Now that the blogosphere has discovered my finding that conservatives are outbreeding liberals by a rather large margin, many have taken it as a reason to rejoice. The genes for “pathological altruism” (which are a feature of the special evolutionary path that Northwestern Europeans have undertaken, which seems to result in such traits), which gives us troublesome things such as:
- suppression of scientific discussion of human differences
- championing diversity, (which brings immigrants into the country, driving down wages and upsetting otherwise stable communities)
- futile and expensive efforts to close racial achievement gaps
…are being (self)-selected out. These rejoicers believe that this will usher in a new era of American ethno-nationalism (read: White ethno-nationalism) that will get White Americans to act more in their own interests instead of those of the rest of the World. The proponents of this feel that this is a positive development in the long run, but I believe that it’s probably not going to work that way.
For one, as I’ve previously discussed, there is no evidence that conservative leadership produces better results, and plenty of evidence that it does not. Peter Frost has taken on this matter as well. He has argued that Barack Obama’s presidency has, overall, acted to slow the negative demographic trends that were in place. Indeed, many of these negative demographic trends, such as massive immigration and high Hispanic (i.e., Mexican) fertility, have taken place under and have been exacerbated by Republican presidents and policies.
Though it will be a very slow process, the rise of a more conservative White America is unlikely to produce leaders and policies that benefit itself and all Americans, and perhaps even would be negative for the world. First and foremost, paleoconservative, protectionist, race-realist thought isn’t what prevails among the current conservative leadership. Rather, capitalistic, anti-tax, pro-immigration, neoconservative thought does (as the largely pointless “fiscal cliff” debacle attests). It’s hard to know if this will change, but there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that it is changing.
Many HBD pundits believe that a more right-leaning White populace will produce a sane, competent, rational leader. Unfortunately, we’re more likely to get more like Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, or Newt Gingrich than we are to get someone like, say, Charles Murray.
The reason for this is the conservative electorate itself. Though White conservative Americans will slowly get smarter, they will also get more religious and likely more anti-science. (As aforementioned, I know liberals have their own version of this.) As such, only leaders that pander to this base will be able to get elected. One could argue that this is a good reason to be highly intolerant of any attempts by the religious right to squeeze creationism into school curricula.
Now, at this point, I know one criticism that will be leveled at me is that the increase in the non-White share of the population will make it unlikely that Republicans will be able to capture the presidency, as was the main rant after the last election. However, I think it’s unclear if that will be the case. Further, in the near term, Republicans will certainly be able to hold a considerable share of the Congress and many local offices.
Of course, it is difficult to predict how this will all play out. For one, it’s unknown if fertility trends – particularly the White conservative edge over White liberals – will remain as they are now, but, barring some unforeseen development (which is quite possible), it is likely it will remain this way for some time.
On that matter, we know that conservatives are outbreeding liberals. But where are they doing so? What parts of the country have the most fecund liberals and the least fecund conservatives, and vice versa? Once again, I decided to take a look at the GSS:
This is the mean number of children had by political orientation, by each region of the country, of non-Hispanic Whites, ages 44-60, from the 2000-2010 GSS data, 95% confidence intervals shown. The regions of the country are the same as used here by Razib Khan, with the exception that the states of the West Coast are separated form those of the interior West. Interestingly, the most fecund liberals appear to be in the most liberal parts of the country, the Northeast and Midwest. This may be due to several factors, including the higher concentration of those of Italian and Irish descent there. In any case, this indicates that the decline in the liberal share of the population will be slowest there. (In addition, there’s the caveat that not all liberals are created equal. Apparently, one’s identification as liberal or conservative is relative to the general voting habits of the local area; liberals in less liberal areas are themselves less liberal, and vice versa.)
In any case, what does this mean for the general order of society? Liberals remain firmly in control of academia, and it’s unclear how a more conservative intelligent class will interact with this. For one, one of the reasons conservative fertility is so high in the first place is because conservative women eschew higher education.
However, it’s my suspicion that the non-White vote that buttresses the Democrats can only hold out so long against an increasingly Right-leaning White populace. Eventually, Republicans will recapture the White House and will remain a strong force for a long time to come.
Why is this bad? I’ll admit, whether one wants a more liberal America or a more conservative one is in large part a function of one’s own politics. Naturally, the conservative voices out there welcome more individuals like themselves, whereas I, as a liberal (and as a person of color), would be expected to welcome a more liberal America – or at the very least, one that isn’t more conservative than it is now (a type of kin-altruism, to be sure). Many of these ideas about what is good or bad for society are ultimately normative arguments rather than empirical ones. However, I aim here to give objective reasons for why the conservative ascendancy is not in all of our best interests.
To start, in the near- to mid-term, the primary reasons why conservative ascendancy is bad are neoconservativism, corporatism, and Christian fundamentalism. These produce policies such as those of the previous president, or those of Paul Ryan, which are proven to be highly deleterious at home and abroad.
This is not even to mention the rise of idiotic conservative agendas, such as spreading creationism, or the push to proscribe abortion or contraception (I’ll return to this point).
What about in the longer term? What is so bad about a White America that has shed many of its genes for “pathological altruism”? I can think of a few good reasons why this may be the case.
What follows is a bit of educated speculation based on what we do know about human behavior and on current trends. For one, a less altruistic White population in an increasingly “diverse” America doesn’t sound like a healthy combination if peace and stability is your goal. How tolerant will this less altruistic populace to the non-Whites among us? Indeed, while lower IQ individuals (of all races) cause problems, will the response remain restrained, semi-reasonable, and humane?
On this point, I will note that the Jim Crow era wasn’t that long ago.
Going beyond our borders, and expanding our scope a bit, we have our place with the rest of the world. “White guilt” is a much lamented quality in the HBD world. However, I will note that this feeling is pretty unique. No human group other than Northwestern Europeans seems to have any particular qualms about their treatment of the other people in the world (even though NW Euros are far from alone in their exploitation of fellow humans). Right now, we have a particular level of peace in the world because the most powerful nations in the world, collectively, are of Northwestern European (particularly British) extraction. Achieving this position was a hard-fought struggle (WW II, the Cold War). Today, a reasonable level of peace exists because the dominant powers are considerably less rapacious than some of the other powers in the world (and tons of nuclear weapons remain pointed at each other). What would happen if this were no longer the case? What if the world’s strongest power no longer felt as reserved about interfering with/exploiting the rest of the world for its own ends? I think the Iraq War serves as a taste of that this might be like. In the future, will the new conservative-dominated America respect the delicate balance of power that keeps the peace in the world? I think that these are very important questions.
Then there is issue of the progress and the foundation of modern civilization. While much lamented – and certainly quite backwards when it comes to human sciences – modern scientific research is a heavily (though by no means exclusively) liberal enterprise. Will the new conservative population be open to scientific research? Or will Jesus be the supreme concern and the underlying principle of all scientific explanation?
As for social issues, many conservative voices have called for the undoing of the modern post-sexual revolution, post-women’s liberation world. That is, they believe women should abandon their career pursuits and be shamed for having children out-of-wedlock. And I have stated before that this is simply unrealistic and is never going to happen. But, to be more accurate, that that is not going to happen any time soon. However, in a more conservative fundamentalist dominated America, all bets are off. That is, the call to reverse the sexual/feminist revolution may eventually gain real traction. For from the Republicans truly abandoning their currently politically suicidal bent to end legalized abortion, instead the cause remains and grows stronger. Previously, I had advocated Planned Parenthood as a way to curb low-IQ fertility, but Republican leaders are opposed, with deleterious results. This is one example of how Republican policies serve to hasten negative demographic trends.
And then of course, there is the issue of the stability of the country itself. The United States was built through a federation of different groups of Britons, with distinct intrinsic cultural and political traits. These persistent political and cultural differences aren’t going to go away, and indeed, may grow more tense. The unity of the country was tested before, and if current political trends are any indication, it may be tested again.
On a more basic matter, conservatives, as a less altruistic bunch, are less willing to actually care about people in society. Despite the ills created by the social safety net in terms of fertility, the basic notion that we should take care of all people and allow everyone to live decent lives, as normative as that concept is, is largely lost upon them. Quality of life, especially for those on the bottom, is likely to suffer in a conservative-dominated America.
It is for these reasons that I have reservations about rise of the new, more conservative White America. I seriously doubt it will be as rosy as some seem to believe it will be. This is why I have advocated policies to boost struggling liberal fertility, as lamented as these ideas are by some. It is likely a better action to get our current liberal populace to accept the reality of HBD and understand the limits of the altruistic desires than it is to hope that the less altruistic take over. Indeed, as negative as some of the results of liberal policies have been, overall, the wonderful modern society that we have is the result of the liberal mindset. It is possible the new developments, such as embryo selection and other genetic engineering technologies might render this current discussion moot, but this remains to be seen. An eventual conservative-dominated America might not be all that bad, but I’m not putting my money on it right yet.