Part of the Late Twentieth Century Delusion is an aggressive (but selective) blank-slatism that assumes each ethnic / gender group should show up in prisons, universities, and space shuttle missions in precise proportion to its percentage in the general population. (The U.S.'s billion-dollar sports industry excepted.)
Prisons in particular have vexed affirmative-action policy-makers, as they stubbornly refuse to fill up with 72% Euros, 12% Afros, 12% Hispanics, and 4% Asians (to say nothing of 50% male / 50% female). In more sensible times, social scientists noticed that different groups committed different amounts and types of crimes, and imagined possible reasons why.
"Non-hispanic white", that U.S. Census monolith, is itself a racial stew whose components have long fascinated ethnographers. Dutch sociologist W.A. Bonger combed through a great many studies on ethnic European criminality and presented his findings in the 1943 tome Race and Crime. Clearly ill at ease with the determinist worldview and openly derisive of German race science, Bonger was still a man of his age, allowing himself speculations on ethnicity that would ban him from today's academia. (To say nothing of the title of his book.)
What did he find?
The full pall of WWII not having yet descended on academia, the question of "Jewish criminality" was still on the scientific table. Bonger presents tables of Jewish criminality between 1882 and 1933 in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and the Netherlands.
The same pattern repeats in each place: Violent crimes (rape, felonious assault, murder, manslaughter) trail far behind for the Jews vs. the non-Jews. Economic crimes (embezzlement, forgery, fraud)? The contrary: Jews show themselves more apt to commit these than non-Jews, with "fraud" the biggest stand-out, up to 2-to-1 more likely among Jews than Gentiles. Here are the numbers for Germany:
After insisting on the evils of anti-Semitism and criticizing German social scientists at length, Bonger does deign to include the following:
In his Soziologie der Juden, Ruppin describes the Jewish spirit as follows:
"When we consider their intellectual talent, we may best call it invention, perception, organization, ambition in practical things, as well as intellectual liveliness or facility in grasping theoretical things, and rationalism in religious things. Probably all these qualities flow from the same source, from a capacity for quick association of ideas."
Leydesdorff (1919): "The mobility, as well as the activity and the impulsivity of the Jews is greater, the emotionality is quite considerably higher, than is the case with other races. Their intelligence stands at the top in a mixed group, their pride also. Greed for gold, dishonesty, but also generosity and helpfulness are strongly to the fore in Jewish character—also an inclination to exaggerate (extremism)."
The classification of the Jews according to temperament shows a greater percentage of nervous, sentimental, and passionate types, and a lesser percentage of neutral and phlegmatic types. Nervous diseases, such as hysteria and neurasthenia, are more prevalent among the Jews than among the rest of the population. (pp. 62-64)
Bonger goes on to consider the different European "races" one by one: Mediterranean, Alpine, Nordic, Ugro-Finn, Dinaric (Slavic). He presents us this table (from his earlier work Criminalité et conditions économiques):
As well as the following, from Hacker, "Statistique comparée de la criminalité," Revue Internationale de Droit Penal, XIII (1936):
About "Mediterraneans," he offers this:
Fischer's characterization is the following:
"From the mental point of view, the North and Central European is struck by the vivacity and instability of the Mediterranean race. A certain savageness and cruelty is theirs; little foresight, great capacity to imitate and let themselves be influenced. The intelligence is not high, and the fantasy not at all so developed as with the Nordics, the musical talent considerably higher."
Kretschmer says in Geniale Menschen (1929) that "The impulse to cruelty and rashness, wild bursts of passion, is a common stigma of all Mediterraneans and mixed Mediterranean peoples." (p. 74)
As for "Alpines," he says:
Günther, in his Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes asserts that the Alpine race, which he calls "östische Rasse," is characterized by patience, industry and slowness of mentality. The Alpine is a real "Spiessbürger." Easy-going, friendly, and, when intoxicated, "friendly to the point of being obtrusively clinging." He does not quickly become violent, he scolds (!) sooner. In general he does not incline to law-breaking (!). Thus the "portrait parlé" of the Alpine according to the admirer of the Nordic race.
Gault describes the Alpine race as follows: "They are attached to the soil; conservative, peaceful, respectful toward authority, patient, painstaking and democratic. Like the Nordics, they are strongly attached to religion, and are somewhat more liable than they to emotional expression."
Ripley says the following: "A certain passivity, or patience, is characteristic of the Alpine peasantry." "As a rule ... this Alpine type makes a comfortable and contented neighbor, a resigned and peaceful subject." (p. 84)
Vexed that the sources he has quoted so liberally in his work "become positively lyrical when they begin to describe the Nordics," Bonger downplays the supposed low-crime tendencies of this group. But as the numbers he has himself presented bear them out, he is forced to admit sulkily, "Among the blonds is a larger percentage of quiet, slow men of non-violent reaction than among the darker people. That is all." (emphasis his)
This table, on criminality in immigrants to the U.S., he takes from Prisoners and Juvenile Delinquents in the United States, 1910, p. 131:
As far as the "Ugro-Finns," Bonger remarks on the much higher criminality observed in Estonians and Finns than in Swedes and Norwegians:
Finally, the most distinguished Finnish criminal statistician, Verkko, in his Verbrechen wider das Leben und Körperverletzungsverbrechen informs us that the figure for murders in Finland is about 20 times as high as in the Scandinavian countries. In Finland itself, where about 10 percent of the population speak Swedish, the relative aggressive criminality (manslaughter and assault with resulting death) of the Finnish-speaking part is two or three times as great and, in the case of criminal assault, even four times as great. (p. 93)
He quotes several authors who attribute this fact to the extremely low tolerance of Finns for alcohol. It has been since postulated, by Harpending and Cochran among others, that peoples who came to agriculture later in history never developed a real tolerance for alcohol, although the subject remains debated.
The following table, charting misdemeanors while drunk in immigrants to the U.S., Bonger takes from Monatsschrift für Kriminalbiologie, XXIX:
About "Dinaric" (Slavic) criminality, Bonger offers this:
Verkko in his work previously mentioned [...] gives figures on the criminality in Russia for the period 1899- 1914. From this it would appear in the first place that aggressive criminality in Russia is great, in a general comparison with the surrounding countries, including Finland, and therefore should have a place at the top of the list in Table XIV. In the second place, that the great amount of aggressive crime in Asiatic Russia, where numerous other peoples and races live under quite different conditions, is far greater than in European Russia.
If one divides European Russia, in the customary way, into three great sections: Russia proper, Russian Poland, and the Caucasus, then the last named territory has the maximum of serious aggressive crime (five or six times greater than Russia proper), Poland follows, and the minimum is found in Russia proper. (p. 98)
This table, on criminality in Russia, he takes from Monatsschrift für Kriminalpsychologie und Strafrechtsreform, XXIX (1939):
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A varied tableau indeed. If this illusory group called "whites" can show such criminal differences through time and space, should it really come as a surprise to policy-makers that groups as varied as Amerindians, Sub-Saharan Africans, and East Asians could do the same? Any sensible purveyor of sound criminal policy should concur that "color-blind" justice should be just that, and let the chips fall where they may.