October 21, 2013

The culture of honor as a deterrent to rape: Theory and data from across countries

[Updated in the comments with data on German and Indian states]

Emily Yoffe wrote a column in Slate about the urgent need to stop lying to young women, and to warn them of the danger of being raped after a night of binge drinking that could render them incapable of defending themselves against a sleazoid who wouldn't mind having sex with a girl who was passed out. The critical response was just as cogent, insightful, and charitable as you would predict for a debate of the 21st century. In a follow-up column she defended herself against the backlash.

She framed her argument in feminist terms -- educating women so that they can take fuller control over their lives, and thereby avoid one of the more unsettling harms that face college students (and by extension, any group of women who binge drink in the company of strange men, perhaps in unfamiliar places). This feminist approach seems like the only way for concerned people to get a respectable hearing -- but then I value my dignity over my respectability.

I think we have far more to learn from masculine cultures of honor about how to prevent rape, whether in the violent sense or the "taking advantage of a passed out drunk" sense. It wouldn't occur to respectable people to take such a cross-cultural look because everybody knows that those culture of honor societies are notoriously anti-feminist -- and therefore must be plagued by rape even more than us civilized culture of law societies. In the mainstream mind, whether liberal or conservative, us looking to Armenia for rape prevention strategies would be like a pudgy American turning to the Samoans for dietary advice.

And yet in 2006, the rape rate in Armenia was just 0.2 vs. 46 for Sweden (per 100,000 population) -- or 230 times higher in homeland of IKEA. In fact, feminazi Scandinavia, the Baltics, and northern Europe in general fares rather pathetically when compared to the Balkans, Near East, and broader Mediterranean area. Here is a table listing countries by rape rate across several recent years.

Before examining the table in detail, what is the basic link between a culture of honor and low rape rates? Quite simply, they are not afraid to fight fire with fire. If someone rapes an Armenian girl, all of her male kinsmen will come out of the woodwork to track down the offender, light his body on fire, and have it torn to pieces by wild horses. Sounds like a strong deterrent to me.

In such cultures, female sexuality is a commodity owned and controlled by her male blood relatives -- if you want her, you need to seek and obtain approval from those men first -- hence rape is a trespass upon those men's property (the woman's body). Because men in honor-driven cultures strive to avenge all trespasses, especially the more flagrant ones, killing the rapist of a female relative is just a special case of their obsession with driving away trespassers. And this basic mindset can be extended, by the notion of "fictive kin," to protect "our women" in the community, even if they happen to be unrelated to us.

Way too much attention gets devoted to how cultures of honor treat the female victim of rape, which include varying degrees of casting her out. They're not blaming her for the attack, but viewing her more as a car that's been vandalized and wrecked by a criminal. The criminal they've already executed -- now what to do with the car that may be damaged beyond repair? Can't exactly have it sitting out in the driveway where the neighbors could see it. It looks bad in itself, and gives us a reputation as the kind of men who can't defend their own car from getting busted up by vandals. Better then to sequester it from public view, perhaps having to get rid of it altogether if it's beyond repair.

You don't have to identify with that attitude, but this exercise in cross-cultural empathy lets us understand the logic of ostracizing the female victim in cultures of honor. Once you view female sexuality as a commodity owned and controlled by the male relatives, the entire paragraph above follows naturally.

Sure, even us part or full hillbillies who find a lot of value in honor over legalism will find it hard to go all the way toward viewing female sexuality in strictly kin-controlled-commodity terms. But we could certainly gain a lot by moving farther in that direction, reversing the course we're on toward telling people that everything will be OK because laws and law enforcement are there to prevent and rescue them from danger.

That optimism in statist social engineering is particularly naive when it comes to preventing and punishing rape. It is the most notoriously murky of the violent crimes to judge the facts of the case, unlike a murder which leaves a dead body with signs of trauma. Typically all that can be ascertained in a rape complaint is if intercourse took place, not necessarily whether force was involved. And as a source in Yoffe's column points out, "drunken sex" shades into "sex with a dazed or passed-out girl," and there's no bright line crossed. Hence a neutral third party like the courts will be justifiably reluctant to prosecute a complaint, compared to a murder. Policemen could patrol homicidal hot spots, but are they really going to stroll around every college party giving a nasty stare to would-be feeler-uppers? Get real.

All of that is to say that we need more personally motivated parties to prevent and punish rape, like the girl's male kinsmen -- or fictive kinsmen. Don't let women move too far away from their kin. And more cohesive communities would result in much the same protective behavior. Hence, rather than supporting the "do whatever you want" and "don't hold me to any communal norms," which lead to atomization and lack of concern for your fellow man (or woman), we need to tell folks that they can't do whatever they want, that they're being held to communal standards of appropriate behavior -- like, say, not downing 12 drinks in 2 hours and passing out near a group of strange males. Hard to believe, but somehow the world kept spinning just fine when that was the norm.

In cultures of honor, women rarely go around without an escort or chaperon -- especially around groups of strange men in unfamiliar places. We don't have to go all the way toward locking them up in the harem, of course. But an honor-based attitude would have us looking after unattended or isolated women in such circumstances, not out of a white knight sense of rescuing the unfortunate, but because those women are our women, and you have to go through us first if you want to try your luck with the ladies. Honor-driven policing of female behavior would severely cut down on the prevalence of unattended or isolated women in a dazed or passed-out state near strange men outside the home -- one of the least favorable circumstances for women wishing to avoid rape.

Getting back to the table, all sorts of control variables need to be taken into account when comparing countries. For one, which year or years do you choose? If you sort them within each year, the basic ranking doesn't seem to change that much. But they might change a bit more if there's a rising or falling trend in any of the countries -- 10 or 20 years out, the rising ones will, well, rise, and the falling ones will fall in the ranking. For the rest of the post, I'll refer to 2006 estimates.

Wealth or income won't matter since there are too many rich and poor countries at each level of rape rates. The murder rate, or some other measure of violent tendencies, would be necessary to control for how likely folks are to resort to violence to solve life's problems. I think the best catch-all variable to control for is rough geographic region. That will lessen the impact of race, testosterone level of local males, level of development, recent history, and so on.

Looking on a region-by-region basis, we see that cultures of honor have lower rape rates than more progressive cultures of law. Generally that maps onto pastoralism vs. intensive agriculture, though not perfectly. For example, England and Wales had a rape rate of 26, Scotland 18, and Ireland 9. Ask paparazzi-swatter Alec Baldwin if he has any ideas about how Irish culture keeps women better protected from the unwanted advances of strange males.

Belgium has a rate of 31, France 16 (only part of which is the weenie frog culture of law up in the north -- see the post below on French highlanders kicking out the Gypsies), Switzerland 9, and Italy 8. Moving to the southwest, Spain's is 5, and Portugal's 3.

Among Germanic nations, the rate descends from the highs of Scandinavia -- 46 for Sweden, 24 for Iceland (yes, you read that correctly), 18 for Norway, and a more respectable 10 for Denmark -- down through a rate of 10 in Germany (which is split between legalists in the northeast and more honor-driven southerners), reaching a low of 9 in both Switzerland and Austria.

By my hypothesis, the Balto-Slavic countries of the Great European Plain ought to have higher rates than the parts of Europe farther south and west. Yet they're about the same or slightly lower, depending on exactly which countries you compare. However, within Eastern Europe, there's a clear gradient from higher rates in the northern half than in the Balkans. There's 11 for Estonia, 7 for Lithuania and Moldova, 6 for Russia and Latvia, 5 for the Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania, 4 for Belarus, 3 for Slovakia, and 2 for Ukraine. In the honor-obsessed and blood-feuding Balkan mountain region, the maximum is only 5 for Macedonia, falling to 4 for Croatia and Bulgaria, 3 for Slovenia and Turkey, 2 for Montenegro and Greece, and 1 for Albania, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It's like they say -- an armed society is a polite society.

So, even on a smaller scale we see the relationship hold up, as Albanians and Montenegrins and Serbs are ground zero for the Balkan culture of honor (kanun, osveta), and not quite so much Bulgaria and Croatia. And sure enough, it is the former that have less than half the rape rates of the latter.

Semitic or Indo-European-speaking countries in the Near and Middle East with rates below 1 -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Tajikistan.

It looks like the Turkic and Mongolian speaking pastoralists have higher rates than that, from below 1 in Turkmenistan to a high of 12 in Mongolia. Although they're pastoralists, they do fall outside the standard realm of "cultures of honor," which is more circum-Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and (partly) South Asian. Francisco Gil-White studied nomadic pastoralists in western Mongolia and thought they had something approximating a culture of honor, but not a fully developed one like you saw in the American South. So, sticking with the degree of honor rather than of pastoralism, the place of the Central Asian cases between the Near East and Northern Europe supports the hypothesis.

What about all of the countries with primarily sub-Saharan black populations? They have pretty high rape rates, with South Africa far out in the lead at 138. These also support the hypothesis, as most of those places lack a culture of honor, living as tropical horticulturalists. Culture of law folks often confuse an emphasis on toughness with the culture of honor, and lord knows that black folks want it to be known that you don't mess around with them. However, honor's twin is hospitality -- all of the canonical cultures of honor are also cultures of hospitality. They are more precisely speaking "cultures of reciprocity."

Bantu speakers and their off-shoots outside of Africa don't have reputations as cultures of hospitality, where taking care of guests and strangers passing through is a sacred duty. It's more dog-eat-dog. And they aren't obsessed with making sure their womenfolk stay sexually pure. For one thing, black women are too willful, and for another, black men just don't care that much at the end of the day. In pastoralist groups, men are responsible for just about all of the food production (maintaining the herds), while horticulturalist women do more productive work than the men (tending the gardens). So how can the men threaten the women to obey their moral sexual code? If she wants to put herself in harm's way, her male kinsmen aren't going to surround her and tell her, "The hell you are." What can you do? -- she's an Independent Woman.

Unfortunately, according to the global data, countries with lots of Independent Women have far higher rape rates than those where they're more under-watch or even under lock and key.

The same applies to largely Amerindian countries in the New World that also tend to have high rape rates, such as Nicaragua at 28, Panama and Peru at 24, El Salvador at 19, and so on. Don't confuse toughness or thuggishness with honor -- if they aren't also obsessed with hospitality, and with clamping down on women who would flaunt their sexuality, they aren't cultures of honor.

I don't claim that the level of honor-focus in a culture is all that determines the rape rate, or that it would be simple to switch from a more law-oriented to a more honor-oriented set of norms. But we've been there before, and fairly recently, so we can get there again. It'll be easier where the population is of Mediterranean, Celtic, and Franco-German highlander stock, and harder elsewhere -- especially where they're more African and Amerindian.

And I don't envision the change as one of policy so much as a process of "consciousness-raising" across the grassroots level, as the activists would have said. For those of us from hilly/mountain roots, it's just awakening a drive that's already there deep down. As for the more legalistic Saxons and Scandinavians -- we'll just have to exert a little peer pressure to make them go along. Failing that, we can form our own regions and do as we see best. If the blonds are willing to trade off higher rape rates for a lower obsession with honor, then that's their prerogative, warped as we may find it.


  1. Problem: Another feature of "cultures of honor" is that they might not like reporting rape accurately.

  2. off topic post, but thought you'd be interested in it: http://flowingdata.com/2013/10/21/regional-personality/

  3. "Another feature of "cultures of honor" is that they might not like reporting rape accurately."

    Not by 100 times, though.

    If we're going to open the door to corrections for under-reporting, then the northern European estimates should all be about 10 times higher than reported. That's what everyone says, anyways.

    So then Armenia, Azerbaijan, etc., will have to have under-reported by the order of 1000 in order to make them equal to N.Europe, and by the order of 10,000 or more to support the idea that the rugged unibrow countries are far *more* plagued by rape than the blond socialist countries.

  4. I can comment on Eastern Europe's rates - they are explained by slavic concept of masculinity: a real man could never find himself in shortage of women throwing themselfs at him. Thus, in mass conciousness rape is a thing reserved for losers without balls or The Silence of the Lambs' Buffalo Bill kind of psychos. For extreme case, in prisons being a known rapist is identical to being a known passive homosexual. The western concept of campus douche-bro who rapes drunk girls at parties doesn't make slightest sense there.

  5. You seem to have passed over East Asian rates in silence?

    Also, how come HG cultures don't have much male mate guarding?

    There's also the issue of whether its worth cocooning females by surrounding them with related males just to avoid a little bit of rape.

  6. "East Asian rates"

    Doesn't seem to be much to say without data from China, particularly at a fine-grained level since that nation includes quite a bit of variety in pastoralism vs. agriculture, honor vs. legalism, etc., when you look outside the Han. Sparse data from Southeast Asia as well.

    South Asia would be worth looking at too, but the estimate for "India" would need to be broken down by milk-drinking vs. seed-sowing region. Then work that in with data from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and if there's any data, on Pakistan.

    India's estimate is just below 2, while it's about 7 for Sri Lanka and 10 for Bangladesh (not all from the same year, since data are spotty). Mountain pastoralist Nepal is below 1. So I'd guess that the southern/eastern parts of India are higher than the northern/western parts.

    "how come HG cultures don't have much male mate guarding?"

    Everyone knows each other, so it's not possible for an unknown member of the group to seduce another on the sly, without others finding out. That requires larger more anonymous societies. And they generally aren't the target of raids by hostile out-groups who run off with the women.

    "There's also the issue of whether its worth cocooning females by surrounding them with related males just to avoid a little bit of rape."

    Not a little bit -- maybe by a factor of 10 or 100, depending on how far we push it.

    Italy's rate is 8, Spain's 5, and Portugal's 3 -- all way smaller than Sweden's rate of 46, Iceland's of 24, and Norway's of 18. And Iberian and Italian women aren't constantly shielded by kinsmen while outdoors and locked up in the harem at home -- just more so than in Scandinavia, where women feel like they can do as they please.

    This is important to internalize, or else we'll allow ourselves to think in polarized terms about "either Iceland or Iran," when the same differences can be seen between Sweden and Spain.

  7. About HG's, from what I've heard, although rape and abuse are rare, when they do happen, the men show a culture of honor response and lead the offender off into a field where they execute him. No trial, no way of atoning, etc.

    Why not so much mate guarding? It looks like how much productive work women do. Chaperoning her, locking her up, etc., all drain resources on the guard as well as in lost work by the woman. So we expect to see mate guarding more where women don't do as much productive work -- that would be pastoralists.

    All the other main subsistence types have women contributing roughly the same as men (HG's, agriculturalists), or more than men (horticulturalists). That also explains why blacks and Mexicans don't bother trying to control their women -- the women are the ones putting food on the table and paying the rent.

  8. Related to Yoffe's focus on binge drinking as an enabler of acquaintance rape, binge drinking is more common in Scandinavia and the Baltics than in Italy (or Spain, from what I saw living in Barcelona).


    " 'My findings showed that most people who increased their consumption were at risk of experiencing some form of alcohol-related problems,' says Dr Landberg, 'but also that people who live in countries where drinking occasions often lead to intoxication - for example, Sweden and the Baltic countries - more often experience alcohol-related problems when they increase their alcohol consumption when compared to people who live in Italy, where the drinking primarily takes place with meals and less often leads to intoxication.' "

  9. Jeez, all these images are flooding back of shitfaced English, American, and Nordic tourists in Barcelona. Not in a spirit of revelry a la Oktoberfest, but closer to the Slavic pattern of soaking your brain in booze.

    Luckily the locals thought I was French or German... perhaps because I never get blinding drunk, but that spared me the looks of disapproval that the Meds had for the Anglos and Nords.

    And not because the Spanish were killjoys. They simply preferred to enter an altered state of consciousness by getting pumped up in group setting, and synchronizing their movement in order to lose their sense of individuality, AKA dancing. They would rather get high on endorphins than on alcohol.

    I don't think it's genetic differences in adaptation to alcohol either, btw. It wasn't like the Spanish were drinking the same amount as the English, only holding it better -- they were either drinking less, or at least spreading it over a longer stretch of time, and padding the landing with a meal in there somewhere.

  10. Worth pointing out the even lower rates of drunkenness in the rest of the circum-Mediterranean, Near East, and Middle East. Supposedly due to prohibitions in Islam, but you see the same low consumption rates even in the ones with decent sized non-Muslim populations (like Lebanon), and the ones where they don't follow Islamic law very strictly (like Albania).

    And again, it's not because Persians are killjoys -- they throw even better parties than Nords. They'd just rather get pumped up into an altered state of mind by moving their body to the beat and leaping over fire.

  11. I have got your India data:

    Trying to Make Sense of India's Sexual Violence, State by State"

    T. Greer. The Scholar's Stage. 3 October 2013.

    If you can add any insight to the questions I posed in that post, I would be glad to hear them.

    Southeast Asia data can be found in this report:

    Prevalence of and factors associated with non-partner rape
    perpetration: fi ndings from the UN Multi-country Cross-
    sectional Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific

    Rachel Jewkes et al. Lancet Global Health. October 2013.

    They are pretty high rates. To quote from the report:

    The prevalence of female non-partner rape perpetration
    varied between 4% (in urban Bangladesh) and 41% (in Papua New Guinea), but in most sites was between 6% and 8%...

    Rape of an intimate partner was more common than was non-partner rape in all countries (table 2). The combined sample prevalence of intimate partner rape in men who had ever had a partner was 24%, ranging from 13% in Bangladesh to 59% in Papua New Guinea.

    Overall, two-thirds of men who had raped a non-partner had also raped a partner as a single or multiple perpetrator (table 2). Table 2 shows that more than half of men who have ever raped a non-partner had only ever raped one woman, but 16% had perpetrated against four or more women (ranging from 7% in Bangladesh to 19% in Papua New Guinea).

    A final thought -

    There is a compelling reason to doubt numbers reported for Azerbaijan-to-Yemen: the endogamous community family. In these places (and in contrast to Mongols and northern Turks) the natural family arrangement is the endogamous community family, where brothers live together and have their children marry each other. This makes it hard for people not in the clan to even get at the girls, as you suggest. But it also makes it pretty easy for members of the clan to get at the girls they protect from others. Sometimes people forget this. Part of the reasons Middle Easterners treat their women's sexuality as a commodity is because one of them will end up being her husband. And in this environment there are not many repercussions for raping someone from the same household as you, especially if it is expected you will eventually marry the girl anyways. I submit that these inner-family rapes are unlikely to be reported in the statistics, driving the rape rates of all those countries down.

  12. Here's a map of "crimes against women" by state in India. This pdf has a column with actual numbers by state, but they appear to be raw numbers rather than rates for populations.

    Pakistanis might have a "culture of honor" but they rather notoriously don't regard their host population as falling under that in England. Beurs apparently don't even get the non-khaffir immunity in l'enfer des tournantes. I'm sure we've all also read the article reporting that 100% of the rapes in Oslo were committed by foreign men, generally from Muslim areas.

  13. "I'm sure we've all also read the article reporting that 100% of the rapes in Oslo were committed by foreign men, generally from Muslim areas."

    The post is about the culture of the victims not perps. Which ones help protect victims?

    Iceland has worse rape rates than Norway, with even fewer non-Euro foreigners.

    Spain has an even larger fraction of foreigners than Norway, and they're from thuggish Latin American countries plus Muslims and Eastern Euros. Yet their rape rate is way lower than Norway's. Clearly Spain's culture is better at resisting the would-be rape attempts by such immigrants.

  14. "I submit that these inner-family rapes are unlikely to be reported in the statistics, driving the rape rates of all those countries down."

    Sure, but by a factor of 10 or 100?

  15. Here's the rape rate (per 100,000 pop) for the Indian states. Map # refers to this:


    Rape rate, Map #, Name

    7.1 ___ 18 ___ Mizoram
    5.6 ___25 ___ Tripura
    5.5 ___ 3 ___ Assam
    4.7 ___ 14 ___ Madhya Pradesh
    4.4 ___ 17 ___ Meghalaya
    4.1 ___ 5 ___ Chhattisgarh
    3.4 ___ 13 ___ Kerala
    3.0 ___ 2 ___ Arunachal Pradesh
    2.9 ___ 8 ___ Haryana
    2.7 ___ 20 ___ Odisha
    2.6 ___ 23 ___ Sikkim
    2.6 ___ 22 ___ Rajasthan
    2.6 ___ 28 ___ West Bengal
    2.5 ___ 9 ___ Himachal Pradesh
    2.4 ___ 11 ___ Jharkhand
    2.2 ___ 10 ___ Jammu and Kashmir
    2.0 ___ 6 ___ Goa
    1.9 ___ 16 ___ Manipur
    1.7 ___ 21 ___ Punjab
    1.7 ___ 1 ___ Andhra Pradesh
    1.5 ___ 15 ___ Maharashtra
    1.3 ___ 27 ___ Uttarakhand
    1.2 ___ 19 ___ Nagaland
    1.0 ___ 12 ___ Karnataka
    1.0 ___ 26 ___ Uttar Pradesh
    0.9 ___ 24 ___ Tamil Nadu
    0.9 ___ 4 ___ Bihar
    0.7 ___ 7 ___ Gujarat

  16. There's a rough gradient from higher rates in the south/east regions to lower ones in the north/west.

    The one outlier is Madhya Pradesh, which has a high rate and is sort of in the NW. The rest of the top 8 are eastern or southern, mostly eastern, agreeing with the high rate in Bangladesh.

    In particular, Kerala has a fairly high rate, despite being known as the most progressive, economically developed, low-murder, Commie-friendly state. Not unlike a Scandinavian country.

    (Most hardcore Commies of South Asian background who I met in my activist days were from way down in the Subcontinent.)

    The north/west states are clustered in the middle or bottom of the distribution of rape rates. They're 1 out of the top 8, 4 of the middle 10, and 5 of the bottom 10. That includes the state with the lowest rate of all -- Gujarat. The bottom 10 also includes Punjab, AKA the Texas of India.

  17. What about the German states? I'd be happy to crunch more numbers if someone else wants to track down the data.

  18. Little things can make a big difference. Judgy Bitch has noticed that a lot of the big media splash cases of rape are where the girl went somewhere alone, or her friends left her there. Leaving your friend drunk at a frat house is not an "honorable" thing to do, but it seems to happen a lot.

  19. OK, I tracked down the German data for 2006.

    14 ___ Schleswig-Holstein
    12 ___ Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
    11 ___ Lower Saxony
    10 ___ Rhineland-Palatinate
    9 ___ Hesse
    9 ___ Baden-Wurttemberg
    9 ___ Northrhine-Westphalia
    9 ___ Brandenburg
    9 ___ Saxony-Anhalt
    8 ___ Thuringia
    8 ___ Bavaria
    4 ___ Saxony

  20. Not too much variation, with so many having the value of 9. And for awhile eastern Germany has been closer in its fundamental variables to the Slavic countries to the east, which tend to be lower than in Western Europe. So we might look separately at former East vs. West Germany.

    In the East, there's a north-south gradient, with M-V much higher than Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, which are a bit higher than Thuringia and Saxony.

    In the West, there's another north-south gradient, with quasi-Scandinavian S-H at the very top for rape rates and noble Bavaria at the bottom. The rest are all about the same rate and are sandwiched in between the northern and southern extremes.

    Does that map onto a north-south gradient in a culture of honor vs. culture of law? Beats the hell out of me, but I wouldn't be surprised. It's the southerners who have a reputation for being more religious, independent, and up for a rollicking good time. So they sound more like Celts than Anglos in the British case.

  21. Agnostic, I'm Indian and I can tell you that Harayana and Punjab have the strongest culture of honor of all the Indian states. Both states have large populations of Jats, who are the most honor obsessed people in the Indian subcontinent. Another state is Rajasthan, which if full of honor obsessed Rajputs.

  22. India has a lot of these little mountainous states and lots of the highest rape rates states in India in the Northeast seem like hill people countries, where I would expect lots of clannish feuding and fighting, and not much "culture of law". Horticulturalism?

    Also, re: Bangladeshis, they really are ultra-Muslim from my experience, just from the stories I've heard from Bangla colleagues. Razib could tell you more about whether this translates into less freedom for women and less vendetta and revenge for men.

    TGGP: Pakistanis might have a "culture of honor" but they rather notoriously don't regard their host population as falling under that in England.

    Bear in mind that the idea here supposedly a "culture of reciprocity". The Pakistani folks have probably realized that there is no point offering aid, because the English will treat them well anyway, not just as a reciprocal duty or to obtain reciprocation. Likewise with punishments.

    It's not so much "We'll treat you well, until you treat us badly" as "We'll treat you well, until you treat us badly, unless we know you won't reciprocate either way".

    The expectation of reciprocity has to be there - it's not like they're these nice, people loving people who just care about everyone, are charitable towards others and will offer anyone the benefit of the doubt. They're expecting to be fucked over if they make some minor etiquette fuck up or receive massive payoffs if they help during the time of need.

    I think agnostic's idea on "cultures of law" may interface with Peter Frost's "genetic / cultural pacification idea"

    Dense, sedentary societies eventually form third party protectors who cull men with psychopathic traits.

    This is a much more efficient means of removing psychopathic traits from the population than the "culture of honor" because the culture of honor relies on a wide distribution of near-psychopathic agents (with some genetic predisposition to psychopathy, but moderated by other personality traits that allow them to behave normally), while societies with "constabularies" don't need that wide distribution to control violence, because of their small but organised "hard core" of "guardian types".

    The nail that sticks up is thrown away!

    However, the result of this is that the constabulary society is so efficient at removing psychopathic traits (or at least allied "bold, outgoing and fierce" traits) that its population end up becoming gullible and disapproving of the harsh laws that make a "culture of law" so successful, and crooks and the "culture of honor" (either from within or outside) take control, until such time as their behavior becomes so prevalent until people reinvent the constabulary and so on. Predator-prey cycles. Either by genetics and / or culture.


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