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Canada’s RCMP On Country’s Inevitable Decline

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Canada’s RCMP On Country’s Inevitable Decline

The Scottish Enlightenment Is Over

The Gravediggers of UK Conservatism

Stopping the AfD

DNA Tests and Incest Secrets

Every weekend (almost) I share five articles/essays/reports with you. I select these over the course of the week because they are either insightful, informative, interesting, important, or a combination of the above.

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For most of my life, Canada has been this quiet, affluent country that most others never thought about. For those few who did, their views were generally positive about “The Great White North”. It was a country that was peaceful, friendly, and safe, and one where you could build a good life for yourself and your family, knowing that things would get increasingly better over time.

For at least the last decade or so, there has been a notable negative tide concerning the views of Canadians about Canada. Never a passionate lot, this negativity does not come across loudly, but is instantly recognizable through the defeatism and fatalism expressed by Canadians when asked about their country. It’s not a temporary blip either; this pessimism about the future has increased since COVID-19 and shows no signs of abating. The general sense is one of malaise and helplessness, in that the future is never going to be as bright as it once was.

In the Anglosphere (and elsewhere, as well), there has long been a compact between rulers and the people: you support our ruling democratic system, and we will ensure that your lives get better generation after generation. This compact has broken down in many places, with Canada being one of them. An economy based around resource-extraction and burdened down by high taxation and significant barriers to entry, productivity has trended downwards since the 1980s. Even though Canada has everything that a person or family could want in terms of purchasing, it is not an attractive place for capital markets when compared to the USA, China, or even Germany. This has led to a stagnation, one that has seen Canadians become poorer when compared to their immediate neighbour to the south.

Canadians tend to be a politically apathetic lot, but something broke the trance during COVID-19. This is not to say that Canadians have become overly political, but they certainly have become much more political than they were just a few years ago. You don’t have to believe me, but you should believe the RCMP and the secret report that they complied for internal use and for “decision makers in the federal government”. Not only does the report inform the targeted audience that things are definitely going to get worse for Canadians, but that civil strife is also a possibility:

A secret RCMP report is warning the federal government that Canada may descend into civil unrest once citizens realize the hopelessness of their economic situation.

“The coming period of recession will … accelerate the decline in living standards that the younger generations have already witnessed compared to earlier generations,” reads the report, entitled Whole-of-Government Five-Year Trends for Canada.

“For example, many Canadians under 35 are unlikely ever to be able to buy a place to live,” it adds.

Up until a half-decade or so ago, Canadian real estate was ridiculously expensive in key urban centres like Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary. Since then, outlying areas have also seen the price of real estate zoom upward. There are many reasons for this, but the fact that immigration has ballooned so significantly these past few years is the one that stands out as the most obvious.

Right from the get-go, the report authors warn that whatever Canada’s current situation, it “will probably deteriorate further in the next five years.”

The report states that the economic situation is definitely going to deteriorate, with the overall situation ‘probably’ deteriorating.

Erosion of trust:

Another major theme of the report is that Canadians are set to become increasingly disillusioned with their government, which authors mostly chalk up to “misinformation,” “conspiracy theories” and “paranoia.”

“Law enforcement should expect continuing social and political polarization fueled by misinformation campaigns and an increasing mistrust for all democratic institutions,” reads one of the report’s “overarching considerations.”

Ironically, among the report’s more heavily redacted sections is one carrying the subtitle “erosion of trust.” “The past seven years have seen marked social and political polarization in the Western world” reads a partial first sentence, with the entire rest of the section deleted by government censors.

The censor’s pen also deleted most of a section warning about “paranoid populism.” “Capitalizing on the rise of political polarization and conspiracy theories have been populists willing to tailor their messages to appeal to extremist movements,” reads the section’s one non-redacted sentence.

The RCMP is following the FBI and NSA’s lead here, as are intelligence agencies throughout the West.

Back to the economy for a second:

Canadian productivity — measured in terms of GDP per capita — has been trending downwards since at least the 1980s. But this has accelerated dramatically in recent years — even as per-worker productivity rises in many of our peer countries.

An analysis last year by University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe found that if Canada had merely kept pace with U.S. productivity growth for the last five years, Canadian per-capita earnings would be $5,500 higher than they are now.

Meanwhile, housing affordability has reached “worst-ever” levels in most of Canada’s major markets, according to a December analysis by RBC. On average, even condos are now so unaffordable that only 44.5 per cent of Canadian households had sufficient income to buy one at current prices. As for single-family homes, only the richest 25 per cent of Canadian households had any hope of obtaining one.

“Economic forecasts for the next five years and beyond are bleak,” reads the RCMP’s assessment of the rest of the decade, even adding a quote from French President Emmanuel Macron that “the end of abundance” is nigh.

In order to be a conservative, people have to have something to conserve. Traditionally, a home of your own was one of these things. The Canadian economy has been structured in such a way that home ownership is becoming a luxury. This is a breaking of the compact that I mentioned up above. Is it any wonder why people’s trust in ruling institutions is collapsing?

Rather than doing the hard work on addressing these concerns and trying to fix systemic and structural issues within Canadian economics and politics, its government (and don’t think for a second that parties in opposition would do anything different if they were in power) has decided that online censorship is the better and more sustainable path forward:

Public
Trudeau Demands Life In Prison For Speech Crimes
To protect children from sexual exploitation, Canada must pass the Online Harms Act, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. “I am the parent of two young boys,” said Justice Minister Arif Virani. “I will do whatever I can to ensure their digital world is as safe as the neighborhood we live in. Children are vulnerable online. They need to be protected from online sexual exploitation, hate, and cyberbullying…

To protect children from sexual exploitation, Canada must pass the Online Harms Act, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. “I am the parent of two young boys,” said Justice Minister Arif Virani. “I will do whatever I can to ensure their digital world is as safe as the neighborhood we live in. Children are vulnerable online. They need to be protected from online sexual exploitation, hate, and cyberbullying.”

But Virani’s bill is totally unnecessary to protect children. Its real goal is to allow judges to sentence adults to prison for life for things they’ve said and for up to a year for crimes they haven’t committed but that the government fears they might commit in the future.

As such, Trudeau and Virani’s Online Harms Act (Bill C-63) is the most shocking of all the totalitarian, illiberal, and anti-Enlightenment pieces of legislation that have been introduced in the Western world in decades.

It sounds too unbelievable to be true, but it actually is true: Canada is readying itself to throw people into prison for what they say, and to put people under house arrest for “pre-crime”:

But the government spokesperson went on to confirm the shocking truth about the legislation, which is that it would put people in prison for life for things they’ve said, specifically, “advocating genocide.”

“Bill C-63 would increase the maximum penalty specifically for advocating genocide from 5 years to life imprisonment,” said an unnamed spokesperson for the Canadian government, “and from 2 years to 5 years, on indictment, for the willful promotion of hatred (section 319 of the Criminal Code)” [emphasis added]

This means someone who writes something that a government official decides is “advocating genocide” will face a longer maximum sentence than someone who rapes a child.

And what might count as “advocating genocide”? Today, there are prominent politicians around the world who say that supporters of Israel are advocating the genocide of the Palestinian people and that supporters of Hamas are advocating genocide against Jewish people. Imagine if they were in power. Under Trudeau’s legislation, would they not be able to send their political enemies to prison for life?

“But Nic, this is for advocating genocide”, you might say. Okay, check this out:

To enforce it all, the proposed law would create a new Digital Safety Commission with incredible powers to police content. “The breadth of powers is remarkable,  noted legal analyst Michael Geist. The Commission’s “rulings on making content inaccessible, investigation powers, hearings that under certain circumstances can be closed to the public, establishing regulations and codes of conduct, and the power to levy penalties up to 6% of global revenues of services caught by the law.”

The Trudeau government spokesperson emphasized that Canadian laws allow the government to issue a “peace bond” to incarcerate people before committing any crime. “Peace bonds are well-established tools in Canadian criminal law that are used to prevent an offense from being committed in the first place,” the spokesperson said. “A peace bond will only be imposed where a court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offense will be committed.”

But it’s not just advocating genocide or the willful promotion of hatred that can now carry life sentences. Under the new bill, if anyone breaks any federal law and the courts find that the law was broken for hateful reasons, that person can also be subject to life in prison.

“People can be jailed for up to 12 months just because other people fear they may commit future hate speech,” noted Joanna Baron, the executive director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation. “The options are a year of imprisonment or wear an ankle bracelet, submit to DNA tests, submit to ongoing monitoring.”

Again, it sounds too fantastical to be true, but this is the new trend in the West, as you will see in another item that I will share with you below.

Rather than recognize failure, the ruling elites are choosing censorship to maintain their rule.

For those interested in reading more about Canada’s economic structural problems, here’s a great essay from five years ago: How Not To Build a Country: Canada’s Late Soviet Pessimism.

Government censorship of speech in the so-called liberal democratic west is a trend that is trend upward. Cloaked by appeals to “protect children” or “minimize harm”, the actual intent is to try and seize back total narrative control through its willing partners in the media oligarchy, a control that was negatively impacted by the internet, a technology that truly democratized speech.

Whether through the outsourcing of censorship to social media giants or through direct legislation, the prospects for free speech in the West are looking dimmer and dimmer. Scotland, one of the historical centres of The Enlightenment, is a case in point:

The Scottish Enlightenment will die on April 1st 2024, exactly 327 years, eight months and 24 days after the incident that provoked it. For on April 1st the Hate Crime and Public Order Act (Scotland) 2021 comes into force, an Act which will criminalise speech and opinion deemed ‘hateful’ even if spoken in the privacy of your own home.

On January 8th 1697, Thomas Aikenhead, a 20 year-old student, was marched the two miles from the Old Tolbooth Prison on the High Street to a windswept sandy hillock just to the west of the causeway that crossed the marshes between Edinburgh and the port town of Leith, known as Gallow Lee. Surrounded by the pious prayers of the clergymen of the Kirk (the Church of Scotland), Thomas was hanged by the neck until he was dead.

What was Thomas – a murderer? A rapist? Was he one of Edinburgh’s notorious ‘Resurrection Men’? No. Young Thomas’s crime was that in an Edinburgh tavern on Christmas Eve 1696, he had a drink and went on a rant offending the Church and its stranglehold on Scottish culture. He was reported, arrested and tried: “The jury found Aikenhead guilty of cursing and railing against God, denying the incarnation and the Trinity and scoffing at the Scriptures.”

Thomas Aikenhead was the last person to be hanged for Blasphemy in Britain. As such he became a martyr and inspiration. The hanging of a young man for the crime of having a rant in a pub late at night became seen as an act of tyranny and oppression so heinous it was the spark that turned a barren minor nation on the north west fringe of Europe into the blazing furnace of ideas that was the Scottish Enlightenment. Ideas that would change the world forever.

What Scotland is doing is returning blasphemy laws. The only difference is what is being blasphemed this time around.

As a Scot who grew up in the 1970s in the drawing rooms of Edinburgh’s New Town, the architectural manifestation of the Scottish Enlightenment, I am truly appalled that the legacy of Aikenhead and the Scottish Enlightenment – a historical event far more relevant to the modern world than the War of Independence of the early 14th century that so enthrals the SNP and its activists, an event which put Scotland on the map of the world and one of which the nation can be rightly proudhas been trashed by the Scottish Parliament and the Yousaf Government. From April 1st 2024, saying the wrong thing at your own dinner table, let alone in a drunken pub rant like young Thomas did, will once again land you in significant trouble with the law, 327 years, eight months and 24 days after Thomas died.

That’s right, Scotty. Off to gaol1 you go.

Mr. Yousaf, his ministers and those who drafted and will enforce this law would do well to remember how history judged those who hanged Thomas Aikenhead on that bleak winter morning on the road to Leith. In doing so they should recall that this gross act of overreach and tyranny was the high tide of the power of the Kirk, power which was swept aside by the forces unleashed when the people said ‘enough’.

The UK has quite a lot of problems these days, one being the mis-allocation of police resources. Thousands of people have been tossed into the clink for “social media crimes”, while violent criminals are repeatedly spared prison time. Sam Francis coined the term “Anarcho-Tyranny” to describe a condition where actual criminals were largely free to roam around and thought criminals were the ones being tyrannized. Prophetic?

In 1984, Canada’s Progressive Conservative Party swept the federal election by winning an incredible 211 parliamentary seats, leaving the incumbent Liberal Party with just 40. Brian Mulroney ushered in the formal end of the Pierre Trudeau era, only months after the long-serving Liberal PM had stepped down from his position.

Fast forward nine years later, and Brian Mulroney stepped down from his position as chief Progressive Conservative on the eve of a national election. His party, then in power, were completely wiped out. The Liberals had managed to win a slim majority of the seats in Parliament (177), while the PCs only managed to win 2. This number fell below the threshold needed to qualify as a political party in Canada’s Parliament, meaning that those two parliamentarians were stripped of party recognition and the budgets that came with them. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was history.

These things do happen from time to time….and this very precise thing now threatens the existence of the UK’s oldest political party, the Conservatives. On the receiving end of an absolute beating in the polls, they are at the risk of being wiped out like Canada’s PCs were in 1993, and for good reason as well; they have been horrible in office, refusing to do anything that they promised to do when elected, ignoring their constituency, ignoring the well-being of Britons, and focusing on issues that the common man has no interest in (except for hobbyists and opinionated types). The most stunning example is how they have repeatedly stabbed their anti-immigration/immigration-reduction constituencies in the back, going so far as to invite almost three times as many immigrants to settle in the UK per annum than their Labour opponents when they were in power.

Betrayed supporters of the Conservatives aim to inflict discipline and/or punishment on them in the upcoming election which Labour is slated to win handily…..not that this will change much in the UK anyway. Aris Roussinos has written a wonderful essay about “The Gravediggers of British Conservatism” that aims to put into context just how horribly these past several Conservative governments have performed while in office:

As such, Kondylis wrote, it was already dead: for “outside this social and intellectual historical framework, conservatism can only be referred to metaphorically or with polemical or apologetic intent”, or indeed as “the epitaph of a process that has already (essentially) run its course”. With the 19th-century victory of bourgeois liberalism — and its replacement, in turn, by “mass democracy”, of which both fascism and Soviet Communism were extremist sub-categories — conservatism was left a meaningless husk, a rhetorical flourish to distinguish one form of liberalism from its electoral rivals through the mere narcissism of small differences. 

Kondylis died in 1998, and therefore only partly witnessed the total intellectual collapse of Britain’s Conservative Party as a vehicle for Right-wing politics. Yet had he survived to observe the last flailing days of Europe’s oldest political party, still squatting in office to no discernible purpose, even he would surely have been shocked at the vacuousness and self-defeating liberalism of the faction which in Britain bears conservatism’s name. We can only hope that the party’s coming crushing electoral defeat will herald not only its ejection from power but its total dissolution: for even at the modest task which Kondylis assigns conservatism, the temporary preservation of yesterday’s liberalism, the Tories are abject failures.

Aris rhetorically asks: “what have they managed to conserve”?

Self-annihilation:

Last week’s redefinition of political extremism by Michael Gove, the party’s sole intellectual and most competent administrator, is a case in point. While the 2011 definition brought in by Cameron’s government was unnecessary and objectionable in itself, its notional appeal to “fundamental British values” could at least have served conservative ends if applied by a competent Right-wing government. Yet Gove’s redefinition strips out even that one marginal good, declaring that extremism is “the promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance”.

Leaving aside the question of political violence, which the law already adequately proscribes, it is not difficult to foresee how the technocratic liberal managerialism of the coming Starmer administration will interpret its vague definition of “intolerance”, defined as “creating a permissive environment” to “negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others”. Like the 2011 Prevent definition, its 2024 replacement is a knee-jerk reaction to a perceived Islamist threat that, through moral cowardice at defining its opponent clearly, will instead disproportionately fall upon the political Right. That the liberal Left’s initial reactions to Gove’s tinkering centred on whether the party’s donors could be defined as extremists, or whether Gove’s chosen reading material defined him as one himself, highlights the inevitable direction of travel. 

In an attempt to make short-lived political capital at the disquiet over recent pro-Palestine protests, Gove has created a powerful weapon against the Right. Just as Blair’s Human Rights Act enshrined progressivism into the state’s essence, the new definition will shrink conservatism’s space for querying or opposing the most sweeping progressive innovations. It is of a piece with the Online Safety Act, a hurried piece of legislation brought in as a response to a Conservative MP’s murder by a jihadist, which instead functions as a muzzle on “harmful” Right-wing discourse. None of the alleged “culture war” dividing lines on which the Conservatives have rhetorically sought to distinguish themselves from Labour — on mass immigration, the ECHR, gender politics or progressive activist judges and civil servants — will survive the expansive interpretations of “the fundamental rights and freedoms of others” that will surely follow. If the Conservative Party is to be judged on its actions, and not on its rhetoric, it is not a vehicle for the implementation of Right-wing politics but for its suppression. In its last days in the Westminster bunker, the Conservative Party has chosen suicide as its final act.

Populism’s trust in liberal democracy as a reason for its failure:

By any reasonable analysis this is absurd thinking, but this is the narrow and destructive path into which British political discourse is increasingly channelled. In Britain, almost uniquely in Western democracies, the space available for political reform is shrinking. The failure of the populism of the 2010s, both on the Left and Right, lay in its belief that the political system actually could be reformed. Yet rather than a threat to democracy, as technocratic centrists claimed, British political populism was undone by its touching faith in its existence. Twice in the past decade, through both the original Brexit vote and the 2019 vote to actually implement it, the British people have voted for total change: twice the British political system closed ranks to prevent reform. Brexit voters, a narrow majority of the country, were characterised as either extremists or the unwitting dupes of a Russian plot, as a wave of conspiratorial fantasising overtook the country’s political establishment.

Elites stuck in the 90s:

During the Nineties, through a combination of misguided intellectual fashions and vague Boomer idealism, the belief took hold across the elites of Western societies that the unfettered movement of goods, money and people across national borders would herald a new era of cosmopolitan prosperity and social harmony. Eventually, reality intervened: as with other Western societies, only more so, Britain is now poorer, unhappier and less harmonious as a result. Yet the mental maps of Britain’s political class are still those of Nineties Britain. With no existing conservatism to temper their political innovations, liberals have brought about a world that threatens to eat them whole. 

To the horror of our political class, trapped in their Nineties reveries, George Galloway’s recent election victory reveals the actually existing Britain of the 2020s. A more or less open opportunist, who rides the dissatisfaction of Britain’s most solidly Muslim constituencies with Western foreign policy as his vehicle to power, Galloway’s understanding of Britain’s new political faultlines cannot be faulted: he is a realist, who navigates the country as it now is. If anything, Galloway’s open contempt for Westminster’s pieties more accurately reflects the opinion of the average voter than anything else in British political discourse. Yet the electoral Right flounders in a country it no longer understands. Lee Anderson’s defection to the Reform Party after accusing Sadiq Khan of being an Islamist highlights their outdated mental maps; Khan is not an Islamist, but instead a generic progressive, a cookie-cutter Twitter-brained liberal whose power rests on London’s transformed demographics, an optimistic globaliser of a kind that already looks outdated.

For if Britain’s politicians have locked themselves away in an eternal Nineties, the wider world has moved on. The world of the 2020s is an unstable, threatening place, sliding towards global war. Locked in political stasis, unable to reform itself or correct its drift, the British state will meet the coming storm in a dangerously brittle fashion. Britain’s economy is stagnant, its populace is restive and disenchanted, and its underequipped armed forces and non-existent industrial base poorly match the hawkishness of its foreign policy. 

You may remember that we recently discussed Galloway’s shock victory in the recent by-election in Rochdale.

Aris too clearly understands just how wide and deep the gulf is between the rulers and the ruled in his country (and elsewhere), and how this divide continues to widen and deepen.

I’ve written quite a bit about how Germany is moving towards banning AfD, the purported ‘far right’ party. It’s not a certainty that it will be banned, but moves are afoot to make it so. The biggest problem is that AfD is now polling above 20%…a number large enough that banning a party with such a significant number of supporters puts your democracy at real risk.

Rather than repeat myself again and bore all of you, I’m sharing this very long piece on the subject today’s Germany and AfD. There is much that I don’t agree with in this article (such as classifying AfD as far right even if far right elements are present within it), but it is well thought out and argued:

In “The New German Question,” published in the May/June 2019 issue of Foreign Affairs, the historian Robert Kagan argued that German pacifism since 1945 is the result not of a permanent transformation in the country’s nature, but of the suppression of its immutable nationalist instincts by American power. By threatening to dissolve America’s traditional support for multilateral institutions, Kagan explained, Donald Trump was risking “the return of resentful nationalism and political instability” to Germany, and “the reemergence of the economic nationalism and bitter divisions of the past.”

Kagan’s suggestion that Trump was both a would-be Führer at home and enabling the rise of a new Führer in Europe created a stir at the American Embassy in Berlin—in part because he also accused the U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell, whose office I worked in at the time, of “encouraging right-wing nationalism and the dissolution of pan-European institutions.” This was news to Grenell, who maintained a policy of nonengagement with the rising right-wing nationalist party Alternative for Germany (AfD), even as officers in the embassy’s political section urged him to engage the pro-Putin, anti-NATO Left Party. But the point of Kagan’s article was not to paint a precise picture of what was happening in Germany; it was to use Germany as an object lesson in what you get when voters deviate too much from the traditional preferences of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. After his colleagues at the The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution had spent three years warning that Trump was summoning Nazis in America, Kagan was simply layering on the claim that Trump was also conjuring “literal Nazis” back from the dead.

Yet if Kagan’s ideological pre-commitments required him to insinuate that Trump was pushing Germany to rebuild the Wehrmacht and invade Poland, they also spoiled what would have been impeccable timing for a less preposterous warning about the direction Germany was actually headed—which was alarming enough.

The author calls “bullshit” on Kagan’s argument, and rightfully so.

The unnerving reality was that the deep social trust which has underpinned German society and kept it out of trouble for three generations was breaking down for reasons that had nothing to do with Donald Trump. If anything, the resurgence of populism, extremism, and even political violence in Germany was a consequence of the increasingly incoherent yet firmly anti-Trumpian policy consensus that ruled the Berlin establishment as much as it dominated Washington—a kind of open borders, Green New Deal, China-dependent mélange of politically correct ideas presented as high-minded answers to the crude populism of the unwashed.

It is no surprise, then, that four years after Kagan’s article and more than three years into the Biden administration, the AfD now polls as the largest political party in the east German states of Brandenburg, Thuringia, Saxony, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In October 2023, it became the second-largest party in the western state of Hesse and the third-largest in Bavaria, making significant gains among young voters in particular. According to all nationwide surveys, it is polling between 18% and 20% across the entire country—higher than every party in the current German government.

The breakdown of deep social trust…..as discussed in the first piece on Canada up above.

Kagan was right that Germany is the West’s canary in the coal mine, given its catastrophic 20th century and its enviable peace and prosperity since. But if there is a lesson for Americans in the resurgence of political extremism in Germany, it is something like the opposite of what Kagan warned. If centrists continue to respond to dissenting populists with outrage, legal action, and repression of reality for the sake of preserving dogma, they will turn a manageable problem into a genuinely menacing threat.

Western governments are adamant about testing this theory out, with their recourse to overt censorship and lawfare as the best examples.

The author goes on to give us a good overview of post-war German politics and economic policy, and it’s well worth your time to read it. For the sake of brevity, I will jump straight to the conclusion:

It was Robert Kagan who first suggested in 2019 that we look to Germany’s past for a glimpse of its future if Americans failed to stop Trump at home. Five years on, if there is a lesson in Germany for Americans, it seems quite different from what he thought. If you really want to stop people from voting for the extreme populist right in your country, you might start by moderating your outrage at their attempts, however manic, to dissent from your leadership—and start taking them seriously.

I’ll go one step further: if you want to blunt the rise of populism, it’s best to co-opt some of their key policies in order to deflate them. Believe it or not, but doing what the people want actually earns you votes.

We end this weekend’s SCR with a look at how the explosion in popularity of DNA tests is uncovering the actual prevalence of incest, with it being much more common among certain communities:

In 1975, around the time of Steve’s birth, a psychiatric textbook put the frequency of incest at one in a million.

But this number is almost certainly a dramatic underestimate. The stigma around openly discussing incest, which often involves child sexual abuse, has long made the subject difficult to study. In the 1980s, feminist scholars argued, based on the testimonies of victims, that incest was far more common than recognized, and in recent years, DNA has offered a new kind of biological proof. Widespread genetic testing is uncovering case after secret case of children born to close biological relatives—providing an unprecedented accounting of incest in modern society.

The geneticist Jim Wilson, at the University of Edinburgh, was shocked by the frequency he found in the U.K. Biobank, an anonymized research database: One in 7,000 people, according to his unpublished analysis, was born to parents who were first-degree relatives—a brother and a sister or a parent and a child. “That’s way, way more than I think many people would ever imagine,” he told me. And this number is just a floor: It reflects only the cases that resulted in pregnancy, that did not end in miscarriage or abortion, and that led to the birth of a child who grew into an adult who volunteered for a research study.

Click here to read the rest.

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