data were collected or, perhaps, of the way we estimate the denominator of the homicide rate, i.e., the size of the population of each local area. If we underestimate the population size, the homicide rate will look higher than it really was.

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there, in particular in the ex-USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics). Note that Finland has an unusually high homicide rate for a rich, high IQ nation – twice as high as in Sweden/Denmark, and they have far fewer immigrants from “non-pacified” societies to boot.

    Finland's alcoholism rate is not twice that of Sweden's. A recent study found little difference in binge drinking between the two countries:

    'What my findings add to the field is, primarily, that the Baltic countries may be placed alongside the countries of northern Europe in terms of how alcohol consumption may be expected to result in negative consequences. This can be viewed in the context of a "European north to south" gradient in the strength of the risk relationship, that is, strongest in the northern part of Europe such as Sweden and Finland, and gradually decreasing while moving south, such as France and Italy.'

     

    http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/34005_en.html

    I'm sure Finns have high IQs, as do Russians, but the genes that influence intellectual capacity are not the same as the ones that influence latent aggressiveness, violence aversion, and anger threshold. Genes don't come in packages marked "Good stuff" and "Bad stuff." In any case, personal violence is not universally considered to be "bad." In many cultures, violent males are admired and considered to be role models.

    Russians aren't Chechens, but in comparison to Western Europeans they show a stronger tendency toward familialism and defence of their families against perceived threats or insults. From my observation, when Russian men are with each other, they are more likely to engage in mildly aggressive behavior with each other or with strangers to see how far they can go. I've repeatedly seen this kind of brinkmanship in perfectly sober Russian men.

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?


    The main reason was the high ratio of men to women in frontier communities. In Russia, we actually see the reverse: women generally outnumber men. A secondary reason was ethnicity. A disproportionate number of Western bandits and frontier gangs were Mexican or Scots-Irish from Appalachia and the American South.

    See also the huge homicide rates of Irish immigrants to the US in the 19th century vs. Ireland today.


    The homicide rate is still higher in Ireland than in most of Western Europe. Keep in mind that the median age in Ireland is now 35.4 and that male violence usually involves young men. This is one shortcoming of the map at the top of this column. The relevant statistic is not the homicide rate for the entire population but rather the homicide rate among young men.

    The monopoly of violence is directly connected to Artillery and small arms.

    There was also an ideological factor, largely driven by the influence of Christianity. I've come across cases of young unmarried girls being hanged for infanticide. In what way did such girls pose a challenge to King and Country? The "war on murder" was an ideological war in the sense that it was not solely motivated by a desire to keep the peace.

    If propensity for violence is at it’s maximum among males aged 16-24 (cos magnified by peak testosterone years) then late marriage and late reproduction would magnify any selection pressures that occurred before that.


    Yes, this is a point I should have explored more. There was a strong stigma attached to young men and women who wanted to get married before they had the resources to support a family.

    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks.

    Even when we look only at white people, we find a higher incidence among southern whites than among northern whites. White southerners also exhibit a behavioral profile that corresponds more to what we see in less pacified human populations, e.g., greater importance attacked to "honor" and "face", familialism, etc.

    Don’t we have something akin to ‘capital punishment’ operating in America today among our most violent cohort of young black males? I was struck by the sharp decline in the murder rates in a number of US cities over the decade of the 1990′s.

    That was largely thanks to Roe vs. Wade (1973). It's not just because the abortion rate rose among African Americans; it's also because it rose especially high among the women of AA "alpha males." Those males are still having plenty of sex, but it's no longer translating into reproductive success.

    Perhaps you can clarify something for me that I might have missed in reading your paper.

    You suggest that the 90% decline in homicide rates over the 10 generations may have very substantially been driven by changes in the genetic propensity to violence.

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the cause was entirely genetic. According to your model, by how many standard deviations did the genetic tendency toward violence change in the general European population during that period?

  50. @hbd chick
    @the z blog - "How does the weregeld system fit in here?"

    the weregeld system disappeared (or started to disappear) in england in the 1100s. however, interestingly (at least i think it's interesting), the members of the extended family (the kindred) began to be replaced as the beneficiaries of weregeld in the late-800s by friends and associates (a sworn group of friends and associates, the gegildan), and by the 900s in southern england the gegildan dominated the weregeld/vengeance system. but, then, like i said, the whole weregeld system disappears beginning in the 1100s.

    on the other hand, a weregeld/vengeance/vendetta system remained in place in northern italy right into (at least) the 1400s (i don't actually know when it disappears in northern italy). i'm going to try to post about this difference later in the week (i hope!), so stay tuned. (^_^)

    Yes, the weregeld did begin to fade prior to the period in question, but if we’re comparing murder then I think you have to adjust for it. Just as capital punishment is not considered murder today, taking out the guy down the street and paying off his kin was not “murder” in a previous era.

    As an aside, British scholars think the blood feud had lower violence rates than the weregeld, which did not come to Britain until the 8th century. That would suggest state retribution for murder would lower violence.

    But, I’m getting off the topic here.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @the z blog - "Yes, the weregeld did begin to fade prior to the period in question, but if we’re comparing murder then I think you have to adjust for it."

    well, as peter says below, there was no weregeld system in england post-1500, so it really doesn't enter into the question here.

    however, there was a sort-of a weregeld/vengeance/vendetta system in northern italy right through the 1500s. (at least there was in florence.) weregeld is not the right word for it, although the italian sixteenth century system did grow out of a weregeld system. what it was was that the government acted as a negotiator between the aggrieved parties involved in a blood feud or vendetta circle of violence and helped to work out a truce and a peace agreement. bonds were deposited with the government authorities, and whichever side broke the peace would forfeit the bonds. an individual member of one of the families involved in a vendetta cycle could be taken up on homicide charges for killing someone, but the collective families were still also held responsible. it's an interesting halfway state between feuding & weregeld versus more individual culpability.
  51. @Jim
    Obviously violence in war and internal personal violence within a society are two different phenomena whose causal dynamics can be very different. Your point has only limited validity in the extent to which "terrorism" ie politically/ideologically motivated violence is a different phenomena from personal violence within a society which is mainly what is being discussed here.

    There is some overlap as in the case mentioned by Peter of non-Han bandits in China preying on Han.

    Thanks for your comment Jim, but I will stand with my comment. The question as to whether a death is defined as personal violence within a society is a contingent, political and cultural statement. It is not a fact. One person’s murder is another person’s state sponsored execution. My main observation was that we need to look a closer look at how homicide is defined in “homicide rates”. But as you can see from the comment thread it is a lot more fun if we don’t get our facts down at the beginning. I am not knowledgeable about Chinese history, but I would just guess that if the non-Han bandits had compiled the homicide rate it would have been much lower.

  52. @IBC
    Yes, that's a good point. The number of murders plus attempted murders, or near cases of manslaughter, would probably give a more accurate picture although it'd further complicate comparing modern and historic data.

    There's also a medical factor when comparing historic vehicle fatality rates, not to mention modern fatality rates in different locations. For example, a high speed crash in northern Arizona is more likely to be fatal than in New Jersey, partly because it'll take longer for help to arrive and also because there are probably fewer hospitals nearby as well.

    and

    Excellent points. Just think about comparing the “homicide rate” of modern day China with a state in the Southern US. Do you think they have the number of weapons at hand to do the violence that they “might” want to commit? Hell, look at those unfortunate Uyghurs, reduced to attempted homicide with knifes. Compare that to what Timothy McVeigh did. He bumped the “homicide rate”! “Homicide rates” between different cultures and countries cannot be safely compared in 2015, much less 500 years ago.

  53. @RonUnz Consistent with patterns today, my assumption would be that violence would have higher rates among the young and unmarried. I would also expect young/dumb/impulsives to be the most likely to be convicted and executed.

    Also, it is possible that violent crime was a backstop means of support, keeping those without intelligence in the gene pool. If that was the case, the executions have been very selective indeed.

  54. @Peter Frost
    So I think it’s more plausible that most of the 1-2% executed tended to come from a fairly random sample of (say) the 20-30% most violent fraction of the population.

    Most cases of murder went unsolved in the late Middle Ages. Executed offenders tended to be highwaymen, bandits, and cattle rustlers. It's a bit like imprisonment today for drug possession, which is usually a proxy for a more serious crime that is harder to prove. Highway robbery was easy to prove because many witnesses were available and motivated to testify. So the death penalty fell disproportionately on people who committed murder not on an individual or accidental basis but rather as part of a gang of young men. The death penalty was aimed not so much at individuals but at a certain social and behavioral class of people.

    I’d think that quite a reasonable fraction of them might have already had children when they were killed, largely eliminating any genetic impact. For example, if a successful bandit was able to afford to marry and have lots of children before he was finally caught and hanged, I don’t see any much selective pressure against banditry.


    In medieval and post-medieval England, most of the population had below-replacement fertility. Only the upper class and the nascent middle class were able to raise more than two children to adulthood (cf. Clark).

    Did some bandits manage to have children who survived to adulthood? Undoubtedly. But most were single men who did not have the means to get married. I have trouble believing your argument that they had above-replacement fertility at a time when most of the population did not.

    We discuss this point in the paper in our discussion of the model's shortcomings. A much more serious shortcoming in the mathematical model, however, is the assumption that each executed offender would, if not executed, have killed only one person over the course of a normal lifetime. In general, the assumptions in the model err on the side of being too conservative.

    Meanwhile, the apparent reduction of violence was absolutely gigantic, supposedly a 90% reduction in homicide rates in just 10 generations. The genetic/execution explanation just seem totally implausible to me.


    Why? If you have a problem with the mathematical model, can you please spell it out? The breeder's equation is a standard mathematical model and is widely accepted. If it's wrong, then much of modern genetics is wrong too. I'm frankly baffled by this line of criticism.

    yes, that is correct. but he’s unsure if the 14th century rates increased in relation to the 13th century rates, which, of the two sets of data, are the rates that are less certain.

    Perhaps (sigh). I'd be more sympathetic to your position if we had a continuous set of data from the 14th century to the 16th century, but we don't. The 14th century peak looks like an anomaly. Keep in mind that we are comparing different datasets that were collected by different groups of people under different conditions. So this spike may be an artefact of the way the original data were collected or, perhaps, of the way we estimate the denominator of the homicide rate, i.e., the size of the population of each local area. If we underestimate the population size, the homicide rate will look higher than it really was.

    This is very largely a function of the alcoholism epidemic there, in particular in the ex-USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics). Note that Finland has an unusually high homicide rate for a rich, high IQ nation – twice as high as in Sweden/Denmark, and they have far fewer immigrants from “non-pacified” societies to boot.

    Finland's alcoholism rate is not twice that of Sweden's. A recent study found little difference in binge drinking between the two countries:

    'What my findings add to the field is, primarily, that the Baltic countries may be placed alongside the countries of northern Europe in terms of how alcohol consumption may be expected to result in negative consequences. This can be viewed in the context of a "European north to south" gradient in the strength of the risk relationship, that is, strongest in the northern part of Europe such as Sweden and Finland, and gradually decreasing while moving south, such as France and Italy.'

     

    http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/34005_en.html

    I'm sure Finns have high IQs, as do Russians, but the genes that influence intellectual capacity are not the same as the ones that influence latent aggressiveness, violence aversion, and anger threshold. Genes don't come in packages marked "Good stuff" and "Bad stuff." In any case, personal violence is not universally considered to be "bad." In many cultures, violent males are admired and considered to be role models.

    Russians aren't Chechens, but in comparison to Western Europeans they show a stronger tendency toward familialism and defence of their families against perceived threats or insults. From my observation, when Russian men are with each other, they are more likely to engage in mildly aggressive behavior with each other or with strangers to see how far they can go. I've repeatedly seen this kind of brinkmanship in perfectly sober Russian men.

    How would you explain the 100+/100,000 (sic) homicide rates in some towns of the Wild West in 19th century America?


    The main reason was the high ratio of men to women in frontier communities. In Russia, we actually see the reverse: women generally outnumber men. A secondary reason was ethnicity. A disproportionate number of Western bandits and frontier gangs were Mexican or Scots-Irish from Appalachia and the American South.

    See also the huge homicide rates of Irish immigrants to the US in the 19th century vs. Ireland today.


    The homicide rate is still higher in Ireland than in most of Western Europe. Keep in mind that the median age in Ireland is now 35.4 and that male violence usually involves young men. This is one shortcoming of the map at the top of this column. The relevant statistic is not the homicide rate for the entire population but rather the homicide rate among young men.

    The monopoly of violence is directly connected to Artillery and small arms.

    There was also an ideological factor, largely driven by the influence of Christianity. I've come across cases of young unmarried girls being hanged for infanticide. In what way did such girls pose a challenge to King and Country? The "war on murder" was an ideological war in the sense that it was not solely motivated by a desire to keep the peace.

    If propensity for violence is at it’s maximum among males aged 16-24 (cos magnified by peak testosterone years) then late marriage and late reproduction would magnify any selection pressures that occurred before that.


    Yes, this is a point I should have explored more. There was a strong stigma attached to young men and women who wanted to get married before they had the resources to support a family.

    The homicide rate in Southern states is greatly impacted by the presence there of a large number of blacks.

    Even when we look only at white people, we find a higher incidence among southern whites than among northern whites. White southerners also exhibit a behavioral profile that corresponds more to what we see in less pacified human populations, e.g., greater importance attacked to "honor" and "face", familialism, etc.

    Don’t we have something akin to ‘capital punishment’ operating in America today among our most violent cohort of young black males? I was struck by the sharp decline in the murder rates in a number of US cities over the decade of the 1990′s.

    That was largely thanks to Roe vs. Wade (1973). It's not just because the abortion rate rose among African Americans; it's also because it rose especially high among the women of AA "alpha males." Those males are still having plenty of sex, but it's no longer translating into reproductive success.

    That was largely thanks to Roe vs. Wade (1973). It’s not just because the abortion rate rose among African Americans; it’s also because it rose especially high among the women of AA “alpha males.” Those males are still having plenty of sex, but it’s no longer translating into reproductive success.

    Please read this and think about what you have written. You have serious potential as a scholar. You will not have any degree of success unless you can recognize the above paragraph as the nonsense that it is.

  55. You suggest that the 90% decline in homicide rates over the 10 generations may have very substantially been driven by changes in the genetic propensity to violence.

    Actually, I’m saying that the decline was driven by changes in the cultural propensity to violence, via the immediate effect of deterrence and the immediate removal of violent males (which eliminated repeat offences). The result was a new cultural norm of nonviolence that led to increasing intolerance of violent personal behavior and a steady ramping up of the execution rate. This in turn led to a gradual removal of propensities to personal violence from the gene pool. It was a process of gene-culture co-evolution.

    According to your model, by how many standard deviations did the genetic tendency toward violence change in the general European population during that period?

    The answer is in the paper:

    we imagine the propensity for homicide as a normally distributed variable with a threshold value.

    [...] In 1500, the threshold stood at 30 per 100,000 people and was 3.43 standard deviations (SD) to the right of the population mean, assuming a standard normal distribution and assuming, conservatively, that each murder was committed by a unique non-recurring murderer. In 1750, the threshold was 3.99 SD to the right. The overall rightward shift was therefore 0.56 SD or 0.056 SD per generation.

    Yes, the weregeld did begin to fade prior to the period in question, but if we’re comparing murder then I think you have to adjust for it.

    There was no weregeld in England during the period in question (1500 to 1750). It had ceased to exist long before.

    Just think about comparing the “homicide rate” of modern day China with a state in the Southern US. Do you think they have the number of weapons at hand to do the violence that they “might” want to commit?

    If access to weaponry explains global variation in the homicide rate, we should see very high homicide rates in Switzerland, where the majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 keeps an army assault rifle at home.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    According to your model, by how many standard deviations did the genetic tendency toward violence change in the general European population during
    that period?

    The overall rightward shift was therefore 0.56 SD or 0.056 SD per generation.
     
    Thanks, I'd carelessly missed it.

    But I think its magnitude tends to confirm my skepticism about the plausibility of the genetic model.

    Instead of discussing violence/homicide, let's apply the analogous model to IQ, which is much better understood since HBD people have been endlessly discussing it for many decades.

    Suppose a society started with a mean IQ of 100 and each generation executed 1-2% of the dumbest adult males, many of whom had already reproduced. Does it seem plausible that after just 10 generations this process by itself would have raised the mean IQ to 108.4, nearly the highest in the world? I'd think you'd probably need to execute something more like 20-30% of the adult males to get such a huge change in SD so quickly, especially when you consider the impact of mean reversion.
    , @iffen
    "homicide rates in Switzerland, where the majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 keeps an army assault rifle at home."

    Move another batch of those Switzers to the Piedmont in South Carolina like the groups that came in the 18th century; they will "remember" different uses for those weapons.
  56. Peter says:
    is it possible that the high rate of capital punishment gradually removed propensities for violence from the gene pool? This hypothesis is modeled by Frost and Harpending, who conclude that such natural selection could explain a little over half of the reduction in the homicide rate. The rest of the decline may have partly resulted from violent men being increasingly marginalized in society and on the marriage market.

    Possibly high capital punishment rates removed violent individuals and presumably a penchant for individual violence passed on to their descendants. Criminologist Manuel Eisner’s comprehensive survey of Europe plotted about 100 per 100,000 homicide deaths for Europeans in the Middle Ages, a high point, followed by declines in the centuries thereafter. You put the figure at 24 per 100,000 for later centuries, further on in the post. This would track with your thesis, as to an increasingly stronger state increasingly suppressing violent propensities. There has been an uptick in homicide in recent decades in the West but nothing remotely like the previous European high point. The death penalty in the past was applied for a long list of offenses that today would draw a mere fine or short jail sentence- criticizing the national leader, petty theft, etc. There were numerous forms of sadistic capital punishment: burning at the stake, disemboweling, breaking on the wheel, etc. This raft of harsh practices may possibly have helped also to cull the more violent.

    Re violent men being marginalized in society and on marriage market- possibly, but it is also possible that Europe’s numerous wars, with body counts in tens of millions also did good service in culling or mutually liquidating the more violent. If removing violent bodies from the gene pool is in view per the Frost/Harpending approach, then war I think plays a major role in culling such, including those more naturally aggressive and violent, from all sides of the contending forces. In this sense, some argue that war has served to “tame” these violent propensities in Europe, by removing those most susceptible – in short, channeling the still underlying violent nature of these individuals into state violence. On the other hand, some argue that war promotes the success of the most violent, both by bringing to leadership those most aggressive and bloody-minded, as well as producing victors that can more successfully reproduce themselves. Women increase their chances of reproductive success by aligning themselves with the victors (Potts and Hayden 2013. Sex and War).

    Peter says:
    The immediate causes were legal and cultural: harsher punishment and a shift in popular attitudes toward the violent male—who went from hero to zero.
    Possibly, but on the flip side, violent males in many instances have been celebrated, particularly for their usefulness in an occupation often consuming Europe and its offshoots, war. The victors of these wars subsequently consolidate their reproductive success. Europe’s constant warfare has certainly resulted in a number of winners and losers. Perhaps Europe has learned in recent decades from the terrible destruction wrought in unleashing these males, and has implemented measures- such as the EU, UN etc etc to avoid such sweeping catastrophes in the future.

    Peter says:
    There is good evidence that personal violence is more common in the U.S. among white southerners than among white northerners. Southern whites are descended disproportionately from settlers who came from the northern English borderlands, where endemic violence persisted until the 18th century and where any encounter with non-kin, however innocent, could turn violent. ” In a world of treachery and danger, blood relationships became highly important. Families grew into clans, and kinsmen placed fidelity to family above loyalty to the crown itself” (Fischer, 1989, p. 628). White southerners also tend to attach more importance to “honor.” Disputes over honor (insults, slights on one’s reputation or the reputation of one’s family, etc.) are a major cause of personal violence.
    Your point is indeed correct, as noted also by such writers as Sowell 2005. The south attained initial Civil War success by channeling this natural individual white southern propensity for violence into a motivated instrument of state violence. The rise of hard-nosed northern leaders who learned to do likewise, spelled doom for the south. As some historians point out, Sherman’s bloody-minded “March to the Sea,” was specifically calculated to impress upon the white south that it too would reap the whirlwind of violence it had inflicted on others.

    Lion of the Judah-sphere says:
    why did East Asia develop such low crime rates (lower than Europe) despite being relatively clannish?
    Clannishness does not necessarily correlate in violence, if there is a central force dampening INTER-CLAN violence. East Asia can be a case of both factors at work- strong state coercion suppressing conflict between multiple groupings so the central hegemon can extract more resources across the board, AND WITHIN-GROUP clannishness that maintains social peace and holds down crime. Clannishness can work in tandem with strong state coercion suppressing inter-clan conflict. In fact the central hegemon can grant various leaders of clan groupings extra powers they may not have had before his ascent to police INTRA clan disruption- thus serving his broader ends. The central hegemon for example can support more pliant or submissive candidates to lead various clans under his control.

    Peter says:
    Unlike the situation in Western Europe, pacification did not lead to the creation of a peaceful, high-trust environment where individuals could survive as individuals without having to seek help and protection from kinsmen.
    Not necessarily. East Asia has produced its fair share of high-trust environments, and indeed this is part of why East Asian business has been successful in many cases. The rotating credit associations for example that were instrumental in raising capital of Asians in the US to start businesses depend on a high degree of mutual trust. In fact analysts of “Asian values” produce solid evidence of high trust environments in East Asia. And Europe itself has been far from exempt in pursing clannishness for protection and help. The Irish are a prime example of clannishness at work, a phenomenon contributing much to their political success in places like the US. Likewise Italian Americans have at times been marked by mutually suspicious clannishness, particularly along regional and even intra-regional lines (Sowell- Ethnic America).

    Hbd chick – Durkheim saw the decline of homicide rates as resulting from the liberation of the individual from collective bonds rather than as the consequence of the coercive potential of the state.
    I would have to side with Frost/Harpending here. The arrow is in the other direction. Liberation from collective bonds for example has at times seen an INCREASE in homicidal violence. The Irish for example under less centralized English control and oppression in moving to America, still posted relatively high homicide rates. Likewise white southerns, as noted by Frost and other historians above, have long been noted for their individualistic ethos, but posted higher violence rates than some supposedly more “civilized” or controlled venues in the north.

    HBDchick says:
    that enough of the most violent members of medieval northern european society were removed from the population so that the frequencies of “genes for violent behavior” were significantly lowered in those populations.
    Executions would only be one factor in the mix. Europe’s numerous wars consumed much of the available supply of violent individuals and this impacted their genetic legacies. This enhanced the pacification Frost speaks of.

    Peter says:
    These trends mirror the strengthening of the modern state, specifically its ability to monopolize the use of violence and to locate and execute violators of that monopoly.
    Agreed, with the addition that the rising modern state also channeled the more aggressive types into approved channels of violence like Europe’s many wars, which in turn helped consume the genetic potential of the more violent males. In short, state violence suppressed individual violence, and then channeled the products towards the state’s own aggressive ends in conquest. This in turn, down the road, enhanced individual pacification. I think your notion of efficient state executions and suppression also works when wars are considered.

    hbdchi also sees the Italian city states as a possible contradiction to your theory. But this does not shake the theory much. Only a small range of offenses brought the full weight of the state’s wrath in the city states- certainly homicide, but also “public order” type crimes, such as defamation of public officials. Much of the criminal workload in the city states was handled via monetary fines. See Trevor Dean’s Crime and Justice in Late Medieval Italy. As Dean says “Corporal and capital punishment was rare.” Your theory thus holds up, in that the city states did not deploy fatal sanctions as often as other European jurisdictions.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @enrique - "The Irish for example under less centralized English control and oppression in moving to America, still posted relatively high homicide rates. Likewise white southerns, as noted by Frost and other historians above, have long been noted for their individualistic ethos, but posted higher violence rates than some supposedly more 'civilized' or controlled venues in the north."

    both the irish and the scots-irish were latecomers to what i've dubbed The Outbreeding Project in medieval europe, and neither of them really experienced manorialism during the period, so both groups remained comparatively clannish until...well, until today! (note that ireland is one of the piigs, for instance.) that's what i (and durkheim) meant by "collective bonds" -- the collective bonds of the extended family or clan. the irish and scots-irish have had relatively high homicide rates up until recently because both went through the dual genetic pacification processes of outbreeding and manorialism rather late. and the frost-harpending state pacification process came late to them, too.

    whatever you do, do not confuse rebel individualism with the small-family individualism of "core" europeans like the (southeastern) english or the dutch. two very different things, those are -- the first means you hate authority, the second means you are a very cooperative citizen by nature.
  57. Director says:
    The monopoly of violence is directly connected to Artillery and small arms. In this case the drop in homicide is strongly associated with the King having an artillery train and battalions of men who enforced the peace. They called it peace…

    Firearms certainly played a role down the road, but bear in mind that the state was growing more powerful and was effectively suppressing localized violence well BEFORE the arrival of firearms. I believe you are correct to the extent that artillery, firearms, etc required more centralized resource concentration and extraction. Only the state really could afford the long-term expense of mass use of such weaponry.

    Cracker1 says:
    If a Chechen comes to the US and kills people, we count that as a homicide. If our armed forces or proxies kill a Chechen in Iraq or elsewhere, I doubt that it is counted as a homicide. The “official homicide rate” is not an un-biased natural phenomenon; it is a culturally produced data-point and depends on many factors; the main one being the identity of the compiler and their cultural relationship to the possible homicide candidate.
    Indeed. The rate depends in part on whose doing the counting and making the definitions. The Romans spoke scornfully of “wild barbarians” and “rebels” in Germania. But from the Germanic perspective, were they thus, or were they people naturally defending their territory against a predatory hegemon determined to seize and exploit their resources? Ironically, towards the end of Rome, much of the fighting forces were made up of these “barbarians.” The Roman regime suppressed localized smaller scale violence, and channeled the people and resources seized into state violence, to continue its predatory expansion.

    anon 143 says:
    the breakdown in clannishness in NW Europe made the state apparatus more efficient and so made the selection process much stronger. (The state apparatus being more efficient is shown simply from the fact that the data is available so early compared to most other places.)
    Agree in part that the breakdown in clannishness was due to the more powerful state apparatus. The state in turn channeled the resources and people seized into its own official state violence program. Hence the Scot and Irish bodies were deployed frequently to carry out the state violence in other venues once they had been crushed internally. But the clans did not renounce individual violence. The northern European Irish for example are notorious for their violence in the US, making today’s street gangs seem like Boy Scouts. In fact the state militia at times had to be called out in places of heavy Irish settlement, as in parts of New York, to suppress their violence.

    So a violent,clannish culture might *require* early marriage to sustain itself.
    Not necessarily. Traditional violent Irish culture was marked by relatively LATE marriage patterns, as Sowell et al show.

    ZBlog says:
    3) How about the Hundred Years War and the Thirty Years War? Both were meat grinders drawing in violent men to fight and die. Reasonable estimates say both reduced the number of men by far more than administrative processes.
    Agreed, which is why I say above that more executions are only a piece of the picture. Those meat grinders you speak off, helped kill off or cull the individually violent, making their genes more difficult to reproduce, and enhancing pacification.

    • Replies: @The Z Blog

    Agreed, which is why I say above that more executions are only a piece of the picture. Those meat grinders you speak off, helped kill off or cull the individually violent, making their genes more difficult to reproduce, and enhancing pacification.
     
    Then there is the black plague.

    The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to think the answer lies in the raw math. Men are not entirely without agency. In the late 8th century, King Offa was starting to put reeves in place, even in small territories. Getting away with murder simply became more difficult as we moved into the late middle ages. With the King providing alternatives to violence for settling disputes, violence was going to fall, with or without a cull.
  58. Peter,
    Are you aware that the first woman tried for witchcraft and sentenced to be burned at a stake was actually Dame Alice Kytler, of Kilkenny, Ireland.
    She managed to escape by bribing her way out of prison, but her maid was burned to death.

  59. You will not have any degree of success unless you can recognize the above paragraph as the nonsense that it is (Since Roe vs Wade, alpha AA males have become less and less reproductively successful).

    This is a finding of the General Social survey. There has been variation over time in the number of children fathered by monogamous men (“good boys”) versus the number fathered by men with several sex partners (“bad boys”). If we look at American men born between 1920 and 1939, we find that the “bad boys” had more children on average than the “good boys.” If we look at men born after 1939, the reverse has been true.

    So what has happened since the early 1960s to undermine the reproductive success of bad boys? The most likely answer seems to be easier access to birth control and, later, abortion. Bad boys are still getting lots of sex, but the link between sex and reproduction has been disrupted.

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/getting-the-babes-but-not-the-babies/

  60. @Peter Frost
    You suggest that the 90% decline in homicide rates over the 10 generations may have very substantially been driven by changes in the genetic propensity to violence.

    Actually, I'm saying that the decline was driven by changes in the cultural propensity to violence, via the immediate effect of deterrence and the immediate removal of violent males (which eliminated repeat offences). The result was a new cultural norm of nonviolence that led to increasing intolerance of violent personal behavior and a steady ramping up of the execution rate. This in turn led to a gradual removal of propensities to personal violence from the gene pool. It was a process of gene-culture co-evolution.

    According to your model, by how many standard deviations did the genetic tendency toward violence change in the general European population during that period?

    The answer is in the paper:


    we imagine the propensity for homicide as a normally distributed variable with a threshold value.

    [...] In 1500, the threshold stood at 30 per 100,000 people and was 3.43 standard deviations (SD) to the right of the population mean, assuming a standard normal distribution and assuming, conservatively, that each murder was committed by a unique non-recurring murderer. In 1750, the threshold was 3.99 SD to the right. The overall rightward shift was therefore 0.56 SD or 0.056 SD per generation.
     

    Yes, the weregeld did begin to fade prior to the period in question, but if we’re comparing murder then I think you have to adjust for it.

    There was no weregeld in England during the period in question (1500 to 1750). It had ceased to exist long before.

    Just think about comparing the “homicide rate” of modern day China with a state in the Southern US. Do you think they have the number of weapons at hand to do the violence that they “might” want to commit?

    If access to weaponry explains global variation in the homicide rate, we should see very high homicide rates in Switzerland, where the majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 keeps an army assault rifle at home.

    According to your model, by how many standard deviations did the genetic tendency toward violence change in the general European population during
    that period?

    The overall rightward shift was therefore 0.56 SD or 0.056 SD per generation.

    Thanks, I’d carelessly missed it.

    But I think its magnitude tends to confirm my skepticism about the plausibility of the genetic model.

    Instead of discussing violence/homicide, let’s apply the analogous model to IQ, which is much better understood since HBD people have been endlessly discussing it for many decades.

    Suppose a society started with a mean IQ of 100 and each generation executed 1-2% of the dumbest adult males, many of whom had already reproduced. Does it seem plausible that after just 10 generations this process by itself would have raised the mean IQ to 108.4, nearly the highest in the world? I’d think you’d probably need to execute something more like 20-30% of the adult males to get such a huge change in SD so quickly, especially when you consider the impact of mean reversion.

  61. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I’m not convinced war *disproportionately* selected against violent individuals. Even in eras where soldiers were self-selecting and probably mostly naturally violent and would suffer disproportionate casualties in battle I think they probably killed a lot more non-violent civilians every time they sacked a city or stole food from the peasantry.

    • Replies: @Enrique Cardova
    Anon 250 says

    I’m not convinced war *disproportionately* selected against violent individuals. Even in eras where soldiers were self-selecting and probably mostly naturally violent and would suffer disproportionate casualties in battle, I think they probably killed a lot more non-violent civilians every time they sacked a city or stole food from the peasantry.
     
    Quite possibly. Back in those days sometimes, the military was at least SOMETIMES used as a dumping ground for "undesirables" or misfits, into the lower ranks. Vagabonds, beggars etc were often impressed into the military, in both the naval and land forces, though again, as time went on military forces throughout Europe became better paid and more professionalized. The Ottomans, Germans and the British back in Medieval times and later all to some extent, used forced draft military recruitment to flush "undesirables" from the ranks of the better folk. It was a known phenomenon in Europe. Even in Russia one study notes:

    "In Russia, communities and landlords used conscription to send off criminals, troublemakers, drunkards and men deemed disobedient, unruly or simply lazy. It is hardly surprising that armies time and again complained about the quality of the personnel that was provided to them in this way."
    (--Erik Jan Zucher, Fighting for a living)

    So to some extent European militaries, at some level drew off the "dregs" of society, variously defined in their own eras. Casulaty rates in war would no doubt impact these at a higher rate, cutting off their participation in the gene pool. But like you say, this should not be viewed as the ONLY factor at play. Maybe its a combo of things. Perhaps the ongoing executions of remaining lower end people on the civilian side, combined with their continual liquidation on the military front, combined together to "cull" the European gene pool. Those at the top, the elites in a sense, may have used these strategies to ensure that only the better people, those more malleable, and submissive would, in the long haul, win the gene inheritance sweepstakes.

    It could be said that the European elites gained a two-fer bonus. If dirty work needed to be done, then the lower end people could be deployed to good effect, whether in Europe or in various colonial enterprises. If a more submissive, higher quality remaining population needed to be deployed they could do just as well. Hence as Christopher Browning's study "Ordinary Men" shows, ordinary German accountants, bakers, store clerks etc, good submissive bourgeois types, in the unglamorous SS police battalions, were among the most zealous, vicious killers during the Holocaust. Internal pacification made possible more efficient external violence directed against neighboring peoples. Those at the top got the dirty work done, no matter who was used.

  62. Suppose a society started with a mean IQ of 100 and each generation executed 1-2% of the dumbest adult males, many of whom had already reproduced. Does it seem plausible that after just 10 generations this process by itself would have raised the mean IQ to 108.4, nearly the highest in the world?

    Yes, of course (assuming that the heritability is the same). This is basic math, or rather basic population genetics. It wouldn’t bother me so much if you questioned the numbers we plug into the model, but the model itself is standard stuff.

  63. @Enrique Cardova
    Director says:
    The monopoly of violence is directly connected to Artillery and small arms. In this case the drop in homicide is strongly associated with the King having an artillery train and battalions of men who enforced the peace. They called it peace…

    Firearms certainly played a role down the road, but bear in mind that the state was growing more powerful and was effectively suppressing localized violence well BEFORE the arrival of firearms. I believe you are correct to the extent that artillery, firearms, etc required more centralized resource concentration and extraction. Only the state really could afford the long-term expense of mass use of such weaponry.


    Cracker1 says:
    If a Chechen comes to the US and kills people, we count that as a homicide. If our armed forces or proxies kill a Chechen in Iraq or elsewhere, I doubt that it is counted as a homicide. The “official homicide rate” is not an un-biased natural phenomenon; it is a culturally produced data-point and depends on many factors; the main one being the identity of the compiler and their cultural relationship to the possible homicide candidate.
    Indeed. The rate depends in part on whose doing the counting and making the definitions. The Romans spoke scornfully of "wild barbarians" and "rebels" in Germania. But from the Germanic perspective, were they thus, or were they people naturally defending their territory against a predatory hegemon determined to seize and exploit their resources? Ironically, towards the end of Rome, much of the fighting forces were made up of these "barbarians." The Roman regime suppressed localized smaller scale violence, and channeled the people and resources seized into state violence, to continue its predatory expansion.


    anon 143 says:
    the breakdown in clannishness in NW Europe made the state apparatus more efficient and so made the selection process much stronger. (The state apparatus being more efficient is shown simply from the fact that the data is available so early compared to most other places.)
    Agree in part that the breakdown in clannishness was due to the more powerful state apparatus. The state in turn channeled the resources and people seized into its own official state violence program. Hence the Scot and Irish bodies were deployed frequently to carry out the state violence in other venues once they had been crushed internally. But the clans did not renounce individual violence. The northern European Irish for example are notorious for their violence in the US, making today's street gangs seem like Boy Scouts. In fact the state militia at times had to be called out in places of heavy Irish settlement, as in parts of New York, to suppress their violence.

    So a violent,clannish culture might *require* early marriage to sustain itself.
    Not necessarily. Traditional violent Irish culture was marked by relatively LATE marriage patterns, as Sowell et al show.


    ZBlog says:
    3) How about the Hundred Years War and the Thirty Years War? Both were meat grinders drawing in violent men to fight and die. Reasonable estimates say both reduced the number of men by far more than administrative processes.
    Agreed, which is why I say above that more executions are only a piece of the picture. Those meat grinders you speak off, helped kill off or cull the individually violent, making their genes more difficult to reproduce, and enhancing pacification.

    Agreed, which is why I say above that more executions are only a piece of the picture. Those meat grinders you speak off, helped kill off or cull the individually violent, making their genes more difficult to reproduce, and enhancing pacification.

    Then there is the black plague.

    The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to think the answer lies in the raw math. Men are not entirely without agency. In the late 8th century, King Offa was starting to put reeves in place, even in small territories. Getting away with murder simply became more difficult as we moved into the late middle ages. With the King providing alternatives to violence for settling disputes, violence was going to fall, with or without a cull.

  64. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    But I think its magnitude tends to confirm my skepticism about the plausibility of the genetic model.

    If violence and restraint were two independent random variables would that change things?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_distribution#Combination_of_two_independent_random_variables

    (or whatever statistical model works for two independent normally distributed variables where it’s the combination of both you’re after e.g. in this case high violence and low restraint)

  65. Ron,

    Correction. You would have to kill off almost 4% of the dumbest adult males in each generation. That was the outcome of our model: an execution rate of 2% (both court-ordered and extrajudicial) could only explain a little over half of the homicide decline.

    I see you’re still carping about the possibility that “many” executed men managed to have children who survived to adulthood. Most people in England at that time did not even manage to raise two children to adulthood. Only the upper classes and the nascent middle class had a reproductive success greater than two. In my mother’s family tree (mostly freemason merchants), the average was typically 3 children per generation prior to the 19th century. They probably had five or six babies, but only three made it to adulthood.

    In my opinion, our liberal assumption of zero reproductive success is more than outweighed by our conservative assumption that each executed offender would have killed no more than one person over the course of a normal lifetime (if he had been allowed to live).

    • Replies: @Sean
    Women do tend to go for the big men. Men who became violent criminals could be from the lowest classes of society and be heading for reproductive oblivion. For them the risk of being a bandit might be the only sensible thing to do.

    This new social environment, however, also tended to favor the survival and reproduction of individuals who would less easily resort to violence on their own initiative
     
    The violent and nonviolent men would have been in evolutionary equilibrium before the new social environment?

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  66. Unit472 says
    So my hypothesis was the murder rate would be cyclical as the most violent were killed or imprisoned and then start to rise again about 15-20 years later as their children ( and most of these young black violent males have children before they are ‘decommissioned’) reach the peak age for violence. Empirically this seems to be the case as the murder rates fell for a time but then seemed to start rising again.

    Actually during the 1990s, the homicide rate went UP from lower points in the 1980s, and actually PEAKED in the 1990s before commencing a long downward slide. This slide can be attributed to various causes- better policing as you note to be sure, the rise of anti-violence voices in the black community as seen in the numerous neighborhood programs and groups that sprung up in NY during the period, and a reduction in the age cohort. Violence may have killed off some offenders, but the demographic decline is also due to migration from denser higher crime, NE urban areas, and more abortions.

    The 1990s saw a demographic trend of lower birthrates for many groups, as shown by US census stats. For example White births per 1000 women dropped from 15.8 to 13.9, as did Asians: (19 to 17.1). Fertility rates per 1000 women also dropped for both whites, blacks and Asians. Only Hispanics registered an increase.

  67. Ron UNZ says:
    First, we’re really talking about a tiny genetic impact, maybe executing 1-2% of the males in each generation
    True, but could not the constant wars of Europe, also serve as a culling mechanism for the most violent cohorts, thus hastening their removal from the genetic pool?

    So to the extent there was any selective pressure against violence/criminality genes, I think on net it would have been a very small fraction of 1% per generation.
    Agreed, I think broader variables like warfare are at play. As you say elsewhere, what we have are not genetics per se, but simply removal or reduction of the age cohorts that are more likely to be more violent. But could not this culling via warfare, also play out in a genetic impact?

    Randal parker says:
    John Boswell’s The Kindness Of Strangers is that child abandonment was extremely common in the period.
    Would you say such abandonment has a genetic basis? In 19th century urban America tens of thousands of children were abandoned and homeless. It was almost automatically assumed, and contemporary stats confirmed this, that these children would be Irish (Sowell -Ethnic America)

    Cracker 1 says- re Peter Frost on abortion:
    Frost:—–That was largely thanks to Roe vs. Wade (1973). It’s not just because the abortion rate rose among African Americans; it’s also because it rose especially high among the women of AA “alpha males.” Those males are still having plenty of sex, but it’s no longer translating into reproductive success.

    Cracker 1: Please read this and think about what you have written. You have serious potential as a scholar. You will not have any degree of success unless you can recognize the above paragraph as the nonsense that it is.

    Why would be nonsense? Abortion is not the ONLY factor at play obviously. But Frost is in numerous company with others who make a similar argument using credible data. It is not a far-fetched race theory but an empirical one examined by serious people. The link below gives some pro and con arguments.

    http://www.hli.org/2012/10/does-abortion-really-reduce-crime/

    The primary objection to the notion is that crime did not drop among young people- the very first population that should have been first affected. Other critics hold that nations with high abortion rates showed a large increase in crime some years after they legalized abortion. Also Russia has many crime increases under free wheeling abortion policies that kill 2 white kids for each live white birth. In addition, the murder rate in the early 1990s- 1993- for the high abortion generation of 14 to 17 year olds had crime rates some 3.6 times higher than the low abortion generation of the 1980s before them.

    Among blacks the murder rate actually went up some 500% from 1984 to 1993, again, under conditions of free wheeling abortion- much higher than when there was more restrictive or less free-wheeling abortion. Objectors also argue that the huge increase in violent crime that peaked in 1991 and then declined is more closely related to the crack epidemic not abortion, with the crime rate rising and falling exactly where crack was more accessible. Crime also began to go up in 1984-91, after a previous decline in the early 1980s under less abortion.

  68. @Enrique Cardova
    Peter says:
    is it possible that the high rate of capital punishment gradually removed propensities for violence from the gene pool? This hypothesis is modeled by Frost and Harpending, who conclude that such natural selection could explain a little over half of the reduction in the homicide rate. The rest of the decline may have partly resulted from violent men being increasingly marginalized in society and on the marriage market.

    Possibly high capital punishment rates removed violent individuals and presumably a penchant for individual violence passed on to their descendants. Criminologist Manuel Eisner's comprehensive survey of Europe plotted about 100 per 100,000 homicide deaths for Europeans in the Middle Ages, a high point, followed by declines in the centuries thereafter. You put the figure at 24 per 100,000 for later centuries, further on in the post. This would track with your thesis, as to an increasingly stronger state increasingly suppressing violent propensities. There has been an uptick in homicide in recent decades in the West but nothing remotely like the previous European high point. The death penalty in the past was applied for a long list of offenses that today would draw a mere fine or short jail sentence- criticizing the national leader, petty theft, etc. There were numerous forms of sadistic capital punishment: burning at the stake, disemboweling, breaking on the wheel, etc. This raft of harsh practices may possibly have helped also to cull the more violent.

    Re violent men being marginalized in society and on marriage market- possibly, but it is also possible that Europe's numerous wars, with body counts in tens of millions also did good service in culling or mutually liquidating the more violent. If removing violent bodies from the gene pool is in view per the Frost/Harpending approach, then war I think plays a major role in culling such, including those more naturally aggressive and violent, from all sides of the contending forces. In this sense, some argue that war has served to "tame" these violent propensities in Europe, by removing those most susceptible - in short, channeling the still underlying violent nature of these individuals into state violence. On the other hand, some argue that war promotes the success of the most violent, both by bringing to leadership those most aggressive and bloody-minded, as well as producing victors that can more successfully reproduce themselves. Women increase their chances of reproductive success by aligning themselves with the victors (Potts and Hayden 2013. Sex and War).


    Peter says:
    The immediate causes were legal and cultural: harsher punishment and a shift in popular attitudes toward the violent male—who went from hero to zero.
    Possibly, but on the flip side, violent males in many instances have been celebrated, particularly for their usefulness in an occupation often consuming Europe and its offshoots, war. The victors of these wars subsequently consolidate their reproductive success. Europe's constant warfare has certainly resulted in a number of winners and losers. Perhaps Europe has learned in recent decades from the terrible destruction wrought in unleashing these males, and has implemented measures- such as the EU, UN etc etc to avoid such sweeping catastrophes in the future.


    Peter says:
    There is good evidence that personal violence is more common in the U.S. among white southerners than among white northerners. Southern whites are descended disproportionately from settlers who came from the northern English borderlands, where endemic violence persisted until the 18th century and where any encounter with non-kin, however innocent, could turn violent. ” In a world of treachery and danger, blood relationships became highly important. Families grew into clans, and kinsmen placed fidelity to family above loyalty to the crown itself” (Fischer, 1989, p. 628). White southerners also tend to attach more importance to “honor.” Disputes over honor (insults, slights on one’s reputation or the reputation of one’s family, etc.) are a major cause of personal violence.
    Your point is indeed correct, as noted also by such writers as Sowell 2005. The south attained initial Civil War success by channeling this natural individual white southern propensity for violence into a motivated instrument of state violence. The rise of hard-nosed northern leaders who learned to do likewise, spelled doom for the south. As some historians point out, Sherman's bloody-minded "March to the Sea," was specifically calculated to impress upon the white south that it too would reap the whirlwind of violence it had inflicted on others.



    Lion of the Judah-sphere says:
    why did East Asia develop such low crime rates (lower than Europe) despite being relatively clannish?
    Clannishness does not necessarily correlate in violence, if there is a central force dampening INTER-CLAN violence. East Asia can be a case of both factors at work- strong state coercion suppressing conflict between multiple groupings so the central hegemon can extract more resources across the board, AND WITHIN-GROUP clannishness that maintains social peace and holds down crime. Clannishness can work in tandem with strong state coercion suppressing inter-clan conflict. In fact the central hegemon can grant various leaders of clan groupings extra powers they may not have had before his ascent to police INTRA clan disruption- thus serving his broader ends. The central hegemon for example can support more pliant or submissive candidates to lead various clans under his control.


    Peter says:
    Unlike the situation in Western Europe, pacification did not lead to the creation of a peaceful, high-trust environment where individuals could survive as individuals without having to seek help and protection from kinsmen.
    Not necessarily. East Asia has produced its fair share of high-trust environments, and indeed this is part of why East Asian business has been successful in many cases. The rotating credit associations for example that were instrumental in raising capital of Asians in the US to start businesses depend on a high degree of mutual trust. In fact analysts of "Asian values" produce solid evidence of high trust environments in East Asia. And Europe itself has been far from exempt in pursing clannishness for protection and help. The Irish are a prime example of clannishness at work, a phenomenon contributing much to their political success in places like the US. Likewise Italian Americans have at times been marked by mutually suspicious clannishness, particularly along regional and even intra-regional lines (Sowell- Ethnic America).


    Hbd chick – Durkheim saw the decline of homicide rates as resulting from the liberation of the individual from collective bonds rather than as the consequence of the coercive potential of the state.
    I would have to side with Frost/Harpending here. The arrow is in the other direction. Liberation from collective bonds for example has at times seen an INCREASE in homicidal violence. The Irish for example under less centralized English control and oppression in moving to America, still posted relatively high homicide rates. Likewise white southerns, as noted by Frost and other historians above, have long been noted for their individualistic ethos, but posted higher violence rates than some supposedly more "civilized" or controlled venues in the north.


    HBDchick says:
    that enough of the most violent members of medieval northern european society were removed from the population so that the frequencies of “genes for violent behavior” were significantly lowered in those populations.
    Executions would only be one factor in the mix. Europe's numerous wars consumed much of the available supply of violent individuals and this impacted their genetic legacies. This enhanced the pacification Frost speaks of.



    Peter says:
    These trends mirror the strengthening of the modern state, specifically its ability to monopolize the use of violence and to locate and execute violators of that monopoly.
    Agreed, with the addition that the rising modern state also channeled the more aggressive types into approved channels of violence like Europe's many wars, which in turn helped consume the genetic potential of the more violent males. In short, state violence suppressed individual violence, and then channeled the products towards the state's own aggressive ends in conquest. This in turn, down the road, enhanced individual pacification. I think your notion of efficient state executions and suppression also works when wars are considered.

    hbdchi also sees the Italian city states as a possible contradiction to your theory. But this does not shake the theory much. Only a small range of offenses brought the full weight of the state's wrath in the city states- certainly homicide, but also "public order" type crimes, such as defamation of public officials. Much of the criminal workload in the city states was handled via monetary fines. See Trevor Dean's Crime and Justice in Late Medieval Italy. As Dean says "Corporal and capital punishment was rare." Your theory thus holds up, in that the city states did not deploy fatal sanctions as often as other European jurisdictions.

    @enrique – “The Irish for example under less centralized English control and oppression in moving to America, still posted relatively high homicide rates. Likewise white southerns, as noted by Frost and other historians above, have long been noted for their individualistic ethos, but posted higher violence rates than some supposedly more ‘civilized’ or controlled venues in the north.”

    both the irish and the scots-irish were latecomers to what i’ve dubbed The Outbreeding Project in medieval europe, and neither of them really experienced manorialism during the period, so both groups remained comparatively clannish until…well, until today! (note that ireland is one of the piigs, for instance.) that’s what i (and durkheim) meant by “collective bonds” — the collective bonds of the extended family or clan. the irish and scots-irish have had relatively high homicide rates up until recently because both went through the dual genetic pacification processes of outbreeding and manorialism rather late. and the frost-harpending state pacification process came late to them, too.

    whatever you do, do not confuse rebel individualism with the small-family individualism of “core” europeans like the (southeastern) english or the dutch. two very different things, those are — the first means you hate authority, the second means you are a very cooperative citizen by nature.

  69. @The Z Blog
    Yes, the weregeld did begin to fade prior to the period in question, but if we're comparing murder then I think you have to adjust for it. Just as capital punishment is not considered murder today, taking out the guy down the street and paying off his kin was not "murder" in a previous era.

    As an aside, British scholars think the blood feud had lower violence rates than the weregeld, which did not come to Britain until the 8th century. That would suggest state retribution for murder would lower violence.

    But, I'm getting off the topic here.

    @the z blog – “Yes, the weregeld did begin to fade prior to the period in question, but if we’re comparing murder then I think you have to adjust for it.”

    well, as peter says below, there was no weregeld system in england post-1500, so it really doesn’t enter into the question here.

    however, there was a sort-of a weregeld/vengeance/vendetta system in northern italy right through the 1500s. (at least there was in florence.) weregeld is not the right word for it, although the italian sixteenth century system did grow out of a weregeld system. what it was was that the government acted as a negotiator between the aggrieved parties involved in a blood feud or vendetta circle of violence and helped to work out a truce and a peace agreement. bonds were deposited with the government authorities, and whichever side broke the peace would forfeit the bonds. an individual member of one of the families involved in a vendetta cycle could be taken up on homicide charges for killing someone, but the collective families were still also held responsible. it’s an interesting halfway state between feuding & weregeld versus more individual culpability.

  70. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    A parallel can be made with witch-hunting, which reached unusually high levels in the Holy Roman Empire while being much less common elsewhere.

    Same goes for Jews hunting, which the German people actively participated in, whereas in Italy grassroot participation was much smaller and in WW2 most Italians actually helped Jews hide or escape, whereas Germans delivered them to the SS .

  71. How much confidence do you have in using a heritability estimate from 2009 in a breeder’s equation meant to depict changes in the years 1500-1750? Also, why did you and Harpending use .69 as opposed to the .4 estimate from the 2002 meta-analysis?

    • Replies: @JayMan

    How much confidence do you have in using a heritability estimate from 2009 in a breeder’s equation meant to depict changes in the years 1500-1750
     
    Selection has not been strong enough to change the additive/non-additive balance.

    Also, why did you and Harpending use .69 as opposed to the .4 estimate from the 2002 meta-analysis?
     
    Broadly, measurement error and study heterogeneity serve to attenuate heritability estimates. A meta-analysis is not necessarily a way to get the one, pure answer.
  72. @Peter Frost
    Ron,

    Correction. You would have to kill off almost 4% of the dumbest adult males in each generation. That was the outcome of our model: an execution rate of 2% (both court-ordered and extrajudicial) could only explain a little over half of the homicide decline.

    I see you're still carping about the possibility that "many" executed men managed to have children who survived to adulthood. Most people in England at that time did not even manage to raise two children to adulthood. Only the upper classes and the nascent middle class had a reproductive success greater than two. In my mother's family tree (mostly freemason merchants), the average was typically 3 children per generation prior to the 19th century. They probably had five or six babies, but only three made it to adulthood.

    In my opinion, our liberal assumption of zero reproductive success is more than outweighed by our conservative assumption that each executed offender would have killed no more than one person over the course of a normal lifetime (if he had been allowed to live).

    Women do tend to go for the big men. Men who became violent criminals could be from the lowest classes of society and be heading for reproductive oblivion. For them the risk of being a bandit might be the only sensible thing to do.

    This new social environment, however, also tended to favor the survival and reproduction of individuals who would less easily resort to violence on their own initiative

    The violent and nonviolent men would have been in evolutionary equilibrium before the new social environment?

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  73. How much confidence do you have in using a heritability estimate from 2009 in a breeder’s equation meant to depict changes in the years 1500-1750?

    Heritability itself would not be expected to change over the last three to five centuries, unless new alleles for aggressiveness have appeared and become widespread, which is unlikely.

    Also, why did you and Harpending use .69 as opposed to the .4 estimate from the 2002 meta-analysis?

    Estimates of the heritability of aggressive behavior range from a high of 96% (Baker et al., 2007) to a low of 40% (Rhee and Waldman , 2002). Barker et al. investigated this problem with a twin study where the twins were measured either by different evaluators or a single evaluator. In the first case, the estimated heritability was 40%. In the second case, it was 69%. The low estimate of the meta-analysis seems to reflect inter-observer variation, which has the effect of inflating environmental variation.

    could not the constant wars of Europe, also serve as a culling mechanism for the most violent cohorts, thus hastening their removal from the genetic pool?

    Insofar as warfare takes a toll on the civilian population, it’s effect would generally be random. In fact, an argument could be made that a greater propensity to engage in violence would be more adaptive in a wartime situation where more pacific individuals would no longer benefit from the advantages of a pacified society.

    Insofar as warfare takes a toll on soldiers, it would impose a greater toll on those soldiers who more willingly obey orders to go out into the field (and get killed) as opposed to those who fight when they feel it’s to their personal advantage.

    First, we’re really talking about a tiny genetic impact, maybe executing 1-2% of the males in each generation

    Again, Ron seems to have a problem with the breeder’s equation, which is widely used in population genetics. If he has a specific criticism to make, I would like to hear it, as would most geneticists.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    Again, Ron seems to have a problem with the breeder’s equation, which is widely used in population genetics. If he has a specific criticism to make, I would like to hear it, as would most geneticists.
     
    No, Peter, I certainly don't have any problem with the Breeder's equation. But when the results of applying a formula seem sufficiently counter-intuitive, I prefer to closely scrutinize the underlying assumptions.

    You suggest that the genetic propensity for lethal violence in Europe dropped by 0.56 SD between 1500 and 1750, thereby explaining the apparent 90% decline in homicides. Personally, I think the huge cultural, socio-economic, and political changes are a far more likely explanation, but let's leave that aside.

    You then argue that executing 1-2% of the males in each generation would have reduced the genetic propensity for violence by 0.27-0.49 SD during that period. This is the argument I primarily dispute.

    As I've said, it seems plausible that a considerable fraction of the executed males would have had surviving offspring, considerably reducing the genetic impact. More importantly, I think it doubtful that the executed males were at the absolutely extreme end of the violence distribution curve, more likely to have just been drawn from a random-sample of the somewhat more violent males, which would also greatly reduce the genetic impact.

    Here's another question. As I recall, even as late as the 19th century didn't England still regularly execute people for non-violent crimes like theft? What fraction of the executions were for crimes of extreme violence as opposed to other things like theft, heresy, witchcraft, or political agitation? Indeed, in your article you mention that the executions were for all sorts of non-violent crimes, including "lese-majeste," theft, counterfeiting, and such. Obviously, if a considerable fraction of the executed were of non-violent criminals that would considerably diminish the likely impact on the genetic propensity toward lethal violence crime but later in your text you instead assume the 1-2% were the absolutely most violent.

    Another question. In your text you describe the execution of 1-2% of the most violent in each generation as reducing the raw genetic propensity for homicide by 0.027-0.049 SD per generation. I don't have an SD calculator at hand, but I'd like to clarify whether your calculation is based on 1-2% of the *male* population or 1-2% of the *total* population, which would obviously be twice as large. After all, your historical execution rate refers to the former.

    Finally, an important point that others have raised. The period 1500-1650 saw massive religious wars throughout much of Europe while things had totally quieted down by 1750. Couldn't the social anarchy and endless "legal" violence have a plausible connection to the much higher rate of "illegal" violence? And even if we just confine ourselves to considering genetic factors, wouldn't the wars dominate? For example, in 1500 I think Germany was one of the wealthiest and most densely populated parts of Europe, but during roughly the single generation of the Thirty Years War, the population supposedly fell by 30-50% due to endless massacres and starvation, and lots of other countries saw huge levels of warfare as well. Wouldn't the death of perhaps 30-50% of the population in a war probably swamp the impact of a few generations of 1-2% executions? But since it's impossible to guess exactly who died or where they fell on the violence curve, we can't really guess the impact.

    , @Sean Last
    "Heritability itself would not be expected to change over the last three to five centuries, unless new alleles for aggressiveness have appeared and become widespread, which is unlikely."

    The heritability of aggression could also be changed by changes in the degree of environmental variation which effects aggression. For instance, if parental abuse impacts aggression and there was more, or less, variation in child abuse a few hundreds years ago then this could alter the heritability of aggression. Intuitively, it seems unlikely to me that aggression-relevant environmental variation has been constant for the last few hundred years.
  74. @Peter Frost
    You suggest that the 90% decline in homicide rates over the 10 generations may have very substantially been driven by changes in the genetic propensity to violence.

    Actually, I'm saying that the decline was driven by changes in the cultural propensity to violence, via the immediate effect of deterrence and the immediate removal of violent males (which eliminated repeat offences). The result was a new cultural norm of nonviolence that led to increasing intolerance of violent personal behavior and a steady ramping up of the execution rate. This in turn led to a gradual removal of propensities to personal violence from the gene pool. It was a process of gene-culture co-evolution.

    According to your model, by how many standard deviations did the genetic tendency toward violence change in the general European population during that period?

    The answer is in the paper:


    we imagine the propensity for homicide as a normally distributed variable with a threshold value.

    [...] In 1500, the threshold stood at 30 per 100,000 people and was 3.43 standard deviations (SD) to the right of the population mean, assuming a standard normal distribution and assuming, conservatively, that each murder was committed by a unique non-recurring murderer. In 1750, the threshold was 3.99 SD to the right. The overall rightward shift was therefore 0.56 SD or 0.056 SD per generation.
     

    Yes, the weregeld did begin to fade prior to the period in question, but if we’re comparing murder then I think you have to adjust for it.

    There was no weregeld in England during the period in question (1500 to 1750). It had ceased to exist long before.

    Just think about comparing the “homicide rate” of modern day China with a state in the Southern US. Do you think they have the number of weapons at hand to do the violence that they “might” want to commit?

    If access to weaponry explains global variation in the homicide rate, we should see very high homicide rates in Switzerland, where the majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 keeps an army assault rifle at home.

    “homicide rates in Switzerland, where the majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 keeps an army assault rifle at home.”

    Move another batch of those Switzers to the Piedmont in South Carolina like the groups that came in the 18th century; they will “remember” different uses for those weapons.

  75. Women do tend to go for the big men.

    It may be that erotic desire has not evolved to keep pace with changes to the social environment. There was a time, in non-pacified societies, when the violent male was a better match for a woman. He could do a better job of getting access to resources and fighting off other predatory males.

    Move another batch of those Switzers to the Piedmont in South Carolina like the groups that came in the 18th century; they will “remember” different uses for those weapons.

    Unlikely. When East Asians move to the U.S. (and I’m sure there are some in South Carolina), they don’t become more homicidal, at least not as much as the average American or certain subgroups within the U.S. Access to weaponry explains very little of the global variation in homicide.

    • Replies: @iffen
    “global variation in homicide”

    There are serious deficiencies in the compilation of the homicide rate, now and in the past.

    “When East Asians move to the U.S.”

    Second and third generation Korean-America rednecks (War Bride descendants) cannot be behaviorally distinguished from us ordinary rednecks. I would expect to find such differences between the members of Korea “towns” in Southern California and other non- Korean groups.
  76. I suspect that there were cultural differences between Northwest Europe and Italy in popular willingness to collaborate with authorities in the “war on murder.”

    Yes. There was opposition to implacable capital punishment in Italy, because of the absolutist tyrannies that ruled there. Basically in Italy the criminal has historically tended to be viewed as an unfortunate who the state was going to deprive of his life. Cesare Beccaria was the first to influentially argue against the death penalty.

  77. @Peter Frost
    Women do tend to go for the big men.

    It may be that erotic desire has not evolved to keep pace with changes to the social environment. There was a time, in non-pacified societies, when the violent male was a better match for a woman. He could do a better job of getting access to resources and fighting off other predatory males.

    Move another batch of those Switzers to the Piedmont in South Carolina like the groups that came in the 18th century; they will “remember” different uses for those weapons.

    Unlikely. When East Asians move to the U.S. (and I'm sure there are some in South Carolina), they don't become more homicidal, at least not as much as the average American or certain subgroups within the U.S. Access to weaponry explains very little of the global variation in homicide.

    “global variation in homicide”

    There are serious deficiencies in the compilation of the homicide rate, now and in the past.

    “When East Asians move to the U.S.”

    Second and third generation Korean-America rednecks (War Bride descendants) cannot be behaviorally distinguished from us ordinary rednecks. I would expect to find such differences between the members of Korea “towns” in Southern California and other non- Korean groups.

  78. There are serious deficiencies in the compilation of the homicide rate, now and in the past.

    If you’re talking about the current global map of homicide rates, such deficiencies would tend to reduce the differences between Western Europe and the rest of the world. Compilation of homicide data tends to be less complete elsewhere, particularly in the case of domestic disputes (unexplained deaths may be listed as “accidents” and no further questions will be asked).

    The same applies to changes over time. In England, the homicide rate fell forty-fold between the 14th century and the 20th. Are you suggesting that “deficiencies in compilation” increased forty-fold over the same period?

    Second and third generation Korean-America rednecks (War Bride descendants) cannot be behaviorally distinguished from us ordinary rednecks.

    You’re proposing an interesting research project: Are there no behavioral differences between southerners of Scots-Irish descent and southerners of Korean descent? You’ll have to deal with two methodological problems:
    1. Your sample size of Korean southerners will be very small, perhaps too small to draw any worthwhile conclusions.
    2. Many of those “Korean southerners” will be only 1/2 or 1/4 Korean by descent.
    I wish you the best of luck with your project. Let me know when the findings come in.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @peter - "In England, the homicide rate fell forty-fold between the 14th century and the 20th."

    sorry, i don't mean to be argumentative, but i thought your position was that the numbers from the 14th century are unreliable. -?-
    , @JayMan

    You’re proposing an interesting research project: Are there no behavioral differences between southerners of Scots-Irish descent and southerners of Korean descent? You’ll have to deal with two methodological problems:
    1. Your sample size of Korean southerners will be very small, perhaps too small to draw any worthwhile conclusions.
    2. Many of those “Korean southerners” will be only 1/2 or 1/4 Korean by descent.
    I wish you the best of luck with your project. Let me know when the findings come in.
     
    I tried to tell him that before.
  79. In England in 1085, if a Norman lord killed a villein for stealing game from his forest, was that counted as a homicide in the official records?

    In the 1920’s, in a Southern state, a mob crashes a county jail and lynches a black man who had been convicted of rape. In the adjacent county the Sheriff disperses the crowd and sends the man to the state prison where he is executed. (Because his brother drives the truck during the transfer and gets $5 plus expenses.)

    Do we have 0, 1 or 2 official homicides? This of course indicates that we think someone was keeping official records, and that is questionable because a number of those states didn’t even keep up with births and deaths until the 1930’s.

    Were the victims on 9/11 counted as homicides?

    Were the victims at Fort Hood in 2009 counted as homicides?

  80. Peter,

    I claim no expertise in these matters, but a few thoughts anyway:

    I do not see why non-violence is “better” than violence, there being no moral absolutes and evolution having no direction, purpose, or goal.

    It is not news that selection, natural or otherwise, can change behavioral tendencies. But do not economic factors swamp genetic?

    It seems to me that among peoples, the most violent are the most reproductively successful, eg Moslems and black Africans. They are also poor. The least violent and least fecund, eg Eurowhites and Japanese, are prosperous. Anecdotally in Mexico, I note that when people reach middle class, violence drops sharply and birth rates fall like a prom dress. This seems to apply equally to dark and light Mexicans.

    Pacification does not seem to me evolutionarily “better,” if the word means “successful.” Again as a non-expert, I would have said that technology yields pacific prosperity, a sub-ZPG birth rate, insufficient aggressiveness to ward off invading Latinos, Moslems, and such, and extinction.

  81. @Fred Reed
    Peter,

    I claim no expertise in these matters, but a few thoughts anyway:

    I do not see why non-violence is "better" than violence, there being no moral absolutes and evolution having no direction, purpose, or goal.

    It is not news that selection, natural or otherwise, can change behavioral tendencies. But do not economic factors swamp genetic?

    It seems to me that among peoples, the most violent are the most reproductively successful, eg Moslems and black Africans. They are also poor. The least violent and least fecund, eg Eurowhites and Japanese, are prosperous. Anecdotally in Mexico, I note that when people reach middle class, violence drops sharply and birth rates fall like a prom dress. This seems to apply equally to dark and light Mexicans.

    Pacification does not seem to me evolutionarily "better," if the word means "successful." Again as a non-expert, I would have said that technology yields pacific prosperity, a sub-ZPG birth rate, insufficient aggressiveness to ward off invading Latinos, Moslems, and such, and extinction.

    The Yanomamö and the Origins of Male Honor

  82. In England in 1085, if a Norman lord killed a villein for stealing game from his forest, was that counted as a homicide in the official records?

    That was the point I was trying to make. Any undercounting of homicides in the past would tend to understate rather than overstate the decline in the homicide rate.

    In the 1920’s, in a Southern state, a mob crashes a county jail and lynches a black man who had been convicted of rape.

    FWIW lynching was categorized as homicide in the 1920s. But you’re ducking my question. Are you suggesting that the 40-fold decline in England’s homicide rate between the 14th century and the 20th was due to errors in compilation and categorization? I’m familiar with the literature on this subject and you’re the first one to propose this interesting explanation.

    I do not see why non-violence is “better” than violence, there being no moral absolutes and evolution having no direction, purpose, or goal.

    The universe is neither moral nor immoral. We have imposed morality on an amoral world, under the influence of advanced religions like Christianity. Previously, notions of “good” and “evil” were based on Who-Whom. If something was good for me and my people, it was “moral.” If it was bad for me and my people, it was “immoral.” Christianity revolutionized morality by making it absolute and universal.

    But do not economic factors swamp genetic?

    The two interact with each other. Our lifestyle and economic system determine the sort of people who succeed and the sort who don’t. By “success” I don’t mean making a lot of money. I mean surviving and having descendants.

    It seems to me that among peoples, the most violent are the most reproductively successful,

    Yes, that’s the way the world worked until we created governments that took over the job of defending us. To the extent that governments shirk that job, we’ll return to the old way of doing things.

    Pacification does not seem to me evolutionarily “better,” if the word means “successful.”

    Time will tell. Peaceful societies have made a lot of things possible that were impossible previously. I recognize their shortcomings, and those shortcomings may prove to be fatal. I hope people will be able to understand what they are doing to themselves before it’s too late. But I’m not wildly optimistic.

    • Replies: @iffen
    “But you’re ducking my question.”

    I am suggesting that if we want to find a change in a measure from year to year then we need to know whether the same items were measured and the same criteria was used each year to determine whether we count the item or not. Since the official definition of homicide varies over time, place and culture and not just because of the number of people actually killed by other people we should be cautious when using the homicide rate as a foundational item. And yes, I am suggesting that changes in the homicide rate can be measuring errors rather than changes in the actual rate of people killing other people.

    “But you’re ducking my question.”

    Do you count the victims of 9/11 as homicides?
    Do you count the victims of the Fort Hood shooting as homicides?
    Do you count the Tulsa dead in 1921 as homicides?
    Do you count the dead in the 1992 Rodney King riots as homicides?
    Do you count the two NY police officers killed in December as homicides?
    , @Bill P

    That was the point I was trying to make. Any undercounting of homicides in the past would tend to understate rather than overstate the decline in the homicide rate.
     
    This is my quibble with the idea that state violence served to genetically pacify people to the extent proposed. If Norman lords could get away with killing serfs, and in all likelihood fathering bastards in addition to more legitimate children than average, then wouldn't British aristocrats be genetically more prone to violence today than commoners? Wouldn't we see more people with names like Montgomery and Aubrey in the dock?

    Given the horrific and brutal nature of British justice for hundreds of years, we might expect to see a thoroughly pacified, obedient lower class. But in just a couple generations since the sexual and cultural revolution of the 60s/70s the British working class (not counting immigrants) has come to display some serious behavioral problems. Arguably worse than the Australians who escaped the gallows through deportation. How can that be explained?
  83. @Peter Frost
    How much confidence do you have in using a heritability estimate from 2009 in a breeder’s equation meant to depict changes in the years 1500-1750?

    Heritability itself would not be expected to change over the last three to five centuries, unless new alleles for aggressiveness have appeared and become widespread, which is unlikely.

    Also, why did you and Harpending use .69 as opposed to the .4 estimate from the 2002 meta-analysis?

    Estimates of the heritability of aggressive behavior range from a high of 96% (Baker et al., 2007) to a low of 40% (Rhee and Waldman , 2002). Barker et al. investigated this problem with a twin study where the twins were measured either by different evaluators or a single evaluator. In the first case, the estimated heritability was 40%. In the second case, it was 69%. The low estimate of the meta-analysis seems to reflect inter-observer variation, which has the effect of inflating environmental variation.

    could not the constant wars of Europe, also serve as a culling mechanism for the most violent cohorts, thus hastening their removal from the genetic pool?

    Insofar as warfare takes a toll on the civilian population, it's effect would generally be random. In fact, an argument could be made that a greater propensity to engage in violence would be more adaptive in a wartime situation where more pacific individuals would no longer benefit from the advantages of a pacified society.

    Insofar as warfare takes a toll on soldiers, it would impose a greater toll on those soldiers who more willingly obey orders to go out into the field (and get killed) as opposed to those who fight when they feel it's to their personal advantage.

    First, we’re really talking about a tiny genetic impact, maybe executing 1-2% of the males in each generation

    Again, Ron seems to have a problem with the breeder's equation, which is widely used in population genetics. If he has a specific criticism to make, I would like to hear it, as would most geneticists.

    Again, Ron seems to have a problem with the breeder’s equation, which is widely used in population genetics. If he has a specific criticism to make, I would like to hear it, as would most geneticists.

    No, Peter, I certainly don’t have any problem with the Breeder’s equation. But when the results of applying a formula seem sufficiently counter-intuitive, I prefer to closely scrutinize the underlying assumptions.

    You suggest that the genetic propensity for lethal violence in Europe dropped by 0.56 SD between 1500 and 1750, thereby explaining the apparent 90% decline in homicides. Personally, I think the huge cultural, socio-economic, and political changes are a far more likely explanation, but let’s leave that aside.

    You then argue that executing 1-2% of the males in each generation would have reduced the genetic propensity for violence by 0.27-0.49 SD during that period. This is the argument I primarily dispute.

    As I’ve said, it seems plausible that a considerable fraction of the executed males would have had surviving offspring, considerably reducing the genetic impact. More importantly, I think it doubtful that the executed males were at the absolutely extreme end of the violence distribution curve, more likely to have just been drawn from a random-sample of the somewhat more violent males, which would also greatly reduce the genetic impact.

    Here’s another question. As I recall, even as late as the 19th century didn’t England still regularly execute people for non-violent crimes like theft? What fraction of the executions were for crimes of extreme violence as opposed to other things like theft, heresy, witchcraft, or political agitation? Indeed, in your article you mention that the executions were for all sorts of non-violent crimes, including “lese-majeste,” theft, counterfeiting, and such. Obviously, if a considerable fraction of the executed were of non-violent criminals that would considerably diminish the likely impact on the genetic propensity toward lethal violence crime but later in your text you instead assume the 1-2% were the absolutely most violent.

    Another question. In your text you describe the execution of 1-2% of the most violent in each generation as reducing the raw genetic propensity for homicide by 0.027-0.049 SD per generation. I don’t have an SD calculator at hand, but I’d like to clarify whether your calculation is based on 1-2% of the *male* population or 1-2% of the *total* population, which would obviously be twice as large. After all, your historical execution rate refers to the former.

    Finally, an important point that others have raised. The period 1500-1650 saw massive religious wars throughout much of Europe while things had totally quieted down by 1750. Couldn’t the social anarchy and endless “legal” violence have a plausible connection to the much higher rate of “illegal” violence? And even if we just confine ourselves to considering genetic factors, wouldn’t the wars dominate? For example, in 1500 I think Germany was one of the wealthiest and most densely populated parts of Europe, but during roughly the single generation of the Thirty Years War, the population supposedly fell by 30-50% due to endless massacres and starvation, and lots of other countries saw huge levels of warfare as well. Wouldn’t the death of perhaps 30-50% of the population in a war probably swamp the impact of a few generations of 1-2% executions? But since it’s impossible to guess exactly who died or where they fell on the violence curve, we can’t really guess the impact.

  84. @Peter Frost
    In England in 1085, if a Norman lord killed a villein for stealing game from his forest, was that counted as a homicide in the official records?

    That was the point I was trying to make. Any undercounting of homicides in the past would tend to understate rather than overstate the decline in the homicide rate.

    In the 1920’s, in a Southern state, a mob crashes a county jail and lynches a black man who had been convicted of rape.

    FWIW lynching was categorized as homicide in the 1920s. But you're ducking my question. Are you suggesting that the 40-fold decline in England's homicide rate between the 14th century and the 20th was due to errors in compilation and categorization? I'm familiar with the literature on this subject and you're the first one to propose this interesting explanation.

    I do not see why non-violence is “better” than violence, there being no moral absolutes and evolution having no direction, purpose, or goal.

    The universe is neither moral nor immoral. We have imposed morality on an amoral world, under the influence of advanced religions like Christianity. Previously, notions of "good" and "evil" were based on Who-Whom. If something was good for me and my people, it was "moral." If it was bad for me and my people, it was "immoral." Christianity revolutionized morality by making it absolute and universal.

    But do not economic factors swamp genetic?

    The two interact with each other. Our lifestyle and economic system determine the sort of people who succeed and the sort who don't. By "success" I don't mean making a lot of money. I mean surviving and having descendants.

    It seems to me that among peoples, the most violent are the most reproductively successful,

    Yes, that's the way the world worked until we created governments that took over the job of defending us. To the extent that governments shirk that job, we'll return to the old way of doing things.

    Pacification does not seem to me evolutionarily “better,” if the word means “successful.”

    Time will tell. Peaceful societies have made a lot of things possible that were impossible previously. I recognize their shortcomings, and those shortcomings may prove to be fatal. I hope people will be able to understand what they are doing to themselves before it's too late. But I'm not wildly optimistic.

    “But you’re ducking my question.”

    I am suggesting that if we want to find a change in a measure from year to year then we need to know whether the same items were measured and the same criteria was used each year to determine whether we count the item or not. Since the official definition of homicide varies over time, place and culture and not just because of the number of people actually killed by other people we should be cautious when using the homicide rate as a foundational item. And yes, I am suggesting that changes in the homicide rate can be measuring errors rather than changes in the actual rate of people killing other people.

    “But you’re ducking my question.”

    Do you count the victims of 9/11 as homicides?
    Do you count the victims of the Fort Hood shooting as homicides?
    Do you count the Tulsa dead in 1921 as homicides?
    Do you count the dead in the 1992 Rodney King riots as homicides?
    Do you count the two NY police officers killed in December as homicides?

  85. Christianity revolutionized morality by making it absolute and universal.

    Except as John Dewey noted universal morality absolutely cannot cross rivers or mountains when these mark the boundaries of a state. Moral beliefs are a result of the situation that the entity finds themselves in. It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm – “relics thrown into the sea … Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows”) came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. The Reformation, which came after reverses at the hands of the Turks, was something similar. Ditto Austria up against the unbeatable armies of Revolutionary France :-

    EMPEROR Joseph II (emperor 1765-1790) opposed what he called “contemplative” religious institutions — reclusive Catholic institutions that he perceived as doing nothing positive for the community.[15] His policy towards them are included in what is called Josephinism. Joseph decreed that Austrian bishops could not communicate directly with the Curia. More than 500 of 1,188 monasteries in Austro-Slav lands (and a hundred more in Hungary) were dissolved, and 60 million florins taken by the state. This wealth was used to create 1,700 new parishes and welfare institutions. The education of priests was taken from the Church as well. Joseph established six state-run “General Seminaries.” In 1783, a Marriage Patent treated marriage as a civil contract rather than a religious institution.

    Germany is oh so pacifist and actually giving up all its capacity to make nuclear weapons, now that it is comfortably ensconced with no hostile state on any border. But these are the same Germans that thought fifth grade girls needed have this morality. There was an anti-Clerical campaign in Nazi Germany too by the way, with priests and monks in well publicized trials for sexually abusing boys.

    Right now the WesternEducatedIndustrializedRichDemocratic is a morality into which children are socialised very young.

    DISHING out contraceptives to children is deemed essential by all governments. It’s obvious isn’t it (goes the thinking) that, well, children will inevitably get up to stuff? And so society must accept that they’ll be having sex at 12, 11, ten, whatever. [...] All you can do is try to prevent bad outcomes that have an impact on the rest of us. That means babies. So, of course, you dish out condoms to young teenagers. Of course, you offer abortion services to children as young as 11 without informing their parents. And, of course, you give them sex education, telling even primary school children about oral sex and prostitution.

  86. No, Peter, I certainly don’t have any problem with the Breeder’s equation. But when the results of applying a formula seem sufficiently counter-intuitive, I prefer to closely scrutinize the underlying assumptions.

    Your initial quarrel was with the Breeder’s equation. Let’s put aside your other criticisms (did executed offenders manage to reproduce, were the executed really more violent than the general population, etc.). Do you have problems with the model itself? That was your initial criticism. You did not believe that removing the most violent 1-2% of all men of each generation could account for a little over half of the decline in the homicide rate.

    Please settle that question first. I’m not going to run back and forth trying to put out each fire you try to start.

    • Replies: @Sean
    I think Ron Unz is asking the questions that you will get from outside the HBD community, those are the questions that you are going to get from a lot of people. It may be an good idea to have polished answers ready for all of them.
    , @Ron Unz

    Your initial quarrel was with the Breeder’s equation.
     
    I don't recall ever disputing the Breeders Equation or even mentioning it. My initial skepticism was that the 1-2% executed were the absolutely most violent in each generation, rather than probably being randomly drawn from perhaps the most violent 20-30% of the population, which makes a huge difference in the selective pressure.

    And that was even before I went back to your article and noticed that you mentioned the executions were very often for things like abortion, blasphemy, counterfeiting, and theft. I'm just skeptical that executing blasphemers or petty thieves would have impact much on the genetic tendency to commit homicide.
  87. @Peter Frost
    No, Peter, I certainly don’t have any problem with the Breeder’s equation. But when the results of applying a formula seem sufficiently counter-intuitive, I prefer to closely scrutinize the underlying assumptions.

    Your initial quarrel was with the Breeder's equation. Let's put aside your other criticisms (did executed offenders manage to reproduce, were the executed really more violent than the general population, etc.). Do you have problems with the model itself? That was your initial criticism. You did not believe that removing the most violent 1-2% of all men of each generation could account for a little over half of the decline in the homicide rate.

    Please settle that question first. I'm not going to run back and forth trying to put out each fire you try to start.

    I think Ron Unz is asking the questions that you will get from outside the HBD community, those are the questions that you are going to get from a lot of people. It may be an good idea to have polished answers ready for all of them.

  88. “But you’re ducking my question.”

    It’s a common debating strategy to “win” an argument by reframing the question.

    The question is not whether there has been overcounting or undercounting of homicides. The question is whether such errors can explain the 40-fold decline in England’s homicide rate between the 14th century and the 20th. They can’t.

  89. Sean,

    I agree. But I don’t want to debate on several levels at the same time. If Ron has a fundamental problem with the model, I want to know. A lot of people will come away thinking that the historical decline in the homicide rate cannot be explained by an execution rate that concerns 1 to 2% of the male population. That’s the impression he has created, perhaps unwillingly.

  90. @Peter Frost
    No, Peter, I certainly don’t have any problem with the Breeder’s equation. But when the results of applying a formula seem sufficiently counter-intuitive, I prefer to closely scrutinize the underlying assumptions.

    Your initial quarrel was with the Breeder's equation. Let's put aside your other criticisms (did executed offenders manage to reproduce, were the executed really more violent than the general population, etc.). Do you have problems with the model itself? That was your initial criticism. You did not believe that removing the most violent 1-2% of all men of each generation could account for a little over half of the decline in the homicide rate.

    Please settle that question first. I'm not going to run back and forth trying to put out each fire you try to start.

    Your initial quarrel was with the Breeder’s equation.

    I don’t recall ever disputing the Breeders Equation or even mentioning it. My initial skepticism was that the 1-2% executed were the absolutely most violent in each generation, rather than probably being randomly drawn from perhaps the most violent 20-30% of the population, which makes a huge difference in the selective pressure.

    And that was even before I went back to your article and noticed that you mentioned the executions were very often for things like abortion, blasphemy, counterfeiting, and theft. I’m just skeptical that executing blasphemers or petty thieves would have impact much on the genetic tendency to commit homicide.

  91. Ron,

    You initially seemed to argue that an execution rate of 1-2% would necessarily have a tiny genetic impact. That’s what most people here understood, including myself (perhaps wrongly).

    I will answer each of your other points:

    1. Personally, I think the huge cultural, socio-economic, and political changes are a far more likely explanation,

    If the decline in the homicide rate is solely due to external controls (deterrence effect of the death penalty, cultural stigmatization of male violence, informal controls in the school system, the workplace, etc.), the loosening of these external controls should therefore cause a rise in the homicide rate. The death penalty has been abolished for several decades, and popular culture no longer stigmatizes the violent male to the same extent. Indeed, there is a strong tendency to celebrate the violent male in contemporary culture.

    There has been a slight rebound in male violence among young men of Western European origin, but it’s nothing compared to the levels of male violence that existed a millennium ago. Why is this so if the homicide decline is due solely to an increase in cultural restraint?

    2.it seems plausible that a considerable fraction of the executed males would have had surviving offspring

    Most executed offenders were young single males. In England and the Low Countries, for the period in question (1500 to 1750), the average age of first marriage was 27 for men. Only a minority of married couples were able to raise more than two children to adulthood. These couples were generally from the upper and middle classes.

    It was a world completely different from today’s world, where violent males often have children by several women. A single woman with an intermittent lover would typically leave any infant on the steps of the local church, and the mortality rate of such infants was very high.

    3. I think it doubtful that the executed males were at the absolutely extreme end of the violence distribution curve, more likely to have just been drawn from a random-sample of the somewhat more violent males

    Most murders went unsolved in the Middle Ages. Prosecutions were not for single random acts. Medieval justice most often targeted people who engaged in multiple acts of murder in public settings, e.g., highwaymen, bandits, etc.

    4. even as late as the 19th century didn’t England still regularly execute people for non-violent crimes like theft? What fraction of the executions were for crimes of extreme violence as opposed to other things like theft, heresy, witchcraft, or political agitation?

    Most executions were for highway robbery, banditry, and horse stealing, where the perpetuators were small groups of young males. Although people could be executed for theft, juries were unwilling to convict, except in cases where the theft was compounded by other offences.

    5. I’d like to clarify whether your calculation is based on 1-2% of the *male* population or 1-2% of the *total* population

    It’s 1-2% of the male population.

    6. The period 1500-1650 saw massive religious wars throughout much of Europe while things had totally quieted down by 1750. Couldn’t the social anarchy and endless “legal” violence have a plausible connection to the much higher rate of “illegal” violence?

    We were modelling the decline in the English homicide rate, and England escaped those religious wars. In any case, I’m not sure I understand your question. The English homicide rate declined continuously from at least 1500 onward. How could a decline in personal violence be explained by an upsurge in social anarchy? Wouldn’t the reverse be the case?

    Henry Harpending tried running our model with different assumptions, including a “long model” running from 1300 to 1900. He even tried a model where murderers murdered other murderers so that the homicide rate reflected not the density of murderers but the square of the density of murderers, assuming a mass action rate of random encounters between murderers.

    All of these different scenarios produced outcomes that fell within the same ballpark. Increasing the number of homicides per executed offender speeded up the rate of decline, but not by a lot.

    • Replies: @AG

    Most murders went unsolved in the Middle Ages.
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

    Following the Pareto principle, a small percentage of violent men commit most unsolved murders in a given society. So a very small reduction of violent men can have a huge impact on overall murder rates. Peter's model is plausible.

    Just imagine a 1% reduction of serial murders that can result in unsolved murder cases. Lets assume each serial killer murders about 40 people in his life time. One less such person will reduce 40 murders in next generation.
  92. I remember reading criticisms of Pinker’s stuff about calculating murder rates, that the problem with Pinker’s stuff wasn’t that he miscounted the murders, but his population stats were way too low, and in fact that he got them from an obvious crank, and thus his murder rates, especially for pre reformation years were way too high. It sounded convincing, but as this is not a real high stakes thing for me, I didn’t try to get to the bottom of it myself.

    Just per all this stuff, it seems to me that lots and lots of scholarly types put a mammoth amount of confidence in statistics like medieval census stats, that just do not warrant it, and thus claim to know stuff they obviously do not.

    Being a bit nit pickety but England, the land of the roundheads and the cavaliers did not escape the religious warfare of 1500-1650 though it might not have been as intense as say France 1562-1594.

  93. Hbd chick says
    – i bet that the reduction in homicide rates from 1200-1500 has more to do with that [increased outbreeding and decline of clannishness] than with a strong state enforcing its laws.
    Maybe, but bear in mind that the decline in clannishness is itself partly the product of a strong coercive state. Hence the Scottish and Irish were subjugated by the British hegemons. This in turn weakened the clan system and led the incorporation of such clannish peoples into the larger British imperial enterprise.

    both the irish and the scots-irish were latecomers to what i’ve dubbed The Outbreeding Project in medieval europe, and neither of them really experienced manorialism during the period, so both groups remained comparatively clannish until…well, until today!
    Indeed I agree such clannishness did not totally disappear, but it is a fact that a stronger central hegemon brought about an increasing decline in local clannishness, or local tribalism etc- something a fact on the ground since the Middle Ages. As early as the 1300s for example the British were meddling in Scottish affairs, and the Normans were earlier meddling in Welsh affairs. Furthermore the central hegemon need not be an invading or foreign power- it could be an indigenous regional hegemon which crushes smaller local groupings to create a larger polity. The era around the medieval Scottish Wars of Independence for example saw Scottish regimes organized on a much broader basis than narrow localism, and indeed such regimes were international in outlook, dealing with France, England etc. Thus whether by foreign intruder, or native national/regional hegemon, the narrower provincial or tribal groupings were weakened early by a stronger central power in the Medieval period. This would track somewhat with the manorial system idea- it replaced other more narrow traditional clannish/kinship structures in favor of a wider economic and social grouping, linked to royal power.

    whatever you do, do not confuse rebel individualism with the small-family individualism of “core” europeans like the (southeastern) english or the dutch. two very different things, those are — the first means you hate authority, the second means you are a very cooperative citizen by nature.
    Fair enough, and your example shows there are differences in Europe. Even within England- you mention southeastern England compared to the cruder, ruder, more fractious borderlands of the north, that as Peter notes, heavily yielded the denizens of the white south in the US. These “wilder” or to use some common parlance of the time “less civilized” regions were crushed or subjugated in various time eras- the Scots and Irish etc beginning in the medieval era, the white south in the late 1800s. Once the stronger hegemon has crushed the fractious periphery, its remnants, while still maintaining strong local ties or sentiments, are incorporated into a larger polity. This happened with Scotland and Ireland- North, and with the US, where white southerners came eventually to be overrepresented in the armed forces after the Civil War, particularly in the senior ranks.

    I find your mention of the manorial system intriguing and in part it supports my point about the importance of the stronger central hegemon. The manorial system was intimately associated with mobilizing resources for providing cavalry for royal armies. The “lord of the manor” usually supervised several manorial estates and appointed officers (bailiffs, stewards etc) to extract revenue, regulate administrative matters, and mobilize fighting contingents in service of the center. Manorial court powers could be locally sourced but often they also obtained power through a grant of “franchise” from the king or commonly recognized royal type boss. Exempting certain capital offenses, the manorial administration had wide powers, including judicial powers under these “franchise” grants. And serfs had to provide labor services to the ruling laird, or pay a part of their output to the manorial boss, or his designated villeins or underlings. Other lower class groups like landless laborers, fishermen, etc were also subject to this power. Reeves appointed the the manorial boss supervised agriculture, labor services and extraction of rents. The overlord also boosted his income by charging for use of his mill, bakery or winepress etc.

    In short, the manor was a significant pillar in the rise of, or consolidating the power of royal and by extension, state power. This central power in turn, moved to crush local clans, tribes and other traditionalist groupings, redirecting the manpower and resources seized on the periphery, towards the center, to carry out the state’s bigger violence projects elsewhere.

    So the “core” northern Europeans of SE ENgland, Germany etc, may have been more collectivist in orientation indeed as you say, particularly in terms of organizing larger groupings of resources to conduct violence on a larger scale. The extensive castle-building, succession and dynastic wars by royal hegemons in many European areas, is testimony to this pattern of larger scale violence and domination, compared to smaller groupings like Scottish clans. The Norman intruders for example, took advantage of internal squabbling in Wales to subjugate the tribes there, (including extensive castle building for territorial control) and later incorporated the famous Welsh bowmen into larger violence projects on the continent and regionally. See Ireland 1170-1509, Society and History By Desmond Keenan).

    Tying into the thread’s notion, such larger scale violence projects, including Europe’s constant religious wars mentioned by Ron Unz, spread over other parts of Europe, may have helped cull more naturally aggressive or violent types, removing their impact from the genetic pool- or in other words, enhancing Europe’s “genetic pacification.”

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @enrique - "Maybe, but bear in mind that the decline in clannishness is itself partly the product of a strong coercive state."

    there's no evidence for that and, in fact, the evidence indicates that events ran in the other direction -- clans and clannishness disappeared first, strong states came afterwards. as i commented above, in england clans (or really kindreds) disappeared before the rise of a strong centralized state there (they disappeared as early as the 800-900s). meanwhile in medieval northern italy, clans and clannishness were still present in the 1500s, and all they could manage there were city-states, not centralized ones.

    @enrique - "Furthermore the central hegemon need not be an invading or foreign power- it could be an indigenous regional hegemon which crushes smaller local groupings to create a larger polity."

    you and i are having a different conversation -- you're thinking of clannishness as a set of social structures (literally societies with clans), i'm talking about clannishness as a set of behavioral traits in a population. s'alright! unless you're a mindreader (or have read my blog), there's no reason you would've known that. (^_^)
    , @Bill P

    So the “core” northern Europeans of SE ENgland, Germany etc, may have been more collectivist in orientation indeed as you say, particularly in terms of organizing larger groupings of resources to conduct violence on a larger scale. The extensive castle-building, succession and dynastic wars by royal hegemons in many European areas, is testimony to this pattern of larger scale violence and domination, compared to smaller groupings like Scottish clans. The Norman intruders for example, took advantage of internal squabbling in Wales to subjugate the tribes there, (including extensive castle building for territorial control) and later incorporated the famous Welsh bowmen into larger violence projects on the continent and regionally. See Ireland 1170-1509, Society and History By Desmond Keenan).
     
    This brings up the question of why, if hegemonic states had so much more power, Scotland and Wales were such hard cases for the Normans. I mean, what's the point of fortresses like Caernarfon, Beaumaris and Conwy if the Welsh are a bunch of fractious shepherds? And why wasn't Scotland overrun even more easily than England?

    By your logic the Normans should have invaded Ireland and Scotland first, and then taken on the formidable collectivist English. But in fact the opposite was the case, and the English fell to an invading force that was about one third Breton (displaced British Celts), after which it took centuries to subdue the Welsh, then Irish and finally Scots. And in the interim a Welsh dynasty - the Tudors - took control of England for a long time.

    Frankly, it's a simple-minded take on British politics to suggest that there was an uninterrupted expansion of power from a "hegemon" that systematically rolled over "squabbling" tribes. Especially when one considers that these tribes formed the backbone of the army and a considerable proportion of the kingdom's ruling class.

    I don't know, but it seems pretty absurd to me that Normans would spend so much time and gold building state-of-the-art defenses in Wales when, if they were truly so disorganized and pathetic, they could have simply dealt with the princes there as a sort of medieval police action.

    A contemporary analogy would be building major military bases in urban American ghettoes and sending out armored patrols with tanks and heavy weapons. As violent and dysfunctional as parts of Detroit and Oakland may be, these really are fractious tribal places that pose little to no threat to the dominant social order, because their violence and disorder is without any consequential focus or purpose. It is "stupid violence" so to speak, as is clear whenever one spends some time in a local criminal court.

    In Britain, on the other hand, the Welsh and Scots posed a credible threat to the ruling class for centuries. Far more so than the English, I should add.

    For a taste of the Welsh martial spirit, here's a song that demonstrates a very morally pure, united and folkish spirit:

    Men of Harlech

    It was enough to keep the Normans on their toes, that soulful determination. Some squabbling tribes we were...
  94. @Peter Frost
    In England in 1085, if a Norman lord killed a villein for stealing game from his forest, was that counted as a homicide in the official records?

    That was the point I was trying to make. Any undercounting of homicides in the past would tend to understate rather than overstate the decline in the homicide rate.

    In the 1920’s, in a Southern state, a mob crashes a county jail and lynches a black man who had been convicted of rape.

    FWIW lynching was categorized as homicide in the 1920s. But you're ducking my question. Are you suggesting that the 40-fold decline in England's homicide rate between the 14th century and the 20th was due to errors in compilation and categorization? I'm familiar with the literature on this subject and you're the first one to propose this interesting explanation.

    I do not see why non-violence is “better” than violence, there being no moral absolutes and evolution having no direction, purpose, or goal.

    The universe is neither moral nor immoral. We have imposed morality on an amoral world, under the influence of advanced religions like Christianity. Previously, notions of "good" and "evil" were based on Who-Whom. If something was good for me and my people, it was "moral." If it was bad for me and my people, it was "immoral." Christianity revolutionized morality by making it absolute and universal.

    But do not economic factors swamp genetic?

    The two interact with each other. Our lifestyle and economic system determine the sort of people who succeed and the sort who don't. By "success" I don't mean making a lot of money. I mean surviving and having descendants.

    It seems to me that among peoples, the most violent are the most reproductively successful,

    Yes, that's the way the world worked until we created governments that took over the job of defending us. To the extent that governments shirk that job, we'll return to the old way of doing things.

    Pacification does not seem to me evolutionarily “better,” if the word means “successful.”

    Time will tell. Peaceful societies have made a lot of things possible that were impossible previously. I recognize their shortcomings, and those shortcomings may prove to be fatal. I hope people will be able to understand what they are doing to themselves before it's too late. But I'm not wildly optimistic.

    That was the point I was trying to make. Any undercounting of homicides in the past would tend to understate rather than overstate the decline in the homicide rate.

    This is my quibble with the idea that state violence served to genetically pacify people to the extent proposed. If Norman lords could get away with killing serfs, and in all likelihood fathering bastards in addition to more legitimate children than average, then wouldn’t British aristocrats be genetically more prone to violence today than commoners? Wouldn’t we see more people with names like Montgomery and Aubrey in the dock?

    Given the horrific and brutal nature of British justice for hundreds of years, we might expect to see a thoroughly pacified, obedient lower class. But in just a couple generations since the sexual and cultural revolution of the 60s/70s the British working class (not counting immigrants) has come to display some serious behavioral problems. Arguably worse than the Australians who escaped the gallows through deportation. How can that be explained?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I don't know about Wales or Scotland, but in Ireland the Normans and English were hit harder by the Black Plague than the Irish were because the former tended to live in urban areas while the latter lived in rural areas. There were also attempts to restrict socializing and intermarriage with the Irish:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Kilkenny#Statutes_of_Kilkenny

    So the combination of the Black Plague, urbanization, and customs curbed Norman expansion in Ireland.
  95. I’m generally pretty skeptical about this whole discussion, this struck an interesting note:

    Jayman: In short, I’m not convinced alcohol is the explanatory variable. It may not even be a contributing factor if South Korea’s behavior is to be believed.

    Bear in mind East Asians tend to carry alcohol related variants which make them sick when they drink.

    One popular “HBD” theory about why this is, is that it helps East Asians be the East Asian equivalent of quiet little prosperous burghers who never drink.

    But the rampant alcoholism of cold Northeast Asia kind of belies this. They still get drunk and follow the normal relationship with climate (colder places are drunker places).

    What it may actually be for is a sort of signal to stop Asians getting in fights when they get drunk. It makes them too sick to.

    Your heavy drinking Russian might take a knife to your gut, with his severely impaired judgement. Your heavily drinking Korea will throw up and fall over, start praying to the Oh My God of Hangovers.

    A direct proportionate link between drink and alcohol is too simple though – alcohol has an effect through how and where the alcohol is used.

    Jayman: Perhaps (Finland has a high homicide rate) because of its Sami population.

    They’re about 9,000 people in a country of 5,500,000.

    • Replies: @JayMan

    What it may actually be for is a sort of signal to stop Asians getting in fights when they get drunk. It makes them too sick to.

    Your heavy drinking Russian might take a knife to your gut, with his severely impaired judgement. Your heavily drinking Korea will throw up and fall over, start praying to the Oh My God of Hangovers.
     
    See Peter's comment above:

    Russians aren’t Chechens, but in comparison to Western Europeans they show a stronger tendency toward familialism and defence of their families against perceived threats or insults. From my observation, when Russian men are with each other, they are more likely to engage in mildly aggressive behavior with each other or with strangers to see how far they can go. I’ve repeatedly seen this kind of brinkmanship in perfectly sober Russian men.
     
    It's not just booze, if it's booze at all.

    Jayman: Perhaps (Finland has a high homicide rate) because of its Sami population.

    They’re about 9,000 people in a country of 5,500,000.
     
    Finland never went through the manor system, and was outside the Hajnal line, so if Finland underwent incomplete genetic pacification, it wouldn't be surprising. Anyway, an ethnic breakdown of homicides in Finland would be helpful.
  96. @Enrique Cardova
    Hbd chick says
    – i bet that the reduction in homicide rates from 1200-1500 has more to do with that [increased outbreeding and decline of clannishness] than with a strong state enforcing its laws.
    Maybe, but bear in mind that the decline in clannishness is itself partly the product of a strong coercive state. Hence the Scottish and Irish were subjugated by the British hegemons. This in turn weakened the clan system and led the incorporation of such clannish peoples into the larger British imperial enterprise.

    both the irish and the scots-irish were latecomers to what i’ve dubbed The Outbreeding Project in medieval europe, and neither of them really experienced manorialism during the period, so both groups remained comparatively clannish until…well, until today!
    Indeed I agree such clannishness did not totally disappear, but it is a fact that a stronger central hegemon brought about an increasing decline in local clannishness, or local tribalism etc- something a fact on the ground since the Middle Ages. As early as the 1300s for example the British were meddling in Scottish affairs, and the Normans were earlier meddling in Welsh affairs. Furthermore the central hegemon need not be an invading or foreign power- it could be an indigenous regional hegemon which crushes smaller local groupings to create a larger polity. The era around the medieval Scottish Wars of Independence for example saw Scottish regimes organized on a much broader basis than narrow localism, and indeed such regimes were international in outlook, dealing with France, England etc. Thus whether by foreign intruder, or native national/regional hegemon, the narrower provincial or tribal groupings were weakened early by a stronger central power in the Medieval period. This would track somewhat with the manorial system idea- it replaced other more narrow traditional clannish/kinship structures in favor of a wider economic and social grouping, linked to royal power.

    whatever you do, do not confuse rebel individualism with the small-family individualism of “core” europeans like the (southeastern) english or the dutch. two very different things, those are — the first means you hate authority, the second means you are a very cooperative citizen by nature.
    Fair enough, and your example shows there are differences in Europe. Even within England- you mention southeastern England compared to the cruder, ruder, more fractious borderlands of the north, that as Peter notes, heavily yielded the denizens of the white south in the US. These "wilder" or to use some common parlance of the time "less civilized" regions were crushed or subjugated in various time eras- the Scots and Irish etc beginning in the medieval era, the white south in the late 1800s. Once the stronger hegemon has crushed the fractious periphery, its remnants, while still maintaining strong local ties or sentiments, are incorporated into a larger polity. This happened with Scotland and Ireland- North, and with the US, where white southerners came eventually to be overrepresented in the armed forces after the Civil War, particularly in the senior ranks.

    I find your mention of the manorial system intriguing and in part it supports my point about the importance of the stronger central hegemon. The manorial system was intimately associated with mobilizing resources for providing cavalry for royal armies. The "lord of the manor" usually supervised several manorial estates and appointed officers (bailiffs, stewards etc) to extract revenue, regulate administrative matters, and mobilize fighting contingents in service of the center. Manorial court powers could be locally sourced but often they also obtained power through a grant of "franchise" from the king or commonly recognized royal type boss. Exempting certain capital offenses, the manorial administration had wide powers, including judicial powers under these "franchise" grants. And serfs had to provide labor services to the ruling laird, or pay a part of their output to the manorial boss, or his designated villeins or underlings. Other lower class groups like landless laborers, fishermen, etc were also subject to this power. Reeves appointed the the manorial boss supervised agriculture, labor services and extraction of rents. The overlord also boosted his income by charging for use of his mill, bakery or winepress etc.

    In short, the manor was a significant pillar in the rise of, or consolidating the power of royal and by extension, state power. This central power in turn, moved to crush local clans, tribes and other traditionalist groupings, redirecting the manpower and resources seized on the periphery, towards the center, to carry out the state's bigger violence projects elsewhere.

    So the "core" northern Europeans of SE ENgland, Germany etc, may have been more collectivist in orientation indeed as you say, particularly in terms of organizing larger groupings of resources to conduct violence on a larger scale. The extensive castle-building, succession and dynastic wars by royal hegemons in many European areas, is testimony to this pattern of larger scale violence and domination, compared to smaller groupings like Scottish clans. The Norman intruders for example, took advantage of internal squabbling in Wales to subjugate the tribes there, (including extensive castle building for territorial control) and later incorporated the famous Welsh bowmen into larger violence projects on the continent and regionally. See Ireland 1170-1509, Society and History By Desmond Keenan).

    Tying into the thread's notion, such larger scale violence projects, including Europe's constant religious wars mentioned by Ron Unz, spread over other parts of Europe, may have helped cull more naturally aggressive or violent types, removing their impact from the genetic pool- or in other words, enhancing Europe's "genetic pacification."

    @enrique – “Maybe, but bear in mind that the decline in clannishness is itself partly the product of a strong coercive state.”

    there’s no evidence for that and, in fact, the evidence indicates that events ran in the other direction — clans and clannishness disappeared first, strong states came afterwards. as i commented above, in england clans (or really kindreds) disappeared before the rise of a strong centralized state there (they disappeared as early as the 800-900s). meanwhile in medieval northern italy, clans and clannishness were still present in the 1500s, and all they could manage there were city-states, not centralized ones.

    @enrique – “Furthermore the central hegemon need not be an invading or foreign power- it could be an indigenous regional hegemon which crushes smaller local groupings to create a larger polity.”

    you and i are having a different conversation — you’re thinking of clannishness as a set of social structures (literally societies with clans), i’m talking about clannishness as a set of behavioral traits in a population. s’alright! unless you’re a mindreader (or have read my blog), there’s no reason you would’ve known that. (^_^)

  97. the problem with Pinker’s stuff wasn’t that he miscounted the murders, but his population stats were way too low,

    I remember reading the same thing with respect to the pre-1500 data: the data sources were reliable but it was difficult to calculate the per capita figures because population size was uncertain.

    This is my quibble with the idea that state violence served to genetically pacify people to the extent proposed. If Norman lords could get away with killing serfs, and in all likelihood fathering bastards in addition to more legitimate children than average, then wouldn’t British aristocrats be genetically more prone to violence today than commoners?

    Pacification was carried out mainly by the judiciary at the behest of the central government (and not by lords or barons). It was above all an ideological project with the blessing of Church and State, much like the crusades. The aim was to destroy the wicked and create a world where the good may live in peace.

    The survivors of that “war on murder” contributed disproportionately to the rising middle class. Through marriage and ennoblement, many entered the aristocracy. No part of society really escaped its genetic consequences.

    in just a couple generations since the sexual and cultural revolution of the 60s/70s the British working class (not counting immigrants) has come to display some serious behavioral problems.

    There has been a modest rise in personal violence among the native English population over the past fifty years, but it’s very modest. Another thing is that the English working class is partly descended from Irish immigrants who arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries. My father came from Leicester, England, yet he was partly Irish. So the contemporary English working class has incorporated many people from the periphery of this war on murder.

    Your heavy drinking Russian might take a knife to your gut, with his severely impaired judgement.

    The correlation between personal violence and binge drinking is not very strong in Europe. Binge drinking is almost equally popular in Sweden and Finland, yet Finland has a rate of personal violence that is twice that of Sweden.

    there’s no evidence for that and, in fact, the evidence indicates that events ran in the other direction

    Perhaps you’re both right. There is good evidence that kinship ties were already relatively weak in England during Anglo-Saxon times. This relatively weak kinship environment would have facilitated State formation, thus explaining its relative earliness in England (the Norman conquest being another facilitating factor). State formation would in turn have further facilitated clan dissolution and outbreeding.

    I realize you have strong opinions on this subject, but my impression is that the two processes fed into each other.

  98. @Enrique Cardova
    Hbd chick says
    – i bet that the reduction in homicide rates from 1200-1500 has more to do with that [increased outbreeding and decline of clannishness] than with a strong state enforcing its laws.
    Maybe, but bear in mind that the decline in clannishness is itself partly the product of a strong coercive state. Hence the Scottish and Irish were subjugated by the British hegemons. This in turn weakened the clan system and led the incorporation of such clannish peoples into the larger British imperial enterprise.

    both the irish and the scots-irish were latecomers to what i’ve dubbed The Outbreeding Project in medieval europe, and neither of them really experienced manorialism during the period, so both groups remained comparatively clannish until…well, until today!
    Indeed I agree such clannishness did not totally disappear, but it is a fact that a stronger central hegemon brought about an increasing decline in local clannishness, or local tribalism etc- something a fact on the ground since the Middle Ages. As early as the 1300s for example the British were meddling in Scottish affairs, and the Normans were earlier meddling in Welsh affairs. Furthermore the central hegemon need not be an invading or foreign power- it could be an indigenous regional hegemon which crushes smaller local groupings to create a larger polity. The era around the medieval Scottish Wars of Independence for example saw Scottish regimes organized on a much broader basis than narrow localism, and indeed such regimes were international in outlook, dealing with France, England etc. Thus whether by foreign intruder, or native national/regional hegemon, the narrower provincial or tribal groupings were weakened early by a stronger central power in the Medieval period. This would track somewhat with the manorial system idea- it replaced other more narrow traditional clannish/kinship structures in favor of a wider economic and social grouping, linked to royal power.

    whatever you do, do not confuse rebel individualism with the small-family individualism of “core” europeans like the (southeastern) english or the dutch. two very different things, those are — the first means you hate authority, the second means you are a very cooperative citizen by nature.
    Fair enough, and your example shows there are differences in Europe. Even within England- you mention southeastern England compared to the cruder, ruder, more fractious borderlands of the north, that as Peter notes, heavily yielded the denizens of the white south in the US. These "wilder" or to use some common parlance of the time "less civilized" regions were crushed or subjugated in various time eras- the Scots and Irish etc beginning in the medieval era, the white south in the late 1800s. Once the stronger hegemon has crushed the fractious periphery, its remnants, while still maintaining strong local ties or sentiments, are incorporated into a larger polity. This happened with Scotland and Ireland- North, and with the US, where white southerners came eventually to be overrepresented in the armed forces after the Civil War, particularly in the senior ranks.

    I find your mention of the manorial system intriguing and in part it supports my point about the importance of the stronger central hegemon. The manorial system was intimately associated with mobilizing resources for providing cavalry for royal armies. The "lord of the manor" usually supervised several manorial estates and appointed officers (bailiffs, stewards etc) to extract revenue, regulate administrative matters, and mobilize fighting contingents in service of the center. Manorial court powers could be locally sourced but often they also obtained power through a grant of "franchise" from the king or commonly recognized royal type boss. Exempting certain capital offenses, the manorial administration had wide powers, including judicial powers under these "franchise" grants. And serfs had to provide labor services to the ruling laird, or pay a part of their output to the manorial boss, or his designated villeins or underlings. Other lower class groups like landless laborers, fishermen, etc were also subject to this power. Reeves appointed the the manorial boss supervised agriculture, labor services and extraction of rents. The overlord also boosted his income by charging for use of his mill, bakery or winepress etc.

    In short, the manor was a significant pillar in the rise of, or consolidating the power of royal and by extension, state power. This central power in turn, moved to crush local clans, tribes and other traditionalist groupings, redirecting the manpower and resources seized on the periphery, towards the center, to carry out the state's bigger violence projects elsewhere.

    So the "core" northern Europeans of SE ENgland, Germany etc, may have been more collectivist in orientation indeed as you say, particularly in terms of organizing larger groupings of resources to conduct violence on a larger scale. The extensive castle-building, succession and dynastic wars by royal hegemons in many European areas, is testimony to this pattern of larger scale violence and domination, compared to smaller groupings like Scottish clans. The Norman intruders for example, took advantage of internal squabbling in Wales to subjugate the tribes there, (including extensive castle building for territorial control) and later incorporated the famous Welsh bowmen into larger violence projects on the continent and regionally. See Ireland 1170-1509, Society and History By Desmond Keenan).

    Tying into the thread's notion, such larger scale violence projects, including Europe's constant religious wars mentioned by Ron Unz, spread over other parts of Europe, may have helped cull more naturally aggressive or violent types, removing their impact from the genetic pool- or in other words, enhancing Europe's "genetic pacification."

    So the “core” northern Europeans of SE ENgland, Germany etc, may have been more collectivist in orientation indeed as you say, particularly in terms of organizing larger groupings of resources to conduct violence on a larger scale. The extensive castle-building, succession and dynastic wars by royal hegemons in many European areas, is testimony to this pattern of larger scale violence and domination, compared to smaller groupings like Scottish clans. The Norman intruders for example, took advantage of internal squabbling in Wales to subjugate the tribes there, (including extensive castle building for territorial control) and later incorporated the famous Welsh bowmen into larger violence projects on the continent and regionally. See Ireland 1170-1509, Society and History By Desmond Keenan).

    This brings up the question of why, if hegemonic states had so much more power, Scotland and Wales were such hard cases for the Normans. I mean, what’s the point of fortresses like Caernarfon, Beaumaris and Conwy if the Welsh are a bunch of fractious shepherds? And why wasn’t Scotland overrun even more easily than England?

    By your logic the Normans should have invaded Ireland and Scotland first, and then taken on the formidable collectivist English. But in fact the opposite was the case, and the English fell to an invading force that was about one third Breton (displaced British Celts), after which it took centuries to subdue the Welsh, then Irish and finally Scots. And in the interim a Welsh dynasty – the Tudors – took control of England for a long time.

    Frankly, it’s a simple-minded take on British politics to suggest that there was an uninterrupted expansion of power from a “hegemon” that systematically rolled over “squabbling” tribes. Especially when one considers that these tribes formed the backbone of the army and a considerable proportion of the kingdom’s ruling class.

    I don’t know, but it seems pretty absurd to me that Normans would spend so much time and gold building state-of-the-art defenses in Wales when, if they were truly so disorganized and pathetic, they could have simply dealt with the princes there as a sort of medieval police action.

    A contemporary analogy would be building major military bases in urban American ghettoes and sending out armored patrols with tanks and heavy weapons. As violent and dysfunctional as parts of Detroit and Oakland may be, these really are fractious tribal places that pose little to no threat to the dominant social order, because their violence and disorder is without any consequential focus or purpose. It is “stupid violence” so to speak, as is clear whenever one spends some time in a local criminal court.

    In Britain, on the other hand, the Welsh and Scots posed a credible threat to the ruling class for centuries. Far more so than the English, I should add.

    For a taste of the Welsh martial spirit, here’s a song that demonstrates a very morally pure, united and folkish spirit:

    Men of Harlech

    It was enough to keep the Normans on their toes, that soulful determination. Some squabbling tribes we were…

  99. @peter – “There is good evidence that kinship ties were already relatively weak in England during Anglo-Saxon times. This relatively weak kinship environment would have facilitated State formation, thus explaining its relative earliness in England (the Norman conquest being another facilitating factor). State formation would in turn have further facilitated clan dissolution and outbreeding. I realize you have strong opinions on this subject, but my impression is that the two processes fed into each other.”

    oh, yeah! i absolutely agree that the two processes fed into each other. my only point is that i think the clannishness needed to be gotten rid of first before sucessful state formation could’ve happened — successful in the sense of longevity and with an idea of nationhood at the back of it. that’s why i mentioned medieval northern italy (florence) above — they still had clannishness as late as the 1500s and, so, i think, it was very, very difficult for them to build a successful large state. they wound up having to settle for city-states. it’s very hard to have a successful state with clannishness — just look at syria.

    and the evidence suggests that the clannishness was gotten rid of first in northwest medieval europe before the rise of the strong state — or at least that it was well on its way out.

  100. @Peter Frost
    There are serious deficiencies in the compilation of the homicide rate, now and in the past.

    If you're talking about the current global map of homicide rates, such deficiencies would tend to reduce the differences between Western Europe and the rest of the world. Compilation of homicide data tends to be less complete elsewhere, particularly in the case of domestic disputes (unexplained deaths may be listed as "accidents" and no further questions will be asked).

    The same applies to changes over time. In England, the homicide rate fell forty-fold between the 14th century and the 20th. Are you suggesting that "deficiencies in compilation" increased forty-fold over the same period?

    Second and third generation Korean-America rednecks (War Bride descendants) cannot be behaviorally distinguished from us ordinary rednecks.

    You're proposing an interesting research project: Are there no behavioral differences between southerners of Scots-Irish descent and southerners of Korean descent? You'll have to deal with two methodological problems:
    1. Your sample size of Korean southerners will be very small, perhaps too small to draw any worthwhile conclusions.
    2. Many of those "Korean southerners" will be only 1/2 or 1/4 Korean by descent.
    I wish you the best of luck with your project. Let me know when the findings come in.

    @peter – “In England, the homicide rate fell forty-fold between the 14th century and the 20th.”

    sorry, i don’t mean to be argumentative, but i thought your position was that the numbers from the 14th century are unreliable. -?-

  101. @Sean Last
    How much confidence do you have in using a heritability estimate from 2009 in a breeder's equation meant to depict changes in the years 1500-1750? Also, why did you and Harpending use .69 as opposed to the .4 estimate from the 2002 meta-analysis?

    How much confidence do you have in using a heritability estimate from 2009 in a breeder’s equation meant to depict changes in the years 1500-1750

    Selection has not been strong enough to change the additive/non-additive balance.

    Also, why did you and Harpending use .69 as opposed to the .4 estimate from the 2002 meta-analysis?

    Broadly, measurement error and study heterogeneity serve to attenuate heritability estimates. A meta-analysis is not necessarily a way to get the one, pure answer.

  102. @Peter Frost
    There are serious deficiencies in the compilation of the homicide rate, now and in the past.

    If you're talking about the current global map of homicide rates, such deficiencies would tend to reduce the differences between Western Europe and the rest of the world. Compilation of homicide data tends to be less complete elsewhere, particularly in the case of domestic disputes (unexplained deaths may be listed as "accidents" and no further questions will be asked).

    The same applies to changes over time. In England, the homicide rate fell forty-fold between the 14th century and the 20th. Are you suggesting that "deficiencies in compilation" increased forty-fold over the same period?

    Second and third generation Korean-America rednecks (War Bride descendants) cannot be behaviorally distinguished from us ordinary rednecks.

    You're proposing an interesting research project: Are there no behavioral differences between southerners of Scots-Irish descent and southerners of Korean descent? You'll have to deal with two methodological problems:
    1. Your sample size of Korean southerners will be very small, perhaps too small to draw any worthwhile conclusions.
    2. Many of those "Korean southerners" will be only 1/2 or 1/4 Korean by descent.
    I wish you the best of luck with your project. Let me know when the findings come in.

    You’re proposing an interesting research project: Are there no behavioral differences between southerners of Scots-Irish descent and southerners of Korean descent? You’ll have to deal with two methodological problems:
    1. Your sample size of Korean southerners will be very small, perhaps too small to draw any worthwhile conclusions.
    2. Many of those “Korean southerners” will be only 1/2 or 1/4 Korean by descent.
    I wish you the best of luck with your project. Let me know when the findings come in.

    I tried to tell him that before.

  103. @M
    I'm generally pretty skeptical about this whole discussion, this struck an interesting note:

    Jayman: In short, I’m not convinced alcohol is the explanatory variable. It may not even be a contributing factor if South Korea’s behavior is to be believed.

    Bear in mind East Asians tend to carry alcohol related variants which make them sick when they drink.

    One popular "HBD" theory about why this is, is that it helps East Asians be the East Asian equivalent of quiet little prosperous burghers who never drink.

    But the rampant alcoholism of cold Northeast Asia kind of belies this. They still get drunk and follow the normal relationship with climate (colder places are drunker places).

    What it may actually be for is a sort of signal to stop Asians getting in fights when they get drunk. It makes them too sick to.

    Your heavy drinking Russian might take a knife to your gut, with his severely impaired judgement. Your heavily drinking Korea will throw up and fall over, start praying to the Oh My God of Hangovers.

    A direct proportionate link between drink and alcohol is too simple though - alcohol has an effect through how and where the alcohol is used.

    Jayman: Perhaps (Finland has a high homicide rate) because of its Sami population.

    They're about 9,000 people in a country of 5,500,000.

    What it may actually be for is a sort of signal to stop Asians getting in fights when they get drunk. It makes them too sick to.

    Your heavy drinking Russian might take a knife to your gut, with his severely impaired judgement. Your heavily drinking Korea will throw up and fall over, start praying to the Oh My God of Hangovers.

    See Peter’s comment above:

    Russians aren’t Chechens, but in comparison to Western Europeans they show a stronger tendency toward familialism and defence of their families against perceived threats or insults. From my observation, when Russian men are with each other, they are more likely to engage in mildly aggressive behavior with each other or with strangers to see how far they can go. I’ve repeatedly seen this kind of brinkmanship in perfectly sober Russian men.

    It’s not just booze, if it’s booze at all.

    Jayman: Perhaps (Finland has a high homicide rate) because of its Sami population.

    They’re about 9,000 people in a country of 5,500,000.

    Finland never went through the manor system, and was outside the Hajnal line, so if Finland underwent incomplete genetic pacification, it wouldn’t be surprising. Anyway, an ethnic breakdown of homicides in Finland would be helpful.

  104. If Greg Clark is correct then the relevant population to look to for the genetic influences on the behavior of the British working class is the losers dropping from the upper classes. Of course the upper class was not subjected to the same judicial punishments as the lower classes. This means that all that effort into ridding society of “violent offenders” in the lower classes was wasted effort because they had negative replacement. Upper classes usually act as if they are above the law, then and now. Rules and laws are for the “little people”.

    Block my comments if you want. I know I made a couple of rude comments when I first commented on your blog, but I apologized for that. Your blog is one of the first that I look for as to new posts. I just don’t agree with everything that you write. I am learning a lot by reading what you have to say. I don’t comment unless I know some factual information or I clearly state that it is my opinion and I don’t usually comment unless I think I have an at least half-assed informed opinion.

  105. sorry, i don’t mean to be argumentative, but i thought your position was that the numbers from the 14th century are unreliable. -?-

    There were two reasons why we limited our model to the period from 1500 to 1750:

    - This period covered the time when the execution rate was at its height
    - We were unsure about how to model the pre-1500 data. There was no homicide data at all for the 15th century, and the data for the 13th and 14th centuries were too variable for my liking.

    There’s no question that homicide rates were higher before 1500, but it’s unclear whether the 14th century peak was real or not. As I understand your position, you don’t believe it was real. So I was faced with the prospect of having a lot of surly people badger me back and forth on that one point.

    Writing an academic paper is the art of deciding what you’re willing to defend and what you aren’t. I didn’t want to get embroiled in an argument over the pre-1500 data mainly because I wasn’t sure myself about that peak or the steepness of the pre-1500 decline.

    the evidence suggests that the clannishness was gotten rid of first in northwest medieval europe before the rise of the strong state

    I agree with the above statement except for the words “was gotten rid of”, which imply that some kind of third party “got rid of clannishness.” I would say that clannishness dissolved because more and more individuals were choosing to organize their lives independently of kinship. The expansion of North Sea trade was an example of this reorientation away from kinship and toward the market economy as a way of organizing social and economic relations.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @peter - "As I understand your position, you don’t believe it was real."

    no. my position is that i don't know if that data set is reliable or not, because i haven't looked at hanawalt's publication yet. but teh historians out there generally think her data is more reliable than given's for the reasons i've already...given (heh).

    i understand why you didn't use the earlier data in your study and that's cool. but you're sending out mixed messages here -- on the one hand you're telling me i shouldn't rely on the data from the 1300s (and maybe i shouldn't), but on the other you're using it to argue a point with ron.

    @peter - "I agree with the above statement except for the words 'was gotten rid of', which imply that some kind of third party 'got rid of clannishness.'"

    well, the third party that got rid of clannishness was natural selection. (~_^) (via outbreeding, etc. that's what i think. i could always be wrong.)

  106. HBDchick says:
    there’s no evidence for that and, in fact, the evidence indicates that events ran in the other direction — clans and clannishness disappeared first, strong states came afterwards.

    Not so. Much data shows that narrow tribal ways, clannishness etc weakened under pressure from the the more centralized coercive state or force. And as I say above, the hegemon need not be a foreign invader, but can be a native/indigenous power at the center subjugating the clans or tribes on the periphery and incorporating them into a larger grouping.. I do not dispute clannishness may partially have changed on its own. New migrations for example could broaden and weaken the narrow initial base.

    But I don’t see where clans disappeared first BEFORE the strong state came in. To the contrary the clans hung around a long time, and in fact were, and had to be in place, to be suppressed by the central power. The Welsh clans were well in place, and had not disappeared, when the Norman hegemons subjugated them. Likewise for the Scots and some Irish. Even the Scottish Highland clans were around as late as the 1700s to fight and lose at the disastrous battle of Culloden- after which the British imperialists commenced a devastating program of Highland “pacification.”

    you’re thinking of clannishness as a set of social structures (literally societies with clans), i’m talking about clannishness as a set of behavioral traits in a population. s’alright! unless you’re a mindreader (or have read my blog), there’s no reason you would’ve known that. (^_^)

    lol, I ought to see more of your blog, for this manorial argument you made is one I have not heard before. But anyway, I was not 100% thinking of literal clans. I can see somewhat your point on the mindset, the outlook, the behavioral traits- which is why I mentioned the Irish and their behavioral patterns in America, far away from the homeland. I would agree with you that such patterns are somewhat different from what prevailed in the more Germanic zones.

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @enrique - "But I don’t see where clans disappeared first BEFORE the strong state came in. To the contrary the clans hung around a long time, and in fact were, and had to be in place, to be suppressed by the central power. The Welsh clans were well in place, and had not disappeared, when the Norman hegemons subjugated them. Likewise for the Scots and some Irish."

    oh, yeah! neither clans nor clannishness disappeared in wales, scotland, or ireland before the normans arrived. absolutely not! but that's because (i think) those groups were on the periphery of what i've dubbed The Outbreeding Project in northern europe, and they were also on the periphery of where manorialism occurred.

    in places where there was early and long-lasting outbreeding -- southeastern england, northwestern france, northern germany -- and manorialism -- this is where you see "clannishness" disappearing before the rise of strong, centralized states.
  107. @Peter Frost
    sorry, i don’t mean to be argumentative, but i thought your position was that the numbers from the 14th century are unreliable. -?-

    There were two reasons why we limited our model to the period from 1500 to 1750:

    - This period covered the time when the execution rate was at its height
    - We were unsure about how to model the pre-1500 data. There was no homicide data at all for the 15th century, and the data for the 13th and 14th centuries were too variable for my liking.

    There's no question that homicide rates were higher before 1500, but it's unclear whether the 14th century peak was real or not. As I understand your position, you don't believe it was real. So I was faced with the prospect of having a lot of surly people badger me back and forth on that one point.

    Writing an academic paper is the art of deciding what you're willing to defend and what you aren't. I didn't want to get embroiled in an argument over the pre-1500 data mainly because I wasn't sure myself about that peak or the steepness of the pre-1500 decline.

    the evidence suggests that the clannishness was gotten rid of first in northwest medieval europe before the rise of the strong state

    I agree with the above statement except for the words "was gotten rid of", which imply that some kind of third party "got rid of clannishness." I would say that clannishness dissolved because more and more individuals were choosing to organize their lives independently of kinship. The expansion of North Sea trade was an example of this reorientation away from kinship and toward the market economy as a way of organizing social and economic relations.

    @peter – “As I understand your position, you don’t believe it was real.”

    no. my position is that i don’t know if that data set is reliable or not, because i haven’t looked at hanawalt’s publication yet. but teh historians out there generally think her data is more reliable than given’s for the reasons i’ve already…given (heh).

    i understand why you didn’t use the earlier data in your study and that’s cool. but you’re sending out mixed messages here — on the one hand you’re telling me i shouldn’t rely on the data from the 1300s (and maybe i shouldn’t), but on the other you’re using it to argue a point with ron.

    @peter – “I agree with the above statement except for the words ‘was gotten rid of’, which imply that some kind of third party ‘got rid of clannishness.’”

    well, the third party that got rid of clannishness was natural selection. (~_^) (via outbreeding, etc. that’s what i think. i could always be wrong.)

  108. One popular “HBD” theory about why this is, is that it helps East Asians be the East Asian equivalent of quiet little prosperous burghers who never drink.

    But the rampant alcoholism of cold Northeast Asia kind of belies this. They still get drunk and follow the normal relationship with climate (colder places are drunker places).

    I know that I read a convincing article that asserted that most of the behavior that is commonly associated with drunkenness is learned behavior. Different cultures have different drunk behaviors. Maybe an informed reader can point us to informed sources.

    • Replies: @JayMan

    I know that I read a convincing article that asserted that most of the behavior that is commonly associated with drunkenness is learned behavior.
     
    You convince way too easily.

    Different cultures have different drunk behaviors.
     
    Where does culture come from?
  109. @Enrique Cardova
    HBDchick says:
    there’s no evidence for that and, in fact, the evidence indicates that events ran in the other direction — clans and clannishness disappeared first, strong states came afterwards.

    Not so. Much data shows that narrow tribal ways, clannishness etc weakened under pressure from the the more centralized coercive state or force. And as I say above, the hegemon need not be a foreign invader, but can be a native/indigenous power at the center subjugating the clans or tribes on the periphery and incorporating them into a larger grouping.. I do not dispute clannishness may partially have changed on its own. New migrations for example could broaden and weaken the narrow initial base.

    But I don't see where clans disappeared first BEFORE the strong state came in. To the contrary the clans hung around a long time, and in fact were, and had to be in place, to be suppressed by the central power. The Welsh clans were well in place, and had not disappeared, when the Norman hegemons subjugated them. Likewise for the Scots and some Irish. Even the Scottish Highland clans were around as late as the 1700s to fight and lose at the disastrous battle of Culloden- after which the British imperialists commenced a devastating program of Highland "pacification."

    you’re thinking of clannishness as a set of social structures (literally societies with clans), i’m talking about clannishness as a set of behavioral traits in a population. s’alright! unless you’re a mindreader (or have read my blog), there’s no reason you would’ve known that. (^_^)

    lol, I ought to see more of your blog, for this manorial argument you made is one I have not heard before. But anyway, I was not 100% thinking of literal clans. I can see somewhat your point on the mindset, the outlook, the behavioral traits- which is why I mentioned the Irish and their behavioral patterns in America, far away from the homeland. I would agree with you that such patterns are somewhat different from what prevailed in the more Germanic zones.

    @enrique – “But I don’t see where clans disappeared first BEFORE the strong state came in. To the contrary the clans hung around a long time, and in fact were, and had to be in place, to be suppressed by the central power. The Welsh clans were well in place, and had not disappeared, when the Norman hegemons subjugated them. Likewise for the Scots and some Irish.”

    oh, yeah! neither clans nor clannishness disappeared in wales, scotland, or ireland before the normans arrived. absolutely not! but that’s because (i think) those groups were on the periphery of what i’ve dubbed The Outbreeding Project in northern europe, and they were also on the periphery of where manorialism occurred.

    in places where there was early and long-lasting outbreeding — southeastern england, northwestern france, northern germany — and manorialism — this is where you see “clannishness” disappearing before the rise of strong, centralized states.

  110. I think a general problem among HBD people is to assume that *everything* is HBD/genetic, presumably as a natural counter-reaction to our equally absurd reigning ideology that *nothing* is HBD/genetic. It seems to me that sometimes things are mostly HBD, sometimes they’re mostly not, and very often it’s difficult to tell.

    I remember a couple of years ago I was telling Steve Pinker how incredibly refreshing it was to read the work of someone like E.A. Ross, one of the great early American sociologists, widely respected by everyone from the Boazian Communists to Lothrop Stoddard. Instead of being dogmatically pro-HBD or dogmatically anti-HBD, he was simply an outstanding empiricist researcher, who followed the evidence wherever it led, often declaring it rather inconclusive.

    I know nothing about homicide research, but I spent a couple of minutes Googling around and found this chart showing the trajectory of American homicide rates over the last 350 years. For the 250 years between 1700 and 1950, the overall decline looks to be about 85%, pretty similar to the figures for Britain we’ve been discussing, and in this case the data is modern and presumably far more reliable.

    http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/06/long-term-trend-in-homicide-rates.html

    Since I don’t think America traditionally executed tens of thousands of criminals each year, the cause of the 85% decline must have been somewhat different.

    Offhand, the rises and falls seem vaguely related to external social/political/cultural events, with a huge spike a little before the Civil War and decades of decline afterward. And the rises and falls make me doubtful about any sort of genetic explanation, which would be more likely to be mono-directional.

    I’d suspect there are lots of different historical cases in which homicide rates dropped precipitously in very short periods of time, with the cause not being the genetic impact of mass executions.

  111. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Bill P

    That was the point I was trying to make. Any undercounting of homicides in the past would tend to understate rather than overstate the decline in the homicide rate.
     
    This is my quibble with the idea that state violence served to genetically pacify people to the extent proposed. If Norman lords could get away with killing serfs, and in all likelihood fathering bastards in addition to more legitimate children than average, then wouldn't British aristocrats be genetically more prone to violence today than commoners? Wouldn't we see more people with names like Montgomery and Aubrey in the dock?

    Given the horrific and brutal nature of British justice for hundreds of years, we might expect to see a thoroughly pacified, obedient lower class. But in just a couple generations since the sexual and cultural revolution of the 60s/70s the British working class (not counting immigrants) has come to display some serious behavioral problems. Arguably worse than the Australians who escaped the gallows through deportation. How can that be explained?

    I don’t know about Wales or Scotland, but in Ireland the Normans and English were hit harder by the Black Plague than the Irish were because the former tended to live in urban areas while the latter lived in rural areas. There were also attempts to restrict socializing and intermarriage with the Irish:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Kilkenny#Statutes_of_Kilkenny

    So the combination of the Black Plague, urbanization, and customs curbed Norman expansion in Ireland.

  112. @JayMan

    Giving such prominence to the issues raised by certain bloggers may perhaps be somewhat unprofessional
     
    Did you ever read Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit? You should do so.

    Also, for the record, to you and everyone for that matter: you don't know who I am or what I do. That is by design. So, four letters for you (I'll give you two, starts with S and ends with U).

    Also, for the record, to you and everyone for that matter: you don’t know who I am or what I do. That is by design. So, four letters for you (I’ll give you two, starts with S and ends with U).

    I would add to this that who/what is irrelevant. For all I know you may be the guy who scrubs the toilets in the world’s worst mexican restaurant. That is the real beauty of open forum discussion using pseudonyms – ideas must be judged solely on their merits. We have a major problem with credentialism throughout our society and it has played no small role in our decline. “Dr. Muckity Muck, MD, JD, PhD, ED, says ‘Race does not exist, it is only a social construct!’” And otherwise sane people decide their own senses are deceiving them. Look at the absurdly obvious falsehoods put forth by “government experts” which are accepted blindly because authority. Are the ideas argued in The Fereralist Papers any more compelling for knowing the identities of Publius?

    The work done by JayMan and HBDChick is very high quality (as far as I can tell anyway) and that doesn’t change whether they’re secretly Watson & Crick or Laurel & Hardy.

  113. @Stan D Mute

    Also, for the record, to you and everyone for that matter: you don’t know who I am or what I do. That is by design. So, four letters for you (I’ll give you two, starts with S and ends with U).
     
    I would add to this that who/what is irrelevant. For all I know you may be the guy who scrubs the toilets in the world's worst mexican restaurant. That is the real beauty of open forum discussion using pseudonyms - ideas must be judged solely on their merits. We have a major problem with credentialism throughout our society and it has played no small role in our decline. "Dr. Muckity Muck, MD, JD, PhD, ED, says 'Race does not exist, it is only a social construct!'" And otherwise sane people decide their own senses are deceiving them. Look at the absurdly obvious falsehoods put forth by "government experts" which are accepted blindly because authority. Are the ideas argued in The Fereralist Papers any more compelling for knowing the identities of Publius?

    The work done by JayMan and HBDChick is very high quality (as far as I can tell anyway) and that doesn't change whether they're secretly Watson & Crick or Laurel & Hardy.

    @stan – i’m stan laurel! i call! (~_^)

  114. I think a general problem among HBD people is to assume that *everything* is HBD/genetic, presumably as a natural counter-reaction to our equally absurd reigning ideology that *nothing* is HBD/genetic.

    Ron, you know that’s not my position.

    For the 250 years between 1700 and 1950, the overall decline looks to be about 85%, pretty similar to the figures for Britain we’ve been discussing

    Hardly. For the period from 1500 to 1750, the English homicide rate declined from 20-40 homicides per thousand to 2-4 homicides per thousand.

    - That’s a 10-fold decrease over 250 years.

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 2000 (although the figures bounce up and down during the 20th century).

    - That’s a 3.5 fold decrease over 300 years (or perhaps 200 years if you want to exclude the 20th century).

    If that’s 85% similarity, then we live in two different universes with different mathematical laws.

    It’s time for the two of us to go to bed. Your brain is firing on two cylinders, and my brain is not up to the task of calculating the degree of similarity between a 10-fold decrease and a 3-fold decrease.

    Offhand, the latter (American) rate of decrease seems consistent with Clark-Unz selection, plus the selection due to the effective execution rate (court-ordered executions plus extrajudicial executions).

    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 2000 (although the figures bounce up and down during the 20th century).

    - That’s a 3.5 fold decrease over 300 years (or perhaps 200 years if you want to exclude the 20th century).

    If that’s 85% similarity, then we live in two different universes with different mathematical laws.
     
    Exactly, Peter. Except that's not what I actually wrote:

    For the 250 years between 1700 and 1950, the overall decline looks to be about 85%.
     
    Eyeballing the chart seems to show a rate of about 35 in 1700 declining to under 5 in 1950, representing a drop of over 85%. I sometimes make stupid mistakes but not always. Similarly, my initial comment upthread had never disputed the correctness of the Breeders' Equation.

    It’s time for the two of us to go to bed. Your brain is firing on two cylinders, and my brain is not up to the task of calculating the degree of similarity between a 10-fold decrease and a 3-fold decrease.
     
    I don't agree about my own brain, but I otherwise concur.
  115. @Peter Frost
    How much confidence do you have in using a heritability estimate from 2009 in a breeder’s equation meant to depict changes in the years 1500-1750?

    Heritability itself would not be expected to change over the last three to five centuries, unless new alleles for aggressiveness have appeared and become widespread, which is unlikely.

    Also, why did you and Harpending use .69 as opposed to the .4 estimate from the 2002 meta-analysis?

    Estimates of the heritability of aggressive behavior range from a high of 96% (Baker et al., 2007) to a low of 40% (Rhee and Waldman , 2002). Barker et al. investigated this problem with a twin study where the twins were measured either by different evaluators or a single evaluator. In the first case, the estimated heritability was 40%. In the second case, it was 69%. The low estimate of the meta-analysis seems to reflect inter-observer variation, which has the effect of inflating environmental variation.

    could not the constant wars of Europe, also serve as a culling mechanism for the most violent cohorts, thus hastening their removal from the genetic pool?

    Insofar as warfare takes a toll on the civilian population, it's effect would generally be random. In fact, an argument could be made that a greater propensity to engage in violence would be more adaptive in a wartime situation where more pacific individuals would no longer benefit from the advantages of a pacified society.

    Insofar as warfare takes a toll on soldiers, it would impose a greater toll on those soldiers who more willingly obey orders to go out into the field (and get killed) as opposed to those who fight when they feel it's to their personal advantage.

    First, we’re really talking about a tiny genetic impact, maybe executing 1-2% of the males in each generation

    Again, Ron seems to have a problem with the breeder's equation, which is widely used in population genetics. If he has a specific criticism to make, I would like to hear it, as would most geneticists.

    “Heritability itself would not be expected to change over the last three to five centuries, unless new alleles for aggressiveness have appeared and become widespread, which is unlikely.”

    The heritability of aggression could also be changed by changes in the degree of environmental variation which effects aggression. For instance, if parental abuse impacts aggression and there was more, or less, variation in child abuse a few hundreds years ago then this could alter the heritability of aggression. Intuitively, it seems unlikely to me that aggression-relevant environmental variation has been constant for the last few hundred years.

  116. “That is the real beauty of open forum discussion using pseudonyms – ideas must be judged solely on their merits.

    The merits can change as new facts emerge. I want to know who someone is in order to judge whether they have a better grasp of the background (which could be simply how the world works) than anyone else, because when people like that say they have a gut feeling that the known facts are misleading, I believe them.

    These hindrances began to dissolve in the 11th century with a consensus by Church and State that the wicked should be punished so that the good may live in peace. Courts imposed the death penalty more and more often and, by the late Middle Ages, were condemning to death between 0.5 and 1.0% of all men of each generation, with perhaps just as many offenders dying at the scene of the crime or in prison while awaiting trial

    “Offhand, the rises and falls seem vaguely related to external social/political/cultural events”

    The paper says the 11th century was when troublemakers started being culled in earnest, but the Christian ideological underpinnings had been around for several hundred years. So had lords who ruled their domains as virtual kings. One thing that appeared by the 12 century was a modern economic system along coastal trading routes between SE England Flanders, north Germany map

    Jurists were now arguing that the king must punish the wicked to ensure that the good may live in peace

    The ‘good’ would be those who had goods, ie something worth stealing, and that means traders. The merchants demanded security from local lords and Kings, who were keen to have the trade in their domains. The need for security would seem to be a good candidate for the sudden decision to start a mass extermination of criminals who were actually often thieves

    In the early 19th century, for instance, hanging was still mandatory for theft of goods worth at least 40 shillings

    I note that the paper quotes Hobbes:

    In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea

    And the ruling class in the most economically developed (and pacified!) country was the keenest on the death penalty.

    Historians often link this trend to the spread of liberalism and Enlightenment thinking, yet the death penalty actually lost favor the most where liberalism seemed the weakest. In Russia, it was unofficially abolished by Elizaveta Petrovna (1741–1762), apparently out of Christian piety, only to be restored by Catherine the Great (1762–1796), who corresponded with Voltaire and professed Enlightenment ideals (Carbasse, 2011, pp. 74–75). Elsewhere, the death penalty disappeared in countries that were illiberal by any other standard, such as Tuscany in 1786 and the Habsburg dominions in 1787. The least progress was made in England, the very epicenter of liberalism, where nearly 300 infractions were still punishable by death in the late 18th century (Carbasse, 2011, p. 75).

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin

    I want to know who someone is in order to judge whether they have a better grasp of the background (which could be simply how the world works) than anyone else, because when people like that say they have a gut feeling that the known facts are misleading, I believe them.
     
    Why wouldn't their "gut feeling" simply be their instinct for self-preservation kicking in to save their careers or standing among their scholarly peers?

    Your assumption is that this scholarly "background" is not only helpful to understanding the arguments, but necessary for understanding them. But if much of what was learned was mere folklore with footnotes, then the person with that background has an interested in defending a worthless status quo.

    What's being discussed here is a new way of viewing history. The new always threatens the old.
  117. @iffen

    One popular “HBD” theory about why this is, is that it helps East Asians be the East Asian equivalent of quiet little prosperous burghers who never drink.

    But the rampant alcoholism of cold Northeast Asia kind of belies this. They still get drunk and follow the normal relationship with climate (colder places are drunker places).

     

    I know that I read a convincing article that asserted that most of the behavior that is commonly associated with drunkenness is learned behavior. Different cultures have different drunk behaviors. Maybe an informed reader can point us to informed sources.

    I know that I read a convincing article that asserted that most of the behavior that is commonly associated with drunkenness is learned behavior.

    You convince way too easily.

    Different cultures have different drunk behaviors.

    Where does culture come from?

    • Replies: @iffen

    You convince way too easily.
     
    Then why can't you convince me that assimilation does not exist.

    Where does culture come from?
     
    We learn most of it and make up the rest as we go along.
  118. @anon
    I'm not convinced war *disproportionately* selected against violent individuals. Even in eras where soldiers were self-selecting and probably mostly naturally violent and would suffer disproportionate casualties in battle I think they probably killed a lot more non-violent civilians every time they sacked a city or stole food from the peasantry.

    Anon 250 says

    I’m not convinced war *disproportionately* selected against violent individuals. Even in eras where soldiers were self-selecting and probably mostly naturally violent and would suffer disproportionate casualties in battle, I think they probably killed a lot more non-violent civilians every time they sacked a city or stole food from the peasantry.

    Quite possibly. Back in those days sometimes, the military was at least SOMETIMES used as a dumping ground for “undesirables” or misfits, into the lower ranks. Vagabonds, beggars etc were often impressed into the military, in both the naval and land forces, though again, as time went on military forces throughout Europe became better paid and more professionalized. The Ottomans, Germans and the British back in Medieval times and later all to some extent, used forced draft military recruitment to flush “undesirables” from the ranks of the better folk. It was a known phenomenon in Europe. Even in Russia one study notes:

    “In Russia, communities and landlords used conscription to send off criminals, troublemakers, drunkards and men deemed disobedient, unruly or simply lazy. It is hardly surprising that armies time and again complained about the quality of the personnel that was provided to them in this way.”
    (–Erik Jan Zucher, Fighting for a living)

    So to some extent European militaries, at some level drew off the “dregs” of society, variously defined in their own eras. Casulaty rates in war would no doubt impact these at a higher rate, cutting off their participation in the gene pool. But like you say, this should not be viewed as the ONLY factor at play. Maybe its a combo of things. Perhaps the ongoing executions of remaining lower end people on the civilian side, combined with their continual liquidation on the military front, combined together to “cull” the European gene pool. Those at the top, the elites in a sense, may have used these strategies to ensure that only the better people, those more malleable, and submissive would, in the long haul, win the gene inheritance sweepstakes.

    It could be said that the European elites gained a two-fer bonus. If dirty work needed to be done, then the lower end people could be deployed to good effect, whether in Europe or in various colonial enterprises. If a more submissive, higher quality remaining population needed to be deployed they could do just as well. Hence as Christopher Browning’s study “Ordinary Men” shows, ordinary German accountants, bakers, store clerks etc, good submissive bourgeois types, in the unglamorous SS police battalions, were among the most zealous, vicious killers during the Holocaust. Internal pacification made possible more efficient external violence directed against neighboring peoples. Those at the top got the dirty work done, no matter who was used.

    • Replies: @Sean
    Pincher Martin, there was a French communist party that achieved quite a bit of success but it never made the breakthrough in the wider society, because it was too self-enclosed with its own associations and community forums. A bunch of anons telling each other how clever and scientific they are is not going to win any wider support. Opponents will quickly identify the weakness and mercilessly attack pretensions to HBD being a community with 'the truth'.

    No Enrique, “Ordinary Men” showed the exact opposite. They hated killing. The paper we are discussing brings out how starting in the whole trend was for non lethal punishments.
    Compare what the ordinary Algerians did to the pied-noir:


    Aussaresses surveyed the site several days later. Babies had been crushed against the wall. The women had been raped, disemboweled, and decapitated. Aussaresses thought that he had forgotten what pity was. The innocent were killed by their neighbors with whom they drank and smoked kif.
     
    And Enrique, Germany in WW2 did not have the same morality as existed in other countries, look at my "this morality" link above

    Enrique, People keep mentioning the Ulster Scots, they were mainly from the parts of Scotland that were closest Ayrshire and Galloway. Kilmarnock (Scotland) where I live was home to the Boyds, many of whom went to Ulster. I could walk to the coast in a few hours, and on a clear day see Ireland.

    Enrique " southeastern england, northwestern france, northern germany — and manorialism" Those areas had commerce and something like modern civil society first. In the 12th century you had manorialism everywhere but in those areas. If you look at what actually broke up Scottish Highland clans it was the clan chiefs trying to make money. Once civil commercial society arrived there was no need for 'outbreeding', the chiefs abandoned their retainers (relatives) and moved into luxurious apartments in Edinburgh and London. Commerce charges everything; merchants demand protection.That is what I think was behind the Church and state's sudden reversal of their long standing Christian ideological opposition to taking the life of anyone who broke the law. The alternative is to think that suddenly there was ideological change in the state and Church that had nothing to do with the realities of the situation.

    A new situation (commerce) meant there was a need for removing the crooks who were holding back progress, so there was an ideological change to provide a rational basis for that punitive policy. Ideas are around but they only gain currency when there is a need for them.

    You can look at international relations in the same way. The most pacifistic people in Europe (Germany) acted like a pack of ravening wolves seventy years ago . Is that because peaceful ideology was not invented until recently? Obviously the ideology was available but they thought it didn't meet their needs. Now they do.

    Enrique The growing power of the state would suppress the old private vendetta/revenge systems As already mentioned, in above link Boyds murdered Ayrshire rivals the Montgomeries, but they cooperated when they were in Ulster. It was a different situation.

    My reading of what Ron Unz is saying is he thinks it hasn't been shown in the paper that there was sufficient removal of extreme aggressive behaviour that was due to genes. Murderous violence would be the uncontrolled extreme of a quality that could sometimes pay off .

    America was a frontier with good land sometimes scarce (as in Appalachia), sometimes there for the taking. Probably there would be selection for aggressive behaviour where good land was scarce. In some parts of the US the recipe for reproductive success would be low personal consumption, and hard work. The Mennonites were banned from buying land in some states and moved to Canada I believe.

    Aggression is linked to testosterone, which is linked to reproductive success. So its probably more complicated than dog breeding.

  119. The heritability of aggression could also be changed by changes in the degree of environmental variation which effects aggression.

    The model concerns the period from 1500 to 1750. Let’s consider two possibilities:

    1. The heritability of aggression was comparatively higher during that period because the social/cultural environment of aggressive behavior was comparatively less variable. The death penalty would therefore have been more efficient in removing violence-prone individuals.

    2. The heritability of aggression was comparatively lower during that period because the social/cultural environment of aggressive behavior was comparatively more variable. The death penalty would therefore have been less efficient in removing violence-prone individuals.

    Which possibility is more likely? I would say the first one. In other words, which social/cultural environment is more variable: England in 1500-1750 or the United States circa 2000?

    you’re sending out mixed messages here — on the one hand you’re telling me i shouldn’t rely on the data from the 1300s (and maybe i shouldn’t), but on the other you’re using it to argue a point with ron.

    We didn’t use the pre-1500 data for our model because we weren’t sure about the 14th century peak and the overall steepness of the decline during that period. On the other hand, homicide rates were clearly higher pre-1500, whether one uses 13th or 14th century data. The estimate of a 40-fold decline from the 14th century to the 20th is based on an average of the data for the 13th and 14th centuries, so perhaps I should write “a 40-fold decline give or take 5-fold.”

  120. ANON 450

    The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to think the answer lies in the raw math. Men are not entirely without agency. In the late 8th century, King Offa was starting to put reeves in place, even in small territories. Getting away with murder simply became more difficult as we moved into the late middle ages. With the King providing alternatives to violence for settling disputes, violence was going to fall, with or without a cull.

    Hmm, agreed. The growing power of the state would suppress the old private vendetta/revenge systems, and give the center a greater monopoly on violence or provide more forums for dispute resolution. It would be interesting t compare various European systems. Did the English common law approach do a better job compared to the more codified continental approach or is the bottom line in both cases the same? Were the Germanic zone systems more equitable compared to the Mediterranean zone, and so on.

    Ron Unz says:

    I think a general problem among HBD people is to assume that *everything* is HBD/genetic, presumably as a natural counter-reaction to our equally absurd reigning ideology that *nothing* is HBD/genetic. It seems to me that sometimes things are mostly HBD, sometimes they’re mostly not, and very often it’s difficult to tell.

    Indeed.

    Since I don’t think America traditionally executed tens of thousands of criminals each year, the cause of the 85% decline must have been somewhat different. Offhand, the rises and falls seem vaguely related to external social/political/cultural events, with a huge spike a little before the Civil War and decades of decline afterward. And the rises and falls make me doubtful about any sort of genetic explanation, which would be more likely to be mono-directional.

    I would agree. And the American numbers kept falling despite the continual arrival of numerous lower end European immigrants, like the Irish, who brought extensive violence to the areas in which they settled. Today’s so-called urban “tough guys” would not have lasted long in the old-line Irish hoods, or on New York Irish gang battlegrounds like “San Juan Hill.” There are a lot of factors at play in those fluctuations. Changing laws for example making it easier for criminals to evade punishment, “bargain justice”, along with demographic swings and economic factors such as the decline in poverty, are all important in the mix rather than the simplistic genetic explanations favored in some quarters.

    The spike in the 1850s may be attributable in part to the American West . High murder areas included the usual suspects such as Dodge City Kansas (165 per 100,000) but also places like San Fran and several other California jurisdictions also posted high rates. Even allegedly milder Oregon posted a rate around 30 per 100,000. (Randolph Roth- Homicide Rates in the American West) Using modern FBI formulas, Los Angeles County in the 19th century ran up a body count of about 414 homicides per 100,000. (McKanna 2002. Race and Homicide in 19th Century California). Nor is the West unique. Studies show the heavily Scotch-Irish Kentucky-Tennessee borderlands posting a rate of 24 per 100,000 starting in the 1850s. So indeed there are a complex of factors in the mix.

  121. @Sean
    "That is the real beauty of open forum discussion using pseudonyms – ideas must be judged solely on their merits.

    The merits can change as new facts emerge. I want to know who someone is in order to judge whether they have a better grasp of the background (which could be simply how the world works) than anyone else, because when people like that say they have a gut feeling that the known facts are misleading, I believe them.

    These hindrances began to dissolve in the 11th century with a consensus by Church and State that the wicked should be punished so that the good may live in peace. Courts imposed the death penalty more and more often and, by the late Middle Ages, were condemning to death between 0.5 and 1.0% of all men of each generation, with perhaps just as many offenders dying at the scene of the crime or in prison while awaiting trial

     


    "Offhand, the rises and falls seem vaguely related to external social/political/cultural events"
     
    The paper says the 11th century was when troublemakers started being culled in earnest, but the Christian ideological underpinnings had been around for several hundred years. So had lords who ruled their domains as virtual kings. One thing that appeared by the 12 century was a modern economic system along coastal trading routes between SE England Flanders, north Germany map

    Jurists were now arguing that the king must punish the wicked to ensure that the good may live in peace
     
    The 'good' would be those who had goods, ie something worth stealing, and that means traders. The merchants demanded security from local lords and Kings, who were keen to have the trade in their domains. The need for security would seem to be a good candidate for the sudden decision to start a mass extermination of criminals who were actually often thieves

    In the early 19th century, for instance, hanging was still mandatory for theft of goods worth at least 40 shillings
     
    I note that the paper quotes Hobbes:

    In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea
     
    And the ruling class in the most economically developed (and pacified!) country was the keenest on the death penalty.

    Historians often link this trend to the spread of liberalism and Enlightenment thinking, yet the death penalty actually lost favor the most where liberalism seemed the weakest. In Russia, it was unofficially abolished by Elizaveta Petrovna (1741–1762), apparently out of Christian piety, only to be restored by Catherine the Great (1762–1796), who corresponded with Voltaire and professed Enlightenment ideals (Carbasse, 2011, pp. 74–75). Elsewhere, the death penalty disappeared in countries that were illiberal by any other standard, such as Tuscany in 1786 and the Habsburg dominions in 1787. The least progress was made in England, the very epicenter of liberalism, where nearly 300 infractions were still punishable by death in the late 18th century (Carbasse, 2011, p. 75).
     

    I want to know who someone is in order to judge whether they have a better grasp of the background (which could be simply how the world works) than anyone else, because when people like that say they have a gut feeling that the known facts are misleading, I believe them.

    Why wouldn’t their “gut feeling” simply be their instinct for self-preservation kicking in to save their careers or standing among their scholarly peers?

    Your assumption is that this scholarly “background” is not only helpful to understanding the arguments, but necessary for understanding them. But if much of what was learned was mere folklore with footnotes, then the person with that background has an interested in defending a worthless status quo.

    What’s being discussed here is a new way of viewing history. The new always threatens the old.

  122. And the American numbers kept falling despite the continual arrival of numerous lower end European immigrants, like the Irish, who brought extensive violence to the areas in which they settled.

    Actually, the chart shows a jump in the homicide rate beginning circa 1840. From 1840 to 2000, the overall decline is very modest.

    If we compare the two charts — the homicide decline in England between 1500 and 1750 and the homicide decline in the U.S. between 1700 and 1950 — we see that the first decline is over three times steeper. I have no problem with the argument that cultural factors are relatively more important in the American case. I would roughly estimate the relative importance of all factors as follows:

    English homicide decline 1500 to 1750

    55% – changes to the gene pool due to the execution rate
    (court-ordered executions plus extrajudicial executions)
    30% – changes to the gene pool due to Clark-Unz selection
    15% – improvements in social/cultural restraint of aggressive behavior (judicial punishment, expansion of the penitentiary system, informal punishment at school and in the workplace, stigmatization of male violence in popular culture)

    U.S. homicide decline 1700 to 1950
    50% – changes to the gene pool due to Clark-Unz selection
    10% – changes to the gene pool due to the execution rate
    40% – improvements in social/cultural restraint

    The spike in the 1850s may be attributable in part to the American West

    There were far more people living in the cities of the American northeast.

    Perhaps the ongoing executions of remaining lower end people on the civilian side, combined with their continual liquidation on the military front, combined together to “cull” the European gene pool

    Since our model concerns England between 1500 and 1750, war was not a significant factor. There was the English Civil War but there was no conscription and the overall number of casualties was small compared to the total population. Historical accounts indicate that many people were unaware that a war was going on.

  123. Sean says:

    Except as John Dewey noted universal morality absolutely cannot cross rivers or mountains when these mark the boundaries of a state. Moral beliefs are a result of the situation that the entity finds themselves in.

    Not really. “Universal” morality is just that- it cuts across state boundaries which could in any event change from century to century or in even less time. And of course morality will be shaped by particular cultures, languages situations etc. that’s a given- but there still are certain universal bottom lines against theft, murder, lying, and incest. The language, labels and categories vary across cultures, but the very notion of morality, and certain universal bottom line patterns are in place, cutting across all cultures.

    And Christianity did not “revolutionize” morality by making it absolute and universal per the other poster Universality morality has always been in place, and in fact is recognized as such by the Christians. See Romans 1- which notes that men have no excuse for doing evil- all have certain universal moral codes and recognitions of a higher power. For example, someone committing incest 3000 years ago can’t claim he is exempt from the laws of morality because he never heard of Christianity. If there is a judgment day on the other side of death by said higher power, the laws of “universal morality” will be quite enough to convict men.

    HBDCHICK says:

    in places where there was early and long-lasting outbreeding — southeastern england, northwestern france, northern germany — and manorialism — this is where you see “clannishness” disappearing before the rise of strong, centralized states.

    Fair enough. On your blog you have some data showing the patterns of this core. The outbreeding effect and subsequent manorialism can be seen in the Norman conquest of England for example, which would suppress localism and tribalism and incorporate the conquered into a larger imperial or at least regionally authoritarian sphere. You say the NW European societies (excluding Ireland) became more “corporate” as a result.

    I think your framework could work both ways in supporting my point or Peter’s. If the corporate hegemons continued to centralize power and monopolize violence – (state executions rather than private vendetta for example), then maybe the gene pool of the lower end types decreased, as per Frost. If the corporate hegemons used their conquests or new structures to extract and mobilize resources on a larger scale, for large scale violence against neighbors or weaker groups, as in the constant dynastic and religious wars based in, or across NW Europe, then war-related liquidation or attrition of the cohort of pressed into military service, would also lessen their genetic pass through to future generations.

  124. @JayMan

    I know that I read a convincing article that asserted that most of the behavior that is commonly associated with drunkenness is learned behavior.
     
    You convince way too easily.

    Different cultures have different drunk behaviors.
     
    Where does culture come from?

    You convince way too easily.

    Then why can’t you convince me that assimilation does not exist.

    Where does culture come from?

    We learn most of it and make up the rest as we go along.

  125. @Peter Frost
    I think a general problem among HBD people is to assume that *everything* is HBD/genetic, presumably as a natural counter-reaction to our equally absurd reigning ideology that *nothing* is HBD/genetic.

    Ron, you know that's not my position.

    For the 250 years between 1700 and 1950, the overall decline looks to be about 85%, pretty similar to the figures for Britain we’ve been discussing

    Hardly. For the period from 1500 to 1750, the English homicide rate declined from 20-40 homicides per thousand to 2-4 homicides per thousand.

    - That's a 10-fold decrease over 250 years.

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 2000 (although the figures bounce up and down during the 20th century).

    - That's a 3.5 fold decrease over 300 years (or perhaps 200 years if you want to exclude the 20th century).

    If that's 85% similarity, then we live in two different universes with different mathematical laws.

    It's time for the two of us to go to bed. Your brain is firing on two cylinders, and my brain is not up to the task of calculating the degree of similarity between a 10-fold decrease and a 3-fold decrease.

    Offhand, the latter (American) rate of decrease seems consistent with Clark-Unz selection, plus the selection due to the effective execution rate (court-ordered executions plus extrajudicial executions).

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 2000 (although the figures bounce up and down during the 20th century).

    - That’s a 3.5 fold decrease over 300 years (or perhaps 200 years if you want to exclude the 20th century).

    If that’s 85% similarity, then we live in two different universes with different mathematical laws.

    Exactly, Peter. Except that’s not what I actually wrote:

    For the 250 years between 1700 and 1950, the overall decline looks to be about 85%.

    Eyeballing the chart seems to show a rate of about 35 in 1700 declining to under 5 in 1950, representing a drop of over 85%. I sometimes make stupid mistakes but not always. Similarly, my initial comment upthread had never disputed the correctness of the Breeders’ Equation.

    It’s time for the two of us to go to bed. Your brain is firing on two cylinders, and my brain is not up to the task of calculating the degree of similarity between a 10-fold decrease and a 3-fold decrease.

    I don’t agree about my own brain, but I otherwise concur.

  126. @Peter Frost
    Ron,

    You initially seemed to argue that an execution rate of 1-2% would necessarily have a tiny genetic impact. That’s what most people here understood, including myself (perhaps wrongly).

    I will answer each of your other points:

    1. Personally, I think the huge cultural, socio-economic, and political changes are a far more likely explanation,


    If the decline in the homicide rate is solely due to external controls (deterrence effect of the death penalty, cultural stigmatization of male violence, informal controls in the school system, the workplace, etc.), the loosening of these external controls should therefore cause a rise in the homicide rate. The death penalty has been abolished for several decades, and popular culture no longer stigmatizes the violent male to the same extent. Indeed, there is a strong tendency to celebrate the violent male in contemporary culture.

    There has been a slight rebound in male violence among young men of Western European origin, but it’s nothing compared to the levels of male violence that existed a millennium ago. Why is this so if the homicide decline is due solely to an increase in cultural restraint?

    2.it seems plausible that a considerable fraction of the executed males would have had surviving offspring

    Most executed offenders were young single males. In England and the Low Countries, for the period in question (1500 to 1750), the average age of first marriage was 27 for men. Only a minority of married couples were able to raise more than two children to adulthood. These couples were generally from the upper and middle classes.

    It was a world completely different from today’s world, where violent males often have children by several women. A single woman with an intermittent lover would typically leave any infant on the steps of the local church, and the mortality rate of such infants was very high.

    3. I think it doubtful that the executed males were at the absolutely extreme end of the violence distribution curve, more likely to have just been drawn from a random-sample of the somewhat more violent males

    Most murders went unsolved in the Middle Ages. Prosecutions were not for single random acts. Medieval justice most often targeted people who engaged in multiple acts of murder in public settings, e.g., highwaymen, bandits, etc.

    4. even as late as the 19th century didn’t England still regularly execute people for non-violent crimes like theft? What fraction of the executions were for crimes of extreme violence as opposed to other things like theft, heresy, witchcraft, or political agitation?


    Most executions were for highway robbery, banditry, and horse stealing, where the perpetuators were small groups of young males. Although people could be executed for theft, juries were unwilling to convict, except in cases where the theft was compounded by other offences.

    5. I’d like to clarify whether your calculation is based on 1-2% of the *male* population or 1-2% of the *total* population

    It’s 1-2% of the male population.

    6. The period 1500-1650 saw massive religious wars throughout much of Europe while things had totally quieted down by 1750. Couldn’t the social anarchy and endless “legal” violence have a plausible connection to the much higher rate of “illegal” violence?


    We were modelling the decline in the English homicide rate, and England escaped those religious wars. In any case, I’m not sure I understand your question. The English homicide rate declined continuously from at least 1500 onward. How could a decline in personal violence be explained by an upsurge in social anarchy? Wouldn’t the reverse be the case?

    Henry Harpending tried running our model with different assumptions, including a “long model” running from 1300 to 1900. He even tried a model where murderers murdered other murderers so that the homicide rate reflected not the density of murderers but the square of the density of murderers, assuming a mass action rate of random encounters between murderers.

    All of these different scenarios produced outcomes that fell within the same ballpark. Increasing the number of homicides per executed offender speeded up the rate of decline, but not by a lot.

    Most murders went unsolved in the Middle Ages.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

    Following the Pareto principle, a small percentage of violent men commit most unsolved murders in a given society. So a very small reduction of violent men can have a huge impact on overall murder rates. Peter’s model is plausible.

    Just imagine a 1% reduction of serial murders that can result in unsolved murder cases. Lets assume each serial killer murders about 40 people in his life time. One less such person will reduce 40 murders in next generation.

  127. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I’m not convinced alcohol is the explanatory variable. It may not even be a contributing factor if South Korea’s behavior is to be believed.

    Personally I am very violent by nature (but usually also very self-controlled) and when drunk I always used to attack the biggest guy I could find just for the sheer hell of it. Alcohol didn’t make me violent; it reduced my ability to control it (so I stopped drinking).

    Violence is the product of violent urges minus restraint and alcohol reduces restraint.

    If someone has violent urges then reducing the restraint *allows* (not causes) more violence to occur.

    If someone doesn’t have violent urges then reducing the restraint doesn’t make them violent.

  128. Exactly, Peter. Except that’s not what I actually wrote:

    For the 250 years between 1700 and 1950, the overall decline looks to be about 85%.

    Ron,

    The full sentence reads:

    the overall decline looks to be about 85%, pretty similar to the figures for Britain we’ve been discussing

    This was after midnight, and I read “85% similar.” But my objection still holds. The English decline in the homicide rate was 10-fold, and the American decline 3.5-fold. Those two declines are not “pretty similar” unless “pretty” means “not at all.”

    Similarly, my initial comment upthread had never disputed the correctness of the Breeders’ Equation.

    Therefore, you have no problem — in theory — with the conclusion that an execution rate of 1-2% can explain a little over half of the 10-fold decline in the homicide rate between 1500 and 1750. Your argument is with only certain assumptions in the model, particularly the assumption that the executed offenders had no children who survived to adulthood.

    If that assumption could be shown to be plausible, would you accept the model itself as being plausible? Or is your objection more fundamental? I don’t enjoy pestering you on this point, but it’s crucial.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    The English decline in the homicide rate was 10-fold, and the American decline 3.5-fold.
     
    This is just silly. The English homicide decline from 1500 to 1750 that is the centerpiece of your paper was 10-fold and based on soft data. The American homicide decline from 1700 to 1950 was approximately 9-fold and based on very good data. I'd say the latter case is far more remarkable and requiring of a theoretical explanation.

    Therefore, you have no problem — in theory — with the conclusion that an execution rate of 1-2% can explain a little over half of the 10-fold decline in the homicide rate between 1500 and 1750.
     
    I agree that under your ideal assumptions a *perfectly targeted* execution rate of 1-2% per generation might explain 25% to 50% of the decline in homicides. But none of those ideal assumptions are remotely plausible.

    Here's a (ridiculous) example of what I mean. America has about 15,000 homicides per year, and suppose the government (like in that Tom Cruise movie) could predict ahead of time exactly who would commit those homicides and execute them in advance. By executing a mere 0.005% of the American population annually, virtually all homicides could be eliminated.

    Now consider England during the period you discuss. There were lots of homicides, but from what you said, very few of the huge number of executions were actually for homicide. The people being executed were generally robbers, thieves, abortionists, blasphemers, heretics, and political troublemakers, whose genetic tendencies toward lethal violence may have been very tenuous. If you had perfect knowledge and could kill exactly those individuals who were carriers of "homicide genes" that might have had an impact, but massacring large numbers of petty thieves and blasphemers probably wouldn't.

    Let's consider a real life example. Over the last couple of decades, black urban homicide rates have dropped by more than half, certainly not a 90% reduction, but still quite considerable. Why has that happened? Well, probably lots of different reasons, but maybe one of them is that around 30% of all urban black men have "disappeared"---they're dead or in prison. So if you eliminate 30% of the most violent males, the homicide rate drops by 60%, which seems plausible. A 1% or 2% reduction would probably have had negligible impact.

    Indeed, a quick bit of Googling indicates that black homicide rates in America are very comparable to the English homicide rates toward the beginning of your time period, and although I'm no expert on the Elizabethan Era violence, I wouldn't be surprised if the pattern were also similar.

    My impression is that the vast majority of black/black homicides tend to be thuggish individuals killing each other over petty insults or quarrels, often while high on drugs. Similarly, I'd guess that a large fraction of Olde English homicides fell into the same category---people drunkenly stabbing each other over minor insults at a tavern. The reason so few homicides were ever solved was that nobody much cared given that the crimes weren't remotely as antisocial as blasphemy or theft. Indeed, an "Anon" at #128 explained that when he got drunk, he used to attack someone "just for the sheer hell of it." So if he'd lived in 1500, I doubt he'd have been a criminal subject to execution but he could have easily contributed to the homicide rate.

    I just don't see any evidence presented in the paper that the sort of people being executed were the sort of people who tended to commit murders.
  129. @Enrique Cardova
    Anon 250 says

    I’m not convinced war *disproportionately* selected against violent individuals. Even in eras where soldiers were self-selecting and probably mostly naturally violent and would suffer disproportionate casualties in battle, I think they probably killed a lot more non-violent civilians every time they sacked a city or stole food from the peasantry.
     
    Quite possibly. Back in those days sometimes, the military was at least SOMETIMES used as a dumping ground for "undesirables" or misfits, into the lower ranks. Vagabonds, beggars etc were often impressed into the military, in both the naval and land forces, though again, as time went on military forces throughout Europe became better paid and more professionalized. The Ottomans, Germans and the British back in Medieval times and later all to some extent, used forced draft military recruitment to flush "undesirables" from the ranks of the better folk. It was a known phenomenon in Europe. Even in Russia one study notes:

    "In Russia, communities and landlords used conscription to send off criminals, troublemakers, drunkards and men deemed disobedient, unruly or simply lazy. It is hardly surprising that armies time and again complained about the quality of the personnel that was provided to them in this way."
    (--Erik Jan Zucher, Fighting for a living)

    So to some extent European militaries, at some level drew off the "dregs" of society, variously defined in their own eras. Casulaty rates in war would no doubt impact these at a higher rate, cutting off their participation in the gene pool. But like you say, this should not be viewed as the ONLY factor at play. Maybe its a combo of things. Perhaps the ongoing executions of remaining lower end people on the civilian side, combined with their continual liquidation on the military front, combined together to "cull" the European gene pool. Those at the top, the elites in a sense, may have used these strategies to ensure that only the better people, those more malleable, and submissive would, in the long haul, win the gene inheritance sweepstakes.

    It could be said that the European elites gained a two-fer bonus. If dirty work needed to be done, then the lower end people could be deployed to good effect, whether in Europe or in various colonial enterprises. If a more submissive, higher quality remaining population needed to be deployed they could do just as well. Hence as Christopher Browning's study "Ordinary Men" shows, ordinary German accountants, bakers, store clerks etc, good submissive bourgeois types, in the unglamorous SS police battalions, were among the most zealous, vicious killers during the Holocaust. Internal pacification made possible more efficient external violence directed against neighboring peoples. Those at the top got the dirty work done, no matter who was used.

    Pincher Martin, there was a French communist party that achieved quite a bit of success but it never made the breakthrough in the wider society, because it was too self-enclosed with its own associations and community forums. A bunch of anons telling each other how clever and scientific they are is not going to win any wider support. Opponents will quickly identify the weakness and mercilessly attack pretensions to HBD being a community with ‘the truth’.

    No Enrique, “Ordinary Men” showed the exact opposite. They hated killing. The paper we are discussing brings out how starting in the whole trend was for non lethal punishments.
    Compare what the ordinary Algerians did to the pied-noir:

    Aussaresses surveyed the site several days later. Babies had been crushed against the wall. The women had been raped, disemboweled, and decapitated. Aussaresses thought that he had forgotten what pity was. The innocent were killed by their neighbors with whom they drank and smoked kif.

    And Enrique, Germany in WW2 did not have the same morality as existed in other countries, look at my “this morality” link above

    Enrique, People keep mentioning the Ulster Scots, they were mainly from the parts of Scotland that were closest Ayrshire and Galloway. Kilmarnock (Scotland) where I live was home to the Boyds, many of whom went to Ulster. I could walk to the coast in a few hours, and on a clear day see Ireland.

    Enrique ” southeastern england, northwestern france, northern germany — and manorialism” Those areas had commerce and something like modern civil society first. In the 12th century you had manorialism everywhere but in those areas. If you look at what actually broke up Scottish Highland clans it was the clan chiefs trying to make money. Once civil commercial society arrived there was no need for ‘outbreeding’, the chiefs abandoned their retainers (relatives) and moved into luxurious apartments in Edinburgh and London. Commerce charges everything; merchants demand protection.That is what I think was behind the Church and state’s sudden reversal of their long standing Christian ideological opposition to taking the life of anyone who broke the law. The alternative is to think that suddenly there was ideological change in the state and Church that had nothing to do with the realities of the situation.

    A new situation (commerce) meant there was a need for removing the crooks who were holding back progress, so there was an ideological change to provide a rational basis for that punitive policy. Ideas are around but they only gain currency when there is a need for them.

    You can look at international relations in the same way. The most pacifistic people in Europe (Germany) acted like a pack of ravening wolves seventy years ago . Is that because peaceful ideology was not invented until recently? Obviously the ideology was available but they thought it didn’t meet their needs. Now they do.

    Enrique The growing power of the state would suppress the old private vendetta/revenge systems As already mentioned, in above link Boyds murdered Ayrshire rivals the Montgomeries, but they cooperated when they were in Ulster. It was a different situation.

    My reading of what Ron Unz is saying is he thinks it hasn’t been shown in the paper that there was sufficient removal of extreme aggressive behaviour that was due to genes. Murderous violence would be the uncontrolled extreme of a quality that could sometimes pay off .

    America was a frontier with good land sometimes scarce (as in Appalachia), sometimes there for the taking. Probably there would be selection for aggressive behaviour where good land was scarce. In some parts of the US the recipe for reproductive success would be low personal consumption, and hard work. The Mennonites were banned from buying land in some states and moved to Canada I believe.

    Aggression is linked to testosterone, which is linked to reproductive success. So its probably more complicated than dog breeding.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin

    Pincher Martin, there was a French communist party that achieved quite a bit of success but it never made the breakthrough in the wider society, because it was too self-enclosed with its own associations and community forums. A bunch of anons telling each other how clever and scientific they are is not going to win any wider support. Opponents will quickly identify the weakness and mercilessly attack pretensions to HBD being a community with ‘the truth’.
     
    HBD is not a political movement. The commentators interested in discussing HBD topics have a wide range of political beliefs. Steve Hsu, for example, votes for Obama - and even openly likes and admires the man.

    Then there are the East Asian chauvinists, the disaffected tories, the paleoconservatives, the soft liberals attracted to the science of HBD, and many regular commentators whose politics I can't make out.

    Many white nationalists also gravitate to HBD blogs, but it quickly becomes apparent to even the uninitiated that they aren't the best source of information about it.

    Good luck building a political movement out of those materials. The only commonality they seem to share is a strong aversion to the liberal status quo about the plasticity of human nature.

    Ultimately, either the truth will out or it won't. I'm not terribly concerned about your ideas on how best to facilitate that. Or how closely you think we correspond to the French Communist Party.

    Whether someone decides to comment anonymously or under their own name is a personal decision that I really don't give a shit about either way. So long as their comments are interesting, then I'm interested in reading them - and in hearing others respond to them.

    And if their comments are dull and uninspired, then publishing them under their real name and with a full resumé distinguishing the author as a "serious person" are not going to make their comments any better

    , @iffen

    Kilmarnock (Scotland) where I live
     
    I just read this. You live in the Urhmeit, man! Love and hugs to you!
  130. @ Peter Frost:

    Peter, wasn’t there an article published before this one, but after “The Last Push-Back Against Liberalism” dealing with slave trading in Europe during the Dark Ages? I’m certain I saw it and I saw some comments to which I was going to respond, but then the article disappeared. In it there was even a link to one of your older articles, “From Slavs to Slaves Part II”. That older article is still in the archives, but I can’t find the recent one. I don’t think I just dreamed it up; was it maybe one of web site updates that messed it up?

  131. @Sean
    Pincher Martin, there was a French communist party that achieved quite a bit of success but it never made the breakthrough in the wider society, because it was too self-enclosed with its own associations and community forums. A bunch of anons telling each other how clever and scientific they are is not going to win any wider support. Opponents will quickly identify the weakness and mercilessly attack pretensions to HBD being a community with 'the truth'.

    No Enrique, “Ordinary Men” showed the exact opposite. They hated killing. The paper we are discussing brings out how starting in the whole trend was for non lethal punishments.
    Compare what the ordinary Algerians did to the pied-noir:


    Aussaresses surveyed the site several days later. Babies had been crushed against the wall. The women had been raped, disemboweled, and decapitated. Aussaresses thought that he had forgotten what pity was. The innocent were killed by their neighbors with whom they drank and smoked kif.
     
    And Enrique, Germany in WW2 did not have the same morality as existed in other countries, look at my "this morality" link above

    Enrique, People keep mentioning the Ulster Scots, they were mainly from the parts of Scotland that were closest Ayrshire and Galloway. Kilmarnock (Scotland) where I live was home to the Boyds, many of whom went to Ulster. I could walk to the coast in a few hours, and on a clear day see Ireland.

    Enrique " southeastern england, northwestern france, northern germany — and manorialism" Those areas had commerce and something like modern civil society first. In the 12th century you had manorialism everywhere but in those areas. If you look at what actually broke up Scottish Highland clans it was the clan chiefs trying to make money. Once civil commercial society arrived there was no need for 'outbreeding', the chiefs abandoned their retainers (relatives) and moved into luxurious apartments in Edinburgh and London. Commerce charges everything; merchants demand protection.That is what I think was behind the Church and state's sudden reversal of their long standing Christian ideological opposition to taking the life of anyone who broke the law. The alternative is to think that suddenly there was ideological change in the state and Church that had nothing to do with the realities of the situation.

    A new situation (commerce) meant there was a need for removing the crooks who were holding back progress, so there was an ideological change to provide a rational basis for that punitive policy. Ideas are around but they only gain currency when there is a need for them.

    You can look at international relations in the same way. The most pacifistic people in Europe (Germany) acted like a pack of ravening wolves seventy years ago . Is that because peaceful ideology was not invented until recently? Obviously the ideology was available but they thought it didn't meet their needs. Now they do.

    Enrique The growing power of the state would suppress the old private vendetta/revenge systems As already mentioned, in above link Boyds murdered Ayrshire rivals the Montgomeries, but they cooperated when they were in Ulster. It was a different situation.

    My reading of what Ron Unz is saying is he thinks it hasn't been shown in the paper that there was sufficient removal of extreme aggressive behaviour that was due to genes. Murderous violence would be the uncontrolled extreme of a quality that could sometimes pay off .

    America was a frontier with good land sometimes scarce (as in Appalachia), sometimes there for the taking. Probably there would be selection for aggressive behaviour where good land was scarce. In some parts of the US the recipe for reproductive success would be low personal consumption, and hard work. The Mennonites were banned from buying land in some states and moved to Canada I believe.

    Aggression is linked to testosterone, which is linked to reproductive success. So its probably more complicated than dog breeding.

    Pincher Martin, there was a French communist party that achieved quite a bit of success but it never made the breakthrough in the wider society, because it was too self-enclosed with its own associations and community forums. A bunch of anons telling each other how clever and scientific they are is not going to win any wider support. Opponents will quickly identify the weakness and mercilessly attack pretensions to HBD being a community with ‘the truth’.

    HBD is not a political movement. The commentators interested in discussing HBD topics have a wide range of political beliefs. Steve Hsu, for example, votes for Obama – and even openly likes and admires the man.

    Then there are the East Asian chauvinists, the disaffected tories, the paleoconservatives, the soft liberals attracted to the science of HBD, and many regular commentators whose politics I can’t make out.

    Many white nationalists also gravitate to HBD blogs, but it quickly becomes apparent to even the uninitiated that they aren’t the best source of information about it.

    Good luck building a political movement out of those materials. The only commonality they seem to share is a strong aversion to the liberal status quo about the plasticity of human nature.

    Ultimately, either the truth will out or it won’t. I’m not terribly concerned about your ideas on how best to facilitate that. Or how closely you think we correspond to the French Communist Party.

    Whether someone decides to comment anonymously or under their own name is a personal decision that I really don’t give a shit about either way. So long as their comments are interesting, then I’m interested in reading them – and in hearing others respond to them.

    And if their comments are dull and uninspired, then publishing them under their real name and with a full resumé distinguishing the author as a “serious person” are not going to make their comments any better

    • Replies: @hbd chick
    @pincher - "HBD is not a political movement."

    THANK you!
    , @JayMan

    HBD is not a political movement. The commentators interested in discussing HBD topics have a wide range of political beliefs. Steve Hsu, for example, votes for Obama – and even openly likes and admires the man.

    Then there are the East Asian chauvinists, the disaffected tories, the paleoconservatives, the soft liberals attracted to the science of HBD, and many regular commentators whose politics I can’t make out.

    Many white nationalists also gravitate to HBD blogs, but it quickly becomes apparent to even the uninitiated that they aren’t the best source of information about it.
     
    Well said!
    , @Sean
    Pincher, Communism claimed not to be political, it said it was scientific. Citing critiques of the post's thesis by nameless bloggers in the post makes the thing confusing, non-credible, and seemingly opiniony.. To my way of thinking a post should be maximally accessible and credible to the uninformed reader who stumbles on it.
  132. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @hbd chick
    @ron - "I also very much doubt the victims were at the extreme end of the violence curve since with lots of local brawls and fights...."

    homicides that occurred in brawls or barroom fights only amount to between 4 and 6% of all homicides in fourteenth century england (greater amounts in urban than rural areas). the majority of homicides took places in the victims' homes, but, unlike today, were NOT committed mostly by family. the culprits were typically male and someone from the neighborhood/village -- often a person in business, like the local baker. the typical cause seems to have been people getting all hot and bothered in the course of an argument -- not being able to control their temper.

    i get all of this from barabara hanawalt's "Violent Death in Fourteenth- and Early Fifteenth-Century England." she's got data on almost everything, but most annoyingly, she doesn't mention the average age of the killers! (unless i missed it.) argh.

    For heaven’s sake hbd chick, capitalise the first letter in your sentences!

    • Replies: @JayMan

    For heaven’s sake hbd chick, capitalise the first letter in your sentences!
     
    Not even the luck of the Irish will help you on that one, son.
  133. Sean says

    No Enrique, “Ordinary Men” showed the exact opposite. They hated killing. The paper we are discussing brings out how starting in the whole trend was for non lethal punishments.

    Wrong Sean. In fact, the book Ordinary Men showed that these bourgeois stalwarts- merchants, civil servants, academics, farmers, students, managers, skilled and unskilled workers. etc for the most part, were ordinary German men and women. Hundreds of thousands were involved not a small minority, and they faced little retribution for opting out. And it shows that they murdered Jews willingly, approvingly, even zealously. In fact some even proudly invited their girlfriends and wives to various killing sites to witness the good, cleansing work. SOME may have expresses regret and discomfort I agree, and that too is documented, but in large, the book, and others shows these ordinary people diligently murdering other human beings, including children, in cold blood.

    It is telling that your “supporting” link does not point to the actual Browning book but a totally different tome on “gut feelings.” Curious omission, for someone who sweepingly denies what the book plainly lays out.

    Compare what the ordinary Algerians did to the pied-noir:

    Sure, I agree the Algerian War saw savage brutalities on both sides. here is one account of the “civilized” side:
    ” But in the end we were as barbarous as the F.L.N. I mentioned interrogations. Do you think that suspects talked because they enjoyed conversation? It was la torture loosened their tongues. Muslim women were raped by whole squads, had high pressure hoses put in their rectums. Old men and boys had legs broken with crowbars. And beatings, with whips and mallets, without mercy.”
    And even worse is shown in various academic writeups:

    https://sgsnow.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/savage_war_of_peace_chap_9.pdf

    And Enrique, Germany in WW2 did not have the same morality as existed in other countries, look at my “this morality” link above.

    I checked your link. German morality was not necessarily out of sync with other countries. It depends. Some parts were quite in sync with that of the other major power on the European/Eurasian landmass- Russia, under Comrade Stalin, who cooly murdered tens of millions in his Holodomor. Your “This Morality” link actually espouses views quite congenial to some modern “HBD” types. For example the words of the Fuhrer on marriage- that “it must have the larger goal of increasing and maintaining the species and the race. That only is its meaning and its task.” (Mein Kampf, p. 275) is something that would attract much support in certain more conservative quarters today, and was not all that controversial in the 1930s. The Fuhrer’s 5 propositions:

    1-The work of the individual has only one purpose: to serve the whole group.
    2-Major accomplishments are possible only by the division of labor.
    3-Each bee risks its life without hesitation for the whole.
    4-Individuals who are not useful or are harmful to the whole are eliminated.
    5-The species is maintained by producing a large number of offspring.

    would have found significant support in Europe at the time he wrote it, and in Eastern Europe as well under communist hegemony. Indeed the “eugenics” parts would have be supported by some quite prominent intellectuals in the US. Today’s China would love it, save for the larger offspring part. German militarism soured many, but many of the moral arguments made in Mein Kampf before such actual military conquests or intimidation, or the Holocaust, such as Jewish over-representation in certain events, movements or organizations might have found broad agreement in Europe. HBD writer Kevin Macdonald indeed argues that National Socialism can be seen as an Anti-Jewish Evolutionary Strategy that had deep roots in the past historical European interactions with Jews, rather than being the outlandish creation of one alleged “madman.”

    If Macdonald is correct about Nazism as a logical evolutionary strategy, then perhaps it could be said that the controllers of northwest Europe undertook actions to “select” for a more congenial European gene pool. Their continuous program of capital punishment executions culled lesser stocks- hindering their reproduction – while the Holocaust under the National Socialism evolutionary program liquidated putative “alien elements” from that gene pool as well. Europe’s many wars would be a third “culling” mechanism to purge and refine the European gene pool- and indeed the Fuhrer argued that war was a purifying mechanism that ultimately would improve the stock of the volk.

    If you look at what actually broke up Scottish Highland clans it was the clan chiefs trying to make money. Once civil commercial society arrived there was no need for ‘outbreeding’, the chiefs abandoned their retainers (relatives) and moved into luxurious apartments in Edinburgh and London.

    I do not dispute that the British imperial project, or the Norman imperial project further back suppressed and later incorporated outlying clans and tribes- such as incorporating some Scot/Welsh leaders into the British ruling class framework, and incorporating the lower classes as foot soldiers for larger war projects at home, regionally and abroad.

    You can look at international relations in the same way. The most pacifistic people in Europe (Germany) acted like a pack of ravening wolves seventy years ago . Is that because peaceful ideology was not invented until recently? Obviously the ideology was available but they thought it didn’t meet their needs. Now they do.

    I don’t think the Germans were that pacifistic. They were the focus of, or started 2 world wars that killed tens of millions. Even before this, the Germans were waging plenty of war in Europe, or fighting among one another internally for hegemony. Prussia achieved hegemony by force of arms, not pacifism, and then later on a more centralized German state challenged British and French hegemony. Like you say, peaceful ideology did not necessarily meet their needs over the long run. And Germany (and France, Britain etc) shows that more peaceful pacific bourgeois people may be such INTERNALLY in their lands, but outwardly wage more aggressive, larger scale, more destructive war on their neighbors and further afield. Europe’s many wars show this patten as well.

    My reading of what Ron Unz is saying is he thinks it hasn’t been shown in the paper that there was sufficient removal of extreme aggressive behaviour that was due to genes. Murderous violence would be the uncontrolled extreme of a quality that could sometimes pay off .

    Maybe. In some cases murderous violence can pay. Larger scale aggressive war would be one way to remove a lot of people from the gene pool.

    America was a frontier with good land sometimes scarce (as in Appalachia), sometimes there for the taking. Probably there would be selection for aggressive behaviour where good land was scarce. In some parts of the US the recipe for reproductive success would be low personal consumption, and hard work.

    I would agree that on a hostile frontier situation, an aggressive behavior can be a positive as far as self-preservation. Some argue that is why the wilder, cruder Scotch Irish, coming from the violent UK borderlands, oppressed by the central hegemons or classes of Britain, excelled as mountain men and advance pioneers. I am glad you mention this for it may provide a counterpoint to the notion of the peaceful, pacified European. In this case of the dangerous frontier, the wilder outliers, the suppressed clan remnants, proved more successful than the “effete” types further down the line.

    This could be extended to the white south, heavily populated by the more backward, cruder English borderland types. The enthusiasm with which they fought the initial Civil war battles shook the North and gave initial success, until harsher northern warlords arose that applied ruthless, crushing, bringing home the true cost of war to those who opposed central hegemony. Sherman’s “March Thru Georgia” is one example of this. The victorious center in the US thus pacified the outlying region, just as it did in Europe so many centuries ago. It may be that the northern victory eventually selected for more pacified white Americans.

    It should be noted that areas heavily populated by these more backward whites, relatively speaking, on the average, tend to be poorer, more violent etc, show more substance abuse, out of wedlock births, and/or slower to progress economically as has been the case with the white south, Appalachia, and even the relatively slower wealth production by such groups as the Irish in their settings. The Irish for example were relatively slow rising among European ethnic groups, and did not achieve income parity with other Americans until the 1950s.

  134. Peter, wasn’t there an article published before this one, but after “The Last Push-Back Against Liberalism” dealing with slave trading in Europe during the Dark Ages?

    I know one of Steve’s commenters linked to one of my old posts on the subject:

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/from-slavs-to-slaves-part-ii/

    I’ve also been working on a text that would bring all of those texts together. The following is an abstract:

    White skin privilege. Modern myth, forgotten past.

    There is a widespread view that white women dominate the fashion industry, and hence our notions of beauty, because European societies have dominated the world for the past few centuries. Its proponents include top model Cameron Russell, who calls herself an undeserving recipient of white privilege.

    This view has become so entrenched that little concern is shown for contrary evidence. In particular, how does one explain the trade in European women with the Muslim world, commonly called the white slave trade, which prevailed when European societies were much less dominant than they are today? And why is fair skin a mark of femininity in all cultures and all known time periods? Ironically, this female norm is weakest in modern Western culture, which has favored the tanned look in women’s fashion since the 1920s.

    The white slave trade is especially hard to explain because it began during the Dark Ages, when the geopolitical landscape scarcely resembled today’s. Neither then nor later was this trade driven by a desire to emulate European civilization. It was driven by a desire to possess European women, however backward they might be. Indeed, their continent’s backwardness helped make the trade possible. European states were too weak to stop it and had to accept their relative weakness, much like Asian and African ones later on.

    ——————————–
    I don’t see how I could have accidentally posted it, although stranger things have happened on my computer.

    • Replies: @Mark Eugenikos
    Thank you for replying, Peter. You are right, it wasn't your article; it was the link to your older article in a comment to Steve's "Mozart on Muslim Sex Slavery", and I somehow thought that was your article since the topic was pretty similar. Thank you for clarifying that.
  135. @Pincher Martin

    Pincher Martin, there was a French communist party that achieved quite a bit of success but it never made the breakthrough in the wider society, because it was too self-enclosed with its own associations and community forums. A bunch of anons telling each other how clever and scientific they are is not going to win any wider support. Opponents will quickly identify the weakness and mercilessly attack pretensions to HBD being a community with ‘the truth’.
     
    HBD is not a political movement. The commentators interested in discussing HBD topics have a wide range of political beliefs. Steve Hsu, for example, votes for Obama - and even openly likes and admires the man.

    Then there are the East Asian chauvinists, the disaffected tories, the paleoconservatives, the soft liberals attracted to the science of HBD, and many regular commentators whose politics I can't make out.

    Many white nationalists also gravitate to HBD blogs, but it quickly becomes apparent to even the uninitiated that they aren't the best source of information about it.

    Good luck building a political movement out of those materials. The only commonality they seem to share is a strong aversion to the liberal status quo about the plasticity of human nature.

    Ultimately, either the truth will out or it won't. I'm not terribly concerned about your ideas on how best to facilitate that. Or how closely you think we correspond to the French Communist Party.

    Whether someone decides to comment anonymously or under their own name is a personal decision that I really don't give a shit about either way. So long as their comments are interesting, then I'm interested in reading them - and in hearing others respond to them.

    And if their comments are dull and uninspired, then publishing them under their real name and with a full resumé distinguishing the author as a "serious person" are not going to make their comments any better

    @pincher – “HBD is not a political movement.”

    THANK you!

  136. @Peter Frost
    Exactly, Peter. Except that’s not what I actually wrote:

    For the 250 years between 1700 and 1950, the overall decline looks to be about 85%.

    Ron,

    The full sentence reads:


    the overall decline looks to be about 85%, pretty similar to the figures for Britain we’ve been discussing

     

    This was after midnight, and I read "85% similar." But my objection still holds. The English decline in the homicide rate was 10-fold, and the American decline 3.5-fold. Those two declines are not "pretty similar" unless "pretty" means "not at all."

    Similarly, my initial comment upthread had never disputed the correctness of the Breeders’ Equation.

    Therefore, you have no problem -- in theory -- with the conclusion that an execution rate of 1-2% can explain a little over half of the 10-fold decline in the homicide rate between 1500 and 1750. Your argument is with only certain assumptions in the model, particularly the assumption that the executed offenders had no children who survived to adulthood.

    If that assumption could be shown to be plausible, would you accept the model itself as being plausible? Or is your objection more fundamental? I don't enjoy pestering you on this point, but it's crucial.

    The English decline in the homicide rate was 10-fold, and the American decline 3.5-fold.

    This is just silly. The English homicide decline from 1500 to 1750 that is the centerpiece of your paper was 10-fold and based on soft data. The American homicide decline from 1700 to 1950 was approximately 9-fold and based on very good data. I’d say the latter case is far more remarkable and requiring of a theoretical explanation.

    Therefore, you have no problem — in theory — with the conclusion that an execution rate of 1-2% can explain a little over half of the 10-fold decline in the homicide rate between 1500 and 1750.

    I agree that under your ideal assumptions a *perfectly targeted* execution rate of 1-2% per generation might explain 25% to 50% of the decline in homicides. But none of those ideal assumptions are remotely plausible.

    Here’s a (ridiculous) example of what I mean. America has about 15,000 homicides per year, and suppose the government (like in that Tom Cruise movie) could predict ahead of time exactly who would commit those homicides and execute them in advance. By executing a mere 0.005% of the American population annually, virtually all homicides could be eliminated.

    Now consider England during the period you discuss. There were lots of homicides, but from what you said, very few of the huge number of executions were actually for homicide. The people being executed were generally robbers, thieves, abortionists, blasphemers, heretics, and political troublemakers, whose genetic tendencies toward lethal violence may have been very tenuous. If you had perfect knowledge and could kill exactly those individuals who were carriers of “homicide genes” that might have had an impact, but massacring large numbers of petty thieves and blasphemers probably wouldn’t.

    Let’s consider a real life example. Over the last couple of decades, black urban homicide rates have dropped by more than half, certainly not a 90% reduction, but still quite considerable. Why has that happened? Well, probably lots of different reasons, but maybe one of them is that around 30% of all urban black men have “disappeared”—they’re dead or in prison. So if you eliminate 30% of the most violent males, the homicide rate drops by 60%, which seems plausible. A 1% or 2% reduction would probably have had negligible impact.

    Indeed, a quick bit of Googling indicates that black homicide rates in America are very comparable to the English homicide rates toward the beginning of your time period, and although I’m no expert on the Elizabethan Era violence, I wouldn’t be surprised if the pattern were also similar.

    My impression is that the vast majority of black/black homicides tend to be thuggish individuals killing each other over petty insults or quarrels, often while high on drugs. Similarly, I’d guess that a large fraction of Olde English homicides fell into the same category—people drunkenly stabbing each other over minor insults at a tavern. The reason so few homicides were ever solved was that nobody much cared given that the crimes weren’t remotely as antisocial as blasphemy or theft. Indeed, an “Anon” at #128 explained that when he got drunk, he used to attack someone “just for the sheer hell of it.” So if he’d lived in 1500, I doubt he’d have been a criminal subject to execution but he could have easily contributed to the homicide rate.

    I just don’t see any evidence presented in the paper that the sort of people being executed were the sort of people who tended to commit murders.

    • Replies: @iffen
    If you get back into the area look at the law and program that allows state-federal task forces that target offenders with one felony conviction who are later arrested on weapons charges. It has put big numbers of black offenders in federal prisons for many years. One drug conviction and one pistol= many years in prison.
  137. @Pincher Martin

    Pincher Martin, there was a French communist party that achieved quite a bit of success but it never made the breakthrough in the wider society, because it was too self-enclosed with its own associations and community forums. A bunch of anons telling each other how clever and scientific they are is not going to win any wider support. Opponents will quickly identify the weakness and mercilessly attack pretensions to HBD being a community with ‘the truth’.
     
    HBD is not a political movement. The commentators interested in discussing HBD topics have a wide range of political beliefs. Steve Hsu, for example, votes for Obama - and even openly likes and admires the man.

    Then there are the East Asian chauvinists, the disaffected tories, the paleoconservatives, the soft liberals attracted to the science of HBD, and many regular commentators whose politics I can't make out.

    Many white nationalists also gravitate to HBD blogs, but it quickly becomes apparent to even the uninitiated that they aren't the best source of information about it.

    Good luck building a political movement out of those materials. The only commonality they seem to share is a strong aversion to the liberal status quo about the plasticity of human nature.

    Ultimately, either the truth will out or it won't. I'm not terribly concerned about your ideas on how best to facilitate that. Or how closely you think we correspond to the French Communist Party.

    Whether someone decides to comment anonymously or under their own name is a personal decision that I really don't give a shit about either way. So long as their comments are interesting, then I'm interested in reading them - and in hearing others respond to them.

    And if their comments are dull and uninspired, then publishing them under their real name and with a full resumé distinguishing the author as a "serious person" are not going to make their comments any better

    HBD is not a political movement. The commentators interested in discussing HBD topics have a wide range of political beliefs. Steve Hsu, for example, votes for Obama – and even openly likes and admires the man.

    Then there are the East Asian chauvinists, the disaffected tories, the paleoconservatives, the soft liberals attracted to the science of HBD, and many regular commentators whose politics I can’t make out.

    Many white nationalists also gravitate to HBD blogs, but it quickly becomes apparent to even the uninitiated that they aren’t the best source of information about it.

    Well said!

  138. @Anonymous
    For heaven's sake hbd chick, capitalise the first letter in your sentences!

    For heaven’s sake hbd chick, capitalise the first letter in your sentences!

    Not even the luck of the Irish will help you on that one, son.

  139. Enrique, The full truth of how the French women and their children were killed by the Algerians they thought they could trust is too disgusting to describe. But it’s OK , everyone can make their own mind about whether Gerd Gigerenzer is worth listening to, or right that the motivation for Germans participating in atrocities was a gut feeling of don’t break ranks. And whether I know anything about where most of the Ulster settlers were from. (The Ulster Scots tended to settle in mountains because they thought the valleys would be boggy.)

    Peter, “the trade in European women with the Muslim world, commonly called the white slave trade”. Yes but as you pointed out the Kings wanted to make money, and that is why they accepted it. Reading that and other history you can’t help but be impressed by how the need of kings to pay for the upkeep of their social position and luxury lifestyles made them desperate to find income. The kings’ income came from granting monopolies to trade. The church opposed violence (they were against the Chivalric tournaments). The whole meaning and tenor of Christian principles and Western civilisation was removing all sanction from the death penalty. You show this quite well in the paper. Yet the Kings and then the church began doing something drastically different . Kings got income from taxing trade so they wanted merchants to set up shop. Merchants would have demanded law and order. That is what I think the slaughter of even petty criminals was targeting. Psychopathic aggression was massively reduced, but that was more of a welcome side effect.

    Ron Unz, True many put to death or dying in prison would be just people who poached a deer or rabbit to feed their family, but couldn’t that maybe still made them very slightly more likely to commit murder? Hanging someone for taking a rabbit would have somewhat of an effect. Moreover I have read that in early Germany murder was the secret killing of an unknown person. Like the Cheyenne war chiefs, if you were an exceptionally powerful warrior (which would require good genes for surviving violent exploits) you could go on to glory and reproductive success. There might have been quite a reversal of what was being selected for in the early medieval period.

    That is a difference in black ghettos I think inasmuch as those areas are spatially quite restricted. People can be driven out because gangs rule the locality and do killing to protect their turf and illegal business. People leave to avoid having to pay them off . That could make for a confounding factor. Here is something that may be relevant, about the effect of wolves (killers of coyotes) on coyotes killing red foxes.

    BUT But it turns out that the inter-carnivore dynamics among wolves, coyotes, and foxes aren’t quite that simple. Because the area of land they investigated was so large, Newsome and Ripple discovered a large-scale “transition zone” at the edge of wolf territory, in which the ratio between foxes and coyotes shifts according to how far a population is from the center of wolf territory. That’s because wolves become more rare closer to the edge of their territory than in the center. That transition zone stretches for an impressive 200 kilometers. In other words, it is only 200 kilometers away from the edge of wolf territory that foxes begin to outnumber coyotes

    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    True many put to death or dying in prison would be just people who poached a deer or rabbit to feed their family, but couldn’t that maybe still made them very slightly more likely to commit murder? Hanging someone for taking a rabbit would have somewhat of an effect.
     
    I completely agree. In fact, my initial speculation was that executed were probably among the 20-30% most violent portion of the population. But the theoretical problem is an execution rate of 1-2% is so low, the only way it can possibly move the genetic needle is if it represented the absolutely most violent 1-2% of the population, just as Peter had assumed in his formula. Anything much farther down on the Bell Curve, and the genetic impact is nil.

    I also agree that under the right circumstances even ten generations is enough to produce a significant change in the genetic factors influencing homicide, but I'm arguing that the 1-2% execution rate was just too low and too poorly targeted to have produced the necessary selective pressure.

    Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if a far larger genetic effect came from the homicides themselves. If we assume that the overwhelming majority of the homicide victims were violent males killed in stupid fights with other violent males, the genes being eliminated were *exactly* the ones resposible for high homicide rates. Furthermore, for every male killed in a fight I'd assume there were many who were merely injured, perhaps often badly enough to greatly reduce their economic and hence reproductive viability. Glancing at Peter's paper, the homicide rate in 1500 was 20-40 per 100K per year, or 0.5-1.0% per (25 year) generation. But that was the rate per total population so (assuming the bulk of homicide victims were adult males), the adult male homicide rate was probably considerably higher than the adult male execution rate. And in this case, victims weren't counterfeiters or poachers or blasphemers---they were thugs getting into drunken knife-fights in taverns.

    Ten generations of drunken thugs eliminating each other from the gene-pool could have a significant impact though I can't see how we could calculate anything given all the unknowns.
  140. @Pincher Martin

    Pincher Martin, there was a French communist party that achieved quite a bit of success but it never made the breakthrough in the wider society, because it was too self-enclosed with its own associations and community forums. A bunch of anons telling each other how clever and scientific they are is not going to win any wider support. Opponents will quickly identify the weakness and mercilessly attack pretensions to HBD being a community with ‘the truth’.
     
    HBD is not a political movement. The commentators interested in discussing HBD topics have a wide range of political beliefs. Steve Hsu, for example, votes for Obama - and even openly likes and admires the man.

    Then there are the East Asian chauvinists, the disaffected tories, the paleoconservatives, the soft liberals attracted to the science of HBD, and many regular commentators whose politics I can't make out.

    Many white nationalists also gravitate to HBD blogs, but it quickly becomes apparent to even the uninitiated that they aren't the best source of information about it.

    Good luck building a political movement out of those materials. The only commonality they seem to share is a strong aversion to the liberal status quo about the plasticity of human nature.

    Ultimately, either the truth will out or it won't. I'm not terribly concerned about your ideas on how best to facilitate that. Or how closely you think we correspond to the French Communist Party.

    Whether someone decides to comment anonymously or under their own name is a personal decision that I really don't give a shit about either way. So long as their comments are interesting, then I'm interested in reading them - and in hearing others respond to them.

    And if their comments are dull and uninspired, then publishing them under their real name and with a full resumé distinguishing the author as a "serious person" are not going to make their comments any better

    Pincher, Communism claimed not to be political, it said it was scientific. Citing critiques of the post’s thesis by nameless bloggers in the post makes the thing confusing, non-credible, and seemingly opiniony.. To my way of thinking a post should be maximally accessible and credible to the uninformed reader who stumbles on it.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin

    Pincher, Communism claimed not to be political, it said it was scientific. Citing critiques of the post’s thesis by nameless bloggers in the post makes the thing confusing, non-credible, and seemingly opiniony.. To my way of thinking a post should be maximally accessible and credible to the uninformed reader who stumbles on it.
     
    Some people interested in HBD are not interested in being a martyr to the truth. They have families who depend on them, and jobs which are subject the whims of someone who in all likelihood strongly disagrees with their ideas. All it takes is one person doing a Google search to put their entire life at risk.

    And many fine influential works have been published under pseudonyms. The Federalist Papers, for example, were published under the pseudonym "Publius." Many female novelists used male pen names to disguise their gender. Other authors (Voltaire, George Orwell, etc.) have used them to protect (or distance themselves from) their families.

    HBDers cover sensitive topics. These topics are so sensitive that they are rarely covered by academics and journalists. When you read a book about disparities in wealth among nations, or testing differences among groups in the U.S., or crime, obesity, etc., you will almost never even see genes or biology mentioned as a factor. The authors will go on at great length about social, cultural, political, economic, and historical variables, even when they disagree with a specific variable's explanatory power. But they refuse to touch genetic or biological factors, not even to dispute them.

    The subject is as close to a taboo as anything you will find in modern society. So it's silly and disingenuous of you to be calling for only the bravest of tenured professors to be discussing this subject, when there are many other people who can contribute.

    , @iffen
    You are like Peter Frost, you want to do something with this knowledge.

    Most of the others are happy just adding to their string of beads.

    Good luck!
  141. This is just silly. The English homicide decline from 1500 to 1750 that is the centerpiece of your paper was 10-fold and based on soft data. The American homicide decline from 1700 to 1950 was approximately 9-fold and based on very good data.

    Ron,

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand. That’s a 3.5 fold decrease, not a 9-fold decrease. (and the same math produces a 10-fold decrease for the English homicide decline). Who is being silly here?

    I don’t think one can credibly argue that 18th century English data were “softer” than 18th century American data. If anything, the reverse would be true. At that time, the U.S. covered frontier areas where data collection of any kind was rudimentary. American data gathering becomes better when one moves up into the 20th century and the late 19th century. By that time, however, the decline in the American homicide rate had bottomed out. From 1840 to 2000, the overall decline in the American homicide rate is very modest.

    There were lots of homicides, but from what you said, very few of the huge number of executions were actually for homicide.

    No, I said that most murder cases in the Middle Ages went unsolved. There were no police and much less of the investigative infrastructure that we have today. If you committed a one-time murder, your chances of not being prosecuted were very high. Prosecutions usually involved multiple murders in public settings that were witnessed by multiple people (who were willing to come forth and testify). This is why most executions involved highwaymen, bandits, and cattle thieves.

    Yes, it is true that crimes like counterfeiting and theft (above a certain amount) were made capital offences, but the actual number of executions for those crimes was proportionately small. Such crimes also tended to be used as a way to prosecute people who were guilty of more serious crimes that were harder to prove.

    Our model assumes that each executed offender would, in the absence of the death penalty, have killed only one person over the course of a normal lifetime. That is a very conservative assumption. Undoubtedly, some people had the “bad luck” of being executed after killing only once. But that wasn’t the typical situation. Moreover, many people among the executed would have gone on to kill many more people. So, on that point, our model greatly “underpredicts” the decline in the English homicide rate.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin

    I don’t think one can credibly argue that 18th century English data were “softer” than 18th century American data. If anything, the reverse would be true.
     
    Ron's own source says that the early statistics on the American homicide rate "should be taken with a grain of salt."
    , @Ron Unz
    To repeat myself, the standard historical data shows a 9-fold drop in the American homicide rate between 1700 and 1950. Some plausible explanation must be found for that 9-fold decline, and it obviously isn't the genetic impact of American mass-executions.

    I'm certainly not claiming that the American data is perfect, but I'd imagine it's far better than what I suspect is totally fragmentary Olde English data. Furthermore, to the extent that there were often reporting problems in the early frontier portions of America, wouldn't the true homicide rate very possibly be somewhat higher than the reported figure?

    Since it seems that so much of the data for both the English and the American cases is based on the long Eisner article, I suppose I'll need to read it to provide a more informed perspective on these issues.
  142. @Peter Frost
    This is just silly. The English homicide decline from 1500 to 1750 that is the centerpiece of your paper was 10-fold and based on soft data. The American homicide decline from 1700 to 1950 was approximately 9-fold and based on very good data.

    Ron,

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand. That's a 3.5 fold decrease, not a 9-fold decrease. (and the same math produces a 10-fold decrease for the English homicide decline). Who is being silly here?

    I don't think one can credibly argue that 18th century English data were "softer" than 18th century American data. If anything, the reverse would be true. At that time, the U.S. covered frontier areas where data collection of any kind was rudimentary. American data gathering becomes better when one moves up into the 20th century and the late 19th century. By that time, however, the decline in the American homicide rate had bottomed out. From 1840 to 2000, the overall decline in the American homicide rate is very modest.

    There were lots of homicides, but from what you said, very few of the huge number of executions were actually for homicide.


    No, I said that most murder cases in the Middle Ages went unsolved. There were no police and much less of the investigative infrastructure that we have today. If you committed a one-time murder, your chances of not being prosecuted were very high. Prosecutions usually involved multiple murders in public settings that were witnessed by multiple people (who were willing to come forth and testify). This is why most executions involved highwaymen, bandits, and cattle thieves.

    Yes, it is true that crimes like counterfeiting and theft (above a certain amount) were made capital offences, but the actual number of executions for those crimes was proportionately small. Such crimes also tended to be used as a way to prosecute people who were guilty of more serious crimes that were harder to prove.

    Our model assumes that each executed offender would, in the absence of the death penalty, have killed only one person over the course of a normal lifetime. That is a very conservative assumption. Undoubtedly, some people had the "bad luck" of being executed after killing only once. But that wasn't the typical situation. Moreover, many people among the executed would have gone on to kill many more people. So, on that point, our model greatly "underpredicts" the decline in the English homicide rate.

    I don’t think one can credibly argue that 18th century English data were “softer” than 18th century American data. If anything, the reverse would be true.

    Ron’s own source says that the early statistics on the American homicide rate “should be taken with a grain of salt.”

  143. @Sean
    Pincher, Communism claimed not to be political, it said it was scientific. Citing critiques of the post's thesis by nameless bloggers in the post makes the thing confusing, non-credible, and seemingly opiniony.. To my way of thinking a post should be maximally accessible and credible to the uninformed reader who stumbles on it.

    Pincher, Communism claimed not to be political, it said it was scientific. Citing critiques of the post’s thesis by nameless bloggers in the post makes the thing confusing, non-credible, and seemingly opiniony.. To my way of thinking a post should be maximally accessible and credible to the uninformed reader who stumbles on it.

    Some people interested in HBD are not interested in being a martyr to the truth. They have families who depend on them, and jobs which are subject the whims of someone who in all likelihood strongly disagrees with their ideas. All it takes is one person doing a Google search to put their entire life at risk.

    And many fine influential works have been published under pseudonyms. The Federalist Papers, for example, were published under the pseudonym “Publius.” Many female novelists used male pen names to disguise their gender. Other authors (Voltaire, George Orwell, etc.) have used them to protect (or distance themselves from) their families.

    HBDers cover sensitive topics. These topics are so sensitive that they are rarely covered by academics and journalists. When you read a book about disparities in wealth among nations, or testing differences among groups in the U.S., or crime, obesity, etc., you will almost never even see genes or biology mentioned as a factor. The authors will go on at great length about social, cultural, political, economic, and historical variables, even when they disagree with a specific variable’s explanatory power. But they refuse to touch genetic or biological factors, not even to dispute them.

    The subject is as close to a taboo as anything you will find in modern society. So it’s silly and disingenuous of you to be calling for only the bravest of tenured professors to be discussing this subject, when there are many other people who can contribute.

  144. Prosecutions usually involved multiple murders in public settings that were witnessed by multiple people (who were willing to come forth and testify). This is why most executions involved highwaymen, bandits, and cattle thieves.

    That sounds like crime was easy to get away with

    Our model assumes that each executed offender would, in the absence of the death penalty, have killed only one person over the course of a normal lifetime.

    It seems to me that people who were going to commit crime in a crime ridden era, when there was not much chance of getting caught, are not going to be the same people who commit crime at a time and place when crime is rare and the ‘cover’ of other unsolved serious crimes being non-existent make crime . So you have your card carrying psychopaths , but most killers several hundred years ago would be your normal hard charging young men. Samuel Pepys was a high official but in his diary he records getting into violence in the street, which was a common and accepted part of life apparently.

    I don’t think the person who would commit a murder when there is a excellent chance of getting away with it has the trait of committing murder or the trait of not committing murder; they are wired for making decisions in accordance with context. You want to be successful in the world so you get a feeling for what is too risky. Even a wolf can do that to the extent it doesn’t need a leash.

    Applying that reasoning to the collapsing homicide rate in black ghettos: when the murder rate was highest was when most of the killers were on average less genetically disposed to commit murder, because it would be easier to get away with.

    When over one-quarter of all urban black men are removed, and these removals are heavily skewed towards the most violent, we might expect crime rates to be impacted:

    Yes but the removals are skewed towards those who DECIDED to be violent in circumstances very different to the situation when crime rates were higher a generation ago. Those comitting murder now far more likely for be the relatively uncommon card carrying psychopaths who like nothing better than getting out of their head on drink and drugs and victimizing anyone at hand (like this). I would note that faces get broader as you go east from west Europe, which rather suggests reduction in testosteronisation is the mechanism of pacification

    As Wood (2011) has noted, historians have correctly linked the decline in personal
    violence to a new “sensibility” of self-control, foresight, and empathy“ [...] [Historians of violence] have not needed evolutionary psychology to point out such trends: however, evolutionary thinking offers helpful explanations of why such influences work,

    I don’t think we know that genes for controlling one’s violence in any context would have been the target of the proposed selection. It might just be an increase in self control. Violence can be instrumental and ‘cold’.

    As a thought experiment, imagine a situation where for the sake of argument it is given that murder is necessary. In circumstances where risky killing is objectively called for, those with the most self control might be the killers. I don’t think Westerners have lost the capacity to behave in a very non peaceful way, even if they throw up afterwards. Self -control is a double edged sword.

  145. I don’t think we know that genes for controlling one’s violence in any context would have been the target of the proposed selection. It might just be an increase in self control.

    It looks like there has been selection against people who act violently on their own initiative. The field of violent behavior has thus been increasingly limited to violence “under orders”, i.e., that is condoned by legitimate authority. This was the conclusion of the Milgram experiment: people are much more willing to inflict harm when told to do so.

    The Milgram experiment has usually been performed with participants from long-pacified societies. I know of only one exception: a study on 48 students at the University of Jordan in Amman. The Jordanian subjects resembled Milgram’s in being just as willing to inflict pain under orders (proportion = 62.5%). But they differed in being more willing to inflict pain on their own initiative. When allowed to choose the shock levels, 12.5% of the Jordanians delivered shocks right up to the top end of the scale.

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/milgram-experiment-cross-cultural/

    Pacification of social relations has probably affected a diverse range of behavioral traits, which in turn vary in their heritability. I agree that one change has been an increase in impulse control. But I also think violence has become less enjoyable for the average English person. Clark discusses this point in his book: during the same period that the homicide rate was declining, there was a parallel decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting and bear and bull bating. Elias describes a popular event in 16th century Paris on Midsummer Day when a dozen or so cats would be dropped from a net into a large bonfire. The cats would scream and shriek while they were being burned alive, and the crowd loved it.

    Frantz Fanon touches on the same point when he discusses murder in Algeria. There are typically multiple stab wounds, as if the killer wanted to kill over and over again. There are also cases where the killer feels a need not only to shed blood but also to feel the warmth of the blood and bathe in it.

    We live in an amoral world that has become progressively “moralized” under the influence of Christian morality. This is where I profoundly disagree with Enrique’s contention that universal morality existed before Christianity. At best, one can find a trend toward universal morality in pre-Christian times, and this trend has continued over the past two millennia, a notable example being the “war on murder” of the late medieval and early modern era.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Fanon is not a good source on anything.

    To effectively kill someone with a knife, you usually need to stab him multiple times.

    Even with a .22, you usually need to shoot someone multiple times to kill them.
  146. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I don’t think atrocities disprove pacification.

    1) A relatively pacified population will still contain plenty of people who aren’t and if they’re selected or self-selected into specialist units then that unit will behave very differently to the average of the whole population. French paratroopers in Algeria != average French.

    2) If selection against murder isn’t selection against high violence but selection against a combination of high violence + low restraint then it will ignore people who are high violence + high restraint. People who are high violence + high restraint in peacetime can switch to high violence + low restraint in combat.

  147. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I would note that faces get broader as you go east from west Europe, which rather suggests reduction in testosteronisation is the mechanism of pacification

    Which might effectively mean selection against early puberty.

  148. RON UNZ says:
    Let’s consider a real life example. Over the last couple of decades, black urban homicide rates have dropped by more than half, certainly not a 90% reduction, but still quite considerable. Why has that happened? Well, probably lots of different reasons, but maybe one of them is that around 30% of all urban black men have “disappeared”—they’re dead or in prison. So if you eliminate 30% of the most violent males, the homicide rate drops by 60%, which seems plausible.

    My impression is that the vast majority of black/black homicides tend to be thuggish individuals killing each other over petty insults or quarrels, often while high on drugs. Similarly, I’d guess that a large fraction of Olde English homicides fell into the same category—people drunkenly stabbing each other over minor insults at a tavern.

    This is reasonable, and also comparable to the Irish, who had relatively high homicide rates, much of it linked to the effects of substance abuse- alcohol abuse being a marker of the Irish. As far as violent crime as a whole, the Irish incarceration rate reached a huge 55 per thousand around 1860 for example, more than any native or foreign group (Epstein and Gang 2010. Migration and Culture, Vol 8) The homicide rates in question are also comparable to early English patterns. The European homicide rate was generally high, much higher than the US rate of 5.5 per 100,000 in 2000. In some European cities it was quite high. The supposedly more self-restrained Dutch, of Amsterdam, posted a whopping 47 homicides per 100,000 in the 16th century, higher than any rate ever recorded for New York City, Irish and all. As some writers like Norbert Elias have argues (already ref above), Europe underwent a “civilizing process” in the 16th and 17th centuries that brought Euro homicide rates down substantially in later decades and centuries per his “civilizing” model. The primary reason for the drop is a decline in male to male fights. (Stott 2009).

    Removal of violent individuals, whether physically (by whatever means- execution, migration or war, or both), or by removing the incentives and actual fights (by whatever means- like a stronger state suppressing and monopolizing violence) seems to me to be a stronger basis for the decline, though Frost’s genetic pass-through theory may have a smaller secondary effect on the drop down the road.

  149. Sean says:
    It looks like there has been selection against people who act violently on their own initiative. The field of violent behavior has thus been increasingly limited to violence “under orders”, i.e., that is condoned by legitimate authority. Pacification of social relations has probably affected a diverse range of behavioral traits, which in turn vary in their heritability.

    Agreed.

    Clark discusses this point in his book: during the same period that the homicide rate was declining, there was a parallel decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting and bear and bull bating.

    Indeed, there was a decline in private cruelty/violence, even as the state began to monopolize and institutionalize the violence and cruelty in other forms, albeit with greater recognized collective legitimacy. Torture by state authorities was routine for example.

    We live in an amoral world that has become progressively “moralized” under the influence of Christian morality. This is where I profoundly disagree with Enrique’s contention that universal morality existed before Christianity. At best, one can find a trend toward universal morality in pre-Christian times, and this trend has continued over the past two millennia, a notable example being the “war on murder” of the late medieval and early modern era.

    A greater moral influence because of Christianity does not at all negate the fact that universal morality existed BEFORE Christianity. Christian influence intensified certain aspects and put it in a new framework of God’s grace and mercy via the sacrifice of Christ per the doctrine of the Christians.

    In fact, in Romans 1 Apostle Paul himself refers to the notion of a universal morality, and indeed a universal recognition at some level of a higher power or higher supernatural force, which would serve to hold men accountable on judgment day even if they never heard of Christianity. So to say that universal morality did not exist before Christianity, is a claim itself contradicted by the Christian scriptures. And if the trend continued, well it had to continue something already there.

    • Replies: @iffen
    decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting

    Since when?
  150. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Peter Frost
    I don’t think we know that genes for controlling one’s violence in any context would have been the target of the proposed selection. It might just be an increase in self control.

    It looks like there has been selection against people who act violently on their own initiative. The field of violent behavior has thus been increasingly limited to violence "under orders", i.e., that is condoned by legitimate authority. This was the conclusion of the Milgram experiment: people are much more willing to inflict harm when told to do so.

    The Milgram experiment has usually been performed with participants from long-pacified societies. I know of only one exception: a study on 48 students at the University of Jordan in Amman. The Jordanian subjects resembled Milgram’s in being just as willing to inflict pain under orders (proportion = 62.5%). But they differed in being more willing to inflict pain on their own initiative. When allowed to choose the shock levels, 12.5% of the Jordanians delivered shocks right up to the top end of the scale.
    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/milgram-experiment-cross-cultural/

    Pacification of social relations has probably affected a diverse range of behavioral traits, which in turn vary in their heritability. I agree that one change has been an increase in impulse control. But I also think violence has become less enjoyable for the average English person. Clark discusses this point in his book: during the same period that the homicide rate was declining, there was a parallel decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting and bear and bull bating. Elias describes a popular event in 16th century Paris on Midsummer Day when a dozen or so cats would be dropped from a net into a large bonfire. The cats would scream and shriek while they were being burned alive, and the crowd loved it.

    Frantz Fanon touches on the same point when he discusses murder in Algeria. There are typically multiple stab wounds, as if the killer wanted to kill over and over again. There are also cases where the killer feels a need not only to shed blood but also to feel the warmth of the blood and bathe in it.

    We live in an amoral world that has become progressively "moralized" under the influence of Christian morality. This is where I profoundly disagree with Enrique's contention that universal morality existed before Christianity. At best, one can find a trend toward universal morality in pre-Christian times, and this trend has continued over the past two millennia, a notable example being the "war on murder" of the late medieval and early modern era.

    Fanon is not a good source on anything.

    To effectively kill someone with a knife, you usually need to stab him multiple times.

    Even with a .22, you usually need to shoot someone multiple times to kill them.

  151. @Enrique Cardova
    Sean says:
    It looks like there has been selection against people who act violently on their own initiative. The field of violent behavior has thus been increasingly limited to violence “under orders”, i.e., that is condoned by legitimate authority. Pacification of social relations has probably affected a diverse range of behavioral traits, which in turn vary in their heritability.

    Agreed.


    Clark discusses this point in his book: during the same period that the homicide rate was declining, there was a parallel decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting and bear and bull bating.

    Indeed, there was a decline in private cruelty/violence, even as the state began to monopolize and institutionalize the violence and cruelty in other forms, albeit with greater recognized collective legitimacy. Torture by state authorities was routine for example.


    We live in an amoral world that has become progressively “moralized” under the influence of Christian morality. This is where I profoundly disagree with Enrique’s contention that universal morality existed before Christianity. At best, one can find a trend toward universal morality in pre-Christian times, and this trend has continued over the past two millennia, a notable example being the “war on murder” of the late medieval and early modern era.

    A greater moral influence because of Christianity does not at all negate the fact that universal morality existed BEFORE Christianity. Christian influence intensified certain aspects and put it in a new framework of God's grace and mercy via the sacrifice of Christ per the doctrine of the Christians.

    In fact, in Romans 1 Apostle Paul himself refers to the notion of a universal morality, and indeed a universal recognition at some level of a higher power or higher supernatural force, which would serve to hold men accountable on judgment day even if they never heard of Christianity. So to say that universal morality did not exist before Christianity, is a claim itself contradicted by the Christian scriptures. And if the trend continued, well it had to continue something already there.

    decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting

    Since when?

    • Replies: @Enrique Cardova
    Cfacket1 says:
    decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting
    Since when?


    It has declined, compared to where it was before, and this holds true with dog-fighting, bull baiting etc. This is part of the "civilizing" process for Europeans Norbert Elias mentioned above
  152. @Sean
    Pincher, Communism claimed not to be political, it said it was scientific. Citing critiques of the post's thesis by nameless bloggers in the post makes the thing confusing, non-credible, and seemingly opiniony.. To my way of thinking a post should be maximally accessible and credible to the uninformed reader who stumbles on it.

    You are like Peter Frost, you want to do something with this knowledge.

    Most of the others are happy just adding to their string of beads.

    Good luck!

  153. @Ron Unz

    The English decline in the homicide rate was 10-fold, and the American decline 3.5-fold.
     
    This is just silly. The English homicide decline from 1500 to 1750 that is the centerpiece of your paper was 10-fold and based on soft data. The American homicide decline from 1700 to 1950 was approximately 9-fold and based on very good data. I'd say the latter case is far more remarkable and requiring of a theoretical explanation.

    Therefore, you have no problem — in theory — with the conclusion that an execution rate of 1-2% can explain a little over half of the 10-fold decline in the homicide rate between 1500 and 1750.
     
    I agree that under your ideal assumptions a *perfectly targeted* execution rate of 1-2% per generation might explain 25% to 50% of the decline in homicides. But none of those ideal assumptions are remotely plausible.

    Here's a (ridiculous) example of what I mean. America has about 15,000 homicides per year, and suppose the government (like in that Tom Cruise movie) could predict ahead of time exactly who would commit those homicides and execute them in advance. By executing a mere 0.005% of the American population annually, virtually all homicides could be eliminated.

    Now consider England during the period you discuss. There were lots of homicides, but from what you said, very few of the huge number of executions were actually for homicide. The people being executed were generally robbers, thieves, abortionists, blasphemers, heretics, and political troublemakers, whose genetic tendencies toward lethal violence may have been very tenuous. If you had perfect knowledge and could kill exactly those individuals who were carriers of "homicide genes" that might have had an impact, but massacring large numbers of petty thieves and blasphemers probably wouldn't.

    Let's consider a real life example. Over the last couple of decades, black urban homicide rates have dropped by more than half, certainly not a 90% reduction, but still quite considerable. Why has that happened? Well, probably lots of different reasons, but maybe one of them is that around 30% of all urban black men have "disappeared"---they're dead or in prison. So if you eliminate 30% of the most violent males, the homicide rate drops by 60%, which seems plausible. A 1% or 2% reduction would probably have had negligible impact.

    Indeed, a quick bit of Googling indicates that black homicide rates in America are very comparable to the English homicide rates toward the beginning of your time period, and although I'm no expert on the Elizabethan Era violence, I wouldn't be surprised if the pattern were also similar.

    My impression is that the vast majority of black/black homicides tend to be thuggish individuals killing each other over petty insults or quarrels, often while high on drugs. Similarly, I'd guess that a large fraction of Olde English homicides fell into the same category---people drunkenly stabbing each other over minor insults at a tavern. The reason so few homicides were ever solved was that nobody much cared given that the crimes weren't remotely as antisocial as blasphemy or theft. Indeed, an "Anon" at #128 explained that when he got drunk, he used to attack someone "just for the sheer hell of it." So if he'd lived in 1500, I doubt he'd have been a criminal subject to execution but he could have easily contributed to the homicide rate.

    I just don't see any evidence presented in the paper that the sort of people being executed were the sort of people who tended to commit murders.

    If you get back into the area look at the law and program that allows state-federal task forces that target offenders with one felony conviction who are later arrested on weapons charges. It has put big numbers of black offenders in federal prisons for many years. One drug conviction and one pistol= many years in prison.

  154. Fanon is not a good source on anything.

    To effectively kill someone with a knife, you usually need to stab him multiple times.

    He was referring to autopsy reports, which showed an atypical pattern of the murderer continuing to stab the victim after the victim’s death. “The autopsies incontestably establish this thing: the murderer gives the impression, by the equal seriousness of the injuries, that he wanted to kill an incalculable number of times.” Les damnes de la terre, p. 218

    Removal of violent individuals, whether physically (by whatever means- execution, migration or war, or both), or by removing the incentives and actual fights (by whatever means- like a stronger state suppressing and monopolizing violence) seems to me to be a stronger basis for the decline

    If the historical decline in England’s homicide rate had simply been due to the immediate effects of removing violent individuals (through execution or imprisonment) plus tougher law enforcement, we should see a return to the original high homicide rate once these controls have been lifted.

    That experiment has been done. In England, capital punishment was abolished in 1965, and punishment has been considerably liberalized for almost all offences that involve violence. Even for murder, offenders now serve an average of 14 years in prison. Violent behavior is also much less stigmatized in popular culture. Yet the homicide rate has shown only a modest rebound among citizens of English origin.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I read The Wretched of the Earth. I was forced to in college. It was a terrible book, and Fanon is not a good source on anything. Killing someone effectively with a knife requires multiple stabs and implementing serious injuries. Multiple stabbings and serious injuries do not indicate wanting "to kill an incalculable number of times", whatever that even means. If you want to kill someone, you can't just take one stab at them and walk away.
  155. @Sean
    Pincher Martin, there was a French communist party that achieved quite a bit of success but it never made the breakthrough in the wider society, because it was too self-enclosed with its own associations and community forums. A bunch of anons telling each other how clever and scientific they are is not going to win any wider support. Opponents will quickly identify the weakness and mercilessly attack pretensions to HBD being a community with 'the truth'.

    No Enrique, “Ordinary Men” showed the exact opposite. They hated killing. The paper we are discussing brings out how starting in the whole trend was for non lethal punishments.
    Compare what the ordinary Algerians did to the pied-noir:


    Aussaresses surveyed the site several days later. Babies had been crushed against the wall. The women had been raped, disemboweled, and decapitated. Aussaresses thought that he had forgotten what pity was. The innocent were killed by their neighbors with whom they drank and smoked kif.
     
    And Enrique, Germany in WW2 did not have the same morality as existed in other countries, look at my "this morality" link above

    Enrique, People keep mentioning the Ulster Scots, they were mainly from the parts of Scotland that were closest Ayrshire and Galloway. Kilmarnock (Scotland) where I live was home to the Boyds, many of whom went to Ulster. I could walk to the coast in a few hours, and on a clear day see Ireland.

    Enrique " southeastern england, northwestern france, northern germany — and manorialism" Those areas had commerce and something like modern civil society first. In the 12th century you had manorialism everywhere but in those areas. If you look at what actually broke up Scottish Highland clans it was the clan chiefs trying to make money. Once civil commercial society arrived there was no need for 'outbreeding', the chiefs abandoned their retainers (relatives) and moved into luxurious apartments in Edinburgh and London. Commerce charges everything; merchants demand protection.That is what I think was behind the Church and state's sudden reversal of their long standing Christian ideological opposition to taking the life of anyone who broke the law. The alternative is to think that suddenly there was ideological change in the state and Church that had nothing to do with the realities of the situation.

    A new situation (commerce) meant there was a need for removing the crooks who were holding back progress, so there was an ideological change to provide a rational basis for that punitive policy. Ideas are around but they only gain currency when there is a need for them.

    You can look at international relations in the same way. The most pacifistic people in Europe (Germany) acted like a pack of ravening wolves seventy years ago . Is that because peaceful ideology was not invented until recently? Obviously the ideology was available but they thought it didn't meet their needs. Now they do.

    Enrique The growing power of the state would suppress the old private vendetta/revenge systems As already mentioned, in above link Boyds murdered Ayrshire rivals the Montgomeries, but they cooperated when they were in Ulster. It was a different situation.

    My reading of what Ron Unz is saying is he thinks it hasn't been shown in the paper that there was sufficient removal of extreme aggressive behaviour that was due to genes. Murderous violence would be the uncontrolled extreme of a quality that could sometimes pay off .

    America was a frontier with good land sometimes scarce (as in Appalachia), sometimes there for the taking. Probably there would be selection for aggressive behaviour where good land was scarce. In some parts of the US the recipe for reproductive success would be low personal consumption, and hard work. The Mennonites were banned from buying land in some states and moved to Canada I believe.

    Aggression is linked to testosterone, which is linked to reproductive success. So its probably more complicated than dog breeding.

    Kilmarnock (Scotland) where I live

    I just read this. You live in the Urhmeit, man! Love and hugs to you!

  156. @iffen
    decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting

    Since when?

    Cfacket1 says:
    decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting
    Since when?

    It has declined, compared to where it was before, and this holds true with dog-fighting, bull baiting etc. This is part of the “civilizing” process for Europeans Norbert Elias mentioned above

    • Replies: @iffen
    It was so un-popular that it had to be criminalized.
  157. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Peter Frost
    Fanon is not a good source on anything.

    To effectively kill someone with a knife, you usually need to stab him multiple times.

    He was referring to autopsy reports, which showed an atypical pattern of the murderer continuing to stab the victim after the victim's death. "The autopsies incontestably establish this thing: the murderer gives the impression, by the equal seriousness of the injuries, that he wanted to kill an incalculable number of times." Les damnes de la terre, p. 218

    Removal of violent individuals, whether physically (by whatever means- execution, migration or war, or both), or by removing the incentives and actual fights (by whatever means- like a stronger state suppressing and monopolizing violence) seems to me to be a stronger basis for the decline

    If the historical decline in England's homicide rate had simply been due to the immediate effects of removing violent individuals (through execution or imprisonment) plus tougher law enforcement, we should see a return to the original high homicide rate once these controls have been lifted.

    That experiment has been done. In England, capital punishment was abolished in 1965, and punishment has been considerably liberalized for almost all offences that involve violence. Even for murder, offenders now serve an average of 14 years in prison. Violent behavior is also much less stigmatized in popular culture. Yet the homicide rate has shown only a modest rebound among citizens of English origin.

    I read The Wretched of the Earth. I was forced to in college. It was a terrible book, and Fanon is not a good source on anything. Killing someone effectively with a knife requires multiple stabs and implementing serious injuries. Multiple stabbings and serious injuries do not indicate wanting “to kill an incalculable number of times”, whatever that even means. If you want to kill someone, you can’t just take one stab at them and walk away.

  158. @Peter Frost
    This is just silly. The English homicide decline from 1500 to 1750 that is the centerpiece of your paper was 10-fold and based on soft data. The American homicide decline from 1700 to 1950 was approximately 9-fold and based on very good data.

    Ron,

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand. That's a 3.5 fold decrease, not a 9-fold decrease. (and the same math produces a 10-fold decrease for the English homicide decline). Who is being silly here?

    I don't think one can credibly argue that 18th century English data were "softer" than 18th century American data. If anything, the reverse would be true. At that time, the U.S. covered frontier areas where data collection of any kind was rudimentary. American data gathering becomes better when one moves up into the 20th century and the late 19th century. By that time, however, the decline in the American homicide rate had bottomed out. From 1840 to 2000, the overall decline in the American homicide rate is very modest.

    There were lots of homicides, but from what you said, very few of the huge number of executions were actually for homicide.


    No, I said that most murder cases in the Middle Ages went unsolved. There were no police and much less of the investigative infrastructure that we have today. If you committed a one-time murder, your chances of not being prosecuted were very high. Prosecutions usually involved multiple murders in public settings that were witnessed by multiple people (who were willing to come forth and testify). This is why most executions involved highwaymen, bandits, and cattle thieves.

    Yes, it is true that crimes like counterfeiting and theft (above a certain amount) were made capital offences, but the actual number of executions for those crimes was proportionately small. Such crimes also tended to be used as a way to prosecute people who were guilty of more serious crimes that were harder to prove.

    Our model assumes that each executed offender would, in the absence of the death penalty, have killed only one person over the course of a normal lifetime. That is a very conservative assumption. Undoubtedly, some people had the "bad luck" of being executed after killing only once. But that wasn't the typical situation. Moreover, many people among the executed would have gone on to kill many more people. So, on that point, our model greatly "underpredicts" the decline in the English homicide rate.

    To repeat myself, the standard historical data shows a 9-fold drop in the American homicide rate between 1700 and 1950. Some plausible explanation must be found for that 9-fold decline, and it obviously isn’t the genetic impact of American mass-executions.

    I’m certainly not claiming that the American data is perfect, but I’d imagine it’s far better than what I suspect is totally fragmentary Olde English data. Furthermore, to the extent that there were often reporting problems in the early frontier portions of America, wouldn’t the true homicide rate very possibly be somewhat higher than the reported figure?

    Since it seems that so much of the data for both the English and the American cases is based on the long Eisner article, I suppose I’ll need to read it to provide a more informed perspective on these issues.

  159. @Sean
    Enrique, The full truth of how the French women and their children were killed by the Algerians they thought they could trust is too disgusting to describe. But it's OK , everyone can make their own mind about whether Gerd Gigerenzer is worth listening to, or right that the motivation for Germans participating in atrocities was a gut feeling of don't break ranks. And whether I know anything about where most of the Ulster settlers were from. (The Ulster Scots tended to settle in mountains because they thought the valleys would be boggy.)

    Peter, "the trade in European women with the Muslim world, commonly called the white slave trade". Yes but as you pointed out the Kings wanted to make money, and that is why they accepted it. Reading that and other history you can't help but be impressed by how the need of kings to pay for the upkeep of their social position and luxury lifestyles made them desperate to find income. The kings' income came from granting monopolies to trade. The church opposed violence (they were against the Chivalric tournaments). The whole meaning and tenor of Christian principles and Western civilisation was removing all sanction from the death penalty. You show this quite well in the paper. Yet the Kings and then the church began doing something drastically different . Kings got income from taxing trade so they wanted merchants to set up shop. Merchants would have demanded law and order. That is what I think the slaughter of even petty criminals was targeting. Psychopathic aggression was massively reduced, but that was more of a welcome side effect.


    Ron Unz, True many put to death or dying in prison would be just people who poached a deer or rabbit to feed their family, but couldn't that maybe still made them very slightly more likely to commit murder? Hanging someone for taking a rabbit would have somewhat of an effect. Moreover I have read that in early Germany murder was the secret killing of an unknown person. Like the Cheyenne war chiefs, if you were an exceptionally powerful warrior (which would require good genes for surviving violent exploits) you could go on to glory and reproductive success. There might have been quite a reversal of what was being selected for in the early medieval period.

    That is a difference in black ghettos I think inasmuch as those areas are spatially quite restricted. People can be driven out because gangs rule the locality and do killing to protect their turf and illegal business. People leave to avoid having to pay them off . That could make for a confounding factor. Here is something that may be relevant, about the effect of wolves (killers of coyotes) on coyotes killing red foxes.


    BUT But it turns out that the inter-carnivore dynamics among wolves, coyotes, and foxes aren’t quite that simple. Because the area of land they investigated was so large, Newsome and Ripple discovered a large-scale “transition zone” at the edge of wolf territory, in which the ratio between foxes and coyotes shifts according to how far a population is from the center of wolf territory. That’s because wolves become more rare closer to the edge of their territory than in the center. That transition zone stretches for an impressive 200 kilometers. In other words, it is only 200 kilometers away from the edge of wolf territory that foxes begin to outnumber coyotes
     

    True many put to death or dying in prison would be just people who poached a deer or rabbit to feed their family, but couldn’t that maybe still made them very slightly more likely to commit murder? Hanging someone for taking a rabbit would have somewhat of an effect.

    I completely agree. In fact, my initial speculation was that executed were probably among the 20-30% most violent portion of the population. But the theoretical problem is an execution rate of 1-2% is so low, the only way it can possibly move the genetic needle is if it represented the absolutely most violent 1-2% of the population, just as Peter had assumed in his formula. Anything much farther down on the Bell Curve, and the genetic impact is nil.

    I also agree that under the right circumstances even ten generations is enough to produce a significant change in the genetic factors influencing homicide, but I’m arguing that the 1-2% execution rate was just too low and too poorly targeted to have produced the necessary selective pressure.

    Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if a far larger genetic effect came from the homicides themselves. If we assume that the overwhelming majority of the homicide victims were violent males killed in stupid fights with other violent males, the genes being eliminated were *exactly* the ones resposible for high homicide rates. Furthermore, for every male killed in a fight I’d assume there were many who were merely injured, perhaps often badly enough to greatly reduce their economic and hence reproductive viability. Glancing at Peter’s paper, the homicide rate in 1500 was 20-40 per 100K per year, or 0.5-1.0% per (25 year) generation. But that was the rate per total population so (assuming the bulk of homicide victims were adult males), the adult male homicide rate was probably considerably higher than the adult male execution rate. And in this case, victims weren’t counterfeiters or poachers or blasphemers—they were thugs getting into drunken knife-fights in taverns.

    Ten generations of drunken thugs eliminating each other from the gene-pool could have a significant impact though I can’t see how we could calculate anything given all the unknowns.

    • Replies: @AG
    In tribal society, aggression is the best way to defend yourself and survive. In civilized society, aggression or lack of self-control will result in negative consequence including legal execution and incarceration, which will limit the criminal's reproductive success. Spending 10 years at hard labor in their 20s or 30s has the same effect as execution in terms of reproductive success. Most aggressive criminals are young adult males in their reproductive prime.

    Committing any crimes from murder to robbery against laws in civilized society is a sign of a lack of self-control and future orientation. You need strong self-control and future orientation to survive in civilized society. With law and order, non-obedience of laws became a factor of unfitness in this new Darwinian enviroment.

    In any community, a small percentage of criminals is responsible for a larger percentage of crimes (pareto's principle). Any small change in the criminal components will result in a large change in crime rates.
  160. Regarding Finland, I guess this is another case of us being mistaken for Scandinavians but in genetic origins we have a lot more in common with some of those northern Russian oblasts. Finns are a strange bunch, we are totally Westernized in some things and totally Eastern in other things and this it one the Eastern things. Finns just tend to have a much higher violence tolerance, much more contempt towards weak or effeminate men, a much more likely attraction to physical risk etc.

    But Finland is definitely the late corner to get state organization. Those Estonians and Balts down south got a clear organization imposed on them by Teutons who made themselves an aristocracy of landowners but this never happened to Finns. The climate is on the northern limit of farming and the Scandinavians only settled coastal fringes; only Finns had the skills for the inland. The Slavic colonization of the near areas was also at first mostly coastal or about building monasteries, trade outposts etc in the middle of Finnic countryside.

    Swedish state authority in Finland radiated from the ethnic Swedish parts and originally they defined the state. Compare the first border between Sweden and “Russia” (Novgorod)…

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/51/P%C3%A4hkin%C3%A4saaren_rauha.png

    …with the presence of Swedish in Finland (pretty constant through all of history except for the lost southeast outposts)…

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Swedish-language-in-finland-map.png

    …and for added fun here’s a map of homicide or attempted homicide for one year…

    http://is12.snstatic.fi/img/978/1288554023920.jpg

    That’s just a random map but the justice ministry report I googled shows a consistent 5 times higher homicide rate compared to the Swedish minority. Rural / urban or poor / wealthy makes little difference as that little bit of otherwise unremarkable rural Sweden that we have on the upper west coast is consistently the most pacified part of the country. Culture? Genes? Whatever it is, they are the parts of the country under continuous, full state authority since middle ages.

    Early Sweden was a very loose state and the borders for long didn’t really mean much for the Finnic / Saami population. The state expanded into the inland by a long process of building churches with patches of authority gradually covering ground. King Gustav Vasa and the Reformation brought a lot of centralization and state building for Swedes but it was actually a setback for Finns – the Lutheran ideals were followed and both Swedish and Finnish were promoted in religion with Bible translations etc but everything else was built on Swedish.

    On the Russian side everything was different because Russian Orthodoxy was always Slavic and it was more syncretic so Finnic Orthodoxes could continue their culture while also gradually becoming immersed in Russian culture. Slowly the Finnic language would fill with Russian loans and shrink to the point where it was mainly spoken with family while Russian was used elsewhere and from that point it was just a small step to russification. Sweden never had any solution for the national question and Finns were caught in a strange trap where there was no gradual swedification because Protestantism and the religious use made Finnish solid but total swedification was still required before participation in the intellectual or political life.

    Finns could be priests, landowners were mostly Finnish and Finns could grow wealthy but not powerful or influential because we were effectively banned from the power positions and non-religious education and the Russian conquest changed nothing until Alexander II began Finnish “emancipation”. The courts were some distant Swedish thing in coastal towns where Swedish judges made decisions with no knowledge of Finnish customs. All the law had been written by some Swede overseas. Respect for this law was low and there were many outbreaks of gangster culture where even wealthy adult men might join roaming knife gangs to fight, break law and show their contempt for the authorities.

    We were never really fully integrated into the Swedish state and this whole respecting written law thing didn’t come the same way to us, though with the Lutheran base and the high literacy etc we did get a lot less gangstery quick once we got laws and government that we could respect. I suspect a lot of gangster tendencies tend to come from ethnicities who didn’t develop respect for law because it was the law of someone else that they didn’t respect and the very high law obedience of Scandinavians comes from their unusually protected history.

  161. @Enrique Cardova
    Cfacket1 says:
    decline in the popularity of blood sports, like cock fighting
    Since when?


    It has declined, compared to where it was before, and this holds true with dog-fighting, bull baiting etc. This is part of the "civilizing" process for Europeans Norbert Elias mentioned above

    It was so un-popular that it had to be criminalized.

  162. @Ron Unz

    True many put to death or dying in prison would be just people who poached a deer or rabbit to feed their family, but couldn’t that maybe still made them very slightly more likely to commit murder? Hanging someone for taking a rabbit would have somewhat of an effect.
     
    I completely agree. In fact, my initial speculation was that executed were probably among the 20-30% most violent portion of the population. But the theoretical problem is an execution rate of 1-2% is so low, the only way it can possibly move the genetic needle is if it represented the absolutely most violent 1-2% of the population, just as Peter had assumed in his formula. Anything much farther down on the Bell Curve, and the genetic impact is nil.

    I also agree that under the right circumstances even ten generations is enough to produce a significant change in the genetic factors influencing homicide, but I'm arguing that the 1-2% execution rate was just too low and too poorly targeted to have produced the necessary selective pressure.

    Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if a far larger genetic effect came from the homicides themselves. If we assume that the overwhelming majority of the homicide victims were violent males killed in stupid fights with other violent males, the genes being eliminated were *exactly* the ones resposible for high homicide rates. Furthermore, for every male killed in a fight I'd assume there were many who were merely injured, perhaps often badly enough to greatly reduce their economic and hence reproductive viability. Glancing at Peter's paper, the homicide rate in 1500 was 20-40 per 100K per year, or 0.5-1.0% per (25 year) generation. But that was the rate per total population so (assuming the bulk of homicide victims were adult males), the adult male homicide rate was probably considerably higher than the adult male execution rate. And in this case, victims weren't counterfeiters or poachers or blasphemers---they were thugs getting into drunken knife-fights in taverns.

    Ten generations of drunken thugs eliminating each other from the gene-pool could have a significant impact though I can't see how we could calculate anything given all the unknowns.

    In tribal society, aggression is the best way to defend yourself and survive. In civilized society, aggression or lack of self-control will result in negative consequence including legal execution and incarceration, which will limit the criminal’s reproductive success. Spending 10 years at hard labor in their 20s or 30s has the same effect as execution in terms of reproductive success. Most aggressive criminals are young adult males in their reproductive prime.

    Committing any crimes from murder to robbery against laws in civilized society is a sign of a lack of self-control and future orientation. You need strong self-control and future orientation to survive in civilized society. With law and order, non-obedience of laws became a factor of unfitness in this new Darwinian enviroment.

    In any community, a small percentage of criminals is responsible for a larger percentage of crimes (pareto’s principle). Any small change in the criminal components will result in a large change in crime rates.

  163. I read The Wretched of the Earth. I was forced to in college. It was a terrible book, and Fanon is not a good source on anything.

    I understand your position. In this case, however, he was criticizing another author (Dr. Antoine Porot) who argued that violent behavior in Algeria followed a different pattern from that of violent behavior in France. Fanon counter-argued that these differences were due to colonialism and would disappear with decolonization.

    I’ve tried to locate the original paper written by Dr. Porot (1876-1965), but all I’ve found so far is hostile references to it.

  164. To repeat myself, the standard historical data shows a 9-fold drop in the American homicide rate between 1700 and 1950. Some plausible explanation must be found for that 9-fold decline, and it obviously isn’t the genetic impact of American mass-executions.

    This is beyond belief. Let me walk you through the math:

    For the period from 1500 to 1750, the English homicide rate declined from 20-40 homicides per thousand to 2-4 homicides per thousand.

    - That’s a 10-fold decrease.

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 1950.

    - That’s a 3.5 fold decrease.

    In other words, over a comparable time span, the English homicide rate declined almost three times faster than the American homicide rate.

    Ron, I have no problem with honest criticism, but you’re showing a pattern of dishonest criticism, i.e., you repeat a criticism again and again long after it has been shown to be false. That kind of strategy can work: if you throw enough mud at a person, some of it will eventually stick.

    I am seriously thinking of leaving Unz.com.

    I’m certainly not claiming that the American data is perfect, but I’d imagine it’s far better than what I suspect is totally fragmentary Olde English data.

    As I pointed out in my last comment, the American decline took place almost wholly before 1840. After 1840, the decline was very modest. If we compare the quality of the American data before 1840 with the quality of the English data between 1500 and 1750, there is very little difference. If anything, the American data would have been less complete because most of the U.S. was covered by frontier areas at that time. I pointed this out in my initial reply.

    to the extent that there were often reporting problems in the early frontier portions of America, wouldn’t the true homicide rate very possibly be somewhat higher than the reported figure?

    No. To calculate the homicide rate, you have to know both the number of homicides and the population base. Both sets of figures were uncertain in frontier areas. There were many “squatters” who lived on the land but who were unreported or underreported in the census data. So the actual population base was often much larger than the official one.

    In fact, my initial speculation was that executed were probably among the 20-30% most violent portion of the population. But the theoretical problem is an execution rate of 1-2% is so low, the only way it can possibly move the genetic needle is if it represented the absolutely most violent 1-2% of the population

    I am going through a sample of executed offenders. None of them were hanged for stealing a rabbit (that sort of thing happened well before the 1500-1750 period). They were overwhelmingly highwaymen and “footpads.” Highway robbery — by its very nature — involved multiple murders over the course of one’s career. If you or anyone with you gave any indication that you recognized the robber, you would be killed on the spot. This kind of murder was difficult to prove, however, because such murders would be accompanied by murders of any witnesses. But allegations of murder do come up in the trials.

    But that was the rate per total population so (assuming the bulk of homicide victims were adult males), the adult male homicide rate was probably considerably higher than the adult male execution rate.

    No, Ron. You’re confusing two separate things. The selection differential was calculated separately in each case. Once from the adult homicide rate (based on the general population) and once from the execution rate (based on the male population). All of this is explained in the paper.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    This is beyond belief. Let me walk you through the math:

    * * *

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 1950.

    - That’s a 3.5 fold decrease.

    Ron, I have no problem with honest criticism, but you’re showing a pattern of dishonest criticism, i.e., you repeat a criticism again and again long after it has been shown to be false. That kind of strategy can work: if you throw enough mud at a person, some of it will eventually stick.
     
    Well, Peter, one of us clearly has a problem with his eyesight. Perhaps you, perhaps me. I'll leave it up to the other commenters to decide.

    I'd earlier provided a link to the Eisner Chart at Marginal revolution, but I'll now embed the image I'm looking at directly in my comment, surrounded by a clickable link to the full size JPG




    My eyes tell me the chart shows the American homicide rate at around 35 in 1700 eventually dropping to around 4 about 1950 (actually more like 1960).

    So it seems to me that the decline from 1700-1960 was from roughly 35 to 4, or something like 89%.

    People can decide whether I'm just seeing things or making some *exceptionally* stupid mistake...which is certainly possible!
  165. Peter, this discussion is just initial commentary in which half thought out and barely researched ideas are being bounced off you, because you know this backwards and can do the heavy lifting.

    Ron Unz has now got a good point. He says the 1-2% of the population with the greatest genetic predisposition had to be the ones being executed. People might commit a crime because they are a bloodthirsty psychopath, or because they correctly assess the risk.

  166. Sean,

    I have no problem with honest criticism. But I have a problem with replying to the same criticism again and again. I’ve seen this many times. An academic will “win” a debate by making the same criticism over and over. People begin to assume that the criticism has not been proven false; otherwise, why would he keep making it?

    In this case, there’s no room for argument. Ron says that the American homicide decline between 1700 and 1950 is similar to the English homicide decline between 1500 and 1750, despite a much lower execution rate. This would be a powerful argument if true. In fact, the English decline was three times steeper than the American decline.

    The American decline is what I would expect. It is consistent with the weaker action of Clark-Unz selection (which persisted into the early 19th century), improvements in judicial punishment (penitentiaries, modern policing), and improvements in quasi-judicial punishment (in schools, churches, workplaces).

    Again, I don’t mind replying to valid criticisms, but I intensely dislike replying to a criticism that I have already dealt with. I have better things to do.

    To date, Ron has made two valid criticisms:

    1. Executed offenders may have had children who survived to adulthood.

    2. Executed offenders were not the worst of the worst. They were often people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    I’ve replied to both criticisms and I will have more to say in my next post. Briefly, very few executed offenders had children. They were overwhelmingly single males, largely because they were young (the average age of marriage for men was 27).

    Nor were they caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most were highwaymen and footpads who were most likely guilty of serial murder. During the period in question, it was difficult to prove homicide. There was no police force and none of the investigative infrastructure that now exists. So judges and juries engaged in “profiling” — they looked for signs that the accused had a violent lifestyle or profession that probably led to serial killings. And allegations of homicide did come up in trials of highwaymen, but it was impossible to prove them (all of the witnesses had been killed).

    It was not for nothing that the judicial system at that time seemed so barbaric. The judges and juries were literally dealing with barbarians, i.e., gangs of young men who led a predatory lifestyle that made life miserable for people who ventured beyond the safety of their own homes.

  167. @Peter Frost
    To repeat myself, the standard historical data shows a 9-fold drop in the American homicide rate between 1700 and 1950. Some plausible explanation must be found for that 9-fold decline, and it obviously isn’t the genetic impact of American mass-executions.

    This is beyond belief. Let me walk you through the math:

    For the period from 1500 to 1750, the English homicide rate declined from 20-40 homicides per thousand to 2-4 homicides per thousand.

    - That’s a 10-fold decrease.

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 1950.

    - That’s a 3.5 fold decrease.

    In other words, over a comparable time span, the English homicide rate declined almost three times faster than the American homicide rate.

    Ron, I have no problem with honest criticism, but you're showing a pattern of dishonest criticism, i.e., you repeat a criticism again and again long after it has been shown to be false. That kind of strategy can work: if you throw enough mud at a person, some of it will eventually stick.

    I am seriously thinking of leaving Unz.com.

    I’m certainly not claiming that the American data is perfect, but I’d imagine it’s far better than what I suspect is totally fragmentary Olde English data.


    As I pointed out in my last comment, the American decline took place almost wholly before 1840. After 1840, the decline was very modest. If we compare the quality of the American data before 1840 with the quality of the English data between 1500 and 1750, there is very little difference. If anything, the American data would have been less complete because most of the U.S. was covered by frontier areas at that time. I pointed this out in my initial reply.


    to the extent that there were often reporting problems in the early frontier portions of America, wouldn’t the true homicide rate very possibly be somewhat higher than the reported figure?

    No. To calculate the homicide rate, you have to know both the number of homicides and the population base. Both sets of figures were uncertain in frontier areas. There were many "squatters" who lived on the land but who were unreported or underreported in the census data. So the actual population base was often much larger than the official one.

    In fact, my initial speculation was that executed were probably among the 20-30% most violent portion of the population. But the theoretical problem is an execution rate of 1-2% is so low, the only way it can possibly move the genetic needle is if it represented the absolutely most violent 1-2% of the population


    I am going through a sample of executed offenders. None of them were hanged for stealing a rabbit (that sort of thing happened well before the 1500-1750 period). They were overwhelmingly highwaymen and "footpads." Highway robbery -- by its very nature -- involved multiple murders over the course of one's career. If you or anyone with you gave any indication that you recognized the robber, you would be killed on the spot. This kind of murder was difficult to prove, however, because such murders would be accompanied by murders of any witnesses. But allegations of murder do come up in the trials.

    But that was the rate per total population so (assuming the bulk of homicide victims were adult males), the adult male homicide rate was probably considerably higher than the adult male execution rate.

    No, Ron. You're confusing two separate things. The selection differential was calculated separately in each case. Once from the adult homicide rate (based on the general population) and once from the execution rate (based on the male population). All of this is explained in the paper.

    This is beyond belief. Let me walk you through the math:

    * * *

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 1950.

    - That’s a 3.5 fold decrease.

    Ron, I have no problem with honest criticism, but you’re showing a pattern of dishonest criticism, i.e., you repeat a criticism again and again long after it has been shown to be false. That kind of strategy can work: if you throw enough mud at a person, some of it will eventually stick.

    Well, Peter, one of us clearly has a problem with his eyesight. Perhaps you, perhaps me. I’ll leave it up to the other commenters to decide.

    I’d earlier provided a link to the Eisner Chart at Marginal revolution, but I’ll now embed the image I’m looking at directly in my comment, surrounded by a clickable link to the full size JPG


    My eyes tell me the chart shows the American homicide rate at around 35 in 1700 eventually dropping to around 4 about 1950 (actually more like 1960).

    So it seems to me that the decline from 1700-1960 was from roughly 35 to 4, or something like 89%.

    People can decide whether I’m just seeing things or making some *exceptionally* stupid mistake…which is certainly possible!

    • Replies: @Sean
    I don't think America was a closed system like England was, so this is not being formulated in a way that agreement on a particular detail about American executions (not lynchings) could settle it. It is clear that there can be big reductions without genetic change, but sustained fall over hundreds of years without a genetic mechanism is not clearly more plausible than what Peter and HH are suggesting. Lots of people know sugar is bad, but they can't stop eating it. Could they stop killing?

    in New England from 6 per 100,000 to an astonishing rate of 1 per 100,000. By the end of the century, the homicide rates for colonists in the Chesapeake was for the first time was within the range of contemporary western European rates- roughly 12 per 100,000 per year. The rate in New England may well have been the lowest in the Western world.
     
    Compare Dueling in the United States South. Note that in US Executions from 1608-2002 under legal civil authority slaves were prominent. There were a lot (tens of thousands) of British Isles criminals and vagrants transported to the American south. Also civilians in America had access to firearms.

    In Europe, de Tocqueville observed, the people merely watched as the authorities tracked down a criminal, while in America "...everyone thinks he has an interest in furnishing proof of an offense and in arresting the guilty man."
     
    I think there were many extra-judicial killings of criminals in America, which took out the bad actors and their genes.
  168. I think the perspectives of Ron Unz and Peter Frost can be reconciled in part, by seeing that both are right, DEPENDING ON THE SPECIFIC DECADES OR YEARS MEASURED, AND DEPENDING ON THE SPECIFIC LOCATIONS WITHIN EACH TERRITORY. In some years, and in some locations, America did just as well as Europe, in others, America was worse.

    Per Roth 2009, colonial America saw significant decreases :

    “In Maryland the rate at which unrelated European adults killed each other fell from 29 per 100,000 adults per year to 15 per 100,000 between the mid-1670s and the mid-1690s. In Virginia it fell from 37 per 100,000 to 10 per 100,000 and in New England form 6 per 100,000 to an astonishing rate of 1 per 100,000. By the end of the century, the homicide rates for colonists in the Chesapeake was for the first time was within the range of contemporary western European rates- roughly 12 per 100,000 per year. The rate in New England may well have been the lowest in the Western world.”
    –Randolph Roth, 2009. American Homicide

    The coming of significant amounts of Irish after this period, caused an upward spike, but in general, the trend was down. Thus Frost is correct when he notes Europe’s sharp drop setting the pace, but Unz is right as well in that America matched this drop, depending on place and time.

    The real crux of the matter is not the fact of a decline- both places show decline. It is whether removal of more criminals via execution had a substantial enough impact to quote: “gradually remove propensities for violence from the gene pool.” In other words, as more violent Europeans were removed via execution, more placid, pacified Europeans emerged and came to dominate the gene pool. That is the acid test. I am more inclined to lean in Ron UNz’s direction on this; other significant factors from migration, to war, to simple attrition as violent people killed each other off, that effected simple removal, are more substantial factors at play, although Frost’s argument I think still has enough traction to qualify as a factor somewhere in the mix, because he notes: “this new cultural environment selected against propensities for violence.”

    To the extent that more efficient central governments taking over the monopoly on violence acted as a deterrent against violent acts, and encouraged removal of more violent people, or changing cultural mores made raw violence and vendetta less acceptable, then the notion of SOME impact, if only small scale, is reasonable. Whether the removal was substantial enough in the GENE POOL to account for the significant pattern in Europe over centuries, though is an open question, since there are numerous other factors in the mix.

    —————————————————————————-

    One criticism not addressed, per “Marginal Revolution” blog, is that one of the central weaknesses of Harpending and Frost is in assuming that criminals do not have opportunities for reproductive success. In support, the riter on MR proffers some research showing that criminals generally had higher reproductive success. QUOTE:

    From an evolutionary viewpoint, criminal behavior may persist despite adverse consequences by providing offenders with fitness benefits as part of a successful alternative mating strategy. Specifically, criminal behavior may have evolved as a reproductive strategy based on low parental investment reflected in low commitment in reproductive relationships. We linked data from nationwide total population registers in Sweden to test if criminality is associated with reproductive success. Further, we used several different measures related to monogamy to determine the relation between criminal behavior and alternative mating tactics.

    Convicted criminal offenders had more children than individuals never convicted of a criminal offense. Criminal offenders also had more reproductive partners, were less often married, more likely to get remarried if ever married, and had more often contracted a sexually transmitted disease than non-offenders. Importantly, the increased reproductive success of criminals was explained by a fertility increase from having children with several different partners. We conclude that criminality appears to be adaptive in a contemporary industrialized country, and that this association can be explained by antisocial behavior being part of an adaptive alternative reproductive strategy.”
    –Yao et al. 2010. Criminal offending as part of an alternative reproductive strategy. Evolution and Human Behavior, vol 35, 6, 481-488

    In short, MR’s argument is that criminals, by having more children with more women, and having less parental investment as part of their behavior, are more capable of leaving behind enough “negative genes” than the more righteous or pacified. Criminals may be executed at some point, but by then, they have already sown their tainted genes far and wide enough to secure reproductive success.

    • Replies: @anon

    In short, MR’s argument is that criminals, by having more children with more women, and having less parental investment as part of their behavior, are more capable of leaving behind enough “negative genes” than the more righteous or pacified. Criminals may be executed at some point, but by then, they have already sown their tainted genes far and wide enough to secure reproductive success.
     
    In a modern welfare state cad or criminal behavior - at least among the underclass - is adaptive because other people support the children and I'd agree the modern welfare system is putting the process suggested in this paper into reverse.

    However England wasn't a modern welfare state during the period referenced by this paper.
  169. @Ron Unz

    This is beyond belief. Let me walk you through the math:

    * * *

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 1950.

    - That’s a 3.5 fold decrease.

    Ron, I have no problem with honest criticism, but you’re showing a pattern of dishonest criticism, i.e., you repeat a criticism again and again long after it has been shown to be false. That kind of strategy can work: if you throw enough mud at a person, some of it will eventually stick.
     
    Well, Peter, one of us clearly has a problem with his eyesight. Perhaps you, perhaps me. I'll leave it up to the other commenters to decide.

    I'd earlier provided a link to the Eisner Chart at Marginal revolution, but I'll now embed the image I'm looking at directly in my comment, surrounded by a clickable link to the full size JPG




    My eyes tell me the chart shows the American homicide rate at around 35 in 1700 eventually dropping to around 4 about 1950 (actually more like 1960).

    So it seems to me that the decline from 1700-1960 was from roughly 35 to 4, or something like 89%.

    People can decide whether I'm just seeing things or making some *exceptionally* stupid mistake...which is certainly possible!

    I don’t think America was a closed system like England was, so this is not being formulated in a way that agreement on a particular detail about American executions (not lynchings) could settle it. It is clear that there can be big reductions without genetic change, but sustained fall over hundreds of years without a genetic mechanism is not clearly more plausible than what Peter and HH are suggesting. Lots of people know sugar is bad, but they can’t stop eating it. Could they stop killing?

    in New England from 6 per 100,000 to an astonishing rate of 1 per 100,000. By the end of the century, the homicide rates for colonists in the Chesapeake was for the first time was within the range of contemporary western European rates- roughly 12 per 100,000 per year. The rate in New England may well have been the lowest in the Western world.

    Compare Dueling in the United States South. Note that in US Executions from 1608-2002 under legal civil authority slaves were prominent. There were a lot (tens of thousands) of British Isles criminals and vagrants transported to the American south. Also civilians in America had access to firearms.

    In Europe, de Tocqueville observed, the people merely watched as the authorities tracked down a criminal, while in America “…everyone thinks he has an interest in furnishing proof of an offense and in arresting the guilty man.”

    I think there were many extra-judicial killings of criminals in America, which took out the bad actors and their genes.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    Well, I'm certainly not claiming that America or Europe, especially England, were totally identical societies. But they both apparently saw homicide reduction trends that were equally dramatic and roughly comparable. And according to your helpful chart, during their homicide-reduction periods, Britain was executing criminals at a rate over 100x greater than America. I think a difference in execution rates by a factor of 100x severely undercuts the likely role of executions and their genetic impact as being the major cause.
  170. Ron Unz says:
    Ten generations of drunken thugs eliminating each other from the gene-pool could have a significant impact though I can’t see how we could calculate anything given all the unknowns.

    Indeed, simple attrition among the violent can also a factor in the mix. Attrition working in tandem with stronger central regimes and their executions, could also have brought about removal of the more violent. Attrition need not be individual or small scale, but is seen in the large scale melees of Britain and Europe where hundreds, sometimes thousands of violent men went went at each other in melees, riots etc etc. (Jolly Fellows: Male Milieus in Nineteenth-Century America- Richard Stott) In America the Irish were foremost practitioners of the large scale melee, fielding hundreds of violent criminal gang members going at it furiously. At least one history considers the numbers and zeal deployed by the Irish as approaching some level of military capability requiring the call-up of the state militia several times to quell the Irish violence. As Thomas Sowell often notes, all the deaths in all the black ghetto riots of the 1960s are still less than some SINGLE Irish riots back in the day.

    I don’t think atrocities disprove pacification.

    1) A relatively pacified population will still contain plenty of people who aren’t and if they’re selected or self-selected into specialist units then that unit will behave very differently to the average of the whole population. French paratroopers in Algeria != average French.

    Maybe, since some data shows criminals have substantial reproductive success. But it is by no means clear that the psychopaths’ isolation into specialist units leaves for a kinder, gentler remainder. As Christ Browning’s book “Ordinary Men” shows, the mild mannered accountants, cooks and bakers in the “second string” SS Police battalions murdered tens of thousand of civilians as zealously as any “Mad Max” front-line SS army Unit. The central state may suppress individual vendettas, but then channels people into a more efficient killing machine to meet its objectives.

    • Replies: @anon

    Maybe, since some data shows criminals have substantial reproductive success.
     
    Yes, research shows that in a modern welfare state criminals have greater reproductive success.

    But it is by no means clear that the psychopaths’ isolation into specialist units leaves for a kinder, gentler remainder.
     
    That is my point: selection against high violence + low restraint doesn't select against high violence + high restraint.

    A "pacified" population can contain lots of violent individuals as long as they are also naturally self-restrained.
  171. Ron,

    Finally, we’re getting somewhere. If you go back to my first reply (#115), I wrote:

    The American chart you reference shows a drop from 35 per thousand to 10 per thousand between 1700 and 2000 (although the figures bounce up and down during the 20th century).

    - That’s a 3.5 fold decrease over 300 years (or perhaps 200 years if you want to exclude the 20th century).

    The changes during the 20th century are due to changes in the age structure of the population, specifically the relative proportion of young males between the ages of 15 and 25. This proportion shrank between 1890 and 1960 and then rose during the baby boom to a high point circa 1990. If we’re going to compare like with like, we should exclude those two periods (1890-1960 and post-1990). (see link)

    http://www.elderweb.com/sites/default/files/styles/reg/public/history/fertilityrate.gif?itok=xeflF1j0

    I assumed you understood my point about the volatility of the figures for the 20th century (although I didn’t spell out the reason). That’s why I was flabbergasted when you kept making the same criticism.

  172. @Peter Frost
    Peter, wasn’t there an article published before this one, but after “The Last Push-Back Against Liberalism” dealing with slave trading in Europe during the Dark Ages?

    I know one of Steve's commenters linked to one of my old posts on the subject:

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/from-slavs-to-slaves-part-ii/

    I've also been working on a text that would bring all of those texts together. The following is an abstract:

    White skin privilege. Modern myth, forgotten past.

    There is a widespread view that white women dominate the fashion industry, and hence our notions of beauty, because European societies have dominated the world for the past few centuries. Its proponents include top model Cameron Russell, who calls herself an undeserving recipient of white privilege.

    This view has become so entrenched that little concern is shown for contrary evidence. In particular, how does one explain the trade in European women with the Muslim world, commonly called the white slave trade, which prevailed when European societies were much less dominant than they are today? And why is fair skin a mark of femininity in all cultures and all known time periods? Ironically, this female norm is weakest in modern Western culture, which has favored the tanned look in women’s fashion since the 1920s.

    The white slave trade is especially hard to explain because it began during the Dark Ages, when the geopolitical landscape scarcely resembled today’s. Neither then nor later was this trade driven by a desire to emulate European civilization. It was driven by a desire to possess European women, however backward they might be. Indeed, their continent's backwardness helped make the trade possible. European states were too weak to stop it and had to accept their relative weakness, much like Asian and African ones later on.

    --------------------------------
    I don't see how I could have accidentally posted it, although stranger things have happened on my computer.

    Thank you for replying, Peter. You are right, it wasn’t your article; it was the link to your older article in a comment to Steve’s “Mozart on Muslim Sex Slavery”, and I somehow thought that was your article since the topic was pretty