Modern Exploiters of the Earth’s Downtrodden

The schools teach kids to suspect the motives of capitalists. They are supposedly motivated strictly by greed. Being careerists themselves, teachers give a pass to other careerists. However, what the great socialist Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” certainly applies to do-gooders as well. The motives of those who are forcibly resettling unassimilable foreigners in American and European communities are as suspect as those of the slavers of three centuries ago. The damage they are doing is at least equally great. Let’s compare.

African slaves were tribesmen who had been captured by other Africans and transported to the coast to be sold. They were people with no control of their lives, in desperate circumstances. Had they not been sold to the white man, they could well have been sold to Arabs, as had been going on for centuries, or might have become victims of cannibalism or human sacrifice.

Today’s African refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan are equally desperate. Tribal and religious warfare, and their own uncaring government, force them into camps where international “humanitarians” can pick them up for relocation. Refugees from sectarian fighting in Syria and Afghanistan are coming as well. The aid workers’ salaries are generously funded by an assortment of nongovernmental operations, the United Nations among them. They receive fawning accolades from the governing classes – well enough fixed that they do not have to live alongside said refugees.

Slavery did not begin with the availability of Africans. European law and institutions were in place when the Portuguese discovered slaves for sale along the coast of Africa in the fifteenth century. Roman law, which had defined the position of a slave in society, still applied. Elsewhere in Europe institutions such as serfdom filled the same role. The Barbary Pirates had been enslaving Europeans for centuries. Russia finally emancipated its slaves, fellow Slavs, only one year before the United States freed the blacks.

Descendants of the slaves appear to have done better than the beneficiaries/victims of today’s humanitarians. Though their ancestors ran a deadly, brutal gauntlet of transport and hard work, along the way they learned the white man’s language and ways. As Tocqueville noted, those who were able to learn, who were of economic value, were generally treated with dignity. Just as in Jesus’ day, intelligent slaves were used as teachers and bookkeepers. Their civil status did not greatly detract from the quality of their lives. Booker T. Washington lamented the passing of the generation that had grown up in slavery. Their white masters had taught them trades, whereas Blacks growing up after emancipation had less to offer in the workplace.

Today’s so-called humanitarians are not able either to turn Somalis and Ethiopians into anything like white people, or enable them to reestablish their own cultures in rural Vermont or small-town Sweden. On the one hand they foster a sense of entitlement, raising the expectation that refugees can rise to the standard of living of their host country. On the other hand, the do-gooders’ commitment to multiculturalism leaves intact all of the cultural hindrances, including favoring native languages, that prevent them immigrants from finding jobs and assimilating.

W.E.B. Du Bois’ arithmetic was approximately right when he called on the “talented tenth” of black people to compete on a par with whites. The top 10% of Blacks are statistically smarter than the average white, and should be encouraged to exploit their abilities. On the other hand, when today’s humanitarian demagogues insist that Black and white populations are equal in average ability, they do everybody a disservice. They create unfulfilled expectations and resentments among Blacks. It is not just America. In just the couple of decades since the humanitarians introduced large African populations, Sweden and Finland are being called racist societies. The problem is with the immigrants, not their hosts, but nobody can afford to tell the truth.

Neither the slavers nor the modern “humanitarians” take externalities into account. Southerners who could not afford slaves resented them. The wealth they created led to a two class society, aristocratic slaveholders and white trash “crackers.” Today’s humanitarians willfully neglect the impact that the refugees and asylum-seekers they dump on unsuspecting town in America and Europe have on school, police, prisons and other social services. They likewise ignore statistical evidence indicating that crime rates will rise and property values will fall.

The secretive tactics they use indicate that they are well aware of the impact. If the locals know what’s going on, they will understandably, rightly resist the settlement. Therefore there is a concerted effort, from the President of the United States on down, to keep the targeted local communities in the dark until the last possible moment, and to grease them up with the propaganda of multiculturalism before slipping it to them. The press is complicit. One never reads about immigrant rapes in the New York Times. “The Sweden Story,” “La France Orange Mecanique” and similar books document how immigrant crimes are ignored overseas.

The Christian church has played a significant and morally ambiguous role in both slavery and modern resettlement. The Jesuits led the parade as Spain and Portugal colonized South America. Initial efforts to enslave the Indians didn’t work. The Indians simply did not respond, even to the most brutal exhortations, to do slave work. The twin goals of enslaving the Indians and making good Christians out of them were not compatible. Missionaries made some deep compromises, accepting the importation of African slaves, primarily to Brazil, and tolerating the encomienda system in Spanish colonies.

Today’s Christian church, in particular the militant leftist successors to the formerly mainline Protestant churches, are leading the charge in resettling refugees and asylum-seekers. Multiculturalism forbids them from proselytizing. They actively support the refugees’ perpetuation of their own religions and customs. They support them even when they are in flagrant conflict with the mores, values and even laws of the host country. Christ’s message has been interpreted in a vast number of ways over the past two millennia, but this may be the first time it has been so forcibly directed against Christian populations. To what end? It appears to be out of contempt for traditional Christianity. The militants have a Marxist contempt for American society, as well as the everyday Americans who populate the heartland. With an absolute dearth of examples to demonstrate that their resettlements work, anywhere in the world, at any time in history, they simply impose their will on their fellow citizens. The functionaries collect their salaries. Advocates of the welfare state collect new voters. When it all collapses, they will cry that nobody could have seen it coming.

In the end, salaried humanitarians funded by transnational institutions, governments, churches and philanthropists will have done more harm than the slavers of yesteryear. When slavery died, the Blacks were able to take their part in the most prosperous nation in world history. After the humanitarians have destroyed that rich society, there will be nobody to pay the benefits, and no place to seek asylum.

Will a Serendipidous Catastrophe Save the White Race?

White people are losing ground. Our numbers are dwindling in every traditionally Caucasian country. We are not having enough children to reproduce ourselves. Meanwhile, Black, Muslim and Hispanic populations are burgeoning in their traditional homelands – and in ours. Is it really that bleak? It may not be.

First of all, we are victims of our own success and our own consciences. It is white people who decided that we are overprivileged and that we are obliged to let other peoples have their place in the sun. It is fairer to say that we are giving rather than losing ground.

Most significantly, we have concluded that the earth is overpopulated, that its resources are fast running out. In the end, we have concluded that we are unworthy of reproducing ourselves. We long ago gave up the religious convictions that would have us believe that having children was a good thing. White voters established governmental systems that make having children unattractive. We promised ourselves, via The State, that our fellow citizens would take responsibility for our medical and retirement needs. Our politicians believe, and have convinced us, that asking the ethnicity of the taxpayers is an irrelevant and unbecoming question. One taxpayer is as good as another, and open immigration will supply the numbers.

Extrapolating population trends in the United States does not look promising for white people. Our birth rates have been declining for decades. Having kids is too expensive, fewer people feel obliged to do it for family or religious reasons, and more and more people are opting for gay in swinger lifestyles that don’t include children.pyramid

The statistics are muddled, seemingly on purpose. The Census Bureau conflates European whites with Hispanics. The published statistics that show that the white population is more or less reproducing itself are wrong. The supposed whites of Latin American origin are more than reproducing themselves, but we descendents of pioneer stock are not.

Making a ludicrously large number of assumptions, the biggest of which is that current trends will perpetuate themselves over the next 25 years, one can make the projections shown in the diagram. The number of non-Hispanic white babies born (represented at the bottom of the graph as the size of the age cohort aged 0-4) will continue to decline. The baby boomer generation will continue to move, like a pig through a python, until the oldest of them turn 90 at the end of the projection, at which time they will still be the largest age cohort of white people. Isn’t that a frightening thought! The overall number of non-Hispanic whites will drop from 192 to 183 million.

More and more women do not want the burden of children, and more and more men seem to be unwilling to commit to a family. The arithmetic behind the diagram optimistically predicts that white women will produce babies at today’s rate. However, their fertility has been declining for decades and there is nothing to suggest that it will reverse itself. Boldly projecting forward using present fertility, births to non-Hispanic white women will drop from 10.3 million to 8.2 million over the 25 years.

The largest caveat in making such a projection is that the years since World War II have been remarkably stable. The world has not seen any large wars, epidemics, or other massive disruptions. It has been a time of relative peace and prosperity. The era witnessed a flowering of technology and productivity which resulted in unprecedented prosperity. Liberal democratic governments throughout the world instituted safety nets to protect their citizens from unemployment, health problems, and poverty in old age. All this has worked for the 70 years since the end of World War II. However, only the blind can fail to observe that time is running out on the welfare state. There are too many people drawing its benefits, and too few people paying taxes. As the diagram show, we white people, the backbone of the tax paying class, are getting older: too few are joining the labor force, and too many are leaving it. Governments throughout the developed world are going bankrupt at a rate that is both fast and accelerating.

But that’s not all! People joining the labor force are less able to compete, with older members and with foreigners. They are born dumber., at a time when the skew of jobs available increasingly favors the more intelligent. There will be more and more freeloaders, as fewer and fewer are capable of doing mankind’s work. Massive resentments are predictable – nobody likes to think of themselves as useless. While we can only speculate what will happen, we can be fairly sure that something will. That which cannot go on forever – will not. To throw Francis Fukayama’s question back at him, what happens after the end of history?

The white race continues to have huge advantages. The land we control is more extensive, better watered and more fertile than that of any other race. We have far and away the best weaponry to defend ourselves against outside aggressors. Should they choose to use them domestically, the white majorities remain in a position to suppress any uprising by other races within their borders. The institutions that almost all societies have now adopted were products of the Enlightenment. We invented them, and in many cases do a better job of administering educational institutions, police departments, military organizations and the like.

When one reflects on the resources of the other races, and what may happen to them over the next few decades, the prospects for the white race do not seem that dire. If that is so, the key question becomes one for us as individuals. How do we prepare for changes to come? But first, here is an extremely broad-brush handicapping of the prospects of other races.

The black races are reproducing themselves handily. Hillary Clinton observed that it takes a village to raise a child. The village is especially useful when you don’t know or care who the father is. The Blacks have been good at having children, but have not been socializing them to be productive workers in a modern economy. They do not have, and have shown no ability to acquire either the intellect or the temperament to, for instance, run South Africa or Zimbabwe after they took them over. There is not enough land to support them. Africa’s continued existence, and that of the black race in other countries, appears to depend on the goodwill of the white man.

Native Americans face the worst fertility problem than white people. They are having fewer children, and those children are ill-equipped either by temperament or intellect to compete in the white man’s world. Four centuries after Dartmouth and Harvard College wrote Indian education into their founding documents, the Indians remain defiantly outside of the mainstream culture. They have the good grace to be committing racial suicide by not reproducing.

The North Asian peoples – Chinese, Japanese and Koreans –have the same kind of fertility problems as we white people. The Western concept of individualism is hurting them even more than those of us who invented it. Living cheek by jowl, they cannot afford to indulge a Western appetite for consumer goods such as cars and houses. Nevertheless they want them, and they are destroying their habitat in the quest. They have far less agricultural land, water, and mineral wealth than we white people. Their air pollution even affects Californians.

Even worse, in moving to the cities Asians have adopted the Western notion of “true love.” They are abandoning traditional arranged marriages only to discover that they really are not given to romantic love. Their fertility is plummeting. As among us in the West, it is the smartest who are having the fewest children. North Asians are the only major racial group with average intelligence rivaling (exceeding, actually) that of white people. Though they are uniquely positioned for the triumphal age of technology, they are not having children they would need in order to exploit this advantage.

South Asia is the burned-out cradle of civilization. The land is overworked, people undernourished and well below white and North Asian averages of intelligence and enterprise. The smartest among them –and among that many people, there are many highly intelligent ones – have been immigrating to Europe and the United States as quickly as they can. South Asian fertility appears to be affected by technology in much the same ways as white and North Asian cultures. Arranged marriage is on the wane, and the men and women are discovering that they really don’t like each other.

The last major race to consider are Latin Americans. They are in actuality a blend of many races, Native American, white and African with an admixture Chinese and Japanese. Whether or not they are a race, they can be considered as an evolutionary group. Their averages of intelligence and industry reflect the admixture. America is witness to their capabilities. They do not produce scholars, business executives and other leaders in anywhere close to their proprtions in society. Conversely, the business elite of Latin American countries remain the descendants of Europeans, Japanese, Lebanese and other traditionally successful cultures.

The water and agricultural resources Latinos control, a somewhat distant second to those of the white civilizations, are unequally distributed. The Southern Cone countries have a lot, most others do not have much.

When all is said and done, the North Asians appear to be the only racial group remotely well positioned to supplant white people in an evolutionary sense, and they suffer from worse resource and reproductivity problems than we do. When today’s world order collapses, it appears the wreckage fall to us whites simply because no other group is positioned to take it. How will our less numerous, less intelligent successors deal with it? What about you and me?

The white race is currently going through a population bottleneck. Many have been convinced that, given the world’s scarce resources, having children is almost criminal. Others have concluded they can’t afford them. It may get worse: many white children are being born to people without the wit to find work even today. Technological progress does not bode well for them; it may be that the best existence they could hope for is being doped up on Aldous Huxley’s soma. Which it appears we already have, in the form of legalized dope and video games.

Given that all others appear destined to fall by the wayside, there may well be a promising future for the progeny of those of us who are smart enough to find meaningful work in this generation and committed enough to find a partner and create a stable home for raising the next. It is a matter of faith. Do we have it? Do we cherish our inheritance enough to pass it along? That question, above all, may decide the future of the race.

White people are the product of evolution… which works only through reproduction.

Ah, mankind! The crowning achievement of three billion years of evolution. Except – we now dismiss evolution and we take credit ourselves for our achievements! What hubris!

We race realists will make the blindingly obvious, and scientifically indisputable, statement that world’s different races must be the product of evolution. As Darwin himself observed, a large successful species such as ours invariably separates into races and sub species adapted to different geographies and niches.

Adaptation, the process of becoming better suited to an environment, means becoming more disease-resistant, faster, or better able to deal with unexpected problems that the environment presents. Intelligence is the term we use to describe this adaptation. Yes, evolution, which favored intelligence over the seven million years since our ancestors split from chimpanzees, seems somehow still to favor intelligence. The unavoidable conclusion, except for those whose thought is muddled by liberal fantasies, is that different peoples have to have evolved to different average levels of ability.

Altruism has been another of our northern European adaptations. The survival of our own genome depends on the survival of the tribe. We learned to support the weaker members of the clan. As we consolidated from clans into tribes, nations, and states that altruism persisted. It served our ancestors as nations and states coalesced and competed with one another.

We support other like us. The hierarchy of our loyalties summed up by Hamilton’s Rule: family, clan, tribe and nation. My genome is carried by my direct descendants. Each child carries half, grandchildren a quarter, and so on. But it is also carried by my people. In biological terms, I am part of their gene pool. I share a measurable amount of my genome with cousins, both close and distant, and eventually with all populations of Northern Europe.

Altruism persists even today in the liberals’ argument that all of mankind is somehow our tribe. Not at all – peoples are still in competition with one another. Our altruism is seen by other breeding groups as unilateral disarmament. They don’t understand it, they don’t trust it, but they certainly are willing to take advantage of it. Yesterday’s virtue has become today’s vice. Pathological altruism has entered the lexicon. The United Nations and European Union convince nations everywhere that an infusion of Somalis will be good for them.

I am not writing to complement us on our insight, but chastise us for what even us realists are unwilling to see. Our problems are not with the other, but with ourselves. Just as weeds won’t grow in a healthy lawn, a healthy people is able to withstand incursions by other races. Our European ancestors did it for centuries. We have lost that ability, and are being overrun. Why? How?

Richard Dawkins famously wrote in The Selfish Gene that the phenotype – the living, breathing animal – is no more than the vehicle for its genes to reproduce themselves. Primitive people know that. The individual is transient, ephemeral. Only the tribe is permanent. Carle Zimmerman wrote that individuals in primitive societies regard themselves as simply trustees for one generation of their tribal inheritance. It frightens us that modern Moslems, sharing that view, are so reckless with their lives – and ours. But, we must concede that they are reproducing themselves. They remain evolutionarily successful whereas the fertility rate for Caucasians in every nation of the world is below replacement level.

Individualism is a perverse outgrowth of our overdeveloped brains. The Greeks, then the Enlightenment philosophers gave the full flowering of individual talents greater emphasis than passing such talents along to one’s offspring. Providently, the people who entertained such lofty notions remained a minority until the last century. The modern age, however, fostered the conceit that we are all Enlightenment men, such precious and delicate flowers that we cannot be bothered with making seed. One may welcome such thinking among progressives – may they die out quickly – but it almost equally affects those of us who would like to pass along our white identity.

It has long been known that animals raised apart from their kind do not reproduce well. Animals born in radically changed social environments also do poorly. Even though we would like our children to appreciate, absorb and reproduce the culture that formed us, we cannot. That culture has largely vanished from America. As a prolog to the proposing some fairly radical solutions, let me catalog some significant changes since my boyhood in the 1950s.

I went to school with kids like myself, taught by teachers like our parents. The teachers saw it as their job to form us into adults like them. We sang traditional songs. We learned square dances. We learned social dancing, and the etiquette of inviting girls to dance. Our textbooks depicted families like ours – the kind we were being programmed to form.

We were taught to extend to girls an array of courtesies and considerations that make sense only on the assumption that they would mature into women, being primary responsibility for our offspring. Why would I open a door, or carry a heavy parcel for another person who is no more than a competitor in the marketplace? I do it because women are essential to perpetuating my genome. It makes evolutionary sense.

We had institutions like Cub Scouts, Brownies, Boy Scouts, the YMCA and others that reinforced the notion that boys would grow into men, girls into women, and that they would marry one another and have kids. Moreover, we were members of a community, and were expected to contribute to that community. Our parents took leadership positions in local government, Scouts, church and other institutions, and we were quite consciously trained to assume such roles in our turn.

Most of us belonged to churches. No, we were not so credulous as to accept the Bible as the ultimate authority. We were simply humble enough to concede that neither science nor philosophy, and certainly not politics, had all the answers. We accepted scripture and preaching the way our ancestors had done. It is our cultural inheritance, and if not a body of knowledge to answer every question, at least a body of wisdom about how to lead one’s life.

Our parents were self-reliant. Roosevelt’s Social Security notwithstanding, they planned for their own retirement. They paid their own medical bills. They disciplined their kids – and neighborhood kids as necessary. They trusted each other, and knew each other well enough to work problems out without resorting to lawyers.

Thus, the world of my childhood had evolution covered from both angles. The whole society impressed upon us kids the expectation that we would marry and have children. Those same institutions, in turn, offered the promise that they would help form our children in the image of our society. As among Zimmerman’s primitives, the interests of society were still able to contend strongly against individual interest, at least to a great enough extent that society perpetuated itself.

Sir Arthur Keith, writing at the time of my birth, understood the implications of evolution for us Caucasians. Evolution had been a hot topic for the previous half century, among luminaries such as Darwin, Galton, and Herbert Spencer.

We modern traditionalists, conservatives and/or libertarians of today are more prone to state our case in Enlightenment language, that of individual rights. We rightly contend that the government has no right to invite immigrants, to shut us up in the name of political correctness, or to invade our privacy. We are looking after ourselves, as individuals.

In rising to defend our phenotype, our genotype is left to shift for itself. Which it does, in perverse ways. White people not bright enough to have accumulated property or hatched ideas worth defending through the political process let instinct guide them with regard to children. The smarter among us – you and I – have our elbows out, contending with liberals and other threats. We despair of raising children in an environment we know all too well to be hostile. And… we don’t have them.

There’s the rub. If not for our posterity, for whom would we save the country? We concede the fight before the battle is joined.

Our dismal fertility means that we white people are set for another shake-out, a bottleneck of reduced population. We will leave behind the liberals who did not deign to have children. Technology will obsolete, and probably eventually doom human strains without wit enough to master it. Those above middle age in the advanced societies will discover that government promises of health care and retirement income are unsustainable. Just as in the former Soviet Union, the promises will persist, but the actuality will be that these societies must employ inflation to make them affordable – in other words, meaningless. Those who cannot contribute to their own upkeep by continuing to work, and don’t have children to care for them, will feel the same pinch as elderly former Soviets do today. We hope our children will muddle through. How?

Evolution is the survival of the fittest. It requires several conditions. There must be enough births to sustain a population. For the species to improve, there must be more born than can survive. Otherwise there is no mechanism for eliminating less useful traits from the gene pool. Additionally, the more fit must reproduce more successfully than the unfit. Attributes of fitness: resistance to disease, physical strength and intelligence, are all heritable. White people do not come close to meeting any of these conditions. Until we do, it is vain to even consider other races’ success vis-à-vis our own. We have doomed ourselves from the start.

Evolution itself is a blind, purposeless force, whatever the intelligence of the creatures on which it operates. However, a few times in human history intellectual currents have changed the course of evolution. The brilliant thinkers of antiquity – Buddha, Confucius, and Jewish, Greek and Roman writers established cultural institutions that made their adherents dominant. Culture co-evolved with the genome, bringing the Asians a dogged work ethic and us the blessing and curse of our altruism. Christians prevailed in ancient Rome because they alone believed in “proles, fides, sacramentum” or children, fidelity, and the sacred, while others pursued hedonistic pleasures. To make it work they established their own communities apart from the heathen mainstream.

We may have some remote hope of nudging evolution this way or that along its blind path. In any case, we can anticipate where it is headed and avoid our bloodline getting steamrolled.

The first and most important observation is that today’s political processes will not save us. So-called liberal democracy is the captive of mass sentiment: smart politicians pandering to dumb voters. The self-interest of those voters is firmly in the present; our evolutionary interest is in the future. The voters are average; evolution favors the strong. Here are five ways we as individuals can, ever so slightly, nudge evolution our direction.

We can bear three or more natural children and raise them in a stable environment. That’s two for replacement, plus a spare to increase our numbers, or just in case one doesn’t turn out. This commitment involves sacrifice of time, money, and freedom. The choice of a mate is often a compromise. We have to have the courage to bypass those who, however attractive, don’t want children. We have to recognize the need for compromises and maintain the moral courage to live with them. No spouse is ideal, but our progeny usually benefit if we stay together.

We can set examples for our children, through our own lives, of the values that will enable their progeny to succeed. These involve the traditional virtues of hard work, thrift, commitment to family, and leadership in the community as well as earning a living. “Protestant Ethic” was a serviceable all-inclusive phrase for these values.

At a local level we can attempt to maintain homogeneous communities and do our best to control the influences on our children. If we raise them with the idea that they will become parents in their turn, and will contribute to the community, they may just do it. The Mormons offer one example. The Amish, the Hutterites in the Hasidic Jews are others. Note that no examples spring to mind of secular groups succeeding in this. Having children is an act of faith; there is nothing logical about it. Even if we are not religious, we have to have a religious-like commitment to our people.

We can educate children to be good spouses and responsible citizens as well as to earn a living. Children are socialized by peers and other adults in the community just as much as parents. The choices of where to raise them and how to educate them are of paramount importance. The right choice may involve making financial sacrifices to raise a family away from the city, in places like Idaho or Montana, Chile or Ukraine, and to home school them. We want to raise them among people with traditional values rather than the free lunch mentality and Gay BLT smorgasbord values of big city schools, public and private. Truly gay kids will figure it out without the active encouragement of teachers. We can accept them if they are, but for the sake of our genome, pray it is otherwise. The religious groups cited above demonstrate the advantage of raising kids in a community of like-minded people.

We must participate actively in the political process, to protect our own interests against the encroachments of others who would deprive us of our property and live at our expense, and prevent us by force from forming our own children to be our legitimate progeny, by culture as well as by blood. Religion, home schooling, commitment to freedom, and above all commitment to our white identity under constant challenge. We need to recognize the challenge and defuse it by keeping a low profile, changing where we live, or as a last resort, taking the fight to a political arena in which we are vastly outnumbered.

We have to concede the irrationality of our project. There is no logic driving our desire to perpetuate our kind, no more than three billion years of evolutionary history. Peoples who have not had the drive to reproduce died out. We can also, however, point out the absurdity of the opposition. For whom are liberals pretending to save the planet, if not their own progeny? We have to have religious-like conviction regarding our desire to have children, and be willing to call out the absurdity of our opponents’ dogmatism. Stick it to those liberals with Darwin-fish stickers on their cars – point out how utterly at odds their positions are to evolution.

Evolution is unfair. If it has better equipped us for survival than some others, so be it. That’s how it works. If Caucasians are to avoid becoming the dodo birds of human evolution, we cannot be embarrassed about exploiting traits in which we are superior, looking out for our own. If we fail to acknowledge our white identity, we perish.

Democracy vs. evolution: a paradox at the heart of modern civilization

Mankind’s genius for illogic is a fascinating topic of modern research. We find something attractive about both horns of a paradox and fail to register that our beliefs are irreconcilably conflicted.

We believe in evolution and democracy. We believe in the individual’s right to self-fulfilment, but are concerned at the same time for the welfare of future generations. We celebrate equality, while our runaway technology magnifies the distance between the haves and have-nots, or rather, the cans and the can-nots, by leaps and bounds. Embracing both sides of these irreconcilable paradoxes, we are sinking into a quagmire.

We believe in evolution. Progressives proudly sport Darwin fish bumper stickers and ridicule the bumpkins who believe we are products of a divine Creator.

We believe in democracy – government by the people – which in turn posits the fundamental equality of all people. We fail, however, to grasp that both humans and human institutions are subject to evolution. Evolution rewards inequality – the survival of the fittest. Our attempts to embrace both sides of this dichotomy are killing us.

Democracy, because it treats all citizens as equals, has been forced into the position of positing that all people are in fact equal. The founding fathers certainly knew better. They constructed an elaborate structure to ensure that the common man’s voice and opinion were filtered through those of his betters via a system of republican government.
The tiered system of enfranchisement has been under attack since its inception. It is always to some politican’s benefit to bring in more voters, and the case can always be made that it is mean-spirited to exclude them. In the US the voting franchise was broadened to include men without property, then minorities, then women, then mere teenagers, and lately ex-convicts and illegal aliens. The right to vote has been similarly expanded in almost every world democracy.
Two things have invariably been true. First, there have always been capable people among the disenfranchised. But second, the average level of civic involvement of the voting public has gone down with each expansion. A few criminals and illegal aliens will be well-informed and civically involved voters – but not many.

Expansions cannot be reversed. Because policians must attract votes from every enfranchised group across the spectrum, they cannot offend any by pointing out obvious differences. Instead, they find it easier to regard unequal outcomes among individuals sexes and races as evidence of discrimination. Discrimination is the only politically acceptable explanation.

Democracy has also institutionalized altruism. On the principle that we are all equal, misfortunes are construed as naught but bad turns of fate which could befall any of us. No citizen must be allowed to suffer from hunger, ill health, unemployment or any other preventable condition. Certainly the children of such unfortunates are not to blame for their plight. It is the responsibility of a democratic society to support them, and to go out of its way to “level the playing field.” To question such altruism as unsustainable is called heartless. Voices that do are virulently suppressed.

On the other hand evolution, as defined by Darwin, is the survival of the fittest. It is the process whereby individual differences, about which Darwin went on a length, lead to the differential ability to leave surviving progeny. That is how evolution works. The individuals, the groups, the gene pools which are most successful are the ones which survive and leave progeny and the others become extinct. The fundamental premise is exactly the opposite of democracy: all people are different.

Genes and cultures coevolve. We nordic types developed altruistic behavior – and genes – because tribes that altruistically supported their members outcompeted others. Ditto the intelligent, hard-working and scholarly East Asians, and the verbally and financially adept Jews. Hundreds of human societies have come and gone over the five millennia of recorded human history. Every group bore more children than could survive. The strongest did survive, displacing the weaker. So it continued until the Industrial Revolution and beyond, and the rise of modern democracies. The World Wars of the twentieth century were clashes of titans, competitions between the most successful products of human evolution.

The horrific bloodshed of those wars gave mankind pause. Moreover, the communications and transportationtechnologies that these dominant peoples had created reduced the distances between peoples. Western people recoiled at the human price of strife among peoples – that another war could result in the anhiliation of all mankind. Now that they could more easily visit and communicate with others, they also developed an appreciation for the humanity of other peoples. The human brain is not very nuanced We reclassified the global “other” from “not like us – unfriendly” to “like us – friend,” from barbarian to equal. That rough computation is also wrong, the consequences of which are playing out today.
Evolution is working more than ever in today’s mating process. The best and brightest of both sexes are selected and thrown together in elite universities and technology companies. When they marry and bear children – if they do so – those childern stand to inherit brains enough to succeed in the technological society their parents are building.

Unfortunately, however, the elite become enamored of the things they can do with the money they make, and the very process of making it, to the exclusion of having children.

Technology means increases in productivity. Doing more work with fewer people. Those few are the ones who are able to read the instructions, communicate intelligently with each other, use computers and program computers. There is increasingly less use for people who do the same mindless job over and over – at the very time the birthrate is growing for precisely these people.

Childbearing has been left to the less capable strata of society. Since that feckless lot cannot be entrusted with the responsibility, bureaucrats ever on the lookout for justifications of their existence have taken over more and more responsibility for child rearing. The rising generation, less capable from birth, is conditioned to depend on government largess for everything in life. Democracy dictates that they be allowed to vote for that government, which of course they do. They vote themselves more and more of both handouts and government.
The conflict between the democratic dream of equality and the Darwinian observation that differences among people and peoples are natural, and that they enlarge themselves, is severe and irreconcilable.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” We are not even to first base. We refuse to recognize the paradox. It will bite us.

Putting Ukraine’s Russian Language Issue into an International Perspective

Vladimir Putin makes a big point of protecting Russian speakers in Ukraine as if they were Russian. The huge flaw in his logic is the fact that a vast majority of the people in the country speak Russian. They also speak Ukrainian. It is the largest natively multilingual country in the world. Moreover, the language issue is seldom as divisive as Putin would make it seem. Let’s take a look.

Switzerland is the world’s most perfectly multilingual country. This country of less than 8 million speaks German, French, Italian and Romanche. The percentages are 65 percent, 23 percent, eight percent and one percent. As a bonus, most educated Swiss speak English as well. There is no notable friction on language front.

Some cities are quite bilingual: Brussels in Flemish and French, Montréal in English and French, and Strasburg in German and French. Knowing the language is a simply a matter of getting along. These cities happen to be located on linguistic borders. The countries on either side of their particular borders, however, tend to be monolingual. Or, if they are not, they use English as a second language.

English is far and away the world’s most important second language. It is a mandatory subject in elementary schools in the smaller northern European countries – the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. While natives of these countries all speak their native language, they expect to speak English when they study abroad, travel, and do business.

English is the world’s lingua franca. It is the language that Indians from different regions of that vast country use to communicate with one another. It has the richest vocabulary of any world language, and far and away the most support in terms of dictionaries, word processors, search engines and everything else one could want to go with a language. It is grammatically fairly easy, and because it is so universal most people who speak English can converse usefully with people who don’t speak it well. While there may not be a vast number of natively bilingual people one of whose languages is English, English is by far the most prevalent second language among people who are bilingual to some degree.

English colonial expansion spread the language throughout the world. Britain colonized the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, India, and a lot of Africa. The language remained because it was useful. However, these events happened one or two centuries ago. Countries have either adopted English as their native language, as in Liberia, or as a firmly established second language for the educated.

The expansion of the Russian speaking world has been more recent. The Soviet Union dominated Eastern Europe until three decades ago. Russian was a mandatory subject in school, and a knowledge of Russian was essential for career development for the generation now in their 60s and 70s. It was a living imperial language until recently.

That has certainly been the case in Ukraine. Ukraine has been dominated by Russia since Bogdan Khmelnitsky was forced into a fateful choice between Poland and Russia in 1648. Various czars and commissars have forced the teaching of Russian over the years, to the extent that everybody has some exposure. Just as an example, my wife’s parents, born in the 1940s, spoke Ukrainian in school. 30 years later in the same region my wife was schooled in the Russian language. Russian is what we speak at home. Needless to say, the choice was made in Moscow, not anywhere in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s situation differs from that of many of the former Soviet Socialist republics only in the period of time that it was dominated by Russia. The Baltic states came under the communists only after World War II. Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan had been under czarist control, but later and not as strongly. The same can be said of the Central Asian ‘stans. For this reason one can get by in any of them, even today, by speaking Russian. However, without a doubt Russian is more pervasive in Ukraine than the others because of the length of the association and the determination with which the language was forced on the population.

That is the history of what is to my knowledge the largest almost totally bilingual country in the world. It is home to the world’s third-largest Russian speaking city, Kiev. Yes, Ukraine is Russian speaking. No, it is not because they love Russia. They remain bilingual because their own language, and sense of themselves as a people, has survived massive programs of education, indoctrination, exile, colonization, repression and starvation conducted by the Russians.

Following the Trail of the Red Man

Ten years ago I had an opportunity unique for a retiree – I spent a month on a remote Indian reservation in Brazil. At the time I thought it was no more than an exotic and exciting adventure which had no bearing on my life. It appears now that the Indian experience presages that of the millennials, and even more my toddler son’s generation. The Indians’ way of life seems destined to end in tragedy, and I fear the same for our progeny.

The Kayapó roamed wild through the Brazilian Amazon until 1967, battling other Indians and avoiding Brazilians. The government finally convinced them to accept a reservation. Not a bad deal – the size of Virginia for 5000 Indians.

The Kayapó are as remote as possible from Brazilian society, both physically and socially. The Brazilian Law of the Indian restricts their interaction with the mainstream society. There are limits on trade and travel, rules against alcohol, and protection of their indigenous society and languages. The men my age – born in the 1950s and before –had totally traditional childhoods and even in adulthood have only been minimally affected by modernity.

The men my age were a splendid bunch of people. They knew the forest intimately, and were proud to show it to an American who spoke Portuguese. They knew how to catch fish with their bare hands, how to kill wild pigs with war clubs, how to find everything edible in the Amazon forest, and which herbs, vines and barks were good for which ailments. They laughed easily, and were at ease with themselves. They loved children, and romped with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

They had given up their nomadic ways, settling in permanent wooden shacks built by the government, living on well water and using a modern septic system. A small generator powers a radio and water pump. There is a landing strip for single-engine planes such as the one we flew in on.

The younger Indians’ lives are very different from the men my age. They did not learn the forest from their elders because they did not need to. They hunt wild pigs with shotguns and fish with fishing rods. There is a Brazilian nurse in the camp to cure their ills. They seem to spend their time playing battery-powered video games and listening to popular Brazilian music on boom boxes.

Simply put, there is nothing in the lives of the young Indians that demands the human characteristics of intelligence, dedication, courage, physical labor or self-sacrifice. Everything seems to be given to them. They are forgetting how to be Indians, and in losing that, they are losing their humanity.

The Kayapó are traveling a trail of tears forged over the past four centuries by Indians throughout the Americas. They do not adapt to Western culture. They are not individualistic. They don’t particularly want to work for wages, they are not competitive, and they don’t see much point in the way the white man does things. Disaffected, they succumb to alcohol and dissipation. Rape and pederasty are rampant on Indian reservations in North America. Their society has fallen apart.

Not coincidentally, a famous series of rodent studies by John B. Calhoun in the 1960s made the same observation. Rats and mice that have everything given to them, and do not have to use their wits to obtain food and avoid danger, likewise fall apart. The resulting “behavioral sink” spells doom. They forget how to be rodents, how to breed and raise young, and, in the midst of plenty, they go extinct.

I read today that only 44% of working-age Americans have full-time jobs – 30 hours a week or more. Only a fraction of those 44% are truly satisfying and remunerative. The rest are just marking time, keeping bread on the table.

Increasing numbers of young people stay in school as long as possible, taking student loans they will never be able to repay in order to forestall the day of reckoning when they must attempt to find work. For a great many, work will simply not be there. Youth unemployment approaches 50% in some southern European nations and among some demographics within America.

Technology is racing at breakneck speed in the wrong direction. Millions of jobs have already been lost to automation. Warehouses are automated, self-checkout reigns in grocery stores, ATMs have replaced tellers, email has replaced postman, and online shopping has replaced retail shop clerks. It will get worse. Self-driving vehicles and companies such as Uber and Lyft will eliminate millions of drivers, insurance agents, carwashes and others in service industries. GPS guides driverless vehicles through tilling, seeding and harvesting our food. Cryptocurrencies and automation will continue to decimate the legions of clerks in the financial sector. Artificial intelligence, driven by neural networks and the like, will reduce the doctor’s judgment in the practice of medicine, and most clerks and associates in law offices. We are encountering a future in which opportunities will be vast for the highly intelligent, but there will be nothing much meaningful for the rest to do. For a preview of the result, one has only to look at life in the ghettos and barrios of today’s American cities, the zones sensibles in France, and the African enclaves in Scandinavian cities. The things which made life meaningful to these citizens’ ancestors are simply not part of their contemporary existence. They are at the end of the process of which I saw the beginning during my visit with the Kayapó. With nothing meaningful required of them to survive, they have lost their humanity.

The human animal is resourceful. We react, though not in healthy ways. We white people in Asians are simply not repopulating ourselves. Why bring progeny into a meaningless existence? Sex has swirled down the above-mentioned “behavioral sink”. Asexuality, homosexuality, and hyper sexuality are rampant, while few parents seem interested in or capable of raising normal families. Normalcy itself has lost its definition.

The Indians first confronted the loss of meaning in their lives with the arrival of the white man. Harvard and Dartmouth were dedicated to educating Indians – a project that never got off the ground. Indian culture has been a disaster. There has not been a successful Indian society after their contact with the Europeans.

It would be nice to say that we are different, that there are signs of hope for the future of Western civilization. It does not appear to be so – life for the bulk of mankind is becoming meaningless. One reads this gloomy prognostication from more and more of our wiser heads. It appears that we are traveling the path of the red man, simply with a couple of centuries’ remove. The reprieve may be longer for the smarter among us, but who can, in the long run, outpace progress itself?

A Month with the Kayapo in the Amazon

This is an academic paper written in 2004 after a month-long stay with the Kayapo Indians in the state of Para, in the Brazilian Amazon. I reference it in a subsequent blog.


The Kayapó are making their accommodation to Brazilian society late in history. Whites (kuben) worked their way only slowly into the Kayapó’s homeland in the cerrado (savanna) and forests of the Brazilian states of Pará, Matto Grosso and Tocantins. The Kayapó’s reputation for killing intruders made fortune hunters tend to look elsewhere. A lack of ferocity and the misfortune of living in the paths of an expanding Brazilian civilization long ago brought most of their Indian brethren to terms with the national society.

Terms of accommodation were overwhelmingly dictated by the Brazilians. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Portuguese simply enslaved the Indians. The Jesuits gradually brought the practice to an end, noting that Christianity was a hard sell among enslaved peoples. Thereafter and through the twentieth century Indians continued to be brought under the “protection” of the white man, supposedly for their education and betterment, a situation which again often meant labor for minimal wages at tasks not of their choosing.

Over the past few decades the situation has improved. The Indians’ rights to their own reservations and their land is written into the Brazilian constitution. The result is that while Brazil counts only about 200,000 tribal Indians, a mere ½ of one percent of Native Americans in the hemisphere, those few groups are today quite well endowed with land and have several government bureaucracies to serve them.

Indians continue to suffer from the gap between de jure and de facto law in Brazilian society. The Kayapó have however grown resourceful in using the law and public opinion to defend their interests. For the first time in history there are groups of Indians who have title to something well-defined and worth defending, and the tools and connections to mount a defense. This moves the focus of the issue to a new set of questions. What are the Kayapó’s long-term prospects? What are their long-term interests? Do they know their long-term interests? And, most significantly, what can they do for current income to support their material needs without invading the corpus of their forest patrimony?

The question bears on three interwoven themes: time, money and education. For Indians, the equation between time and money is a new thing. The nomadic Kayapó, with minimal material culture, historically lacked the realization that structures and machinery have to be maintained over time. They had no history of trading time at labor for money, nor of investing over time in return for interest income.

Indians’ initial exposures to a money society are fairly uniformly disastrous. Kaj Århem noted that Indians of the Colombian Amazon tend to spend what money they get, acquiring things they do not need and cannot maintain, and contract debts they cannot service. The history is repeated throughout the Americas. Zimmerman et. al. (2001) report that the Kayapó realized millions of dollars liquidating their prime mahogany and permitting gold mining in the 1990s, and have little left to show for it today.

Here are the elements of the dilemma. The Brazilian Constitution and the Law of the Indian grant the Indians the right to self-determination. It is only just, and could not be otherwise in today’s rights-conscious world. At the same time, it is widely observed that indigenous American peoples have difficulty coping with aspects of the modern world such as alcohol, money and individualism. Brazilian law accords them a status of judicial incompetence similar to that of minor children. What kinds of lives will or should today’s indigenous peoples lead, what education do they need to prepare for these lives, and what right do any outsiders, conservationists, governmental or whatever, have to influence indigenous education?

External Contacts and Essential Expenditures

Kayapó Chief Rop Ni observed in 1976 that the time had passed when the Kayapó could maintain a totally autonomous existence. The villagers of A’Ukre depend on the government to maintain their airstrip, their deep water well and their septic system, complete with its flush toilets. They have eased their traditional hunting and gathering labors through the acquisition of shotguns, outboard motors, chain saws and fishing tackle, their paths through the forest with manufactured shoes, and their treks with sleeping bags, tents, mosquito nets, flashlights and other western paraphernalia. They have generated a demand for gasoline and batteries. As a consequence, the Kayapó’s attentions are focused on acquiring these goods by trade, and increasingly, simply acquiring the cash to buy them.

The 5,000 people of the 16 villages of the Kayapó nation are closely related. They use air taxi services and an airplane bought with mahogany money to visit one another. They are linked by a CB radio network powered by solar cells connected to automotive batteries. Whoever paid for it — the cost was probably not great — radio has become indispensable. Radio has evident imperfections as well. It can handle only one conversation at a time, it is absolutely not private, and requires all speakers to be at their radios at the same time. There will be a market for telephones or VOIP connections.

Maintaining airplanes, radios, and even chainsaws and outboard motors requires more training, reference materials and tools than the Kayapó possess. Their dependence on kuben society for these services exacerbates their need for cash income. Negotiating and contracting for complex and expensive services such as aircraft maintenance requires a certain level of sophistication in addition to knowledge of Portuguese and basic accounting.

A mere inventory of material wants understates the interaction with and dependence of the Kayapó upon Brazilian society. The Kayapó recognize both Western and traditional branches of medicine. Shamans still treat some ailments, but they look more and more to Western medicine. FUNASA (Fundação Nacional de Saúde) has established an infirmary at the village of A’Ukre. Angela, the resident nurse, maintains health records and growth charts of all the village children and treats common infectious diseases. She arranges air transportation to send the more seriously ill to hospitals, the closest being about 100km distant in Ourilandia do Norte. The Kayapó have an increasing appreciation for the value of eyeglasses, insect repellants and over-the-counter medicines.

The Kayapó are in the minority among Brazilian indigenous people in having no school of any sort. Accounts of Kayapó education under FUNAI prior to 1991 are vague. In any case little residual effect is noticeable today. The probable reasons that they don’t have a school today are complex. There is an anecdote to the effect that the elders of A’Ukre rejected an offer to set up a school in the abandoned Body Shop / schoolhouse building, demanding instead a new and better building. Such a stance would have been in character, but it is not even clear with whom they would have been negotiating.

They want a school. Most of the elders with whom we worked signed the plea that has been posted on the Internet since 2002. Dealing with educators should and will become an essential outside contact for the Kayapó. The evidence is that they will need to be strong advocates of their own interests as they deal with the educational bureaucracies.

Kayapó Sources of Income

The Kayapó control a vast resource in their virgin rainforest, 11 million hectares, the size of the State of Virginia. The income potential represented by their labor force of 2,000 untrained adults is insignificant by comparison.

They must meet their cash needs by one means or the other. The essential questions are how to derive an ongoing income from their rainforest without destroying it, or how to increase the value of their labor. Otherwise they are likely to fall back on the third and tragic option, far too commonly followed by indigenous peoples, squandering the patrimony in return for a temporary influx of cash and leaving future generations to fend for themselves. A catalog of the major income possibilities includes:
o Handicrafts: The Kayapó sell bows and arrows, war clubs and beadwork to visitors, and have some limited outlets in the cities. Production and marketing of handicrafts could benefit by better organization and connection with markets. There is however a limited market for tourist items and many other Indian tribes make comparable artifacts.
o Services: Kayapó genipap body painting is quite unique. There is again a limited market and it is a service that must be delivered in person.
o Conservation Organizations: Conservation International employs a significant fraction of the elders of A’Ukre village as associates in their Pinkaití research center. There is potential here. A tiny fraction of the resources of NGOs, environmental organizations and environmentally engaged individuals would satisfy the Kayapó’s income needs.
Sustainable forestry income
o Brazil nut collection: Brazil nuts remain abundant despite widespread logging. The world market is weak and getting nuts or oil to market from remote corners of the reservation is prohibitively expensive.
o Permits and Fees: The Kayapó receive a per capita stipend from visitors to the Pinkaití research station and a stipulated income for the use of the 8,100 hectare (ca. 32 square mile) station. Increasing the number of visitors could significantly offset their income needs.
Attractive but unproven suggestions
o Ecotourism, including sport fishing: Such ventures would require the development of significant infrastructure and would expose the Kayapó to potentially detrimental outside influences.
o Harvesting or researching medicinal plants: Though much is made of the medicinal value of rainforest species, few are proven and there are no markets.
Unsustainable Activities
o Logging: Most mature mahogany has already been cut; it will be at least a generation before it can be harvested again. Cutting what remains in Pinkaití and in remote recesses of the reserve would end the relationship with Conservation International. Logging lower value species would very likely have to ruin the forest to be economically feasible.
o Agriculture: The Kayapó are not and do not want to become ranchers or farmers. Either activity would require clearing some forest and represent a radical change in their culture.
o Gold mining: Mining on the Rio Fresco in the Gorotire territory was a disaster. It converted the valley into a wasteland of sand dunes and stagnant pools that will take decades or centuries for the forest to reclaim. Mercury poisoned the fish, the groundwater, and the Kayapó themselves.

Income from sustainable activities may runs into the tens of thousands of dollars per year, that from unsustainable activities could easily be millions. The challenges for the Kayapó are stark. They need to invent ways to earn more sustainable income. If, in the worst case, they are forced to realize unsustainable income from the forest, it is essential that they invest the proceeds to provide returns over time. They will need education in either case. The Kayapó have to become sophisticated in trading time for money and letting money work over time or they will become the slaves that Sting so fears.

The State of Indigenous Education in Brazil

Until recent decades Brazilian applied a mainstream view of education to its Indians. All Brazilians need a primary education to learn to read and write Portuguese, to do basic arithmetic, and to know the fundamentals of Brazilian culture and government. Promising students need the opportunity to advance to secondary education, which involves more advanced work in these subjects, and broader exposure to sciences and the world outside of Brazil. Those with the ability and desire should have the opportunity to go from secondary into universities.

Brazil’s 1988 constitution reflected the world, and more specifically the American multicultural zeitgeist. “The State shall protect expressions of popular, Indian and Afro-Brazilian cultures…” and “…Indian communities shall be ensured the use of their native tongues and their own learning methods.” Articles 78 and 79 of the 1996 Lei De Diretrizes E Bases da Educação Nacional effectively give Indian communities control over their own education. This implied autonomy is a major theme of most of the addresses to the 1994 Congresso de Leiture do Brasil included in “Leiture e Escrita no Brasil.” The various authors at once examine what autonomy might mean in theory and deplore the fact that in practice few Brazilian states have implemented much of anything. Tocantins, a recognized leader, declares “A conquista da autonomia” (the conquest of autonomy) as a goal, and provides a program to educate native teachers.

The Lei de Diretrizes e Bases da Educação Nacional defines Indian rights in education. However, since an executive decree transferred responsibility from FUNAI to MEC in 1991, indigenous education appears to have fallen into limbo. The competent bureaucracy remains within the Ministry of Education (MEC) but responsibility lies with the various state educational bureaucracies. As the law is not very specific about what needs to be done and who needs to do it, not much is happening.

The noble turns of speech in the constitution and the laws aside, it is unclear what indigenous education should or could be. The laws do not deal with the practical limitations. Education programs are expensive to develop. That is why most societies centralize the effort at national and state levels. One criticism of American education is that local school boards, serving only tens of thousands of students, don’t have funds to do an adequate job. Where does that leave the Kayapó, with 5,000 people and no tax base?

Implementing a complete program for Kayapó education would be vastly more complex than a mere school district. There is no written language. It is unclear what literacy even would mean if it were not in Portuguese. The written materials that exist regarding Kayapó history, myths and culture are written by outsiders in outside languages. Even if there were a written language, which might be developed by philanthropists such as the Sumner Institute of Linguistics, the economics of publishing would make it cost-prohibitive to translate textbooks into Kayapó. There are few examples in history of a written language being adopted de novo. The most notable, Vietnamese, involved a population of tens of millions and a society with a basis of literacy in Chinese ideograms. Written Hawaiian and Maori are struggling because they have no natural role within their English-speaking societies. For the Kayapó, an attempt at native-language education would be a conceit standing in the way rather than a path to education.

Despite the emotional attractiveness of bilingual education the Kayapó language can serve only as a bridge. Students must enter the Portuguese world to encounter advanced materials of any kind. It is also essential to interact with anybody outside of their tribe: Portuguese is the lingua franca among Indians themselves. The traditionalists were right in their conviction that indigenous education had to mean familiarizing Indians with the language of Brazilian society.

If the Kayapó are to be educated, it has to be done using outside curricular materials and at least some outside instructors. What kind of education they need to acquire is a separate issue.

The Need for Education Among the Kayapó

Musician Sting noted that “… you meet the [Indian] people there and you hear their story, and you realize that without their environment they are going to be sucked into the lowest part of Brazilian society, which is basically slavery.” d’Angelis, an advocate of autonomous education, laments Indians trained as accountants and secretaries in the Rio Negro region “became hod carriers and maids in Manaus.” Their forest reserve should provide the Kayapó with more attractive options for putting an education to use than merely working as hired hands in that kuben society. The question is, how?

The elders we worked with, Ukaruru, Ngipre, Ireo, Tiago, Bastion and Kubanyet, earn money working for Conservation International and serve the village of A’Ukre negotiating with the outside world. Tiago, who polished his Portuguese during a stint with FUNAI, is frequently sent to training courses in medicine and maintenance of such apparatus as the deep well system.

The esteem in which the village holds those members who speak Portuguese, and their eloquent Internet plea for education, bespeaks a sincere interest. The fact that these elders took the effort to learn Portuguese despite the lack of a school indicates that they would probably be receptive to outside help in education.

The ability to write Portuguese is essential. The Kayapó need to be able to draft contractual agreements. They also need to become familiar with terms common in contracts, stipulating contract deliverables, payment terms, liquidated damages, dispute resolution and the like. They need enough arithmetic to deal with the time value of money as represented by interest, payment schedules, and computing return on investment. They already have experience in contract management, having designated elders to oversee gold, mahogany, water, health and other projects. Though it is not in their tradition, it makes sense for them to protect their contract managers from second-guessing in the men’s house by documenting their rights, responsibilities and privileges. This is part of a larger theme. The Indians’ affairs are becoming too complex to manage by mere oral agreements.

The Kayapó can reduce their cash expenditures if village members are able to perform necessary services. They need to learn to build houses, to repair buildings, plumbing, septic systems and motors, and to read instructions so they can install radios, solar panels and other gear. The more Kayapó that get involved in delivering education and health care, the better the level of service and the more money is likely to flow into the village in the form of government salaries.

The Challenges in Adopting a Western Mindframe

The emerging discipline of Ethnomathematics suggests that even learning arithmetic may imply cultural changes. The nearby Bororo Indians’ reckoning of the time of day and the day of the month, which appear to apply as well to Gê peoples such as the Kayapó, is by the position of celestial objects. The sun and stars mark hours of night and day, days in the recent past are identified by the hour the moon rose, the more distant past by seasons and the positions of constellations, and past years by the height or age grade a villager had attained at the time of a past event.

Jonathan Hill discounts Lévi-Strauss’s characterization of Amazonian societies as “cold” in that they resist historical changes. Hill demonstrates that Indians recognize their lives’ recurring cycles of days, moons and seasons are nonetheless imposed upon the linear unfolding of historical events, the most significant of which has been the arrival of the white man, the devastation wrought by disease and the acquisition of artifacts such as guns.

The current generation of Kayapó may however be the first to deeply internalize the implications of linear history. The forest, which has always been taken as a given, is not unchangeable. The big mahoganies are gone and mining has ruined the Rio Fresco. Tapir are becoming scarce. Kuben and the Kayapó’s increasing dependence on the kuben society are permanent. Kayapó must think of the lives their children will lead, and even of their own old age, in ways that never would have occurred to their parents. They have to think in financial terms, recognizing education, investments and their territorial endowment as financial assets that must over time yield the income the tribe needs to survive.

Learning to relate time to money, capital to income, is not an easy task… witness the American sports stars and even entrepreneurs who fail at it. Acquiring money sense may be the most difficult aspect of Kayapó education. Their tradition of community, however, will work to their benefit. One can hope that once the elders fully grasp what the tribe must do to support itself over the long term the will have the power to sway their people.

Although education is essential to support these immediate needs, it will also give the Kayapó access to print and broadcast information about the broader world and pleasures such as reading, television and video. All are mixed blessings, and all promise to significantly change the Kayapó culture. Given that, bidden or not, the media eventually intrude on every society, the Kayapó can at least anticipate their exposure.

Potential Forms and Objectives of Kayapó Education

Indigenous educators in Brazil, like those in Chile, Mexico and elsewhere, seem to picture it being delivered in a one- or two-room primary school, staffed by indigenous professors, delivering bilingual education in the fundamentals of language, arithmetic, and ethnic and Brazilian culture, history, geography, laws and customs. Such systems have been subject to a host of criticisms:
o Education deracinates the young, neglecting traditional knowledge and providing them with learning that they cannot apply within the village.
o Giving value to “white” knowledge systems devalues the knowledge of the elders and estranges the young from those who should be teaching them to garden, weave, hunt, fish and appreciate the forest.
o Western education is inherently individualistic, acknowledging differences in drive and ability and thereby eroding the communitarian nature of Indian society.
o A principal objective of primary education is preparation for secondary, which assuredly renders an individual unfit for life in the village.
o Educators believe overwhelmingly that girls have an equal right to education. Such education is bound to change sex roles to the detriment of traditional culture.

The Kayapó need to strike a balance, and it will be uncomfortable. People need education even if it does imply fundamental cultural changes. The Kayapó need to find the most appropriate compromise and somehow locate resources to implement it. There are a couple of other aspects to consider.

The adults of A’Ukre appreciate the value of Portuguese and arithmetic in dealing with the outside world. They are good candidates for adult education. Paolo Freire was a strong advocate of adult education, providing adults with the practical tools they need in life, and the Brazilian educational establishment embraces Freire. Giving adults, men and women, the opportunity to learn will raise the esteem of education within the village and diminish potential resistance to schoolhouse education.

Indian children are not the only potential students interested in traditional Kayapó education. The material the elders teach their children about hunting and fishing, myths, folkways, medicine and festivals is of interest as well to anthropologists, botanists, foresters, ecologists and other scientists. The Kayapó can use outside resources to collect curricular material and they may be able to persuade outsiders to help develop curriculum as part of their own scholarly pursuits.

Education’s Likely Impact on Traditional Values

The advocates of autonomous education, designed and delivered by the Indians themselves, rightly want to mitigate the “noxious” effects of education on indigenous society. Marta Maria Azevedo writes:

“School is and always was a colonial, civilizing institution. It was always used, as much in Brazil as other countries, to colonize and to civilize. It is an occidental institution person, and as part of occidental culture it creates individuals. School is not an institution that takes care of, for example, the social family, or groups, or communities, or clans. The school ministers to a classroom of individuals. It is in the school the creation of this idea of “individual” begins. This individualism, a central concept in our culture, is not at all central in the aboriginal cultures. This is terribly important because many times people use aboriginal languages in school, speak of working in the native cultures in the schools, but overlook this very important point. I already said on other occasions (including in Brasilia) that I find that one of the important questions that people are forgetting as they work in the aboriginal schools is the question of evaluation. Grading always touches in this point of the individualism, of the individualization of the person within a community that is not whatsoever individualistic. In the village, if the oldest brother goes to the garden with his younger brother new and they cooperate, or it may be the son-in-law going to work with the father-in-law. In any case, the environment outside of the school is totally one of cooperation relation, of mutual aid. Inside of the school the pupil has learn on his own; the grade will be his own. And it is forbidden for one pupil to help another, even if they are brothers, . For what!? Because the whole purpose is to create this figure of the individual.”

Azevedo is right about individualism. Most educators claim that their goal is to help each individual attain the maximum that is within his or her power to achieve. Educators accept that children have differing levels of drive, character and intellect. It fits well with the fact that the immense range of occupations within our society demand equally broad ranges of skill and formation.

Equality is an overwhelming social value in Kayapó society. Families live so communally that the lack of privacy drives the visiting non-Indian crazy. Substantial material possessions such as canoes and outboard motors belong to the community. The only things an individual tends to own are goods for personal use: tents, sleeping bags, flashlights and fishing gear. Houses are identical and their furnishings indistinguishable. The culture includes a kind of forced generosity. If one Indian expresses a desire for another’s possession, unless he can make a good excuse not to the possessor is morally obliged to give it up. Idleness is a cardinal sin: an individual should always be working, helping others.

The Kayapó have always practiced political equality in that they (men only) make decisions communally. Discussion of an issue continues until there is a consensus. Traditionally, the village would split when it was unable to achieve consensus on an important issue. The fact that this traditionally nomadic people has an increasingly fixed village structure, with wooden houses, an airstrip, infirmary, plumbing and such, also means they are no longer free to split. Who in a dissident group would have the skills or desire to clear the forest and build a longhouse village? They have to live with each other and resolve their differences.

Their tradition of rather pure and immediate democracy will likely be forced to change. When dealing with the kuben, a contract is a contract. The men’s house is not at liberty to reargue contractual terms or overrule a contract administrator’s judgment. To do so would rupture relationships with the outside world.

The men’s house is the center of male social life as well as politics. It is where the community plans hunts, festivals, war and all other community projects. Even when there is nothing that to be decided, the men gather in the evening to tell stories and enjoy each other’s company. There is a lot of locker-room kidding. The visitor notices a few looming threats to this venerable institution. Pre-teens now gather in the dark to listen to Brazilian music and dance the forro. They are captivated by video games. It seems unlikely the Kayapó will do better than any other culture in resisting the inevitable incursion of video and TV. When this happens, the retreat from the men’s house to the TV room appears likely to signal the kind of disengagement from community life that Århem chronicled among the Makuna of the Rio Negro.

The Kayapó hold traditional knowledge in high respect. This includes the shamans’ knowledge of medicinal herbs, elders’ recollections of history and myth, and faithful reproduction of ceremonial rites. The young, on the other hand, are the quickest to accumulate school learning. To grant greater respect to textbook knowledge would be to upset traditional veneration of the elders.

Earlier generations of Brazilians zealously converted Indians to Christianity. In the process they brought them closer to the dominant society and often provided some education. Christianity, however, has lost some of its self-assurance and the Kayapó may be less subject to its evangelistic appeals.

Environmentalism has emerged as a secular religion in America and Europe, complete with the passions and, many would argue, the unquestioning faith of the old-time gospel. The Kayapó could be high priests of such a sect. Chief Payakan was respected as such before his mahogany deals. The tribe already has title to a triple-canopy cathedral, and their oratorical style lends itself well to preaching. If they play their cards right they might parlay the role of Redford’s “ecologically noble savage” into a position of moral leadership on the world stage and maybe even a paying proposition. Their self-image is better adapted to the role of moral leaders on a world stage than that of the downtrodden and dispossessed who are saved only by God’s grace.

The genius of Western productivity is attributable to specialization and capital. The advantages are obvious. We all drive cars and talk on cell phones when no single one of us could make even a tricycle from raw materials. The Kayapó can all, albeit with varying degrees of skill, all make bows and arrows, spears, baskets and every other kind of artifact he needs in daily life. The talents of the average Kayapó taken individually would put a Westerner to shame. Collectively, however, we possess immensely more ability. Each individual among us is educated and/or trained to fulfill an occupational specialty, be it iron mining, rubber chemistry or telecommunications network planning. In aggregate these individual skills make us a highly productive society.

We are also a society of individuals. Contact with civilization will perforce turn the Kayapó into a society of individuals. Education will be key in determining what kind of individuals they become. Will they become professors, teaching westerners their traditional knowledge of the forests, guiding visitors through their paradise and providing them with spiritual leadership, or will they become mere hired hands? It depends on their vision and that of whoever educates them.


The Kayapó will have to deal more and more with Brazilian society. They will become more dependent on the dominant society. They will need more income to support their needs. They will need to acquire a Western-style education in order to function successfully in this new order.

The rainforest itself is by far the tribe’s most significant source of potential income. The most obvious and the largest rewards, however, are one-time affairs like logging and gold mining that destroy the forest. The most essential educational objective must be to enable the Kayapó to derive enough income to support themselves while preserving the forest patrimony for future generations. They need to quickly acquire the kind of sophisticated appreciation of the relationships among time, money and education that remains difficult even in Western societies.

There is every sign that increased contact with mainstream society will detract from the highly communal social order of the Kayapó. It will also require education. The experience of other tribes, the opinion of experts and the very nature of education suggests that schooling will also have a significant impact on traditional values, among them communal decision making and respect for elders.

Sting is right to observe that only their environment can save the Kayapó from the fate of other tribal peoples in Brazil and throughout the Americas, the virtual slavery of disinherited and unskilled laborers. The Kayapó have a few unique advantages. Their rights to their land are as strong as any tribe has ever enjoyed, there is a lot of land, they have the support of Conservation International and the world environmental community, and they have the wealth of tragic experience of other tribes to draw on. Their challenge is to learn how to assemble these unique assets into a unique solution and become the first Amerindian tribe to negotiate the transition into modernity with their lands, culture and dignity intact.