Civilization: Whites vs Asians
Some time ago I read the abbreviated version of Rushton’s Race, Evolution & Behavior, and I think it provides an extremely satisfactory theoretical unification of many interesting facets of human bio-diversity. But a little while ago Skarphedin (of Unsafe Harbour) gave me a copy of the full version, and I’m finally working through it.
One of Rushton’s key elements of Rushton’s account is the idea that Whites consistently rank between East Asians and Blacks on a host of physiological and behavioural measures. So, for example, here’s a reproduction of the ‘personality’ section of the table ‘Relative Ranking of Races on Diverse Variables’:
On the whole, the gap between Asians and whites is smaller than that between whites and blacks, but there are still only two places where Rushton ranks Asians and whites at the same level: administrative capacity and cultural acheivements—in each case, whites and Asians are both described as ‘higher’ and blacks as ‘lower.’ These both strike me as quite interesting cases.
If you looked at cultural accomplishments at an individual level, I would expect Asians to come out on top. For example, they’re probably more likely to play instruments and to have more refined sensibilities around etiquette. But if we look at the totality of civilizational (or racial) accomplishments, whites are clearly out front, probably by a very good margin.
In some ways, Asians also look better in terms of social and political organization. China has been managing vast numbers of people with a sophisticated bureaucracy for a ridiculously long time. The most orderly place in the world right now is probably Japan, which also has a history of rather astonishing bureaucratic accomplishments. On the other hand, East Asian administrative systems often seem to be quite closed and sclerotic. Even Japanese democracy is a very odd beast. Northern European democracy, though not necessarily as orderly as Asian systems, is clearly the gold standard for political organization.
It seems that Europe actually benefited from its fractured and competitive nature in ways that monolithic China could not. China could and did roll back innovations when they seemed to threaten social order. Japan rapidly became the world’s largest producer of guns in the 16th century, and then successfully eradicated guns altogether once the country was unified. But Europeans kept competing and so pulled ahead of everyone else. Likewise, democracy, though messier than an ideally benevolent monarchy, does better because it manages competition rather than suppressing it.
It may be that Europeans have never even been capable of an Asian degree of order and sophistication. Paradoxically, that allowed—and perhaps forced—Europeans to rise to new administrative and civilizational heights.
But I’m out of my depth here, so feedback is very welcome.