It transpired that my left-leaning brother, sensing my race-realism, thought he could cure it by having me read the book “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond. He was under the impression that this book would lay to rest any doubts I might have that all the races of Humanity are equal in every way that matters. I do not know who told him that “Guns, Germs and Steel” is a refutation of race-realism. It turned out he had not even read it himself. Perhaps another individual, who had not read it, had told him this.
After having read the book from cover to cover, I reported back to him that a) it hardly speaks of race at all b) when it does speak of race, it is to claim that the natives of New Guinea are intellectually superior to other peoples due to natural selection and c) Diamond’s claims can be understood to go hand in hand with race-realism. He had nothing to say about “a” or “c”. Regarding “b”, he claimed that Professor Diamond must surely have been joking. I explained that the claim was made twice and he clearly was not joking.
Although Diamond’s theories do not contradict race-realism, it seems to me that at least some of them are false – perhaps even lies. “Guns, Germs and Steel” was published in 1997 and one of its claims is that there were few animals, suitable for domestication, present in black Africa. Since black Africans had little opportunity to utilize such animals, civilization was not in the cards for them. Diamond goes to great lengths in order to illustrate exactly why various indigenous African animals and plants could not be domesticated. To the uncritical reader, it might appear that Diamond is being truthful.
Professor Diamond is clearly a member of the leftist orthodoxy. Therefore, it is likely that he had never read “Race” by John Baker. Baker lists several indigenous African species that are not only suitable for domestication but actually have been domesticated by other races. Among them are the bush-pig, the hunting dog (possibly domesticated in the Kalahari), the guinea-fowl, the eland, and the African elephant (such as those used by Hannibal). While it is true that more such species existed in Eurasia than in Africa, the fact that Africans never took advantage of the ones they had leads us to ask: what use would the additional species have been to them anyway? “Race” was published in 1974.
The main theory of “Guns, Germs and Steel” is that the alignment of the continents had much to do with the development of mankind in various areas. Diamond claims that, since Eurasia is aligned East to West, along the same climate zone, peoples, plants and animals could more easily travel over wide areas to bring cultural enrichment. Africa, on the other hand, is aligned North to South. Therefore East-West commerce was much more limited while the Sahara desert served as a barrier to the North. As people migrated North/South, they were also forced to adapt to new ecosystems. While there might be some truth in this, the fact is that Africa is home to far more biodiversity than most of Eurasia. In fact, generally speaking, the higher the biodiversity in an area, the less advanced the people living there are likely to be (HDI = human development index).
When theorizing about any link between the exchange of species/cultures, it seems to me that the presence of many species and cultures in a smaller area would be a greater advantage than a similar number of species/cultures in a larger area. From a cultural perspective, there was tremendous diversity in sub-Saharan Africa. Nothing was stopping them from exchanging ideas and enriching each other. The advantage was there – but Africans were not capable of taking advantage of it, at least not to the extent that they could create advanced civilizations on their own.
The advantage that people enjoy from an abundance of life in their area also works to their disadvantage. Because food and water is so abundant, and because the weather is so balmy, there is less need for innovation. There is less need for advanced forms of transportation, clothing or sophisticated tools. In short, there is less need for intelligence. When we recognize this, the above map makes a lot of sense.
Even if we accept, at face value, all the theories set forth in “Guns, Germs and Steel”, this does not diminish the reality of racial differences one iota. It appears that many people simplistically believe that no more than one explanation of a phenomenon (such as racial inequality) can coexist. I will take this one step further: let us say, for argument’s sake, that Diamond is correct. I would argue, as others have, that once civilization took root, it was the major catalyst for mental development among the peoples that sustained it. Peoples that lived in areas less conducive to civilization (because of continent alignment or any other reason) would have been deprived of this catalyst. Diamond can theorize until he is blue in the face about why things started out the way they did – but the end result is no less real.