In the last few weeks I’ve come across many sources emphasizing the same big theme that I hadn’t sufficiently appreciated: our industrial world was enabled and has become rich in large part because we’ve reduced the power and importance of extended families. This post ends with a long list of quotes, but I’ll summarize here.
Many Native Americans on reservations in the southwest are desperately poor because there are very few jobs in those desolate lands. But the people living there are free to leave, and choose the benefits of staying with the tribe over living a prosperous but tribeless life.
conclude that they are happy all the time.
You mean like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Mexico? (the last, regarding which I'd be interested in the role of extended families, inasmuch as Mexico is Catholic [anti-cousin marriage] but agricultural).
To be honest, it's been a long time since I've seen a National Geographic, but I wonder if you're attributing extended families to hunter gatherers whereas clans are associated with agricultural societies.
I'd suspect that urbanization and an general declining fertility rate in most countries other than Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa could deal an eventual death blow to the clan as well. hbdchick suspects that clannishness has a genetic component more prevalent in certain populations that wouldn't disappear with the clan itself. I wouldn't be surprised, given that all other personality traits are heritable. With the collapse of tradition and the clan, the clannish impulse can be redirected toward new artificial in-groups, such as the fictional brotherhood of Muslims, with an altogether worse result.
Recursive cousin marriages also lead to low IQ. Thus, the lowered trust associated with higher cousin marriages will also covary with low IQ, and we need to keep that in mind when thinking about the relationship between productivity, trust, and cousin marriages. It may be IQ, not trust, that's driving the relationship between productivity and cousin marriages.
"It's curious to me that someone who claims to favor "giving people what they want" suddenly develops a taste for imposing certain marriage patterns here. 0.2% of marriages in the US may be cousin marriages--it probably relates to them being legally banned in a majority of states."
A) cousin marriage severely increases the risk of genetic defects and a weakened immune system of any children born out of the marriage, B) it is also indicative of force: out of all the people you meet you probably wouldn't choose your cousin if it was really up to you, especially considering A), it's much more likely your family is forcing you for financial reasons (it's not like millions of people are closeted cousin lovers).
Gay marriage has none of these fundamental problems, opposition to it stems entirely from religious ideas and a "yuck" factor (which may itself stem from religious ideas).
Or the ability to save the species from a meteorite, environmental collapse or an epidemic.
Most importantly though you don't want to raise average happiness by making a minority worse off than some lower limit of human decency (because it's unfair to not spread the pain). The nepotism and social exclusion associated with clans have the potential to break this rule (though obviously it's not so bad if everyone is a member of a clan).
Actually, outsiders do observe members of less wealthy and integrated cultures and conclude that they are happy all the time. I mean, have you ever, for instance, seen an issue of National Geographic? Really, this is a large part of what moralists do.
What even constitutes a social gain if not the aggregation of individual gains? Increased military power?
No one who has actually observed these extended families in action will give that "last data point" any credence. Of course they think they're happy when it's obvious to all that they're miserable.
Data points? Garbage in, garbage out.
If you agree with the logic, best presented by Sailer, then discrimination against cousin marriages helps compensate for the discrimination against society by extended families.
But gay marriage has unrecognized problems of the same sort: the strengthening of bonds within some same-sexed groups at the expense of societal loyalties.(See, somewhat related, Is same sex marriage coherent? — http://tinyurl.com/yz3zhbw )
On a selfish level yes. But i tend to focus my advice on social gains, and less on personal gains.
Hmm. That last data point seems very important if one is optimizing for measures of individual welfare terminally. Shouldn't the title be "beware abandonment of extended family"?
We can weaken clans elsewhere in the world by allowing more immigration.
What if I want to be an individualist by default, but a collectivist in cases where it seems to make sense? Is that allowed?
Self-deception is the typical form of human hypocrisy.
"Extended-family members feel a duty to their families to pretend to happiness, while smarting under the boot of paternal oppression."
I think it's safe to assume the questionnaires are anonymous.