Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where Jared Diamond Is Wrong on Race and Environment

Jared Diamond’s GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL was a great success with both the elite and the not-so-unwashed-masses. The book argued that the West(and to a lesser extent the East)gained a decisive advantage over natives of Africa, the Americas, and other places due to natural-environmental factors. Soil in the temperate zone was more suited for agriculture. Animals in that zone that could be domesticated for farming(cattle) and transportation(horses). The climate tended to be less extreme or hostile than in other places.
Diamond discusses these factors and dismisses racial theories or biologism to explain the WHY of history.

Diamond’s argument isn’t so much wrong as incomplete. He’s a super smart Jew with an IQ in the area of 190, knows 9 languages, and possesses great erudition. His argument is comprehensive, persuasive, insightful, and brilliant. But, he’s also an ideologue and, as such, is committed to the secular ideology of egalitarianism. Diamond understands that human societies and achievements around the globe are not equal, so he argues that all humans are intrinsically equal–at the biological root–but ended up with different levels of achievement due to natural-environmental factors.

The problem with Diamond’s argument is the hopeless ideological Procrusteanism. I agree with him that the fauna, flora, and climate do have profound influence on the development of human societies. A primitive people with access to horses and cattle are going to have an advantage over a primitive people without such animals. Diamond may indeed be right that the natural realities of Africa precluded the presence of such animals as horses, cattle, and others. And, the soil and climate of Africa may indeed have been less hospitable to agriculture.
What he completely ignores is the fact that humans too were affected–at the genetic level–by the natural environment, just like the flora and fauna were. People are not only limited in their potential development by their natural environment them but also genetically altered and shaped by it. Yet, Diamond argues that all races are essentially the same despite the fact that various races developed in highly different environments. Diamond argues that the activity of people in the arctic are limited by ice and cold and that the activity of people in the tropics are limited by coconuts and heat but that the people themselves are not genetically changed by their natural environment. This goes against all evolutionary theory and evidence.

Of course, Diamond is a clever enough man. He doesn’t say all races are exactly the same. He says they are ‘fundamentally similar’. This is true enough. All races are indeed fundamentally similar. But, there are notable differences among races and, because human society is very complex and specialized, even subtle differences can lead to huge differences among individuals or peoples. It was the subtlety in differences that made Mozart and Beethoven light years ahead of their highly talented peers. When it comes to high achievement, subtle differences make all the difference. There were many super smart men in Einstein’s time, but most couldn’t have arrived at Einstein’s theory. At the extremity or cutting edge of human achievement, razor sharp differences and distinctions do matter, which is why not all strong people excel as boxers or running backs. There is the X factor.

More importantly, not all differences among individuals or races are subtle. Some are notable, even profound. If you were to throw a random Nigerian and a random Guatemalan Indian into a fighting cage, 99 times out of 100, the Nigerian will destroy the Guatemalan. If you were to fill a classroom with 50 randomly picked Ashkenazi Jews and 50 randomly picked Negroes and then provided both groups with same education, the SAT scores of Jews will be much higher than those of Negroes.

Historical developments didn’t happen by accidents alone. They happened through accidents AND the presence of individuals intelligent enough to take notice of the fortunate advantages of those accidents. To a dummy, an accident is just a nuisance or danger. To a smart person, an accident may offer new possibilities or new challenges. This is why stupid apes can only freak out when there’s a fire and flee for safety. Primitive humans were no doubt alarmed by fire but smart enough to see its advantages and then find ways to harness, use, and even start fires.
So, even if most people of any racial group aren’t very intelligent, a racial group with an higher number of intelligent individuals is bound to develop a lot faster than a group with fewer smart people.

Temperament is also important. Individuals cannot achieve things on their own but must work within a community. The community must be supportive of geniuses doing cutting edge work. If Einstein had been born in the Congo where all the Negroes run wild and crazy, he would have had to expend most of his energy looking for food and shelter. It was because he lived in Europe where thinkers and scientists could theorize and experiment in a stable environment that he was able to achieve great things. People who tend to be more temperate in their emotions are likely to achieve more than temperamentally crazy people.
People focus on lower black IQ, but I would argue that black temperament is as important as to why black societies tend to be crazy and violent. Suppose most inner city blacks had low IQs but milder temperaments. That alone would make their communities far better places for everyone.

Of course, it must be said Great Men tend to be a little crazy. This is true of great artists, scientists, visionaries, etc. This is all the more reason why MOST of society must be even-tempered and ‘lame’ and ‘square’; crazy geniuses cannot ply their creative craziness when everything around them is stupidly crazy. Geniuses need the luxury of social stability in order to experiment with their special and rare form of cutting-edge craziness. An ideal society should be generally stable and even-tempered but provide freedom and independence for eccentrics, geniuses, and visionaries to come up with new ideas, new methods, new ways of looking at the world. When the norm of stability becomes repressive, pervasive, and orthodox, society turns stagnant. Just consider the Muslim world or East Asia–prior to 20th century modernization. The social, moral, and spiritual norms became so stifling, heavy, and conformist that innovation was held back for centuries and even talented individuals and eccentrics were afraid to stick their necks out–as happened in Europe during the Renaissance. So, social stability founded upon ‘lame’ and ‘square’ temperance is not enough. ‘Squares’ rarely come up with new ideas or start revolutions. They basically know how to follow the rules and be ‘good’ people. Most people need to be like this because that’s all they are good for. Yet, their preferred norm must not clamp down on the freedom of geniuses. This is why Bush’s stem cell research policy was stupid. It was the tyranny of the moralistic ‘squares’ clamping down on the freedom of scientific and medical geniuses. Of course, things can get even more dangerous when a bunch of radical geniuses or visionaries gain total power to redefine and redesign society as they see fit. This was the danger of Nazism and communism. Marx and Lenin though they were geniuses who had figured out the secret of history–class warfare. Hitler and his cohorts thought they understood the true secret to historical advancement–Aryan genius. They were willing to kill any number of people, start any number of wars, and do other crazy enough to remake the entire world.
The danger for the modern world today is that the cache of ‘cutting edge avant-garde genius’ has fooled a lot of second-raters and third-raters that they themselves are indeed great artists, geniuses, visionaries, radicals, or rebels when in fact they are a bunch of dorks and dufuses. The idea of the Promethean genius accessing and spreading the fire of the gods has been popularized and vulgarized to the point where morons think Alainis Morrisette, Kurt Cobain, and Courtney Love are the great artist-geniuses of the age. Morons also think if they imitate these pop culture clods, they too qualify as cutting-edge artist-geniuses seeking truth unknown to but a few–like a million fellow dolts on youtube.

Anyway, if the natural environment can shape and form the features of animals, the same must apply to humans. Humans, especially primitive humans prior to the rise of civilization, were deeply impacted–even genetically–by their environments. They didn’t just socially or culturally react to their environment but were genetically shaped by it. Whites and East Asians biologically or racially became the way they are because they would have died otherwise in the cold and harsh climate of the Ice Age North. And, blacks are the way they are because being black-skinned and nappy headed protects them from the searing Sun. Today, a white guy can go live in Africa, wear protective clothing, stay indoors, enjoy air conditioning. But, if a white guy had to live in hot Africa on a primitive level, he might not survive as his pale skin would burn up or succumb to cancer. For most of human existence, man was at the mercy of his environment. Only relatively recently did man begin to shape the environment around him and develop technologies that assured protection from the environment–climate, wild animals, etc. It’s now believed that all the non-African races left the Dark Continent about 80,000 years ago. In Africa itself, humans had existed for 100,000s of years. Oldest civilizations–Sumerian and Egyptian–are only 5,000 years old. Chinese history is about 3,500 yrs. Northern European history is less than 1500 yrs. Much of Africa didn’t develop civilization even well into the 20th century. For the most part, American Indians lived in a state of primitive co-existence with the natural fauna and flora of the Americas–like the Germanic barbarians prior to the spread of Roman and Christian cultures. So, even up to relatively recent times, all races have been profoundly impacted and shaped by their natural environments which varied greatly from continent to continent, temperature zone from temperature zone.
Jared Diamond readily admits that the different attributes of animals were determined by the natural environment. For example, he argues that Africa had almost no animal that could be domesticated for agriculture because of the nature of the environment. (Of course, one may argue that there were indeed animals in Africa that could have been domesticated but that blacks lacked the intelligence and the patience to figure out how. After all, domestication of animals took a long time in the North as well and required a good deal of skills, patience, and determination. And, white farmers have done wonders with the African soil–despite the argument of Jared Diamond and his allies that the African terrain is unfit for agriculture–whereas farms which have reverted to black ownership have turned to crap. But, for the sake of argument, let us assume that African animals cannot be domesticated.) Diamond argues that Africa has long been teeming with vicious wild animals, and therefore, the prey animals of Africa evolved to be nervous, jumpy, hyper, and difficult to control. The zebra, for instance, cannot be domesticated like a horse because it developed in a world of hyenas, leopards, African hunting dogs, and lions. Zebra is many more times more nervous than a horse. The northern regions also had vicious predators but fewer big cats and, besides, bears were too slow for most animals. Northern wolves were a terror for most prey animals but not as frightening as African predators. So, the zebra, in order to survive, had to be fidgety and ready to run over the slightest hint of danger.

Next, consider the African buffalo. The Asian buffalo has been domesticated and used for agriculture, so why not the African buffalo? Same reason as with the zebra. In order to survive against lions, African buffalo had to be super strong and super aggressive. The Asian buffalo, to be sure, could be a mean animal. After all, Asia did have tigers. But, tigers are lone hunters and more reclusive than lions. So, whereas the Asian water buffalo could be domesticated in places like India or Vietnam, it would have been dangerous for an African Negro to risk his ass trying to turn an African buffalo into a nice animal pulling the plow. Same can be said of African elephant and the Asian elephant. Asian elephant has been successful domesticated and used for various tasks. But, African elephant is not only bigger and stronger but meaner and nastier. If a Negro tried to tame such a beast, his nappy-headed self would have been crushed into a pancake.

What I’m saying is ‘fundamental similarities’ are not good enough. Subtle or obvious differences can make all the difference. An Asian elephant and an African elephant are ‘fundamentally similar’, but one can be domesticated, the other cannot. An Asian buffalo and an African buffalo are ‘fundamentally similar’, but one can be domesticated, the other cannot. The horse and zebra are ‘fundamentally similar’–though it must be said they belong to separate species–, but one can be domesticated, the other cannot. In other words, ‘fundamentally similar’ is not good enough. All dogs are fundamentally similar but try herding sheep with chihuahuas.

Same can be said of the human races. Suppose we say all races are ‘fundamentally similar’ and ban American blacks from playing in the NBA and Olympic basketball and fill up the teams with Vietnamese Americans. After all, all races are ‘fundamentally similar’, right? True, all races are indeed fundamentally similar. They all have capacity for language, capacity for deductive reasoning, can see color, walk upright, and etc. But, there’s no question that some races have more of certain qualities than other races do, just as certain breeds of dogs are more suited–in terms of intelligence, body shape and size, strength, agility and speed, and temperament–for tasks beyond the competence of other breeds of dogs. Dachshunds are not good for racing, and hyper-active collies would make poor tracking animals. If the US Dream Team were to be made up of Vietnamese Americans, forget about US ever winning the Gold–or even a Silver or Bronze–in Olympics basketball ever again.
Or, suppose we ban Jews from science and fill up the scientific ranks with only blacks. Of course, there are plenty of smart black people, indeed even some VERY SMART black people. But, good is not good enough for cutting edge science. There are lots of fast white guys but their speed is not good enough for Olympics tracks. There are lots of smart black guys, but their smarts are not good enough to keep US as the cutting edge leader in science. If only blacks were allowed to go into science in the US, other nations would overtake America in science and technology. So, for Diamond to say all races are ‘fundamentally similar’ is disingenuous. He’s technically right as far as it goes but wrong in implying there are no social consequences of subtle or not-so-subtle racial differences.
True, if all a man is supposed to do in life is to eat, drink, sleep, and shit, then Diamond is right that it doesn’t matter if we’re black, white, yellow, brown, red, etc. But, human civilization is about excellence, competition, and taking human achievement and discovery to new heights. Mere good is not good enough. All races can be taught how to read and write, add and subtract. But, how many people can reach the levels of Einstein’s genius? Even most Jews cannot reach that level; even so, there are more intellectually capable people among Jews than among other peoples. Diamond himself is a major heavy thinker because he’s a Jew. True, he’s dishonest and ideological, but who can deny the man’s brilliance and depth? Why? Because he’s a super smart Ashkenazi.

Anyway, if the African environment made the African zebra, elephant, and buffalo too nervous, aggressive, and hostile for domestication, why wouldn’t it follow that the same environment made black Africans physically strong(more than other races), more aggressive, and more instinctive than intellectual. If blacks had to be constantly alert to the threat of dangerous gorillas, leopards, hyenas, lions, rhinos, elephants, hippos, and etc, they had to be strong and ready to fight like crazy or run-like-a-motha_ucka at any given moment. The weaker and more temperate members among the Negroes would not have survived in an environment favoring badass mofos.
In contrast, the cold climate in the North required whites or Asians to huddle together, cooperate through the long winter months, and conserve their body fat. In the cold climate, body fat had to be saved up for long bitterly cold winter months with little or no food. In such a tight knit world where people had to be very cooperative and even-tempered to survive, a white or Asian guy who acted like a jive-ass Negro would have been exiled from his community for being a nuisance or he would have burned up all his body fat from shaking his booty all night long. If you shake your ass all the time, you’re gonna burn away the necessary body fat for the winter. So, it’s evident that the different climates and animals of Africa and Eurasia were bound to create different races of humans with different attributes and qualities. Also, as it was a greater challenge to survive in the cold, people in the northern zones had to use their brains more than blacks in Africa.
So ask yourself, what kinds of traits were better suited for creating or sustaining civilization? Jive-ass funky hyper blackness OR intelligence and even temperance?
Why do black students cause so much trouble in school? Some people point to lower IQs among blacks, but that’s only half the equation. Forrest Gump was a dumbass but never caused no trouble to anybody. There are plenty of dumb people who are peaceful and cooperative. No, blacks are socially problematic due to their wild and aggressive temperament. What makes it even worse is that they know they can kick the butts of other races. If whites, Hispanics, and Asians were as strong or stronger than blacks, blacks wouldn’t act so cocky, wild, arrogant, and rude. But, blacks grow up knowing that they are the kings of the streets and public spaces. They know they can mess with anyone but no one–except tougher Negroes–are going to mess with them. What makes things even extra-worse is the fact of white historical guilt which makes it impossible to be critical of blacks. There is also the problem of leftist Jewish control of media and social discourse, where racial differences cannot be discussed. Also, there is the matter of white male pride. White males, out of vain macho pride, cannot admit they are scared out of their wits when it comes to crazy Negroes.

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