« Cold Mountain, conscription and war | Gene Expression Front Page | Metaphor for the new Age of Religious Wars »
December 30, 2003

Hierarchy of responsibility, moving on down the totem pole....

Our local anti-Brahmin activist on GNXP sent me this link about the decline of a people who are Aryans par excellence (schadenfreude?). It seems that only 1/3 of Indian Parsis are marrying other Parsis, and those are marrying late! Many are copulating outside the faith, with unclean non-Aryans like Steve LaBonne. If you google this topic, you will find all sorts of issues, schisms between liberals and conservatives, those who espouse an ethnic religion and those who want to return to a more missionary spirit, those who think that children of mixed-marriages should be accepted and those who think they should be excluded. Basically, the Parsis would love to have Jewish demographic trends!.

I want to focus on one quote in the last paragraph:


Meanwhile, the World Youth Congress aims to make every young Parsi recognise that he/she owes a responsibility towards the community.

What responsibility exactly? If the young one does not believe in Ahura Mazda, thinks that allowing your dead to be consumed by vultures is kind of whacky and that there are strong genetic reasons (inbreeding) to marry outside-the-community, what responsibility do they have toward their community? In many nations prior to the 20th century this wasn't a question that was mooted. You were born in your community, you died in it after a long life following all the traditions, or you died outside of it rather quickly because of ostracism.

This mind-set persists among many South Asians in the United States, that most propositional & narcissistic of lands. I've just recently found out that two Patels that I knew from college are putting "responsibility" to their community (family) first. One is in medical school, a girl I once tutored in chemistry, who supposedly enjoys (enjoyed?) intercourse with black college football players, but just got an arranged marriage (once you go black, you can go back to brown?). The other is quitting his regular job to run the family business and will of course marry a fellow Patel (though he has sown his oats galore with a host of fair and tawny-skinned women).

As for me, I have little loyalty to the Muslim community, seeing as how I think the religion is kind of whack, no great affinity with Indian civilization (I find Chinese civilization more pragmatic and European civilization more rational) and little concern for the genetic well being of anyone aside from my possible future children (who likely, if they are born, will be phenotypically ambiguous). I look brown, but what's in blut? Well, a lot according to some people. The Parsis are quite explicit about their racial heritage. My identification as a Muslim (very mild to be gentle about it) and brown person (a practical concession to reality and an unfortunate diminution of my exceptionality in this universe) are both reactionary to the society around me, rather than driven by positive inclinations on my part.

My positive affinities are with fellow seculars, fellow liberal democrats, fellow libertarians, my friends, my fellow Americans, my fellow defenders-of-Western-civilization, etc. etc. My defense of Muslims or brown people tends to be explicitly couched in universal terms that emerge out of my other, more important, affinities.

Getting away from myself, my overall point is that a non-trivial minority of the human race is opting out of historical ties, and reforging personal ties based on confession rather than birth. This isn't a new process, the first Christians often left their birth identities and became part of a universal brotherhood. Every human being has multiple axes of identification, and the varied emphasis that individuals put on any given dimension, or even deleting certain ones, is something that more traditional people might have to start acknowledging.

If traditionalists want to remind some of the moderns that duty is important, they might start realizing that there are other values out there in the first place. There is little inclination to listen to people who you feel aren't interested in listening to you.

Posted by razib at 01:20 AM