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From The Atlantic print edition:

A Bold New Theory Proposes That Humans Tamed Themselves

A leading anthropologist suggests that protohumans became domesticated by killing off violent males.


The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution BY RICHARD WRANGHAM PANTHEON

… In fact, Wrangham’s notion of human evolution powered by self-domestication has an ancient lineage: The basic idea was first proposed by a disciple of Aristotle’s named Theophrastus and has been debated several times since the 18th century.

Unfortunately, no link is given. I find interesting early notions of more modern ideas. For example, Plato’s Republic’s opening pages offer proto-versions of Adam Smith’s division of labor idea and David Ricardo’s comparative advantage idea, but don’t develop them.

Theophrastus was a philosopher, scientist, and teacher who was Aristotle’s popular successor as head of his school. But only a few of his books have directly survived.

This latest version, too, is bound to provoke controversy, but that’s what bold theorizing is supposed to do. And Wrangham is nothing if not bold as he puts the paradox in his title to use. In his telling, the dark side of protohuman nature was enlisted in the evolution of communal harmony.

Central to his argument is the idea that cooperative killing of incurably violent individuals played a central role in our self-domestication. Much as the Russian scientists eliminated the fierce fox pups from the breeding pool, our ancestors killed men who were guilty of repeated acts of violence. Certainly all-male raiding parties have operated in some groups of humans, seeking out and killing victims in neighboring villages (which recalls the patrolling chimps that Wrangham reported on earlier in his career). The twist in his current theory is that such ambushes are turned inward, to protect the group from one of its own: They serve as a form of capital punishment. Wrangham cites a number of examples of anthropologists witnessing a group of men collaborating to kill a violent man in their midst.

Harpending and Frost suggested something similar for more recent times as well.

The idea is intriguing, and it is indeed true that human hunter-gatherers, whose societies exist without governments, sometimes collectively eliminate bad actors. But such actions are rare, as the Canadian anthropologist Richard Lee emphasized in his extensive studies of the !Kung, which include the report of an unusual case: After a certain man killed at least two people, several other men ambushed and killed him. My own two years with the !Kung point to a more robust possible selection process for winnowing out aggression: female choice. Women in most hunter-gatherer groups, as I learned in the course of my experience in the field, are closer to equality with men than are women in many other societies. Evolutionary logic suggests that young women and their parents, in choosing less violent mates through the generations, could provide steady selection pressure toward lower reactive aggression—steadier pressure than infrequent dramas of capital punishment could.

For a converse theory:

Bessie was a lovely child from west Tennessee
Leroy was an outlaw wild as a mink
One day she saw him starin’ and it chilled her to the bone
And she knew she had to see that look on a child of her own.

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  1. Human civilization is such a leap and a gift it genuinely implies the existence of God. Humans, under evolutionary theory, did not have the mental capacity to be able to sacrifice and construct civilization without the intrusion of a higher, intelligent power.

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • LOL: Kratoklastes, AndrewR
    • Troll: Emblematic
    • Replies: @TTSSYF
    , @Stan d Mute
  2. Asdf43 says:

    > Evolutionary logic suggests that young women and their parents, in choosing less violent mates through the generations, could provide steady selection pressure toward lower reactive aggression

    Except a good chunk of women show the opposite tendency, namely hybristophilia.

  3. Lot says:

    That’s not a “bold new theory,” it is common sense.

    There are a lot of interesting studies on dog domestication.

    The two big changes were to the brain/head and the gut. The behavior differences with wolves are obvious. The digestive changes involve a much greater ability to digest starch compared to wolves.

    • Replies: @HA
  4. Luke Lea says:

    There is also the idea that the early civilizations were all built on military conquest and agricultural servitude as normative institutions. Unquestioned obedience to authority was one of its fundamental values, especially when it came to the new peasant class. Those who resisted were eliminated. Do that enough generations and . . . presto! A new species of domestic animal, Homo Common Man.

    • Agree: Rosie
    • Replies: @Art
  5. Richard Wrangham =

    Hard-marching war.
    Raw, charming, hard.

  6. What is the pattern with African-Americans? Are they becoming less violent, with many breeding age men in prison? Black popular culture would suggest otherwise.

    • Replies: @GermanReader2
    , @Desiderius
  7. not a new idea, and also, clearly baloney, in most places. it did happen in a few places, but as you can see by the violent crime rate in third world dumps today, it’s not true at all for the general human population.

    how does this person account for the 1 billion fundamental muslims, their growing numbers, and simple, 10th century barbarity?

    rome 2000 years ago, versus ass crackistan today.

    there’s a lot of these steve pinker goof balls going around now in the academic circles. they’re mostly wrong. good missile technology, is what stops major wars between serious opponents now.

    if things have improved so much why does the US have 100 military bases all around the planet? those shouldn’t be needed, according to professor slapnuts here.

  8. Kirt says:

    Violent men kill each other off. That’s fairly obvious.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
  9. I don’t think this is such a crazy theory. Germans and Japanese are among the most peaceful people on earth now. They spent most of the 19th and 20th century fighting wars. Is it too much of a stretch to theorize that the removal from the gene pool of a large portion of the most violent men (who were more likely to be soldiers and therefore be killed) has something to do with this?

    • Replies: @Emblematic
  10. God, Darwin And/or Intelligent Designing Women?

    The reason that there’s no link is that there was never an historical “Theophrastus.” It’s a “joke name” – like Life of Brian’s “Biggus Dickus” or worse yet, possibly derived from the racist slur, “Rastus”

    The Wiki entry is also obviously a phony – the guy lived on “Eresos in Lesbos” – *sure* he did.

    While women have driven male evolution in a violent direction as in “Let’s you and him fight,” it is also true that human incisors and canines are relatively small compared to those of other great apes. Some women doubtless told a saber-toothed potential suitor, “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog.” Some males thinking, “I’d give my eye teeth to get under the animal skins of some Betty Rubble,” might have dashed them out with a rock in order to deceive a female – leaving him at a disadvantage, however, if discovered by some Barney.

    Seriously, moderation in all things; remember reading somewhere (you want a “link”? – well, it’s “better not to know how law or sausages are made”) that while women didn’t want to mate with “wimps” (earlier, wimpy chimps), they also were attracted to men who were “cute,” that is to say, retained something of juvenile, if not babyish neoteny – rather than a stereotypical (as per J. Derbyshire, there’s usually a truth behind a stereotype) scary acromegalic Lucifer-looking objectively dangerous dude.

    A brilliant poster (whose name I don’t recall) a thread or so ago, mentioned that judicial hangings [carried out by the patriarchy, one might add] in England for offences which would be considered non-serious today probably reduced the proportion of genes tending to lead to violent offences in the general community. Some parodies (which, alas, are far better than anything I’ve ever doggerel’d out) of AE Housman might be worth a look:

    By Humbert Wolfe:

    When lads have done with labour
    In Shropshire, one will cry
    “Let’s go and kill a neighbour,”
    And t’other answers “Aye!”
    So this one kills his cousins,
    And that one kills his dad;
    And, as they hang by dozens
    At Ludlow, lad by lad,
    Each of them one-and-twenty,
    All of them murderers,
    The hangman mutters: “Plenty
    Even for Housman’s verse.”

    And this one (which Housman thought was pretty good)by Hugh Kingsmill:

    What, still alive at twenty-two,
    A clean upstanding chap like you?
    Why, if your throat is hard to slit,
    Slit your girl’s and swing for it!
    Like enough you won’t be glad
    When they come to hang you, lad,
    But bacon’s not the only thing
    That’s cured by hanging from a string.
    When the blotting pad of night
    Sucks the latest drop of light,
    Lads whose job is still to do
    Shall whet their knives and think of you.

  11. anon[166] • Disclaimer says:

    That line of thinking (it was female choice, not male violence in the maintenance of order) comes from the same place as the “pots not people” reasoning.

    Why are they so allergic to acknowledging the reality of violence in the distant past? Such pusses. I think it’s somehow related to political correctness– same impulse to stultify others.

  12. @NJ Transit Commuter

    Culling of violent individuals would have to be standard practice for a much longer period.

    Who was the author who suggested North-West Europeans basically pacified themselves by executing their most violent men in a consistent way over a multi-century time frame?

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    , @anon
  13. Art says:
    @Luke Lea

    There is also the idea that the early civilizations were all built on military conquest and agricultural servitude as normative institutions. Unquestioned obedience to authority was one of its fundamental values, especially when it came to the new peasant class.

    It would be very interesting to have a complete history of the Inca and Aztec peoples and their total collapse when the Euros arrived. Where there two cultures – was there a true majority serf society with a separate elite society running things?

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  14. You do know that you non-violent types are exhibiting bloodlust by advocating the killing of the, er, more violent. You’re also exhibiting pack behavior/ mob mentality. The only brake on your potential for violence is that you aren’t big enough to engage in such behavior alone. While the violent individual may indeed be more self-serving, your group strategy isn’t more civilized.

    Looks like I’m going to need more pepper spray.

  15. @Emblematic

    It is a quite common notion, that war made European societies more peaceful. The bullies went to war – of course, they did, and many of them died. This might be a reason why Europe is leaning tad more towards peace than the US?

  16. right alongside those domesticated women:


    The idea flies if the face of the male athlete or alpha male press or women who gravitate to “bad boys”.

  17. @Art

    The Aztecs were a military elite who dominated societies in the area they controlled. It is the tribes they conquered that you need to look up. And I Am too lazy to Google it now.

  18. Steve needs to create, “The Duh Files” for these kind of stories.

    • Replies: @denjae
  19. Cortes says:

    Perhaps the domesticated elite then needs to import more violent males in time of trouble?

    A few centuries earlier a previous wave of “gallowglasses” (young foreign fighters) began to impact Irish struggles against the Norman English, starting with “Hugh of the Foreigners” – the foreigners being mixed Norse-Celt Hebrideans.

    On a grander scale, as outlined in her history of the plague- and wars-devastated XIV Century “A Distant Mirror”, Barbara Tuchman provides a very persuasive account of the success of the various bands of condottieri in the mayhem affecting the great Continental centres..

    The biggest (and baddest?):

    An Erik Prince on horseback.

    • Replies: @Gabe Ruth
  20. The British Bloody Code certainly did its bit to civilize the British state, at the end of the hangmans noose.

    In 1688 there were 50 offences on the statute book punishable by death, but that number had almost quadrupled by 1776,[1] and it reached 220 by the end of the century

    Of course the Code was not followed to the letter of the law. I cannot determine the number of peersons executed by the Crown, but it was not a substantial proportion of the population. The civilization of Britain probably benefitted more from preventing criminal types from breeding, either through marriage norms requiring property or through transportation.

  21. Andrew M says:

    “seeking out and killing victims in neighboring villages … such ambushes are turned inward”

    It doesn’t have to be turned inward for it to have a selection effect. Targeted killings of rival warmongers is quite a sensible strategy. It’s also less contentious than killing your own. Launch a raid on the neighboring village, take out the strongman calling for battle, and you’ve made your village a lot safer.

    In a way, this still happens today. Intelligence agencies routinely interfere in the politics of foreign countries and support politicians with views favorable to their own, while trying to undermine more dangerous politicians. Venezuela is perhaps the most obvious example, but in general it’s more discreet to sabotage prospective leaders long before they reach the top. We haven’t seen a competent far-right leader since WWII. Is Mossad sabotaging them long before they gain power?

  22. @reactionry

    While the parodies are amusing, they can’t tell us much about social conditions in late Victorian Ludlow.

  23. @Asdf43

    Historically, patriarchal societies have worked to keep that aspect of female sexuality in check.

  24. TTSSYF says:
    @R.G. Camara

    Your comment is a mere assertion of your opinion and religious belief. It reminds me of an acquaintance of mine who stated with absolute certainty that the U.S. landing on the moon was faked, because it was just too complicated and too far away for us to have actually done. It was just her own, small-minded thinking that made her so certain of it. Thank goodness not everyone in the world is so small-minded and unimaginative.

  25. I’m waiting for this to show up as a citation in the Huffington Post or on the NYT Editorial Page:

    “Studies have shown that eliminating males can lead to lower crime and greater domestic peace.”

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  26. Gabe Ruth says:

    That is a really interesting link, thanks for the book recommendation.

    It’s Rene Girard’s world, we’re just living in it. The return of paganism continues, and this century is gonna be lit.

  27. We have not totally lost the formula, only the will. The people of Skidmore, MO took out the town bully in 1981 and no one has yet ratted on the killer.

  28. There’s a good bit here on the subject from a 2014 CARTA conference, including a presentation by Wrangham and background on the general process of domestication.

    Interesting stuff. Don’t forget A Farewell To Alms.


  29. @miss marple

    This is the if-you-want-peace-prepare-for-war conundrum that is at the base of civilization.

    If coercion is bad how do you force coercion to stop?


    As Steve says, this question received ancient attention at least since Augustine’s jus bellum justum (just war theory).

    Wiki says ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Indians also troubled themselves about this. No word on ancient Mesopotamian though.

  30. anon[393] • Disclaimer says:

    No doubt this is true we see chimps today do this regularly we had that book that suggested medieval death penalty changed us into wimps and of course we can see we have created a culture that breeds for beta faggotry a bitch in every betas bed makes for a country ripe for invasions, on the other hand war tends to kill off the violent.
    none of this is interesting its so obvious whats interesting is how to get a high culture that stable and not faggoty.we could crispr cuck alpha babies into bellies of the betas bitches but then we are back to the other problem. We need alphas to found a civilization (safe space) by aggression this opens up opportunity for other talent specialization- and fuck this static that alphas are not smart its just you cant specialize in war and physics easily specialties take investment, thats fine the space needs defending constantly but this is where we screw up something about being too long secure breeds utter faggotry in some sense it actually biologically breeds it as in the above but also it seems to culturally breed it, give me a group of hipster faggots under the right condition i could turn most of them into men. It seems the answer is to understand exactly whats happening how it has destroyed the past five or so globally hegemonic european civilization and to design a culture that is on the constant guard for not just a descent into barbarism but an ascent into faggotry. Elites control this but elites are well elite and ambitious and so defect from responsibility they are well compensated for and strike out on individualistic ambitions – yes this is a familiar dichotomy all over in different guise specialization is individualism martial tends toward duty a culture needs this tribal or group dynamic maintained despite the need for ind specialization elites must again be raised to duty and paternalism

  31. @Andrew M

    It doesn’t have to be turned inward for it to have a selection effect. Targeted killings of rival warmongers is quite a sensible strategy. It’s also less contentious than killing your own. Launch a raid on the neighboring village, take out the strongman calling for battle, and you’ve made your village a lot safer.

    Targeted killing of rivals is proactive aggression, not the reactive type that domestication selects against.

    Proactive aggression and reactive aggression are two different things seated in different parts of the brain and derived from different brain chemistry (therefore different genes). There is nothing contradictory about one being selected for and another selected against.

  32. @Dieter Kief

    “The bullies went to war – of course, they did, and many of them died.”

    Only if they lose.

    If they win, then…

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  33. HA says:

    “it is common sense.”

    Indeed. Is this the answer to the replication crisis in the soft sciences? Sticking with trite results that no sensible person would even bother to dispute, much less verify?

    How is it in any way revelatory to note that your berserker comrade, who might be exactly the man you want by your side in a shield wall, or when staring down a cavalry charge, might find himself a little lost and out of place once the berserking stops, and his insuppressible urge to keep raping and pillaging are regarded as a tad wearisome by the locals?

    Then again, you’d better be sure the berserking has indeed stopped forever before snipping anyone off from the gene pool:

    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ Chuck him out, the brute! ”
    But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot.

  34. Kyle says:

    We cull dogs that bite. Without that dogs can regress back to violent and antisocial animals. I wonder if capitol punishment keeps us civil and domesticated?

    • Agree: TTSSYF
  35. Peter Turchin “Ultrasociety” summarizes these ideas too. The specifics being that the invention of projectile weapons equalized early humans by allowing the physically weak to kill aggressive alpha males. Natural selection then kicked in to reduce the prevalence of aggressive alpha genes.

    Turchin makes the nice point that projectiles also allowed for larger scale inter group war, which also tended to select for cooperative genes over aggressive/selfish ones since inter group conflict gives rise to intra group cooperation. (kind of the inverse of the opening of 2001 a Space Odyssey where projectiles represent a ‘fall’ into selfish male aggression in Kubrick’s 60’s ideology).

  36. @Andrew M

    “this still happens today. Intelligence agencies routinely interfere in the politics of foreign countries and support politicians with views favorable to their own, while trying to undermine more dangerous politicians.”

    True, but this is at best a faint echo of the former effort of “humans taming themselves”.

    While intelligence agencies sponsor an assassination here or discourage a misguided pol there, the welfare state and open borders abets the mass breeding of millions of underclass criminals while subverting the livelihoods of the remaining tame population.

    Taming effect of intelligence agencies vs. untaming effects of the Left’s agenda = spit vs. the ocean.

    Indeed, future historians—if any such arise again—may refer to the period from the late 20th century until next renaissance as The Great Untaming.

  37. Bad science going on here: it is not about violence or aggression (“the so-called evil” -Lorenz).

    If it was then you’ve got to lard-on a second theory about the thousands of soldiers who were violent and aggressive in war —often so violent and aggressive they shocked and amazed fellow aggressive and violent— who at wars’ end collected their MoH or Silver Stars, came home, worked in a factory, raised a family, volunteered for little league, and were everyday Joes or Tommys.

    Then you have to add theory three, which explains why you don’t want, under any circumstances of war, the most violent and aggressive that society has to offer. Although some gang-bangers turn into fair-to-middling soldiers, the vast majority are cowards in combat. They may be violent and aggressive people, but not against equal odds found in war. At their best they will not stand up under fire and move forward.

    Y’all missing some key concepts.

  38. @Kirt

    The resolution in every old crime drama was to have all the bad guys shoot each other.

    Watch Peter Gunn. Those old crooks couldn’t kill each other fast enough. Today, we have the young crooks killing each other right and left in the big, violent cities. But for some reason, there’s always a new generation of punks ready to take up the mantle of violence when the older guys die off or go to prison.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  39. @Asdf43

    Yes I was thinking the exact same thing.

    More “who are you going to believe: me or your lying eyes” from the same people who brought us the social science replicability crisis. And of course its all the fault of men and nothing to do with female hypergamy.

    Also the initial theory seems retarded as well. That protohumanity killed off its most violent members who were most suited for surviving in pre-history. Say what?

    • Replies: @AndrewR
  40. AKAHorace says:

    Are humans becoming wilder now ?

    Does anyone know the birthrate of violent criminals vs the general population ?

  41. Farenheit says:

    My first exposure to this theory that long term legal penalties resulted in societal changes at the behavioral genomic level was Nicholas Wade’s book “A Dangerous Inheritance”.

    If memory serves, he made the argument that over the centuries, killing off the young men prone to very low impulse control, via the criminal justice system, did result in a lessening of violence society wide.

    He also made mention to there apparently being genes that are prevenlent in the current felon population at a statistically significant percentage greater/lesser the the host population at large that are associated with impulse control issues….again it’s been awhile since I read the book.

  42. “In his telling, the dark side of protohuman nature was enlisted in the evolution of communal harmony.”

    Fast forward to Century Twenty: World War One: at least 16 million dead; World War Two: 80 million dead. Tack on the Holodomor, the Holocaust, Cambodian and Armenian genocides, the Great Leap forward.

    How’s that for “evolution of communal harmony” eh?

  43. Unlike you HBD’ers, I don’t believe humans have changed that much. Discipline has long been a necessary component of any fighting force as well as the socialization or genetics not to turn violent rage against your own family, preferably even your own community. Those who slaughter their own families clearly leave fewer descendants. So this is a mechanism for keeping Michael Myers types out of the gene pool for our whole existence.

    What you’re not recognizing is the threat of violence from those who are marginalized and disenfranchised. You could go at this problem as desperation from a group with not much to lose: Juvenile delinquents from lower class families. A more organized version would be asymmetrical warfare: Rebels from separatist movements. Police, military and even hunters tend not to be a physical threat in their personal lives as they tend to be respectable and middle class.

    I still can’t get over the image of a bunch of nerdy and middle-aged isteve contributors going around like a potbellied, aged-out gang from A Clockwork Orange wielding Occam’s butterknifes.

    • LOL: Dtbb
    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  44. @Almost Missouri

    I thought quite a lot these days about this Wikipedia entry you quote here. This is an impressive fact indeed.

    But even though – I think lots of “bad guys” went to war in Europe and got killed. Families often times decided over who would be sent to the military – and who not. A few of those soldiers made it – some of them came back and were rich, even. In Switzerland, there’s many a small town, which has quite impressive houses in their 17th and 18th-century quarters (Gottfried Keller wrote a great novella about such a man – “Der Schmoller”. A very aggressive guy once – now cleared, so to speak, after decades in foreign armies. Great novella, by the way!

  45. Pericles says:

    I believe I’ve seen a paper on the (currently active) Yamanomama tribe, where the men who were killers had a TFR of 1 higher than those who were not.

  46. “…our ancestors killed men who were guilty of repeated acts of violence.”

    Presumably our ancestors used coordinated censorship, deplatforming, blacklisting, financial ostracism, corporate repression, judicial activism, and demonetisation to achieve that…softly :

    “The baiting crowd forms with reference to a quickly attainable goal. That goal is widely known and clearly marked, and it is also near. This crowd is out for killing and it knows whom it wants to kill. It heads for this goal with unique determination and cannot be cheated of it.

    The proclaiming of the goal, the spreading about of who it is that is to perish, is enough to make the crowd form.

    The concentration on killing is of a special kind of unsurpassed intensity. Everyone wants to participate; everyone strikes a blow and, in order to do this, punches as near as he can to the victim. If he cannot hit himself, he wants to see others hit him.

    Every arm is thrust out as if they all belong to the same creature….”

    — Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power

  47. Dtbb says:

    So lynching is eugenic. Sounds like a plan.

    • Replies: @another fred
  48. It all makes sense now:

    • Agree: reactionry
  49. dvorak says:

    young women and their parents, in choosing less violent mates through the generations

    There, see, young women are natural allies of patriarchy, in the absence of a Communist narrative and in the presence of a God-Emperor narrative.

  50. Reminiscent of Sapolsky’s baboon thing.

    Natalie Angier has the gist of Sapolsky’s report in NYTImes 2004:

    No Time for Bullies: Baboons Retool Their Culture

  51. Evil debunked pseudoscientist Nicholas Wade talks about this idea specifically in Troublesome Inheritance. One part focuses on “The war on murder” in England where serious criminals were murdered or sent off to live on a random island forever. Shockingly, removing impulsively violent people from the gene pool results in a less violent population.

    Basically, everything Nicholas Wade said in Troublesome Inheritance will likely be presented as a new and innovative theory by someone else at some point.

    • Replies: @pyrrhus
  52. @TelfoedJohn

    I think they are becoming more violent, since the young criminals seem to be quite popular with young women.

  53. @Dieter Kief

    Germany might be different today had they not lost 5 million men in WW2.

  54. Dutch Boy says:

    This theory is much like Lance Weldon’s concerning the effect of centuries of capital punishment in post-Roman Empire Europe (effectively reducing the frequency of psychopathic personality in the European population).

  55. @prime noticer

    It’s 1,000, not 100 bases, and they’re not restraining the violent, but needed for the military-financial complex balance sheet.

    OTOH, “Asscrackistan” is necessary, ’cause no one’s ever truly died laughing.

    Risu faciunt et impera! (Make laugh and rule)

    • Replies: @prime noticer
  56. Not Again says:

    Any war conducted by volunteer soldiers with high death rates will cause significant attrition of warlike traits. How many reproductive age men volunteered and died in the American civil war and the following two world wars?
    Two things have prevented any recent major wars, little or no booty of any kind and a deficit of war loving men.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Reg Cæsar
  57. “our ancestors killed men who were guilty of repeated acts of violence.”

    You don’t say!

    It’s called the death penalty, and it needs to be re-introduced pronto.

    And the sentence carried out within a week say, allowing time for one appeal, and one only.

  58. @prime noticer

    1 billion fundamental muslims

    They’re only half as problematic as the 1.3 billion members of the Westboro Baptists.

    See how retarded that sounds?

    Claiming that every Muzzie is a closet Wahhabi/Salafi, is as retarded as claiming that every Jesus-cult whackball holds the views of a bunch of retarded Yank fuckwits.

    Most people pretend to believe in a religion because they’re under social pressure to conform: that’s as true of Muzzies as it is of Jesus-freaks and Red Sea Pedestrians.

    About 5% of any religion actually believes the entire story… those are the retards who don’t read anything except the literature of their cult – the most ill-informed dimbulbs imaginable.

    Elsewhere on Unz, today I read that some folks reckon if you can’t qualify to own a handgun, you shouldn’t be entitled to vote[1].

    It’s much easier to make the case that if you’re gullible enough to believe pre-scientific bullshit, you shouldn’t be entitled to vote.

    After all, we don’t let children vote – because they’re not cognitively capable of properly assessing the consequences of their actions. People who have the cognitive capacity of dull children should have the same restrictions placed on their behaviour, and should not be allowed to influence public policy.

    [1] to see how fuckwitted that argument is: in many US jurisdictions, getting convicted for mooning as a kid gets you on a sex offenders list, which disqualifies you from gun ownership … for life. (What the actual fuck, America? Get your shit together).

    Ditto streaking, peeing in public, and a bunch of other juvenile shit that any red-blooded boy has done. If you got laid before you were ‘of age’, and your partner was the same age, you committed a crime that would have deprived you of voting rights… for your entire fucking life. Maybe you didn’t get caught – you still did the crime.

    (And if you didn’t get laid before you were ‘of age’ you’re an NPC or a religious whacko: I was as awkward AF as a 15 year old, but even I managed it).

    • Replies: @TTSSYF
  59. @Old Palo Altan

    You have way too much faith in the system – which indicates that you’re a well-behaved little puppy who has had fuck-all interaction with the system… and you don’t read widely either.

    I’m pretty charitable towards people who hold badly-thought-out opinions, because I firmly believe that most people genuinely want to understand the world and so they seek information to improve their guess… i.e., I believe that errors are remediable.

    That’s why I don’t hope that someday someone you hold dear is wrongfully convicted of a death penalty offence.

    (Also, I would be a moral monster if I wanted someone dear to you to pay the price for your ignorance, just to teach you a lesson: I’m a moral monster, but for entirely different reasons).

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Old Palo Altan
  60. pyrrhus says:

    Young women absolutely love Bad Boys and scoundrels….Hence the prevalence of arranged marriages, and the requirement of parental assent, for millennia.

    • Replies: @TTSSYF
  61. pyrrhus says:

    Prof Greg Clark’s ‘A Farewell to Alms’, preceded Wade by a decade…

    • Replies: @BigDickNick
  62. Those graphs greatly exaggerate the trend by not starting the y-axis at zero.

  63. @miss marple

    Police, military and even hunters tend not to be a physical threat in their personal lives

    Except that police and military are over-represented in domestic violence statistics – despite institutional reluctance to pursue complaints (mainly because of the power of police unions). Cops’ self-reported domestic violence indicates that cops are 2-4× more likely to abuse their spouses, than the national average.

    They’re also over-represented in substance abuse, suicide, marital breakup and child porn subscription. (That last one is mostly due to the 5200 Pentagon staffers found to be subscribers to a kiddie-porn network)

    Quite apart from the statistics, anyone who has ever been involved with the ex-partner of a copper or soldier has heard the horror stories.

    Here are some links…

    Police Have a Much Bigger Domestic-Abuse Problem Than the NFL Does (The Atlantic, 2014)

    Departments Are Slow To Police Their Own Abusers (NY Times, 2013)

    Stinson & Leiderbach (2013) Fox in the Henhouse: A Study of Police Officers Arrested for Crimes Associated with Domestic and/or Family Violence Criminal Justice Faculty Publications. 6

    How Police Unions and Arbitrators Keep Abusive Cops on the Street (The Atlantic, 2014 – about misconduct more generally, rather than spousal abise)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @miss marple
  64. @Kratoklastes

    You could probably due an interesting study comparing women who are attracted to cops versus women who are attracted to firemen.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
    , @Cortes
  65. @Steve Sailer

    That would certainly be an interesting contrast: firemen genuinely put themselves in harm’s way and their job requires maintenance of reasonably high levels of physical fitness – and I’ve seen nothing that indicates that firemen behave as badly as cops in their social lives.

    My prior is that ‘badge bunnies’ who prefer FD to PD would be revealing a preference for actual masculine traits, as opposed to putative masculine traits. (Although NY being NY, there’s always some psycho hose-beast who goes too far – in this case an obese mong who was obviously rubbing one out to “Backdraft” on the daily)

    Bouncers also get huge amounts of attention from women who like the idea of a guy whose job is to fuck people up when required – although that has changed since the 80s with increased quality control and tighter constraints on the use of force by bouncers.

    I think it’s a subset of women – those whose drives are primarily biological: physical prowess is very weakly correlated with economic success (and the latter is the main determinant of reproductive fitness in a modern economy). But their amygdala sees physical prowess and/or bravery, and their hot button starts to light up.

    And of course nobody’s trying to fuck a mall-cop or a TSA grope-drone.


    I guess it’s a bit like .mil girlfriends: if a woman hooks up with a JSOC-type dude, there’s something not right in her head (something’s a priori not right in his head); if she hooks up with a guy from Signals or Transport everyone’s probably pretty normal. (If she hooks up with an airman, that’s just sad for all concerned).

    When I was a soldier (Signals) the women I encountered were run-of-the-mill urban chicks not observably different to the women I met later as a civilian; when I was a ‘contractor’, the women were deranged fetishists who wanted to fuck a killer. (Anecdotes are not evidence).

    It seems that women are attracted to any marker of prowess in a domain they think is interesting (why any woman would think that organised violence is an interesting domain, is a question left to one side).

    And – again anecdotally – it seems true even when the ‘authority’ is pretty low-level.

    When I ‘transitioned’ (HA!) from being mostly-a-perpetrator-of-violence to being a junior academic, myself and a number of my colleagues (all mid-to-late 20-somethings) were ‘persons of interest’ to our female students.

    Our guess was that their interactions with us marked the first time that an objectively-clever older man interacted with them without talking down to them. And although we were ‘older’, we were still in the ballpark as far as they were concerned. And we seemed to have all the answers, and everyone knew we had to be élite students to be in that job.

    We all understood that every semester there would be one or two ‘girls’ who would get twitterpated … and that it was absolutely hors jeu to take advantage.

    Fortunately, I had met The Lovely during undergrad (she was my housemate), and I knew that was going to ‘stick’ (as it has: 26 years this March). That, plus the fact that I mostly taught 3rd and 4th year, meant that the women I taught had some time up and ‘the bloom was off the rose’, so to speak.

    One of the tutors who shared an office with my mates, left to take a lucrative job as a teacher in a prestigious private girls school. He quit after a year – he found it immensely stressful being the object of flagrant – and extremely explicit – sexual advances from precocious 16 and 17 year olds (including, but not limited to, getting multiple, deliberate beaver-shots: girls not wearing panties in his class and making that fact very clear).

    I pity the parents: poor fuckers were paying $25k a year, and it was wasted on more than half the kids in the school.

  66. Cortes says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “Firemen” is so passé.

    Firefighting (generally in the UK “Fire and Rescue”) services, quasi military until the turn of the century, are now “diversified”, so if your old momma is stuck on the top floor of a 4-storey tenement on fire, expect some protocols involving super duper PC workarounds theoretically able to extract her in lieu of a single hairy-arsed big guy carrying her to safety over his shoulder.

    I get regular updates on the latest symptoms of descent into madness. The “US Navy” strategy of female officers falling pregnant to evade potentially dangerous mission deployment such as “high-rise rescue training” from wind turbine towers and the like is a goodie. Join a unit for the additional risk pay allowance and opt out biologically.

  67. Rosie says:

    Except a good chunk of women show the opposite tendency, namely hybristophilia.

    What do you consider a “good chunk”?

  68. @Kratoklastes

    Thanks. I feel much less safe now.

  69. denjae says:
    @Redneck farmer

    Yep! . . . So DUH . . . couldn’t get past a quick skim of the review . . .

    Virtue & Human Evolution . . . (uuumm, Good Whites?)
    Violence . . . (uuumm, Bad White males?)

    New theory? Nah. Just another “academically-informed,” subliminally-suggestive, Post -Modern justification for Good Whites to “self domesticate” (F*** the government, we’re the government!)

    And proceed to “co-operatively kill” Bad White males.

  70. @Bard of Bumperstickers

    i agree half of the US defense department budget is MIC largesse, but not the other half. the US maintains a large military presence in several large and ‘peaceful’ first world nations because if they pulled out, those places would be right back to war in 10 or 20 years tops. if anybody thinks otherwise, the US military pulling out of japan and korea would probably precipitate war conditions in area in, oh, 2 years top? china, japan, and korea all going at it, nearly immediately.

    the US military has a preposterous, total overkill navy that patrols the planet’s oceans and protects the international shipping lanes, reducing local military interventions and pirate activities probably by 100 fold. it’s not necessary to have 10 aircraft carriers to do this, 4 or 5 would be fine, considering how many subs there are. however, the day the US navy goes away, the planet goes RIGHT BACK to war.

    guys like pinker don’t understand this. he’s a very smart guy, and i’ve been reading him for over 20 years, but these ‘world is peaceful’ guys seem to completely and totally miss the forceful pacification the US military imparts on the globe. not that i agree with all of america’s military actions. but these academics are clueless about this stuff, and never talk about it ONE TIME EVER, in dozens of books, articles, and interviews about how the world is getting less violent.

    one day, soon at this rate, the united states will have 40 billion dollars in government debt and treasury bonds with interest to service, and it won’t be able to both pay the crushing interest, and have a defense budget of 700 billion dollars a year. and the day when the US navy cannot control the planet is the day the chinese are waiting for.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @stillCARealist
  71. you can tell we are becoming less violent by looking at what the police officers in america looked like in 1950, versus what they look like today.

    oh wait…

    well maybe in the UK. oh wait…

    well at least the murder rate is lower in mexico today than ever. oh wait.

    well, brazil then. wait…

    hey, at least it’s down in puerto rico. nevermind puerto rico lost almost 1 million citizens over the last 15 years. lower is lower, nomsayin?

  72. MBlanc46 says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    I agree with you in principle. There is solid evidence on wrongful conviction, however, that gives me pause in practce.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  73. Anon[538] • Disclaimer says:

    If humans became domestic it merely reflects the change from hunting to farming. The necessity of putting in twelve hours in a day laboring over crops requires a tamer man.

  74. Anon[538] • Disclaimer says:

    So when was that last speeding ticket of yours?

  75. Anon[538] • Disclaimer says:
    @Not Again

    I’d say you’ve called it correctly.

  76. Anonymous[403] • Disclaimer says:
    @prime noticer

    Somebody gets it.
    All y’all gonna miss us when we’re gone.

  77. @stillCARealist

    The resolution in every old crime drama was to have all the bad guys shoot each other.

  78. @Patrick in SC

    I’m waiting for this to show up as a citation in the Huffington Post or on the NYT Editorial Page:

    “Studies have shown that eliminating males can lead to lower crime and greater domestic peace.”

    There have been entire books written about the obsolescence of males.

    And this:

    When I think of the world after the end of men, I think of the world my son will inherit, where, if he chooses to take his kids to a playground at 3 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, no one will look at him funny, no one will wonder if he’s out of work, no one will think, “What a loser,” and no one will think he’s from Portland or Toronto…

    No, they’ll think of him as a sex pervert, and hide their kids. Nice world you’ve built him.

  79. @Not Again

    Any war conducted by volunteer soldiers with high death rates will cause significant attrition of warlike traits. How many reproductive age men volunteered and died in the American civil war and the following two world wars?

    The draft was in effect for all those wars.

    Also, Civil War casualties were overwhelmingly deaths by sickness. That didn’t cull the war-loving as much as it did the physically vulnerable.

    • Replies: @TTSSYF
  80. TTSSYF says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    I would lean more toward execution within one year. It’s said that “it’s better that 100 guilty men go free than for one innocent man to be executed”, but that’s too facile. What are the odds that one or more of the 100 guilty men are going to kill one or more innocent people again?

    No, I would not want to be that one innocent person who pays with his life for the good of society, but I don’t think those instances would be any more numerous if executions were carried out within one year of conviction and appeal vs. 30+ years of endless legal maneuverings, and it would have a much greater deterrent effect.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  81. TTSSYF says:

    And a lot of men love Bad Girls, as long as they’re pretty. Leslie Van Houten received all kinds of marriage proposals while on trial and in prison.

  82. AndrewR says:
    @Jack Hanson

    Violent proclivities can be adaptive but, when excessive, they can be maladaptive.
    Pissing your whole tribe off and having them kill you isn’t highly conducive to producing a large number of descendants.L
    Like most traits, there is a happy medium.

  83. @prime noticer

    Explain to me why the US Gov has to pay interest when it borrows from the Federal Reserve.

    I understand that it has to pay bondholders interest, but the Fed is just there to “print” money, is it not? And it’s ability to “loan” the US Gov money is seemingly infinite. I can see the national debt going to 100 trillion and it really won’t matter.

  84. @Kratoklastes

    And to think I was so fair-minded as to have changed my final sentence from reading “And the sentence to be carried out on the day it is imposed”.

    No more Mr Nice Guy for the likes of you.

  85. @TTSSYF

    I don’t disagree, and would only wish to add that the death penalty is not a deterrent only, but also a just and necessary penalty imposed by the state upon those who seriously discomfit public order, either by taking the lives of the innocent, called murder, or by endangering the res publica itself, called treason.

    • Agree: TTSSYF
  86. @pyrrhus

    looking it up now and Wade references Greg Clark…I think troublesome inheritance just summarizes a lot of interesting ideas by others rather than presenting any completely new ones. I guess the point I was trying to make is that in HBD we are already aware of all of this stuff.

  87. A bunch of you need to read the literature and pay attention. Wrangham says that proactive violence is being selected for (the calculated plotting type), i.e. there is an advantage to it. What is selected against is reactive violence, the kind where you fly off the handle because someone pissed you off.

    The violence is not the real issue, it is self control vs reactivity. Violence is just an expression of affect, not the critical affect (if it is an affect).

  88. @prime noticer

    “…those shouldn’t be needed, according to professor slapnuts here.”

    Wrangham does not say that we are angels, just that we are becoming less reactive and more domesticated. You might want to read, or read about, his earlier book Demonic Males. He has some political views about pacifying males more (in the last chapter of that book), which, IMO, are of the fringe that I do not agree with, but that’s politics, not science.

    The general scientific theory that we have been self-domesticating for hundreds of thousands of years is pretty well based. Exact consequences and causes are less well based. Ideas for what it means are politically biased.

  89. @Dtbb

    So lynching is eugenic. Sounds like a plan.

    Bluntly stated, the eugenic part is what the theory says went on for thousands of years. As to whether or not it is a “plan” depends on how much one agrees with Thomas Hobbes and a lot of other things.

    If “progressives” ever start agreeing with it…

  90. @TelfoedJohn

    Popular culture = pretty lies.

    The more emasculated they get, the tougher they act to compensate, just like BLM was mostly rich mulattos trying to make up for their lost black identity.

  91. @MBlanc46

    There isn’t “solid evidence” of wrongful conviction, once you get past the appeals process. And in the vast majority of cases where the death penalty is imposed, there is no doubt at all of guilt.

    Charles Lane did the numbers in his book on capital punishment “Stay of Execution” and found that fewer than one-tenth of one percent of all death penalty sentences have even been contested on the basis of wrongful conviction since the reinstitution of the death penalty in the mid-seventies, according to the anti-capital punishment groups. That’s after the appeals process was fully played out. And in none of those cases has someone who was either executed, or still on death row after the appeals process played out, been fully exonerated. At least according to Lane when his book was published nine years ago.

    As Lane points out, there is even less reason now than, say, in the 1970s or 1980s to believe in the possibility of wrongful conviction since DNA testing is widely used.

    Of course it would be silly to believe that executing an innocent man is impossible. Of course it’s possible, and it might have even happened since 1976. But that is not what drives the anti-capital punishment groups. Skepticism about the guilt of the people on death row is not a common feature of 95 percent of death penalty cases, despite what HBO might want you to believe.

    • Agree: TWS
  92. For a converse theory:

    If you have ever known the type of people Waylon was singing about you could see that there is a population among them that is de-domesticating and going feral.

  93. @R.G. Camara

    Human civilization is such a leap and a gift it genuinely implies the existence of God.

    Clearly, that’s why after 2,100 years of praying to the JewGod we now have the wisdom of our Pagan Greek forebears from 300bc. JewGod delivers!

  94. Cato says:

    Doesn’t seem like a new idea: Christopher Boehm’s Hierarchy in the Forest (2001) posits much the same thesis: dominant males would confront a coalition of lesser males, which caused “proto-humans” to have relatively weak dominance hierarchies. Boehm based his ideas on study of chimpanzees.

  95. Theophrastus was… But only a few of his books have survived.

    Well, if you don’t send them to the Library of Congress, what can you expect?

  96. @reactionry

    judicial hangings [carried out by the patriarchy, one might add] in England for offences which would be considered non-serious today probably reduced the proportion of genes tending to lead to violent offences in the general community

    I’ve seen this theory too, but I don’t remember where. Judicial executions claimed a significant fraction of the English population – perhaps 0.5% every year – and carried on at this rate for a few centuries. This is a large enough attrition to modify the gene pool and make people more docile.

  97. TTSSYF says:

    Nobody is claiming that every Muslim is a Wahhabi / Salafi, and no doubt a very large percentage professes the faith mostly out of fear, but a significant percentage of them secretly cheer on violent jihad against the infidel, whether out of genuine belief in the tenets of Islam (which encourage war against the infidel) or simply because they hate the West (in large part out of jealousy). I’ve personally known too many who appeared charming, good-natured, and open-minded but who couldn’t always suppress their hatred of the U.S., even while living here and enjoying all the benefits of it, and who became increasingly fanatical about Islam over the time that I knew them. They are contemptuous of what they believe is our immoral society even while they succumb to it (they can’t resist and therefore hate us all the more for preventing them from being “good Muslims”). Every now and then, this hatred would bubble to the surface. While that significant percentage may not personally have the guts for “wet work”, they are only too happy to secretly applaud it when another Muslim does.

    And as far as only the dimwits actually believing in their religion — you are mistaken there as well. I know plenty of high-IQ people whose entire lives are dedicated to their church and religion. They are pastors and church administrators. In their heart-of-hearts, do they have doubts? Probably, but not enough to have not made the church their profession for their entire lives. High-IQ people can still be wrong and believe some silly things.

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