ATTEMPTING TO EXPLAIN THE RISE OF WESTERN EUROPE: hbd* chick’s Big Summary Post on the Hajnal Line. (I have taken liberties with the formatting of the text here. For the original formatting, click the link.)

From Wikipedia: “The Hajnal line is a border that links Saint Petersburg, Russia and Trieste, Italy. In 1965, John Hajnal discovered it divides Europe into two areas characterized by a different levels of nuptiality. . . . ”

INSIDE (or to the west of) the Hajnal line we find:

  • Late marriage and 10-20% of adults never marrying
  • Small families, either nuclear or stem
  • Higher average IQs than outside the line
  • The highest concentrations of human accomplishment in europe
  • More democracy
  • Greater civic-mindedness or orientation towards the commonweal
  • Generally low perceived corruption
  • High individualism
  • And low homicide rates in the 19th century

Why? . . .

Medieval Christianity weakened the old patrilineal clannish (or kindred-based) systems because it insisted upon the avoidance of cousin marriage which reduced the genetic ties between extended family members and set the stage for the selection of very different behavioral patterns in parts of northwestern Europe — “core” Europe. Orthodox Christianity in eastern Europe also banned close cousin marriage, but this came later in that area of the world (since they adopted Christianity later), and enforcement was not as firm as in the west . . .

In a society where one doesn’t have an extended family to fall back on, it might be very useful to possess traits which enable the successful collaboration with non-family — being trusting and trustworty, for instance. A society of such individuals might very likely: be comprised of small-sized families; have a higher average IQ since individuals had to fend for themselves more; [etc.] . . .

The earliest start to what I’ve (jokingly!) dubbed The Outbreeding Project in Europe that I’ve found so far occurred in northeast France/the Low Countries and southeastern England. This, I think, is the core of “core Europe” . . .

Liberal democracy . . . starts in this core of “core Europe” — it was pretty much invented by the English. The Dutch pretty much invented capitalism (per Daniel Hannan). And T.Greer points out that this is exactly where the great economic divergence began earliest . . .