Kin altruism, reciprocal altruism, and ethnic altruism

Kin altruism does not make much sense outside the nuclear family, or narrowly extended family. It can work in slightly larger groups if they deliberately practice inbreeding, but the groups are not much larger, and you get IQ depression from inbreeding.

So what explains the tendency of ethnics to stick together?

Well if people resemble you, they are predictable. You know you can trust them in some matters to some degree. So you do. This makes reciprocal altruism workable. Mix in outsiders, and you lose trust. Thus Jews thought they could trust Madoff to cheat gentiles, and not cheat his fellow Jews. Because Jewish cohesion has been diminishing for some time, this turned out to be a bad expectation.

Another thing that causes loss of trust is mandatory lying and betrayal. Hence when east Germany and west Germany were reunited, the east Germans appeared to the west Germans to be subhuman, even though there was no significant genetic difference. East Germans would not work unless someone was standing over them, and would cheat, lie, and steal for any momentary slight advantage. The difference seems to have diminished now that they have been living under the same political system for a while.

People are not going to be altruistic to whites just because they themselves are whites, and Jews are not altruistic to Jews just because they themselves are Jews. This is a Nazi fallacy. Comradeship of whites is no more workable than comradeship of the proletariat. Whites have always been primarily at war with whites. This is not caused by sneaky Jewish mind control rays. Man is wolf to man, and whites are wolf to whites.

Good behavior is trustworthy and honorable behavior, not benevolent behavior. People who claim to be benevolent to far away strangers seldom are, and when they are, their benevolence is disturbingly and dangerously selective and capricious. This is yet another reason why utilitarian theories of morality don’t work. Not only is no one utilitarian, no one is benevolent.

Altruism is unworkable for any group above a dozen or so people. Trust is scalable to vastly larger groups.

30 Responses to “Kin altruism, reciprocal altruism, and ethnic altruism”

  1. Gilberto Dorneles da Rocha says:

    What you need is high trust. Communism is naturally low trust, that’s why people under it don’t do anything.

    You don’t need altruism, what you need is cooperation, and cooperation works as long as you have high trust but don’t have free-riding.

  2. B says:

    >So what explains the tendency of ethnics to stick together?

    Is there such a tendency?

    On one hand, there’s such a thing as a landsman.

    On the other, some of the bloodiest wars in history were fought between people that were genetically indistinguishable, spoke the same language, had the same culture…

    Examples: the destruction of the Tribe of Benjamin, the 30 Years’ War, the Yugoslavian wars…

    >Altruism is unworkable for any group above a dozen or so people.

    Sir Richard Burton, in his book on us, wrote that we took care of our own: “The inner world of Judaism is that of a democracy. The millionaire never dreams of despising, or failing to aid, his poorest and most degraded brother. The kindness of Jews for Jews is unfailing, spontaneous, and unaffected. The shabbiest hat-buyer or orange-seller of Houndsditch is as sure of having the means provided for him of keeping the sacred feast of the Passover as if he lived in a Piccadilly mansion.”

    Sir Richard did not specify whether we were as altruistic when sharing the blood of children which he believed us to ritualistically consume. I trust his familiarity with the hat-buyers and orange-sellers of Houndsditch more than his familiarity with Judaism.

    • Richard Nixon's Ghost says:

      >when sharing the blood of children which he believed us to ritualistically consume
      I heard that Rabbis actually suck the blood with their mouth during circumcision. True?

      • B says:

        The guy that does the circumcision is not a rabbi but a mohel.

        When they codified the Talmud, the medical conventional wisdom was that if you left blood in a wound, it would congeal and then fester, and could kill the person.

        They therefore said that when you circumcise, you need to apply suction. So they instituted the requirement for oral suction. That is what they had at the time.

        When they realized 100+ years ago that you need sterility, many mohelim switched to applying suction with a pippette or in other ways. Some communities saw the movement to switch to pippettes as lying within the general framework of the haskalah, the “Jewish enlightenment,” which involved explaining why you don’t need to keep the commandments (you know, pork and shellfish would spoil and kill you before the advent of refrigeration, but now we’re ok, etc.) and rejected it, and reject it to this day, foolishly in my opinion.

        When my son was circumcised, I specified to the mohel that he would not apply oral suction, and he thought I was crazy to even mention it, that it went without saying that he wouldn’t do it. This was one of the top guys in the field in Israel.

  3. Mark Citadel says:

    Your madoff example is a profound one I hadn’t considered before. It does show how kin loyalty can dissolve in places.

  4. Richard Nixon's Ghost says:

    >People who claim to be benevolent to far away strangers
    I wonder if “benevolence to far away strangers” is even a coherent concept. Obviously, I know what stuff I want. I can understand what stuff my family and friends want, because they tell me. But unsolicited benevolence to strangers is in a different category.

    How do I know what some dude in Kenya wants? I could buy him a mosquito net to prevent malaria infection. On the other hand, if I give him money, he probably won’t spend it on a mosquito net. So, how do I know he wants a mosquito net?

    We see this with American government. Progressives tax the rich people, and spend the money on education, health care, et cetera, for the poor. But if you give the poor money, they buy TVs and go out to restaurants. They don’t buy education or health care. How do Progressives know that the poor want education?

    I think it’s more likely, that what I buy a Kenyan man a mosquito net, I’m telling him what I think he ought to want. If I lived in Kenya, I’d want a mosquito net. So I buy him one. If Progressives were poor, they’d want education, so they buy the poor education.

    Reciprocal altruism is not actual altruism. Even the most self-interested people sacrifice for those near to them, due to reciprocity.

    Perhaps actual altruism doesn’t exist. You can only project your ego (and desires) on some African dude.

  5. Richard Nixon's Ghost says:

    >Well if people resemble you, they are predictable.
    So people who don’t resemble you aren’t predictable? People are predictable, regardless of what race you are. White people act like White people, regardless of whether you are White, Black or Pakistani.

    The obvious reason that ethnically similar groups get along is common values. If you share the same values, then marriage, business partnerships, friendships, and less serious relationships are possible. If you don’t share the same values, then problems occur.

    Take religious values. Muslims don’t get along with Protestants. And Catholics didn’t get along with Protestants. Until the 1900s, when the Catholic church converted to Protestantism.

    Values probably are somewhat genetic, and very cultural. So culture matters more than genes. But the American South has a very large genetic divide. Subsaharan Africans have been isolated from Eurasian groups for a very long time. So the genetic divide became very important in the American South.

    • jim says:

      Cloudrest draws my attention to Kipling’s poem on this topic:

      http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/stranger.html

      Which I had read, but forgotten:

      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 wanted to,
      They are used to the lies I tell;
      And we do not need interpreters
      When we go to buy or sell.

      The Stranger within my gates,
      He may be evil or good,
      But I cannot tell what powers control–
      What reasons sway his mood;
      Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
      Shall repossess his blood.

      The men of my own stock,
      Bitter bad they may be,
      But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
      And see the things I see;
      And whatever I think of them and their likes
      They think of the likes of me.

      This was my father’s belief
      And this is also mine:
      Let the corn be all one sheaf–
      And the grapes be all one vine,
      Ere our children’s teeth are set on edge
      By bitter bread and wine.

      • Richard Nixon's Ghost says:

        Is this poem about 1 or 2?

        1)The predictability of people from your own race/ethnicity/culture, which creates trust
        2)The values you share with people from your own race/ethnicity/culture, which permits closer relationships (including more trusting relationships)

        I’m seeing more of 2. Which was my point.

        • jim says:

          With culturally similar people, you are likely to share complementary rules. Thus for example: “Do not steal”, and “It is OK to kill people who steal from you” are complementary rules

    • peppermint says:

      » So culture matters more than genes.

      false

    • Alan J. Perrick says:

      The Vatican is something much worse than Protestant Christianity and actively promotes Feminist doctrines since at least the 1800s…

      A.J.P.

      • Richard Nixon's Ghost says:

        I am unaware of pre-1914 feminism originating from the Vatican. Would you care to enlighten me?

        And the Vatican is probably somewhat worse than mainline Protestantism. For example, the Roman Catholic Church does not permit female Bishops, Can’t say the same for the Episcopalians or Anglicans, or most Lutherans.

        And evangelical Protestants are not much better than Rome. And have considerably less connection to Traditional Christianity than Rome.

  6. Alan J. Perrick says:

    The differences in definition are important.

  7. Jefferson says:

    The idea that northern Europeans are altruistic or coherently universalist is bullshit. Outbreeding selects for atomization and narcissism. “Universalists” push policies that destroy cohesion in favor of narcissism, and always have, because they have been bread to be alone and narcissistic, and this leads to emotional fragility. They detest strong white communities because they cannot fit within them, and so they seek to destroy.

    Universalist policies of supposed altruism *always* punish the targets of their altruism (this is why blacks fair best in the least progressively run locales), but push the naturally conservative to direct their natural group level altruism out through shame (hence ask the aid to Africa from Amerikaners).

    Moldbug was wrong about Universalists; they were never about universalism, they were always about narcissism and its discontents.

  8. Korth says:

    Going off on a tangent here, but the bit on East German compulsory lying reminds me of the flattery inflation (aka loyalty signalling spirals) that invariably results in a cult of personality every time a political regime demands enthusiastic displays of loyalty:

    http://abandonedfootnotes.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/flattery-inflation.html

    Which also speaks volumes about the contemporary left’s holiness olympics.

  9. Just sayin' says:

    I wonder if the thing that we’re trying to understand should really be called “altruism.” That seems like a misleading term to me.

    A high trust society isn’t actually based on altruism, it is based on cooperation. Specifically, opening an interaction by cooperating before you know that it is rational to do so. A cooperate cooperate equilibrium is mutually beneficial in many circumstances, and allows society to become more complex, more efficient and so on.

    But as people start offering cooperation unthinkingly, it becomes possible to gain short term advantages by defecting instead of cooperating, and taking advantage of the offered cooperation. If there is a failure to punish this sort of defection (maybe because the society is too large or too atomized and defectors can’t effectively be identified) then defecting becomes an overwhelmingly dominant strategy.

    Which is what ended our civilization.

    In contrast a low trust society with a defect defect equilibrium is less vulnerable to trusting the wrong people, and maybe less likely to fail catastrophically. But it has a number of limitations.

    Like it might lose a battle because half the bullets were stolen and given to a cousin to sell on the black market.

    • Korth says:

      Interestingly, the long-term dominant strategy (as demonstrated in iterated multiple-agent cooperation games) appears to be a combination of both approaches: cooperate by default until defected, then punish defectors until they learn to change their ways, cooperate from then on.

  10. Candide III says:

    East Germans would not work unless someone was standing over them, and would cheat, lie, and steal for any momentary slight advantage. The difference seems to have diminished now that they have been living under the same political system for a while.

    This is an important example (also North and South Korea). Genetics are extremely important, but throw in a dysfunctional set of behavioral norms and things get pear-shaped pretty quickly.

  11. vxxc2014 says:

    The problem is our weakness as American Men.

    We know what we need to do and are afraid to do it. While I despise a great deal of Moldbug’s misdirection and deceit we have cowardice problems within ourselves that are organic to us – and our women.

    All the depredations from Others is human nature attacking weakness. We’re asking too much of our fellow apex predator Homo Sapiens and for that matter our women.

    We’re not talking our way out of this and we shouldn’t if we could. We fight our way out or die and quite justly for being so weak. We can include under talk all forms of communication not coming from the barrel of a gun. We’ll fight or cease to exist.

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  14. Chuck says:

    “Kin altruism does not make much sense outside the nuclear family, or narrowly extended family. It can work in slightly larger groups if they deliberately practice inbreeding, but the groups are not much larger, and you get IQ depression from inbreeding…People are not going to be altruistic to whites just because they themselves are whites, and Jews are not altruistic to Jews just because they themselves are Jews. This is a Nazi fallacy.”

    It’s easy to imagine scenarios in which ethnic altruism emerged as a byproduct of kin altruism. Also, it’s easy to imagine scenarios in which ethnic favoritism, ceteris paribus, was direly selected for. As for direct selection of ethnic altruism, this is more tricky. Selection for non-kin (generalized) altruism is, as Hamilton showed, quite feasible.

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