Elmer Pendell

Why Civilizations Self-Destruct

By Elmer Pendell. Giant intellects like Gibbon, Spengler and Toynbee have given us complex and tortuous reasons for the decline of civilizations. Dr. Pendell presents us with a simple one. Civilizations fall because the less capable slice of the population regularly outbreeds the more capable.

In precivilized times nature weeds out the unfit and eventually produces a superior variety of men whose intelligence and industriousness are channeled into constructing an advanced social order that defeats nature’s best-laid plans by protecting instead of eliminating the unfit.

The outcome is that in several generations the protected outnumber the protectors.

Dr. Pendell scours the annals of history to prove his point, after beginning his seminal study with a remarkable analysis of the inborn, polarized egotistic and altruistic drives which are the biological basis for both the building and unbuilding of civilizations.

Most importantly, Dr. Pendell offers us ways and means to stop the historic and hitherto unstoppable processes of social entropy. One of his most intriguing—and most controversial—remedies is a genetically oriented marriage law to raise the birthrate of our better human specimens and substantially lower the proliferation rate of the civilization-destroying people who can neither provide for themselves nor their offspring.

About the author: Elmer Pendell (1894 to 1982) was one of the world’s foremost population experts and the holder of a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Service Cross, acquired his B.S. at the University of Oregon, M.A. at the University of Chicago, LL.B. at George Washington University and Ph.D. at Cornell.

Dr. Pendell’s teaching career included posts at the Universities of Nevada, Arkansas and Oregon, as well as Jacksonville State University and Cornell. His central life-long interest has been rates of human propagation and their influences on environment. As co-author of Society Under Analysis, Population Roads to Peace or War and Human Breeding and Survival, and author of Population on the Loose, The Next Civilization and Sex VERSUS Civilization, he has worked long and brilliantly on both short-term and long-term solutions to population problems.

Cover Illustration: An apartment block in Detroit, Michigan, first part of the 21st Century, United States of America.




Chapter 1: The Individual on Center Stage

Chapter 2: The Legacy of Instinct

Chapter 3: The Social Appetite

Chapter 4: Speech: The Tool of Sociality

Chapter 5: Constraints on the Social Appetite

Chapter 6: Death—The Servant of Life

Chapter 7: Evolution in the Ice Ages

Chapter 8: The Social Appetite Versus Evolution

Chapter 9: The Fall of Civilizations

Chapter 10: The Heredity Factor

Chapter 11: The Squandering of Genius

Chapter 12: The Self-Destruct Principle at Work in America

Chapter 13: A Ratchet for Reproduction

Chapter 14: The Author Meets His Critics


160 pages. Paperback.


Additional information

Weight 8 oz
Dimensions 6 × 0.33 × 9 in

Elmer Pendell

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