Recently, I came across a debate between Jared Taylor and Tim Wise. One point of dispute concerned the naturalness of ethnic and racial identification and preference. In his introduction to White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century, Taylor reiterates his point:
Perhaps it is time to question goals that run counter to near-universal behavior. There may be lessons for us in the failure of Soviet-style Communism. It is our era’s foremost example of a system that made mesmerizing promises of an earthly paradise but betrayed those promises. Millions of people were inspired by an ideology that would do away with capitalist exploitation. Marxists believed that the working class would seize the means of production, the state would wither away, selfishness would disappear, and man would live “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs”. In the name of this ideology millions gave their lives—and took the lives of millions of others.
But Communism failed. It failed for many reasons, not least because it was a misreading of human nature. Self-interest cannot be abolished. People do not work just as hard on collective farms as they do on their own land. The almost universal rejection of Communism today marks the acceptance of people as they are, not as Communism wished them to be.
Is it possible that our racial ideals assume that people should become something they cannot?
If most people prefer the company of people like themselves, what do we achieve by insisting that they deny that preference?
Of course, the term natural — whether we are talking about preferences, identifications, or behaviors — has moral connotations. Whether a way is natural in the sense of proper and right isn’t something that can be decided empirically. It’s a philosophical question. We can, nonetheless, ask if racial and ethnic identification and preferences are natural in the genetic sense. There’s a weak and strong formulation to this question: “Is there a genetic basis to group identification and preferences, in general– with groups potentially culturally defined in terms of race and ethnicity?” and “Is there a genetic basis to identification and preferences specifically for racial and ethnic groups?”
The former question can unequivocally be answered in the affirmative.
Weber et al., 2011. Genetic Influences on Group Politics.
Is there any evidence that bears on the latter question? Elsewhere I pointed to research which found both domain general systems and essentialist systems. There were genetic bases specifically for racial and ethnic preferences:
Naturally, one should not expect either of these findings to lead ideological anti-racists to question their basic assumptions, however illiberal they might be. Anti-racists will just double there attempts to cure people of their immoral ways:
Racist? Angry? The answer may be in a pill
A pill to enhance moral behaviour; a treatment for racist thoughts; a therapy to increase your empathy for people in other countries – these may sound like the stuff of science fiction but, with medicine moving closer to altering our moral state, society should be preparing for the consequences, according to a book reviewing scientific developments in the field….
Kahane does not advocate putting morality drugs in the water supply but does suggest that if administered widely, they might help humanity tackle global issues….
…Relating to the plight of people on the other side of the world or of future generations is not in our nature,” he says. “This new body of drugs could make possible feelings of global affiliation and of abstract empathy for future generations.”