Understanding Human History

Grégoire Canlorbe, American Renaissance, March 22, 2019

An interview with Michael H. Hart.

Michael H. Hart is an American astrophysicist, historian, and dissident thinker. He is mostly known for the Fermi-Hart Paradox, and his books The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History and Understanding Human History. He was a speaker at the 1996 American Renaissance conference.

Grégoire Canlorbe: You call for defending the “Judeo-Christian heritage” of American civilization against mass invasions from the Third-World. How do you sum up the values at the core of the Judeo-Christian Weltanschauung—and the outlines of your partition plan intended to preserve those? In the decades to come, can you imagine a candidate for president—Democrat or Republican—running under the banner of partition?

Michael H. Hart: I would have a hard time trying to sum up what are Judeo-Christian values. I believe our civilization’s uniqueness lies in the importance it gives to individual freedom.

In my book Restoring America, I identified the three principal causes of our decline as follows: large-scale immigration from Latin America (in particular from Mexico), the decline of pride in our national heritage, and most importantly racial hostilities which are henceforth so great that we can no longer function effectively as a single unified country. Hence we must split into two countries.

The partition would not be exactly a racial one. One of the two countries would be a “Red” one, consisting mostly of those regions in which conservatives make up the majority. The other would be a “Blue” country, consisting primarily of those regions in which “liberals” make up the majority.

Hopefully secession would happen in a peaceful and voluntary manner. But I don’t believe that will be the case. I think that the partitioning will most likely occur in the context of a civil war. It will be implemented by an authoritarian figure. As for knowing whether the latter will be a Democrat or a Republican, I can make no prediction. Many of my conservative acquaintances are silently in favor of partition, though.

I should make it clear that I do not advocate dividing the USA long racial lines. (I once had that idea, but no longer). I anticipate that most blacks—but not all—would choose to live in the leftist country. But I expect that a substantial number—perhaps a million—would choose to live in the conservative country. They should be accepted by the conservatives.

Grégoire Canlorbe: Many so-called conservatives seem to recognize the incompatibility between America’s attachment to individual freedom and Islam’s inherent totalitarianism, while endorsing anti-racism and criticizing white nationalism. In their eyes, Muslims are not a race but are above all “free individuals,” able to make up their own minds, and to practice their religion in a moderate, peaceful, tolerant, and Americanized manner.

What do you reply to this view of things?

Michael H. Hart: I believe that it is fair to claim that Islam is “a religion, not a race.” Nonetheless it is perfectly wrong to conceive of Muslims as “free individuals.” Islam is more than a religion; it is also a political movement, and one of a totalitarian kind. No, Islam cannot be reformed and “Americanized;” the plinth of Islam is the Koran that claims to be the incarnate word of God, and which forbids interpretation and reformation.

Islam was not the product of “race;” it was the product of Mohammed, whom I classified as the world’s most influential person due to the fact he was the only man in history to prove successful on both the religious and secular levels. That said, if your question was dealing with Islam understood as a civilization, that of Arab-Moslems, and with the cultural achievements linked to the Arab world, those should be connected to race and IQ assuredly.

It has become fashionable to assert that Moslem civilization was enormously superior to European culture during the Middle Ages. It seems to me that that assertion is incorrect. It is true that for several centuries the Moslem world was more advanced culturally than Europe, but there are two ways in which that superiority is commonly made to appear much greater than it really was.

Writers often compare the culture of the entire Arab world (sometimes, indeed, the entire Moslem world) with that of a portion of Europe, rather than with all of Europe, including the parts within the Byzantine Empire. Although at times the Moslem world was more advanced culturally than the Byzantines, it was never much more advanced. What’s more, writers often compare Arab achievements in the entire Medieval Era with those of Western Europe during the Dark Ages alone. But the Dark Ages only comprise half of the Medieval Era.

Actually, the period during which the cultural level of the Moslem world was far superior to that of Western Europe lasted for only about six hundred years. Prior to 600 AD, the Arab world was still backward, and it was not until about 750—halfway through the Dark Ages—that the Arab world had clearly drawn ahead. And during the last portion of the Middle Ages (1300-1500) the cultural level of Western Europe was more advanced than that of the Moslem world.

In order to assess the overall contribution of the Arabs to world civilization, we should remember that until modern times the Arabs were not interested in drama, epic poetry, or the novel, and they produced virtually nothing in those fields. Nor did they produce any significant works of music, nor any great paintings. They made no major discoveries in mathematics or science, nor did they make any major advances in applied sciences such as medicine and engineering. In fact, there was not a single important invention that originated in the Arab world. (By way of contrast, in the interval 650 – 1300 AD, spectacles were invented in Italy, and the Chinese invented printing, gunpowder, and the compass.)

There is, of course, more to human culture than the arts and sciences. The growth of democracy, the abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, the rise of religious tolerance, and the establishment of freedom of speech are advances that are more valuable than beautiful paintings, symphonies, or poems. Here too, however, the contribution of the Arabs was negligible.

It was not, of course, the fault of Islam that the world it emerged in was one in which extreme patriarchy was the rule, slavery was rampant, and most countries were governed by autocratic despots. But the Arabs certainly did nothing to improve the situation; indeed, in most of these matters, the Arabs have remained behind most other regions of the world.

The simplest explanation for the backwardness of Arab-Moslem civilization is that the average intelligence in Arab countries was significantly less than it was in Europe. We would expect the average IQ of the Arabs to be only about 88, or perhaps a bit lower. The few studies that have been made of test scores in Arab countries are consistent with that view. While the mean IQ in the Arab world was high enough to permit a commercial civilization to flourish, it was not high enough to generate a significant number of truly great geniuses (such as Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, and Shakespeare).

Newton in 1702 by Godfrey Kneller

During their heyday, the Arabs believed (correctly, in my opinion) that they were naturally more intelligent than the African blacks, and they attributed their cultural superiority in part to that. That same factor—higher average native intelligence—seems to explain quite adequately why European culture has usually been so superior to that of the Arabs, and why the Arabs—even at the peak of their power and prosperity—produced so little in the way of major cultural achievements.

Grégoire Canlorbe: In Understanding Human History, you devoted a chapter to the “Proto-Indo-European” people, commonly referred to as the Aryans, and thought of as the Founding Fathers of the Western civilization. How do you account for their historical success?

Michael H. Hart: The existence of the Indo-European group of related languages implies that there was once a parent language, usually called “Proto-Indo-European” (hereafter abbreviated PIE). That language was originally spoken by a single tribe, the “Proto-Indo-Europeans,” which in the course of time repeatedly expanded and fragmented, giving rise to many tribes and nations speaking related languages.

The question of where and when the speakers of PIE lived has aroused a great deal of controversy. The most common view among scholars who have studied the question carefully is that the homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans was the steppes of southern Russia, in the region north of the Black and Caspian Seas, and perhaps including some territory to the east of that region. Gimbutas identified the early PIE-speakers with the so-called Kurgan people who lived in that region about 6 kya.

By 2 kya, the Indo-Europeans could well have been described as “the tribe that conquered a continent,” since by then their descendants occupied most of Europe. Actually, it was more than a continent, since Indo-Europeans also constituted most of the population of Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and most of northern India. Furthermore, two large empires (the Roman and the Parthian) that had been established by Indo-Europeans controlled most of the Middle East and North Africa, although Indo-Europeans did not make up the bulk of the population of those regions.

By 200 AD, the expansion of the Indo-Europeans had ended, and during the next millennium the area they controlled shrank somewhat. Indo-Europeans lost control of North Africa and the Middle East; and Europe itself was invaded by various non-Indo-European peoples such as the Huns, Arabs, Avars, and Magyars. In the 15th century, however, the expansion of the Indo-European peoples resumed. In the period between 1500 and 1900 AD, they conquered and occupied three other continents (North America, South America, and Australia), as well as much of northern Asia. They also gained temporary control of almost all of the Pacific Islands, most of Africa, and parts of southern Asia.

Since the remarkable conquests of the Indo-Europeans in the last four millennia BC occurred over a period of millennia, they cannot be due to the attributes of any single leader; nor are they due to some particular political system, or to some particular ideology. Nor can they be explained as due to some particular terrain: The Indo-Europeans triumphed in the forests of Germany, the steppes of Central Asia, the mountains of Afghanistan, and the islands of the Aegean.

Nor can it be maintained that their remarkable early expansion was due to their possession of superior technology. Quite a few of the peoples they conquered—including the Minoans, the Etruscans, the Elamites, and the Dravidian-speakers of the Indus Valley—had more advanced civilizations than the Indo-European invaders. It is likely that the some of the early conquests of the Indo-Europeans were due in part to their use of horses; but this could hardly account for their conquest of Crete, Britain, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. Nor would it account for their triumphs over the Egyptians and Babylonians, both of whom had been using horses in warfare for many centuries.

The simplest explanation is that the original speakers of PIE possessed, on average, considerably higher intelligence than most of the peoples they defeated (including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Pelasgians, Tartessians, Iberians, Etruscans, Berbers, and Dravidian-speaking peoples), all of whom had evolved in milder climates than had the ancestors of the Indo-Europeans. This hypothesis has the added advantage of also applying to the modern expansion of the Indo-Europeans, and it also explains their remarkable intellectual achievements. No other hypothesis comes close to explaining all of these phenomena.

“Carthago delenda est.”

Grégoire Canlorbe: Of all the peoples having inhabited this world, only the European-Caucasoid populations, and to some extent the East-Asian Mongoloid ones, have developed a mentality of industrial exploitation, cognitive and technological progress, and consumerist enjoyment.

Now, while Europe—in contradiction with its traditional Promethean ethos—is dismantling its nuclear sector and its fossil energy industry, both China and Japan are technoscience-based nations.

As a historian writing from the point of view of race, how do you explain this joint uniqueness of the European-Caucasoid soul and the East-Asian Mongoloid one?

Michael H. Hart: As far as I am concerned, your question raises three issues—the average IQ of Asian populations compared with that of European populations, the potential commonalities between European civilization and Chinese civilization, and the causes of the Industrial Revolution in England. I addressed those subjects in Understanding Human History.

The evidence that racial differences in intellectual abilities exist appears to be overwhelming, and the data indicate that the differences are substantial. The unweighted average IQ of white Europeans is of 98.

Although Lynn & Vanhanen estimated the average IQ of Japanese to be 105, I think that 102 would be a somewhat better estimate. The data for the IQs of Chinese are less clear, partly because of the paucity of studies, and partly because those we have are not representative of the Chinese population. (Most of the people tested were from big cities; and studies in Europe and America show substantial rural/urban differences.)

After a detailed analysis (that included corrections for standardization and the Flynn effect), Lynn and Vanhanen concluded that tests given within China indicate a mean IQ of 100 there. The scores of Chinese in Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong are much higher (105, 110, and 113 respectively according to Rushton; 104, 107.5, and 107 with Lynn & Vanhanen’s adjustments). However, as the population of those territories is so much smaller than that of China itself, the high scores of Chinese living in those territories do not greatly affect the overall Chinese average. Two studies of IQs in South Korea indicate that the average is even higher there, according to the analysis of Lynn & Vanhanen (2002).

It is worth noting that although Mongolids typically do somewhat better on IQ tests than European and American whites, the difference is due entirely to the Mongolids’ superior performance on those sections of the tests that deal with spatial relations. On the sections measuring verbal skills, Mongolids score no higher—and perhaps even a bit lower—than European and American whites.

On an overall basis, Chinese civilization is indeed the only one that rivals European civilization. The Chinese—virtually unaided by outsiders—created a complex and complete civilization, with a smoothly functioning government, and many achievements in technology, construction, literature, the arts, and philosophy. They had a wide variety of skilled craftsmen; they maintained large, powerful armies; and they created a school system, a network of roads, an elaborate (and delicious) cuisine, and all the other attributes of a sophisticated civilization.

In general, the Chinese enjoyed more internal unity than Europe. Europe has usually consisted of many independent states, often fighting one another. In contrast, China has usually been politically unified.

Between 600 and 1300 AD, China was clearly more prosperous than the West. Because of this, it has often been asserted that (until the rise of modern science in the last five centuries) China was usually more advanced than the West. However, that assertion is incorrect. In the first place, even during that period, China was far behind the West in mathematics and science. In the second place, the interval 600-1300 AD was atypical. For most of recorded history—and for most of the last ten thousand years—China has been well behind the Western world in both technology and the arts. The relative backwardness of China is apparent in such important fields as agriculture, writing, astronomy, mathematics, metalworking, and cloth making.

  • Agriculture: Both agriculture and domestication of animals began in the Middle East well before they were developed in China. So did such important advances as irrigation and the use of the plow.
  • Writing: The earliest surviving examples of Chinese writing are no older than about 1500 BC. It is likely that Chinese writing actually developed several centuries before those samples (according to Chinese legends, around 2200 BC), but even that is more than a thousand years after writing was developed in the Middle East. Furthermore, the Chinese failed to invent (or even adopt) an alphabet, and the lack of one may have seriously retarded Chinese progress.
  • Astronomy: The Chinese kept extensive astronomical records, but their knowledge of astronomical theory never came close to the level reached by Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD, nor even that reached by Hipparchus three centuries earlier.
  • Mathematics: In 1600 AD, when China and the West first came into close contact, the Chinese still knew far less about mathematics than had been presented in Euclid’s famous work, the Elements, which was written about 300 BC.
  • Metalworking: This, too, arose much later in China than in the Middle East. Bronze was not known in China until the third millennium BC, which was far later than it was first used in the Middle East. Furthermore, since bronze never became really important in China, China hardly had a Bronze Age. Instead, when ironworking began in China—about 600 BC, which was roughly a thousand years after it had been developed in the West—China went directly from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. That was more than two thousand years after the Middle East had left the Stone Age.
  • Cloth making: The production of wool in Southwest Asia predates its use in China by two or three thousand years. The Chinese may have been producing silk by 3000 BC, but linen was being made in both Egypt and Europe by 3500 BC, and as early as 6500 BC in Anatolia.

It is easy to construct sets of parallels between China and Europe. For example: between Confucius and Jesus, between Han Kao Tsu and Augustus Caesar, between Ssu-ma Ch’ien and Herodotus, between Pi Sheng and Johannes Gutenberg, or between Cheng Ho and Henry the Navigator.

However, even more important are the instances where there was no parallel. Europeans created modern science; the Chinese did not. There were no Chinese equivalents to Copernicus or Newton. Nor were there any Chinese parallels to Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven; nor to Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci; nor to Columbus or Magellan.

It might be objected that those figures are all from modern times. However, there were no Chinese parallels to Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides either. More importantly, there were no Chinese equivalents to Pythagoras, Aristotle, Euclid, or Ptolemy. It was this lack that later on, in the crucial period 1450-1750 AD, made it impossible for any Chinese man or woman—no matter how gifted personally—to match the accomplishments of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, or Newton.

As for the Industrial Revolution, it may be defined as the period when production by hand tools (powered primarily by the muscles of human beings or animals) was replaced by production using heavy machinery (often powered by fuels), thereby enormously increasing productivity, and resulting in the change from a largely agrarian economy to one dominated by industrial production. It resulted in an unprecedented increase in human wealth and a radical change in living conditions.

The Industrial Revolution (hereafter abbreviated IR) began in England in the mid-18th century. It spread to the United States and Belgium about 1800, and to France about 1825. It did not start in Germany until after 1850, roughly a hundred years after it had begun in England. The IR did not begin in Eastern Europe or in Southern Europe until the late 19th century, and in most Asian, African, and South American countries not until the 20th century. By now, every country on Earth has been affected.

The Watt steam engine was invented in 1776. This one was built in London in 1859.

Unlike the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Industrial Revolution originated in a single country. It appears to me that a combination of factors was involved.

  • It seems clear that the IR could have originated only in a country where the average intelligence of the inhabitants was very high. That high average intelligence was found only in the countries of Europe, North America, and northern Asia. Within Europe, this factor slightly favored the high-latitude countries.
  • The IR was unlikely to originate in a region with a low population even if the average intelligence of the population was high, because such a region was unlikely to have a sufficient number of highly talented people. This made it unlikely that the IR would originate in regions such as Iceland, Scandinavia, or the British colonies in North America.
  • The IR was more likely to arise in a region where slavery was rare or absent, since an abundance of cheap slave labor decreased the need for labor-saving machinery. This factor favored the European countries.
  • The IR was more likely to originate in a region where there was considerable intellectual ferment. In the period following the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the rise of science, this factor favored such countries as England, Holland, Germany, France, and Italy. On the other hand, the lack of intellectual freedom helps to explain why the IR did not originate in Spain or Portugal (where the Inquisition had crushed the expression of heterodox opinions), nor in Russia.
  • In Western Europe, the effects of overseas exploration and conquest, and the growth of colonies had added to the intellectual ferment. This favored Spain, Portugal, Britain, and France over regions such as Italy, Germany, and Poland which (since they did not border on the Atlantic) had little to do with exploration, and had no overseas colonies.
  • The IR was less likely to originate in a region that was politically fragmented (such as Germany or Italy) because in such a region the “free trade zone” was small, and the advantages of mass production were fewer. This factor favored Britain, France, Spain, and Russia. It also favored countries such as Portugal that had large overseas colonies that could serve as “captive markets” for goods produced in the homeland.
  • The IR was more likely to originate in a country with abundant iron ore and coal, as those particular natural resources were especially important for the IR. This favored Britain, Germany, and France. And finally, the IR was more likely to arise in a country where property rights were secure. This factor would tend to favor a country with a democratic government, or one with a limited monarchy (such as Britain) over countries that had autocratic governments.

Although several of these factors were present in some other countries (such as Spain, France, and Germany), the only place where all of them were present was Britain. This does not prove that the Industrial Revolution was inevitably destined to start in 18th-century Britain, but it does seem to make its inception there more likely than in any other place.

Grégoire Canlorbe: America has been founded not only on glorifying the individual “pursuit of happiness,” and the ruthless self-made man, but on endorsing a highly patriotic culture that expects citizens to spill their blood for the flag. At the current juncture, how many white Americans feel this patriotism—and would engage in a new world war to free Washington, Paris, London, Berlin, and Jerusalem from Arab-Muslim and Black-African invaders?

Michael H. Hart: I’m afraid not many white Americans would be likely to go to war to save Western civilization from the threat of Third-World’s mass immigrants, or even from the threat of Islam. Among other things, American patriotism has been severely undermined by the guilt feelings of whites because of the average poor performance of blacks (which many whites mistakenly blame on themselves). Not only are whites becoming a minority in a country that was founded by European whites, but worse still, many white Americans have come to think that this is a good thing.

You mention Paris. It seems to me that the situation in your homeland is far worse than in the USA. In order to save France, the French would have to expel all or most of the Arabs living there. However, I don’t think enough Frenchmen have the determination (and will to survive) that is needed for such a policy.

Topics: , , , , , , , ,

Grégoire Canlorbe is the vice president of the French Parti National-Libéral (“National-Liberal Party,” nationalist, free-marketist, and archeofuturist). He is the author of A Conversation with Former Czech President Václav Klaus, A Conversation with Renaud Camus, and “Why the Right Should Espouse Climate-Realism.”

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.