Politics should be based on science from the bottom up. We have evolved as if our sole goal was to propagate our genes, so political systems have evolved only insofar as they have helped us achieve that goal. So why have various political ideologies, such as the political ‘left’ and the political ‘right’, evolved? In hunter-gatherer societies we lived in small groups of around 150 people, most of whom would be closely related, so it made sense that resources were shared equitably, and hoarding was resented (Ridley 1997). Thus was born socialism. However, living in groups meant that respect for private property would have likely evolved as a Nash equilibrium (Gintis 2007). To attract a mate, men must compete for status, and wealth is a proxy for status. Thus was born capitalism. Power is another proxy for status, and forming a separatist elite who enforce equality among the masses led to communism. Socialism is necessarily totalitarian (Barth (2000), Reisman (2005)). Free market capitalism won out because it leads to prosperity, but we are left with the residues of socialism, with the poor resenting the rich.

We can not transcend our genes (Moxon 2010), it therefore makes sense to align our politics so that they accomodate human nature. Of course, everything that exists today is natural, and as explained above, various political theories exist. Some aspects of natural politics become over-emphasized and run away with themselves. For example, communism emphasized equality which didn't scale beyond a small tribe, feminism over-emphasizes the innate prejudices against ordinary men and the Nazi party over-expanded beyond their natural in-group. We have evolved to cooperate via competition, so to emphasize one to the exclusion of the other is wrongheaded. The above is descriptive, but what about my normative view of politics? I would advocate mean reversion vis-à-vis what is natural.

Vanhanen (2009) shows that the level of democratization depends on resource distribution, which in turn depends on national IQ and mean temperature, whilst national IQ depends on mean temperature. This suggests that democracy is suitable for intelligent populations, but not those of lower intelligence. Interestingly, Iraq was below the theshold for democracy (90%), but only just. China, with its high average IQ, would likely benefit from a democracy.

If politics should accomodate human nature, what is human nature? Human nature includes local specialization, cultural conformism, fierce antagonism between groups, cooperative group defence and groupishness (Ridley (1997), p. 182). As our ancestors discovered, you get a positive sum game if you produce goods via the division of labour (including the sexual division of labour) and distribute them via the invisible hand of the market. Ritual reinforces cultural conformity, so religion should be accomodated. Life is a prisoner’s dilemna, we should punish both defectors and those who fail to punish defectors. It is also natural to reward labour and punish capital. The role of a government should be minimal: national defence and the direct redistribution of wealth. According to Matt Ridley, things that have to be in place to achieve relatively high levels of freedom and prosperity are the rule of law, property rights, freedom of movement and expression, and a sound monetary system that allows people to borrow, invest and trade (Shermer 2009, p. 45). What libertarians such as Ridley are less keen on is internalizing externalities (he is a climate sceptic). In my mind this is essential, otherwise we have a market failure.

To maximize number of votes, a political party should court the median voter. When a distribution is skewed this leads to policy becoming out of kilter with mean voter preferences. Consider the attitude towards annual immigration into the UK of a population of nine voters. Negative immigration represents repatriation.

Voters 5 2 11

mean: 222,222
median: 500,000
Here, we can see that the parties adopt a policy (the median) that is inconsistent with the mean voter's preferences. In practice, courting the median voter means that the major political parties only care about swing voters in key marginals.

Salter (2006) takes a gene-centred approach to politics and considers the relative investment allocated to each of the following, which are listed in order of importance according to genetic similarity: self, offspring, ethny and humanity. In the table below, the various political ideologies are listed in order of preference. Multiculturalism is split into two (you can’t have one without the other). I’ve added ‘mean absolute error’, which is the difference between the ideology and the optimal ideology, universal nationalism; although note that Salter emphasizes that the numbers are merely indicative.

IdeologySelfOffspringEthnyHumanityMean absolute error
Universal Nationalism0.
Multiculturalism for Minorities0.
Multiculturalism for Majorities0.
National Socialism0.40.20.400.165
Radical Christianity0.

It is interesting to note that Radical Christianity came out worst, mainly for investing too little in one’s self and too much in humanity. The difference between Multiculturalism and the ideal is best addressed by National Socialism. This predicts that a multicultural society, such as the United Kingdom, is a catalyst for a far right party, such as the BNP.


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