In the science fiction classic Dune, the action takes place on a desert world. The protagonist, Paul, kills a man in a ritualized knife fight… after which, he’s presented with the water distilled out of his opponent’s flesh, to replace what he sweated out in the fight.
If sci-fi’s not your thing, one of the Walking Dead seasons featured a group of survivors who turned cannibal. In the zombie apocalypse, humans are food; you’re either predator or prey, the leader explains.
This is a deliberately extreme example of what I mean when I say that, between the tackles, human beings are pretty plastic. We can be enculturated even to cannibalism. BUT: We can’t be enculturated to the point where the word “cannibalism” is meaningless. Even in societies where cannibalism was / is routine, nobody comes home from a day at the office, looks in the fridge, and thinks “well, I can either finish off this leftover Chinese, or fry up a missionary fillet.” There’s something sacred about the human body. This seems to be a universal, hard limit.
If it weren’t, someone — the Soviets, say — would’ve tried it. Even cremating our dead is, when you think about it, a spectacular waste of resources. All those calories up the smokestack. You’d think one of the hardcore materialists — Plekhanov, say — would’ve argued for human flesh as the People’s Protein.* Surely those VHEMT guys have realized that we should eat ourselves on the way out — why do any more damage to the Earth?
Genes aren’t culture. Culture isn’t genetic. Right now, the alt-right, or whatever we’re calling it today, sounds like our fictional Communist arguing for universal cannibalism. A lot of their — our? — rhetoric sounds like a (self-proclaimed) 101 IQ guy telling a 99 IQ guy that gosh, sorry, 100 is the cutoff. Maybe you can’t enculturate the 99 IQ guy to be a nuclear physicist, but surely there’s something valuable he can contribute? A culture that doesn’t at least say it values folks on the other side of the line isn’t going to get very far; a culture that says the line proves there’s no such thing as culture is never going to get outside the internet’s lunatic fringe.
*Which really highlights the stupidity of Materialism, especially the Communist version. What’s the point of all that “Revolution” business, if all you’re doing is temporarily altering the material conditions of a bunch of naked apes? Life has no inherent meaning, there’s no afterlife, and man’s social being determines his consciousness, so… what’s the point? Why not snack on shank of missionary? In fact, why do, or don’t do, anything at all? Shafarevich was right — Marxism is a suicide cult. It’s no surprise the VHEMT guys are all hardcore Leftists; that’s Materialism’s logical endpoint.