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Anders Breivik & Genetic vs. Phenotypic Interests

Turkish actor Kivanc Tatlitug

1,412 words

Readers may be aware that I have a strong interest in the concept of “ethnic genetic interests” as formulated by Dr. Frank Salter, and detailed in his magnificent book, On Genetic Interests, which I consider “must” reading for any informed ethnic or racial nationalist. I’ve previously discussed this concept on various forums, and a concise summary can be found here.

There is sometimes confusion about what “genetic interests” really are, including people confusing genetic and phenotypic interests. For example, see comments here, particularly this (I’m sure Greg won’t mind using his comment as an illustrative example):

Greg Johnson

July 27, 2011 – 7:52 pm | Permalink

Good questions.

I don’t think most Pakis would covert, but that is beside the point really. Even if one converted, would Breivik really think he now belongs in Norway? He might be forced to by the logic of his own thinking. But as a racist first, last, and always, conversion does not matter to me. For me, blood is thicker than holy water.

As for white muslims, that is a good question. I have met Turkish and Bosnian Muslims who are as Nordic looking as Breivik. But I do have a problem with them moving to a country like Norway, simply because I think that increased religious diversity is almost as bad as increased racial diversity. It still creates conflict in society, even though it might not really undermine Nordic genetic interests.

Whether any Turkish or Bosnian Muslims look like Anders Behring Breivik has no direct bearing on the negative impact they would have on Norwegian/Nordic ethnic genetic interests. What matters is the distinctive genome; ethnic genetic interests are, ultimately and not surprisingly, about genes, and not only that small subset of genes coding for physical appearance.

Generally, costs to ethnic genetic interests are related to genetic distance, with the greatest negative impacts being from the greatest distances (and, of course, the greatest numbers). Crudely put, starting at Norway, genetic distance may look like: Sweden > Germany/England > France > Spain > Italy > Greece > Turkey > Arab nations/North Africa > Chinese > Nigerians — with Swedes being most similar and Nigerians most different.

Indeed, a given Turk or Bosnian may look like an in identical twin of Breivik, but would still be more genetically distant from him, and the typical Norwegian, than, say, Sean Connery, Rudy Giuliani, etc.

In On Genetic Interests, Salter discussed genetic vs. phenotypic interests. As genes are replicators, and the “striving” of the phenotype is towards genetic replication, and adaptive behavior is defined in terms of increasing distinctive genetic information, it are genetic interests that are ultimate interests. It is useful to quote Salter here (OGI, pg24) (emphasis added):

Life is the ultimate interest, though we are all destined to die. Phenotypes – organisms put together from information supplied by genes plus environment – are mortal.  The causes of life are in the transgenerational evolutionary process stretching back three billion years to the first self-replicating entity. It follows that ultimate interests do not reside in individual survival but in the reproduction of the information used by the organism to construct itself.

It is information – genetic information – that underlines the ultimate interest for evolved organisms such as human beings. This information is that of the entire (distinctive) genome, not just that subset of genes that code for physical appearance. Regardless of what a Turkish or Bosnian Muslim looks like, their contribution to the genetic interests of others will be based on their distinctive genomes, and not merely on physical appearance as an object of phenotypic evaluation.

There’s nothing wrong with having phenotypic interests as a secondary interest in one’s “portfolio”; however one should not confuse these interests with genetic interests. Nor would it be adaptive to give phenotypic interests precedence over genetic interests, since phenotypic overlap is possible even in the context of significant genetic distance, and phenotypic similarity can sometimes be greater in “non-kin” than in “kin.” I have previously written on the subject of “racial cuckoldry,” which applies in such cases, see here and here. Another problem in basing genetic interests on something other than actual genes is that one can invoke “cognitive elitism” – IQ, etc. – as the (only) phenotypic measure of interest, and state that any high-IQ East or South Asian is acceptable regardless of actual racial/genetic provenance.

Perhaps, phenotype is being used by some as a proxy for genes, but ethny-identification would seem to be better. There is of course an approximate correlation between genetic and phenotypic distances, and this correlation increases as both distances become large. For example, a sperm whale is both genetically and phenotypically highly divergent from a human. A Nigerian is both genetically and phenotypically highly divergent from a Norwegian. This is all obvious. But the converse is true; as both genetic and phenotypic distances shrink, the relationship between the two metrics becomes fuzzier, and overlap/mismatch can occur. It may be true that a Turk may physically resemble Breivik more than a Norwegian does, but the Norwegian would be genetically closer to Breivik than the Turk. Strangers may resemble siblings more than the siblings resemble each other. The more similar — genetically and phenotypically — are two groups, the greater the chance of discordance between genotype and phenotype. A Nigerian/Norwegian comparison is easy. The issue of “Nordic Turks” compared to Norwegians is more difficult.

Of course, it is possible that a “Nordic Turk” would be genetically closer to Breivik than a “Near Eastern Turk,” although this premise needs to be formally and empirically evaluated through genetic analyses. Even if true, it doesn’t mean that the “Nordic Turk’ would not harm Norwegian genetic interests, only that the harm done would be comparably less than that of a “Near Eastern Turk.”

Ultimately, adaptiveness is based on kinship relations (and ethnic kinship counts as well as does familial kinship), and phenotype is only a crude secondary measure of kinship. Certainly, if no other information exists other than phenotype, then one must go with the data at hand, and make an approximate estimate based on phenotype. But, usually, people at least know their own ethnic ancestry and are usually aware of the ethnic ancestries of others. True enough, ethnic affiliation can also give slightly aberrant results when looking at finer grained distinctions (e.g., a given German may be genetically more related to a given Frenchman than to another German), but kinship overlap usually occurs only between highly related ethnies. In the absence of reliable genetic data at the individual level, ethnic affiliation can serve as an approximate proxy, perhaps modified by phenotypic considerations.

Therefore, to summarize:

1. If someone wants to primarily emphasize phenotype, that is a perfectly legitimate interest, but it is not directly a genetic interest. There may be overlap between phenotypic and genotypic interests, but they are not one and the same, and we must avoid confusing the two.

2. Favoring (relative) non-kin over (relative) kin based on phenotype is an option that some people may want to do, for example, consider this comment by Greg Johnson on Andrew Hamilton’s “The Racial Makeup of the Turks“:

Besides, while the average Turk represents a negative store of genetic interests for the average Englishmen, when you look at individuals, I know of plenty of Englishmen who would have been improved if one of their parents were one of the Turkish or Bosnian actors depicted here, save perhaps for the last one, whom I chose because he clearly does have some Asiatic blood.

They of course have the right to do so. However, such favoring of non-kin over kin is not adaptive in a biological sense, unless one can demonstrate that such favoritism enhances net genetic interests through improved function and fitness that compensates for the loss of gross genetic interests, and/or if the non-kin acts in such a manner to provide such compensation. But, in general terms, the sentiment quoted directly above would lead to maladaptive behavior if carried through to its logical conclusion in all cases.

Therefore, from a broader perspective, certainly one can be concerned with phenotype as a legitimate interest in itself.  However, one can not, and should not, conflate phenotype with genetic interests to the extent exemplified by Greg’s first quote, above. If you want to emphasize phenotype, fine, then discuss phenotypic interests; however, if you are going to specifically mention genetic interests, then you must focus on genes and kinship. Do not confuse the two.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Just wondering about the Turks.

    I understand they’re a very genetically diverse people due to the assimilationist policies of the Ottomans. Isn’t it likely that the Turkish actor pictured actually does have a predominantly European genotype? Maybe he’s of Serbian ancestry; or maybe he actually is Nordic and his ancestors were sold into the white slave trade.

    I’m no expert on Ottoman history, but maybe someone else is…

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted September 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Apparently he is of Bosnian descent, but that tells us almost as little about his ancestry as the fact that he was born in Turkey.

      • Thorn
        Posted September 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) are a South Slavic group like the Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, Macedonians, Slovenes, etc.

        It may be the case that there has been some admixture from Turks or Arabs in the Bosniaks due to the spread of Islam, but I’m not sure.

    • Chip Farley
      Posted September 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      ‘Isn’t it likely that the Turkish actor pictured actually does have a predominantly European genotype?’

      It is a small likely possibility given the History of the Varangian Guards. Perhaps he is a distant descendent.

      • maaldweb
        Posted September 28, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

        No the Varangian Guard was the imperial guard of the byzantine emperor. If Constantinus Palaiologos died at the siege of Constantinople fighting the Ottomans there is no chance that any of his guards survived

        Turks during the Ottoman empire followed a gene-stealing strategy, kidnapping Slavic, Greek, Romanian and other European women. So they effectively changed their DNA. It is a strategy followed by the Jews as well, but the latter do it through cautious intermarrying with Gentiles.
        Turks also forcefully converted many of the conquered populations to Islam. The blue-eyed Turks and European looking Turks of the Minor Asia are in reality Greeks who their ancestor were forcefully converted to Islam and Slavs from the Balkans.

        But one has to remember that the so-called “white turks” are the most fanatic Kemalists in Turkey. Plus A LOT of them are the descendants of the Sabbateans, the heretic jewish followers of Sabbatai Zevi who were instrumental in the Kemalist regime and the genocide of the Christian populations of Turkey.

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