The Immorality of Morals and the Future of Amorality

Moralistic Conservatives and liberals alike seem to be consumed by a need to establish a baseline of morals, ethics and or virtue in the hopes that society will become better or at least more civil. There are numerous articles and political debates questioning why we have lost our way, why we have become self-absorbed, greedy, uncaring, and basically lacking in morals. Morals are perceived of as a set of values that a society must have to survive, and it seems the pundits have some means of measuring it over time, and as they would have it, we live in a most unethical period in history. This is stated without first defining what means of measurement is used. We no longer practice slavery, infanticide, drawing-and-quartering heretics, etc.! Are we less moral now because we have given up these practices?

On the contrary, I will put forth in this essay that morality (henceforth to include ethics and virtue) is nothing more than an evolutionary strategy that has been with primates and continues on in humans for the singular purpose of promoting the selfish genes that direct our behavior. In essence, I will show that morality is a means to indoctrinate the group to behave in a beneficial way as perceived by the group before the agricultural revolution, and later the group's political and religious elite when modern civilization started to evolve 10,000 years ago. But before I get started I will have to define what it is that I mean by morality.

There are two parts to morality. The first has always been with us to organize our social lives and is called natural morality. The other is concerned with what we should be doing and is called laws (freedom), ethics, or moral philosophy. In Darwin, Dominance, and Democracy, Somit and Peterson state, "But the capacity to believe and then to act on the basis of those beliefs is not limited to any specific set of ideas. There is almost no limit to the range and variety, or eccentricity, of the values humans are capable of accepting and acting upon." They are describing indoctrination, the necessary mechanism that allows a moral system to be accepted by a group, and every human has a need to adopt or subjugate themselves to some moral code, whether from the family, the church, or some new-found cult.

So morality has always been there, not good or bad, just a means to organize small societies or tribes before civilization, to keep the group sound and organized against outside forces. The only criterion was survival in the face of predators or competing bands of humans. Those behavioral genes that did not allow humans to become indoctrinated with the core beliefs of the social group (tribe, troop, clan, etc.) did not survive. So today, our genes make it easy for us to welcome becoming indoctrinated at an early age, and later in life we can shift that acceptance of indoctrination to another set of rules if circumstances warrant (joining a cult). But most of us will adhere to some basic rules of morality.

The concepts of moral philosophy, that is laying down a set of rules that we could all follow from basic notions of the good, has not been as successful in controlling peoples' lives. From the Greeks to St. Thomas Acquinas, Kant and now Rawls, one moral philosopher after another has been trying to formulate a universal set of moral rules that we can all live by. Unfortunately, the only way we will accept these rules is through indoctrination (again from the outside or from within ourselves), and not by pure reason. Kant wrote, "A metaphysic of morals is therefore indispensably necessary, not merely for speculative reasons, in order to investigate the sources of the practical principles which are to be found a priori in our reason, but also because morals themselves are liable to all sorts of corruption, as long as we are without that clue and supreme canon by which to estimate them correctly." And later, "Now it is only in a pure philosophy that we can look for the moral law in its purity and genuineness (and, in a practical matter, this is of the utmost consequences): we must, therefore, begin with pure philosophy (metaphysic), and without it there cannot be any moral philosophy at all."

Since modern humans have been getting along fine without moral philosophy for at least 100,000 years, and we are no closer now than we were two thousand years ago to finding a universal solution, I submit that the path that will unscramble this dilemma is to understand how moral indoctrination came about, from our primate past. Then we can decide what we are to do with morality, and like other artifacts such as inter-tribal murder and genocide, maybe we should think again about how to use our innate proclivity to demand that others think and act like ourselves, and formulate a modern structure of behavior that will make sense in a modern society with many different perceptions of morality.

Churchland presents a moral paradigm as one of a naturally occurring set of rules, learned and adhered to as part of culture, and now is interwoven in the judicial system, using a set of useful rules and precedents, not unlike applying scientific principles to natural phenomenon because the rules work.[1] He equates religious law, the attempts of the egalitarian left to establish rights, and multiculturalism's attempt to establish a new set of laws condemning Western culture with the transcendental moralists trying to establish moral philosophy. Likewise, Wilson equates moral reasoning with natural sciences, based on its origin in our evolutionary past. He argues that either moral values are independent, whether from god or philosophical constructs, or moral values come from humans alone, from our very nature.[2]

In the rest of this article, I will be discussing only natural morality and indoctrinability, that which has always been with us. I will leave the philosophers to their struggle of trying to determine how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

MORALITY AN EVOLUTIONARY CONCEPT was first elucidated by Edward O. Wilson. He asserted that morality was an innate feature of our evolutionary past. This one concept has been attacked almost as much as the research on the differences in intelligence between groups and races. The attack, as always, came mostly from Stephen Gould and Richard Lewontin, always trying to push back science to promote a universalistic Marxist model of how to improve mankind. But as usual, it is impossible to stop science, and that morality is an integral part of our evolutionary past is now well established in the studies of behavior genetics.

Most authors seem to promote one or the other of two functions for morality, internal cohesion and external threat. However morality served both equally well. In Darwinism, Dominance and Democracy by Somit and Peterson, the authors state, "Humans are social primates, closely (almost embarrassingly) akin genetically to the chimpanzees and only slightly less so to the gorillas. Working over at least 10 million years, natural selection has endowed the social primates with a predisposition (to understate the matter) for hierarchical social structures. That is, they invariably form groups, troops, tribes, and societies characterized by marked differences in individual status in terms of dominance and submission, command and obedience, and by unequal access to many of the good things of life. This form of morality then serves inclusive fitness; it is there for one reason, to improve the survivability of the tribe. SOMIT AND PETERSON later state, "Indoctrinability, then, together with dominance, hierarchy, and obedience, is one of the innate behavioral capacities and characteristics of our species. As might be expected, in most instances indoctrinability serves to support and reinforce these generally authoritarian tendencies. Under other and fairly special conditions, though, indoctrinability provides a window of opportunity for the acceptance of democratic ideas and of political actions that, if successful, lead to the establishment of a democratic polity." And later, "From a neo-Darwinian perspective, individual selection for indoctrinability in a language-capable species makes sound evolutionary sense. When individuals accept the same values, conflict and violence will be diminished, resulting in a more stable society. From the vantage point of the conforming individual, relative order and tranquility, in turn, are likely to result in greater reproductive success and, hence, inclusive fitness."

Morality then is a product of evolution, and served the purpose of uniting the group, enforcing internal cohesion by establishing rules (somewhat arbitrary based on the groups history, needs, environment and proclivities) for the purpose of survival. Rules were not discussed to be good or bad or just or right. They evolved along with early humans without formal debate or the use of pure logic. Morality just was. Passed on and varied from generation to generation. An essential part of morality is that it assumes a natural hierarchy or social status in the group, a trait found in canines, monkeys and humans alike (but absent in the common house cat).[3] Along with this morality, or group indoctrination to make members conform to the rules, was gossip, to enforce the rules by management of reputations. This is one of the key factors leading to human's higher intelligence. As we left the time-consuming chores of physical grooming used by our primate ancestors, we learned to groom each other by verbal stroking and controlling the action of members through gossip and reputation.[4]

So those who study the origin of morality see it as a continuum from lower animals to humans. There is no single species that personifies what it means to be moral, it was established over millions of years in those species that needed to stick together as a group for protection from predators. If humans were less vulnerable from predators, we also could have evolved as solitary hunters and gatherers without a need for a moral social structure (like the common house cat), or moral indoctrination. But on the African Savannah, we were ripe for plucking by numerous predators, much faster and more ferocious than us.

And once humans needed to band together from predators, other humans also became a threat because of territorial disputes. Chimpanzees have been observed to commit genocide against other troops, for the obvious selection advantages of securing a larger hunting and gathering territory, but also eliminating the threat of attack from other chimpanzees. Our history is steeped in blood in many ways. So moral indoctrination held the group together in the face of outside threats, and the more cohesive and accepting of orders from those of higher rank, to do as they are told, the more likely it would be that the tribe would survive another war to fight.

Again, it is much easier to enforce moral indoctrination when everyone is involved in gossiping about each other, comparing who can be trusted and who will cheat, and generally using the social coercion of the group to enforce the rules--all long before religion could be established to instill the fear of god and punishment, another level of moral indoctrination added to tightly control the behavior of the group. But the more easily-indoctrinated humans had become with a higher intelligence, the easier it became for humans to succumb to a leader's demand for submission. Because even as we were becoming more intelligent, we were not changing in our obedience to follow.[5] Was the transformation then from a hunter-gatherer's social structure to an agrarian one where we finally bowed down to a master, one who would count the crops yield and each individual's share, after taxation? With its concomitant tyranny and oppression of the subjects, due to our need, our desire, to want to follow orders, our complicity in our own moral indoctrination has led us to the ultimate submission to central authority. It seems that when we realize how we have been duped by kings, tyrants, priests, and presidents, we may not have gained as much value from the our moral acceptance of rules as was once thought.[6,7,8]

Doesn't this description of morality seem much more important than how it is used today? It provided for a survival technique of a primitive culture, now vanished forever. What once was, is no more, and morality is an evolutionary artifact, one that is still used to indoctrinate people in numerous belief structures that make little sense other than people need it like they need sexual pleasure, the pleasure of obeying their masters and feeling all is right. In essence, all of the above authors have a slightly different story to tell about our moral indoctrinability, but the message is the same as far as the certainty that morality is a built-in aspect of human nature, established by our evolutionary past, and it is here with us even now whether we need it still or not. Today, one man's morality is another man's sin. But the need for some personal morality is as strong as ever.

In thinking about this article, I reflected on my own morality and how tenaciously it was ingrained in me. Because of my rural upbringing, one of the real sins is littering. Now that I live in a modern city, where even the police routinely throw their garbage out of the squad car windows, without any angst about their behavior, I become as nonplused as I would if I had witnessed a robbery. To me, littering is a proxy for anyone that is civilized. It is my moral certitude, and I am unable to do it myself even when I know no one will be looking. That is what moral indoctrination is all about.

MORALITY HAS BEEN THE MEANS FOR TYRANNY AND GENOCIDE as stated by Somit and Peterson, "If we were to view some 6,000 years of recorded political society as a landscape in time, there would stretch out before us a vast, desolate desert of absolutism, tyranny, and authoritarianism, only rarely relieved, by an oasis of relative freedom and democracy. To be sure, no two governments are quite the same; still, aside from a small handful, states have differed from each other primarily in the degree of obedience and service demanded from their subjects. Laura Betzig (1986) has described in gruesome detail the often almost unbelievable acts of subservience, submission, and sacrifice compelled by rulers of what we might call primitive political societies. In that respect, the record of more advanced polities, from Babylonia and ancient Egypt to the present, is sometimes only marginally better."

Once humans left the primitive small group that defined our genetic nature, and started forming larger societies, human's need to be submissive or dominant, depending on one's status, made it easy for social structures to form that became severely oppressive. Deprivation, torture, human sacrifice, slavery; it was all done in the name of the few telling the many what to believe in and how to act. And the followers willingly obeyed without questioning what they were told or why they so readily believed what they were told. It was in their nature, they were moral primates, wanting to submit to authority and to believe.[9]

In MacDonald's analysis we may see a glimmer of hope that we may not have to be ethnocentric. In his book, he links different kinds of populations and notes they are not all the same in the way they treat outsiders.[10] Notably, people from the more populated Mediterranean region are more xenophobic and hostile to others than people in areas such as Scandinavia where the population was far less dense. It seems ironic that what the Jews practiced, a form of ingroup/outgroup morality that made genocide of gentiles acceptable was also exactly the same as what the National Socialists preached in their attempt to exterminate the Jews, internal communitarianism (excluding the Jews) and intolerance of outsiders or nationalism. In MacDonald's second book, Separation and its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism, he goes on to explain how the two most prominent features of Judaism, high intelligence and a belief in the need to keep the blood of Jews pure from contamination because they are of higher morality and must be a beacon onto the world was in reality a method of self-deception in order to dominate others. Again, the use of morality as an ingroup/outgroup rivalry for reproductive success and a vigilance to destroy the enemy, the gentiles. He traces three major events whereby the Jews refusal to assimilate and have their blood tainted caused a likewise reaction from the outgroup: the formation of Christendom in the Roman Empire, the Inquisition, and the rise of National Socialism which was a mirror image of Jewish moral principles. None of these historic events would have occurred if xenophobic driven morals or indoctrination of a people had not kept them separate from others.

Today, the same ingroup/outgroup morality is in place and still dividing people. The multiculturalists have singled out white gentiles as the enemy, and the cause of everything that is wrong with the West. And "By labeling any persons who disagree with them as racist or sexist, defenders of the current liberal paradigm are able to protect" their vision of a separation between all people of color and whites, for no other purpose it seems than to show that white gentiles suffer from a lack of moral values and therefore have little credibility in the political process.[11,12] This of course again translates into resource accumulation and reproductive success for the ingroup (people of color) against the outgroup (white gentiles). It is the same moral structure being used for the same purpose as it has been for at least 100,000 years. And it remains ethnocentric and relative only to the group holding the moral high-ground with regards to its effect of indoctrination. The less ethnocentric, more assimilative and universalistic whites will not respond unless they feel threatened, as is now starting to happen. The media and the academic moral paradigm has been one of convincing the public that there was something fundamentally racist with American culture, by using racist tactics to divide groups against each other.

So even today, as we all praise ourselves over how we live in a democracy with open debate, the more astute scholars recognize that instead of logic we continually fall back on moral values to enforce what public policy should be. The masses, taking their marching orders from the elite, are expected to mouth the politically correct messages or they are labeled accordingly, just as the hunter-gatherers did over 10,000 years ago. We always fall back on moral indoctrination as being the truly correct answer among a populace that is too willing to follow rather than thinking for themselves.

But again is this necessarily equally innate in all of us? Can't we see some cultures that are far more intolerant and ethnocentric than others? And if that is the case, must we always carry around with us the natural tendency towards tyranny and genocide? I have always been fascinated with how quickly war-like cultures can seem to change almost overnight, from the Vikings, to the Swiss, the Japanese and the Germans. When war becomes intolerable we have an innate ability to change the way we express our moral indoctrination and we quickly adopt new rules, under the guidance of the post-war political elite telling the masses, "never mind, we were wrong, millions died for nothing." Humans are so easily duped. So society under indoctrination can change. But what about the level of innate xenophobia? That does seem to be at least genetic, and does run in certain groups, as MacDonald pointed out. However, the Roman Empire was very open and assimilated others. And this is where eugenics can be good or bad. As the Jews used eugenics to increase their intelligence, they also increased their ethnocentrism. Using moral scriptures to ensure racial superiority, those members of the Jewish groups who were more xenophobic were more likely stay in the group at any cost. And after 4,000 years of inbreeding, the tendency towards outgroup intolerance increased. This combination of high intelligence, moral certitude, and ethnocentrism then can be used as it has in the past for setting one group against the other with disastrous results like WW II.

But if intelligence is correlated with morality, does this mean that the more intelligent humans are more easily duped than the less intelligent?[13] Something does not seem to be logical here. And noting that the Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average intelligence of any population group (at 117), does it seem logical that they are more easily indoctrinated than less intelligent people? Yes -- intelligence makes people able to obey learned rules more efficiently, able to generalize those rules within the group, but also provides the more intelligent with the ability to self-indoctrinate. What this tells us is that indoctrinability is what allows us to have a moral guidance system, and that system is only as good and as beneficent as the culture evoking the moral rules. So far as I can determine, Western culture has done the best job of indoctrinating its people into believing in democracy and in tolerance. But given straining circumstances, the indoctrination machine, as controlled by the elite institutions that give the marching orders, could easily slip us into another global war of unimaginable proportions. Only a firm understanding of behavior genetics, with a higher average intelligence to understand our own nature, can deter others from turning a group from peace-loving to war-loving through moral suasion.

WOULD WE BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT MORALITY? If morality is an artifact of our evolutionary past, what value does it have for society? It may in fact still have a great deal of value for controlling the behavior of small voluntary groups like clubs and associations, and it has a great deal to due with how family members react with each other.[14] But these are all personal, just exactly what morality evolved to bring about, the control through guilt and gossip of the close members of a tribe or clan. It was never meant to control large political organizations and is not equipped to do so except as an extension by the rule of law of those moral convictions held by a large percent of the public, or as advocated and propagandized by the media and the elite to bring about social change through a change in public opinion. There is no absolute right or wrong, just moral conditioning (indoctrination) on the individual level. So what relevance does it have for the Nation? I would argue none, at least none that cannot be accounted for by the rule of law. If this Nation is made up of free individuals, that are allowed to pursue their own personal happiness within the bounds of the law, what is the purpose of morality?

Morality, as it effects the Nation, can be easily supplanted by law. The government should apply the rule of law to those behaviors and actions that it wants to control. Murder, robbery, extortion, theft, treason, littering, and reckless driving are all actions that can do harm to others by injury or theft. Where the Nation gets in trouble is trying to apply the rule of law where the public thinks morality applies, precisely those areas where Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do (a book by Peter McWilliams). Drugs, prostitution, gambling, abortion, sexual preference, etc. are all regulated because one person's morality is being forced on someone else, outside of the family. I contend that a large number of people, the Nation, cannot be regulated efficiently on these matters and shouldn't be. The desire to do so is nothing more than the evolutionary artifact of morality, where my personal actions drive you crazy because it goes against your personal morality. Well, too bad. We are not the same. And our moralities (our indoctrination) are different and personal. And as long as my personal indoctrination did not make me act in ways that harm you, you have no case for wanting me to quit, other than through an emotional extension of your tribal need to try and control my behavior for a purpose that has long passed.[14]

But morality does have reproductive value at the level of family, friends and associates. And this is where it should remain.[15] To use the family as an example, members must conform to the accepted morality or get out. This can be seen in tough love situations where addicts are told to get out and stop sponging off others. And this is where morality should stay, at the level of the small group, where everyone is evaluated, and if behavior is out of line in accordance to the agreed upon moral code, then the offending person is punished. This is the only reasonable level of moral enforcement. And when my morality is intertwined with my alcoholism and my need to steal, then I will be shunned and probably end up in a new group where we all steal from each other and drink ourselves to death. Conformity is a voluntary response to wanting to be part of a group for mutual aid and support.[16] So what about the homeless, the indigent, the schizophrenic, and the drunk? Make damn sure you behave in such a manner that you always have a support group, and if you do not have the moral fortitude to do so then social controls are doing exactly what evolution intended. (Above, only the orphaned schizophrenic may have an argument for government aid--and I mean maybe.) If those, unable to conform morally to the norms of the group had as much reproductive success as those that were held in high esteem, human indoctrinability would not have come about, and we would be solitary hunters like the cats.

And now for the third form of morality, distributive justice. This great evil is the one where one person has a lot more family support, ambition, and intelligence than others less fortunate, and therefor they have a lot more money than those suffering poor people.[17] This condition, where I have produced far in excess of what the typical family had 100 years ago,it is argued, causes in some strange way suffering in others. Lets analyze this argument, as put forth by Rawls, et al., who advocate egalitarianism. They argue that economic disparity is an evil![18] And how is that? They never really say. But it is assumed that bad things happen to those who are of low intelligence, and I accept that. But that is not my fault, nor should it be any different. Why would we be so bold as to destroy the very mechanisms that brought us to where we are, the striving for material wealth in order to enhance reproductive success. Man has been on a path of evolutionary progress with regards to intelligence for six million years, starting with the primates. This has all come about because we first used our intelligence in order to control the group through gossip. It was a lot more efficient than physical grooming, grunting, and copulating alone that the primates must rely on for social control. We now started to use language for the purpose of talking about each other, and those with more intelligence had more children because they were more successful at acquiring resources, even if through deception! Was this process, carried our over many thousands of years, just plain wrong? Now that we have evolved to this state, do we want to turn it around and start heading backwards, where the less intelligent will have more off-spring than the more intelligent? Nature doesn't give a damn about distributive justice, in fact nature abhors such concepts.

So there we have it. The conservatives lament the loss of morality because they want others to behave the way they think they should, and egalitarians (now liberals) want a new moral system for distributing wealth. Fortunately, the conservatives have been losing their battle as we understand more about our human nature and where we have come from, but the egalitarians are indifferent to human nature, denying it exists.[19] They are expanding their demands for equality in hopes of a Marxist utopia. (Who said Ronald Reagan defeated Communism--now they are amongst us and we are even less vigilant. Sorry Ronnie.) Welfare, equality, affirmative action, etc., strips away every incentive for reproductive success by making it easier for the less intelligent and lazy to have more children than the more intelligent and productive. But this problem has been around for at least 2000 years. Empires have always been concerned with the wealthy not having enough children, but in the past we did not have Marxism around trying to exacerbate the problem. Now, thanks to the left, we are in a nose dive to a dysgenic dystopia. The less intelligent are having more children, are less productive, and are demanding more and more from those who do provide for the Nation's wealth.

So what do we do with morality? End it as a principle of governing and replace it with eugenics and principles of fairness and law. You reap what you sow. If you want socialism, join a socialist commune and leave me out of it. Your despair at not having enough material wealth, not based on need, but based purely on the fact that I have been so successful at accumulating much more wealth than you, may cause you some discomfort, AS IT SHOULD! That is exactly why nature made women want men with money (meat) for support, and the reason it made men try so hard to make money (go hunting), so that they could copulate with as many women as they could. That is HOW we evolved these large brains. Because men were horny and women needed men to help raise the children, and greed was and is an integral part of that process. There is never a point where anyone has enough wealth, because it is not what wealth is all about. It is about attracting women (for men), and for women to attract men with money. The welfare state, and everything that goes along with it, is out of sync with nature, and it is only perpetuated because a lot of easily duped European-Americans are so easily shamed into believing that the poor are poor because of some form of political inequality. This universal altruism is also an evolutionary artifact found primarily in Northern Europeans, where the sparsely populated region made cooperation a useful evolutionary strategy, whereas xenophobia is more common in population groups found in areas more densely populated.[20] How ironic then, under multiculturalism, that the more xenophobic and racist groups from Africa and the Mediterranean regions are shaming the more altruistic groups from Europe into accepting a universalist socialism that will ultimately destroy the United States as it was envisioned by its founding fathers. The good thing is, groups always fight back once they realize they are in fact at war. And ending morality outside of the family or group is the first step to recovery. Universal altruism must never again be of concern to a nation, only the health of the nation is important. Much of this dilemma is due to our absurd concept of speceisism.[21] Instead of seeing all population groups as one, we must look at evolution as a continuum of change, from primates to humans to ethnic groups and nations, in order to encourage change and experiment with different ways of niche-building. That is, what groups with both genetic and social uniqueness are better equipped to evolve a higher intelligence and a more productive social structure in comparison to others, as evolutionary competition demands of us.

four things must be met for humans to act with self-control or in a moral sense, for the benefit of the group: sympathy (without which group living would be impossible), a sense of fairness or justice, taking responsibility for one's actions, and a sense of duty or group loyalty.[22] Though different individuals need to belong to groups more than others, the cohesiveness of the group can be defined by these basic principles. The glue of course being an evolutionary process that selected for those who could be easily indoctrinated and would follow the rules blindly. MacDonald, in Separation and its Discontents, discusses studies showing that Jews are prone to joining cults because of their extreme ethnocentrism. And the Indian Caste system is likewise similar in that it is closer to a secular religion based on heredity and was originally established to keep the Aryan population separate from the non-Aryans.[23] That is, the need to be part of a group and to follow it blindly is a variable trait found in different population groups that goes from extreme individualism to extreme groupishness (ethnocentrism, xenophobic, racialists, etc.). But all normal humans have a moral sense (aside from the occasional sociopath). And we all follow our leaders unquestioningly as a group whether we want to or not. Note I said as a group, for every group will have its skeptics, whether because they perceive some injustice or they think they should be giving the orders. In fact there is ample evidence that elitists will take on causes for the underclass more as a means of gaining control than out of altruism or caring, as I contend President Clinton has been doing with his socialistic programs. His was an elitist "I feel your pain" in order to attract adoring women so he could "feel their private parts." But governments are only the largest definable group that most people submit to, there are no real rules regarding which or how many groups can function in a large state.

Religion, cults, gangs--they have always attracted differing levels of fanaticism from their members, and the level of commitment is often in parallel with the groups recognizing or being in competition with what are perceived as outgroups. Just as nationalism rises during times of war, and partisan politics (Democrats and Republicans) becomes dominant during times of peace, groups form with different amounts of glue depending on the groups they are against. The new Catholic immigrants over a hundred years ago formed into a cohesive group, formed their own educational system, and remained as a cohesive group until they were no longer perceived as a threat by being ruled by a foreign Roman Pope. The Sicilian Mafia formed into a tight group with a strict moral code for the advancement of the group, now being replaced by new gangs from many different countries (Russian Jews, Jamaicans, etc.). But what makes a group more cohesive than another? Several factors: their innate ethnocentrism or indoctrinability on the one hand, the perception of an ingroup/outgroup conflict, and the general intelligence of the members. What? Intelligence is required to be indoctrinated? It seems so, and is contrary to what we usually expect, that intelligent people will be able to see the facts more clearly and will be less susceptible to being duped. But what if they are looking to be duped, as part of the need to belonging to a well-glued group? Dawkins makes an interesting note with regards to religion.[24] It is the only area of culture where children are expected to be indoctrinated by their parents in one religion, and are expected to accept it unquestioningly, and are discouraged from evaluating the truth as they grow up. It is probably one of the best examples where religious beliefs are solely the product of indoctrination and most people don't really expect there to be much in the way of discoverability of facts, so just indoctrinate and let it go at that. Why bother searching for truth when deep in our hearts we know there is none. This is one of the most glaring examples of self-deception, practiced by all religions, dogmas and cults.

Take a look at gangs. Today's gangs are made up of a new class of ingroup/outgroup phenomenon, where black urban gangs perceived as having nothing to lose, have a need to belong, and yet are not very successful. Large numbers of them are arrested, and the sense of true solidarity is missing, as gang members will often turn in fellow gang members for a lighter sentence. The difference here is intelligence, and the ability to plan far in advance. The Sicilian Mafia was made up of more intelligent members on average, and they could foresee the costs of betrayal, while making sure that violators were punished. Cohesion was enforced by intelligent behavior. The black gangs on the other hand are on average of far lower intelligence, and group cohesion, or moral indoctrination, is far less rigid. So intelligence is a two-edged sword. If a person does not want to be part of a group, and has an innate preference for individualism rather than collectivism, they will use their intelligence in efforts not be duped by the government or any other group or organization. But under different circumstances, when there is a perceived threat, the same individual can become easily indoctrinated and communitarian, as happened when National Socialism formed in Germany because of a troubled economy and the Jewish threat in their midst's, what MacDonald in Separation and its Discontents, call a mirror-image response to Jewish nationalism. One group formed because of the other. (Also note that the Russian Jews have become the latest, and by far the most dangerous organized crime syndicate -- they are highly intelligent, ethnocentric and without any compassion for lesser sub-humans in keeping with their Talmudic religious teachings and culture.)

Understanding that indoctrination of the public is required to accept democracy is the most compelling reason for studying behavior genetics with regards to the moral sense. Somit and Peterson [25,26,27] are taking the first steps in asking whether we can assume that democracy is a natural state or an exception, and they then go on to show that it is only through indoctrination that Western governments established democracy as the norm. For it to exist, there must be an ongoing complicity by the government, the press, academics, and intellectuals to portray what the United States is doing at any particular time as the correct thing to do in a democracy, even though humans tend to prefer non-democratic forms of government. Take for example multiculturalism and diversity. If anyone bothered to look at history and at current nations with diverse ethnic populations under democracies, it is glaringly obvious that homogeneous nations fair far better on any number or parameters than multicultural nations. And yet, it is stated as an unquestioned fact that diversity is good, and the more diversity a nation has the stronger it will be. This is an example of an extremely efficient propaganda machine, made to make acceptance of multiculturalism as integral to our democratic principles, where in fact this ideology was plucked out of thin air for political purposes by elite groups for a specific purpose (see my review of MacDonald's book The Culture of Critique).

No matter how universally altruistic or sympathetic a culture may be, it will only last as long as resources are seen as in excess of what is needed or demanded, and that the aid given to others outside of the group are deserving and recipients would reciprocate if the situation was reversed.[28] For this universal altruism to exist, Western culture had to be extremely productive to create a society where the citizens would allow money to be transferred from those who have to those who are in need. For this to continue, those giving must be sufficiently indoctrinated by the American polity to believe that it is deserved. This giving runs counter to our human nature, where giving and altruism has always been coupled with the ability to determine if those in need are living in accordance to the rules or morality of the group. Once tribes gave way to cities, and cities to nations, we lost the ability to hold people accountable for their actions, and to give aid only if it is deserving. Look at the average beggar on the street; are they deserving of a hand out and how do we know? Are those on welfare worthy of assistance or are they incapable of ever reciprocating and becoming productive members of society? Altruism in the past has always been a group evolutionary strategy.[29] It never evolved to include universal compassion. Only through religious and now government sponsored indoctrination have we been able to convince the dominant culture that this altruism is deserving, and yet we know those who receive the aid, coming from more ethnocentric cultures, would reject reciprocity out of hand as not benefiting them.[30] But again, in order for the current egalitarianism to succeed, the public had to be indoctrinated into believing that it was in our national and moral interests to aid all those in need. But now after forty years of such aid, it is now becoming clear that we were duped. The majority of those receiving aid will never be productive citizens, in large part due to their low average intelligence (see American Psychological Association's report Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns at

Taken to the level of the Nation's capital and the partisanship of the rancorous accusations on both sides of the aisle in the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky affair, it is easy to see why morality, and its discussion, falls short of meeting any political goals that can be grasped by the public. If the very same philandering were occurring in the home, or in a small cohesive group with strict prohibitions against such behavior, the situation would entail punishment and corrective action. But morality just does not operate at a distance, where the players are presented to the public filtered by the media. The morality in Washington is a local matter, where gossip keeps track of who is doing what to whom and why. But their moral codes are not those of the public's. Our representatives are portrayed as caring, concerned people, in Washington to represent their constituency back home. But upon arrival in Washington, that quickly changes (if it did ever exist in any one candidate for office). As we have learned with Bill Clinton, the public is eager to be lied to, to believe in, and to accept everything that is said as long as the person merely represents one's partisan choice. It has little reality in fact. Our evolutionary past has forged a human nature that must rely on the signals, punishment, altruism, and regulation of the group, all of whom were known personally by each other. Humans are evolutionarily incapable of determining what is right and wrong, based on a moral sense that has no current operating mechanism for evolutionary advancement. It is time to move past using morality as a public goal and formulate a means to deal with democracies that are out of control and serving no one but those who run the government. Manipulation of the public is too easy, when that public is not equipped to deal rationally with deceit and treachery at a distance. It is hard enough to spot deceptors that are dealing with us personally.

A good analogy of this phenomenon is found in Steven Mithen's book The Prehistory of The Mind. As an archaeologist, he explains that the human brain evolved in stages. We first evolved language and social intelligence over 2 million years ago. During that time to about 100,000 years ago humans used very crude stone tools that were the same in vary different environments, until our intelligence increased through evolution and we integrated technology into our general intelligence with a subsequent explosion of new tools. This is very similar today, where morality and indoctrination still make up a hidden set of faculties that we are unable to integrate into higher level intelligence. Perhaps the only way to get beyond the hazards of an archaic moral system is to truly evolve to a level where our intelligence can finally integrate what morality is into a rational system of understanding.Only then will we have moved beyond the absurd notion that we can know what is right or wrong, rather than using empiricism to understand how we behave naturally and then decide how want to structure society to make it work the way we desire, without the shackles of the artifacts of indoctrination.[31] 


I started this article several months ago, and as usually happens when you keep setting something down and returning to it, sometimes the main message changes or could be stated in a different way. Over that period of time, and also because in the interim I read several important books by Wilson, Churchland, and MacDonald dealing in part with morality, I see myself shifting conceptually. It may not be sufficient to dismiss morality but may be necessary to supplant a transcendental approach to morality with a national commitment to eugenics based on a scientific morality--or ethics if you prefer. That is, one where the health of the nation is too important to be left to a libertarian approach to freedom and individualism, and we must now return to a more regulated policy of closing our borders to the low intelligent immigrants, and making a commitment to increase the average intelligence of our citizens, and reject the Kant/Rawls formulations that will eventually lead to ruin. There is a fundamental dilemma with indoctrination and scientific knowledge. What if the only way we can move humans to a level of intelligence necessary for them to understand morality, is to use the instruments of indoctrination to fight those who use these tools to reject science for the specific purpose of destroying Western culture because of their unabashed hatred for a culture that has worked. What an odd twist--and a return to past conflicts that never were resolved.  


1. Churchland, The Engine of Reason, The Seat of the Soul: These parallels are reinforced when we look past declared social policy and written legislation to the institutions that enforce them, in particular, the judiciary branch of all levels of government. If continuing legislative activity in the social domain corresponds to continuing theoretical activity in the scientific domain, then society's judiciary corresponds very roughly to science's engineers: they both have the job of actually applying the current abstract wisdom case by case to the real world, to the social world in the former case and to the natural world in the latter. As with our institutions of engineering, our judiciary comes to embody an additional layer of wisdom and know-how, a layer beyond what appears in the standard science textbooks or the written legislation. How best to interpret the current abstract wisdom, as one attempts to bring it to bear on an endless variety of novel cases, is something that can never be exhaustively articulated in a set of written laws, whether scientific or social. In the latter domain, the burden of such ongoing interpretation is assigned to the judiciary, and their practice here displays an old friend: prototypes, or paradigms. They are called "precedents" in the legal profession, but they play a role comparable to that played by paradigms or prototypical examples in science. A precedent is an earlier judicial decision on a specific legal issue, carefully written up by the presiding judge and then published in the judiciary's legal record, a record that reaches back several centuries and encompasses hundreds of thousands of cases. 

2. Wilson, Consilience: CENTURIES OF DEBATE on the origin of ethics come down to this: Either ethical precepts, such as justice and human rights, are independent of human experience or else they are human inventions. The distinction is more than an exercise for academic philosophers. The choice between the assumptions makes all the difference in the way we view ourselves as a species. It measures the authority of religion, and it determines the conduct of moral reasoning. The two assumptions in competition are like islands in a sea of chaos, immovable, as different as life and death, matter and the void. Which is correct cannot be learned by pure logic; for the present only a leap of faith will take you from one to the other. But the true answer will eventually be reached by the accumulation of objective evidence. Moral reasoning, I believe, is at every level intrinsically consilient with the natural sciences. Every thoughtful person has an opinion on which of the premises is correct. But the split is not, as popularly supposed, between religious believers and secularists. It is between transcendentalists, those who think that moral guidelines exist outside the human mind, and empiricists, who think them contrivances of the mind. The choice between religious or nonreligious conviction and the choice between ethically transcendentalist or empiricist conviction are cross-cutting decisions made in metaphysical thought. An ethical transcendentalist, believing ethics to be independent, can either be an atheist or else assume the existence of a deity. In parallel manner, an ethical empiricist, believing ethics to be a human creation only, can either be an atheist or else believe in a creator deity (though not in a law-giving God in the traditional Judaeo-Christian sense). In simplest terms the option of ethical foundation is as follows:

I believe in the independence of moral values, whether from God or not,


I believe that moral values come from humans alone; God is a separate issue.

Theologians and philosophers have almost always focused on transcendentalism as the means to validate ethics. They seek the grail of natural law, which comprises freestanding principles of moral conduct immune to doubt and compromise. Christian theologians, following St. Thomas Aquinas' reasoning in Summa Theologiae, by and large consider natural law to be the expression of God's will. Human beings, in this view, have the obligation to discover the law by diligent reasoning and weave it into the routine of their daily lives. Secular philosophers of transcendental bent may seem to be radically different from theologians, but they are actually quite similar, at least in moral reasoning. They tend to view natural law as a set of principles so powerful as to be self-evident to any rational person, whatever the ultimate origin. In short, transcendentalism is fundamentally the same whether God is invoked or not. 

3. De Waal, Good Natured: Without agreement on rank and a certain respect for authority there can be no great sensitivity to social rules, as anyone who has tried to teach simple house rules to a cat will agree. Even if cat lovers fail to see a nonhierarchical nature as a shortcoming--on the contrary!--it does place their pets firmly outside the human moral realm. Evolved as solitary hunters, cats go their own way, indifferent to what the rest of the world thinks of them. For the child, it is the adult's approval that is sought; for the adult, it may be that of an omnipotent God infused with absolute moral knowledge. There is obviously more to morality--Kohlberg's scheme counts six stages up to and including an autonomous conscience--yet submission to a higher authority is fundamental. This feature is also less peculiarly human than some of the abilities involved in the later stages: submission to authority is part of a primordial orientation found not only in our fellow primates, but in a host of other animals as well." And again, "The second condition for the evolution of morality, then, is conflict within the group. Moral systems are produced by tension between individual and collective interests, particularly when entire collectivities compete against one another. If the need to get along and treat each decently is indeed rooted in the need to stick together in the face of external threats, it would explain why one of Christianity's most heralded moral principle, the sanctity of life, is interpreted so flexibly, depending on which group, race, or nation the life belongs to. Human history furnishes ample evidence that moral principles are oriented to one's own group, and only reluctantly (and never evenhandedly) applied to the outside world. 

4. Dunbar, Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language: He concluded that one of the most important things gossip allows you to do is to keep track of (and of course influence) other people's reputations as well as your own, Gossip, in his view, is all about the management of reputation. Taken together, these observations provide strong support for the suggestion that language evolved to facilitate the bonding of social groups, and that it mainly achieves this aim by permitting the exchange of socially relevant information. 

5. Anders, The Evolution of Evil:. . .intelligence is a two-edged sword.... the more flexible an organism is the greater the variety of maladaptive, as well as adaptive, behaviors it can develop; the more teachable it is the more it risks being exploited by its ancestors and associates; the greater its capacity for learning morality the more worthless superstitions, as well as traditions of social wisdom, it can acquire; the more cooperatively interdependent the members of a group become the greater is their collective power and the more fulsome are the opportunities for individuals to manipulate one another; the more sophisticated language becomes the more subtle are the lies, as well as the truths, that can be told. 

6. Hartigan, The Future Remembered: At the risk of anthropomorphizing, we might call it the animal group's "public morality." what else can it be called? If morality is the sum total of the mores, customs, and conventions of a group, passed on, revised, or abandoned, why can we not say that the rites and rituals of order in a baboon pack, for example, constitute its public morality? Its source may be more automatic, spontaneous, instinctual than in us, but the result and function are the same. It is the "do's" and "don'ts" of the group, transgression of which brings swift retaliation from the group's enforcer(s) of public order. Anarchy cannot be permitted. The group must, for its survival, meet threats from predators or other conspecific groups with a solid front, while, within the group, instability will threaten the ultimate safety of all. 

7. Dawkins, The Origins of Virtue: Our minds have been built by selfish genes, but they have been built to be social, trustworthy and cooperative. That is the paradox this book has tried to explain. Human beings have social instincts. They come into the world equipped with predispositions to learn how to cooperate, to discriminate the trustworthy from the treacherous, to commit themselves to be trustworthy, to earn good reputations, to exchange goods and information, and to divide labor. In this we are on our own. No other species has been so far down this evolutionary path before us, for no species has built a truly integrated society except among the inbred relatives of a large family such as an ant colony. We owe our success as a species to our social instincts; they have enabled us to reap undreamt benefits from the division of labor for our masters--the genes. They are responsible for the rapid expansion of our brains in the past two million years and thence for our inventiveness. The evolutionary perspective is a long one. This book has in passing tried to nail some myths about when we adopted our cultured habits. I have argued that there was morality before the Church; trade before the state; exchange before money; social contracts before Hobbes; welfare before the rights of man; culture before Babylon; society before Greece; self-interest before Adam Smith; and greed before capitalism. 

8. Levin, In Why Race Matters: Rules that endure do so, therefore, because heeding them, training one's offspring to heed them, and encouraging one's cohort to heed them, enhance the fitness of cohort members. It follows that the function of a group's morality is group survival, and it is easy to see how typical moral rules discharge that function. Injunctions to within-group honesty, cooperativeness, and nonaggression facilitate trade, construction projects, organizing for battle, and other activities helpful to all. Such rules become entrenched because the behavior they prescribe is adaptive. And since obedience to such rules enhances group fitness, so does the reinforcement of obedience. However, while a functional account explains why rules persist once they start being followed, it does not explain the origin of rules, how they come to be followed in the first place. Finishing the story evidently requires appeal to biology. 

9. Dawkins, The Origins of Virtue: Hartung does not stop there. The ten commandments, he reveals, apply to Israelites but not heathen people, as reaffirmed throughout the Talmud, by later scholars such as Maimonides and repeatedly by the kings and prophets of the Torah. Modern translations, by footnotes and judicious editing or mistranslation, usually blur this point. But genocide was as central a part of God's instructions as morality. When Joshua killed twelve thousand heathen in a day and gave thanks to the Lord afterwards by carving the ten commandments in stone, including the phrase Thou shalt not kill, he was not being hypocritical. Like all good group-selectionists, the Jewish God was as severe towards the outgroup as he was moral to the ingroup. This is not to pick on the Jews. No less an authority than Margaret Mead asserted that the injunction against murdering human beings is universally interpreted to define human beings as members of one's own tribe. Members of other tribes are subhuman. As Richard Alexander has put it, 'the rules of morality and law alike seem not to be designed explicitly to allow people to live in harmony within societies but to enable societies to be sufficiently united to deter their enemies.' Christianity, it is true, teaches love to all people, not just fellow Christians. This seems to be largely an invention of St Paul's, since Jesus frequently discriminated in the gospels between Jews and Gentiles, and made clear that his message was for Jews. St Paul, living in exile among the Gentiles, started the idea of converting rather than exterminating the heathen. But the practice, rather than the preaching, of Christianity has been less inclusive. The Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Thirty Years War and the sectarian strife that still afflicts communities like Northern Ireland and Bosnia, testify to a continuing tendency for Christians to love only those neighbors who share their beliefs. Christianity has not notably diminished ethnic and national conflict; if anything, it seems to have inflamed it. This is not to single out religion as the cause or source of tribal conflict. After all, as Sir Arthur Keith pointed out, Hitler perfected the double standard of ingroup morality and outgroup ferocity by calling his movement National Socialism. Socialism stood for communitarianism within the tribe, nationalism for its vicious exterior. He needed no religious spur. But given that humankind has an instinct towards tribalism that millions of years of groupishness have fostered, religions have thrived to the extent that they stressed the community of the converted and the evil of the heathen. Hartung ends his essay on a bleak note, doubting that universal morality can be taught by religions steeped in such traditions, or that it can even be attained unless a war with another world unifies the whole planet. 

10. MacDonald, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Ethnocentrism is a schismatic ingroup/outgroup differentiation, in which internal cohesion, relative peace, solidarity, loyalty and devotion to the ingroup, and the glorification of the "sociocentric-sacred" (one's own cosmology, ideology, social myth, or Weltanschauung; one's own god-given social order) are correlated with a state of hostility or permanent quasi-war (status hostilis) towards outgroups, which are often perceived as inferior, sub-human, and/or the incorporation of evil. ethnocentrism results in a dualistic, Manichaean morality which evaluates violence within the ingroup as negative, and violence against the outgroup as positive even desirable and heroic. Socialization in collectivist cultures stresses group harmony, conformity, obedient submission to hierarchical authority, the honoring of parents and elders. There is also a major stress on in group loyalty, as well as trust and cooperation within the ingroup. Each of the ingroup members is viewed as responsible for every other member. However, relations with outgroup members are "distant, distrustful, and even hostile". In collectivist cultures, morality is conceptualized as that which benefits the group, and aggression and exploitation of outgroups are acceptable. People in individualist cultures, on the other hand, show little emotional attachment to ingroups. Personal goals are paramount, and socialization emphasizes the importance of self-reliance, independence individual responsibility, and "finding yourself". Individualists have more positive attitudes toward strangers and outgroup members and are more likely to behave in a pro-social, altruistic manner to strangers. 

11. Rubin, The Assault on the First Amendment: By labeling any persons who disagree with them as racist or sexist, defenders of the current liberal paradigm are able to protect it. Disagreement is not only viewed as a sign of intellectual dissension; it is characterized as an indicator of low moral value. Because of the theoretical weakness of the paradigm this argument carries particular weight. Ambitious scholars would attack the paradigm if it were not protected by morality. The effort to convert intellectual disputes into moral disputes may be a more general method of attack; McCarthyism proceeded by accusing those with certain sets of beliefs as being not only misguided, but also as being traitors. 

12. Hartigan, The Future Remembered: It must first be admitted that we are a naturally aggressive animal who will respond violently in order to protect his territory, and that security of territory is a prerequisite to personal survival and the production of the species' future generations. Organized, lethal conspecific violence, what we call war, is not an aberration of the species nor is it a vice. It is a distinctively human activity resulting from our big brain ability to forestall a future perceived threat by permanently eliminating an enemy. As a species it is part of our evolution. 

13. Levin, Why Race Matters: Cattell (1950) reports a significant correlation between "general ability" and being "morally intelligent." Herrnstein and Wilson comment that "a person's level of moral reasoning is correlated with intelligence, particularly verbal intelligence" (1985:169). Herrnstein and Murray (1994) report an r of .28 between IQ and a measure of prosocial behavior they call the "Middle Class Values Index" (1994: 622). Lawrence Kohlberg, well known for his sequencing of the stages of moral development, describes findings which "support what we all know: you have to be cognitively mature to reason morally. . . . IQ tests correlate with moral maturity" (1981: 138-9). Among (white) preadolescents, Mussen et al. (1970) found correlations ranging from .32 to .62 between IQ, altruism and honesty. IQ also correlates slightly with sense of humor, stature and myopia. 

14. Churchland, The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul: Someone might well ask at this point, "What about humanity's great religions? Are they not also historical institutions that hold up models of worthy and unworthy behavior, models that shape our lives accordingly?" They are indeed, and very powerful, too. Moreover, those institutions will no doubt endorse my claim that moral knowledge is real knowledge. Their grounds for this claim, however, will be very different from mine. In these pages I have been attempting to support this claim by highlighting the unfolding process by which we learn from our mistakes. Moral knowledge, broadly speaking, is real knowledge precisely because it results from the continual readjustment of our convictions and practices in the light of our unfolding experience of the real world, readjustments that lead to greater collective harmony and individual flourishing. If this is the way one wishes to argue for the rough objectivity of moral knowledge, then the world's great religions, the Western ones anyway, are poor examples to help one do it. The reason is simple and not without some irony. In order to purchase a compelling authority for their respective catechisms, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all claim a divine origin for the moral wisdom that they contain. Their moral laws are held out to us as the revealed truths or irrevocable commands of God. Putting aside the awesome presumption of those who would speak for God Himself, the tactical gain purchased by the claim of divine authority eventually matures into the profound liability of not being able to change the relevant body of law. Their dubious claim to authority returns to haunt these institutions. It returns as the awkwardness or complete inability to learn from mankind's subsequent moral and social experience. For if those religions have already been given God's final word directly from God Himself, how can they subsequently claim to find fault with it? This situation is worse, I think, than mere irony: it is a continuing tragedy. Some of the most powerful institutions on the planet, for preserving and teaching such moral wisdom as humanity had already achieved ten or twenty centuries ago, have now become the principal barriers to the wholly natural processes by which humanity might ascend to still higher levels of moral understanding. While important, perhaps, these remarks on religion are a digression from my main purpose, which is to outline a more modest authority for moral knowledge; namely, the imperfect but very real authority of our collective social experience. Let me conclude this section by returning to that theme. Focus now on the single individual, one who grows up among creatures with a more or less common human nature, in an environment of established social practices and presumptive moral wisdom already in place. The child's initiation into that smooth collective practice takes time, time to learn how to recognize a large variety of prototypical social situations, time to learn how to deal with those situations, time to learn how to balance or arbitrate conflicting perceptions and conflicting demands, and time to learn the sorts of patience and self-control that characterize mature skills in any domain of activity. After all, there is nothing essentially moral about learning to defer immediate gratification in favor of later or more diffuse rewards. So far as the child's brain is concerned, such learning, such neural representation, and such deployment of those prototypical resources are all indistinguishable from their counterparts in the acquisition of skills generally. There are real successes, real failures, real confusions, and real rewards in the long-term quality of life that one's moral skills produce. As in the case of internalizing mankind's scientific knowledge, a person who internalizes man-kind's moral knowledge is a more powerful and effective creature because of it. To draw the parallels here drawn is to emphasize the practical or pragmatic nature of both scientific and broadly normative knowledge. It is to emphasize the fact that both embody different forms of know-how. How to navigate the natural world in the former case, and how to navigate the social world in the latter. This portrait of the moral person as a person who has acquired a certain family of cognitive and behavioral skills contrasts sharply with the more traditional accounts that picture the moral person as one who has agreed to follow a certain set of rules (e.g., "Always keep your promises", etc.), or alternatively, as one who has a certain set of overriding desires (e.g., to maximize the general happiness, etc.). Both of these more traditional accounts are badly out of focus. For one thing, it is just not possible to capture, in a set of explicit imperative sentences or rules, more than a small part of the practical wisdom possessed by a mature moral individual. It is no more possible here than in the case of any other form of expertise--scientific, athletic, technological, artistic, or political. The sheer amount of information stored in a well-trained network the size of a human brain, and the massively distributed and exquisitely context-sensitive ways in which it is stored therein, preclude its complete expression in a handful of sentences, or even a large book full. Statable rules are not the basis of one's moral character. They are merely its pale and partial reflection at the comparatively impotent level of language. If rules don't do it, neither are suitable desires the true basis of anyone's moral character. Certainly they are not sufficient. A person might have an all-consuming desire to maximize human happiness. But if that person has no comprehension of what sorts of things genuinely serve lasting human happiness; no capacity for recognizing other people's emotions, aspirations, and current purposes; no ability to engage in smoothly cooperative undertakings; no skills whatever at pursuing that all-consuming desire; then that person is not a moral saint. He is a pathetic fool, a hopeless busybody, a loose cannon, and a serious menace to his society. Neither are canonical desires obviously necessary. A man may have, as his most basic and overriding desire in life, the desire to see his own children mature and prosper. To him, let us suppose, everything else is distantly secondary. And yet, such a person may still be numbered among the most consummately moral people of his community, as long as he pursues his personal goal, as others may pursue theirs, in a fashion that is scrupulously fair to the aspirations of others and ever protective of the practices that serve everyone's aspirations indifferently. Attempting to portray either accepted rules or canonical desires as the basis of moral character has the further disadvantage of inviting the skeptic's hostile question: "Why should I follow those rules?" in the first case, and "What if I don't have those desires?" in the second. If, however, we reconceive strong moral character as the possession of a broad family of perceptual, computational, and behavioral skills in the social domain, then the skeptic's question must become, "Why should I acquire those skills?" To which the honest answer is, "Because they are easily the most important skills you will ever learn. 

15. Fox, Moral Sense and Utopian Sensibility: The evolutionary process was not concerned with producing some type of ethically ideal good person, but with a person who could survive. You are constructed to survive in a world without philosophers, popes or policemen, with an often hostile environment, including groups like yours but hostile to it, and your own kin as your only resource. 

16. Somit and Peterson, Darwinism, Dominance & Democracy: Homo sapiens display, we have argued, the genetically transmitted proclivities for dominance, hierarchy, and obedience that also characterize the other social primates. Our species has also evolved, however, a behavioral trait that is unarguably unique among living creatures. We refer, of course, to the capacity to accept and then to act on the basis of beliefs and values-even when the resulting actions run counter to our innate inclinations or our personal desires. As one of our most eminent biologists put it, "of all living creatures, human beings are uniquely capable of disobeying those biological inclinations that whisper within them. We alone are able to say 'No' to such genetic tendencies as may predispose some of us to polygyny, theft, murder, etc." (Barash, 1994:16). It is this truly remarkable trait that is denoted by the admittedly awkward and cumbersome term, "indoctrinability." Because of indoctrinability, ideas, values, and beliefs can profoundly alter the behaviors of those who embrace them. In a sense, to follow up our earlier discussion, we become obedient to ideas and ideals. Or, to put the matter in a more epigrammatic form, "Humans have become intrinsically different from apes by becoming, in a very limited but real sense, artifacts of their own artifacts" (Kingdon, 1993:3). 

17. Anders, The Evolution of Evil: And so throughout this book I have lumped the two together under the single broad category of evil. It is my belief that the ultimate source of both physical and moral evil is the same, and that that common source is the capacity for suffering. If there did not exist sentient beings capable of suffering from them, after all, then disease and hunger would not exist. And such things as earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters would not be evil because they would have no victims. Similarly, without the capacity for suffering that exists in all victims of immoral acts, there could be no immoral acts. And without the capacity for suffering that exists in all criminals (and potential criminals), there would be no criminality. To be sure, if no one ever suffered the pain and frustration of wanting but not having, then no one would ever be motivated to take what he wanted by force, and crime would have no purpose. The ultimate source of moral, as well as physical evil, in short, is the biological capacity for suffering. And if we are to find the root of all evil anywhere, we are to find it in this capacity. 

18. Rubinstein, Capitalism, Social Mobility, and Distributive Justice: Kai Nielsen, arguing for socialism, contends that: 'There is . . . a plain and evident disparity in terms of the whole life prospects of the child of a doctor and the child of a dishwasher, even when these children are equally intelligent, hard-working, and the like. We feel that it is wrong--unfair--that their whole life prospects should be so very different.' One of the most common arguments for equality in Thomas Nagel's recent book, Equality and Partiality, is the heritability of inequality: 'Class stratification is clearly an evil: How could it not be an evil that some people's life prospects at birth are radically inferior to others' ?' Nagel adduces four sources of inequality: intentional discrimination, hereditary advantage, natural ability, and effort--and he describes them 'as forming a progression of increasing moral acceptability.'" And again, "The sheer vastness of inequality in the U. S. is troubling. The lowest income quintile receives less than 5% of the annual income total while the top quintile receives nearly 50%. Inequalities of wealth are even greater. The top 1/2% of U.S. families owns over 35% of all wealth, the next 1/2% owns an additional 6.7%, and the top 10% owns over 70% of net wealth." 

19. Norm, Humanism and intelligence: a critique of 'The Bell Curve.': Though these are noble aspirations, they cannot be achieved if so many people lack the natural intelligence and propensity toward ethical behavior that scholars such as Murray and Herrnstein believe are essential for life in modern society. They argue that a wealthy, intelligent elite will inevitably arise due to the supposed dumbing down of America. And if such is to be the case, justice and fairness cannot be secured under such conditions, and discrimination, intolerance, and authoritarianism will rise dramatically. There will be no sense in supporting the disadvantaged and handicapped, because they will be permanently unable to help themselves and will be a burden upon society. It would be useless to cultivate moral excellence in many people, because they would be inherently inclined toward immorality. A belief in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings certainly could not be applied to all human beings, particularly those with low IQs. Indeed, if biodeterminism is true, humanism is largely a mistake. 

20. Pearson, Heredity and Humanity: Thirty-three years ago, Sir Julian Huxley pointed to the perversion of altruism that has resulted from the rise of large urbanized, multi-racial communities, and the dysgenic result of this re-direction of a natural impulse into unnatural channels in an overcrowded and heavily acculturated world: 'In that long period of human history during which our evolving and expanding hominid ancestors lived in small and tightly knit groups competing for territorial and technological success, the social organization promoted selection for intelligent exploration of possibilities, devotion and cooperative altruism: the cultural and genetic systems reinforced each other. It was only much later with the growth of bigger social units... that the two become antagonistic... and gave way to the possibility and later the probability of genetic regression and degeneration.'" And again later "Today the doctrine of egalitarianism dominates the Western nations with a quasi-religious mystique rooted in the notion of biological uniformity, but the resultant spirit of universal altruism is primarily restricted to the culture of the Western world. If the East Eurasians eventually achieve world dominance -- and already there is evidence that this may come to be--they will surely one day reflect upon the history of the "dog-eyed" West Eurasian race, and wonder at the stupidity of a people who could uncover the secrets of biology but still destroy themselves by refusing to abandon the more dysfunctional aspects of the confused melee of dysgenic social mores they had inherited from their pre-scientific past. 

21. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Such is the breathtaking speciesism of our Christian-inspired attitudes, the abortion of a single human zygote (most of them are destined to be spontaneously aborted anyway) can arouse more moral solicitude and righteous indignation than the vivisection of any number of intelligent adult chimpanzees! I have heard decent, liberal scientists, who had no intention of actually cutting up live chimpanzees, nevertheless passionately defending their right to do so if they chose, without interference from the law. Such people are often the first to bristle at the smallest infringement of human rights. The only reason we can be comfortable with such a double standard is that the intermediates between humans and chimps are all dead. 

22. Fox, Moral sense and Utopian sensibility: In other words, moral should not be equated with good but with human. To be human is to be moral, that is, to act within a definite framework of specific judgmental concerns in interacting with other humans. Another way of putting this, which some western philosophers to their credit--even before Darwin--recognized, is to say that we have, as humans, a "moral sense"--indeed Darwin counted himself as one of their number. I agree that we have a moral sense for the same reasons Darwin gave. Natural selection would have favored the development of what we call morality in any organisms that developed the levels of intelligence, consciousness, foresight and sociality that humans did. Those individuals that acted towards other in a "moral" way would be more likely to survive and have offspring and so on until genes favorable to this moral behavior came to dominate their amoral alternatives (which did not necessarily disappear however). A major component of this morality is what I have stressed as "inhibition" or "equilibration" (after Michael Chance), and which Wilson deals with under "self control." It is the psychologists' "deferred gratification, " and without it living according to rules (morality) is impossible. Other major components are sympathy, without which group living would impossible; a sense of fairness or "justice," without which the settlement of inevitable disputes and the control of cheating would be impossible; the attribution of responsibility, without which praise and blame, the system of rewards and punishments, and the raising of children would be impossible; and again, the sense of duty or group loyalty, without which (along with sympathy) true altruism would be impossible. In the parlance of modern evolutionary psychology, these would be "domain specific algorithms" (or modules) showing a high degree of design adaptedness perhaps we should always talk of "moral senses" in the plural. Wilson has caught them all (except perhaps the attribution of responsibility) and done a fine service in showing the psychological underpinnings which make them work. I am only concerned that he too is perhaps still stuck with assuming that they should produce a "good" result. I agree with him that most of the time they do, in the sense that people do get on with their lives, morals and all, with a minimum of harm to other people, despite the temptations and distractions towards selfishness and greed that are all-pervasive. But I find no built-in guarantees. As he sees, the "moral sense," in this sense, is fragile. It is easily overwhelmed. It has a narrow range of application. Universal moral standards are not part of the universal moral discourse--only the meta-discourse of the philosophers. We may all operate in all our societies around a fixed set of moral senses, and this will give a remarkable "sameness" to human moral systems despite their surface differences of rules and standards (much as there is a sameness to all human languages in the jobs they do despite often staggering differences in surface grammar, the same with kinship systems). But it does not mean that there is a universal basis for "goodness"--only for morality. 

23. Pearson, Heredity and Humanity:. . . Indeed, most Indo-European peoples, including those who resided outside the geographical borders of Europe, seem to have placed considerable trust in the powers of heredity. Max Weber documented the same emphasis on heredity among other lndo-Europeans. In The Religion of India (1958), Weber described the semi-magical xvarenah attributed to Indo-Iranian kings as a belief in inherited ability, calling it "familial charisma." The Indian caste system, he maintained, was sustained by a similar belief in the genetic inheritance of human qualities. The charisma of a caste, of a sib, and of a family, was genetically transmitted; its roots were to be found in the concept of inherited ability. 

24. Dawkins, Is Science a Religion?: From a 1996 "Humanist of the Year" award speech. What is not sweet and touching is that these children were all four years old. How can you possibly describe a child of four as a Muslim or a Christian or a Hindu or a Jew? Would you talk about a four-year- old economic monetarist? Would you talk about a four-year-old neo-isolationist or a four-year-old liberal Republican? There are opinions about the cosmos and the world that children, once grown, will presumably be in a position to evaluate for themselves. Religion is the one field in our culture about which it is absolutely accepted, without question--without even noticing how bizarre it is--that parents have a total and absolute say in what their children are going to be, how their children are going to be raised, what opinions their children are going to have about the cosmos, about life, about existence. Do you see what I mean about mental child abuse? 

25. Somit and Peterson, Darwinism, Dominance & Democracy: The proposed explanation promptly triggers the second question: How, then, can we account for the undeniable occasional emergence of democratic polities? Many of those who have wrestled with this problem find the answer in some unique concatenation of economic, social, historical, and political "facilitating" factors. These factors undoubtedly play a role. Nonetheless, paradoxically enough, we must again turn to evolutionary theory for the necessary, though not sufficient, condition that makes democracy sometimes possible. Although it shares the proclivity of its fellow social primates for hierarchical social organization, Homo sapiens is the only species capable of creating and, under some circumstances, acting in accordance with cultural beliefs that actually run counter to its innate behavioral tendencies. The generally accepted, if lamentably awkward, term for this truly unique capacity is "indoctrinability." Celibacy and the (presumably) less demanding ideal of faithful monogamy are obvious examples of indoctrinability at work. Democracy, an idea almost as alien to our social primate nature, is another. It is indoctrinability, then, that makes it possible, given some conjunction of the aforementioned facilitating social, economic, and other conditions, for democracies occasionally to emerge and to have some chance to survive. 

26. Somit and Peterson, Darwinism, Dominance & Democracy: . . .there must also concurrently evolve, in Eibl-Eibesfeldt's phrase, "a disposition to accept subordination and obedience". In short, however repugnant the idea, natural selection has endowed us with "a readiness to comply with a submissive role" or, as Barash would have it, with "an inclination to follow orders, an appropriate behavior for a species organized along distinct lines of dominance." Acts of obedience are of two sorts. In one, the organism does something that it would prefer not to do; in the other, the organism refrains from doing something that, left to its own choices, it would prefer to do. An example of the former would be a situation in which a subordinate chimpanzee gives up a desirable resting place to a dominant; in the latter, it refrains from copulating with a receptive female because of the threat, explicit or implicit, of a dominant. In the case of chimpanzees--or members of any other social species--obedience is rendered to a more dominant fellow conspecific, that is, one who occupies a superior place in the group's social hierarchy. Humans, to be sure, live in many hierarchies. In this discussion, though, we are concerned only with political obedience, that is, actions taken by subordinates in response to the commands, again implicit or explicit of those above them in the political (or sometimes military) hierarchy. So long as that hierarchy is perceived as "legitimate," our genetic tendency is to obey. As Kelman and Hamilton stress, one "striking phenomenon of hierarchies of authority ... is the readiness of citizens to accept orders unquestioningly ... even when obedience entails enormous personal sacrifices or the commitment of actions that, under other circumstances, they would consider morally reprehensible". Obedience is thus a behavioral correlate of dominance and hierarchy. If inclusive fitness is to be optimized, a social species must evolve all three behavior--dominance relations, hierarchical social systems, and obedience. All three, surely, are characteristic of Homo sapiens. Not surprisingly, this disposition or inclination can be discerned at a very youthful age: according to Stayton, Hogan, and Ainsworth, the "earliest manifestation of obedience in an infant appears in the final first quarter of the first year of life". Discussing similar results achieved with slightly older children, they continue that: "These findings cannot be predicted from models of socialization which assume that special intervention is necessary to modify otherwise asocial tendencies of children. Clearly, these findings require a theory that assumes that an infant is initially inclined to be social and [somewhat later] ready to obey those persons who are most significant in his social environment. 

27. Somit and Peterson, Darwinism, Dominance & Democracy: All of us have made sacrifices, too, often very substantial sacrifices, in behalf of some deeply felt belief system, whether social, religious, or political. The capacity to hold abstract values, and their reciprocal ability frequently to dictate our actions, are simply further aspects of indoctrinability. In short, whether manifested in the form of conscience or of ideational commitment, indoctrinability is demonstrably capable of inducing behaviors that run counter to our own desires and, on occasion, to our genetic inclinations. To be sure, given the basic bias of our evolutionary inheritance, humans are predisposed to embrace authoritarian political, social, and even religious beliefs. Until the early 1800s, the history of political philosophy shows, philosophical and popular opinion alike strongly favored authoritarian and decried democratic political doctrines. In helping to reinforce our hierarchical bias, indoctrinability has probably contributed significantly to the predominance and persistence of authoritarian governance throughout human history. But the capacity to believe and then to act on the basis of those beliefs is not limited to any specific set of ideas. There is almost no limit to the range and variety, or eccentricity, of the values humans are capable of accepting and acting upon. This is true in religion, in philosophy, in ethics, in art and in politics. 

28. De Waal, Good Natured: Altruism is bound by what one can afford. The circle of morality reaches out farther and farther only if the health and survival of the innermost circles are secure. 

29. Hartung, "A Review of A People That Shall Dwell Alone" in the journal Ethology and Sociology volume 16:335-342 (1995): Like all human groups that compete long enough to be counted, Judaism entails codes of behavior that curtail competition within the group in order to facilitate competition with other groups. In addition, Judaism added the ultimate foundation for cooperation: "Love thy neighbor as thy self" (from Leviticus 19:18). MacDonald reviews a prodigious number of secondary sources, authored almost entirely by Jewish historians, which substantiate the argument that Judaism's moral code stopped at the border line--that this apex of morality was meant, and has for practical purposes been taken to mean, "love your coreligionist as yourself.  

30. Kalb, "Freedom, Discrimination and Culture" in PINC Online Magazine, July 1997: Cultural discrimination must therefore be forbidden if the civil rights laws are to achieve their goal. However, culture can not be separated from how men carry on practical life. When close cooperation is required it is absurd to ignore the things that give us our sense of who we are. "Cultural differences" mean that people who differ in ethnically differ in upbringing, and taking upbringing into account is no less reasonable than taking formal education into account. An ethnic culture, after all, is a system of habits and attitudes that has grown up among people who have dealt with each other for a very long time, and it continues to exist because it is an aid to living and working together. There would be no Little Italy's or Chinatowns if those who shared such things gained nothing by staying together. The civil rights laws prohibit recognizing the public functions of culture; since culture exists in relation to its functions, the effect is to require its destruction. In addition, traditional morality always involves "racism" and "religious discrimination." A tradition must be that of a particular people, so to recognize the importance of traditional morality is to accept the significance of ethnic and religious affiliations. Since the traditional moralities of immigrants and minorities often differ on important points from that of the dominant majority, an emphasis on traditional morality puts the former at a disadvantage. Differences in moral outlook are important even when both sides are highly moral and similarities in a sense go deeper than differences. Anglo-Saxons and Chinese both respect experience, but they express their respect differently, the Anglo-Saxons by honoring legal tradition and the Chinese by honoring old people. Mix the two races together and each will complain about the other's moral character; in a society run by one in accordance with its own view of right and wrong the other will be perpetually at odds with established institutions.

 31. Fox, Moral sense and Utopian sensibility: If goodness--or at least the definitional problem of goodness-- has very little to do with morality, what does? We find this hard to swallow precisely because of our confusion of "moral" with "good." Let me put it graphically: to say that we live moral lives has nothing to do with saying that we live good lives. Many Nazis lived very moral lives. Headhunters and cannibals live very moral lives. Inner-city gang members live very moral lives. Maximum security prisoners live complicated moral lives. Columbian drug lords live very moral lives. Most terrorists live super-moral lives. You are shocked because you assume that this must mean that they lead "good" lives according to your notions of the good. But whether or not these are bad people, and some assuredly are, they still live according to rules and standards or morality framed in the universal discourse. Drug lords will argue fiercely about the fairness of the division of spoils according to effort versus the division according to investment. Gang members will reward the loyal and punish the treacherous and assume that those so acting are responsible for their acts. Nazis would insist on strong family, sound racial hygiene, and devotion to the fatherland. Headhunters will despise a man who cheats in his method of taking a head. Terrorists will give up their own lives in the name of a higher value and argue that in their struggle there are no innocent victims since all are in part to blame for injustice even through passive acquiescence. (They have problems with children, although I have heard elaborate justifications here too.) In fact, only a relatively few psychopaths and sociopaths and total sadists (that is, people who are constitutionally incapable of developing a social conscience) can be said to live outside the iron necessity of operating within the universal framework of moral discourse. Thus, groups of people doing what seem to us very bad things still do them in a very moral way. And this is my point: since they are organized groups of human beings trying to live highly social human lives--whatever their aims and objects they have no choice but to live according to a moral order. This is what human groups and societies are; this is the only way they can operate. Do a simple thought experiment: try to design a society or organized group that operates according to "pure reason," taking everything on its merits without preconceptions, making no prescriptions on the basis of descriptions, assigning no responsibilities, and so on. It is inconceivable of course. It would not be a human society. Nor would a society operating on the "greatest happiness principle" or the "categorical imperative" or the "original position" or any other of the fantasy states of the philosophers. Even the designers of utopias have to accept the framework of the universal moral discourse; they simply alter the content to suit their own prejudices about the good life. The more they depart from this, the more lunatic their creations appear. The only real alternative to the moralizing, moralistic and morally obsessed human society is ultimately the genetically engineered caste system of Huxley's Brave New World or Hellstrom's Hive. The totally rational and non-judgmental society of Spock's Vulcan might exist, but as all Star Trek fans recognize, it is not a human society, and Spock is only made plausible by being half human himself.

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