During his concession speech, former Libertarian Party candidate for president, John McAfee, noted that we should be ashamed of the fact that well over 90% of libertarians are white.
Libertarians are so zealous to see the spread of liberty and the reduction of state power, and to place the blame at our feet is, frankly, ignorant. Our counter argument must go beyond this, however – there are definite socio-biological factors which gave rise to the unique manifestation of libertarian principles in Western civilization and which continue to sway people of European origin toward a more individualistic perspective.
The reason McAfee is ignorant is because academe has been dismissing socio-biological explanations for cultural variations for decades. To understand this better, I spoke with Richard Lynn, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Ulster, a giant in academic discourse about race, intelligence and personality.
‘Political correctness is the root of the explanation of this problem,’ Lynn tells me. ‘People differ genetically and if you say, for example, that some people are more intelligent than others, this is going to hurt the feelings of the less intelligent. This is the reason there is such resistance to accepting the truth.’
Not wanting to hurt any ‘feelies’ has not just caused academic institutions to provide their students safe-spaces filled with posters of puppies, sheltering them from the real world; they’ve been safe-spacing us all from the facts! For example, it is now vogue to deny the existence of different races (not just genders), and to dismiss IQ as our best determiner of future success. In fact, it is a career-killer to discuss genes as determining almost anything, except for homosexuality of course. But, I don’t want to live in a John McAfee bubble, I want the facts. What makes Europeans different?
In the past, the perceived races were the big three – mongoloids, negroids and caucasoids. But, as ethnicities or sub-groups develop greater differences, they form definite race groups. Lynn says that we can distinguish as many as ten races, depending on how we define the clusters of gene variations – Native Americans, Arctic peoples, Europeans, Sub-Saharan Africans, Bushmen, North Africans and South Asians, East Asians, South-East Asians, Pacific Islanders and Aboriginal Australians.
The most relevant socio-biological factors at play regarding the development of libertarian cultures and institutions are IQ, testosterone and psychopathy. It so happens that white Europeans fall between the East Asians (China, Korea and Japan) at the higher end of the spectrum, and the Bushmen and Aboriginal Australians at the other (but closer to the East Asians) on all these factors. For example, the average East Asian IQ is 110, for Europeans it is 100 and Bushmen average at just over 60. It turns out, having a relatively high IQ with moderate levels of testosterone and psychopathy has been crucially important in the development of the West.
The higher average IQ of Europeans and East Asians is easier to explain. Lynn notes that, after humans left the Garden of Eden lifestyle of East Africa, they adapted to survive colder environments. In order to build fires, make clothing and think ahead (i.e. winter is coming), one had to be smart. Every winter weeded out the less intelligent from the gene pool. Lynn’s Cold Winters Theory of the development of higher IQ, has become widely accepted. But, Lynn further theorises that cold environments required greater cooperation for survival. Hunting together and sharing food fairly became more urgent in harsher environments, favouring lower levels of psychopathy and, thus, those genes were bred out. This allowed for more social, ethically sensitive people who could readily adapt to trade rather than plunder; in turn, greater trade favoured genes for sociability. But, in the degree to which psychopathy was pacified lies the great cultural difference between the great civilizations of the individualistic West and of collectivist East Asia.
Thousands of years ago, when China was developing great states with a single despotic leader who subdued the population and exterminated those who were non-conformist, the egalitarian aristocracies of the Indo-Europeans welcomed competitive peers and their mutual respect (see Ricardo Duchesne’s The Uniqueness of Western Civilization). Lynn certainly agrees that the higher degree of psychopathy in the West has historically produced a willingness to ‘stick one’s neck out and dissent from received opinion, like Galileo or Darwin.’ This led to the West becoming more creative and dynamic, overtaking China in terms of innovation around 1500; whereas, Lynn points out, the Japanese proverb declares, ‘The nail that sticks out gets hammered down!’
Chinese sages would never have disagreed with a previous sage, whereas Aristotle was welcome to disagree with Plato. Different schools of thought, political, religious and scientific revolutions are everywhere in Western history. Thus, the Chinese state’s concern for their creativity deficit, despite their notoriously brilliant ability to handle received methods and opinions.
Moderate psychopathy seems to be the source of the individualism which has given rise to the libertarian streak of the West. Albeit, as Lynn is quick to clarify, we do not see libertarianism manifested everywhere in the West, neither today nor in history. Indeed, libertarians are a minority of white males in whichever Western country we care to look.
So, far from feeling ashamed, I feel proud and protective of the classically liberal heritage of the West, built on the shoulders of good men ready to stand out from the crowd for the liberty of all. McAfee has revealed his misunderstanding of the libertarian mind; we do not want freedom simply for ourselves, we want freedom itself to reign so anyone can benefit.
This is a glorious ideal, whether it is achievable or not, regardless of how many female Bushmen, juvenile Japanese or overweight Inuits share that sentiment. But, understanding the socio-biological factors which manifested libertarian cultures in the past is necessary to understand how a truly free society might be achieved in the future and the obstacles to overcome. Ignoring the facts and echoing leftist notions of white guilt is not going to help anyone.