Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ and the Crumbling Foundations of Political Correctness

By Tim Haydon..



Theories focussing on Ice Age Cold as the Driver of Northern Human Evolution

Those who have attempted to explain the obvious fact that the races are real; that they differ in many ways other than the physical and that the civilisations they have produced are by no means equal in achievement as a result, have done so by focusing on intelligence as the key factor along with other sometimes less quantifiable characteristics. These have been related to geographical factors in that it is argued that, on emerging from Africa, the bands of humans which split into the Caucasian and Oriental branches were confronted with a harsh ice-age environment which selected for various characteristics necessary to survive in it and which were not necessary in the African Homeland. Thus J. Philippe Rushton’s r-K life history theory identifies 25 such characteristics such as IQ and  two – egg twinning which vary as between the three major racial groups he mentions; Blacks, Whites and Orientals.

Enter Nicholas Wade

Now here comes Nicholas Wade with an alternative theory which stresses post-glacial Malthusian pressures as the driving force for changes in the nature of the races which have developed in pretty much isolated geographical areas for millennia. These pressures have induced great changes in social relations, such as that from the egalitarianism of the hunter-gathers to the hierarchies which developed following the advent of agriculture and so city living. In turn, populations living in these changed environments have been selected for social and other skills not necessary in the previous ways of life. The same process has occurred with the Industrial Revolution, Wade argues.

Theories not Contradictory

At first sight it might seem that Wade’s theory contradicts Rushton’s but that is not necessarily the case. Rather, it can be argued that Wade complements Rushton and others who have plumped for the Ice Age and coldness as the prime cause of human development in northern latitudes. Wade is  saying that evolution speeded up with the retreat of the glaciers, a view which does not exclude  ice age coldness as the promoter of genetic change.

10,000 Years of Post Glacial Evolution and Left / Liberal Blindness

As it happens, the idea that evolution has continued and actually accelerated since the ice age is not new. It goes back at least as far as 2009 with the publication of the book, ‘The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution’ by the University of Utah anthropologists Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending.  However as Wade says correctly, (2014.5,6):

 ‘It has long been convenient for social scientists to assume that human evolution ground to a halt in the distant past..[T]he social scientists’ official view of race is designed to support the political view that genetics cannot possibly be the reason why human societies differ-the answer must lie exclusively in differing human cultures and the environment that produced them. The social scientist Franz Boas established the doctrine that human behaviour is shaped only by culture and that no culture is superior to another. From this point of view it follows that all humans are essentially interchangeable apart from their cultures and that more complex societies owe their greater strength or prosperity to fortunate accidents such as that of geography’.

The ‘Blank Slate’ and Tyranny

This view of human beings as blank slates is of course profoundly demeaning. It is saying in effect that individuals have no intrinsic social being other than what is given them by the accident of their  culture; that they have nothing to offer personally . Even their rationality is claimed to be ‘universal’. This view which would have to be accepted if true, is in fact deeply false. It lends itself to tyranny, since it diminishes the worth of individuals almost to vanishing point by thinking of them as mere cyphers. It is a gift to those with totalitarian inclinations since it is  user-friendly to the prime motivation of leftists: the joy of writing on these blank slates; of bossing others about;  of  ‘molding‘  them into new, ’perfect’  human beings – in their own image, naturally.

Wade treads on very thin professional Ice when discussing Race

Although Wade asserts the reality of race, one gets the impression that he is desperately aware that he is treading on very thin ice ideologically and is in the greatest danger professionally. Indeed he says exactly that rather obliquely by pointing out the hazards writers on this subject have had to undergo in the past. This is probably the reason for his  own somewhat schizophrenic approach to the subject. He tries very hard  on the one hand to minimise the differences between people of separate races (they are ‘slight’) and the role of IQ in populations (He dismisses ‘I Q and the Wealth of Nations’ by  Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen) whilst in the same breath as it were  expounding a theorythat the various cultures or civilisations which these races were responsible for differ, not because of mere contingent factorsof environment which could be transferable between them, but because of genetic factors peculiar to these races. These factors must include intelligence levels although he does not actually say so, only hints.  He does however actually talk about intelligence when discussing the Chinese and the Jews, for example, but not sub-Saharan Africans.  We are expected to draw our own conclusions.

How Malthusian Pressures bring about Evolutionary Change

So how did the process of selection of genetic characteristics arise in the three major racial groups as a result of Malthusian pressures? According to Wade, those individualswhose social behaviour was better attuned to the structures which these pressures bring about prospered and left more children so that the genetic variations which underlay such behaviours became more common over generations as they fed back into the genome. Through this process, he tells us, the various races evolved the respective social capacities and behaviours that have long been obvious to those who think realistically about such matters.

The Chinese

Thus, regarding the Chinese, we are told that between 1350 and 1850, the population expanded from 65 millions to 430 millions. It was kept in check only by Malthusian constraints and female infanticide. Inheritance practices which divided an estate equally between sons meant that in each generation, ‘a few who were lucky or able might rise but a vast multitude always fell and those near the bottom disappeared from the world’.

While many poor, unsuccessful families sank and perished along with their genes, others rose, thanks to the Imperial examination system for the mandarinate. This system lasted for many generations. The examinations were based on rote memorisation of Chinese classics and formalised commentaries of the texts. They would have selected for high intelligence, memory and extraordinary conformity.

Successful families, including those of high officials could afford to have more children than other and these had a better chance of surviving. Most of their descendants would have sunk socially but as they did, would have disseminated upper class values and higher abilities through the population. At each cycle, the Chinese population became enriched in survival skills. At the same time, authoritarian regimes ruthlessly repressed dissent, just as they do today.  After 2000 years of this, the Chinese population is as we see it:  Highly intelligent, scoring above Europeans on IQ tests, but tending to greater conformity and so lack of originality or inventiveness and openness to new ideas.

In connection with social conformity and group consciousness, Wade might have mentioned the role of rice growing in the formation of the Chinese character. This activity requires the discipline of assiduous attention, foresight and community spirit since in China at least it involves close cooperation between neighbouring growers in the allocation of irrigation water supplies. It must have selected for these characteristics over many generations.  No such cooperation is required of wheat growers, meaning greater individualism, which is more a feature of northern, wheat growng areas of China.

Europeans and the British

When exploring the development of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, Wade thinks that since there is no consensus as to the reasons for it, current explanations – the beginnings of modern democracy, the development ofcompetitive markets, secure property rights including patents – may be put to one side and a completely new approach – a change in the nature of the people – should be engaged.  This change was brought about, he suggests, by a change in the nature of the people.

Wade quotes the work of the sociologist Norbert Elias into the decline in personal violence in Europe since the Middle Ages, which Elias attributes to ‘a long term psychological change in the population’. Between the Middle Ages and modern times, a society-wide shift has occurred towards greater self awareness and self control. This change in personality structure, Elias argues, is due in part to the monopolization of force by the state, meaning that individuals have less need to resort to it themselves, and in part to the greater interconnectedness of urban societies, which required individuals increasingly to attune their conduct to that of others and hence to moderate their behaviour.

Using data compiled by Stephen Pinker, Wade argues that this shift has a genetic basis. Pinker subscribes to the view that the human mind is adapted to the conditions of 10,000 years ago, but as Wade ponts out; since many other traits have evolved more recently than that, why should human behaviour be an exception?

Of course, Pinker’s mental block is ideologically induced. It would be terribly inconvenient if this were so because, ‘ It could have the incendiary implications that aboriginal and immigrant populations are less biologically adapted to the demands of modern life than populations that have lived in literate state societies for millennia’. Exactly  so.

There are four behaviours which steadily ‘domesticated’ the English population between 1200 and 1800. Apart from interpersonal violence, these were literacy, the propensity to save and the propensity to work. These changes transformed a gross, violent and unruly peasantry into an efficient and productive workforce. They were again brought about, it is argued, by Malthusian forces working on a population always on the edge of starvation. In the same way as occurred with the Chinese, the rich had more surviving children than the poor. In the context of a population which was fairly stable between 1200 and 1769, this meant that most children of the rich had to sink in the social scale, since there were too many of them to remain in the upper class. This descent carried into the lower rungs of society the genetically based behaviours which had made their parents rich.

The particular circumstances of Western development in a geographically and so politically fragmented area meant that the western consciousness avoided the monolithic nature of China  and the urge to  conformity so much a feature of that civilisation. European society was far more individualistic, inventive and open to new ideas as a result.

Wade’s Disdain for Christianity

Wade doesn’t think much of Christianity. He describes it as being the creation of St Paul, who wrapped ‘Judaism around the mystery cult creed of an agricultural vegetation god.’ (This is quite wrong. In fact it was not St Paul, in any case a profoundly learned man well versed in Greek philosophy who founded the basis of Christian theology, but Christ himself who was his own theologian. See ‘The Aims of Jesus‘ by Ben F Meyer).  This anti- Christian bias seems to have led him to overlook the role of the dominant belief system of the West in the rise of its institutions and in the ‘domestication’ of its inhabitants. This is a gross mistake. Perhaps Wade thinks that this belief system is a function of an agricultural society, Marxism-style, although he doesn’t actually say so.

European intelligence and other characteristics were undoubtedly necessary for modern empirical science to develop in the West, but beliefs about nature were also key.  Christian doctrine was a necessary although not a sufficient cause, for the rise of empirical science in the West.  Wade points out the well-known attitudes of some medieval and later clerics in opposing certain scientific propositions, but ignores the fact that the modern scientific movement would not have existed at all were it not for the influence of Christian doctrine. Contrary to all other religions and philosophies  including Islam, this saw nature as the good creation of a lawful, loving personal God who could be understood through the rational exploration of his creation.

For a full discussion of this role, first adumbrated in the Harvard Lowell Lectures of 1922 by Alfred North Whitehead, co- author with Bertrand Russell of Principia Mathematica, see eg  ‘For the Glory of God’ and ‘The Victory of Reason’ by Rodney Stark, Professor of Sociology and Comparative Religion at the University of Washington and elsewhere).  The transformation of science into hands-on technology was greatly helped by the agency of Protestantism and the Non-Conformist Academies in 18th Century Britain which saw manual work as God’s work, contrary to the disdain shown for it by educated people in other cultures.

Africa and the Africans

Sub Saharan Africa does not figure much in Wade’s book for the simple reason that it is about the development of institutions and human evolution especially in urban settings and there was little of this in the continent beyond the more primitive. The often poor agricultural land and disease meant that there was limited population pressure and so no growth in urbanisation and social structures. However, this is about to change, he thinks, because of the rapidly increasing population and urbanisation now a feature of the continent. No  doubt though Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen would disagree with any idea that sub-Saharan Africa will ever match the developed world.


Wade’s analysis of human evolution is simplistic. He does not give the attention it deserves to the power of ice age conditions in selecting for survival characteristics. His focus on post-glacial Malthusian pressures to the exclusion of all else, including dominant belief systems such as Christianity is a serious error.

Nevertheless, Wade has performed a valuable service in drawing attention to human evolution in the last 10,000 years and in asserting the reality of race and racial differences. This is a brave thing to do in the present oppressive political climate. Indeed, one wonders how long Wade will continue to write for the New York Times, a deeply liberal newspaper, given the fate of others who have been far less heretical in the Cult of Equality.

He has demolished the pretensions of those who like Jared Diamond in his ‘Guns Germs and Steel’ have argued that the rise of the West was entirely geographically determined. And importantly, even if he has tried to downplay the importance of the race so far as individuals are concerned ( J Philippe Rushton with his 25 racial differences, Richard Lynn, Arthur Jensen etc etc would disagree) he has stressed its importance in the mass in developing institutions.

This is a powerful argument against those who believe that you can change the population of a country by allowing mass immigration and that its institutions will see to it that it will not change its nature, at least not for very long time indeed, perhaps centuries. And only then if Darwinian forces of selection are allowed to play – not likely with modern medicine and benefits which encourage child bearing among the less able.  The  particular irstitutions of a country are created by its particular people who have evolved thanks to their particular history and cultural influences including religion, not the other way around.

7 thoughts on “Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ and the Crumbling Foundations of Political Correctness

  1. (Party Member) Whilst the above is very interesting I would like to point out that this Thursday an event may happen that would be MONUMENTAL for Nationalism. Ukip might break the mould of British Politics if people reject the Multi-Cultural LibLABCON and vote in someone THEY BELIEVE is anti Immigration. This would be a massive step in the RIGHT DIRECTION and I pray it HAPPENS !

    1. What’s really interesting is that this book is from a mainstream individual who writes in probably one of the two or three most liberal newspapers in the USA .

      When this fan happen we really are looking at a watershed in mainstream thinking about race and its role in the formation of culture.

      Make no mistake, Wade’s book is a hand grenade rolled into the fortress of Political Correctness.

  2. A first-rate and scholarly article. Leading-on from this theme, is it not a symptom of the liberal brain-rot pumped into the collective mind by those who trumpet about “equality rights for all regardless” that throughout Europe, including Britain, we now have a political cartel in power which inflexibly promotes the most unequal European society for over 100 years? All humans are equal? Tell that to the thousands of Greek citizens who have committed suicide under the jackboot of economic repression – tell it to the genuinely disabled people in Britain who have committed suicide because their benefits have been unfairly cancelled – tell it to the homeless British and Europeans who see immigrants given houses – to quote Roosevelt, “let them tell that to the Marines!” Europe does not need a European Union – it needs a revolution!

  3. An excellent article which errs in its final paragraph:

    “This is a powerful argument against those who believe that you can change the population of a country by allowing mass immigration and that its institutions will see to it that it will not change its nature, at least not for very long time indeed, perhaps centuries.”

    The whole point about immigration is that it DOES change the population of a country and it IS changing our institutions.

    1. It sure does. Take even the most basic notions of democracy in this country as a good example ie the complete chaos there has been over the count in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets or Bangladesh On The Thames as it should be known as.

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