Revolutionary Nepotism

Revolutionary Nepotism

Mini Teaser: Why "keeping it in the family" remains popular under dictatorships--and democracies.

by Author(s): Steve Sailer

The failure of the revolutionaries in the face of rising Islamic
fundamentalism paradoxically makes dynastic succession appear to be
the safest choice for those fearing an Islamist takeover. Yet, the
unfairness and inefficiency of nepotism can also feed Islamic
extremism, as in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, when many Afghan
patriots, tired of the battling of the family-based warlords, turned
to a movement of religious students in the hopes that their Quranic
ideals would heal the rifts between clans. They were known as the
Taliban, and everyone is aware of how that story ended.

The evolutionary anthropologist Gregory M. Cochran suggests that the
future of hereditary rule is even brighter than its present. Some
day, megalomaniacal strong men like Saddam Hussein will be able to
avoid breeding flagrantly defective potential successors like Uday, or
even normally regressive ones like Qusay, merely by cloning

America's lack of intellectual discourse on nepotism and dynasticism
provides a near perfect example of what Harvard's human nature
scholar Steven Pinker calls (with a nod to David Hume's "naturalistic
fallacy") the "moralistic fallacy." We think these phenomena ought
not to exist and therefore we speak and write as if they do not
exist. This is a luxury we simply can no longer afford.

Steve Sailer is the National Correspondent for UPI, a columnist for and the film critic for the American Conservative.

Essay Types: Book Review