Crime and Punishment - Other Possible Consequences of Intelligence

The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn't Always the Smart One - Satoshi Kanazawa 2012

Crime and Punishment
Other Possible Consequences of Intelligence

As I note above in Chapter 11, the fact that criminals on average are less intelligent than noncriminals is consistent with the Intelligence Paradox. Much of what we call interpersonal crime today was probably a routine means of intrasexual male competition in the ancestral environment, so, in this sense, crime is “natural.” In contrast, the technologies and institutions of law enforcement and criminal punishment are evolutionarily novel, so, in this sense, the police and the courts are “unnatural.” It therefore makes sense from the perspective of the Intelligence Paradox that less intelligent men are more likely to resort to the “natural” means of criminal behavior to achieve their goals but they do not fully comprehend the “unnatural” entities of the criminal justice system.

Further, as I also explain in Chapter 11, what matters is not the criminality of the behavior per se, but its evolutionary novelty. Less intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in evolutionarily familiar behavior and less likely to engage in evolutionarily novel behavior. This is why less intelligent individuals are less likely to consume illegal drugs because such consumption, while criminal, is evolutionarily novel.

The Intelligence Paradox would also suggest a novel hypothesis with regard to intelligence and criminality. As I mention in Chapter 11, while third-party enforcement (the police and the criminal justice system) is evolutionarily novel, second-party enforcement (retaliation and vigilance by the victims and their kin and allies) is not. So the Intelligence Paradox would predict that the difference in intelligence between criminals and noncriminals will disappear in situations where third-party enforcement of norms is weak or absent, and criminal behavior is largely controlled via second-party enforcement, such as situations of prolonged anarchy and statelessness, in fact, any situation that resembles the ancestral environment. If I'm right about this, it ironically means that less intelligent men will commit fewer crimes if the police disappeared, although more intelligent men may then commit more crimes. This may also explain why white-collar corporate crimes (of the types perpetrated by Enron and WorldCom), which are overwhelmingly committed by men of higher intelligence, abounded in the absence of the “police” under financial deregulation.