Everybody accepts that the peoples of the world are diverse in visible ways. We come in different colors, body shapes, and types of hair.
We observe, even if we do not talk about it, that the different peoples of the world enjoy different levels of success in modern economies derived from the European model. Europe, Israel and the white former English colonies know how to make it work. East Asia has been catching up quickly. Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa are trailing. There are any number of narratives to account for these differences, but at least people generally see them.
Last, and deadliest is the supposition among all peoples that other people are temperamentally like themselves. We Europeans developed a high level of altruism. Violence in European societies diminished remarkably over the last millennium, and levels of trust rose as we consolidated from duchies to princedoms to kingdoms. Business depended on trust, and commerce flourished. To us, a high level of trust is the only thing that makes sense. Our deadly flaw is to believe that other people think the same way.
The Jews are historically literate and legalistic. They have taught and followed their own moral law for three millennia. They do not understand people who simply do not recognize the rule of law. Jews are bankers and financiers. They do not have much sympathy for people who do not understand the terms of a mortgage or credit card debt. Time after time they are surprised by the reemergence of antisemitism, resentment of their success.
East Asians are quite xenophobic. They have a tendency to see their own nation – Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese – as the only true humans, and to regard others as uncultured barbarians. Only reluctantly do they expand their sphere of moral consideration beyond their own people. The Japanese had no difficulty visiting unspeakable cruelty on the Chinese and the British in World War II. With the slow decline of Pax Americana, they are going at each other once again. They have certainly never internalized the brotherhood of man concept advanced by Western proponents of the New World order. Their people invariably come first.
American Indians are intensely tribal. Western individualism, the celebration of individual achievement in education and career, remains foreign to them. They had a difficult time adapting to European civilization in the five centuries since its introduction. We simply cannot celebrate their diversity in the context of a western market economy. They are not temperamentally adapted for it.
Arab societies are also quite tribal. They do not trust outsiders. One consequence is a high level of cousin marriage, which depresses intelligence. Another appears to be an inborn, genetic predisposition to hatred and religious fanaticism. We Europeans cannot understand the hatred that Arabs have for Jews, or even that Shiites have for Sunnis. It is our conceit that if they only understood their own self-interest, they would give up their hatreds. We remain oblivious to the fact that centuries of our preaching haven’t changed a thing. Hatred is in their DNA.
European colonialization did not affect the fact that black Africans are very tribal. They do not have much trust even among their own tribes, and they have almost none at all between tribes. Intertribal violence was endemic in Africa, and violence remains a constant in every African city. It is impossible for whites to conceive of a worldview in which violence makes sense; it appears impossible for Africans to conceive of a world in which it does not.
Our European proclivity to look for universal solutions blinds us to the fact that no other people in the world do so. We give, and they gladly take. It is a paradigm that worked when we were rich beyond the measure of any other societies. With the burgeoning population of the third world, and the rise of other economies, it has stopped working. We are, however, so much captive to our own genetically programmed altruism that we refuse to see. We refuse to see that people are different even in very obvious ways, and doubly refuse to recognize invisible differences. Those differences will kill us.
Evolution and Ethics
Clash of Civilizations
Cultures and Organizations
Race, Evolution and Behavior
Face to Face with Race
Before the Dawn
A Troublesome Inheritance
Racism, Guilt, Self-Hatred and Self-Deceit