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Henry Harpending: Extremist – Says the Southern Poverty Law Center|
JAYMAN • AUGUST 27, 2015
The Unz Review
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) current “Featured Extremist” (their words) is none other than the mild-mannered Henry Harpending of West Hunter.
Ideology: White Nationalist
They go into a fair amount of detail about Harpending and his work, but take a look at what they say. Are they actually trying to discredit him (emphasis mine)?
Henry Harpending is a controversial anthropologist at the University of Utah who studies human evolution and, in his words, “genetic diversity within and between human populations.” Harpending is most famous for his book, co-authored with frequent collaborator Gregory Cochran, The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, which argues that humans are evolving at an accelerating rate, and that this began when the ancestors of modern Europeans and Asians left Africa. Harpending believes that this accelerated evolution is most visible in differences between racial groups, which he claims are growing more distinct and different from one another. The evolution of these racial differences are, in Harpending’s account, the driving force behind all of modern human history.
You don’t say? I did:
He is also a eugenicist who believes that medieval Europeans intuitively adopted eugenic policies, and that we should recognize the importance of eugenics in our own society.
In His Own Words:
“The reason the Industrial Revolution happened in 1800, rather than the year one thousand, or zero, which it could have, the Romans certainly could have done it, is that a new kind of human evolved in northern Europe, and probably northern Asia. And that this led to the Industrial Revolution—this new kind of human was less violent, had an affinity for work. When you view your parents or grandparents, and you know that they’re retired, they could relax. But afterwards they can’t just sit on the couch and relax, they’ve got to go and get a shop and work on a cradle for their grandchildren… I’ve never seen anything like that in an African. I’ve never seen anyone with a hobby in Africa. They’re different.”
—“Preserving Western Civilization” conference, 2009
Yup (see National Prosperity).
“Group differences, as far as we know, are in the DNA. Nobody yet has found any credible environmental effect on IQ or academic achievement. And believe me, people have been frantically looking for one for sixty, seventy years. Nothing. If you look at the quantitative genetic analyses, they’ll talk about a contribution from genes, and a contribution from environment. What that contribution from environment is, is random error. It doesn’t matter who raised you, as long as they didn’t hit you on the head with a hammer. It doesn’t matter whether you have high or low self-esteem. Everything has been shown just not to be there.
(See The Son Becomes The Father and More Behavioral Genetic Facts.)
The gap between ethnic groups is not closing in this country. There have been announcements that it’s closing for at least the last twenty years, usually in the New York Times, it’s not there, there’s no difference. There’s no change. Nothing changes.”
—H.L. Mencken Club meeting, 2011
“Among Herero there is no such thing as an accident, there is no such thing as a natural death, witchcraft in some form is behind all of it. Did you have a gastrointestinal upset this morning? Clearly someone slipped some pink potion in the milk. … Our [African] employees were so adamant to show me the truth that they pooled their money so they could take me to the local witch doctor, who would turn me into a frog. ‘Of course he can do that, it is easy for them to do, even to white people’ they said. … A colleague pointed out a few weeks ago, after hearing this story, that if it is nearly pan-African then perhaps some of it came to the New World. Prominent and not so prominent talkers from the American Black population come out with similar theories of vague and invisible forces that are oppressing people, like ‘institutional racism’ and ‘white privilege’.”
—“My friend the witch doctor,” West Hunter
I will say that many (primarily poorer) Jamaicans are similar in that regard. See also bewitched | hbd chick
They continue (emphasis added):
According to Henry Harpending, innate racial differences are the defining element of human society. Harpending believes that all variation between racial and ethnic groups—including cultural differences, social and economic disparities, and achievement gaps—are the result of recent and ongoing human evolution. Harpending’s most thorough elaboration of these beliefs is found in his book, co-authored with Gregory Cochran, called The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Much of what Harpending and Cochran claim in The 10,000 Year Explosion builds on the work of economist Gregory Clark, who believes that the Industrial Revolution and British global dominance can best be explained evolutionarily.
According to Clark’s book A Farewell to Alms, which Harpending has described as “one of the greatest books in human biology,” most living Britons descend from the upper classes of the medieval period. Because the wealthy left approximately twice as many surviving children as did the poor, Clark argues that the traits that defined the wealthy were selected for, and became prevalent in British society. And, unsurprisingly, Clark argues that the wealthy achieved their wealth by virtue of superior qualities like peacefulness, diligence, and intelligence; these traits were thus bred into the genetic heritage of white Britons. This became what Harpending calls the evolution of a “new kind of human,” found only in populations of western European and East Asian descent.
Harpending takes Clark’s argument further. He believes that present-day hunter-gatherer societies prove that the “old kind” of human is “impulsive, violent, innumerate, illiterate, and lazy.” He insists that everyone knows this to be true about non-European, non-Asian populations, but that anthropologists aren’t allowed to say so because these are considered “hate facts.”
Wait, so they’re saying they’re not? What’s this page for then, exactly?
Instead, academics are forced to pretend “that these are really all charming, lovely people who are just the victims of capitalism.”
Harpending and Cochran are also co-authors of one of the most prominent “HBD” blogs, West Hunter. HBD, or “human biodiversity,” is the latest iteration of a long tradition of scientific racism. Proponents of HBD maintain a vocal online presence, and are at the forefront of efforts to mainstream white supremacist thought. West Hunter features a mixture of anthropology, HBD, and generic racist, far-right musings.
I guess they couldn’t take the “mega-aggressions” offered at West Hunter.
In other articles and book chapters, Harpending has made often bizarre claims about race, biology, and social structures. These include the idea that sociopathy and “hysteria” are adaptive traits in men and women respectively, as well as support for Jean-Philippe Rushton’s idea that a genetic “ethnic nepotism” explains racial solidarity and racism, and that “diversity decreases national cohesion and the ability of governments to make rational economic decisions”.
As readers here know, I have disagreed with Hapending’s and Rushton’s ideas of ethnic nepotism (since “Ethnic Genetic Interests” Do Not Exist). A key difference is that I went into great detail on why this is so. This SPLC piece is heavy on incredulity but light on specific counterarguments.
In one article, coauthored with Peter Frost, an HBD blogger and columnist with no current academic affiliation, Harpending proposed another explanation for why western Europeans were supposedly genetically predisposed to be less violent than other racial groups. In this article and in talks he has given to friendly, non-academic crowds, Harpending has argued that the introduction of the death penalty in medieval Europe contributed to the “genetic pacification” of the population through “the steady removal of individuals who were more genetically prone to personal violence.” He has even suggested that this took place because medieval Europeans invented institutions like governments, courts, and contracts,
Indeed, see here (also on the Unz Review): Western Europe, state formation, and genetic pacification).
which Harpending apparently believes had never existed anywhere before being introduced in 11th century England.
Actually, Peter Frost wrote a paper saying that a similar process may have occurred in the Roman Empire (Frost, Peter 2010, The Roman State and genetic pacification).
Possibly his strangest argument is that Amish populations in the United States experience evolutionary selection towards “Amishness,” which can be expressed in terms of an “Amish Quotient,” or “AQ.” According to Harpending, a high “Amish Quotient” translates to increases in “affinity for work, perseverance, low status competition, respect for authority, conscientiousness, and community orientation.”
See Inferring an AQ | West Hunter and Boiling Off | West Hunter. I cite this process to explain the conservatism and other characteristics of the Great Plains. See More Maps of the American Nations.
The model for “Amishness” is based on earlier work found in Harpending’s most controversial paper, coauthored with Cochran and Jason Hardy, “A Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence.” The piece, in their own words, “elaborates the hypothesis that the unique demography and sociology of Ashkenazim in medieval Europe selected for intelligence.”