The ethics of pursuing genetic interests.
In On Genetic Interests (OGI), Salter devotes the last third of the book to a discussion of the ethics of pursuing genetic interests, including ethnic genetic interests (EGI). This has been the most ignored, and undervalued, section of the book by both “friend” and foe alike. The “movement” is unsurprisingly relatively uninterested in ethics so they ignore it; while the anti-EGI mainstream pretend that Salter proposes wild ideas of rapine and pillage, so any acknowledgment that there is serious and morally sound ethical discussion there is ignored because it conflicts with the mendacious narratives of the left.
We on the other hand can look at this section of the book, consider the arguments, and take those arguments seriously (whether we agree with them or not). In my previous writings, I had first concentrated on the population genetics aspect (first third of OGI) – of which there is not much more to say until if and when we get global genetic kinship data and data on human genetic structure/integration (at which point there will be much new to say - and then, more recently, have started evaluating the political aspects (second third of OGI), of which no doubt there will always be more to say, but I have relatively neglected ethics, a deficit I will now begin to correct.
Salter defines “adaptive utilitarianism” as the paradigm in which “a good act is one that increases or protects the fitness of the greater number.” Salter then examines this in the light of different ethical schemes and in the context of individual and group rights. What can we make of all of this?
Salter stresses that genetic continuity is certainly compatible with peace between ethnies and with equality of opportunity within ethnies, but not with equality of fitness outcomes, since the latter is evolutionarily unstable. One cannot “force” equal outcomes with respect to biological fitness, there should be no “affirmative action” with respect to equal genetic representation across generations (*). Evolution is about unequal fitness outcomes, selection, and, contrary to those who misread Salter, he is NOT calling for any sort of “genetic stasis” – there is, and should be, unequal outcomes in the biological sense, but that does not mean that entire groups should have their fitness radically lowered. Unequal outcomes can be tempered with preservation of genetic diversity (which is good for those preserved but also good for us all, since we cannot predict when this genetic diversity may one day be need/useful for the entire humanity). Thus, just like competition between individuals in society has its limits – one is not allowed to murder one’s rivals to increase one’s personal fitness – so too does the completive struggles between ethnies have limits in which every group is assured its genetic continuity, but not necessarily at predetermined perfectly equal outcomes assured by some sort of powerful genetic arbiter.
Talking about ethics – what do we mean? In other words, what are the major types of ethical frameworks from which to view EGI?
Teleological ethics – also known as consequentialist ethics – judge an act right depending on its effects; as Salter points out, circular reasoning (e.g., “an act is moral because it increases moral behavior”) is avoided by examining the non-moral consequences of the act, such as increasing well-being. Utilitarianism – the greatest benefit for the greatest number – is therefore teleological. Deontological ethics ae those that are judged based on its “intrinsic characteristics”- as established by “intuition or religion” – rather on its consequences. It is more “rule based.” Note that as Salter rightly points out, teleological ethics have a deontological components, since some consequence (e.g. increased well-being) is judged to be more based on an intrinsic understanding of the worth of that consequence.
Of course, one can judge pursuit as EGI as both teleological as well as deontological. It is definitely teleological if we consider the consequence of enhancing fitness for the greatest number (at least of our on ethny); however, it is deontological to the extent that – if we eschew the “is/ought problem” – we are defining adaptive behavior as an intrinsically good moral value (and others may disagree). So, it is a teleological ethic with strong deontological undertone, as many (all?) teleological ethics are. Note that when I above specify “our own ethny” this implies that teleological ethics must consider exactly who we are talking about – whose well-being are we concerned with? Or as Sailer would harp on: who? Whom?
One can therefore view pursuit of EGI as fundamentally being, at its core, teleological, with possibly – or possibly not, depending on how this pursuit is actualized – some deontological aspects as well. It is utilitarian in that sense.
We can ask though – should pursuit of EGI, and of genetic interests in general, actually be the focus of any utilitarian teleological ethic? How about “happiness?”
If utilitarianism is about “maximizing the greatest good,” then what should the “greatest good” mean? Happiness? Salter points put that people in objectively bad conditions (drug addicts getting a “fix”) may be “happy,” the mentally deranged may be “happy,” and then we have the problem: does utilitarian benefit have to be based on conscious preferences? If someone is unaware of an interest, does that mean it does not exist? A muskrat has, from the biological perspective, an interest in its own genetic continuity, and will behave from instinct to preserve itself, and presumably a mother muskrat will protect is young using the same instinctive impulse, but there is no conscious preference involved. The muskrat does not so act because acting in this way “makes it happy.” Looking at how evolution works, looking at the innate instincts of life, we as evolved organisms may decide – and this is admittedly a conscious preference, but the interests remain whether or not we are aware of them – that adaptive behavior can be a criterion for utilitarian benefit. Is this the naturalistic fallacy them?
There is the Is/ought problem, of which the naturalistic fallacy is a part – “something is good because it exists, because it is found in nature” (anti-Salterians accuse Salter of this, although he is clear that making adaptive fitness a desirable goal is a conscious choice for humans); on the other hand, the moralistic fallacy (often characteristic of leftist thinking) – “something must be true and exist in reality/nature because it is good” – is typically more prevalent in today’s society, but typically never identified as such (perhaps because it is so widespread none of the hypocrites who ant about the “naturalist fallacy” are aware of their own logical inconsistencies).
So, no, we are not saying we MUST accept adaptiveness as the criterion; however, if we decide that genetic continuity is better than not, that existence is better than non-existence, ten adaptive utilitarianism is a prudent choice – note it is a choice, a scientifically informed choice, but still a choice. We are not “mandated” by nature to choose to act adaptively (although I note that those who act adaptively will replace those that do not, whether you consider that as a “naturalistic fallacy” is a topic for the philosophers). The point is that we can decide to pick the adaptiveness criterion, it has many arguments in its favor, it is self-perpetuating in the sense that those who so choose will be more likely to have continuity of their existence, but, once identified as a legitimate interest by anyone (and this has obviously already occurred!), we can state that the interest exists for all humans (indeed, for all evolve life forms) whether they are aware of it or not. This seems to be a rather long-winded and complicated argument in favor of a somewhat obvious point, but it is necessary, since enemies of White survival engage in the most outrageous sophistry, and denial of objective fact and clear logic, as well as basic fairness and fundamental human rights, to deny Whites their rights of existence, preservation, and group interests. [I’ll pass over Salter’s arguments about Singer and “animal liberation.” The targeted readers of this essay hopefully not only value their genetic interests over that of other humans, but over non-human animals as well].
So what we have is: adaptive utilitarianism: we choose to value adaptive fitness as the good to be maximized.
But should the pursuit of EGI (and genetic interests in general) be purely teleological? Should we engage in pure adaptive utilitarianism in pursuit of genetic interests – concerned with ends only, with no concern for means whatsoever? Do rights and justice count for nothing?
Salter provides a hypothetical example illustrating the limits of pure utilitarianism from the standpoint of standard notions of justice. I’ll paraphrase a bit. Consider a town, with an economy heavily based on tourism and its image as a “good” place. Some horrific (and we can assume heavily publicized) murder takes place there, endangering the town’s image. A vagabond petty thief – a constant troublemaker who has been harming the town’s image and damaging its tourist industry – is suspected of the murder. The townspeople are howling for “justice” – they want the vagabond tried, convicted, and hanged, and their town’s reputation restored. However, the sheriff discovers the vagabond is innocent – the murder was actually committed by the town’s mayor, a person of previously impeccable character and high standing, the very image of the town ad its “goodness.“ Further, this murder was a “one-time crime of passion” – it is almost certain that the mayor would never do anything like this again. Arresting the mayor for the murder would, as Salter rightly points out, ravage the town’s social order, ruin its image, harm its tourist industry, and damage its economy, putting people out of work. A pure utilitarian view – the greatest benefit for the greatest number – would suggest letting the vagabond hang and letting the mayor go free. But Salter points out this would offend our sense of justice, a common weakness for pure utilitarian schemes. Even if you would be willing to bend the rules here, what if this scenario was extended and expanded to a decision involving millions of people? Entire ethnies? Nations? Is justice so easily foregone? The “hard men” of the “movement” may bluster that they would sacrifice everything for their EGI, and who knows maybe they are right, but Whites in general, with their intense sense of Universalist justice, would be unlikely to go along. Utilitarianism must be tempered by fairness and justice to create a long-term, evolutionarily stable system amenable to Whites. Thus, one must introduce concepts of justice – procedural justice according to establish protocols – based on the concepts of fairness, morality, and individual rights, all of which have a strong deontological component and which conflict with the “pure ethic” of unrestrained (teleological) utilitarianism. In this specific case, the vagabond is set free, and the mayor is arrested, “consequences be damned.” Note there is no utilitarian justification for this, unless one invokes as a possible teleological argument that the concept of justice benefits everyone since who knows when any individual will one day be faced with a situation similar to the vagabond. Although justice for the individual in the face of “greater good utilitarian arguments would seem to be pure deontological argumentation, of one argues that, since we are all individuals, a doctrine of individual rights benefits the greatest number (all of us) in the greatest number of possible circumstances (almost infinite), then we come full circle and are faced in a sense by conflicting utilitarianisms: the greatest good for the greatest number, with “number” as viewed as a collective vs. the greatest good for the greatest number, with “number” viewed as a collection of autonomous individuals. Collectivists may favor the first, individualists, the second; a “mixed ethic” favors both, by weighing the relative merits of each case (in a manner inevitably deontological).
Salter therefore supports a form of adaptive utilitarianism restrained by a respect for individual rights and for the rights of other ethnies to have the same preservationist opportunities (‘the mixed ethic”) – which is consistent with “universal nationalism”. Some Nutzi types – who fantasize about “nature red in tooth and claw” and pine away for visions of genocide of “the other” mock Salter’s mixed ethic and claim it is inconsistent with the logical conclusions of EGI (anti-Salterians make similar arguments from an anti-White perspective). But, Salter I think understands the difference between gross and net genetic interests, and that attempts to maximize genetic interest to an extreme extent (gross calculations) will backfire and end up costing more than any potential benefit (net loss of genetic interest). The mixed ethic is likely more stable over time, less risky, less of a gamble of an ethny’s precious genetic interest. One need not “go for broke” with respect to genetic interests. At times, prudent restraint yields the greatest payoff over time.
Salter admits the possibility of “incoherence” with the mixed ethic - one that interjects rights into the adaptive utilitarian scheme – bit I have argued against it by pointing out that since we are all “others” to someone else, we all benefit by putting limits to the extent that both we and that someone else can pursue their adaptive interests. I note that Salter himself makes a similar argument, more on individual and family lines, in that the rule of law provides the stability for everyone to “raise a family and acquire resources” as opposed to an arbitrary law free-for-all where every hand is raised against another. Thus, the mixed ethnic allows for competition and the core pursuit of genetic interests (equal opportunity but not equal outcomes), but puts limits on this pursuit through a “mantle of rights” that would restrain excesses. Salter also points out the problem of “bounded rationality” (**) for “classic utilitarianism” – how can we really know, really predict, the ultimate consequences of our acts? Getting back to my previously states (in other posts) principle of net vs. gross genetic interests, how do we know that a “free-for-all” grasping for maximizing gross genetic interests wouldn’t backfire and harm ourselves, diminishing the final, net accounting of genetic interests? One could invoke the Hitler case here. The mixed ethic, by retraining adaptive utilitarianism within reasonable limits, would reduce the risk of wild gambles that place net genetic interests in extreme jeopardy. Salter’s Table 9.1 summarizes some of these differences. Both pure adaptive utilitarianism and the mixed ethic consider EGI to be morally good, while a rights-centered ethic has no opinion on the subject. Do ends justify the means for EGI? The pure adaptive ethnic says yes, the mixed says yes, BUT “constrained by rights,” and the ethic concerned only by rights says no.
It should be clear that I generally support the mixed ethic, and make my own argument in its favor (a variation of Salter’s argument) above. That said, I am a bit more toward the “pure” side of the spectrum than is Salter. The mixed ethic is good in the vast majority of circumstances, but if one is faced with an existential crisis of genetic interests, then rights must go out the window and the pure ethic applied (whether the current racial crisis for Whites currently merits designation as such an existential crisis I will for now leave to the reader to decide). Now, one can point out a problem here; going back to my “we’re all in the same boat” argument, what if another group decides that they are in an existential racial genetic interest crisis, and then applies the pure ethic in competition against us Whites? Two replies. First, we should always be prepared to defend ourselves against any eventuality (realistically, apart from ourselves and our own tendencies for self-destruction, including ethnonationalist lunacies, the only real long-term threat comes from certain Asiatics); second, if we practice universal nationalism, then we shouldn’t provoke other groups into viewing us as pushing them into an existential crisis (these other groups should have equal awareness not to push us, but they do not seem to have that awareness, taking advantage of current White [mental] weakness to bully our genetic interests).
Let us move on. Salter then considers three important questions, the answers to which are summarized in his Table 9.2, and can thus be discussed with equal brevity here. Can it be moral for EGI to frustrate other interests? The pure adaptive utilitarian ethic says yes. The mixed ethic says yes, but only in defense of EGI or in a competitive expansion that preserves the existence and the genetic continuity of the competitor. The rights-centered ethic says no. Should genetic interests, including EGI have absolute priority? The pure ethic: yes. Mixed: no, if EGI conflicts with individual rights (here a compromise needs to be made; this does not mean foregoing EGI, but pursuing EGI, and other genetic interests, in a manner reasonably constrained by other considerations). The rights ethic: no (only “means” matter, not the consequences). What is the right action when genetic interests conflict? Pure adaptive utilitarianism: compete within adaptive limits; tights can be ignored, but do not engage in conflict that would destroy yourself as well (net genetic interests!). Mixed ethic: compete but respect rights. “Live and let live.” Rights: stop competing, because you are causing harm. Salter then considers freedom and EGI: the ultimate freedom is that of being allowed to pursue genetic interests, including EGI, equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. This last part is important, as, again, some of Salter’s critics lie about his alleged support for “genetic stasis” – here Salter agrees with Hamilton’s blunt statement that equality of fitness is impossible. That of course does not entail genocide against others, or allowing genocide to your own group, or engaging in wild transhumanist schemes to radically change genomes over short time periods, but some genetic change, including eugenics, is consistent with EGI, and completion between groups, constrained by adaptive limits and by basic right, is also legitimate. If we then accept adaptive utilitarianism, we must accept competition, unequal outcomes, and the fact that, unlike some utopian and non-biological versions of utilitarianism, we realize that “not all utilities are in harmony.”
But we must have the freedom to pursue genetic interests, including EGI, and resist those who would deny us that freedom. After all, it’s ethical to so pursue, and it is ethical to resist those who would prevent that pursuit.
*Likewise, a fair society would have equality of opportunity for education and career advancement, but should not force equality of outcome (which racial and sexual affirmative action attempts); this attempt at social engineering is incompatible with real social and technical progress. The same principle applies, in evolutionary terms, with attempts to engineer equal fitness outcomes.
**While Salter frames his arguments within the framework of rationality and the Anglosphere empiricist tradition, he also approvingly quotes D.S. Wilson, who concludes:
“It is the person who elevates factual truth above practical truth who must be accused of mental weakness from an evolutionary perspective.”
That comes after Wilson stated: “Adaption is the gold standard against which rationality must be judged, along with all other forms of thought.”
Indeed, if “irrational’ calls to “national greatness,” palingenetic ultra-nationalism, or Yockey’s “actualizing a High Culture” and Imperium idea motivates for defense of EGI, so be it. We cannot at the same time praise Wilson’s comments and then, for example, criticize aspects of “fascism” for not always following “objective truths” in ever nitpicking detail.