Cousin Marriage and Democracy

by on April 26, 2013 at 7:29 am in Economics, History, Law, Medicine | Permalink

In the United States consanguineous marriage (marriage between close relatives, often cousins) is frowned upon and in many states banned but it is common elsewhere in the world. Approximately 0.2% of all marriages are consanguineous in the United States but in India 26.6% marriages are consanguineous, in Saudi Arabia the figure is 38.4% and in Niger, Pakistan and Sudan a majority of marriages are consanguineous. Cousin marriage used joffreyto be more common in the West and was particularly common among royal families which gives some hints as to why it may sometimes be useful. Among families with titles or estates, cousin marriage will tend to keep the wealth intact–literally within the family–whereas wealth becomes more dilute more quickly with outside marriage. Cousin marriage may also increase cooperation within the extended family and help to fight off parasites.

A recent paper finds that consangunuity is strongly negatively correlated with democracy:

How might consanguinity affect democracy? Cousin marriages create extended families that
are much more closely related than is the case where such marriages are not practiced. To illustrate,
if a man’s daughter marries his brother’s son, the latter is then not only his nephew but also
his son-in-law, and any children born of that union are more genetically similar to the two grandfathers
than would be the case with non-consanguineous marriages. Following the principles of
kin selection (Hamilton, 1964) and genetic similarity theory (Rushton, 1989, 2005), the high
level of genetic similarity creates extended families with exceptionally close bonds. Kurtz succinctly
illustrates this idea in his description of Middle Eastern educational practices:

If, for example, a child shows a special aptitude in school, his siblings might willingly
sacrifice their personal chances for advancement simply to support his education. Yet once
that child becomes a professional, his income will help to support his siblings, while his
prestige will enhance their marriage prospects. (Kurtz, 2002, p. 37).

Such kin groupings may be extremely nepotistic and distrusting of non-family members in the
larger society. In this context, non-democratic regimes emerge as a consequence of individuals turning to reliable kinship groupings for support rather than to the state or the free market. It has
been found, for example, that societies having high levels of familism tend to have low levels of
generalized trust and civic engagement (Realo, Allik, & Greenfield, 2008), two important correlates
of democracy. Moreover, to people in closely related kin groups, individualism and the
recognition of individual rights, which are part of the cultural idiom of democracy, are perceived
as strange and counterintuitive ideological abstractions (Sailer, 2004).

By the way, cousin marriage results in an elevated risk of birth defects but on the same order as a 40 year old woman having children as opposed to a 30 year old. In other words, the risks are small relative to other accepted risks. Results do get worse when cousin marriage is prevalent over many generations.

Hat tip to Chris Blattman and Joshua Keating. FYI, Steve Sailer wrote an interesting piece on this issue.

mishka April 26, 2013 at 7:36 am

> non-democratic regimes emerge as a consequence of individuals turning to reliable kinship
> groupings for support rather than to the state

Wow! Nanny state == democracy. Who could have thought…

JWatts April 26, 2013 at 9:31 am

Well no, not at all. That’s a basic failure of logic. The absence of high levels of kinship groupings does not imply a Nanny state, it just implies a lessor chance of a democratic state.

Enrique April 26, 2013 at 10:23 am

Define “democracy” …

mishka April 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm

How about this: consanguinity causes stronger family groups. Weak family groups cannot survive unless there is a nanny-state. Hence we see more of the weak ones in nanny/socialist societies (and incidentally, current US and old USSR join here together), which we erroneously take for a sign of democracy. Of course, this would mean we disregard all democratic societies of the past. Who cares, they are dead anyway…

crypto-gentile April 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm

this is not an ideological battle of endogamy vs exogamy, left vs right, or Socialism vs liberty. This is ethnic warfare against white people. Non-Whites are breeding & invading aggressively.

Why do hostile globalist elite defend Israel as a Jewish ethnostate with Jewish only immigration, but ravage white majority Europe/North America into a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Gulag with dystopian non-White colonization?

East Asia is 99% yellow. Africa is 90% Black. West Asia is 99% Brown. But 3rd world colonizers are annihilating Whites, just as China is annihilating Tibet.

Why do gullible Whites cuckold for murderous anti-White elite, who confiscate White people’s guns, infiltrate/subvert our banks & espionage agencies, indoctrinate White kids in academia/mass media, plunder White jobs/wages, & butcher White soldiers in bankrupting wars?

“Native” Americans are not native. They invaded from East Asia. Yellow & Brown races committed ten times more slavery, genocide, imperialism than Whites. From Greeks till today, Whites are victims of Jewish/Crypto-Jewish, Turkic, Muslim, African slavery, genocide, imperialism.

Gullible Whites should reject subversive anti-White ideologies – libertarianism, feminism, liberalism, & reject hostile slanders of racism/collectivism. Love to all humanity, but White people must organize to advance their families, their fertility, their homelands, their interests. Reading list:
http://goo.gl/iB777 , http://goo.gl/htyeq , http://amazon.com/dp/0759672229 , http://amazon.com/dp/1410792617

Daniel Reeves April 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Oh wow, the trolls are out in full force today.

Bon April 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Correct.

Michael April 26, 2013 at 8:25 am

With all correlation stories, I think it’s best to think through a number of the possibilities.

1. Consanguinity causes countries to be less democratic

2. Less democracy leads to higher rates of consanguinity

3. A third factor causes both more consanguinity and lower levels of Democracy.

I haven’t read the paper to see if they explore ideas for all three, but if I were a betting man, I’d go with 2 or 3.

The story here is there’s strong kinship-based form of tribalism that makes it hard for Democracy to emerge. I think it’s just as reasonable to think it goes the other way. Since they cannot rely on the state or the free market, they form nepotistic kinships.

I don’t think people suspect that marrying your cousin leads to royal families and monarchies, but rather, the causation is the other way around.

mavery April 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

This mirrors my thoughts. It’s probably comforting to us Westerners to think that our recognition that cousin marriages are icky (because, I mean, ewww!) also makes us value democracy. The alternative that Michael describes implies that our views on this taboo are more a result of our culture.

Incidentally, the most famous “cousin lovers” in popular culture at the moment come from a family that tends to be nepotistic and distrusting of non-members of the family. After all, they always say that family is the most important thing. (That or breakfast.)

Urso April 26, 2013 at 9:30 am

Truly enjoyed this comment.

JWatts April 26, 2013 at 9:51 am

I think it’s probably 3 followed by 1, with the ‘third factor’ being something like a “low trust society”.

Ergo, Consanguinity is useful in a low trust society and furthermore consanguinity tends to lower the trust in society. A low trust society is harmful to the creation of a Democracy.

albatross April 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I’d add one more factor there–perhaps there is no actual relationship at all between cousin marriage and democracy, but for historical accident sort of reasons, cousin marriage happens to be frowned upon in places that have more leanings toward democracy than the rest of the world.

hbd chick April 26, 2013 at 8:52 pm

@michael – ” I think it’s just as reasonable to think it goes the other way. Since they cannot rely on the state or the free market, they form nepotistic kinships.”

no, it’s probably very much the other way around — free markets and liberal democracies develop in populations that outbreed. which oddly happened pretty much only in western europe (thanks in large part to the roman catholic church’s ban on cousin marriage beginning in the medieval period). try avner greif’s “Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations” for starters.

HBD Kookiness April 27, 2013 at 2:08 am

more white and black talk from HBD Chick, who rejects the reality of a gray world.

“free markets & liberal democracies develop in populations that outbreed”. How much can icelanders outbreed? or even Finns/Danes and Norwegians? Is marrying a sixth order cousin outbreeding or breeding?

Its just childish HBD nonsense. In Indian Subcontinent during Buddha’s time there were 16 Liberal Republics, and laws made with Public consent. There were highly developed lending (capital) markets. The Buddhists took these free market principles to Han China, Malaya, Persia etc. And Indians are much more inbred, clannish.

Its not as formulaic as you make it to be. outbreeding = free markets, liberal democracy. Life is much more complex.
Also, one may argue that Western democracies were never liberal. They never had highly developed market exchanges & capital markets, due to banking as a critical and necessary component of free markets under the domination of hostile Jews (since Justinian), who were inbred, clannish in intense reproductive/resource competition with exogamous whites.

the pre-condition for liberal democracy and free markets is when all groups in a society are exogamous, or all groups endogamous. In this way, an exogamous society will have individuals, immediate families, and the country, whereas in endogamous societies, groups of individuals acting as extended families, and then the country.

bmniac April 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I quite agree. But free trade and movement in India was there even before Buddha as were local Governments in many places in south India.

Darren April 26, 2013 at 8:32 am

Does that mean Kentucky is the least democratic of all the states?

Too easy?

Nicoli April 26, 2013 at 9:23 am

Don’t forget the parasites.

Master of None April 26, 2013 at 8:40 am

Re: birth defects, it may be worth pointing out that the risk between first cousins is much higher than for second or third cousins (where the risk becomes effectively de minimis), although I am not sure how this is manifested over multiple generations

Alexei Sadeski April 26, 2013 at 11:26 am

It’s still low.

hbd chick April 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm

tell that to the arabs.

RPLong April 26, 2013 at 9:04 am

Humans are most attracted to people having larger genetic differences:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090525105435.htm

Miley Cyrax April 26, 2013 at 9:26 am

Not true for all values of genetic distance. Studies consistently show women prefer men of the same race as they, all else equal. The shape of the function that describes female preferences with respect to genetic distance is likely parabolic.

RPLong April 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm

To clarify, my claim is not that, for any one genetic difference, larger differences = more attraction.

Rather, my claim is that for all genetic differences on average, wider variation = more attraction.

Yancey Ward April 26, 2013 at 10:48 am

Then I shouldn’t have had that third eye removed after birth?

Keith April 26, 2013 at 11:12 am

What about this study?
A study released Thursday in the journal Science found that marriages between third or fourth cousins in Iceland tended to produce more children and grandchildren than those between completely unrelated individuals.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ReproductiveHealth/story?id=4258128&page=1#.UXqZRMqPQ1I

Urso April 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Is there a meaningful genetic difference between “fourth cousin” and “completely unrelated?”

Keith April 26, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Maybe. 4th cousins share 1/32nd of their genome. This seems small until you consider that a genome is 6 billion base pairs. It matters which bases are shared though because some bases make up important genes while others just seem to take up space.

John Mansfield April 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I suspect the difference has something to do with urbanization, that the only way to find find a mate who’s not a fourth cousin is to move to Reykjavik and become a small-city dweller and have fewer children than those who stayed home in the country.

RPLong April 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Fertility and attraction are, of course, two very different phenomena.

Finch April 26, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Not for long…

ad*m April 26, 2013 at 9:39 am

Lots of hypotheses in the comments, not much data.

HBD chick – http://hbdchick.wordpress.com/ – has been doing a solid and consistent effort finding data and testing some of these hypotheses, meanwhile generating some novel ones of her own. For example, that there are different types of inbreeding patterns that lead to different amounts of relatedness. One good place to start is here:
http://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/why-fbd-marriage-amounts-to-more-inbreeding-than-mbd-marriage/

dead serious April 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

Is this that FeministX person, rebranded?

FredR April 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Almost certainly not, although that would be some feat.

dead serious April 26, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I suspect I’m correct. This blog reads similarly, down to the machinations she goes through to prove she’s “real.”

hbd chick April 26, 2013 at 9:00 pm

i’m real! and i’m not (or wasn’t) feministx. promise! (^_^)

Steve Sailer April 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Yes, hbd chick is real.

JWatts April 26, 2013 at 9:58 am

Alex, Kudos on the picture. That was an excellent choice.

Alex Godofsky April 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

It should be noted that the picture Alex chose represents a level of consanguinity even the countries on his list find unsettling.

Affe April 26, 2013 at 10:09 am

…and a pretty good example of reversion to the mean.

jtf April 26, 2013 at 10:20 am

His chair is made of swords. Your argument is invalid.

JWatts April 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Winter is coming.

Ray Lopez April 26, 2013 at 10:24 am

My second cousin is hot and some family members wanted us to date but she thought it was too weird (I was for it if she was willing…she is hot). I did some research and found, roughly, what TC said about birth defects is true–not as bad as people think. A rough guide was (from memory): having offspring with your first cousin (illegal in many states) will increase the number of birth defects by 2x over siring issue with a stranger, while a second cousin is halfway between this number (1.5x) but in all cases the number of “defective” kids (measured throughout the kids lifetime, including mental illness) is under 10%. Even for perfect strangers I recall the number of “defective” kids (for lack of a better term) is about 2% as I recall. Well I’m in the Philippines now so no possibility of having kids with anybody remotely connected with me, though strangely I did meet a PH girl that had a kid with a Greek merchant marine passing through, lol.

ad*m April 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Your cousin was only partially correct. Your odds of a bad outcome depend how inbred the population is that you and she are from. If typical white US male, very outbred, low risk.YMMV.

http://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/so-why-ban-cousin-marriages/

Justin Case April 27, 2013 at 4:28 am

If family members were wanting him to date his second cousin it suggests their family’s level of inbreeding might be significantly higher than average.

Jan April 26, 2013 at 10:33 am

By the way, cousin marriage results in an elevated risk of birth defects but on the same order as a 40 year old woman having children as opposed to a 30 year old. In other words, the risks are small relative to other accepted risks. Results do get worse when cousin marriage is prevalent over many generations.

Actually results don’t get worse over time because the deleterious genes get exposed to natural selection.

Millian April 26, 2013 at 11:11 am

That’s like recommending the practices of the Chernobyl nuclear plant to Soviet engineers, based on the probability of a nuclear accident there today. The selection IS the result.

Jan April 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm

No, that’s not analogous and doesn’t make sense.

With inbreeding over time, results don’t get worse, as harmful alleles are culled. The minority of retards (or whatever) are exposed and culled. Outbreeding temporarily masks harmful alleles but provides no help in the long run. When inbreeding is relaxed, homozygosity for genes of a certain disease decreases, and there should be a decrease in the diseases associated with these genes. But this is only temporary. Mutation pressure continues, and the gene frequency will very slowly build up, until finally the frequency of homozygotes will again come into balance with mutation pressure. However, the relative frequency of the heterozygotes in the population is now greater than before.

albatross April 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Multiple generations of cousin marriage mean that the first cousins marrying each other today are actually more closely related than would be the case if, say, if I married my first cousin.

The deleterious recessives will get filtered out, but that can take a long time, depending on how harmful they are. Double recessives that kill you at birth get filtered out a whole lot faster than double recessives that make you a little dumber than you’d otherwise have been.

Ray Lopez April 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm

So, if your example is true, then a black African with black eyes marrying a blonde Swedish person with blue eyes, will, eventually, produce in some later generation (assuming they continue to reproduce), a person with blonde hair and blue eyes, but you’ll also have more skin color and eye colors than before. Makes sense.

Anon April 26, 2013 at 10:49 am

“To illustrate, if a man’s daughter marries his brother’s son,………………….”

In India even in areas where consanguineous marriages are common, this would be a very poor, yucky example.Ina patrilineal system you go up with your brother’s children and they are your siblings. In india they are called “cousin sister” to clarify , fora example.

Your father’s sister ‘s children or your mother’s brother’s children would grow up ina different location and they are “marriageable” cousins.

So when sociologists write articles like these , they should probably try to at least get their examples right , however unnatural the phenomenon may be in their societies.

Anon April 26, 2013 at 10:51 am

…”you grow up with your father’s brother’s children also…”

Jon Diamond April 26, 2013 at 11:04 am

In socieities with consanguineous relationships, children are TOLD who to marry.
In Democracies, in which children can marry who they want, the pool of non-relatives is much larger than relatives. So there are less “close” marriages.

Richard Besserer April 26, 2013 at 11:07 am

So I looked into Woodley and Bell.

Bell teaches at Canada’s only remaining Catholic finishing school for women, Brescia University College. Brescia students have their degrees granted through the University of Western Ontario, but the emphasis is clearly on shuttling women into “pink-collar” jobs to help them mark time till they find good Catholic husbands and can start churning out babies. (They don’t even have an economics major; presumably young ladies interested in political economy need to go to the main campus to savour Adam Smith. Food and Nutrition Studies they have, something a good mother can actually use.)

Bell’s specialty is political science, not psychology; most of his work has concerned itself with protest movements in Western Canada like the Alberta separatism and the Social Credit Party. Only recently has he turned to exploring the alleged heritability of political preferences, for example his article in the Canadian journal of Political Science, “The Origins of Political Attitudes and Behaviours: An Analysis Using Twins:”

“This article provides a behaviour genetic heritability analysis of several political issues, including social and economic conservatism, general interest in politics, attitudes toward the major Canadian federal parties, federal party identification and national vote choice. Substantial genetic effects were found for four of six political attitude scales, with heritability values ranging from 41 per cent to 73 per cent. Genetic effects are also reported for several individual items (including feelings toward the major federal parties, party identification and vote choice), with heritabilities from 33 per cent to 62 per cent. The implications of these results for conventional political analyses are explored. Also presented is a theoretical interpretation of political heritability that is derived from an evolutionary perspective which suggests that political personalities or temperaments have evolved that are analogous to the heritable personality structures proposed by psychologists.”

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=274DEBD58F64EE92F181882F5C2991AE.journals?fromPage=online&aid=6845784

In other words, if this can be believed, conservatives and liberals are to a great extent born, not made, and what persuasion can achieve is very limited. Therefore, a Conservative government in Canada (for example) would be wasting its time trying to make Tories out of congenital Liberals and (social-democratic) New Democrats so as to cement its position as the Natural Governing Party, and would be much better off putting a stop to the importation of Liberals.

Michael A. Woodley—well.

Woodley’s PhD thesis, only granted in 2011, is actually in plant biology, not human intelligence. He graduated from the University of London, but only lasted a year in the biochem department at Ross University in Dominica, West Indies. What he does with himself now isn’t clear. His reported corresponding address as of January 2013 is a private house in Pulborough, West Sussex.

It is just possible that “Warenne Lodge” is the location of his mother’s basement, where he is presumably free to apply his leisure time to further his research on sea serpents. Really.

http://www.alibris.com/In-the-Wake-of-Bernard-Heuvelmans-Michael-A-Woodley/book/10546266

LemmusLemmus April 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm

So, a political scientist – not psychologist! – and a (possibly unemployed!) biologist write a paper on the influence of mating habits on democracy. It shouldn’t be allowed!

It has long been known that there are genetic influences on political attitudes. Those heritability estimates refer to populations, though, so you may want to rethink your interpretation.

Really, do you have any serious argument against the article, or is it just that you don’t like it?

Richard Besserer April 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm

The article is gated, and I can’t find a free version, so I can’t assess the article itself. The evidence that at least one of the authors is irretrievably flaky is overwhelming, though.

Look at it this way—in the unlikely event that there is a heaven as described in folk Christianity, and in the even unlikelier event that I make it there, I expect the delights I will enjoy there, if I so choose, will include the sight of Philippe Rushton burning in hell. Here on earth, though, I have to take his work somewhat seriously even though I know what game he’s really playing, in part because he was a seasoned and tenured researcher in psychology with a good publication record long before he got mixed up with the Pioneer Fund.

Some flake who never systematically studied human psychology that we know of, expects people to be impressed with his work on bloody sea monsters, can’t get a job even in his field except at a disreputable Caribbean medical school, is fired even from that after one year and is reduced to moving back in with his mother? Not so much.

hbd chick April 26, 2013 at 9:13 pm

you can find the paper here, at the bottom of the post.

eduardo April 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm

> a recent paper finds that consangunuity is strongly negatively correlated with democracy:

I don’t think that consangunuity “causes” a lack of democracy, but it certainly does cause low IQ, and to my mind, low IQ is the key factor that determines why some societies remain anti-democratic. The national-average IQ threshold for democracy is about IQ 90; at about that level you get, say, Turkey, which is kind of democratic, but then again not really. Of the countries with an average IQ of less than 90, none are democratic. As in, none. Which is why I already knew two years ago that the Arab Spring would turn into the Arab Nightmare — although there are lots of smart and engaged and well-meaning people in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, etc, in general the “average” IQ of those countries is maybe 84, maybe 86. In any case it’s nowhere near the threshold of what it takes to have a functioning first-world democracy. That’s why turning those low IQs into higher IQs should be goal number one, everywhere.

JWatts April 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Well, how do you know what the IQ’s in those countries are?

Ray Lopez April 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

IQ by country varies according to local diet and local parasites, see here: http://www.economist.com/node/16479286 From the table linked to the article, you can see China does really well (considering how poor it is, it significantly smarter than the USA) while Gambia and Gabon do really poorly. PH is kinda dumb, and Greece is a bit below the USA. Japan equals China, and Italy is smarter than the UK. UK is 1 point smarter than Germany is 1 pt smarter than France. Singapore is #1, but only 3 pts higher than all of China (I think China’s results are biased by Shanghai, but I can’t prove it). Qatar is really dumb, like Africa. Sorry Qatar (you have a nice airport though). Equatorial Guinea is the dumbest country in the world (was that a MR topic a few days ago? There are three Guineas in Africa and I get the three confused). Complete list here: http://media.economist.com/images/20100703/201027STC756.gif BTW I had an IQ of 139 at my peak, I bet I’m dumber now. A lot of people think so.

JWatts April 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

That list states that certain countries have an average IQ that’s in the mentally retarded range. Less than 70.

For example, St. Lucia at 62. That strikes me as very low for an entire country. I wonder how good the data is? And if it’s true, it does explain a lot of the dysfunctionality of Africa. Surprisingly, I’ve never seen an chart of average IQ’s by country. I guess it’s one of those taboo things.

Cliff April 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm

There was one on Wikipedia for a while until the PC censors got it taken down

ChrisA April 26, 2013 at 8:56 pm

The way to test this thesis (that low IQ is the result of parasites and local diet) would be to test immigrants in a nation where these are not issues and compare to the locals in that nation. If it is partly or all genetic the difference will remain, if its is due to local diet and parasites, then presumably the difference will disappear. Has this test actually been done I wonder?

Also on the issue that low IQs reported in some African countries (below 70) can’t be real because no-one would be functional; my nine year old son, if tested as an adult would probably be somewhere around there. He is pretty smart for a nine year old, but pretty dumb as an adult (imagine, he has no calculus!). But he is totally functional in most regards in terms of being able to feed and dress himself, do his homework (simple maths, english writing etc), use a computer, read books etc. Indeed he can speak two languages better than I can. When I was just a bit older than him I had a job in a cafe bussing tables and cleaning up at the weekends.

JWatts April 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Also on the issue that low IQs reported in some African countries (below 70) can’t be real because no-one would be functional

60-70 IQ is considered mildly retarded, but definitely functional.

mishka April 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Brazil 86.

Christopher April 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Eduardo, didn’t the US get away with a good amount of democracy in late 19th century when the average IQ was under 90?

Careless April 27, 2013 at 1:43 am

No, Christopher, the US never had an IQ average under 90 as far as anyone knows.

Gregor Mendel April 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I thought we shared 1/4 of our genes with first cousins, not 1/8%. My brother and I share half our genes. Won’t our kids each get 1/4 of the same genes?

liam April 26, 2013 at 3:28 pm

You share 50% of your genes with your brother, half of which will go to your children. They will be 25% related to their uncle and thus 12.5% related to his children.

Jenettnay April 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm

“Unlike the Middle East, Europe underwent what Samuel P. Huntington calls the “Romeo and Juliet revolution.” Europeans became increasingly sympathetic toward the right of a young woman to marry the man she loves. Setting the stage for this was the Catholic Church’s long war against cousin marriage, even out to fourth cousins or higher. This weakened the extended family in Europe, thus lessening the advantages of arranged marriages. It also strengthened broader institutions like the Church and the nation-state.” (from Isteve)

The power of blood-clans declined and the power of the voluntary association, both in marriage and corporation, ascended. It made for a stronger civil society?

JonF April 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm

The Catholic Church was quite biddable on cousin marriage if someone (e.g., royalty) could sweeten the pot enough. The royal houses of Spain and Portugal even had instances of uncles marrying their nieces.

Steve Sailer April 26, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Second the recommendation of http://hbdchick.wordpress.com/ for the state of the art on clannishness.

Also, Stanley Kurtz has written many fine articles on the effects of cousin marriage for National Review.

I Robot April 26, 2013 at 3:32 pm

The number quoted for India is too high. Consanguineous marriage is explicitly prohibited in North India Hinduism and Sikhism. It is definitely part of the culture in South Indian Hinduism and Indian Islam.

see http://www.consang.net/index.php/Summary

“A similar degree of non-uniformity exists in Hinduism. The Aryan Hindus of northern India prohibit marriage between biological kin for approximately seven generations on the male side and five generations on the female side (Kapadia 1958). By comparison, Dravidian Hindus of South India strongly favour marriage between first cousins of the type mother’s brother’s daughter (MBD) and, particularly in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, uncle-niece marriages also are widely contracted.

In general, Muslim regulations on marriage parallel the Judaic pattern detailed inLeviticus 18: 7-18. However, uncle-niece unions are permitted in Judaism. Yet they are forbidden by theKoran, even though double first cousin marriages, which have the same coefficient of inbreeding (F = 0.125), are recognized within Islam. In southern Asia, Buddhism sanctions marriage between first cousins, as does the Zoroastrian/Parsi tradition. The Sikh religion forbids consanguineous marriage, although some minority Sikh groups appear to exercise flexibility in the observance of this proscription.”

bmniac April 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm

“Dravidian Hindus”? Wonder where this comes from?
As a somewhat skinned Dravidian Hindu (Brahmin) may I assure the robot that in all my extended family there has not been a single such marriage for over 60 years.(I am old enough to know. And my grandparents -both maternal and paternal who married over a hundred years back were not related to each other. Except in villages where it was common once ( and where it still exists but much less so) it is indeed disappearing in urban areas.

I Robot April 28, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Please click the link – the data come from surveys.

I personally know that is fairly common among the Raos, Reddys etc of AP (niece-maternal uncle marriages are common too). I’d guess that the middle castes definitely practice is, upper castes (read Brahmins) might not but they are are a very small percentage of the population in South India.

Steve Sailer April 26, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Let me recommend Australian academic A.H. Bittle’s

http://www.consang.net/consang-fe/#

as a wonderful compendium on studies by region of the rates of cousin marriage.

Dave April 26, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Apparently it also helps cause World Wars.

Michael A. Woodley April 28, 2013 at 6:16 am

I just saw the coverage of my (and Ed Bell’s) paper here at marginalrevolution (I’m a big fan!). Thanks for that by the way, so much for my concern that the paper was going to languish in obscurity!

Unfortunately however, as happens frequently when scientific materials garner any kind of serious attention, the authors themselves come under scrutiny – especially when the paper concerns a subject on which everybody apparently has an opinion, like human behavior and evolution.

Lets start with my work in ‘cryptozoology’, which based on some of the comments, seems to necessitate dismissal of the (non-cryptozoological) work in question. Yes, this area of inquiry was of interest to me between the years of 2007 and 2011. My main research focus was on statistical modelling of the rates at which species descriptions and discoveries accumulate, and in reinterpreting the various theories that have been put forward to try and explain sea-serpents, using actual zoology. These research interests led to the publication of a book (http://www.forteantimes.com/reviews/books/3169/in_the_wake_of_bernard_heuvelmans.html) and also two peer-reviewed papers (Woodley, Naish & Shanahan, 2008, Historical Biology; Woodley, Naish & McCormick, 2011, Journal of Scientific Exploration), both of which garnered respectable scientific commentary on the pages of New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328502.300-lost-treasures-the-loch-ness-monster-that-got-away.html) and also (surprisingly) in Slate.com (http://ottumwacourier.com/cnhi/x983007727/Slate-Its-time-to-put-a-lid-on-the-bigfoot-research). Furthermore, I have presented my research in this area along with Drs. Charles Paxton and Darren Naish at a symposium organized by the Zoological Society of London (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2011/07/19/cryptozoology-at-the-zoological-society-of-london-cryptozoology-time-to-come-in-from-the-cold-or-cryptozoology-avoid-at-all-costs/). So much for ‘irretrievably flaky’, although I understand that the fallacy of induction is at work here – most self-described cryptozoologists are not scientifically minded, this does not mean that all people with an interest in cryptozoology are not scientifically minded however.

Cryptozoology does not interest me currently as in my opinion all avenues for the pursuit of scientific novelty within the field have been exhausted. As was previously mentioned, most of those with an interest in the field are not scientifically oriented, which became a source of additional frustration, although interestingly this wasn’t the case back in the 1980′s when cryptozoology was far more professionalized (it had a peer reviewed journal for starters) and also enjoyed some measure of support from within academe.

My research into human behavior and evolution started in 2006. I have since then published 25 papers in this field (including the one under discussion) in some of the top journals, including Intelligence, Personality & Individual Differences, Psychological Review, American Psychologist and Review of General Psychology. My work in this area is quite mainstream – a fact reflected in my current employment (http://www.umu.se/sok/english/staff-directory/view-person?uid=miwo0006&guise=employee211620) at Umeå University’s Psychology Department (in Sweden) as a post-doctoral researcher in behavior genetics (in my opinion that’s about as closely matched to the subject of the paper under discussion as you can get, or at least the Behavior Genetics Association certainly thought so when they let Ed and I present it at their annual meeting last year: http://www.bga2012.wdfiles.com/local–files/program/program.pdf). For what it is worth, I also have a research fellowship with the Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies at the VUB in Belgium (http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/cgi-bin/homepage.cgi?discipline=sociobiology).

Let this be a lesson in not judging books by their covers, or rather in this case not judging scientists by their interest in cryptozoology.

Anonymous May 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I just came across this blog post and wanted to say how incredibly insulting the graphic is. Judging the political implications of cousin marriage as negative is fine. Everyone has a right to their opinion. But conflating this with sibling incest and crazy despotic offspring begat by such is quite another. It reflects poorly on this blog, which up until now I often found thoughtful.

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