Ethno-Cladistics

The Ethno-cladistic thesis, sketchily reconstructed here from Mencius Moldbug’s neoreactionary usage, proposes that relations between cultural systems are captured by cladograms to a highly significant level of adequacy. The limits to this thesis are set by lateral complications — interchanges and modifications that do not conform to a pattern of branching descent — and these are by no means negligible. Nevertheless, actual cultural formations are dominated by cladistic order. As a consequence, cultural theories that assume taxonomic regularity as a norm are capable of reaching potentially realistic approximations, and furthermore offer the only prospect for the rigorous organization of ethnographic phenomena.

The most direct and central defense of the ethno-cladistic thesis bypasses the comparatively high-level religious systems that provide the material for Moldbug’s arguments, and turn instead to the ethnographic root phenomenon: language. Languages simply are cultures in their fundamentals, so that any approach applicable to them will have demonstrated its general suitability for cultural analysis.

I’d try to spin this out melodramatically, but I don’t think there’s really any point:

langtree

Click on images for full-size (legible) display.

indoeuropean

It seems indisputable (to me) that lateral complications of these basic cladistic schemes are marginal. Languages are naturally grouped in branching, tree-like structures, which like those of (metazoan) biological variety are simultaneously explanatory of historical processes and morphological relatedness, because they represent evolutionary processes of successive speciation. The dominant organization is a taxonomic hierarchy, conforming to the formal language of set theory. The real events captured by these schemes are schisms, whose logical relation is that of genus to species. In the case of culture, as with biology, the manifest evolutionary development indicates the existence of some efficient hereditary mechanism (whose unit of replicated information is tagged by Moldbug, among innumerable others, as a ‘meme‘). On this last point, it is worth noting that taxonomic biological classification, and even genetics, preceded the biochemical discovery of DNA —  and was broadly confirmed, rather than disrupted, when this discovery took place. (The meme is an analogy, but not a metaphor.)

Ethno-cladistics is the schematics of cultural heritage. Despite the bulldozer assertiveness of this post, it is not designed to block methodical efforts directed at the subversion of this model. As indicated, such efforts will necessarily involve the elaboration of lateral (or ‘rhizomatic’) diagrams — a project of great intrinsic significance (and creative potential). Techno-commercial processes are strongly associated with lateralizations of this kind.

Culture, however, is fundamentally heritage, and ethno-cladistics is the theoretical response to this basic historical fact. This is already Moldbug’s tacit claim, which should be uncontroversial among reactionaries of any kind. At the core  of the neoreactionary endeavor is the cladogram.

 

 

 

September 6, 2013admin 57 Comments »
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57 Responses to this entry

  • spandrell Says:

    I’m failing to get your point.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    How about the Moldbug quote in the last cladistics post? My only point is to defend that.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 6th, 2013 at 11:50 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Would Rhizomes be of interest to say a certain ante Great War Vienna Set?

    I must confess that was my first thought.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “… a certain ante Great War Vienna Set” … Logical Positivists? I think their program is quite badly broken.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    Farmers hate rhizomes (juncus effusus is a real pain in the arse – though amusingly I believe tatami mats were sometimes made from rush plants). Calvinism also operated in a rhizomatic or at least cell like structure – again much to the Catholic Reaper’s annoyance during the Wars of Religion. Rather than logical positivists, VXXC, try Deleuze and Guattari for additional rhizome info – even if you’re likely to find them just as infuriating (resist the urge to reach for the pesticide).

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 6th, 2013 at 12:27 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    The problem I see with tracking descent is that it never ends. Why stop 400 years ago? So we can blame Cromwell? The only reason we focus on the puritans is that we don’t have proper records before it.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I agree — there’s no reason to stop anywhere. Doesn’t cladistic lucidity make that obvious? Heredity is a lineage, not an origin.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Nick, I was trying to find the post where you declared the Dailly Bell to be ‘man down’, but I’m too tired, so completely off-topic alert. Seen this?/ http://detlevschlichter.com/2013/09/final-blog-thank-you-and-good-bye-for-now/

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    Mark, have they kicked you out of Warwick yet for associating with fascist pigs?

    admin Reply:

    Nooooooo!

    Alrenous Reply:

    The point of tracking ancestors is that the descendents are likely to be similar. Studying the ancestors can reveal non-obvious traits or allow us to think of looking at certain obvious traits as patterns rather than noise.

    I say that proggies are modern Sophists. The point is not to say ‘we should have genocided the sophists in the first place,’ – though the idea appeals – the point is to call out patterns to proggie lies and so forth, and to predict that proggie evolution is likely to track sophist evolution. Similarly, strategies that defeated the sophists are likely to still be effective.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Scharlach, I did my MA at Warwick. I’m doing my PHD in Goldsmiths. Nothing gets going till the 23rd. I’ll be writing two posts. One about updating my proposal due to my contact with the reacto-sphere, and another about settling down into the academic swing of things.

    At the moment 90% of my day consists of gym/job-hunting/and half-hearted studying. I can’t keep up with what is going on in these ‘rooms’ at all! Associating AA and what are now tangible right-wing views isn’t just me being flippant. It is a coming out of the closet of sorts. Similar to when in an AA meeting, one once said, “My name is Mark, and I’m an alcoholic”. A liberating experience really.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 6th, 2013 at 1:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    We have only to track to New England.

    Well depending on what you mean by “We”.

    admin I meant the Bolsheviks. Not that every conspirator in Europe including a young student of art named Al wasn’t there. If you haven’t read “Thunder at Twilight” DO.

    Now…a breakthru just occurred. On thread.

    History is Irrelevant.

    A highly intelligent Prog – who’s more financial than political indeed that’s his tie to the system – just informed me on social media – “like Manifest Destiny was progressive”.

    Because Life began at birth. His.

    History began when he picked up a book, Zinn no doubt.

    Now of course this wouldn’t apply to most of America or people in general.

    However it does illustrate the useless approach of talk. In terms of accomplishment.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 6th, 2013 at 3:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • Versha Sharma Says:

    Hi Nick,
    I’m writing a piece on the Dark Enlightenment for Vocativ.com (new website) and I’d love to speak with you regarding your work. Can you please email me or let me know how I can get in touch? Thank you.
    Versha Sharma
    Reporter, Vocativ.com

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    sa oeuvre

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    It does encourage a certain wariness …

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 6th, 2013 at 4:59 pm Reply | Quote
  • Scharlach Says:

    I think you’ve convinced me with this post. We can sideline the networks and rhizomes because they generally are marginal, and when they’re not, they’re still not more central for understanding lineage than the cladistic model. Newton sidelined friction while figuring out Newtonian mechanics, after all. You need to get a handle on one framework before allowing complications to slip in at the margins.

    Now, cultural and linguistic lineage after 2000AD will, I think, become much more networked than cladistic if globalization continues apace. However, as of right now, it still makes sense to begin with clades.

    And anyway, I think that when we want to talk about networks of culture, the ‘branches’ that we imagine converging probably diverged originally from a common origin at some point, which just brings us right back to a clade formation, just in roundabout form.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 6th, 2013 at 7:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    I wonder what number of dimensions the language cladogram inhabits. While the 2D version shows that some things are related, how related are they? What’s the actual distance? Similarly, a proper 8D or whatever diagram would probably have an illuminating shape. For example, when a language diverges from its ancestor it necessarily must converge a little on some other language. (Given that there’s more than 2N languages, and anyway languages won’t try to remain orthogonal.)

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    For example, when a language diverges from its ancestor it necessarily must converge a little on some other language.

    That’s the limit of language itself. Chomsky is partially correct with his “principles and parameters” approach. English will certainly share some morphological traits with a language in Papua New Guinea—if nothing else, there will be shared phonemes—but that doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about their relatedness. There are what you might call ‘false cognates’ with language structure as well as discrete words.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    A bat’s similarity to a pterosaur is also a false cognate, but they both fly and both tell you something about environmental niches.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    There are some overarching similarities among ancient languages of different families (synthetic grammar, lack of palatal phonemes, etc.), but it’s all quite complex really. The idea that the structure of a language is related to the structure of the society is of course reasonable, but we lack data, and the similarities aren’t that strong really.

    Language change is not always conversion. There’s also mere drift, the same way there is genetic drift on isolated peoples.

    Posted on September 6th, 2013 at 8:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    “Similarly, strategies that defeated the sophists are likely to still be effective.”

    Peleponisian War?

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 6th, 2013 at 11:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    such efforts will necessarily involve the elaboration of lateral (or ‘rhizomatic’) diagrams

    Are you planning on revisiting Tianxing?

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 6th, 2013 at 11:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • Warp Speed Says:

    The problem with this is that it obscures horizontal transmission.

    There is both horizontal transmission (i.e. peer to peer) and vertical transmission (i.e. parent to child) of memes and other agents.

    Language is no exception to this. English is the most widely spoken language today due to horizontal transmission, not vertical transmission.

    Spandrell could tell you more about this, but from what I understand, languages like Korean and Japanese are genetically unrelated to Chinese, however, a huge percentage of vocabulary in Korean and Japanese comes from Chinese, Korean and Japanese use Chinese writing, Chinese idioms, etc.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    Yes, 60-70% of the vocabulary is Chinese derived, although it’s not as simple as it sounds. Most scientific vocabulary is Chinese-based, but was actually coined in the late 19th century by Japanese scholars. The actual Chinese vocabulary in vernacular medieval Japanese or Korean was not that high.

    In danger of sounding specious, you could also understand the influence of classical Chinese or modern English as being ‘vertical’, i.e. a high status language changes lower status languages. If you were a Korean or Japanese chieftain in 500 AD you had no other choice but to pick up Chinese to administer your people.

    But I agree, the problem with cladistics, in language, genetics or anything, is that not everything is about linear descent. Diachronic relationships are important, but so are synchronic ones.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    If horizontal transmission is simple spreading, how is it different to the radiation of species into new environments? English has spread, like rodents have, but that in itself doesn’t upset the cladistic model — culturally or biologically.

    [Reply]

    C. Y. Chen Reply:

    I think we should think of horizontal transmission as analogous to transmission of genetic material, rather than propagation of the organism itself. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_gene_transfer) Of course, this is not the main method of transmission of genetic material, due to speciation barriers.

    The part where the strict cladistic analogy starts to fit less well is when we take into account that when biological speciation occurs, there can be no crossbreeding. Man can’t reproduce with a sheep, try as some might.

    With human cultures, languages, and ways of thought, that’s not necessarily the case–certain concepts and ideas may become adopted by foreign hosts due to cultural diffusion, imposition, etc. It’s hard to discretely distinguish between similarities arising due to common descent and convergence due to contact. Do the languages of, say, the Altaic sprachbund possess similar features due to common descent or due to areal interaction? Possibly both? It’s not entirely clear when the possibility of horizontal transmission is present.

    Another note is that biological species and/or human lineages may be qualitatively similar but not close in terms of common descent. This raises the question of the neoreaction’s relationships to Puritanism and libertarianism, as well as with Carlylean thought and throne ‘n’ altar conservatism. Are these similarities polyphyletic but distinct in lineage, or can we say that they arose due to cross-breeding between the two lineages?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Yes … but. Retroviruses are able to transfer genetic material between even distant biological lineages, so the difference between the ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ orders is not clear cut. Genetic engineering will further erode the differences that remain.

    Your final paragraph is fizzing with germinal research programs.

    Posted on September 7th, 2013 at 12:20 am Reply | Quote
  • peppermint Says:

    Maybe the reason we can always identify a Left is that there is always privilege and people who want to claim that privilege should be eliminated.

    Moldbug’s purpose in talking about Puritans was to get people to recognize stuff like American Malvern and the great progress that the proggies have made in destroying privilege since 250 years ago.

    Because recent history is not just a history of the Industrial Revolution, but a history of something called ‘social progress’ that involves a vast increase in crime, the breakdown of the family as a social unit, and the ethnic cleansing of Whites from the cities that they built.

    To hear a progressive talk about it, however, ‘social progress’ is about elimination of privilege – White privilege, male privilege, heteronormative privilege.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 7th, 2013 at 4:07 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Here’s rhizomatic Communism…That it’s evolved in the US as Bankers Communism. All wealth is held in common – by them. Economists must think in collective terms, Economists manage the Central Bank, so we have…Comrade Leader Scrooge.

    http://pundita.blogspot.com/2013/08/from-economic-collective-to-police.html

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 7th, 2013 at 12:06 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    “….elimination of privilege – White privilege, male privilege, heteronormative privilege.”

    That this means the destruction of our cities we built and our exile to the swamps of Louisana to make Duck Calls is perfectly in keeping with Roundhead vs Cavalier, the Puritan denouncing and destroying all other White Thedes and White Groups. It’s quite consistent with the First American Civil War 1860-1865, and indeed New England’s foreign policy to make the world New England.

    The Race War in America is White on White. MSNBC will confirm this….watch…

    This simplifies things.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 7th, 2013 at 12:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    @Admin:

    Suppose you were hired by Harry Turtledove as a consultant on an alternate history novel, in which John Calvin died as an infant. Maybe that’s not enough; maybe the alternate history requires an earthquake or volcano to take out all of Geneva. Centuries later, what would be different as a result? Would communism, or something like it, still have taken off in China? Would Western politics still be so sanctimonious?

    Your recent cladistics posts seem to place you with Moldbug in claiming that the Calvinist tradition promotes an anomalously high level of sanctimony. If this is correct, I would expect that Calvin’s (or Geneva’s) absence would result in a noticable reduction in the overall level of sanctimony in the world.

    Your “Racism for Beginners” post seems to imply that unusually high sanctimony levels are a generic Caucasian characteristic. If this is correct I would expect that wiping out Geneva would not make a noticable difference. [Tangent: Would it matter if Michael Servetus had lived?]

    My tentative position is that sanctimony is relatively constant worldwide. Hence wiping out Geneva wouldn’t matter much. I find support for this in hbd chick’s description of a very Salem-like witch hunt in Papua New Guinea in her Malleus Malefacarem post a few months back. Mark Twain seems to have agreed: “There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it.”

    I also note your comment (in Gnon-Theology and Time), “There’s enough egalitarianism wired into the brain to make communism inevitable, combined with enough self-interest to make it impossible, hence the pleasant contours of human history.” If egalitarianism is wired into the generic human brain, allowing Chinese and Cambodians to catch European ideological diseases, why not sanctimony? It isn’t clear to me which is the more central driving force behind Leftism.

    In fact, I will accuse neoreactionaries (including myself) of being sanctimonious in denouncing Unitarian Universalists (including myself) for their sanctimonious denunciations of Southern Baptists, libertarians, et al (including myself), for their sanctimonious denunciations of …. [stack overflow error] Sanctimony is an aspect of status competition, which I expect is more or less constant. Only the manifestations change.

    Moldbug may have pulled in a bunch of closet reactionaries with his “How Dawkins got pwned” series, so the “Puritan tradition” meme may be an effective tool for rallying people who already despise Progressives. But Progressives know that Western society evolved under Christianity. They think they have gotten over it, like childhood chickenpox. If you want to force Progressives to admit that they are *currently* acting like puritanical bullies, it seems to me that the genetic analogy is neither necessary nor sufficient.

    I oppose my wife’s political views because of what they are, not because of what her grandmother’s religious views were. I eat beef because I like the taste of beef, not because I like the taste of fish.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    Did I miss admin’s attempt at Puritan-bashing? I thought the intitial line in ‘Cladistic Meditations’ was ambiguous at most (Neoreactionaries have a thing about Puritanism). There appears to be a wide variety of interpretations within the comments – both here and elsewhere – about the progressive/reactionary allegiance of the movement, which perhaps needs some complicating. Your own view would perhaps benefit, at least momentarily, from distinguishing between puritans and puritanical. Anyway, if I can organise my thoughts enough I’d like to add to this at a later date. In the meantime, admin’s earlier comments on Milton(ic Regression) are worth repeating:

    In regards to what is today called the Cathedral, Milton is both disease and cure. Both simultaneously, cryptically entangled, complicated by strange collisions, opening multitudinous, obscure paths.

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    I’m reacting largely to the Cladistic Meditations post. Note the links to Moldbug’s series on Dawkins and Lovecraft’s “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family”. My impression is that the point of the cladistics business is to try to shame the Left by associating them with Calvinism.

    [Reply]

    Bill Reply:

    (1) Associating the Left with religion points out that the Left’s bashing of the Right as backwards for being religious is hypocritical. (2) It makes it apparent that the Left maintains their belief in the face of contrary evidence, like a religion. Their persuasive arguments are not principled, they are fluid and opportunistic. Facts that disagree with their worldview are heresy. (3) It undermines the Left’s argument at precisely the points where they claim the high ground: reason/rationality and tolerance of other viewpoints, by pointing out that they are irrational and intolerant. (4) One really fun way to troll the Left is to write a longcompoundwordwiththoughtcrime at the end. Thought crime is a funny way to point out their hypocrisy. When they respond say their response “sounds a lot like orthodoxy.” Hilarity ensues.

    Posted on September 8th, 2013 at 3:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    @ Peter A. Taylor (and thanks fotrkd) — this is the tangle we have to writhe in for a while. A cladistically-structured lineage is necessarily going to raise these difficulties, because it consists of a repeatedly split continuum. Incessant repudiation is built into its fabric.

    We are inheritors of a long, increasingly-complicated blame game, which cannot have any simple origin. My (provisional and low-value) intuition is that Christianity-Calvinism-Purtianism-Progressivism (-Neoreaction?) represents a process of consistently exacerbated sanctimony — which should not be hastily dissolved into its human-biological substrate. To use a word I tend to rely upon excessively, this is a process of successive hystericizations, so that a judgmentalism already universally demonstrated in our species (as ‘altrustic punishment’, for e.g.) is carried to ever more unrestrained forms of expression — one might say it is progressively ‘liberated’.

    So I do think that Christianity is the world’s most sanctimonious religion, Protestantism is the most sanctimonious species of Christianity, Puritans are abnormally sanctimonious Protestants, and Progressives are — even by the standards to be expected of Neo-Puritans — best characterized as an adventure into the psychotic outer-reaches of uninhibited sanctimony. At the very least, given our manifest cultural genealogy, this gives neoreactionaries something to think about carefully. Insofar as we envisage the neoreactionary undertaking as a process of cultural self-purification, it is probable that we are betraying our pedigree more than we are thinking original thoughts.

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    Someone pointed out that I’ve been sloppy about using “sanctimony” synonymously with “competition for social status”. When you say “sanctimony”, this implies a certain element of hypocrisy, doesn’t it? Or at least, Henry Frankfurt-style “bullshit” (indifference to truth)?

    And is this why you put Christianity above Islam in terms of sanctimony? A suicide bomber is sincere, whereas a SWPL denouncing Jason Richwine is at best indifferent towards the truth? So a jihadi who blows up a night club in order to keep up with the bin Ladens is being sanctimonious, whereas one who does it out of obedience to the will of Allah is not?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I’m using ‘sanctimony’ to mean the attribution of logical force to an assumption of moral superiority. It’s roughly equivalent to moralistic irrationalism, and expressed through argument (or rather, non-argument considered as a convincing substitute for argument). I don’t think Islam is particularly sanctimonious in this sense. Instead, it’s generally working with a far cruder authoritarian calculus. Allah is the alpha patriarch, so resisting his will is to ask for a beating. This is not, of course, to suggest that it has any great advantage in the rationality stakes.

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    “I’m using ‘sanctimony’ to mean the attribution of logical force to an assumption of moral superiority.”

    I’m trying to understand this in terms of Bruce Ramsey’s comment that “anyone who severs all connection between his political theory and worldly consequences may be dismissed as a fool.”

    http://mises.org/daily/1626

    Are you saying that Christian deontology is disconnected from consequences, or that there is a bunch of mystical hand-waving and fallacies of ambiguity that are seeing connections that aren’t there? (Or asserting the conclusion? Or saying “A implies B” and refusing to notice that “Not B implies not A”?)

    Please bear in mind that I don’t have a philosophy background. I’ve read Bart Kosko’s _Fuzzy Thinking_, and taken some Industrial Engineering classes, but that’s about it.

    Posted on September 9th, 2013 at 1:34 am Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    @Bill

    I’m totally on board with the idea that the Left is a quasi-religion.

    What I’m pushing back against is the genetic fallacy, the claim that the Left is evolved from a particular strain of Christianity, and has certain characteristics (particularly its sanctimony) because of its ideological ancestry rather than because of human nature (Pascal’s “God-shaped vacuum) and its environment.

    Does a dead billy goat stink because it’s a billy goat or because it’s dead? Does the Left stink because it’s derived from a certain image of God, or because God died and there is no force available that is powerful enough to keep the rationalization hamster under control?

    Or is it largely environment? Ants and termites are similar because they fill similar niches, not because they are particularly closely related (no more so than wasps and cockroaches).

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    @The only practical reason to talk about the Christian origin of Progressivism is to make the point that going back to Christianity is not the solution.

    And that’s an important point to make, because most people’s instinct is that progressives are godless, so we should go back to God. The conservative constituency is several orders of magnitude bigger than secular rightism is, and we must fight constantly against the short-sighted argument that listening to the Pope will make progressivism go away.

    Another reason to insist on the Puritan origin of Progressivism is to absolve the Jews from the blame. That’s probably why Moldbug insisted so much about it. It’s also an important point to make because Jewish conspiracy theories are generally quite stupid, but that’s a long discussion too.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I think there could also be a skeptical self-knowledge pay-off, with suggested cautions and technical adjustments. If you know that you’re genetically predisposed to certain ailments, there are often measures that can be taken in response. After all, we’re rightly critical of the Cathedralists for their radical failure at genealogical self-understanding, and consequent mechanical repetition of familiar cultural reflexes.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    I’d phrase differently; the Christian origin of Progressivism is important because it proves that leftism isn’t the deliverer from medieval darkness that they say they are; in fact they are making mostly the same arguments in a different fashion. Which is a point I think you like to make.

    The argument that the cladistics are important because they prove that white people are prone to the same supposedly genetic cognitive biases sounds a bit forced, and not very persuasive. You prove cognitive biases which neuroscience and scientific experiments, not comparative literature.

    After all many people sharing the same genetic and memetic background are making different arguments. The similarities between Christianity and Progressivism are much deeper and stronger than the genetic substrate behind them.

    Talking about genes, I always thought that the European predisposition towards theology is shared with Middle-Easterners and the wider Caucasian race. Islamic fanaticism is basically equivalent to Christian fanaticism with a 85 IQ.

    Posted on September 11th, 2013 at 1:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    @ Peter A. Taylor
    My point is far more elementary. If there’s a single predictable ‘logical’ form to the syndrome its something like:
    ‘A cannot be B because C’, where ‘C’ is a completely irrelevant moral-emotional trigger word.
    Markets cannot be efficient because … Unfairness.
    Government cannot be explained in terms of Public Choice Theory because … Sharing.
    Gun ownership cannot be negatively correlated with violent crime because … Children.
    It’s a type of ‘thinking’ progressively hystericized within the Neo-Puritan lineage (or at least, that’s the argument).

    I don’t think it’s bound to the genetic fallacy. It’s real (cultural) genetics, and thus perfectly contemporary. An inheritance isn’t something in the past.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    An inheritance isn’t something in the past.

    But is it something that can be gambled away (or is that taking things too far out of context)?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    It’s frighteningly perfect (in so many ways)

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    Ah, well that would be because it’s not my thought (which also means it needs some deciphering at this end).

    admin Reply:

    “it’s not my thought” — the connection is the thought

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    I seem to recall reading somewhere (Iannaccone?) that Christianity (or the JCI family?) differs from a lot of other religions (e.g. Roman Paganism, Hindu) in that it is more of a public, social activity. Paganism may be practiced individually or in families, but Christianity is more of a temple religion. Maybe there is more of a precedent in the West for using professed beliefs as shibboleths? That would explain why no one cares if it makes any logical sense, as long as it signals loyalty. Is a social precedent (a Schelling point?) a close enough substitute for DNA?

    In terms of a sports analogy, what do I have to do to score a goal? Is Chinese culture like tennis, a solitary sport, only you score points by having more wealth or power than other people? Is Christianity more like baseball, a team sport, where you have sacrifice flies? Or American football, where maintaining solidarity in the defensive line is more important than clear thinking?

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    At least comparing Graeco-Roman paganism with Christianity, I’d say that gets it exactly backwards. Paganism had no real interior life.

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    Is the level of sanctimony in a society related to the level of social mobility?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That looks like a speculative theory disguised as a question.

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 11th, 2013 at 2:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    @ spandrell — I think my ‘genetics’ reference was confusing. I meant it in the abstract sense — an almost (but not quite) metaphorical term for hereditary information — rather than a specifically bio-racial one. Whilst the theoretical expectation is that biology (evo-psych) and nature constitute a cultural continuum, pushing this discussion all the way back into the human genome seems over-ambitious at the moment (I agree).

    [Reply]

    Posted on September 12th, 2013 at 12:50 am Reply | Quote
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