Eugenics and the old Nobility.
#1
TL;DR Was the old nobility of Europe really an example of a eugenic ruling caste? 

I've heard many prominent right wing thinkers imply or make the case that the old feudal nobility of Europe represent a sort of eugenic master caste. In essence they make the case that the founders of these noble line acquired their positions through a combination of intelligence and physical prowess, they then segregated themselves from the lower classes and passed down these virtues to their descendants by careful selection of marriages, arranging the marriages of their children solely to those who had comparable wealth, power, and/or prestige which they had acquired or inherited in a smiliar manner.  They argue this process continued long enough that it resulted in the nobility essentially becoming a discrete race/ethnicity possessing physical and mental traits often diminished or absent in the lower classes that they ruled. I recall this case being made specifically by BAP, Richard Spencer, and Alt-Hype, if not others that I simply have failed to remember. However this post will focus on BAP's claims specifically because he is the only one of these people worth talking about. I no longer have access to it, but I recall one episode of Caribbean Rhythms in which he seems to make this claim by re-iterating Arthur de Gobineau's hypothesis that the French Revolution was in essence a race war. He claims that the bourgeoise and peasant lower classes were primarily Alpine phenotype (associated with the pre-aryan peoples of europe) and that they had overthrown a Frankish ruling caste who were usually of the Nordic phenotype. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean][/url]


I agree that that the french nobility and the nobility in general would have appeared physically different than those whom they ruled. I see no reason to believe that they wouldn't have been much taller than the average commoner for both genetic and environmental reasons, and I do not deny that physical prowess and intelligence can be inherited. 

But I do do have some objections to this theory. 
Beyond simply arranging marriages I can think of few eugenic effects acting on these populations. Primogeniture was broadly the norm with little reward given to younger sons who may well have been more fit to inherit the titles, at times perfectly fit younger sons may have been punished genetically by being sent off to the clergy where he would be unable to marry and reproduce (legitimately at least...).  As far as I'm aware they did not practice exposure of infants like the Hellenic and Roman nobility, congenitally deformed and perpetually sick individuals like Charles the 2nd of Spain were not left to die but rather every attempt was made to preserve their life and ensure that they continued their line (luckily for the Spanish he did not manage to reproduce, but I'm sure many other less extreme invalids did). Beyond extreme cases like Charles 2nd of Spain, noble children would have experienced far lower rates of youth mortality as they would have had more resources available to protect and nurture them, it seems reasonable to assume that this would eventually result in them being less resilient than the general population seeing as selection pressures were not nearly as harsh for their class.

Not only that, but the originators of these noble houses lived and died hundreds of years or even a millennia prior to the relevant time period. In an era which possessed neither paternity tests nor reliable contraception, and which broadly tolerated male adultery among the nobility(with lesser born and or unmarried women at least), it really does not seem likely to me that every single one of these noble lines had an unbroken line back to a great warrior aristocrat or that whatever made their ancestors successful could persist undiluted for so long. It doesn't seem very hard to find examples of sons who were known to be born illegitimately, almost always to lesser born mothers, inheriting the titles and wealth of their fathers. These are only the ones we know about, there were no paternity tests or reliable contraception at this time, is it unreasonable to assume that over dozens of generations that at least a minority of these children would not actually possess a direct line of descent to a noble warrior, or at least not the one they claim as their own, due to a mother committing adultery? 

The eugenics movement coexisted with a relevant though much diminished aristocracy, if anyone would have recognized sound breeding practices it would have been these people, but it doesn't seem like a common belief among them. The SS did not seem to have any particular love for the established aristocracy or view them as eugenic specimens, as far as I can tell it was their goal was ultimately to replace them by rewarding merit and encouraging sound breeding regardless of noble birth. Most of the eugenic measures taken in the US and other parts of Europe were aimed at preventing disease, criminality, and race-mixing. The high birth of an individual did not seem to factor in to it beyond excluding lumpen-prole types as far as I'm aware.   

I don't see anything particularly admirable in the nobility by the time of the enlightenment, their downfall was in large part a result of their treachery and incompetence, the emerging bourgeoise had to be promoted at their expense and from these positions over threw them. The way of war they had been established to wage had been obsolete for centuries at that point, their ancestors needed tenants so they could live off of the surplus and train as mounted and armored warriors to be effective. None of this was necessary with the emergence of fire-arms. They served really no function at this point and fell into debauchery. 

There really doesn't seem to be any reason to have such a high view of aristocracy beyond contrarianism against "the enlightenment" or whatever, but I guess he succeeded in trolling me seeing as I spent over and hour on this post.
#2
I think that the important thing to read in past nobility isn't the process of eugenics (which I don't really believe took place in their ranks), but instead that they were usually distinct peoples from their subjects at the start and sought to maintain this distinction. I don't believe that nobility created distinction. I believe that distinction leads to the formation of nobility. And then if anything the peace and stability that follows then undermines this distinction. Especially rapid in modern times but we have pre-modern examples, like the Lombards in Italy losing their sense of distinction and Italianising.
#3
the enlightenment and the french revolution in particular were the fruits of a europe that had already seen significant decline since its birth a millennium prior. the figures BAP likes to discuss such as robert guiscard hail from the golden age of post-classical european civilization, which little resembles the europe of the enlightenment. a thousand years can change a lot, after all.

however, even in its twilight the ancien regime was still a reservoir of quality human material. take one look at europe's royal families and once-exalted noble houses and you'll see that even today, they're much more intelligent and better-looking than the average person.
#4
(11-03-2022, 08:15 PM)Smithscel Wrote: TL;DR Was the old nobility of Europe really an example of a eugenic ruling caste? 

I made a post on twitter not to long ago about this, so I'll share the excerpt I shared there, here. As it says, it's an excerpt from The Influence of Monarch by Frederick Woods. The whole book can be find online here. This is the part of the excerpt I find to be most pertinent:
Quote:the average prince throughout modern times has a small chance of becoming  a man of genius...one chance in 40, but this is more than 100,000 times as good as the chances for an average child of average parents.

Of course, there are difficulties in measuring 'genius' like this, but I think we can take a step back and claim with much higher accuracy that if not geniuses, these people were smart, talented, etc, much more so than the average person in Mr. Woods time (1913). Now following Anthony's point, it is important we get the correct cause and effect relation down here:
(11-03-2022, 09:26 PM)anthony Wrote: I think that the important thing to read in past nobility isn't the process of eugenics (which I don't really believe took place in their ranks), but instead that they were usually distinct peoples from their subjects at the start and sought to maintain this distinction. I don't believe that nobility created distinction. I believe that distinction leads to the formation of nobility.
This is entirely correct. The original nobles, the one who set up these long lines of descent, really were exceptional people. Hugh and Robert Capet were distinct individuals; Robert Guiscard was a distinct individual. That being said, with the way noble marriage customs worked in Europe, you got a system where these distinct people were normally breeding with other distinct people, which is of course going to leave you with offspring that, if not quite as distinguished as those who started the dynastic line, are still people who are a cut above the average as far as genetics go. They weren't necessarily thinking of this in terms of scientific eugenics like we racists do today, but following Woods' book it seems to have had that kind of effect! People a standard deviation or two above the average breeding over and over again across 7 generations will have that effect, I don't think it's too radical of a claim to make. Jokes about inbreeding practices among noble families seem to just be distractions from the overall positive genetic process that took place as a side-effect of European noble marriage customs.
#5
(11-04-2022, 11:08 PM)Leverkühn Wrote: I made a post on twitter not to long ago about this, so I'll share the excerpt I shared there, here. As it says, it's an excerpt from The Influence of Monarch by Frederick Woods. The whole book can be find online here. This is the part of the excerpt I find to be most pertinent:
Quote:the average prince throughout modern times has a small chance of becoming  a man of genius...one chance in 40, but this is more than 100,000 times as good as the chances for an average child of average parents.
A valid point one can raise against this is the exceptional disparity in resources and opportunities between royalty and the masses. But the smart thing to take from this is not that everyone should get equal investment. What we should take from this is that we get clearly visible returns from heavy investment in high value human prospects. Noble lineage was an okay tool for securing greater investment in higher quality people, but we could easily do better today. Could, but instead we're probably doing worse. Nothing we do is formalised, but everyone knows who the smart people are, and most people in their guts resent them and want them deprived.
#6
(11-03-2022, 08:15 PM)Smithscel Wrote: They argue this process continued long enough that it resulted in the nobility essentially becoming a discrete race/ethnicity possessing physical and mental traits often diminished or absent in the lower classes that they ruled.
Forgot to address this point. As I said I think most nobles were 'different' as regards their mental capabilities, and it wasn't uncommon for nobles to also be of greater physical stature than the average burgher and peasant, but this could also be partially chalked up to just having better access to healthy foods, athletic training, and so on. Obviously the peasants didn't have the resources available that the nobles did, so even a slight difference in favor of the latter could lead to massive distinctions given that resource difference.
[I now see that Anthony leveled this very critique, but more well-put, while I was typing up this second comment]

The ethnicity thing you'd have to look at kingdom by kingdom: How German was this German Kaiser? things of this nature. One specific example where the Ruling Noble is vastly different than the ruled population was Imperial Russia - after a certain point, the Russian Tsars were more ethnically Germanic when they were Slavic, arguably by the time of Peter III but most certainly after Paul I. Alexander III and Nicholas II barely had any slavic ancestry, and more mostly 'German.'
#7
(11-04-2022, 11:31 PM)Leverkühn Wrote:
(11-03-2022, 08:15 PM)Smithscel Wrote: They argue this process continued long enough that it resulted in the nobility essentially becoming a discrete race/ethnicity possessing physical and mental traits often diminished or absent in the lower classes that they ruled.
Forgot to address this point. As I said I think most nobles were 'different' as regards their mental capabilities, and it wasn't uncommon for nobles to also be of greater physical stature than the average burgher and peasant, but this could also be partially chalked up to just having better access to healthy foods, athletic training, and so on. Obviously the peasants didn't have the resources available that the nobles did, so even a slight difference in favor of the latter could lead to massive distinctions given that resource difference.
[I now see that Anthony leveled this very critique, but more well-put, while I was typing up this second comment]

The ethnicity thing you'd have to look at kingdom by kingdom: How German was this German Kaiser? things of this nature. One specific example where the Ruling Noble is vastly different than the ruled population was Imperial Russia - after a certain point, the Russian Tsars were more ethnically Germanic when they were Slavic, arguably by the time of Peter III but most certainly after Paul I. Alexander III and Nicholas II barely had any slavic ancestry, and more mostly 'German.'

You're correct I mispoke by calling their class an ethnicity, all I wanted to get across was that their argument is that the nobles would have been physically distinguishable from the commoners. I mentioned that I found this assumption reasonable in my original post. The question I really wanted to pose, which I don't think I emphasized enough, was if these differences, such as the height and intelligence, could be confidently ascribed to the traits of their ancestors rather than their access to resources.
#8
The eugenic program that helped Europe become the dominant world power existed, and it is to date the largest and most successful example of eugenics in history. Small factors may have played into it as well, but the most important fact is that Western Europe between 800AD and 1800AD managed to have more surviving progeny from upper classes than from lower classes. That is all, and all caveats (this is only on average, this was not directional, etc) don't really matter. Other societies did not manage to achieve this to my knowledge, and if they did, they did not have as much genetic potential to profit from this selection effect.
#9
(11-04-2022, 11:08 PM)Leverkühn Wrote:
Quote:the average prince throughout modern times has a small chance of becoming  a man of genius...one chance in 40, but this is more than 100,000 times as good as the chances for an average child of average parents.

Assuming that "genius" is a measure of exceptional IQ (a dubious assertion): 1 in 10,000 is 4.29 standard deviations from the mean, 1 in 40 is 1.96. The gap between peasantry and aristocracy is thus 2.3 stddevs or ~35 IQ. I find this very plausible, especially in the days before the Flynn effect.

Compare to the old-stock WASPs and Ashkenazim that made much of 20th-century America's intellectual backbone:

[Image: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DYHHPw5XkAAP...ame=medium]

Not as high a mean, but probably more geniuses in total given the larger population.
#10
(11-09-2022, 04:19 AM)Hamamelis Wrote: The eugenic program that helped Europe become the dominant world power existed, and it is to date the largest and most successful example of eugenics in history. Small factors may have played into it as well, but the most important fact is that Western Europe between 800AD and 1800AD managed to have more surviving progeny from upper classes than from lower classes. That is all, and all caveats (this is only on average, this was not directional, etc) don't really matter. Other societies did not manage to achieve this to my knowledge, and if they did, they did not have as much genetic potential to profit from this selection effect.

This is Alt-Hype's theory. This, in combination with the execution of roughly ~2.5% (?) of the worst offenders in a given generation, for 40 generations, excised the absolute worst anti-social traits in the European gene pool. Aristocrats *did* outbreed peasants, so successive generations of downwardly mobile aristocrats replaced the peasantry and bourgeois. In England the surplus of young noblemen is what propelled the colonization of the Americas.

As for the idea of European caste stratification, it's untrue. The European gene pool is very homogenous.
#11
(11-12-2022, 09:52 PM)Corvid Wrote:
(11-09-2022, 04:19 AM)Hamamelis Wrote: The eugenic program that helped Europe become the dominant world power existed, and it is to date the largest and most successful example of eugenics in history. Small factors may have played into it as well, but the most important fact is that Western Europe between 800AD and 1800AD managed to have more surviving progeny from upper classes than from lower classes. That is all, and all caveats (this is only on average, this was not directional, etc) don't really matter. Other societies did not manage to achieve this to my knowledge, and if they did, they did not have as much genetic potential to profit from this selection effect.

This is Alt-Hype's theory. This, in combination with the execution of roughly ~2.5% (?) of the worst offenders in a given generation, for 40 generations, excised the absolute worst anti-social traits in the European gene pool. Aristocrats *did* outbreed peasants, so successive generations of downwardly mobile aristocrats replaced the peasantry and bourgeois. In England the surplus of young noblemen is what propelled the colonization of the Americas.

As for the idea of European caste stratification, it's untrue. The European gene pool is very homogenous.

What about Australia (in regards to declining aristocratic settlement)? According to this article (https://theconversation.com/stain-or-bad...ings-41097) 1 in 5 Australians have convict ancestry, with this ratio increasing to a dramatic 74% with Tasmanians. Even this must be an understatement as it is factoring in non-British (incl Irish) populations. Allowing for Anglo-Celts alone would reveal a much higher proportion.
#12
(11-12-2022, 10:02 PM)Verl Wrote: What about Australia (in regards to declining aristocratic settlement)? According to this article (https://theconversation.com/stain-or-bad...ings-41097) 1 in 5 Australians have convict ancestry, with this ratio increasing to a dramatic 74% with Tasmanians. Even this must be an understatement as it is factoring in non-British (incl Irish) populations. Allowing for Anglo-Celts alone would reveal a much higher proportion.

I can't tell you much about the history of Australia.
#13
(11-12-2022, 10:09 PM)Corvid Wrote:
(11-12-2022, 10:02 PM)Verl Wrote: What about Australia (in regards to declining aristocratic settlement)? According to this article (https://theconversation.com/stain-or-bad...ings-41097) 1 in 5 Australians have convict ancestry, with this ratio increasing to a dramatic 74% with Tasmanians. Even this must be an understatement as it is factoring in non-British (incl Irish) populations. Allowing for Anglo-Celts alone would reveal a much higher proportion.

I can't tell you much about the history of Australia.

Yes, it is quite common for mortals to not be able to find the words to describe their visions of the pure and perfect higher realm Smile
#14
(11-12-2022, 09:52 PM)Corvid Wrote:
(11-09-2022, 04:19 AM)Hamamelis Wrote: ...

This is Alt-Hype's theory. ...

I am aware, but as I see it, it's more general than what he's saying: The medians of IQ + trait conscientiousness + [whatever matters that we don't know] of the next generation being slightly higher than their parents' can happen without executing offenders or other details. In my view, what happened was that a higher score on the relevant traits correlated with higher number of grandchildren, for a significant amount of time. To explain the effect, this explanation is enough. 

This process doesn't need to produce a genetically stratified society, because over time replacement of lower classes' bad genes will happen through downward mobility. It would explain Australia through European convicts being still higher in relevant traits than other societies' median. Certainly, other factors may have played a role, like executing criminals, having a robust social framework like Catholicism, general feedback loop of smart people creating smart environments, etc.

The lesson is that a society becoming smarter does not need to import a dumb underclass from abroad to keep functioning. Instead, it can profit of its own supply of smarter farmers and labourers.
#15
(11-12-2022, 09:52 PM)Corvid Wrote:
(11-09-2022, 04:19 AM)Hamamelis Wrote: The eugenic program that helped Europe become the dominant world power existed, and it is to date the largest and most successful example of eugenics in history. Small factors may have played into it as well, but the most important fact is that Western Europe between 800AD and 1800AD managed to have more surviving progeny from upper classes than from lower classes. That is all, and all caveats (this is only on average, this was not directional, etc) don't really matter. Other societies did not manage to achieve this to my knowledge, and if they did, they did not have as much genetic potential to profit from this selection effect.

This is Alt-Hype's theory. This, in combination with the execution of roughly ~2.5% (?) of the worst offenders in a given generation, for 40 generations, excised the absolute worst anti-social traits in the European gene pool. Aristocrats *did* outbreed peasants, so successive generations of downwardly mobile aristocrats replaced the peasantry and bourgeois. In England the surplus of young noblemen is what propelled the colonization of the Americas.

As for the idea of European caste stratification, it's untrue. The European gene pool is very homogenous.

Wouldn't killing off the most rebellious members of society (those who don't submit to the laws) be a form of self-domestication? From wolf to dog.
#16
(11-16-2022, 07:17 PM)Jaloo Wrote: Wouldn't killing off the most rebellious members of society (those who don't submit to the laws) be a form of self-domestication? From wolf to dog.

There are many different kind of people that break with societal expectations, it's not really useful to place them all the same category. Jan Hus doesn't have much in common with a typical medieval arsonist just because neither submitted to the law and ended up paying the price for it.  

These executions would have primarily affected lumpen-prole types; serial offenders, outcasts, and those stupid enough to get caught. There were mechanisms for granting leniency to offenders committing crimes under mitigating circumstances, e.g. "the neck-verse", with the effect that many of those who actually ended up on the chopping block had been filtered down to those who had already acquired some level of infamy. I have no reason to believe a pickpocket then is any different than a shoplifter today, criminals rarely end up in their position because they are independent free-thinkers, most criminals and vagrants I encounter don't seem to think about much at all. I really see no reason to preserve these types of people. 

I don't see any evidence to the implication that our way of justice created a slave race. There's nothing about Europeans that suggests this to me seeing as we have produced the both the most innovative thinkers and the successful conquerors on the planet.
#17
I think there would be a lot of overlap between the executed of the past and the chronically offending constantly imprisoned of today. These people are not the modern day spartans. They're the ones the spartans would kill because they couldn't even shovel shit right. Everything I've heard from people who have been in jail populations with these types suggests that it's not their free spirits that got them there. It's their low nature combined with their lack of intelligence.
#18
(11-16-2022, 07:17 PM)Jaloo Wrote: Wouldn't killing off the most rebellious members of society (those who don't submit to the laws) be a form of self-domestication? From wolf to dog.

There's a truth to this statement: the process of 'civilizing' peoples is often a kind of domestication. But I think when done properly, with proper laws + customs, it can work as a refining process. I don't think there's any issue with culling petty criminals.There are 'rebellious' people who buck the norms of their day and create new ones, which is often what great intellectuals do; and of course you have numerous historical examples of rebellious nobles who take up the sword against their kings, and attempt to forge their own way in the world. I mentioned Robert Guiscard in a previous post: he can be thought of as a rebellious type, but through his own talent and wit, he secured his place in the world. An action like that is admirable. Breaking into homes at night or drunkenly causing property damage is entirely different. Prison studies have provided evidence that the offence of murder is disproportionately over-represented among inmates with an intellectual disability. Getting rid of such people is refinement in my eyes.


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