While this blog generally seeks to spread dismay whenever the opportunity arises, it cannot pretend to a huge obsession with what might be described as ordinary racism. When perusing the thought-crimes of the mainstream racist community, it is continually afflicted by a sense of overwhelming unreality. This is not (of course), because races do not exist, or do not differ significantly, or … whatever. The most politically incorrect cognitive position on almost every point of this kind is reliably closer to reality than its more socially-convenient and comforting alternatives.
The problem with ordinary racism is its utter incomprehension of the near future. Not only will capabilities for genomic manipulation dissolve biological identity into techno-commercial processes of yet-incomprehensible radicality, but also … other things.
First, a sketch of the existing racism-antiracism contention in its commonplace or dominant form. The antiracist, or universal humanist position — when extracted from its most idiotic social-constructivist and hypocritical alt-racist expressions — amounts to a program for global genetic pooling. Cultural barriers to the Utopian vision of a unitary ‘human’ gene pool, stirred with increasing ardor into homogeneous intermixture, are deplored as atavistic obstructions to the realization of a true, common humanity. Races will not exist once they are reduced, by practical politics and libidinal indiscriminacy, into relics of contingent historical partition. In contrast, racial identitarianism envisages a conservation of (comparative) genetic isolation, generally determined by boundaries corresponding to conspicuous phenotypic variation. It is race realist, in that it admits to seeing what everyone does in fact see — which is to say consistent patterns of striking, correlated, multi-dimensional variety between human populations (or sub-species). Its unrealism lies in its projections.
Gregory Cochran suggests that space colonization will inevitably function as a highly-selective genetic filter, unless extreme political intervention is taken to prevent this:
One generally assumes that space colonists, assuming that there ever are any, will be picked individuals, somewhat like existing astronauts – the best out of hordes of applicants. They’ll be smarter than average, healthier than average, saner than average – and not by just a little. […] Since all these traits are significantly heritable, some highly so, we have to expect that their descendants will be different – different above the neck. They’d likely be, on average, smarter than any existing ethnic group. If a Lunar colony really took off, early colonists might account for a disproportionate fraction of the population (just as Puritans do in the US), and the Loonies might continue to have inordinate amounts of the right stuff indefinitely.
As a scientific sort, Cochran is exploring this scenario as a potential source of compelling hereditarian evidence (anticipated through thought experiment). What, however, of the prospect itself, as the illustration of a mechanism that lends itself to theoretical generalization? One might discuss it in terms of ordinary racism, as a zone of disparate impact (which it would almost certainly be). Yet this is only to scratch at it, hazily and superficially.
The most prominent model of such a filter is found in the theory of assortative mating. Strictly speaking, the racial-preservationist culture advocated by ordinary racism is an example of assortative mating, with a criterion of genetic proximity filtering potential matches. This is not why the idea has such currency. It is assortative mating on the basis of SES that has lifted it to prominence, both because it seems unquestionably to be happening, and because the implications of its happening are extreme. (Crucially, SES is a strong proxy for IQ.)
Assortative mating tends to genetic diversification. This is neither the preserved diversity of ordinary racism, still less the idealized genetic pooling of the anti-racists, but a class-structured mechanism for population diremption, on a vector towards neo-speciation. It implies the disintegration of the human species, along largely unprecedented lines, with intrinsic hierarchical consequence. The genetically self-filtering elite is not merely different — and becoming ever more different — it is explicitly superior according to the established criteria that allocate social status. Analogical fusion with Cochran’s space colonists is scarcely avoidable. If SES-based assortative mating is taking place, humanity (and not only society) is coming apart, on an axis whose inferior pole is refuse. This is not anything that ordinary racism is remotely able to process. That it is a consummate nightmare for anti-racism goes without question, but it is also trans-racial, infra-racial, and hyper-racial in ways that leave ‘race politics’ as a gibbering ruin in its wake.
Neo-eugenic genomic manipulation capabilities, which will also be unevenly distributed by SES, will certainly intensify the trend to speciation, rather than ameliorating it. On the sweetness-and-light side, racists and anti-racists can be expected to eventually bond in a defensive fraternity, when they recognize that traditionally-differentiated human populations are being torn asunder on an axis of variation that dwarfs all of their established concerns.
ADDED: Assortative Mating, Class, and Caste