Over the last few days I’ve been engaged in a group email exchange discussing Marxists, progressives, Multiculturalism, and the ongoing campaign to demonize nationalists. This afternoon the conversation turned to demographics, genetics, IQ, and Social Darwinism. One of the correspondents had this to say:
One reality even a convinced Darwinian can’t deny is how vestigial all the traces of evolutionary conditioning are in humans. The implementation of Social Darwinism on various occasions in modern times has been marked by its forcedness, its artificiality.
This touches on themes that we have covered here previously, but it’s worthwhile to revisit the same territory for another look. The essay below is adapted from my email response.
One reason that Social Darwinism seems forced is that it consistently draws conclusions that are diametrically opposed to reality.
The reality is that current trends are selecting against high IQ. The most intelligent groups — Europeans and their diaspora, Jews, the Japanese, even the Chinese — are breeding (or rather, not breeding) themselves out of existence.
Natural selection knows no ideology. If intelligent people fail to reproduce themselves, then, empirically speaking, intelligence is being selected against. The evolutionary bottom line is that only the replication of one’s genome matters. From a Darwinian perspective, there is no other criterion.
For the last hundred years or so, stupidity has gained a selective advantage. I ascribe this phenomenon to the ascendance of advanced technology and the welfare states it has enabled. Intelligent people, who are more likely think carefully and plan ahead, tend to exercise prudence and have fewer children than average. Their intelligence also makes them more productive, and they are thus paying for the system that allows the rest of the population — the stupid people who fail to act with prudence — to have lots of kids.
This reverses an evolutionary trend that lasted 500,000 years or more. During the 20th century, the intelligence that was selected for over all those millennia enabled the creation of a meta-society, a “machine”, if you will. That environment allowed — encouraged — unintelligent people to survive at the expense of those with high IQ. In other words, natural selection works against the likes of us right now.
You may object that this situation is very temporary, and you may well be right. The “machine” requires good mechanics to maintain, repair, and improve it. Such people will mostly die out within two or three generations, and the complex system they created will collapse without the intelligent folks who are necessary to keep it going.
When that time comes, the old selective pressures will reassert themselves, and intelligence will once again have survival value. However, this selection will of necessity occur amidst the smoking rubble of what used to be our civilization, within a degraded and feral remnant of what was once a great and civilized people.
So I’m not looking forward to it. And I thank God I will probably not live to see it.
Unfortunately, however, I don’t see any way to avoid it.
On a related note, a dystopian SF novella from back in the 1950s, “The Marching Morons” by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, explores a similar theme.