We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

There are only individuals

It’s time to take the gloves off. Libertarians do not give a damn about “groups” in whatever guise they come or for whatever reason they are posited. I will later join the academic debate on races as defined by clusters of genetic features and the drift of those clusters over time… but not right now. I think it is more important to establish the political and philosophical stand which we as libertarians take.

Individuals matter. Groups do not. Group politics in whatever form it appears is the Tranzi philosophy. If you could absolutely and scientifically prove one group genetically inferior to another you would accomplish nothing except establish that group for eternal victimhood under their philosophy. You succeed in making entire “racial” groups into “the genetically challenged” who then “obviously” must be protected and helped by – you guessed it – government!

The libertarian sees a person, not a member of a group, however scientific that grouping is purported to be. If that individual is a good person and successful at life and acts morally and ethically, then they are praiseworthy. If they do evil things and throw their life away, we don’t excuse them for their past, their origin, race, religion, sex or genetic makeup. Perhaps genetic feature clustering gives an individual a propensity for some particular behavior. Genes are not destiny however, as I’m sure Dr. Richard Dawkins would say.

Personally I find “genetic feature cluster” a much better term than the ill-defined “race”. Race in modern usage is synonymous with skin-colour, which is quite an inaccurate biological definition. Skin colour is merely an outward sign of the expression – or suppression – of one particular set of genes. The classical definition is probably truer to reality. I live amidst the Celtic Race for example. Celts have a unique history and certainly have identifiable genetic differences from the Rus for example. I personally am somewhat mixed but predominately Celt. Not a white (a rather useless term): a Celt.

Someday there will be enough genetic data from sequencing to calculate the true clusterings in gene space. We may at that time find humanity is broken into separate point clouds (races) or is a continuum in which there is no particular boundary, merely a space filling random fuzz. The fact that some features such as skin colour are apparent to our visual apparatus is not of great utility in actually defining the reality of human subspecies.

I believe we will one day find there are indeed definable feature clusters, but in an intermediate between the two extremes; they will be denser knots which either interconnect at their fuzzy outer boundaries or are bridged by weak cluster lines. If we were to find a cluster that is completely isolated, I would consider that strong evidence for a lineage on the way to speciating. Since all humans are mobile and interfertile, I do not believe we will find such a case.

Feature clusters (“races”) are not fixed. They drift, mix, merge and mutate over time. They are not necessarily tied to external features such as skin colour. One cannot possibly declare an Australian Aborigine and a Masai to be of the same race. They are possibly more genetically distant from each other than the Masai is from the Celt. If one wishes to look at genetic diversity within the human gene pool, the largest part of it is in Africa, so it stands to reason a scientific measure of race will find more races on that continent than on all the others put together.

The rates of interracial marriage in America, if extended over a reasonable time frame, say a thousand years, will lead to a unique “American race”. It will not sit at any of the current points in gene space of any of the current “races” It will reside at a unique new spot in that genetic n-space. All now living americans will find some of their genes in that future American gene pool; however some alleles will have outcompeted others and will be dominant. Due to climate, one would expect light skin to have a competitive advantage; other genes from other races will win the top spot for other features.

Of course if we do get a severe climate change, then the dark skin adaptation will win and a completely different set of winning alleles will define the new race.

Please recognize this is a thought experiment. It assumes a stable population more or less cut off from the outside. I believe there will be more, not less, movement of individuals over the next thousand years. I am a technological optimist. I expect us to continue the upwards trend in knowledge and the consequent upward trend in human welfare, income and mobility.

If I were to bet on any long term trend, it is that in ten thousand years the ease of travel will have made earth’s gene pool rather homogeneous and the far colonies in the Oort Cloud will be not only racially different but well down the road to full speciation.

5 comments to There are only individuals

  • Genetic Feature Cluster huh?

    OK. Dale, if government did not bother us about our races too much, would everything work out OK?

    Malaysia had to institute its NEP because without government intervention the Chinese were outcompeting the Malays. Some Chinese in Indonesia think that affirmative action is necessary so that the native Javanese can get a piece of the pie and not kill them every now and then.

    Today UC Berkely is 40% Asian American. 10% of California’s population is Asian American. What do you think happens in a state like California where different GFC’s start to cluster and crystallize into different socioeconomic levels?

    GFC’s exist outside the context of government or no government. They are embedded deep within civil society. Malays knew that the system wasn’t rigged against them, they knew Chinese worked hard and brought social capital-Mahathir even wrote a book that indicated the Chinese were genetically superior-but they still exploded into violence.

  • All it proves is that Chinese people living outside China are a self-selecting group of higher initiative dynamist people. Immigrant societies are by definition made up of higher initiative people as it requires high initiative and dynamism to seek out a new life elsewhere, bringing their enhanced social values with them. Racial genetics are not the issue because the clearly less successful Chinese in China are just as Chinese as the Chinese in Malaysia.

  • perry, i’m even trying to get into the what the differences between races might or might not be. just trying to establish

    1) race matters to people
    2) it isn’t going away anytime soon

    by the way-britain has a history of absorbing other races. there were many blacks in 18th century working-class england-who were eventually absorbed into your working-classes. so yes, the british example is that miscegnation works.

    some could use portugal as an example too-where some people assert that 10% of the Luso-genetic base in African (Angolan more specifically). this is probably an exaggeration, but there is something to this.

    i don’t doubt that assimilation and interrmarriage occur, and that some nations will succeed in absorbing their racial minorities and create a common racial and ethnic culture.

    but will this be the dominant trend world-wide? certain mega-states like china and india are not going to dissapate anytime soon-india has cultural aversions to intermarriage and the chinese have their own racist notions. in the united states, interrmarriage rates are highly variable, from 50% among Japanese Americans (.3% of the population) to 5-10% among black Americans (12%).

    rule of thumb-if the number of a group x is pretty small, you can absorb them. but if a number of group x gets too large-than it becomes more difficult because people tend to associate and mate within their own “group.”

    at this point-i don’t even need to get into whether race/GFC have any biological significant, i’m arguing that dale’s trends are less powerful than he might assume-and are restricted primarly to the West and its more enlightened classes.

  • Full response here.


    As far as possible, we should accomodate individualism. It provides economic efficiency and social freedom. But we cannot willfully neglect innate group differences when formulating policy. An ideology that leads us to do so – whether radical nurturism or rugged individualism or divine creationism – will have consequences both costly and lethal. Only an ideologue would believe that women should serve in combat positions, or that organ transplants should be conducted in a race-blind fashion, or that the police should ignore the race profile of perpetrators. Ideology is scant comfort when the bodies begin to pile up. Ignorance is not strength.

  • I guess much of the problem I have with this is the entire meta-context which would have us see the world in terms of ‘formulating policy’. I can formulate my own policies thank you and I do not require the state to do very much of that for me, just to allow me to do so without let or hinderance.

    I am well aware where the threats to my life come from and my ability to manage them comes not from the structure of someone elses genes but from the structure of the state which is ‘forumating policy’ on my behalf regardless of my wishes.

    ‘Policy’ is not strength either.