Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, January 2005
Frank Salter, On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethny and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration, Peter Lang, 2003, 388 pp.
With the publication of On Genetic Interests, Frank Salter has made a vitally important contribution to our understanding of the significance of race and ethnicity in human affairs. Dr. Salter, an Australian who has been a researcher since 1991 at the Max Planck Society in Andechs, Germany, offers a perspective that is no less significant than that of Philippe Rushton, Richard Lynn, Arthur Jensen, Michael Levin, or anyone else whose work throws light on scientific questions long obscured by taboo.
Dr. Salter demonstrates through principles of population genetics that racial or ethnic groups are equivalent to large, extended families, and that ethnic loyalties are as legitimate as family loyalties. Indeed, he argues that members of an ethnic group may have more compelling duties to the group even than to their own families. He then outlines the social and political implications of his position, with particular emphasis on the role of the state and the disastrous consequences of mass immigration.
His views bring Dr. Salter into almost perfect harmony with the positions of American Renaissance. His book can therefore be seen as a scientific justification for racial consciousness and activism.
What is Genetic Interest?
According to Darwinian theory, the goal towards which all living things strive is to make copies of their distinctive genes. This is seen most clearly in the devotion of parents to children. As Dr. Salter writes, “The importance of genetic continuity is an end in itself, for humans as well as for other species.” From an evolutionary point of view, “propagating one’s genes is life’s raison d’être.”
Perhaps the most important conceptual breakthrough in On Genetic Interests is to recognize that loyalty to one’s ethny — Dr. Salter prefers this term to race, nation, or ethnic group — is just as valid biologically as loyalty to one’s children. This is because each ethny is a storehouse of its members’ distinctive genes, just as children are carriers of their parents’ genes. A person’s children are very concentrated stores of his genes, but his ethny is a vastly larger, though more dilute, pool of the same genes. Given the size of most ethnies, they are repositories of far more copies of a member’s distinctive genes than even his own children, and therefore have a theoretical genetic claim to loyalty even greater than that of his children.
An ethny is an extended family. The larger one’s ethny, the larger a store it becomes of distinctive genes, so its members have an interest in seeing their numbers rise or at least remain constant. A shrinking ethny is like a family whose members are dying off — either condition represents a loss of genetic interests.
According to the universalist, everyone’s-equal model of human relations that is supposed to govern how we think about race, there is no good reason any of us should care more about our children than we do about the children of strangers. We do, of course, and not because they are objectively superior to other children but because they are ours, that is to say, they carry our distinctive genes. From a genetic point of view, our ethnies deserve similar loyalties for the same reason.
Dr. Salter points out that different ethnies can be so genetically distant that random members of the same ethny are close kin in comparison to members of the other ethny. Ethnic loyalty thus becomes a continuation of family loyalty. Australian Aborigines and Mbuti pygmies, for example, are about as genetically distant as two ethnies can be. Two random members of either group are — in comparison to members of the other group — so genetically similar to each other they are almost the equivalent of identical twins. Compared to Australian Aborigines, all Mbuti pygmies are, in fact, so similar to each other that actual Mbuti identical twins are, relatively speaking, not much more closely related to each other than any two random Mbuti.
When parents from distant ethnies have children together it can lead to surprising results. Rules of genetics hold that children always carry half the genes of each parent. However, when parents are from the same ethny, they have many distinctive genes in common, so their children actually carry more than half of each parent’s distinctive genes. In this sense, parents who descend from the same lineage and who share many of the same genes are more closely related to their children — in terms of the number of genes they share — than are parents who have children with someone of a distant stock.
Surprising as this may seem, if an Australian and a Mbuti were to have a child together, each parent would be more closely related genetically to everyone in his original ethny than he would be to the child. Complete strangers would be closer kin than the child, and from a strictly genetic standpoint would have a greater claim on family loyalty.
Most ethnies are not as distant as aborigines and Mbuti. However, the same principles apply. Outmarriage with a member of a distant ethny produces children who are relative genetic strangers to their parents.
How do these findings square with the fact that there is more genetic variation within racial groups than between them? Richard Lewontin famously pointed out that if the total genetic variation of humans is given a figure of 100, 85 to 90 percent of that variation is found withinpopulation groups, and only 10 to 15 percent are distinct variations not shared by all groups.
Propagandists have used these figures mistakenly to suggest that someone could be more closely related to a person of a different race than to someone of his own race, but their real significance is to highlight the importance of the 10 to 15 percent. We share 90 percent of our genes with mice, but there is more genetic variation within a single human ethny than the variations that separate us from mice. Yet all humans are obviously more closely related to each other than to mice — they are identical twins by comparison. The small genetic variations are where the important differences lie, and it is in the area of these small differences that all Mbuti are practically identical twins by comparison with Aborigines.
Loyalty to an ethny is the genetic equivalent of family loyalty. Therefore, if immigration replaces parts of a native ethny with aliens, for the natives who remain, this genetic shift means replacement of kinfolk with strangers. Just how drastic the effect can be depends on how genetically distant the newcomers are.
Dr. Salter here makes a striking comparison that he developed in a November 2002 article for Population and Environment that was summarized in the February 2003 issue of AR. He notes that Danes and Englishmen are kindred populations but still genetically distinct. If 10,000 Danes were to take the place of 10,000 Englishmen it would represent a loss of genetic interests to the English who remained, because the distinctive genes of Englishmen would be replaced by those of a different ethny. Dr. Salter calculates how great the loss would be: So many English genes would disappear that it would be the equivalent of removing from the population 167 children or siblings of the native population that remained. (The figure is the same for either children or siblings because a person shares the same number of genes — 50 percent — with a child or a sibling. The loss in genetic interests could be calculated differently, as the equivalent of 167 × 2 = 334 cousins, nephews or aunts.) Because the English gene pool is a storehouse for all Englishmen of the genes common to them and that make them unique, this loss of 167 sibling-equivalents would be a loss of genetic interests for all members of the English ethny.
The loss is far greater if the English are replaced by more distant ethnies. If, instead of Danes, 10,000 Bantus replaced 10,000 Englishmen, it would be the genetic equivalent of the loss of 10,854 children or siblings. As Dr. Salter explains, “Some ethnies are so different genetically that they amount to negative stores of those distinctive genes.” The effect works both ways: If 10,000 English replaced 10,000 Bantus, the loss of Bantu genetic interests would be just as great.
Dr. Salter draws the inevitable conclusion:
[A]n act of charity or heroism by an Englishman that prevented 10,000 Danes from replacing 10,000 English would be adaptive even if the act cost the altruist his or her life and with it all prospects of raising a family (at least a family of less than 167 children), since this would save the equivalent of 167 of the altruist’s children. Preventing replacement by 10,000 Bantu would warrant a much larger sacrifice because the genetic benefit is about 65 times larger; random Englishmen are almost as related as parent and child compared to the relationship between Englishmen and Bantu. (There is intuitive wisdom in the fact that blacks who live in white societies — but not those living in Africa — refer to each other as “brother” and “sister.” In comparison to genetically distant whites, they are essentially brothers.)
Dr. Salter goes further:
The genetic distance between English and Bantus is so great that, on the face of it, competition between them would make within-group altruism among random English (or among random Bantu) almost as adaptive as parent-child altruism . . . Thus it would appear to be more adaptive for an Englishman to risk life or property resisting the immigration of two Bantu immigrants to England than his taking the same risk to rescue one of his own children from drowning . . .
Extreme as this conclusion may sound, it is justified from a genetic point of view.
Dr. Salter explains that immigration does not appear to be replacement, because natives are not directly eliminated to make room for newcomers. However, the long-term effect is direct replacement, because each part of the world will eventually reach the limits of its capacity to support humans. At that point, the presence of 10,000 Bantus (and their descendents) would mean England could not sustain an equal number of additional Englishmen. The immigration of Bantus would then appear in its true guise — displacement of Englishmen.
The effects of immigration are even more severe if the newcomers are of low productivity and drag down the carrying capacity of a territory. The larger the number of Bantus, the more quickly England would reach the limits of its capacity to support a population, and the number of Englishmen their presence forestalled would be even greater.
On the other hand, highly productive immigrants can be a genetic gain to natives. The white farmers of Zimbabwe were aliens, and their presence was a genetic loss for native blacks. However, they raised Zimbabwe’s productivity so much that many more blacks were able to live and reproduce. Expelling whites is in the short-term genetic interests of Zimbabwe’s blacks, but without them the country can support far fewer blacks — a clear genetic loss. It is in the genetic interests of unproductive people to welcome a certain number of very productive aliens.
Of course, today, most immigrants leave failing societies for successful societies, and are less productive than the host people. As Dr. Salter writes, “When the society is attractive due to wealth or stability, the ethny rapidly declines in relative fitness as the rest of the world floods in.” Natives are both replaced genetically and see the quality of their society decline.
This is why, until the triumph of ideologies that ignore biology, ethnies always guarded their homelands jealously. A population may decline in numbers but later recover if it has a territory to which it has exclusive title. A decline in numbers accompanied by loss of territory — or merely the effective loss of territory due to immigration by aliens — can lead to irreparable damage. Dr. Salter writes that “for all of past human experience and still today control of territory is a precious resource for maintaining ethnic genetic interests in the long run.” This is why “immigration policy for most societies in most ages has consisted of a blanket ban.” From a genetic standpoint, immigrants are no different from armed invaders.
Virtually all people recognize the legitimacy of family loyalty but many condemn group loyalty — at least for whites. Some of these people would argue that culture rather than biological continuity is the ultimate value. However, as Dr. Salter points out, this is a false distinction:
We can conceptualize copies of our genes in phenotypic terms: as shared blood, as family, and as familiar appearance and behavior. Valuing such characteristics is to value the genes that contribute to them.
Intelligence, personality, and appearance are closely tied to genes, and certain traits will disappear if distinctive genes disappear. For that reason, as Dr. Salter writes, “Group genetic interests track cultural values,” so preserving an ethny’s genes preserves its culture.
It is both in the cultural and broad genetic sense that a person’s ethny can be said to deserve even greater loyalty than his family, whenever the ethny is threatened. If a man’s family is wiped out it is a great personal tragedy. However, if his whole tribe disappears, it takes with it far more copies of his genes than he could ever produce as children. It also takes with it the culture and folkways that make his ethny what it is. In this sense, cultural and ethnic extinction is infinitely more terrible than one’s own death or the death of one’s family.
Despite much talk about the desirability of “diverse” societies, most people like living among people like themselves. If they must live in a multi-ethnic society, they want to be the majority population that puts its stamp on the national culture and way of life.
Dr. Salter points out the advantages of homogeneity. First, it is probably necessary for the development of sound institutions. As John Stuart Mill pointed out, “Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities.” This is because when a society is composed of “a people without fellow-feeling . . . the united public opinion necessary to the working of representative government cannot exist.”
Liberty reposes upon institutions like the rule of law, freedom of speech, and republican government that require trust among a people, and are not likely to arise in mixed, mutually suspicious populations. Dr. Salter notes that sound institutions established by homogeneous populations can continue to function even after immigration by diverse groups, but suspects that as elections degenerate into racial head counts and free speech is sacrificed in the name of “sensitivity,” multiculturalism eventually undermines even the best institutions.
Dr. Salter also points out that welfare policies are most generous in homogeneous societies, and that even liberal scholars agree that this is probably because taxpayers are more willing to vote benefits to strangers who are at least like themselves. In Moscow, for example, beggars reportedly get the most handouts from people of their own ethny. People generally resist welfare that subsidizes reckless procreation by racial or ethnic aliens. It is natural that they should; in genetic terms, this is collective cuckoldry.
Even aside from outright welfare, since so much modern government activity involves taking money from one group and giving it to another, people are more likely to support a government if they think benefits are going to ethnic kinfolk. At the private level, citizens are also more likely to give blood, support schools, endow parks, and volunteer for community work if they know members of their own group will benefit. Less productive minorities, on the other hand, profit greatly from wealthy societies that offer benefits to all, regardless of ethnic origin.
Dr. Salter also points out that “raising children within national communities would increase the likelihood of them marrying fellow ethnics.” This is good for several reasons. Children from same-ethny marriages are more closely related to their parents. To continue with the previous example, Dr. Salter argues that if an Englishman marries an Englishwoman, his children will carry 92 percent more of his distinctive genes than if he marries a Bantu. In terms of making copies of his own genes, each child with an Englishwoman is almost like having two with a Bantu.
It may also be that parents of the same ethny treat their children better than do parents in mixed marriages, with the biological similarity of parent and child leading to more intimate bonding. The children in such marriages also share more genes with each other, and may develop deeper ties. Identical twins have the closest sibling bonds of all, and the more genes siblings share, the more they become like identical twins.
Another benefit of same-ethny marriages is that children will have no conflicting loyalties if tensions arise between the ethnies in a multi-ethnic society. Mixed children are sometimes unsure of their identities, and may be rejected by both groups.
Dr. Salter notes that it is obviously a genetic loss to adopt a child of a different ethny because the efforts of child-rearing are devoted to alien genes. Such adoptions can even be seen as disloyalty to a homogeneous society, because they mean government benefits to the children force other members of the group to support genetic free riders.
The multicultural societies that result from immigration give rise to many problems for the host population. “From an evolutionary perspective,” writes Dr. Salter, “many collective goods in modern [mixed] societies represent an opportunity for enlightened free riding.” Immigrants benefit from schools, hospitals, parks, museums, and national infrastructure to which they did not contribute and which their own ethnies may not be able to produce or maintain. Natives resent this, but Dr. Salter observes that “multicultural regimes deploy modern forms of ritual indoctrination to defeat inborn discriminatory responses to ethnic diversity, at least by majority ethnies.” As a result, “in mainstream Western societies majority ethnic group strategies have all but vanished and free riding is largely uncontrolled.”
Many multicultural societies even encourage minorities to mobilize for the express purpose of extracting benefits from the majority. Majority members may end up distrusting a government that acts against their genetic interests, and Dr. Salter finds evidence that as a society becomes more varied, there is a decrease in public altruism; people prefer to do good works for their ethnic kin rather than for distant ethnies.
In Europe, white majorities are beginning to understand the high price they pay for multiculturalism. In Dr. Salter’s view, every example of ethnic tension or non-assimilation is a valuable warning sign that the majority population has made a serious mistake: “For a people losing its country, the only thing more disastrous than multiculturalism that does not ‘work’ would be multi-culturalism that did work.”
How should an ethny go about preserving its genetic interests? “It stands to reason,” writes Dr. Salter, “that it would be prudent for a population to defend its most precious collective interest — distinctive genes carried by the ethny — with the most powerful means at its disposal.” The most powerful means, of course, is government. And yet, almost every government has failed in this respect because “no state yet developed has reliably kept its promise as an adaptive ethnic group strategy.”
At one time, nation-states were made up essentially of ethnies, and defended genetic interests — even if not in so many words. Nation states acted naturally in what they took to be the benefit of their citizens, defending national territory against invasion, armed or unarmed. Dr. Salter notes that “the nation state is a psychological substitute for the primordial band and tribe,” and that “the political rhetoric of national identity and mobilization is rich in kinship metaphors such as the founding fathers, the motherland, brothers-in-arms, and fraternity.” No other appeal can elicit the same level of devotion or sacrifice.
Dr. Salter adds that by today’s standards nation-states were frankly xenophobic and benefited from it: “In the past, ethnocentric culture has usually been adaptive. Indoctrination is a powerful strategy for encouraging ethnocentric thinking, one that allows leaders to mobilize the community for defense.” Mobilization can go too far, and lead to aggressive war that wastes lives even if it adds territory, but some level of nationalism is necessary for any people to maintain itself.
The problem with the state, as Dr. Salter sees it, is that “in modern societies, especially Western ones, there is no mechanism for ensuring the loyalty of cultural elites.” Mass immigration, which the government of virtually every white nation has imposed on its people, is the most egregious act of disloyalty. As Dr. Salter explains:
This reverses the state’s role as defender of the people’s ultimate interest to that of an enemy of that interest. The people lose their historical investment in the nation state, which is effectively hijacked for private purposes. Globalism can thus strip ethnies of their most powerful instrument for pursuing ethnic interests.
The state, which should protect genetic interests, now actively dissipates it, and ceases to deserve loyalty: “It would hardly be adaptive to risk one’s life, or that of one’s son, to defend a state apparatus that presided over the replacement or subordination of one’s people.” Indeed, as Dr. Salter explains, “citizens would be justified, based on adaptive utilitarian ethics, to reform or tear down their states and build new ones whose ethnic composition and constitution better serve their genetic survival.”
In this context, Dr. Salter draws attention to the irony of white populations sacrificing themselves in two world wars only to see their governments adopt immigration policies that represent far greater genetic losses than all the deaths on the battlefield. These populations have every reason to replace governments that have betrayed them.
Although many nations in the past were established with at least the implicit goal of protecting and benefiting a particular people, almost none has been explicit about it. Israel is exceptional in that it is an avowed homeland for Jews, but even it has failed to prevent non-Jewish immigration. Dr. Salter writes that a biologically informed ethny should build a government around an explicitly ethnic constitution:
“An ethnic constitution would correct some of the weaknesses in the traditional nation state. Existing constitutions are limited to defending proximate interests. But the ultimate interest is not happiness, nor liberty, nor individual life itself but genetic survival. A scientifically informed constitution that takes the people’s interests seriously cannot omit reference to their genetic interests.” Such an ethnic state would be, essentially, a contract entered into by a people in the name of its posterity.
Dr. Salter argues that the right to live in an ethnic state is as important a human right as any other: “Like the freedom to raise a family, it is in everyone’s interest to have his ethnic interests protected by the power of the state and to be free to invest in his ethny by contributing to collective goods that are proofed against free riders.” A world composed of ethnic states need not be hostile. On the contrary, each state would recognize the validity of every other group’s genetic interests, and could cooperate for mutual benefit. Immigration and the replacement of genes would end.
As Dr. Salter notes, for any territory, immigration policy is the equivalent of controlling evolution, in that it favors the propagation of certain genes at the expense of others. Each territory would, in this sense, guide its own evolution.
Ethnic separation is obviously desirable for states that decide to turn their backs on multiculturalism, but Dr. Salter proposes federalism if ethnies cannot be unscrambled. A weak national government could take responsibility for defense and foreign relations, leaving all other matters, including immigration policy, to local authorities.
Jumping the Tracks
Why has ethnic loyalty been discredited in recent decades while family loyalty — which is based on the same genetic interests — is recognized as legitimate? Dr. Salter is not sure, but notes that “families represent such a high and reliable concentration of their members’ distinctive genes that innate psychological mechanisms have evolved to monitor and protect that ultimate interest . . . This has not occurred in the case of the tribe.” Why not? We have been evolving in families since before we were human, and once we became human, tribal bonds were so tight there were no real opportunities short of outright treason to work for the genetic interests of other ethnies. Tribal loyalties are therefore weaker and more easily subverted.
As Dr. Salter explains, “The novelty of industrial society has tended to decouple social patterns from ethnic interests.” At the same time, “modern indoctrination techniques, most notably universal education and the mass media, tend to break down ethnic solidarity, causing altruism to be directed towards genetically distant individuals.” The result is that, “despite being outfitted with the potential for both family and ethnic feelings, humans are not as instinctively equipped to identify and defend ethnic genetic interests in the evolutionarily novel world of mass anonymous societies.” The loyalty of most whites therefore does not extend past their close kin. As Dr. Salter puts it, “They are, in effect, leaving their ethnic genetic capital to chance — the vagueries of nature and the good-will of competing groups.”
The Left, in particular, insists that people should act as atomized individuals with no ethnic loyalty. Dr. Salter compares this kind of detachment from ethnicity with the way a Martian might view humans. He notes also that the Left no longer even accepts democratic results if people vote to preserve their own ethnies. The destruction of the Vlaams Blok in Belgium because of its “racist” commitment to keeping Flanders Flemish is a recent example. Likewise, the Left constantly calls the Freedom Party in Austria, the Peoples Party in Denmark, the National Front in France, and the British National Party “anti-democratic.” Of course, there is nothing in their platforms against representative government. Apparently, the desire of a white ethny to preserve itself is so outrageous it cannot be accommodated by democratic means.
One of the most damaging current ideological tactics is to try to persuade a people that it is a “credal” or “universal” nation that needs no biological continuity. As Dr. Salter explains, “It is in practice a formula for reconciling, or blinding ethnic majorities to their own decline while serving the sectional interests of minorities and free riding elites.” He continues:
A concept nation is incapable of principled defense against ethnic replacement. The doctrine is as pathological as a conception of the family that did not allow parents to show preference for their children.
This point is worth underlining: Telling people to give up racial loyalty is the moral equivalent of telling parents to be indifferent to their children.
As a practical matter, this kind of propaganda is directed only at whites, and it is only whites who are susceptible to it.
Dr. Salter quotes a person he describes as Australia’s senior demographer:
Some people think that a steady replacement of Anglo-Celts by other ethnic groups is highly desirable . . . Personally, [replacement of Anglo-Celts] does not worry me so long as ‘Australian values’ remain: free speech; freedom of religious worship; equality of the sexes; reasonable equality between social classes (i.e. no aristocracy); and so on.
Probably no Chinese or Nigerian has ever expressed official indifference to the prospect of extinction for his own people.
Dr. Salter hopes that a broader understanding of genetic interests will lead to more sensible public policies. He argues that aside from the strong desire to protect one’s immediate family, humans do not have very strong instincts to protect their genetic interests and that “the set of mechanisms for recognizing and investing in ethnies has become inadequate and often downright maladaptive.” He points out that people have genetic interests, whether they are conscious of them or not, and that they may have to be educated about them. He concedes, however, that “incorporating genetic interests into social theory will be a large undertaking . . .”
The White Dilemma
Much of this large undertaking will involve persuading white “anti-racists” that ethnic loyalty is as legitimate — perhaps even more legitimate — than family loyalty. Dr. Salter writes that “if it is adaptive for a parent to make sacrifices for a family containing a total genetic interest of a few children, it is easy to conclude that efforts to preserve a population carrying the equivalent of thousands or millions of children must be at least as adaptive.” Yet, he concedes, “[T]his commonsense proposition is controversial . . .”
It is controversial, however, only in certain circles; not all groups have abandoned ethnic loyalty to the same degree. Non-whites in their own nations, and non-white minorities within white nations show considerable racial solidarity. It is only whites who must be convinced that they lose something precious if their ethny is displaced. As Dr. Salter concedes, “One either feels protective about genetic interests or not,” and most whites have been trained not to feel protective.
That they could even be trained to lose interest in something vital probably reflects something distinctive about whites, and if whites do not regain their solidarity they will be replaced by groups that never lost it. Dr. Salter puts it this way: “Indiscriminate altruism such as foregoing reproduction to aid nonkin to reproduce, will weed out the genes that code for such behaviour, if maintained over many generations.”
Indiscriminate altruism is not universal. It is probably correct to say that it is only whites who set up racial preferences for minorities, who adopt children of other races, or face dispossession through immigration. When whites took possession of North America, Australia, and New Zealand, they set aside territory for the exclusive use of the natives they displaced, giving them at least a minimal base for ethnic preservation. Non-whites who displace whites will not establish homelands for them.
Dr. Salter also points out that throughout human history, ethnic loyalty has been the norm, and that it is unlikely that true wisdom was discovered only recently by a few whites. “It is more rational,” he argues, “to assume that the absence of ethnic duty is a bold experiment, and possibly an immoral one.”
“A nation can take centuries to form,” writes Dr. Salter. “But as several Western societies have experienced, it takes a lapse of only one or two decades in immigration control for an economically successful society to find its unity broken and heading for genetic replacement.”
On Genetic Interests is a powerful argument in defense of all ethnies. Let us hope it will be most widely read by the ones that need it the most.