At independence, 50 years ago, optimism for the tropics was high. No one could have dreamed that half a century later, a massive movement for re-colonization would be afoot–led not by Africa’s leaders but by her masses.
Like a baby trying to crawl back into the womb, the formerly colonized are coming back to their old foreign masters and begging (or demanding) to be ruled by them again.
We propose two major reasons: Future orientation and Commonweal orientation. These two qualities, we argue, are plentiful in the North but in short supply in the South, where their opposites (Short-Sightedness and Clannishness) can be found in abundance.
Today we shall focus on the former: Future orientation. We argue that the shortage of this trait in warmer climes has prevented these societies from developing the way they wish to. This is why, two generations after independence, millions are voting with their feet to place themselves back under Euro rule.
We also argue these traits follow tropical peoples long-term, which is why North America’s centuries-old African population has never assimilated. This too, we shall show, should be a cautionary tale for European deciders on immigration.
So what is the evidence to back up our assertions?
I. Low future orientation: the micro
1) We think differently: Anecdotes
Anecdotes abound on our differences in time perception and abstract thinking ability.
The improvidence of tropical peoples, especially Africans, has been remarked upon since their first contact with Europeans:
They are, without doubt, both in Body and Mind, the laziest People under the Sun. A Monstrous Indisposition to Thought and Action runs through all the Nations of ’em: And their whole earthly Happiness seems to lie in Indolence and Supinity.
John Matthews (1788) on Sierra Leone:
The disposition of the natives is nearly the same every where, extremely indolent, unless excited by revenge.
Commissionner Charles Eliot (1905) on his British East Africa Protectorate charges:
They are dominated by the transient emotion or impulse of the moment, and neither remember what has preceded, nor look forward to what is likely to follow. On the whole, this is a happy and cheerful cast of mind; the African suffers little from the pangs of remorse or apprehension, and is always ready to be pleased by any agreeable trifle.
After decades in Africa, Nigerian colonial governor Sir Lugard (1924) opined:
Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and inability to visualise the future, and the steadfastness of his loyalty and affection.
After being transplanted to North America?
John Commons, lamenting that U.S. Afros would soon be out-hustled by industrious south and east European immigrants (1907):
The improvidence of the negro is notorious. His neglect of his horse, his mule, his machinery, his eagerness to spend his earnings on finery, his reckless purchase of watermelons, chickens, and garden stuff, when he might easily grow them on his own patch of ground, — these and many other incidents of improvidence explain the constant dependence of the negro upon his employer and his creditor. (1)
Dutch criminologist William Bonger, after an exhaustive survey of the literature on the Afro-American (1943):
If one would express the general impression of those who know the North American Negro, then one would say: He is childlike. He does not look very far ahead, he is not very accurate, he is fond of bright colors and finery, is easily distracted. These characteristics may, naturally, be inherent, but this is not necessarily so.” (2)
A common refrain in black Africa is that ‘nothing works.’ But why? Nigerian blogger Kurtis Smith sums up:
Nothing is safe from African Time. I have been to weddings that started up to three hours later than the advertised time. … With this tradition, everything in the continent is always running behind schedule.
For Africa to develop, our ideology on time has to change. … this thinking keeps Africa as one of the world’s poorest regions.
Agyenim Boateng, Ghanian commenter on the BBC:
Yes, Africans are capable of keeping time. A “red hot stove” approach is needed to arrest this bad attitude. Africans in the Diaspora learn to keep the time. We show up at work or appointments on time, because there is a price to pay for tardiness. Africans have a saying, “Africans do not wait for time, rather, time waits for Africans”. Time is money, and we are paying a heavy price for our tardiness.
On the other side of the Atlantic, a long-time U.S. lawyer with a majority-black clientele (not a public defender) has noticed a similar phenomenon:
Most of my clients who are not black either show up on time for appointments or call if they must reschedule. Amazing as this may seem, only about five percent of my black clients show up on time, and by that I mean within an hour of the appointed time. Only one in five shows up on the appointed day. A few trickle in a day or two later. Most just never show up.
Missing an appointment never embarrasses black people. They call repeatedly for new appointments, making four, five or even six appointments and then miss them all. I had one client who called more than 50 times before he finally came to my office. … They had many different excuses, but I never heard, “I forgot,” or “I’m sorry I didn’t make it.”
Since appointments mean so little to my clients, I decide each day when I am available, and tell everyone to show up at the same time. On Saturday afternoons I can have as many as twenty appointments for the same time. Usually it is not a problem because few show up and even fewer show up on time. Only once in the last 20 years did everyone show up. (3)
c1) Primitive extremes
Sometimes looking at the extremes can help us better understand the middle. For ground zero of ethnic groups who lack abstract reasoning, look no further than the tribes who can’t count:
Among [Amazonian] Pirahã’s many peculiarities is an almost complete lack of numeracy, an extremely rare linguistic trait … The language contains no words at all for discrete numbers and only three that approximate some notion of quantity—hói, a “small size or amount,” hoí, a “somewhat larger size or amount,” and baágiso, which can mean either to “cause to come together” or “a bunch.”
Despite missionaries’ best efforts, the Hiaitiihi people simply couldn’t grasp numbers:
Because of [fear of being cheated], the Hiaitiihi reported a genuine desire to learn how to count and do simple sums. They asked [missionaries] Everett and his wife to teach them these skills. The Everetts offered regular classes each evening, for eight months in a row. The sessions were always initiated by the Hiaitiihi with much apparent enthusiasm. Still, after eight months of classes, not a single Hiaitiihi had learned to count from 1 to 10. Not a single person had learned how to solve problems such as “3+1=x” or even “1+1=x.” Then, classes were discontinued. (4)
Or who have no concept of time:
The Amondawa language has no word for “time”, or indeed of time periods such as “month” or “year”. The people do not refer to their ages, but rather assume different names in different stages of their lives or as they achieve different status within the community.
But perhaps most surprising is the team’s suggestion that there is no “mapping” between concepts of time passage and movement through space. Ideas such as an event having “passed” or being “well ahead” of another are familiar from many languages, … in Amondawan, no such constructs exist.
c2) Civilized countries
Such primitive groups may represent ourselves millennia ago. But what about modern, civilized peoples who also seem to find it hard to reason abstractly? Values researcher Michael Minkov:
Consider the following problem given to 4th grade children in their native languages.
“Al wanted to find how much his cat weighed. He weighed himself and noted that the scale read 57 kg. He then stepped on the scale holding his cat and found that it read 62 kg. What was the weight of the cat in kilograms?”
How can we explain the fact that 95% of the students in Taiwan answered correctly, versus 12% in Kuwait and 9% in Qatar? … What stops the fabulously rich countries in the Gulf from providing high-quality instruction to their children? (4)
Minkov had similar questions about Afghanis:
During a training session with Afghani high school graduates, I was asked to explain what an IQ test represents. I drew the following on the white board:
Then I invited the students to guess how the next arrow would be positioned. No matter how I paraphrased my question, the result was a row of blank faces. By that time, I had established a very good rapport with my students … The blank faces could not be explained by shyness or a lack of interest.
I explained that the arrow had been turned (I avoided words like “rotated”) always in the same direction and by the same angle, and used a whiteboard marker to illustrate the rotation. Then, once again, I asked how the next arrow would look. After a long pause, I had one volunteer. He came to the blackboard and drew a circle. (4)
Gedeliah Braun, who taught philosophy in South Africa for years, came to a curious conclusion:
It was only after living amongst blacks for nearly twenty-five years that I discovered a most important fact. Put simply: blacks lack a full-blooded concept of time. It seems evident that if any African language contains a concept of time it will be in an extremely diminished form, and similarly with respect to the future.
People who have difficulty in thinking of things which do not exist, will ipso facto have difficulty thinking of the future. It appears that the Zulu [dictionary] entry for future – isikhati – is the same word as the word for time, as well as the word for space. In other words, none of these concepts exist in Zulu thought, period. It also appears that there is no word for the past – … people who have difficulty in thinking of things which do not exist will have difficulty in thinking of the past as well as the future. (5)
2) We think differently: Studies
Having heard some anecdotes on the subject, let us turn to the numbers.
a) Gratification Delay: tests and studies
In Richard Lynn’s analysis of the question, he states:
The first study to demonstrate differences between blacks and whites in the delay of gratification was carried out by W. Mischel in Trinidad in the late 1950s. He offered black and white children the choice between a small candy bar now or a larger one in a week. He found black children were much more likely to ask for the small candy bar now.
These results were replicated in a multi-ethnic context
- In 1966 by Seagull,
- In 1971 by Zytkoski et al.,
- In 1974 by Price-Williams and Ramirez,
- In 2011 by Castillo et al.
Of course, time preference can be guessed at in many ways. Studies have shown, for example, that Afro-Americans are less inclined than other ethnic groups to
- Pay back loans,
- Finish high school,
- Prevent unwanted pregnancies,
- Protect themselves against STDs,
- Respect the speed limit,
- Put their toddlers in carseats,
- Wear seatbelts and stop at red lights.
At the international level, in the only study of its kind, Wang et al. (2011) performed a gratification delay experiment on college students in 45 countries. Their results below (click to enlarge):
Thus we have some empirical clues on impulse control among ethnic groups. But gratification delay is just one element of future orientation.
b) Mathematical Ability: tests and studies
Future orientation has been strongly linked to mathematical ability as well:
- Benjamin et al. (2006) showed a correlation between time preference and math ability in high schoolers.
- Frederick (2005) did the same, but in college students.
- Mischel et al. (1994) did a long-term follow-up on the ‘marshmallow test kids’ showing those who’d delayed gratification scored much higher on math SATs ten years later.
It would seem, then, that one way to possibly gauge future orientation is via standardized mathematics tests.
The OECD-sponsored PISA test, much reported on by Steve Sailer, gives us some data points (click to enlarge):
Within countries, we can guess at different ethnic groups’ scores based on PISA’s break-out of ‘2nd generation immigrant students’ (data only available for global scores, not math alone):
Some multi-ethnic countries, such as Brazil, break out their scores by region:
If indeed future orientation is linked to both gratification delay and mathematical ability, the data above seem to show that there could be marked differences between Southern and Northern peoples.
Thus both the figures and the anecdotes seem to tell the same story: Ethnic groups differ strongly on future orientation, and it is a trait that may follow them for generations or even centuries. But this is all micro-level information. What does it mean when scaled up to the level of a society?
II. Low future orientation: the macro
So what effect does all this have on the level of a city, region, or country?
1) Public infrastructure
When several million of the non-future-oriented get together and create a society, what does it look like? We have some clues.
a) General infrastructure
Observers in all times and places have noted Afros’ singular inability to organize and think ahead. At the societal level, this can mean weaker than average infrastructure.
Sociologist Benjamin Kidd in 1898 wrote about Afro self-government in the Caribbean:
The descriptions we have had presented to us for many years past by writers and politicians of some of the West India [Caribbean] Islands read like accounts of a former civilization. Decaying harbours, once crowded with shipping; ruined wharves, once busy with commerce; roofless warehouses; stately buildings falling to ruins, deserted mines and advancing forests, … (6)
Hesketh Prichard, the first white man to travel all the way through Haiti since independence (1899):
At first sight Port-au-Prince looks fair enough to be worth travelling 5,000 miles to see; once enter it, and your next impulse is to travel 5,000 miles to get away again. The town possesses a peculiar picturesqueness of its own, unlike anything one sees in any other quarter of the globe.
But you walk through its cobbled streets with circumspection, for they are ankle-deep in refuse. No smallest effort is made at sanitation; the street-drains with all their contaminations flow down and help to fill up the harbour. At times the rain flushes them, and this effort of Nature seems to be the sole force that tends to cleanliness. (7)
The end of colonialism in Africa has led to widespread degradation in the millions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure the Europeans left behind. The following NYT account came after 30 years of self-rule in resource-rich D.R. Congo (1990):
It is difficult to exaggerate the dizzying pace of decay in this city of nearly 400,000 people. … The main road to Kikwit [DR Congo] is now rutted and crumbled, … Elsewhere in town, squatters have moved into homes that once belonged to the Belgian colonials. Entire families now camp on sidewalks, in parks and even in cemeteries. Streets and backyards are littered with indescribable filth, and toward the edges of the city the roads crumble into dirty sand and then disappear altogether.
… “Civilization is coming to an end here,” said Rene Kinsweke, manager of Siefac, a chain of food stores, as he spoke of how Kikwit has become a dispiriting tableau of chaos and catastrophe. “We’re back where we started. We’re going back into the bush.”
Maybe the most spectacular example has been South Africa, where Euros built a finished first-world nation on Sub-Saharan soil, the only one of its kind. Gedeliah Braun, who lived for years in Johannesburg, says:
White rule in South Africa ended in 1994. It was about ten years later that power outages began, which have now (2007) reached crisis proportions. Part of the problem is the government’s failure to build more power plants … More generally, it is the breakdown of existing power plants due to lack of maintenance. (5)
South African writer Ilana Mercer on the effects of black rule:
Public healthcare, the railways, ports and road infrastructure bear testimony to the insidious effects of racial preference on South Africa. Refuse collection is erratic. The electrical grid has been degraded at every level: generation, transmission, and distribution. Since distribution is now entrusted to the local, increasingly inept, authorities, candles and paraffin lamps have made a come-back in my home town of Cape Town as well as in other cities. (8)
Twenty years after handing over this jewel on the Cape to African rule, one has indeed seen the spectacular degradation of its schools, farms, medical system, roads, railways, electricity, and water. One recent scandal from this year, among many:
The pictures, taken [in secret] at the coal-fired Lethabo power station, located in the northern Free State, showed that the interior of the plant had been consumed in mountains of ash. The ash deposits, located underneath the boilers in which the coal is burned, are supposed to be sucked out by hopper units and transported by conveyor belt to an ash stacker.
However, lack of maintenance caused the hoppers to become blocked. … Employees had “repeatedly warned of impending critical equipment failures. But the warnings appear to have been ignored,” sources said, adding that Eskom was “standing at the edge of the precipice” and that “if two power stations experienced breakdowns without warning, we would be in deep trouble.”
(Americans, of course, will be familiar with the above phenomena in white-to-black cities such as Detroit.)
b) Medical infrastructure
A quarter of the funds for S.S. Africa’s health system come from foreign donors. And yet its quality is decried by watchdogs as among the worst in the world.
Keith Richburg, Afro-American journalist for the Washington Post, spent years zig-zagging the dark continent. He reports:
I walked through hospitals in almost every country I visited because I found them a fairly good gauge of how well a government invested in its own people. In almost every place, conditions were, to put it mildly, disgusting. Stiflingly hot, windowless rooms, with flies swarming through fetid air. Patients stacked up almost on top of one another in crowded wards. Blood everywhere.
Sick people, most likely with TB, coughing uncontrollably in the open wards. Family members lining the hallways and packing the courtyards, cooking meals for patients inside who might not otherwise eat.
Most African hospitals are desperately short of medicine. But on the streets outside, any type and variety of medicine is readily for sale, most of it pilfered from the hospital pharmacies or diverted before it even makes it that far. Those with money can afford to buy medicines privately; those without–and that means the vast majority of Africans–simply suffer until they die. (9)
Gedeliah Braun, ex-Johannesburg resident:
When I was in Johannesburg in January 1986, the mammoth Johannesburg General Hospital was for whites only. “Jo’burg Gen” was very impressive. … It was clean and well-run. The previous white hospital, near the city center, served blacks.
What has happened under the “new dispensation?” Conditions have deteriorated dramatically. Patient infection rates have skyrocketed and theft of supplies is rampant. Discipline among the nearly all-black nursing and maintenance staff is virtually nonexistent — they simply will not work. Patients sometimes go without clean sheets. A rabbi friend, a chaplain at Jo’burg Gen, says it is not uncommon now for patients to die because of nurses’ incompetence and indifference. (5)
(Americans may be familiar with similar stories on their own turf.)
c) Infrastructure: Numbers
Lack of foresight, as we’ve seen, means lack of construction and maintenance. Africa’s handling of its colonial infrastructure legacy is visible in a variety of ways.
Today’s electrification of the continent–whose population is greater than all of Europe’s–visible in satellite photos:
Despite a wealth of natural resources which continues to make world powers drool, S.S. Africa’s improvidence has led her to become ever more dependent on Western aid as colonialism recedes further into the past:
Despite these ever-growing aid dollars, here is a map of today’s ‘Least Developed Countries’ according to the UN:
2) Public Health and Security
Low future orientation shows itself not only in a country’s infrastructure, but in its public health and security.
a) Sexuality and health
Links have been made between Africans’ lack of future orientation and their sexual habits. This has contributed to public health disasters on both sides of the Atlantic. Michael Minkov:
A large-scale study in the 1990s focused on male sexuality and male sexual behavior outside marriage … in southwest Nigeria. The majority of the community believed that males are by nature sexually polygynous. Only half of the community believed that male sexuality can and should be confined to marriage.
In Nigeria, Caldwell and his African research associates concluded that only 40% of people’s most recent sexual relationship had been between spouses (Caldwell 2002). Later, the researchers found similar patterns across sub-Saharan Africa and discovered that traditional society regarded female immorality as being constituted by sterility, not promiscuity.
Attitudes toward prostitution were also found to be somewhat permissive…. [In Nigeria] “most would have felt more degraded by taking up the traditional activities of rural women, trading and farming” (Caldwell 2002). By the time they were 30, most of those women had returned to their villages, set up a small business, and married. “Unlike such women in earlier Europe or much of contemporary Asia, they did not thereafter spend their time feeling that they would be ruined if their past caught up with them”.
… According to Caldwell, during the 1990s many African interviewees were knowledgeable about the cause of AIDS but did not consider the prospect of death a deterrant and did not intend to desist from their sexual networking practices. Many told the interviewers that they would probably be dead within 10 years even without AIDS, therefore the disease was not considered frightful. (4)
Given such attitudes, global distribution of HIV may not come as a surprise:
And for U.S. Afros:
Keith Richburg, who spent years reporting in Africa, concurs:
One of the obvious reasons the [AIDS] pandemic has spread so far and so fast in Africa is the rampant prostitution and the Africans’ free-and- easy attitude toward sex. Sex with prostitutes and sex with neighbors, co-workers, or almost anyone else is almost a way of life, especially in many of Africa’s sprawling urban centers. African men come from a recent past where polygamy was the norm, and siring dozens of children was the only way of insuring that at least a few would survive past infancy. So today, monogamy still seems an alien concept. (9)
We need hardly belabor the statistics on Afro criminality, which have been covered here extensively. A quick reminder of the situation in Afro-America (click to enlarge):
But what is the link with future orientation? A U.S. public defender (and self-proclaimed ‘liberal’) who works with Afro-Americans speaks:
Most blacks are unable to speak English well. … They often become hostile on the stand. Many, when they testify, show a complete lack of empathy and are unable to conceal a morality based on the satisfaction of immediate, base needs.
This is a disaster, especially in a jury trial. … It is my firm belief many blacks are unable to discuss the evidence against them rationally because they cannot view things from the perspective of others. They simply cannot understand how the facts in the case will appear to a jury.
One of my robbery clients is a good example. He and two co-defendants walked into a small store run by two young women. … They drew handguns and ordered the women into a back room. One man beat a girl with his gun. … All of this was on video.
I asked [my client] how he thought a jury would react to the video. “They don’t care,” he said. I told him the jury would probably feel deeply sympathetic towards these two women … I asked him whether he felt bad for the women he had beaten and terrorized. He told me what I suspected—what too many blacks say about the suffering of others: “What do I care? She ain’t me. She ain’t kin. Don’t even know her.” (3)
A different, non-public-defender lawyer dealing with middle-class Afro-American clients:
Many of my clients are unable to explain even the most basic facts. Often they must take the witness stand, and no matter how many times we have gone over the testimony in advance, I can be surprised by what they say. Some are simply lying and get tangled up in their lies, … Often they seem to say the first thing that pops into their heads. When they are questioned further they cannot remember what they said previously. (3)
This inability to think about the future or to hypothesize someone else’s pain has, as we’ve noted before, contributed to Afros’ elevated criminality all over the globe.
Having seen the effects of low future orientation on a nation’s public infrastructure, public health and security, let us now consider it in the context of a multicultural country’s workplace.
3) The workplace: Quotas and their effects
If in fact ethnic groups have widely different levels of future orientation, would quota policies shoehorning them together lead to dysfunction in the workplace? Witnesses in the U.S. have claimed exactly that.
NYC steelworker and union leader Tom Dilberger lived through the beginning of the quota era and saw the effects on his crews:
Some people will tell you blacks are lazy, but I think a better word for it is childlike. If a pusher gives them a task and leaves, they will sit down because they’re not being watched. It doesn’t seem to register with them that when the pusher comes back he will see that the work has not been done–until they see him coming. Then they will invent some silly excuse for why the work is not done.
… Blacks have similar problems with rigging (the work of putting the right cables on the steel pieces and sending them up). Rigging is an integral part of getting the steel where it is has to go. Ironworkers must know all the different capacities of steel cable, … For some reason, this is something blacks do not seem to pick up.
The same is true with knotcraft. All men in the trade must know certain knots and how to splice. I don’t know why, but blacks don’t seem to get the hang of it. Their abilities to see things before they happen don’t seem to be well developed, and don’t improve as they gain experience.
Finally, blacks do not read blueprints well. That is why there are so few black pushers even after all these years. It’s hard to cover for a guy who can’t read a blueprint. When I taught blueprint reading in the apprentice school, I was able to get it across to the white and [American] Indian guys but not to blacks. (3)
The story of affirmative action in the U.S. military is fascinating and instructive. Some background from psychometrician Linda Gottfredson:
IQ 85 is a second important minimum threshold because the U.S. military sets its minimum enlistment standards at about this level. Although the military is often viewed as the employer of last resort, this minimum standard rules out almost half of blacks (44%) and a third of Hispanics (34%), but far fewer whites (13%) and Asians (8%). The U.S. military has twice experimented with recruiting men of IQ 80-85 (the first time on purpose and the second time by accident), but both times it found that such men could not master soldiering well enough to justify their costs.
As simple de-segregation became hard-core promotion of minorities, career vets like Duncan Hengest watched in disbelief as the armed forces became unrecognizable:
Probably the greatest problem with blacks in the Army today is lack of ability… Blacks also fail the Army’s quite challenging field artillery training course at an appalling rate. At Fort Sill’s Officer Basic Course I was surprised that all of the blacks in my platoon who started with me flunked out or “recycled.” Likewise, all who graduated with me were “recycles” from earlier courses.
In Iraq, I was repeatedly stunned by the inability of many senior black officers to think through problems. In one case, I asked for increased close air support for an area commonly used by insurgents to fire mortars at American bases. A black officer refused air support, suggesting that we “put snipers in trees” to deal with the mortars. Iraq is a barren desert. The trees are mostly irrigated date palms and cannot support a sniper. That black officer worked hard and was certainly brave, but I am still amazed he came up with that foolishness… It took me hours to get fighter-bomber coverage. This was valuable time wasted, and lives were needlessly endangered.
… Once I saw a black major so befuddled by the unit’s vehicle bumper number standard that a five minute maintenance meeting turned into an afternoon marathon. What was the problem? Every combat vehicle in a unit gets a number. For example, 1-300 IN K-6 would be the Kilo Company, First Battalion, 300th Infantry Commander’s Vehicle. Different units have slightly different numbering standards, but they are not hard to figure out–except for this black major, who was stumped.
He was the operations officer, and his failure to grasp the obvious spread out to more important areas. … Eventually nothing worked right. When the head of a 500-man outfit does not have the brains to make common tasks routine or enough respect to make orders stick, things go wrong. … Junior officers nicknamed the major “Abortion.” He was quietly replaced, but in a way that let him keep moving up. (3)
Robert Charles, San Francisco firefighter, watched affirmative action cripple the capacities of his Department:
Standards of strength, size, and intelligence, have all been lowered in the name of diversity. The cost has been great.
Recently an Arson Investigator told me what he often sees when he arrives at fires still in progress: Inefficiency, hesitation, and confusion, mostly from non-white and female firefighters and officers, hired and promoted beyond their capabilities. His job in the Arson Bureau takes him all over town, and he confirmed that fires that would have been handled quickly and efficiently in the past now get out of hand and become greater alarms.
… An inexperienced black lieutenant quota-hire lost his life because he didn’t recognize the signs of an impending back-draft (explosion). Eight other firefighters had thrown themselves to the floor to avoid the heat that was sure to come (later estimated at 2000 degrees), but the medical examiner’s report said the man had been standing, and had not properly used his protective clothing. Shouts from the firefighter bashing in the door to “hit the floor,” along with the eerie calm that precedes a back-draft were wasted on this unfortunate man, who was hired and promoted beyond his abilities. Affirmative action literally killed him. (3)
Having considered both the ‘micro’ and the ‘macro’ of the future orientation question, let us briefly examine the possible origins of this trait.
III. Low Future Orientation: The origins
While future-oriented societies are the preferred destination of the world’s millions of would-be migrants, they paradoxically got that way by being not very desirable at all. If social science is to be believed, it was the harsh conditions of the northern climes that led its people to start planning ahead as a way of life.
1) Ancestral environment
In cold climates males were selected for provisioning, rather than for mating success. In warm climates, where female gathering made male provisioning unessential, selection was for mating success. Male hunted meat was essential for female winter survival. Genes that encouraged mating success were selected for in warm climates.
Negroids (blacks) evolved in warm climates, while Caucasians (whites) and Mongoloids (Asians) evolved in colder climates. Mating is assisted by a strong sex drive, aggression, dominance, sociability, extraversion, impulsiveness, sensation seeking, and high testosterone. Provisioning is assisted by anxiety, altruism, empathy, behavioral restraint, gratification delay, and a long life span.
Intelligence research has led to the the R-k selection theory, originally used to talk about the animal kingdom, but appropriated by the late J. Philippe Rushton to chart Asian-European-African biological differences:
According to Rushton’s theory, […] Blacks tend to be more ‘r’, having smaller brains and more offspring but investing less emotionally and otherwise in each of them while East Asians are more ‘K.’ They have larger brains and fewer children but invest more in them. Whites come somewhere in between. Such characteristics, and those associated with them such as intelligence, taken in the mass, have profound effects on the kinds of societies these racial groups produce.
Why did northern peoples become more ‘K’ ?
Thanks to the challenge of dealing with the colder winters and scarcer food supply of Europe and North East Asia, the Oriental and White races moved away from an r-strategy towards the K-strategy. This means more parenting and social organisation which requires larger brain size and a higher IQ’ (‘Race, Evolution and Behaviour’ p 89).
2) Recent adaptations
Other, more recent eras that could have affected our time preference include the late Middle Ages, as described by Gregory Clark in A Farewell to Alms. Clark,
‘discovered that the well-to-do of this time had an enormous survival advantage compared to their poorer peers. By examining wills from pre-industrial England, he found that the wealthy had far more surviving children than the poor. Similar patterns have been seen in continental Europe and probably also occurred in East Asia.‘
‘I suspect that was this case for most of the civilized world in the northern latitudes. This created a selective pressure that favored evolution of “bourgeois” traits in the population, as “people gradually developed the strange new behaviors required to make a modern economy work. The middle-class values of nonviolence, literacy, long working hours and a willingness to save emerged.”’
(See also Ron Unz’s ideas on a similar process in East Asia, via Peter Frost.)
3) Neurological evidence
As we have seen, future orientation and math ability may be correlated. So does the latter have any genetic basis?
- Libertus et al. (2011) showed that four-year-olds have an innate ‘number sense.’
- Starr et al. (2013) showed that ‘number sense’ in 6-month-old babies predicts math test scores at age three.
- Shakeshaft et al. (2013) showed that 60% of math ability is genetic, based on large-scale twin studies.
Other interesting tidbits:
A new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine says that the size and circuitry of certain parts of children’s brains are excellent predictors of how well they’ll respond to intensive math tutoring.
Menon’s research team took MRI scans of 24 third-graders just before they underwent eight weeks of rigorous math tutoring. The kids who were tutored showed across-the-board gains in their arithmetic skills, with the levels of their improvement varying wildly — from 8 percent improvement up to 198 percent.
The researchers found that the kids who responded the best to tutoring tended to have a larger and more active hippocampus. … Even more than its size, the hippocampus’s ability to get along with other parts of the brain was the biggest predictor of math success.
The study looked at the professional success of people who, as 13-year-olds, had taken both the SAT, because they had been flagged as particularly gifted, as well as the Differential Aptitude Test. That exam measures spatial relations skills, the ability to visualize and manipulate two-and three-dimensional objects. While math and verbal scores proved to be an accurate predictor of the students’ later accomplishments, adding spatial ability scores significantly increased the accuracy.
The researchers, from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, said their findings make a strong case for rewriting standardized tests like the SAT and ACT to focus more on spatial ability, to help identify children who excel in this area and foster their talents.
While a great deal of work is being done to understand how genetics could affect our math success (and thus, perhaps, our life success), as far as we know very little has been published on the racial aspects of the question. We shall keep our ear to the ground.
W.H. Collins, in his 1918 tome about lynching in the South, said of the Afro,
He is the optimist of the human race, and lives in the eternal present. He has no sorrows from the past, and no care except for the immediate future.
From the data we have gathered, we dare to suggest that abstract thinking, mathematical ability, future planning, and gratification delay are all somehow linked.
At the micro level, these traits are found more often in members of groups that evolved in colder climates than in warmer ones. At the macro level, the former and the latter create markedly different types of towns, states, nations, businesses, industries, and schools.
Paradoxically, it was the ‘easy’ climates which created the very people who, today, wish to migrate to states led by those who evolved in the ‘hard’ climates. But when a critical migrant mass is reached, the very traits that make cold-people countries such desirable destinations begin to chip away.
At the same time, in Euro countries with very old tropical populations, like the U.S. or South Africa, assimilation has still not happened. The Sun-people-run parts of these countries function markedly less well than the Ice-people-run parts.
All of the above, we believe, form solid arguments for bringing immigration policy back in line with that of yesteryear. The 1924 U.S. Immigration Act or Australia’s ‘White Australia policy’ openly promoted Teutonics. W. European countries would be wise to learn from others’ mistakes and sharply limit future immigration from the global South.
We finish with the late J. Philippe Rushton who, like many, puzzled over the different thinking patterns of Afros:
Still, the low African IQ of 70 remains hard for many to accept. One reason for the disbelief: Africans—and African Americans—display high levels of social competence. They are outgoing, talkative, sociable, warm, and friendly. Psychometrically speaking, they score high on the Extraversion personality dimension.
It is this “winning personality” among Blacks, I believe, that makes it hard for so many to accept the validity of their failing tests of abstract reasoning ability. A typical academic story comes from professors who, on first exposure to African students, express their delight in the high levels of classroom performance. … Only when the students took objectively measured essay or multiple-choice examinations did it become painfully obvious to even the most well-wishing faculty members that their grasp of abstract material failed to live up to their classroom rhetoric.
Future orientation is no joke. Along with commonweal orientation, it is the bedrock of the safe and prosperous societies we so enjoy today. It is, we suspect, part of the genetic heritage of Northerners.
(2) Bonger, Willem Adriaan. Race and Crime. Trans. Margaret Mathews Hordyk. New York: Columbia U. Press, 1943.
(3) Taylor, Jared, ed. Face to Face with Race. New Century Books, 2014.
(4) Minkov, Michael. Cultural Differences in a Globalizing World. Emerald Group, 2011.
(5) Braun, Gedaliah, Racism, Guilt, and Self-Deceit. Jan Lamprecht, 2007.
(6) Kidd, Benjamin. Control of the Tropics. London: MacMillan, 1898.
(7) Prichard, Hesketh. Where Black Rules White : A Journey Across and About Hayti. Westminster : A. Constable & Co., Ltd., 1900.
(8) Mercer, Ilana. Into the Cannibal’s Pot. Bytech, 2011.
(9) Richburg, Keith B. Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa. 1st ed. New York: Basic Books, 1997.