Furthest Right

Discovering the Mechanism Behind “Mouse Utopia”

The taboo line in modern politics indicates the mention of genetics. If genetics are important, then we are not all equal; if we are genetically different, in fact, egalitarianism becomes childish nonsense worse than any religion.

As someone who is basically a tree-hugging and tolerant person who believes that people need to find their own paths through life, your author has some “dark side” beliefs, mainly that Plato is right that civilization is destroyed by human individualism, Nietzsche is right that most people are resentful parasites because they have no belief in their own future, Schopenhauer is right that people are solipsists who in groups inevitably pursue socially-comfortable illusions, Putnam and Aristotle are right in seeing that any and all diversity is fatal, and Galton is right that eugenics is the master science to which all others must be bent:

I propose to show in this book that a man’s natural abilities are derived by inheritance, under exactly the same limitations as are the form and physical features of the whole organic world. Consequently, as it is easy, notwithstanding those limitations, to obtain by careful selection a permanent breed of dogs or horses gifted with peculiar powers of running, or of doing anything else, so it would be quite practicable to produce a highly-gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations.

Thus with much interest one might read the creative genius Bruce Charlton — truly a treasure of our modern time, like Curt Doolittle and Ted Kaczinski — in his theory of the genetic degradation of populations through the lack of natural selection, meaning that deleterious mutations do not get removed and therefore, population competence collapses at a genetic level in Mouse Utopia:

The main fact about Mouse Utopia, was that despite everything possible being done to create ideal biological conditions; the mouse colony rapidly declined and became entirely extinct. This was a very surprising outcome, biologically; and implies that some very major factor about the basic requirements or behaviour of the mice was neglected.

The Mouse Utopia experiment is usually interpreted in terms of social stresses related to ‘over-population’; that crowding generated pathological behaviours and a loss of the will to reproduce. But this seems, very obviously – I would have thought – an incorrect explanation; because 1. The mouse population never actually became crowded, 2. The suppression of breeding happened very quickly, and never recovered even after the population declined rapidly and crowding was reduced, and 3. the population rapidly became extinct.

Charlton makes it clear that populations die from a lack of selection pressures to remove mutations which impede competence:

It happens because, in addition to the problem of mutation accumulation by relaxation of selection, when a population has begun shrinking, there is an increasing danger of extinction due to a positive feedback cycle. Deleterious mutations accumulate so rapidly that they overwhelm a population before it can evolve an escape – as the population shrinks so it becomes less and less likely to ‘randomly’ generate a compensatory beneficial mutation that might recue it from extinction.

An alternate theory arises which fits more with the Schopenhauer-Plato axis, namely that permanent civilization alters natural selection by making individuals choose different traits as desirable in mates:

They found that both hatchery and wild fish tend to demonstrate negative assortment — meaning they look for mates that are different from themselves, genetically. Negative assortment is a common finding in mating because mating for difference is a way to improve resistance to disease, Banks said.

But the researchers found that hatchery fish and wild fish demonstrate negative assortment at different genetic markers. And while the researchers have identified these differences, they still don’t know much about many of these genes associated with negative assortment.

Fish choose mates for different traits depending on whether those fish are in captivity or the wild. My guess is:

  • Creatures in the wild select for competence;
  • Creatures in captivity select for safety.

When you are in the wild, you want other members of your species to be competent so that they have your back whenever you have a temporary encounter, or at least, you want this more than you fear them.

When you are in captivity, your greatest risk comes from those of your same species, so you want to be surrounded by docile, non-violent, passive, indirect, and otherwise harmless people.

In human civilizations, we do this by choosing the conformist, obedience, externally-directed, socialized, and manipulable over the autonomous, independent, self-directed, and separate.

This means that we replace trust in competence with trust in incompetence, since the incompetent are harmless. Think of every characterization of a friendly, obese, distracted, and bumbling fool from our literature and television.

Trust itself might be seen as the ability to predict others based on their consistency of behavior, and shared values like organic culture:

The researchers also found processing deviations in brain areas involved in trust formation compared to the control group. This was particularly evident in the anterior insular cortex, which was less active in lonely individuals and did not connect as prominently with other brain areas. “An important function of the insular cortex is to perceive and interpret one’s own body signals, such as the heartbeat,” Lieberz says. “It also helps to correctly interpret other people’s reactions, such as facial expressions or mood — or trustworthiness.”

Trust is interrupted when ordinary people cannot anticipate the values and likely actions of others:

Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam — famous for “Bowling Alone,” his 2000 book on declining civic engagement — has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings.

In other words, in a civilized society, people prioritize those who are predictable and harmless, since that amounts to trust and goodwill, but this is minimized in a homogeneous (mono-ethnic) society.

Once individualism is introduced, which can be summarized as “me first before natural law, divine order, and organic culture” as well as “in groups, we all get me first and someone else pays for it,” trust goes out the window, since people are no longer acting according to anything but individual whim.

This creates a double whammy that makes permanent civilization fatal: first, people breed for docile and harmless people, but in turn, those people become individualistic because they are incompetent, at which point society reverts to the natural state of feral atavism and nihilistic anarchism.

Since no decent person would accept this state of affairs, a “market” for ideas that rationalize the bad as “good” appears. People want to make a token effort to show that they are good, so that they can continue to both do nothing about the decay of their civilization and exploit it for their own gain.

They do this by undertaking symbolic acts, demonstrating their allegiance to the group and showing goodwill toward, since these allow them to continue their dishonest and exploitative behaviors:

Specifically, people relaxing after receiving the first and second vaccine doses as well as people waiting to receive the first dose were invited to perform a money-rewarding simple task which involves an opportunity to cheat with no possible detection. Before performing the task, subjects filled out a questionnaire regarding the emotions they were experiencing at that moment. We hypothesized that the COVID-19 vaccination primes positive emotions which are known in the literature to promote cheating by increasing cognitive flexibility and lowering self-control. Therefore, we predicted that (a) people vaccinated with the first dose are more likely to subsequently lie than people who have not yet taken the vaccine and (b) people vaccinated with the second dose are more likely to lie than people vaccinated with the first dose or people who have not yet taken the vaccine. The experiment’s results weakly support the first hypothesis but strongly support the second.

Symbolic belief systems take on a religious role at this point. They explain the future of the dying civilization not as death but rebirth, designate a token sacrifice that must be made in order to have that rebirth, and forgive their members without requiring that they cease their sinful behavior.

In this view, all of our trendy ideas from past centuries — The Enlightenment,™ democracy, equality, socialism, diversity, organized religion, written law — are attempts to make a state of decay function, and not surprisingly, all have failed.

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