The Steve Sailer Rule of Conspiracies

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

The Man Who is Thursday has uncovered The Steve Sailer Rule of Conspiracies:

The more closely related the alleged conspirators are, the more likely that there is an actual conspiracy.

Let’s take a step back:

What [the Mafia, the 90s Russian oligarchs, the Donmeh, the diamond business, not to mention conspiratorial groups like the Druze or the Assasins] all have in common is that they all involve small, closely knit ethnic groups or people with close family ties. To be precise, actual conspiracies tend to be found only among family members or, what amounts to the same thing, closely knit endogamous ethnic groups.

Not hard to believe, but the indirect consequences are more interesting:

We in the West, with our loosely knit families and anti-nepotistic traditions (the Catholic Church ruthlessly suppressed cousin marriage), don’t think much of conspiracies, and for good reason. Without family ties, there are just too many incentives to defect and therefore somebody almost always does.
So, if we in the West have little time for conspiracy theories, why are they so popular in the rest of the world? The reason is that family is that much more important there. Therefore, in places where this is so, conspiracy is entirely plausible fact of daily life. Is it any co-incidence that the current hotbed of conspiracy theories is the Middle East, with its high incidence of cousin marriage? In most places in the world, a good and decent person, as a matter of course tries to benefit his family first, at the expense of everyone eles, so, by the lights of their experience, why wouldn’t America and the West work the same way. Therefore, it is that much easier, and happily much more self-flattering, to think that the West’s technological and economic superiority must be a result of devilish scheming, not of any deficiencies on your own part. (The U.S. tendency to elect people named Bush and Clinton does nothing to relieve this suspicion, I’m afraid.)

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