February 29, 2016 (well I wrote it then;
I didn’t mail it until March 8)


The Economist
25 St. James Street
London SW1A 1HG

Concerning: Keeping it in the family Economist vol. 418 no. 8978 February 27, 2016 page 39

Shh.  I have loved you too long to scold you nor hold you up to scorn.  No man rats out his own granddaughter.  If you must quote an outright lie pursuant of hate and prejudice, so be it, but later, under pretense of bladder limitations, I sneak to your room and scratch at the door until you answer thinking it’s the cat, your clear young face looking into my time haggard, horror haunted one, and I lisp toothless, “Always be able to claim ignorance.” 

You quoted without reservation, “The only way to avoid suffering (from diseases caused by having two copies of a bad gene) is not to marry relatives.”  Believe you in science, creationism or extra-terrestrial engineering, we are all relatives.  Forsooth we are related to whistling marmots, mangelwurzels and the Zika virus.  You cannot deny you know, and in thus quoting you have told a lie.  Further, the gene you describe must be widespread in Egypt, although its prevalence is less than it would have been had common consanguineous marriages not expressed it and thus eliminated it more than random marriages would have.  Even with random mating the occurrence of two copies of any bad gene will not go to zero.  That makes two lies you would have avoided with a moment’s thought.

You believe in globalization including a global social pool and many Egyptians do not, so you have an unconscious and irrational hatred of them.  This is so widespread that it is nothing to be ashamed of although as I said it would be advisable to maintain plausible deniability.  Close marriages simply incur a short term cost that must be weighed against the cost of eschewing them.  That cost, and here you might be able truly to claim ignorance, is the ultimate price.  Don’t believe me.  Consult the textbook Handbook on Evolution and Society chapter 19 by the renowned Robin Fox: “Marry in or die out.”   I have on my web site independent evidence indicating the same unhappy truth. 


M. Linton Herbert MD

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