There’s some uncanny things happening in the world, and reasonable folks stand slackjawed in utter perplexity at certain … things.
The most illustrative example are MAGA trump followers. We have seen this quite often in human history, and I will unsympathetically characterize what I see as “a blind, uninformed, cult-like dedication to an authoritarian populist leader”. There are flocks of pundits making cursory dismissive statements on what’s happening here, and none of them reaches to the heart of the matter.
Allow me to conjecture in a meaninful manner, and give me some rope here. Because what I will speculate will be politically fairly incorrect.
Let’s head back to the start of the Holocene, say several thousand years ago. I have in the past argued that humanity went through quite the evolutionary bottleneck at that time, precipitated by a range of major climatic shifts. Let me list the changes.
- The last Pleistocene ice age ending is characterized by fairly rapid melting of icecaps, and a significant rising of sea levels.
- As a result a lot of formerly cold and ice covered land became availale and a lot of heavily forested low lying land was flooded.
- Populations of humans were compressed in to new and/or smaller geographic areas, triggering a sharp increase in ethnic/genetic competition.
- Those populations of humans that were genetically inclined to higher competition resorted to ever sophisticated modes of eliminating competition; this in turn favored aggressiveness, central authority and leadership and an inborn inclination to identify othet ethnicities as well as other genetic strains of humans.
I would therefore argue that in the last few thousand years humans entered a competetive stage, that as natural dangers diminished or were largely eradicated (for instance – most animals are remarkably cautious with humans) those humans that favored “racism”, “respect for authority” (docility), as well as ingenuity in confrontations.
If I continue hypothesizing along these lines I’d conjecture that some human genetic strains (and I consciously don’t use the word “races” here) have a greater prepensity for these modalities. We might say, “some ethnicities may have a greater prepensity to organize along authoritarian lines, organize in gangs following a “leader” and use ever more sophisticated tools and strategies in combat.
If this hypothesis would be valid in the real world – if it describes something tangible and real, we immediately have a rather distressing model for what may be happening (and what is so befuddling to rational folks) in the real world.
If we take these three urges in the human race and combine them in to one over-all picture we may come to understand a tribal instinct that has translated quite tragically to the modern world. Here’s a narrative for you.
Human beings after the pleistocene were gradually forced in to new geographical niches and were forced to adapt quickly. One of these adaptations was an increasingly sedentary life, resisting other tribes for control of the land. To better be able to resist incursions, the sedentary folk started reinforcing more permanent settlements and fortified them. This begat primal forms of feudalist hierarchies where farmers and military predispositions calcified and society stratified. That all gradually led to territories, terristorial claims, leaders and the active desire to have your genetic legacy persist. Before this era tribal society was more equal between genders. After this transition land claim (and inheritance) progressed along male lines, females were born smaller, and as diets became more based on grains and agriculture most humans were weaker. To compensate humans in these emerging kingdoms became more suspicious of strangers (who’d signify threats to your genetic legacy) so primarily humans survived that were more inclided to agression against strangers, as well as domineering towards females. The best organized tribes (and later countries) were best able to use force to resist strangers, and in many cases resort to ethnic cleansing of said strangers. Now – war is quite a complex development, and war required an active instinct for self-sacrifice in the members of society. This active instinct was put to use in armed confrontation (war) and require its constituents somehow developed (or evolved) a prepensity to do what an authoritarian figurehead tells them to do, at great risk to their own survival. To obey leaders would then insure a significantly greater chance for surviving individuals to allowed to procreate and spread these “docile” and “military” genes. Manlyness became something to be admired and was greatly connotated with martial success, as well as a certain ruthless cruelty. We can easily see a mental tapestry of literally congenital instincts emerge in humanity favoring active racism, a persistent desire to dominate woman, a desire to be seen as “a full male” by members of the community, proud of one’s legacy and ethnicity (i.e. – racial pride) and a somewhat irrational urge to take extreme risks in confronting and potentially even murdering strangers or enemies.
So there you have it and it ain’t a pretty picture. Humanity may have wonderful inclinations but my hypothesis is that racism, ethnic nationalism, genocide, blindly following a strong male figure (what I’d call a ‘silverback’), doing markedly asinine things when following that leader, and a strong tendency of males to treat women as possession or second rate human beings – it’s all genetic and thus to a degree a pathology as well as a deterministic instinct in human group behavior.