May 14, 2009

Cousin Marriage v. Democracy

Here's the opening of an interesting new paper that will be presented at this year's Human Behavior and Evolution Society meeting at Cal State Fullerton from May 27-31. "Consanguinity" means cousin marriage (typically, second cousins or closer relations):
Consanguinity as a major predictor of levels of democratization in a study of 55 countries.

Michael A. Woodley

Institution: School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Abstract:
This study reports the existence of a significant and robust correlation at the national data scale between consanguinity (as measured by the coefficient of inbreeding), and levels of democratization (as measured by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index) for a sample of 55 countries (r=-.77, P<.05). Comparative correlative analysis found that democracy exhibits a higher magnitude correlation with consanguinity than with measures of nine other factors believed to influence levels of democracy (economic freedom; education; GDP per capita; history of foreign occupation in last 100 years; human development; inequality; IQ; media age; and percentage exports in non-renewable resources). Multiple regression analysis further revealed that consanguinity was the strongest predictor of differences in levels of democracy, although three factors (history of foreign occupation in last 100 years; inequality; and percentage exports in non-renewable resources) also produced statistically significant β coefficients. These results are interpreted in light of the theory that democracy only seems to be an optimal political system for countries in which consanguinity has not allowed for the extensive perpetuation of genetically closed kinship groupings (clans or tribes), as these will tend to maximize both their collective utility and inclusive fitness through securing resources at the expense of other kinship groupings.
It has been speculated that high levels of consanguinity within countries (mating between second cousins or closer, F<0.0156), prevents democratic nation building. High degrees of consanguinity within ethnic kinship groupings (traditional tribal groups and clans) are thought to generate mistrust between those groups through the reinforcement of endogamous social and biological arrangements, with non-democratic regimes emerging as a consequence of individuals turning to reliable kinship groupings for support rather than the market or the state (Kurtz, 2002; Sailer, 2004).

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

44 comments:

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

consanguinity has not allowed for the extensive perpetuation of genetically closed kinship groupings (clans or tribes), as these will tend to maximize both their collective utility and inclusive fitness through securing resources at the expense of other kinship groupings.Perhaps it should be added that there's a danger to currently democratic nations that add such groups to their current, non-inbreeding population. Can't imagine which nations those might be.

Lucius Vorenus said...

A fellow named Emmanuel Todd was working on similar ideas about 25 years ago. [Unfortunately, his book is now out of print and the only available copies cost a  small fortune.]

See here for an overview of work in the field.

PS: Aren't we supposed to want to live in a Republic, not a Democracy?

Martin Regnen said...

Hmmm... interesting. I can't imagine an anti-democracy "marry your cute cousin to bring down democracy" campaign working too well in the West, though.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Hmmm... interesting. I can't imagine an anti-democracy "marry your cute cousin to bring down democracy" campaign working too well in the West, though.


Not exactly what I was implying. Merely noting that certain rapidly growing populations in certain Western democracies have high levels of consanguineous marriage, frequently as close as first cousins. This includes a certain large religious minority population on a certain island off the northwest coast of Europe whose population has increased by 50% in the last decade..

Anonymous said...

OT: Steve, more postings on the SWPL engineered meltdown writ large in California please. The wheels are coming off right now according to top finance blogger Mike Shedlock:

California is a Complete Basket Case; Treasurer Requests Tarp Funds; LA Mayor Declares Emergency

California's Budget Deficit: What The Hell Is It?

Personally I can't get enough of all that childish leftwing dogma blowing up in the faces of every shallow status seeking yuppie in that once great state. I just hope you all have the "cojones" to lay in your own bed now that you've soiled it instead of fleeing to other states and spreading your mental illness.

The incredibly poisonous aspect to the California Meltdown is that it's driven by huge demographic change from Latin America which means that it's a permanent and chronic situation: a new crappy "normal" with no end in sight. Way to go! Soon California will drop to a certain equilibrium and we can call it North Paraguay! Congratulations! Another feather in the cap for the great cause of Progressivism. SUCKERS!

It is vitally important that the rest of America understand what has happened to California so that the other states move AGGRESSIVELY to never let it happen anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

"democracy only seems to be an optimal political system for countries in which consanguinity has not allowed for the extensive perpetuation of genetically closed kinship groupings (clans or tribes)"

Sounds so much like something I've read before.

Quoting Steve Sailer from Dec. 14th 2008:

"As Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, perhaps the most astute statesman of the 20th Century, noted: "In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion." "

So what's the difference in the effect on democracy between consanguinity and race?

Colin Laney said...

Since gay "marriage" will, by its logic of nondiscrimination, inevitably lead to a well funded and organized polygamy movement, certain to be successful, couldn't materials like this be used to shore up the case for traditional marriage?

Roman and European notions of companionate and monogamous marriage are always in tension with Levantine norms, via exposure to the Old Testament - whether through Orthodox Jewish, Mormon, or Muslim branches. The United States had to do a lot of not nice things to make Mormons monogamous. How will this be justified after the logic of gay marriage is internalized - that marriage between any combination of consenting adults is a 'universal human right'? The sort of language one hears in this debate, that marriage is a 'contract' that society or the government has no business regulating, does lend itself to a strong legal case for polygamy.

Since polygamy has been an accepted practice for far longer than same sex unions, it actually does have an equal or better claim on our legal system than the absolute novelty of gay marriage. Especially since, on the Mormon side, real evidence of government suppression of the practice can be shown.

In the case of Muslims, buttressed by all-conquering multiculturalism, European monogamy can easily be shown to be an unjustifiable privileging of a parochial cultural practice that is, no doubt, part and parcel of European "sexual repression" - unknown to our coloured betters in the Near East and Africa.

Sort of like not putting women in bags and removing their clitorises.

The response to gay marriage has been unusually anemic, even for conservatives. Maybe a little preview of the sort of societal chaos that will result from the legal obliteration of society's atom, the family, would put a little steel in their spine? Or is it now official that nobody cares?

James said...

Sailer 2004?

Anonymous said...

Remember that correlation is not causation. Are certain groups clannish because they are endogamous or are they endogamous because they are clannish? I suspect it is more of the latter.

Anonymous said...

As these tribal ethic groups become more numerous in America, the economy will become less efficient as nepotism and corruption increase. The tribal groups will come to dominate certain occupations and economic sectors, as they give jobs to relatives and co-ethnics and shut out outsiders. The shrinking non-tribal population will be "stuck" with other sectors and will perhaps become more tribal in attitude as a defensive reaction.

In the long term, as the white population becomes extinct due to its low birth rate, America will consist entirely of these tribal "lumps", each occupying its own geographic and economic niches, and jealosly guarding its interests against other groups. An example of what the country might look like would be India, with its long history of divisions along lines of ethnicity, language, religion, caste, and probably other factors as well.

I think India is the model for the future of America. To see the future, look East.

Anonymous said...

Aren't we supposed to want to live in a Republic, not a Democracy?


Technically, we're a democratic republic. In fact, technically we are supposedly a federal democratic republic. None of which matters much, since we are in fact an oligarchy.

SF said...

"Personally I can't get enough of all that childish leftwing dogma blowing up in the faces of every shallow status seeking yuppie in that once great state."

Hey, it's a problem with the structure of our government,not a moral failure. After all, we Californians voted overwhelmingly to end government spending on illegals. We voted twice to prohibit gay marriage.

The problem is, we have a law passed well before the baby boomers were born, which allows the people to mandate spending in perpetuity by direct majority vote. We have another law requiring a 2/3 majority to raise taxes. We have a primary system which almost always leads the Republicans to nominate a candidate out of touch with the majority on cultural issues. In 1998, this cleared the way for the election of a democratic governor who claimed to be a centrist, but was fiscally irresponsible. Ironically, the last previous Democratic governor, Moonbeam Brown, was a classic new age cultural liberal but was pretty tight with the taxpayers' money.

Anonymous said...

I think the causality runs both ways and is reinforcing. If everyone else has strong clans, you should strengthen your own.
Plus, the Bushes and Kennedys have done pretty well over here...
Besides cousin marriage, a good way to strengthen family bonds is for two families to repeatedly intermarry.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Anonymous: So what's the difference in the effect on democracy between consanguinity and race?

For the record, it's not clear to me why universalist political ideals [such as the classical liberal republicanism which motivated our Founding Fathers] could not attract people of different races.

The truly odious political universalisms - Islam & Marxism being the greatest of them - certainly don't seem to have any trouble maintaining multiracial congregations.

Well, the Arab Muslims piss on the rest of the Muslims, but, at least in its propaganda [if not in its theory?], Islam is a multi-racial political movement.

[Parenthetically: I wonder what the <EDITED> think of non-<EDITED> Marxists? Do they consider them to be merely Shegetz/Shiksa poseurs/poseuses?]

Anyway, I know that this isn't a popular idea amongst all y'all GNXP types, but I think that you ought to at least consider the possibility that Freedom of The Will could play a role here.

Or are you GNXPers now so cynical that you deny even the existence of The Will?

[I seem to recall that Derbyshire might have reached that level of cynicism in the last few years.]

Are you now at the point where you believe that The Race is The Will?

I don't know - I guess that at the level of Large Numbers & Central Limits & the actuarial logistics of statecraft, there might be some truth to the sentiment.

But golly gee whiz it sure is a dour, cynical, depressing point of view to adopt - even if it's true.

ralph said...

Seems like a textbook example of "correlation not causation." You could find lots of other things that correlate with, but don't cause, democracy, couldn't you?

FeministX said...

India has a fairly high degree of cousin marriages yet maintains more democratic stability than more resource rich nations.

Though I do not disagree in principle- cousin marriage is detrimental to democracy because it is premised on the idea that the clan or family is the primary unit of society rather than the individual.

Anonymous said...

but can we really say that consanguinity causes "less" democracy?

isn't rather consanguinity just a measure of how "tribal" is a society, hence just another way to say "tribal societies are less likely to be democratic"?

aso

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Personally I can't get enough of all that childish leftwing dogma blowing up in the faces of every shallow status seeking yuppie in that once great state.


One would certainly hope. However, the Obama Administration has made clear that it's going to prop up excessive leftist spending through the "temporary" downturn. The economic stimulus funding - actually huge subsidies to the welfare state, not investment of any sort - actually comes with restrictions banning states from cutting too much of their welfare programs.

The welfare state has gotten a temporary stay of execution from the reality of the market. One would hope it doesn't last for long.

Anonymous said...

FeministX said: "India has a fairly high degree of cousin marriages yet maintains more democratic stability than more resource rich nations."

India doesn't have cousin marriage rates anywhere near as high as most Muslim countries (esp. Middle Eastern Muslim countries). The highest rates of consanguinity in India occur in the south and quite a bit of that is second-cousin marriage (rather than the preferred paternal first-cousin marriage in, say, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia).

Interestingly, though, uncle-niece marriage is not uncommon in India.

Anonymous said...

"cousin marriage is detrimental to democracy because it is premised on the idea that the clan or family is the primary unit of society rather than the individual."

Such a "democracy" - based upon the immediate whims and fancies of millions of self-focused individuals - most closely resembles the gulag. A gulag appointed with abundant shopping and carnal diversions. But a gulag nonetheless.

BGC said...

There is a big distinction between being _allowed_ to marry a cousin, and been _coerced_ into marrying a cousin.

High rates of cousin marriage are only likely with large scale coercion.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

The shrinking non-tribal population will be "stuck" with other sectors and will perhaps become more tribal in attitude as a defensive reaction.


Tribalism is the default behavior in nearly all human beings, it has to be unlearned. It will be very easy for tribalism to make a comeback. Whites will probably be more catholic about it than our Muslim peers - i.e., all whites will be invited. That will be to our advantage.


Plus, the Bushes and Kennedys have done pretty well over here...


Neither is a clan in the traditional sense. The Kennedy clan is a one (or at best 2) generation flash-in-the-pan. It's longevity is based on 3 brothers belonging, naturally, to a single generation. If Teddy had been from a less forgiving state than Massachusetts, we would've been rid of him 40 years ago, and the Kennedy's would've been more or less finished in a single decade.

There is no 2nd generationer coming along to replace Teddy (his son is a forgettable congressman), and the family fortune is all but gone.

The Bush Family is finished as well, thanks to W.

Neither family is endogamous and neither has made a habit of marrying members of other rich/powerful families. The Bush sons actually made a habit of marrying rather average women.

Steve Sailer said...

Don't count out George P. Bush, Jeb's son. I did a little reading up on his bride, and, I must say, she sounds formidable. If anybody can pilot that lunk to the White House, she'd be the one.

Anonymous said...

" the Obama Administration has made clear that it's going to prop up excessive leftist spending through the "temporary" downturn."

Cap'n Jack,

The excessive welfare spending caused the "temporary downturn" because the subsidy of low interest rates and subprime mortgages left taxpayers to pay not only for the direct hand to mouth welfare but also the enormous debts of the incompetent and foolish.

Mostly people don't mind the small amount of welfare that goes to the severely impaired, but at this point in history, we are just rewarding laziness and stupidity.

On cousin marriage, despite social taboo, people still choose to marry cousins. My brother married my cousin. Our family was horrified and they were black sheep for years. I rarely see them now because it gives me the creeps. I don't tell anyone I know about it. To my knowledge, they have not told their kids or friends either. It just is not talked about. Einstein married his cousin, as did many other people you have heard of, so it still happens even though it isn't legal in all states.

Kristen Burroughs said...

Cousin marriage used to be common in America among European descendents but today only 0.001 to 0.002 percent of Americans marry their cousins.

I had some fun for the last half-hour googling presidents sequentially (only as far as Banjamin Harrison). Here’s the info, if you’re interested:

George Washington married his first cousin, Elizabeth Cottle.

John Adams married his third cousin, Abagail. John Adams II, who was the grandson of John Adams and the son of John Quincy Adams, married his first cousin in the White House on Feb. 25, 1828. Mary Louisa Adams was born at the White House. In 1853 she married one of her cousins, who was descended from President John Adams.

Thomas Jefferson married his third cousin, Martha Wayles Skelton.

One of James Monroe’s children married her second cousin.

Van Buren married Hannah Hoes, a cousin.

One of William Henry Harrison’s children, Anna Tuthill, married a cousin, William Henry Harrison Taylor, named for her father.

Abraham Lincoln married his stepmother’s cousin, Mary Todd.

President Benjamin Harrison had a parent who was the child of a cousin marriage

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Don't count out George P. Bush, Jeb's son. I did a little reading up on his bride, and, I must say, she sounds formidable. If anybody can pilot that lunk to the White House, she'd be the one.


That sounds interesting, and if you have a specific link I'd like to read it. But is there really any national (or even local) political ticket for a guuy named George Bush? Not on the Republican ticket, and not on the Democratic one. George P's very ethnicity will remind Republicans of one of the reasons Republicans got so upset with him, and Democrats won't even consider him.

Maybe she's the one with political ambitions.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Cousin marriage used to be common in America among European descendents but today only 0.001 to 0.002 percent of Americans marry their cousins.


Cousin marriage used to be common everywhere, even among the elite. Rothschilds used to marry cousins, and occasionally even their nieces, with little apparent cost in biological fitness (which is one of the reasons I have doubts about Henry Harpending's hypothosis.

Dutch Boy said...

FeministX is confused. Cousin marriage makes the clan the chief locus of loyalty; non-consanguinous marriage makes the nation the locus of loyalty (not the individual!).

Anonymous said...

-- "On cousin marriage, despite social taboo, people still choose to marry cousins. My brother married my cousin. Our family was horrified and they were black sheep for years." --

The only famous person I know of in modern times who married a close cousin was Rudy Giuliani, who "discovered" that his first wife, to whom he was married for 14 years, was his 2nd rather than 3rd cousin. They had no children.

There was a study some time ago that showed 3rd cousin marriages are the evolutionary "sweet spot." Steve already blogged about that here. I think there is at least a cultural, if not a biological, truth to that. Having some sentimental connection to your spouse can't hurt.

Maximilian said...

High rates of cousin marriage are only likely with large scale coercion.

No, when reading the "Arabian Nights," one sees that this was definitely considered the most natural, innate goal of life that one could aim for. At the end of many stories, after the hero has suffered through shipwrecks, etc., when a western fairy tale would say, "And they lived happily ever after," the Arabian tale says, "And the two brothers each had a boy and a girl, and the one brother's son married the other's daughter and the other's son married his daughter." This was considered the pinnacle of human happiness. There was no coercion required.

Ronduck said...

George Washington married his first cousin, Elizabeth Cottle.

No, GW married Martha Dandridge Custis.

Tim said...

"Don't count out George P. Bush, Jeb's son."

Republicans are more likely to shoot themselves in the head than nominate another Bush to the presidency. One could never have imagined that America would be cursed with a President worse than Jimmy Carter until George W. came along.

FeministX said...

"FeministX is confused. Cousin marriage makes the clan the chief locus of loyalty; non-consanguinous marriage makes the nation the locus of loyalty (not the individual!)."

There isn't a connection. The lack of cousin marriage makes it difficult for the extended family to be a primary unit of society, but it does imply that any other particular thing replaces the clan.

Nazi Germany put the nation above all and cousin marriage was not common there. In the US, you have the entire SWPL class that does not feel strong connection to American nationality.

Patriotic sentiments and lack of cousin marriage have no definite connection. And as far as democracy is concerned, the individual is charged with self governance and it is assumed that voting power will allow individuals to keep the government as non intrusive as possible. The governments purpose is supposed to be only to tax as neccessary and send for collective defense- only because an individual cannot personally opt not to be attacked if the nation is attacked as a whole.

So, in an ideal democratic world, the nation does not replace the focus of loyalty. The nation protects individual freedom, and loyalty to the nation is owed in so far as the nation is the best source of this protection.

Lucius Vorenus said...

FeministX: The nation protects individual freedom, and loyalty to the nation is owed in so far as the nation is the best source of this protection.

It doesn't sound like you've made a very strong emotional commitment in the idea of the USA.

I seem to recall that your people were from the Indian subcontinent - is that true?

And when did they arrive here? [Or did you come all alone?]

FeministX said...

"It doesn't sound like you've made a very strong emotional commitment in the idea of the USA.

I seem to recall that your people were from the Indian subcontinent - is that true?

And when did they arrive here? [Or did you come all alone?]"

They came when I was young. I don't have a real commitment to the USA, but that's not because I am an immigrant. I don't really have a commitment to India either. It's common for the educated liberal class to detatch themselves from American identity. They like to study abroad and hold Europe as an ideal and many would be happy to move to hong kong if the US economy imploded for the long term.

I'm not much of a believer in nationalism. I go where it is best for me to me. I am attached to the US out of habit. I'm not a good traveller. I prefer it here.

Ronduck said...

Lucius, her lack of connection to the US and her feminism go hand in hand, she is a libertarian.

Libertarianism seems to be the communism of the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

"They like to study abroad and hold Europe as an ideal and many would be happy to move to hong kong if the US economy imploded for the long term.

"I'm not much of a believer in nationalism. I go where it is best for me to me. I am attached to the US out of habit..."


Ah yes, Pat Buchanan is soooooooo right!!!!!

Are ya'll finally getting it, you -

..."I'm against illegal immigration but-I-am-not-a-racist-since-I-like-asian-girls Beta dorks...

...that this is what most foreigners, even those 'wonderful' asians, REALLY think of US.


Don't worry, she'll be soon given her chance to find another home! (Don't know about hong kong or other E.Asian countries though, since they are VERY selective on who they let in, and have enough self-respect to not treat their countries like a flop-house!)

Maybe Mexico, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Who can put it better than Kipling, who had interestingly enough lived in India and, well, no doubt wrote about his experience:

-The Stranger Within My Gate-

The Stranger within my gate, He may be true or kind,

But he does not talk my talk -- I cannot feel his mind.

I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,

But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stock, They may do ill or well,

But they tell the lies I am wonted to, They are used to the lies I tell;

And we do not need interpreters When we go to buy or sell.

There is more (and the rest of the poem) here:
http://www.rescuewithoutborders.org/id78.html

FeministX said...

"Libertarianism seems to be the communism of the 21st century."

ROFL. Best quote I have seen this year.

Do you realize what you just said?

"Lucius, her lack of connection to the US and her feminism go hand in hand, she is a libertarian."

No, she's mainly a Marxist. It's still the communism of the 21st century.

Ronduck said...

Yes, FeministX I know what I wrote. Both Communism and Libertarianism are post national, economically deterministic philosophies that can ruin a nation if implemented in full. The Libertarian party of the US has approved of the passage of NAFTA, has condemned most efforts to stop illegal immigration, and often has a minority (majority?) that believes that borders should be a thing of the past.

The last thing this country needs is for the smart Indians to lead the Mestizo Catholics in a century of Libertarian agitation the way the Jews led the White Catholics in a century of socialist agitation.

At this stage in American history our biggest challenge is to stop the constant influx of other groups that either want to leech off the state or want to maintain open borders even if it is suicidal. And right now libertarians are opposed to efforts to control the southern border or immigration in general, so essentially they want to destroy America just like the communists wanted to.

FeministX said...

"The last thing this country needs is for the smart Indians to lead the Mestizo Catholics in a century of Libertarian agitation the way the Jews led the White Catholics in a century of socialist agitation.
"

This is a rather bizarre proposal. There is no special alliance growing between meztizos and Indians. You are really forgetting a major historical factor in the rise of Jewish sociopolitical dominance- the holocaust. Indians are not paranoid about society turning against us and killing us all, so we remain unmotivated to lead a social revolution of any kind.
We are happy to make bank as doctors and software professionals. Direct your fears of strange social revolutions back to those who still dominate political think tanks, journalism, the publishing world, the media and the humanities- the jews.

And try not to hate, they've been doing western civilization great favors for about 1000 years now and they don't get much thanks for it.

Anonymous said...

"The last thing this country needs is for the smart Indians to lead the Mestizo Catholics in a century of Libertarian agitation the way the Jews led the White Catholics in a century of socialist agitation."

-

"Indians are not paranoid about society turning against us and killing us all, so we remain unmotivated to lead a social revolution of any kind."

Yeah, I would have to agree it would be kinda ridiculous (and pathetic) for an 'Apu' to be a Hindu-hippie Abbie Hoffman.

So definately no need for concern there, Ronduck.

*

"And try not to hate, they've been doing western civilization great favors for about 1000 years now and they don't get much thanks for it."

A thousand years?????

I think it best you stick to the topic you know best - misandry, and leave the politics alone.

FeministX said...

""And try not to hate, they've been doing western civilization great favors for about 1000 years now and they don't get much thanks for it."
"

Well, the Jews have been around a while longer than 1000 years, but that is perhaps when western Jews started developing higher than average intelligence. A few centuries later they tended to work in more intellectual and skilled fields, which has allowed them greater contribution to some of the founding ideas of modern secular society like capitalism.

Other than that, they did give the west Jesus, which I suppose has been a boon. Unfortunately (for us), the Jews were less tasteful in their theological gift to the Middle East.

Conatus said...

Wow, comments still open!
No one seemed to mention Jewish itchiness over free speech. They are originally from the middle east, they do have a history of consanguinity. No free speech certainly seems at odds with Democracy. Paul Gottfried wrote a five pager on Jewish allergic reactions to Free speech.

http://www.vdare.com/articles/a-jewish-conservative-wonders-is-free-speech-really-a-jewish-tradition

Gottfired, who is a member in bad standing of The Perfect Tribe, discusses, at length, their historic aversion to Free Speech, once it is Their Speech that is being contradicted and not the oppressive Wasps.
They brought Mario Savio out of the barrio in 1965, he led the Free Speech movement at Berkeley and then they shushed him and everyone else who would go against their tribal precepts.