Over at The Conversation, an interesting introduction to “biopolitics” sensu Michel Foucault:
In March 1976, philosopher Michel Foucault described the advent of a new logic of government, specific to Western liberal societies. He called it biopolitics. States were becoming obsessed with the health and wellbeing of their populations.
And sure enough, 40 years later, Western states rarely have been more busy promoting healthy food, banning tobacco, regulating alcohol, organising breast cancer checks, or churning out information on the risk probabilities of this or that disease.
The concept of biopolitics is an interesting one because it entirely hinges on how one measures the health of a population. If it is measured from the individual perspective, each individual must be made healthy; if a Darwinian or moral view is taken, those who do good must receive good care, and those who act in a way that disrespects their own survival should face consequences of that act.
In fact, as the film Idiocracy raises, the question upon is is whether we want to protect and make healthy the unhealthy, because then we will get more of them. If people behave in a reasonable manner and take care of themselves, the healthy will survive and the strong will die out, eventually. If we insulate people from the consequences of their actions, and bail them out from bad decisions and bad genetics, those will proliferate and drown out the healthier.
That conflict shows us one motive latent within Liberalism: to replace natural selection. One method of replacing it is as described above, the socialist-style safety net being extended to preventative health care. Instead of allowing people to face the consequences of their actions, we are all exposed to the consequences of tolerance and egalitarianism as the lower replaces the higher.
Another Leftist replacement for natural selection is the notion of “progress.” In the progressive view, society changes over the years and we view each change as the new normal and an improvement over the past. By continuing the path of change, we eventually reach a Utopian state. But this both denies the actual history of humanity, and serves as a distraction from and substitution for natural selection.
If humans have never fundamentally changed, as seems to be true from the six millennia of recorded history, then all forms of government and social change were known at least in theory long ago. History shows us that other societies have experimented with liberalism, notably ancient Greece and Rome. This means that our “new” ideas are not new, and even more, they have already been tried, which means their consequences are known.
If humans, on the other hand, have changed in some fundamental way, adopting a type of society that was designed by past iterations of humanity makes no sense as we are then subjecting a new species to the rules of an older species. This fundamental logical trap eludes liberals, who want to believe that society does the improvement for us, so that we do not have to face evolution — the consequences of our actions determining whether we thrive or fail.
We can see the future of the Leftist program in Foucault’s coded warning:
Foucault never claimed this was a bad trend – it saves lives after all. But he did warn that paying so much attention to the health and wealth of one population necessitates the exclusion of those who are not entitled to – and are perceived to endanger – this health maximisation programme.
With the demise of natural selection, we no longer select who succeeds based on their actions in regard to health and life itself. Instead, we must select them by political reasons. Because Leftism is also a religion/morality replacement, this means that soon we will be choosing people by political allegiance, which means that Leftist states will import and protect all who claim to be Leftist, and drive the rest out.
What have we lost by replacing Darwinian improvement with “progress,” basically a political allegiance test? Among other things, as Outside In notes (quoting HBD writer Steve Hsu) we are missing out on a chance to improve our inner traits, including intelligence:
… the largest effect size [from a single allele] researchers have been able to detect thus far is less than a single point of IQ. Larger effect sizes would have been much easier to detect, but have not been seen. […] This means that there must be at least thousands of IQ alleles to account for the actual variation seen in the general population. A more sophisticated analysis (with large error bars) yields an estimate of perhaps 10,000 in total.*
Each genetic variant slightly increases or decreases cognitive ability. Because it is determined by many small additive effects, cognitive ability is normally distributed, following the familiar bell-shaped curve, with more people in the middle than in the tails. A person with more than the average number of positive (IQ-increasing) variants will be above average in ability. The number of positive alleles above the population average required to raise the trait value by a standard deviation — that is, 15 points — is proportional to the square root of the number of variants, or about 100. In a nutshell, 100 or so additional positive variants could raise IQ by 15 points. […] Given that there are many thousands of potential positive variants, the implication is clear: If a human being could be engineered to have the positive version of each causal variant, they might exhibit cognitive ability which is roughly 100 standard deviations above average.
Evolution is canny. A single gene for seemingly superhuman power would create people who, in one generation of bad breeding, might possess sociopathic personalities and superior abilities. This would be a disaster for the genetic group into which they outbreed, and would therefore self-destruct those traits. If instead of focusing on ideological conformity, humanity rewarded natural ability, we might be able to harness Darwin indirectly and by simply following Plato’s formula — good to the good, bad to the bad — make ourselves into Nietzsche’s supermen.
The reason for indirect use of Darwin is that our direct interventions are clumsy because they take into account far too few of the factors involved. Jim writes a convincing post about the evolution of female political inclinations:
In the ancestral environment, if you were a man and your in group was conquered, you were likely to be killed or enslaved, and thus be no ones ancestor. If you were a woman and your in group was conquered, you were indeed likely to be enslaved – to a successful man in the victorious group who would have children by you, and, knowing his children were his own, raise them well.
So we are in large part descended from men who conquered, and who resisted conquest with absolute determination, and descended from women who took to conquest, abduction, and slavery like a duck to water.
While that is interesting from a cyberdynamics perspective, in that it shows us a type of advanced sorting, it also fails to take into account the complexity of humanity. The Bell Curve has always been with us, even as cavemen, which we can verify because it can be observed in other animal populations as well. This means that not all women react the same way of have the same standards.
More likely, what we are seeing is an interaction of two factors: first, the huge boom in lower-rung populations in the West, and second, the defining attribute of femininity. Men are throwers, and women are catchers. Men must go out and force things to be right, where women exercise a singular capacity for gatekeeping — they decide what is let in and then make the best of it. This puts women in a role where the passive becomes the active.
As a result, the female mind is excellent at keeping together a group like a family or community — as is the traditional role of women; men just think they rule society, where women are the cornerstones of culture — but is in converse unsuited for the role of decision-making, because to a passive/active mind, the vital decision of inclusion has already been made: as in a family, all are included. This is unfortunate because the decision to exclude is the most vital choice any group has, and represents its only way of indirectly enforcing Darwinism.
In other words, war and rape — which tend to receive too much ink for how little they influenced us, relative to other factors — are not what make women into natural Leftists who make the dangerous choice to include rapists in our society. They are hardwired for this type of choice because their personality must be constituted on this type of accepting, active-to-passive mindset.
Factors like these influence our ability to preserve evolution among our people. Without a strong motivator toward quality, we become “tolerant” or “all-inclusive” and obliterate ourselves. That tolerance is the basis of the liberal myth of Progress, which is designed to interrupt natural selection in women and men alike, and replace it with a bigotry toward universal inclusion, which makes an obedient but low-quality civilization.