7.9 Notes for Chapter 7


[1] Most obviously this difference shows in the arguments about "foreign aid" as defined in Chapter 5. This practice is ethically important enough to deserve a book length factually-economic and ethically-critical evaluation. As agreed in Chapter 5, some of it may be justified on an evolutionary ethics basis as persuasion and education toward better values, e.g., in some far Eastern countries a movement from wholesale government corruption toward the values achieved in Western culture, or as an investment in alliances for security.

But much is motivated at least in the mind of the contributing citizen by the false value that relieving Type B (not Type A, where it is justified) poverty is meritorious. Thus, for example, when the U.S. terminated its economic aid to booming Taiwan in 1965, it had paid $1,500,000,000 (National Geographic, January 1969, page 10) in "welfare imperialism". A lot of healthy, enterprising, and idealistic Americans could have been born here on such an endowment.


[2] Whatever we may think about the soundness of the ethical values themselves we cannot avoid the conclusion that the spread of homogenistic universalism has been, historically, the result of an imperialistic attempt to bring the whole world under the dominion of the given creed. This imperialism is one more symptom supporting the diagnosis we have made earlier that, psychologically, these religions are really within-group moralities (patriotisms) naively blown up to world size, and failing to develop the essential perception which Beyondism has achieved that "one world" must be avoided.

As within-group developments of idealism toward super-personal goals, directed to the survival of the group, national religions (which historically we see in Judaism, the Japanese development of Shintoism, initially in Arabic Mohammedanism and even, perhaps in Christianity (see below) begin with the same emotional adjustment quality as universal religions. The emotional identity of a religion with the culture and life of a particular group gets overlooked mainly because such religions have quickly passed from being the truth for that group to acquiring a missionary zeal in claiming to be the truth for everyone. It is an easy intellectual and emotional mistake to suppose that what is super-personal, transcending the individual, ought to be universal. In any case the result is that by a cultural imperialism allied to, and no more and no less justified than, ordinary imperialism, traditional religions have gone out on missionary attempts to convert. In the case of Islam the identification was frank: the sword and the Koran marched side by side. It was scarcely less frank in Christianity, when it marched on the Teutons, or with the Conquistadors, on the natives of South and Central America. Judaism was quick to claim that its God was the only god, and Old testament history records compulsory circumcisions in the wake of conquest. The popular following of Christ as a possible savior of the Jewish nation is judged by some modern historians (Robert Graves' King Jesus (1946) is a fine literary treatment) to have been at least as large as that which followed him for what we now call Christianity. (And after his death a separate Jewish congregation sought to adopt his brother as a continuing leader, so widespread was the view that this Messiah was bringing a purely Jewish salvation.)

This historically characteristic spread by successful proselytizing beyond the boundaries of their cultural group or nation was not achieved, by the universalistic religions, without acquiring some new qualities better fitting them for their new role, and the shedding of features (as circumcision was dropped from Christianity following St. Paul) standing as parochialisms in the way of wider conversion. What leads to the sharpest issue between them and Beyondism, however, is their proclamation of universal love and brotherhood as the panacea for the world's ills. The ways in which this can be interpreted vary from conceptions really quite near to Beyondism to others so remote from it, that precise definition here becomes of crucial importance for differentiation. Evolution sees the ideals of kindliness, of treating one's neighbor as oneself, of self-sacrifice for the individual in order that the group may live, develop as a natural and inevitable growth of within-group morality when one group is in competition with another. Such a morality is functional and self-sustaining because it is reinforced, as learning theory would require, by sharing the group success, and, by the dissolution and elimination of groups whose members fail to pursue that morality.

By the natural rewards of success, groups which reach a high level in this morality reach a prominence, which encourages their members to proselytize, while their good morale tends to put them in a position of acquiring the economic and energy resources to do so. Then a universalistic religion is born, which propagates the teaching that love and mutual aid and common belief should hold among all men.


[3] Poverty, as every social scientist will recognize, is a multiply-determined phenomenon, not to be explained or remedied by any one consideration. In other words, no two people dependent on charity or social welfare will be in that position from the same combination of causes. Unfortunately, this fact allows the rhetorical politician, working on a discontented audience suitably unrealistic and non-statistical in its thinking, to refute (by a single dramatic instance, such as is so powerful with the uneducated and less intelligent voter) every true cause which the statistician knows to be operative. If poor education is alleged, he will point out an instance of a highly educated genius who is poor; if emotional inability to work steadily, he will remember a man who has worked steadily all his life and is "comparatively poor," and so on.

Probably the most constant difficulty in getting enlightened, discriminating social action is, however, the confusion through "religious" values of Type B with Type C. The latter belongs with the monastic pledge of poverty, chastity and obedience. (This poverty may actually beget wealth in the institution and the community as Henry VIII realized!) It is in the disciplines of Tolstoyian simplicity, in the more truly poetic and philosophic of the modern hippies, and hidden among the vagabonds of all eras, that Type C individuals confer protective coloration on Type B individuals and thus create social problems of confusion.


[4] One is reminded of the sharp observation of Browning's biographer (Ward, 1967, page 81) regarding Browning's early critics "It is not a habit of the intelligentsia to stand out against the fashions of their own age, bold though they may be against fashions well and truly buried...."


[5] It may seem a partial contradiction to this emphasis on the literary rather than scientific roots of Humanism that one of the best known Humanists is Julian Huxley, a scientist. However, it is very relevant, if personal, to point out that Huxley's brother is Aldous Huxley, and that they represent the urbane and scholarly tradition of uniting scientific and literary values. Aesthetically attractive though the present writer has always found this combination, he would argue that this late Victorian tradition implies, as in the atmosphere of Oxford, a gentlemanly subordination of the austerities (and the starker imperatives) of science to the values already long cultivated or brewed in the humanities. It is hard, especially in some English and European intellectual circles, to break from this urbane tradition (the alternative to this tradition being wrongly perceived to be the brutality of Stalin or the crassness of some American business values). But the human culture derived from science is not this Humanism, though it is equally concerned with what is intellectual, scholarly, of value to humanity and, above all, possessed of intellectual integrity.


[6] Again, in considering the stress levels under which societies live, it is important to distinguish between what is here called severity of deprivation (or primary drive total frustration) and cultural pressure (or frustration of directness of satisfaction with demand for long-circuiting). The former has steadily decreased since medieval times, but with overpopulation may soon cease to do so. The latter has mounted rapidly in the last two or three centuries and particularly steeply in the last generation. It is the severity-vs-ease dimension with which we are here concerned.


[7] This is not the same as saying that personal level of social success correlates highly with exactingness of demands on others. The evidence points to superego demands on the self being greater in the lower than the upper middle class, whose advantages and gifts permit them to "rest on their oars" in the social race. This latter status is accompanied, as Horn points out (Horn and Knott, 1970), by a tendency to be more permissive and less exacting with both others and the self. We are speaking here of demands on self and on others being correlated, not "achievement" and demands on others.


[8] Both neurotic and schizophrenic characteristics and incidences are negatively correlated with social status. Incidentally, because of the correlation of schizophrenia with lower social status some psychiatrists in Moscow once gravely informed me that it must be a disease of malnutrition! I naturally had to point out that a common feature of borderline schizophrenia is inability to hold a job, which does not help "social status" or nutrition. The appreciable hereditary element in schizophrenia is more fully documented by every year of research (Fuller and Thompson, 1960, page 270; Rosenthal, 1970) and one must conclude that whatever the nature of this weakness is, it is one of the behavioral genetic diatheses that become causally associated with relatively poor capacity to earn a living.

It is not appropriate here to enter into the technicalities of the assignment of relative contributions of hereditary and environmental conditions to the variability in a given trait, which can be read elsewhere (Vandenberg, 1965). But progress is constantly being made in unravelling the relative contributions in different circumstances, and for most of us the surprising finding resides in heredity being important in many differentials where "common sense" would not have expected it.


[9] Professor Williams concludes: "The excommunication of heredity from social studies [i.e. from] our attempts to understand and solve human problems is a 'disaster area in our thinking.'" He contrasts, for example, in his own physiological research field, the scientific attention to individual differences and the value of medicine's recognition, from Hippocrates, that "Different sorts of people have different maladies." To which one might add Osler's: "It is as important to know what kind of man has the disease, as to know what kind of disease the man has." (I paraphrase for brevity.)


[10] Actually this argument for economic differentials is for a two-way effect. Not only could economic regulation aid eugenics but eugenics could aid economic advance. At a purely statistical, descriptive level there is clear evidence of substantial correlation of earning capacity of parent and offspring. This may surprise some economists, but not any psychologist who realizes the extent of inheritance of such qualities as intelligence and emotional stability, which affect earning capacity. The transmission of education and opportunity also contributes to the correlation, but it does not seem to be the whole explanation of the correlation. It would be against the laws of biological inheritance and still more against what we know about the luck and haphazardness which enter into everyday business success to expect a high prediction on this basis of poverty in the offspring from parental poverty. But for whole groups of people the statistical dependability rises. Consequently, the argument is that by increasing the birth rate of the middle class, rather than of the dependent, society would raise the real earning level, and the real wealth and standard of living within a generation or two, while the converse is likely to bring the whole of society down to a poorer level. Thus to the Beyondist, the socialist or Communist solution of "buying off" poverty like a blackmailer, within each generation, is by these standards unethical, for it favors the greater reproduction and increase of types sooner or later bound to re-create relative poverty.

The eugenic approach to the poverty problem is at last beginning to come under fairly searching scrutiny by scientists and deserves some thorough research by the government departments concerned. Whatever the "upbuilding" capacity of a differential birth rate, set to be largely determined by earning differentials, may turn out to be over a few generations, there seems little doubt from certain periods of history, e.g., the decline of Rome, that a reversal of the desirable differential can produce noticeable results in half a dozen generations. Probably never in history has there been a period in which dysgenic trends could take effect so rapidly as in the welfare state if morale should fail. Two or three generations of disregard for genetic quality might lead to such a breakdown of the economic and cultural level of society as would be well nigh irremediable.


[11] One must remember, however, that a commodity in economics is very broadly and abstractly defined as "whatever is produced by human labor."


[12] Chicago Tribune, June 10, 1970.















Back to Table of Contents