Sunday 17 January 2016

Democracy devours her children

In the 1930s an Argentine friend of mine was advised by his father to learn English “because English is the language of the future, but stay here because Argentina is the country of the future”. So, with perfect English he built up the family business in Buenos Aires, and after observing the Argentinian commercial and political scene for 60 years (including his experiences as Chairman of the Anglo Argentine Chamber of Commerce during the Falklands War) he gave me his conclusions over dinner at his lakeside house: “Argentina is the country of the future, but always will be”.

With this wry assessment in mind, I turned to a book written by Gustavo Semeria, from Buenos Aires "Adios a la Democracia. Un dios que para reinar devora a sus hijos".  “Goodbye to Democracy, a god who reigns by devouring her children”.

Semeria tells me: I'm a follower of the discoveries of Dr. Lynn in matters of intelligence and wealth generation, as well as political institutions, so I wrote this book particularly addressing the underdevelopment of Latin America, its relation with ethnic roots, culture and low intelligence, and its difficulties when trying to create stable democratic systems. It's an essay written to divulge these advances and discoveries in the psychology of intelligence. It also wants to alert people to the dangers of segregation and cultural conflicts in the region.

The book is available in Spanish in digital format at and will be in paperback in a short time.

Facebook link:

The book has a very broad scope, and once again I stand in awe of people who write books on factual matters. The whole task must have take ages. The first part covers many issues and I only list a few: Out of Africa, a summary of intelligence research, welfare states, middle-class Burgher values; intelligence and economic progress; voting rights, education in Latin America, school choice or school vouchers, the education of elites. All this and more in what is only Part 1. Part 2 covers much on Amerindians, mestizos, racial conflicts in Latin America, immigration to Latin America, gated communities and public slums, and an overview of democratic progress in Latin American countries.

Naturally, this is aimed at a Spanish speaking Latin American audience, and will bring them much about genetics and intelligence which may be new to them, particularly regarding recent intelligence research. The specifically Latin American content is of particular interest, especially that focussing on the uncertain progress of democracy in Latin America. Semeria covers historical ground when describing the clash between the Spanish Conquistadors and the indigenous natives, where the superior weapons of the invaders, and their resistance to the diseases they carried and transmitted to the natives who had no immunity resulted in those natives being overthrown and to all purposes enslaved. Friar Bartolomé de las Casas, in the middle of the 16th Century was the first to argue that the Indians were able to reason, and should therefore be treated as human beings. The conquerors had shown no such inclinations. Nordic Europeans took over North America, Mediterranean Europeans South America.

Semeria points out that the Aztecs and the Incas had not achieved the same levels of development as the ancient civilizations of the fertile crescent 3500 years before. They were backward civilizations, the European Adelantados a Forward one.  Semeria avers that this clash of civilizations was so profound that the effects in Latin America are felt to this day: society is stratified by racial appearance and by degree of European blood. Argentina (4.5 million Europeans) and Brazil (4 million Europeans) had a whitening policy of encouraging European immigration.

Latin America has not succeeded in integrating its different races, Semeria argues. He notes, in Argentina particularly, the enormous rise of gated communities, almost exclusively white, in which the middle classes live protected by guards, paying for their own infrastructure and largely keeping to themselves. The high payments required raise the possibility that these large enclaves may, for practical purposes, be their own local governments, like Swiss Cantons, and the bigger ones will probably house up to 80,000 residents. This is hardly a prescription for social harmony, though it is an understandable reaction to the open borders which allow large scale migration from poorer and more Indian countries in South America.

The book contains a grand history of the sort not much told nowadays. It is a good read, but not a quick one. The book needs an executive summary. It also needs pictures, Tables, Figures, Maps, diagrams, and more pictures, in the hope that each and every one of them will save one thousand words. The book is too long a journey for the average reader, though a persistent one will be rewarded. The section on immigration to Argentina and Brazil is good, but even that could have been improved with more graphs showing any relationship between migrant inflows and national wealth. Page 345 has one table which is powerful, showing IQ (coeficiente de inteligencia) GDP per nation, together with the European fraction of the population.


This could have been analysed further, to great advantage. Other data sets, for example the recent summary of a decade of surveys on trust in Latin America (pretty low in most countries, outside immediate family members) would have been a very useful addition.

As regards the capacity of Latin Americans for self-government, the great liberator Simon Bolivar had this to say:

America is ungovernable: those who have served the revolution have ploughed the sea. These countries will inevitably fall into the hands of the disenfranchised multitude to then fragment into small tyrannies of all colours and races, devoured by their crimes and extinguished by their own ferocity.

Admittedly, Bolivar was a better warrior than governor, but those who benefitted from his campaigns made a monumental mess of governing what he had conquered, squabbling amongst themselves, and continually requiring him to hack back across the continent to reconquer what they had squandered. More than a liberator he was a peripatetic fire-fighter. Marie Arana has written a good biography: Bolivar: American Liberator. 2013.

In my view democracy has an internal contradiction, which is that votes are per head, not per contribution. Thus it is always rational for voters to favour policies which give them a bigger share of the contribution of others, thus driving collective policy towards wealth distribution or debt, or both. Does this lead the State to devour its children, or to creating a benign government, though one apt to run perpetual deficits and to postpone difficult decisions? This is a question which all democracies must ponder, but for Latin America two questions remain. Would they have done better to have imported more Europeans from Northern Europe than the Mediterranean? Can they get their europeans to create European style democracies, with equivalent levels of wealth and social benefits?

Argentina is looking up at the moment, or so its harassed citizens believe, but the quality of the new government will be tested severely over the next few years.

Meanwhile, the concrete pillar with the beach shower got knocked down a week ago. It snapped clean over, showing the green garden hose in the middle of the concrete. The beach chair man said that a lorry from the Municipality came and smashed it over, by mistake it was presumed, though opinions differed. Current popular estimates for its replacement run into the middle of 2017. The Municipality is bankrupt, and the new administration (right of centre) which was voted in last August cannot do anything until they receive the January local taxes. The Gorriti island lights have been turned off to save electricity, thus disappointing all walkers and diners on the Rambla. Worse, there is still no Government marijuana. They are planting some best-quality Government weed somewhere in the interior, but none of it is ready, and may indeed never be ready. Perhaps none has really been planted. No-one knows, because they are all on free-enterprise marijuana. Bolivar would not be surprised.


  1. Brazilian IQ is 89.

    For the rest of the article, is the same story; same for Argetina, same for Brazil (my country). Like my father say to me "One day, Brazil will be a great power,is the country of the future!" Same dream since Dom Pedro II in XIX century, yet to be accomplish.

  2. Hello. I suspect the ethnic composition data for Argentina and Chile have been switched in the table above. No way is Chile 95% white, and Argentina is not 33% mestizo, at least in terms of self-identification.

    1. Hello, yes, you're right regarding Chile. It is a typing mistake. Thanks for the observation. Right figures are: White 52%, indigenous and mestizo 44%, black 4%. A good survey here:

      Whites predominate in central region of Chile, as well as in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, conforming a white strip between parallels of 30° to 40° South, where European immigrants best adapted. Northen areas are more indigenous and mestizo, ruled by white elites, conforming a pigmentocracy.

      Regarding Argentina, old surveys (Avena et al -2002- and Seldin et al -2006-) suggest that whites were around 80%, which I seriously doubt. From that years on, migration policy of the Argentine government was to speed up and open borders, specially after "Patria Grande" migration law of President Nestor Kirchner. That's why I corrected the figure based upon my own calculations which I describe in my book, since there are not updated studies. Argentine census don't include self perception of race. All statistics in Argentine were manipulated during last years, and I can say, since I live in Buenos Aires and deeply know metropolitan area of the capital (Gran Buenos Aires) number of mestizo people has grown exponentially year by year since middle of the nineties. That is due to the prolific breeding of local mestizos plus the income of immigrants from neighbor countries. Social benefits were granted for both groups and still are. Consider that by 1914, when "Great Migration" period started to fade, Argentine population was almost completely white, and that coincides with the best performance of the country. Regards.

    2. Argentina is probably 30-40% ''pure'' europeans, similar % of off-whites.

      Brazil seems to be 10-15% ''pure'' euro-descendents and a twice of off whites (people who have predominant european genetic, appearence and psychological traits),

      50% of self-declared ''white'' in Brazil, probably 30-35% at the most will be at least predominantly white, look white...

      Chile look like a tempered Costa Rica, a greater % of chileans who are mixed but with higher % of european genetics like Michelle Bachelet looking (she look ethnically for me, little mixed but she could pass as a spanish woman ... spaniards are, on average and specially in southern areas, reasonably mixed is not*), a minority of ''pure'' europeans (20%-30%**). Chile and Argentina are more homogeneous than Brazil, most of argentinians are off and pure ''europeans'' and most of chileans are off whites (or off mixed*) and mixed.

      Costa Rica is a very interesting country, without official army!!! Marriage patterns*

    3. This mix you point, when Europeans kept mostly white and with a small percentaje of indigenous blood, is what I call Euroamericans, people that fully adopted European culture, look like Europeans and aver themselves to belong to Western Civisilation. They constantly clash with mestizo and pure indigenous groups. That is why Latin America is stratified according to white blood participation. You can see that phenomenon in the southern cone of America, South of Brazil, Uruguay, central strips of Argentina and Chile are mostly white (or used to be). Racism and segregation were always, explicit or implicit, in the mind and behaviors of the white, or almost white populations. You can also see, it doesn´t need more demonstration, that these areas are richer and produce more culture than the rest of Latin America. Look at the big capitals Sao Paulo, Río, Porto Alegre, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Rosario, Cordoba, Mendoza and Santiago de Chile, and compare them with other capitals of the region. Particularly Chile, which has more mestizo people, always have a kind of aristocracy, either left or right in politics, but all of them white people, like Bachelet or Piñera, or Lagos, or Salvador Allende. You will never see in Chile a President like Evo Morales from Bolivia, or Mr Toledo from Peru. All last tensions in Chile are related with this race and social problem. Last census of Brazil showed that self perception of people is half white and half black and mestizos. You could object that people that perceive themselves as whites are not pure white. But the same could happen in Italy or in Spain and even in France. The fact is that, in general terms, people of that perception behavior and share values of Western Civilisation and that of great importance in social results.

    4. Gustavo,
      yes i know, i just try give little pedantic precision to this ethnically regional proportion or statistical reality.

      Brazil but specially Argentina look like this racial-border countries like Georgia or Turkey. Predominantly euro-caucasian but not a white lily, specially at wn standards. Even nations like Russia and Ukraine seems have similar situation.

      In the border between two races, race is also a social construction.

      Christian lebaneses are quasi-whites like jews for example.

      But muslim lebanese are not**

      But look that christian lebaneses tend to be whiter than muslim, this differences are relatively little but still visually notable.

      Note also that intelligence (behavior) have a greater impact and social class tend to work very well as a proxy.

    5. Santoculto,
      You understand the matter very well, and that is one of the key issues of my book, to explain that this part of Latin America is in the border of two civilisations and is immerse in future clash of civilisations, the west versus the rest of Huntington, when almost nobody is denouncing this threat.

      You punctuate precisely the issue of Turkey (which is divided between a western society in Istanbul and an Asian interior to the east) as well as the case of Lebanon, which I would also extend to Syrians of the coast. Most of the Syrian war is now based mainly in ethnic issues (allawites, maronites and shias are whiter than Semitic Arabs).

      We need to see carefully how things will develop in the next years in Argentina and Brazil, both potential areas of ethnic conflicts.


    6. Gustavo,
      yes, the problem is the complete lack of organization and the naivety to trust in the ''media'' and government''. This dependence is very dangerous because both are full by sychos. Also the predictable actions that desgrace right wing movements.

      About Brazil and ''always the country of the future'', paradoxically Brazil become ''phenotypically'' smarter than in the past because today most of people are literate, urbanized and exposed to intellectual resources of all natures thanks to the western (white-jew) technology.

      But i no have doubt that ''we'' become less smarter because reduction of fertility rates of ''smart fractions'', secularization and big propaganda pro-mixing races.

      What's happening in Europe, happen in ''whiter regions'' in Brazil, cities like São Paulo, called ''city of italians'' in the 50's, with huge concentration of italian immigrants and people with this ancestry (as well other peoples), today São Paulo changed completely and the ''older inhabitants'' are a quasi minority.

      Other sad observations is about called ''smart fractions''. I have the impression that most of our ''modern'' problems are caused by not-so-smart people that neglect its own weaknesses and become a propagator of ignorance's'.

      The quality of smart fractions (by quantitative levels, very vague) is also very important.

      I was thinking yesterday about psychological traits that produce ''autism spectrum'' as well their distribution among non-psychiatrically diagnosed people. Introverts also come to my mind.

      Subsaharians are the most extroverted among human populations. On other hand, germans, nordics and east asians, particularly japaneses, have the highest proportion of people who are introverted and possibly people on the broader autism spectrum, where psychiatry also become socially constructed or relative.

      All positive psychological and cognitive traits of autism and introversion seems vital to produce civilizations like genuine intellectual curiosity, capacity to capture implicit (but convergent or useful) patterns, rigid routine, very good memory, mathematics and other abstract skills, honesty.

      Needless to say that subsaharian africans and their diaspora, on very average, are the less ''nerd-like'' among human populations and in my opinion, this seems complementary with intelligence level (''iq'') to explain the unequality of nations.

    7. Smart fractions of whites are in a withdrawal process, everywhere. It is not coincidence that same tendencies of having less children are taking place in Europe, in New York or in Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires. When we think in some kind of superiority of the white race, we must take this into account: how do we define superiority and at the end, if the white race is absorbed by other races or if It ends in a minuscules proportion, there will not be superiority.

      Regarding autism, It should be further investigated its relation with ancestral traits of white race, a possible behavior related with cold winters isolation and even some legacy of Neanderthals interbreeding with Homo Sapiens. White people is less expressive and extroverted than other races and tends more to isolation and segregation from others. This is a trait of individualism, which flourishes in white populations and hardly can be seen in coloured people, who feel more comfortable with collectivism. The history of freedom evolution, as happened with progress, is a western construct based on the affirmation of the individual. Incas and Aztec never even dreamt on such a thing. Another trait of Europeans was the exploration spirit, mostly absent in other civilisations. Take for instance the Amerindians, who lived isolated between different tribes, didn´t know the wheel, and except from the Incas, never developed roads, using mostly rivers as paths.

    8. I thought in the idea of selective alienation. When you select ''for yourself'' and neglect potential outsider competitors... you become alienated about the psychology or behavior of others... or when cultural (and specially moral) evolution is faster than those who will be absorb this novelties... remember that white european societies gave a quantumm leap in the right of individuals. European philosophers had developed this ideas but the literal aplication of it seems just happened in the twentieth century.
      many other possibilities, the idea that average people, even those with higher quantitative intelligence, are prone to ''magical thinking'', most of leftism today as a example of sophisticated magical thinking that use science as propagation.

      But i think what's happening is that the highest position of social ''and'' hierarchical structures of western societies were taken by 'foreigners'' and as societies work hierarchically, from the highest and influential position to the lowest....

      I think europeans, specially germans (include anglos and mixed areas as northern Italy) and nordics, have the highest proportion of people with reasonable and ''advantageous' autistic traits, of course, decanted and not with its full expression.

      subsaharians have the lowest proportion of ''nerd-like'' (and engineer) types.

    9. Magical thinking could have been an advantage during evolution times. But even when It could be conditioned by genes, I think It is possible to change with education and propaganda. Except from fanatics, most believers are prone to change when enough evidence and reasoning of the absurd of their believes are shown to them. It´s a small chain of work that must be done by every racional thinking person, to teach and convince others. Social networks are today very useful for that. This kind of invisible hand is changing minds step by step in western world.

    10. I'm not optimist about ''change minds'' because there are pre-dispositions. For example, to be atheist or agnostic there is, i thought, the necessity to have disposition for literal thinking. There are a individual dispositional proportion to engage in certain thinking style, for example, hypothetically talking, ''i'm 70% literal thinker'' and ''person x is 30% literal thinker'', and culture and social pressure indeed seems have a impact. But the problem is the preponderance of the believer throughout human populations.

      Magical thinking was very important when we analyse human history by now but it's doesn't mean that was ultimately indispensable, because the intelligence evolution in humans had been relatively slow in my opinion. Cultural accumulation had been a great impact but average humans, even in the Eurasia, stay proportionally irrational.

      I have the impression that the average american is not so different than the average roman citizen and we are talking about 2000 years of difference if selective pressures is trivial.

      Thanks to the magical thinking many people today don't believe in human intelligence inheritance or in race differences. Magical thinking is not just religion but this can mutate or change into a sophisticated cult like ideology today. Even most of human cultures are just regional ideologies.

      Human evolution in culture is very umbalanced, some areas like technology evolved significantly, other areas like popularization of wisdom or rational thinking still being repelled and the explanation is that the capacity to learn new moral or rational things to most people is very limited and at best partially delusional. Even for those that we think they are smarter to internalize correct piece of informations and create personal realistically coherent ideational systems and self-actualize them, we can see a preponderance of sophisticated magical thinking.

      the most interesting of (pseudo)paradox is that higher intelligence don't prevent people to be irrational and many times promote the otherwise.

    11. Well, that is an interesting thing, because one could suspect that a person of magical thinking should be less intelligent. Nevertheless, there are people with high IQ that have beliefs with no rational basement. Why? it seems like they switched off their brains and intelligence when it goes in matters of religion. They use scientific method in all ordinary aspects of their lives, they demand logical and reasonable explanations and justifications for every phenomenon, law, politics, economy, etc. but they don´t use the same process for philosophical questions related with religion.

  3. "Semeria points out that the Aztecs and the Incas had not achieved the same levels of development as the ancient civilizations of the fertile crescent 3500 years before." Indeed, but as far as anyone can tell, large parts of Eurasia didn't independently achieve civilisations anywhere near as impressive as The Amerindian ones. Europe and India, for starters. Even mighty Egypt seems to have imported the idea of agriculture from the Near East; there are (or were) people who suspect that China imported metallurgy. The Amerindians did it on their own. Complicated bastard, history.

    1. Hi, I don't understand very well, I'm sorry, but it seems you affirm that Europe didn´t achieve an impressive civilisation as Amerindians did. I think that by 1492 European achievements were outstandingly superior and overwhelming regarding the same year's advances of Aztecas and Incas, both greatest civilisations of the New World. Furthermore, Spaniard Hernan Cortes vanquished and conquered Azteca Empire (composed by hundred thousands inhabitants) with only a few hundreds of Spanish soldiers.

    2. Amerindian metallurgy was very poorly developed compared to Old World metallurgy. It mostly used metals such as copper, gold, silver which could be found in metallic form in nature and which are easily worked. Objects of copper, gold, silver were mostly decorative. Flint and obsidian were used for cutting tools.

    3. dearieme - Regarding India the Indus Valley Civilization does not seem to show much evidence of foreign influence. It's early development may well have been largly independent of the early civilizations in the Fertile Crescent.

    4. Writing in Meso-American cultures was almost totally restricted to monumental inscriptions, administrative texts and epic/poetical use. There is very little evidence of it's use in daily life. This is in strong contrast to the widespread use of writing in every day life in the Ancient Near East. There is nothing in Meso-America like the scribes of the Ancient Near East. There the private use of writing of some sort antedates the earliest monumental inscriptions by about 500 years.

      The appearance of writing (beginning as an accounting shorthand) is very early in the Near East. On the other hand the Olmec culture is more than half over before the earliest use of writing begins.

      The Meso-American cultures did have true writing but it's use was extremely restricted compared to it's use in the Near East.

    5. The Aztec empire was very recent and not well consolidated. Many of it's people had been subjugated only a short time before Cortez arrived and they were quick to revolt against the Aztecs. This explains to some extent Cortez's rapid success. Conquering the Mayans and the Tarascans turned out to be more difficult. To be sure the Spanish prevailed against all the New World Civilizations in a fairly short time. No question that the Europeans were far more advanced than the Amerindians.

    6. Jim, a sign of intelligence from Cortes was to use these disagreements between Mexicas, who were tyrannic governors, and their subordinated tribes. But a sign of lack of intelligence from the amerindians was to do not understand that, facing a common enemy, internal differences should have been posponed. They didn´t foresee that Spaniards were, at the end, not gods, but only conquerors.

  4. Gustavo, of course European civilisation is the greatest ever known, but the point is that Europeans didn't do it on their own. They were able to "stand of the shoulders of giants" by borrowing from the Near East. As far as we know, agriculture, metallurgy, literacy were none of them European inventions. Whereas the Amerindians had built their civilisations "from scratch" i.e. with no one else to learn from.

    1. My understanding is that the Incan Empire was badly decayed by the time the Conquistadors showed up and overthrew it with a large amount of help from subject peoples. So the problem was lack of any civilizational process that would have led to higher levels of technology and science.....Here I am going to refer to Greg Clark's work A Farewell to Alms, which illustrates the process as it occurred in England, with strong selection pressures for smarter, better behaved individuals...The Incas in fact sacrificed many of the most promising children in their domain, and had pretty obviously reached a civilizational dead end.

    2. Treat this work with a grain of salt.

      There is obvious dunning kruger component in it.

    3. dearieme, your idea is in some extent correct, but it doesn't explain completely why Amerindians, who reached America around 30.000 to 40.000 years ago didn´t develop a Greek civilisation. Greeks didn´t start 30.000 years ago. Why Neolitic started first in Middle East and not in Africa or in Peru? It's difficult to know: environment conditions, intelligence pressures, a combination of both? In any case, Europeans started its great civilisations, as you say, from Assyrians, Caldeans, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, up to when they exploded in Greece, which, as Dr. Lynn suggests, were the people with highest IQ in history. Why Incas or Aztecs were not like Greeks? Maybe, if Columbus had never came, Aztecs would have evolved in a kind of Greece? we will never know. But we have to see the facts and how they occurred in space and time, It seems there was not an intelligence pressure in America like it was in the cold winters of Europe during glaciar Era. More benign climate and abundance of resources was the environment where Amerindians evolved. Great extensions with low human pressure over nature.
      I don´t dismiss your hypothesis, because there is no a single one explanation. But culture and civilisation has to appear in one place or another, It´s not just a matter of accumulation, because if that was the issue, first step of accumulation should have started in Africa, were homo sapiens came. Regards.

    4. Pyrrhus I would synthesize it in one word: progress. The idea of progress (improving materially and spiritually) is eminently a Western construct. Since the Greeks, It started a path of continuity, with peaks and valleys, but linearly in history. Asian civilisations and moreover Amerindians, never consider that as a matter of live. Nor the Near East civilisations, nor the Egyptians (Egyptian's afterlife beliefs were a continuity of life like in Earth, in the other world, there was not a Paradise. There should be a Nile, a valley, work and social life, servants would be servants and Pharaohs would remain Pharaohs, both were buried with their respective tools). It is from Greece and then Rome, that progress initiates. Philosophy, education, reason, primitive sort of science, material wealth, all these came from there and expanded then into Europe. Different was the lineal conception of life and future of Aztecs and Incas, where most of improvements were addressed to rites and cult. Regards.

  5. Re, the Mexica ("Aztecs"):

    The Spaniards were basically pirates south of Guatemala, as you point out, and they didn't get anywhere in Maya country (still haven't); but in central Mexico they intermarried with the Amerind elites. This has led to certain effects, for good and ill, in Mexican history.

    I think there's a good argument to be made that the problems in Mexico are less the result of the Spanish influence, and more the result of the *Aztec* influence. The Valley of Mexico has always been the imperial region in Mesoamerica. Geography suggests it will remain so.

    Democracy in "Mexico" will never work, because if the provinces all unite against the Mexica, the Mexica will rally around a strongman who will crush the provinces.

    1. - Of course I am talking about elites, not about the average Guarani peasant. Of course the Spaniards intermarried with the locals in - say - Paraguay, where there were no white women. But they didn't recreate a Paraguavian empire because there was no civilisation in Paraguay to start with.

      Mexico was different. It had two thousand years of civilisation. It was an alien civilisation (to whites) but still civilisation.

    2. Well, I treat this matter in my book and you are right. There were two civilisations in America, Mexicas and Incas, and there, whites found difficulties to settle European standards in politics, economy, social life. Different was the case in the areas with less influence of indigenous powers and with tempered climates, kinder for caucasian race, like Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and south of Brazil.