Why does Gregory Cochran support the Ukraine war?

After the coordinated bombings against the Nordstream gas pipelines by unknown actors in late September 2022, the commentator, blogger, and physicist-anthropologist Dr. Greg Cochran began promoting a theory on what happened and what it means. There were three stated or implicit tenets to his theory:

(1.) Ukrainians committed the bombings;

(2.) the Ukrainians who committed the bombings (whoever they were, be they direct state agents or otherwise) were unaided by anyone, by any other force, nation-actor, or organization; technical or logistic outside-help was either zero or minimal; the planning and execution were either entirely or practically entirely by Ukrainians; the operation took the neutral NATO members by surprise; and

(3.) the pipeline-bombing by Ukrainians is morally justified despite being an act of geoeconomic war against Germany and Western-European NATO; that is, the pipeline bombing was an overall positive-good in the context of sacred holy-war against Russia, of the noble-cause of defense of holy Ukraine’s sacrosanct borders forever, and towards the keeping together the coalition-of-the-possible-unwilling, being NATO’s lesser-members, all towards the end-goal of regime-changing the Evil Doers (Putin/Russia).

This set of positions is, for many of us, not very firmly rooted in clear or rigorous thinking. It is reckless. It fraught with risk. It may be into the realm of immorality in foreign policy, some suggesting the US/CIA/NATO goal is the promotion of war for war’s sake. Others were critical of Cochran’s pipeline-bombing theory because it seemed to let the US/CIA and most-likely-suspect Poland off entirely.

The bigger question is, why is Greg Cochran, who made his name in anthropology and genetics, backing one side or the other here? It has many of asking “What’s going on?”

(Greg Cochran, circa 2009.)

Yes, we want to know: Why do good people allow themselves to fall for the siren-song of foreign-policy adventurism? Especially in this case, with the Ukraine-Russia imbroglio.

It’s not unique to our time. But the levels of this reached in 2022 are worrying. Uncritical support for rogue-actors like Ukraine (if they did commit the Nordstream bombing or not, at least someone did it on their behalf, knowing the mania for Ukraine would cover them); reckless fighting of black-hole proxy wars, against major powers, without clear apparent benefit to us; self-imposition of a taboo against broaching questions of cost-benefit and risk-benefit?

A Westerner taking an equally strong position the other way (uncritical support for Russia and against the Ukraine-regime) would stand out as something strange to behold. Such people do exist, and many have their own motivations. (One, CapitalistEric, recently came out as for the Russian side, revealing to a critical commenter that he has substantial personal ties to Russia. This is not to say his arguments are necessarily wrong, but it’s interesting to notice.)

Greg Cochran is definitely not the only one to embrace a questionable, uncritical position on Ukraine. He is not, though, the “standard-issue” Ukraine-flag-waver we have seen in 2022. This little investigation is dedicated to the Greg Cochran case. If we can figure out what his motivations might be, we might get more insights into the larger phenomenon. For it’s not necessarily only the Ukraine-flag-wavers-who-would-never-wave-a-U.S.-flag people, so easily lampoonable, that stand behind the foolish support for proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, and defacto annexation of Ukraine by the US/CIA/NATO.


The main content here is not directly about Ukraine or Russia, but about Greg Cochran himself. His origins, his life, clues to his thinking where we might find them. I am in search of what animates his thinking, or worldview, the set of ideological commitments rooted in place-and-time that have been enough to turn a man into an interventionist in Ukraine.

From my reading of Greg Cochran over the years, I feel safe to say he would never support comparable crazy policies of (hypothetical) boondoggle interventions by the U.S./NATO as: in Ethiopia, on behalf of the Tigray rebels; or in Yemen; or in Myanmar; or against the latest coup in central Africa; or all these places that have wars or disputes ongoing, in some cases the outlines of look rather like Ukraine’s.


We have already asked “Why does Steve Sailer support the Ukraine war?” I now ask the same for Dr. Gregory Cochran. I have long linked to both men’s blogs and have followed their writing for years.

In 2022, both men have backed the NATO / CIA / war / intervention / Ukraine-regime side in the conflict with Russia, so far largely uncritically. In 2020, both embraced the “lockdown” side during the key period of the Corona-Panic (or, as I like to call it, they were advocates of the “Pro-Panic” side).

(I do not wish to suggest the two positions, lockdownism and Ukraine-support, must come as a group-package. The popular commentator but definite Russia-regime shill known as The Saker was an extreme Panic-pusher who, for two years, banned anyone who expressed any skepticism or opposition at all. I suggested early in the war that the “venn diagram” of the Covid and Ukraine-war positions is worth looking at.)

Greg Cochran emerges as political commentator, mid-2010s

Greg Cochran tweets more, in the early 2020s, than he did in the 2010s. Back in that happier decade (the 2010s), he focused on short- and medium-form blogging.

His efforts at online commentary — originally (in 2011, when he started his blog) with co-author Henry Harpending [1944-2016] — were of limited scope, at first. At the blog, West Hunt, Cochran and Harpending limited themselves to technical matters on ongoing work. They used the medium as a public bulletin-board, of interest to academics and enthusiastic laypeople. This was after the two men’s successful book, The Ten-Thousand Year Explosion (released, early 2009), and a long period of cooperation at the University of Utah.

The West Hunt blog, as I say, was a repository for technical notes and commentary similar to something from a pre-online world, or in the blogging world somewhat similar to the once-active John Hawks anthropology blog, or the controversial (but later-Big-Media darling) Razib Khan, and many others of influence at the time. Cochran’s transition to using his blog to focus on political commentary came gradually, I think. The death of his co-author Harpending must also have allowed Cochran full editorial control over the project and to take it any way he wanted.

By the late 2010s, Cochran was inserting himself regularly in political slugfests, including at one time with me. His style did him no favors in these cases, as his responses were of “one-liner out-of-hand dismissal” variety. He was a regular Steve Sailer reader and commented there, maintaining the cross-pollination typical of the peak of blogging. But the kind of political-commentator he emerged as was a curious one: a short, unnuanced, ‘sniping’ style not usually based in argument, like a super-slimmed-down version of polemics.

Cochran eyes the Ukraine ‘Gordian knot

The Ukraine war is full of nuance and complexity most of which goes beyond our understanding. It calls for prudence and prudence demands restraint and careful consideration, which we have lacked. In a fair assessment not based in war-propaganda, the intervention by Russia in early 2022 was simply an escalation of the same conflict that had been ongoing in a “hot” way since 2014 (when Ukraine fell into civil war) and in a real if less-than-hot (political, not shooting) way throughout the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s after the breakup of the USSR and Ukraine’s many, many problems.

One thing that puzzles us about positions like Sailer’s and Cochran’s is Ukraine meets anyone’s definition of “failed state.” Any kind of international-relations theory suggests that eventually such a state on one’s border tend to get solved by force; black-holes of geopolitical instability get sealed up, and the sealers-up tend to be powerful neighbors with extensive interests in stability in that place.

It’s said again and again by intervention-skeptics that the USA would never permit a level of extreme dysfunction and instability to reign in Mexico. That is to say nothing of great-power meddling, as if the PRC-Chinese intelligence agency began using Mexico as a vast playpen. No one can tolerate a state like this sharing a long border with it, especially so when millions of one’s own people are in peril or in some way held captive by the “rogue” or “failed” state on its border.

Previous generations of thinkers and strategists would have understood this in principle and in practice. The US/NATO/CIA policy is now something more harkening back to the days of empires fighting holy-wars, rather than Realist recognition of spheres of influence and national-interest.

I’d have hoped that some of our best thinkers would also see this dangerous slide. To the extent that Greg Cochran is a first-rate thinker in many ways, that he fails to meet the challenge here suggests a puzzle we might be interested in solving (to restate my purpose here).

Greg Cochran has no time for any of the points I raise above. Or, if he does, he keeps them entirely imprisoned in a back-chamber of his own mind and does not let them see the light of day. I don’t recall him previously being a rah-rah patriot on war interventions, but I do recall him often stepping in as enforcer of the “Good War myth” that still defines out world in the 2020s in important ways, drawing on events of up to eighty and ninety years ago. He goes a little overboard on that and loses objectivity to a degree. I saw this in him in the late 2010s, and it seems to a firmly-grounded hypothesis for what explains his kneejerk and uncritical Ukraine-regime support in the 2020s.

Cochran is a more extreme intervention-supporter in Ukraine than Steve Sailer. Cochran uses even more bellicose rhetoric against Russia and for Ukraine. I’d venture to say that Cochran is more committed to an extreme and uncritical pro-Ukraine position than frankly I’ve ever seen him committed to the plight of his own nation and people. This is one of the core tenets of our criticism of the man’s position on the Ukraine imbroglio.

This past week, Cochran has apparently proposed either the kidnapping or murder of Putin by Ukraine as the soundest strategy (“Promising Ukrainian strategy,” Sept. 29, 2022, West Hunt blog, by Gregory Cochran). His previous writing and tweeting suggests he supports such a path.

We seek to understand what’s going on, but given his own writing style and abrasive online persona, we are simply not likely to make much progress by engaging with him. Instead I propose a look through his life. The below is original-research on his life and origins which I think may have the kernels of his psychological motivation for why he supports the Ukraine war.





Greg Cochran was born in 1953. His age-cohort, though, is modified by his relatively rural upbringing, which I would suggest puts him culturally perhaps more in contact with b.1943 than b.1963 peers. In other words, some of the cultural-changes that pushed through U.S. culture in the third quarter of the 20th century did not come down as by stone tablets on Mount Sinai one day, but made gains by leaps and spurts, with some groups sooner than others.


G Cochran was raised in and around Moultrie County, rural central Illinois.

This place is historically “100% White,” and nearly 100% NW-European. By the 2010 census, the population of Moultrie County, Illinois, stood at 14,500 full-Whites and 300 others (of whom probably 50-100 are near-full-White Hispanics and only 41 were counted as full-Blacks). As of the 2020 census, the county is down to 13,900 full-White Non-Hispanics and up to 600 others. Therefore it dropped to “only” 96%-White as traditionally measured. (We might make allowance for some of the 600 being those who, for ideological reasons, responded that they are not really full-White after al, but would otherwise be identified as such.)

This county swung majorly to Trump in 2016 and 2020 (see its wiki page‘s ‘Politics’ section).

G Cochran has written of growing up in a “small town,” which may refer to Sullivan, Illinois. That is a township and a city within Moultrie County. Sullivan township is 60 square miles in land-area. Its central developed ‘city’ section (2.5 square miles) is not exactly “small”-small, having had a 1950s-60s population in that ‘city’ portion near 4,000. Those NW-European-Christian origin rounding to 100% at the time and not much less today. Indications are that G Cochran graduated from Sullivan High School in 1971 with high academic honors.

G Cochran has written that during his early childhood, the “the fraction taking any [illegal drug] other than alcohol was zero.” This began to change, he says, only in his teenage years (late 1960s) to an extent, and took a while to really work through the culture. (“When things changed,” Sept. 2016, West Hunt, by Greg Cochran).

When the country-music song “Okie from Muskogee” came out in September 1969 mocking drug users, the people in Moultrie County, Illinois, probably identified with it a great deal and it probably reflected the lived-reality of the place a lot more than that preached by “the hippies out in San Francisco.” But the cultural-ramparts had been stormed; the 2010s, the same kinds of young men back in the old hometown who once were basically clean-living, productive people, were often opioid addicts, and death rates from drug-overdoses were reaching 25, 30, 40 per 100,000 per annum, implying around around 3% lifetime risk of death from drug-overdose, and disproportionately hitting young men in their prime.

The opioid crisis was a disaster almost no one talked about, and not just because of the frightening death statistics alone, but for what it implied about serious rot in the USA and serious internal socio-cultural problems which ought to be the focus of radical political solutions rather than stupid foreign wars and open-door immigration to Central America and “whoever.”

One of the few commentators or cultural-critics I saw mention it at all was the Vietnamese essayist and vagabond-by-choice Linh Dinh: Postcards from the End of America, essays published as a book in early 2017, but written primarily in the 2011-15 period with much of the material appearing in early form at his same-named blog. Linh Dinh in hundreds of pages almost never offers any political policy prescriptions, but simply observes, with the pen of a novelist and himself a hapless character in a novel, except that it’s not a novel but the observations he was making of wandering through these beaten-down old places and beaten-down people across Middle America, his exoticness as a bald, middle-aged Asian permitting him better access than most might get. I don’t know how close Linh Dinh ever got to Sullivan, Illinois, or to its nearest bigger-city neighbor, Decatur, in his wandering years.

The local big city: Decatur

The closest large(r) city to where G Cochran grew up is Decatur, thirty miles northwest of his hometown area around Sullivan, Illinois. In the automobile era in which G Cochran grew up, it was hardly a major journey to get to and from Sullivan and Decatur, so perhaps he had some kind of regular interactions there. Even if not, he would have been aware of it in the way all smaller-town people are aware of the larger city nearby. It will also have been part of the same media market for newspapers and radio.

One significance of Decatur in the wider context, going back generations, was as a stop along the famous Wabash Railroad. The railroad station at Decatur served trains running between St. Louis and Chicago. The railroad line, the Wabash, entered ‘Americana’ along with many other aspects of railroads. The name ‘Wabash’ is immediately recognizable to fans of American folk music, as everyone has done a version of the “Wabash Cannonball” song, back even long before the hit 1950s Roy Acuff version.

G Cochran is just old enough to remember those days. The romantic-nostalgia many have for the days of the railroad are within living memory for him to an extent, even it was never a major part of his own life. The disappearance of the railroad is sometimes used as a metaphor for U.S. decline. It’s been many, many decades since any such passenger train pulled into Decatur. But how does one deal with such decline?

“Speaking of decline,” I take a digression here to look at Decatur, a city which shows the characteristic trajectory of the American city. We might ask how G Cochran and people like him deal with things like the decline of places like Decatur. This may seem far off from the purpose of asking “why Greg Cochran supports the Ukraine war,” but as I have already said I am trying to cast a wide net. In th news as a I write, Ukraine-backers are crowing about the supposed changing of hands of another moderate-sized town, Lyman, lesser in size than Decatur but supposed to be in some ways comparable as a transportation hub. Indirectly, we might ask, why should one care about who wins or loses “Lyman” when we have lost Decatur?

“Who lost Decatur, Illinois?”

Decatur today shows major signs of ‘tipping’ towards a fully post-White future, or even (more pessimistically) of already being there and waiting around for the process to finish itself. In the USA there is little if any clear precedent for reversing this process during this stage. I hope I am wrong.

The core-city of Decatur (pop.: 70,500) is now 23% Black, 68% White. The rest of the metro area outside the core-city (another 33,000 people) is only 8% Black. Many areas within the hinterland perhaps down nearer 0%-Black. The core-city in 2020 counted only 70,500 residents, down from 94,000 in 1980.

There are signs of body-blows delivered to ‘civic integrity’ in Decatur in the 1980s and 1990s, the telltale being that White families with means fled the school system, and often the city itself.

As of 2021, the public schools in Decatur City were only 33% White. As recently as 2018, the Decatur public schools had been at 37.5% White. Down to 33% White in just three years, the steady loss promises to continue in 2022 and beyond. To me this signals that a majority of White families who have school-age children either leave or choose private schools, and this is accelerating. Those White youth unfortunate enough to be in such schools are now often outnumbered two-to-one by full-Black and mixed-Black students, the ratio getting higher in middle and high schools.

School stats are a major leading-indicator of when a specific neighborhood, area, or city ‘tips’ into becoming a post-American zone. An easy indicator, along with crime.

The crime spike that came with the lockdowns and Covid-disruptions of 2020 and beyond have hit Decatur. An early May 2022 news report noted six homicides in Decatur city between Jan 2022 and early May 2022. That’s an annualized rate for the city of about 25 homicides per 100,000. If that holds, that’s a very high total for a small city only 23% Black and 68% White.

Given the crime spike and the other signs of the ‘tipping’ process ongoing after the long ‘wobbling’ period over the past say thirty years, I expect that as of fall 2022 even more Whites have left this city and there may be no stopping the losses: The 2020s may be the time this place really “tips over” into a post-American zone, another city lost.

Decatur is a classic warning-sign of the usual pattern, one observable throughout G Cochran’s life, of what tends to happen to U.S. cities under our post-1960s regime. It’s pscyholgically hard to face up to it. There’s always G Cochran’s native Moultrie County, which so far retains its traditional near-100%-White status but even so has significant problems. This might not matter to a transient, but G Cochran is not that, being someone with long roots in the state of Illinois.

Family origins in Illinois: six generations

One explanation for how G Cochran (and others) deal with developments like decline and ‘loss’ of places like Decatur (to say nothing of the mega-scale near-disaster that is Chicago and so many other cities that fit the type) is that he prefers to live in the happy-land of the glories of the past, and this he can easily do.

His family origins go back a number of generations in the state of Illinois on all recent branches. Six generations on the paternal (Cochran) line, for one, back to the late 1840s. A large majority of his ancestors were “colonial stock” Americans from various places in the old hearthland of Protestant-America in the eastern-seaboard states.

G Cochran has said that his great-grandfather was a one-time head of one of the Illinois chapters of the “Grand Army of the Republic,” a Union Army veteran fraternal organization.

Another family-history anecdote from old Illinois was on a brief craze towards Mormonism in the mid-1800s. In one incident at the peak of the mania, a group of “mostly women” had dropped everything to go to Utah to join the new religion, but were confronted by locals, including the Cochran ancestor, as these would-be Mormon enthusiasts assembled to take the wagon road west. About half would-be Mormons were “talked out of it” by the posse of concerned locals, and returned to their normal lives. This story G Cochran learned from a journal belonging to an ancestor which he inherited or in any case was able to read.

G Cochran himself has claimed his paternal grandfather had been a “sharecropper.” I find that this was true in the grandfather (Grant V. Cochran [1888-1974])’s younger years in his twenties and into his thirties (1910 census, 1920 census), but by mid-age this grandfather made his living as a carpenter (1940 census).

G Cochran is probably a male-line descendant of the pioneer-settler Judge William Granville Cochran (1844-1932), a Methodist who lived in the Sullivan, Illinois, area from 1849 with his parents — the future judge being age five upon arrival in Illinois. This W. G. Cochran and male siblings have many descendants in the area. All indications are our G Cochran is a descendant of the judge himself.


Both G Cochran’s mother and father had Methodist ties, just as their ancestors had had throughout much of the 19th century and into the 20th. His parents were apparently active members of the main local Methodist church in Sullivan, Illinois.

(Update, Oct. 6, 2022: See a comment for further comments on Methodism, and for more on the Cochran ancestry on all branches, back to great-parent lines. Or search text-string “Methodism is one of the quintessential American religious movements“)

Both of G Cochran’s parents are b.1920s and had strong local ties in their area of central Illinois. We can speak of direct continuity to the early-settlement period. G Cochran’s mother excelled at school and attended the University of Illinois in the late 1940s before marrying and having four children, G Cochran being the eldest.

Academics, intelligence, drive, and opportunity

G Cochran as a teenager became a star pupil and a real stand-out, though by all indications leaning towards the hard-sciences. In the 1970-71 academic year, his final year of high school, he was awarded two academic awards given to students of great intellectual promise:

He was named one of 14,750 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. This was an elite group identified as drawn from the very best of performers academically in the USA. The scholarship was based on a standardized test, which Cochran will have taken in Feb. 1970, soon before his seventeenth birthdat. Semifinalists were about 0.4% of the national U.S. high-school-student population. It was not a perfect correlation to the “99.6%-th percentile” and up, of course, but definitely this puts him in the top-few-percent combined with ambition and initiative and supportive school staff, etc., to push him to apply.

Later, G Cochran at age 17 was one of about 20 or 25 high school seniors from Moultrie County to receive a scholarship for college study for merit the Illinois State Scholarship Commission (top 10%).

I don’t think any of such things, neither the National Merit Scholarship system nor the local Illinois State Scholarship system, were at all tainted by any proto-Wokeness, as all such awards are today.


He earned his PhD from the University of Illinois in fall 1981, previously having done a double-BA at Illinois. The year 1982 starts his career, which apparently in early years related to nuclear weapons in some way.

His main extracurricular activity at Illinois, during his ten years of off-and-on affiliation with the storied campus of University of Illinois, is “chess club,” or so he lists on his LinkedIn today.

The University of Illinois was a “local” school to G Cochran, in that it’s in the same state as he was born and raised and really not much farther off from his hometown than the local ‘big’ city of Decatur (previously mentioned). It’s a state school, he is an in-state student, and his mother had attended there. Circumstance all adds up to the University of Illinois taking good care of G Cochran for minimal expense with the in-state aspect and the scholarships. Illinois happens to also be one of the elite U.S. universities. There it was, right there, accessible to non-elite him.


Interlude: The luck of place and time? and the question of empathy

An aside: From many aspects of the above life-portrait, we can say that G Cochran was very lucky to have been born “where he was, when he was.” He came into excellent conditions and did very well. This is probably why he “believes in America” so much, which is clearly one likely-explanation for why he supports the Ukraine war (illogical though it is, since Ukraine is not a part of the USA not even a treaty-ally).

Some of the criticisms of this man possible from us, his younger critics, are rooted in the fact that the world he inherited was so good to him. These often amount to generational-resentment or at least jealousy. Becuase conditions he inherited were much better, frankly, than that which we have inherited.

It’s not Greg Cochran’s “fault” that this is so. Certainly not personally. Nor was anything ever probably ‘handed’ to him. These are not proper or fair criticisms. But the opportunities were there, the anti-White discrimination policies were absent, the culture was quite a lot healthier, and on and on. More empathy is in order from people like Greg Cochran, we would say. On that point, to the extent he does not extend to us such empathy (unless perhaps we are Ukrainians?), we do have a fair(er) grievance against him.

Maybe he is not temperamentally capable of that kind of empathy (the online persona he cultivates suggests he is not). Nor maybe is he able to perform a rather comprehensive political re-assessment of “the America he thinks he knows.” Such a temperamental block is likewise not necessarily his “fault.” But it is discouraging.

(Tangentially, it may also be another good sign of how high-IQ is not everything. This is a similar general criticism increasingly heard from younger White men in America of Steve Sailer, sometimes histrionically expressed in his comments-sections but not based on nothing.)

(Back now to the narrative of Greg Cochran’s career where we left off.)


Working life, family life

After taking his PhD, in the 1980s and I presume into the 1990s, G Cochran worked on something to do with nuclear weapons. I don’t know how much he has written about this and have no firmer information than that.

In the 1990s, he became “a freelancer in physics and evolutionary epidemiology.” By this point he lived in Albuquerque, where he still lives today. G Cochran and his wife had five children, born primarily in the 1990s, with twins born about year 2000. He has written that in the early 2000s he coerced his eldest daughter, Ginny, then age 10-12, into reading “a pile of WWII books” to properly train her on “the greatest of all wars” (such indoctrination being “a big step towards understanding history, the human condition, and all that,” says Dr. G). By his account, four of the five children went into STEM (studying physics and math), exactly as he did, including the WWII-trained daughter.

Greg Cochran himself, in the 1990s, worked on genetics vs. infection. What causes proclivities to certain diseases or conditions? Is it genetics or could it be infections at certain points? This tied into his later controversial theory about the causes of homosexuality (which I don’t wish to get into here) and ties into his severe case of Corona-paranoia and Lockdownism in 2020 (which caused many of his fans and followers to lose respect for him as a thinker).

G Cochran became a professor at the University of Utah’s anthropology department. I am not sure how this shift to ‘anthropology’ happened, as he studied math and physics and had worked on nuclear technology and was always a hard-science type (years of chess club involvement to prove it). The move towards “anthropology” fits more into the career he made for himself in evolutionary biology in the 1990s.

Cochran and HBD, 2000s to 2010s

In the 2000s, G Cochran gained attention for embracing “HBD” (human biodiversity, a synonym as used for race-realism and related “realisms” based in genetics). Given his experience and interests, it looks in retrospect almost like an inevitably that he would embrace HBD in some form. It was up to him how far he would go.

When he embraced HBD, it caused a sensation at the time. This was an in-system academic, and not some kind of racialist, right-wing dissident. This caused some waves at the time, which the wiki-editors cover it in detail. By the way, his 2000s- and 2010s-era controversies related to HBD are the entirety of his wiki page. None of the rest of this information I’ve accumulated here is anywhere on his wiki page.

In the later 2000s, G Cochran produced a well-received popular-audience book, The Ten-Thousand-Year Explosion with his colleague and friend Dr. Henry Harpending (1944-2016). It was released in early 2009 during the worst of the recession of the time and got favorable reviews in mainstream ‘prestige’ press. It gained attention for rejecting some of the low-hanging fruit around a hard or extreme-ideological form of Out-of-Africa theory. That ‘theory’ had, by the late 2000s, become a stale, doctrinaire, but widely repeated and basically ideologically enforced, explanation for human origins and (non-)differences. I have not read the Ten-Thousand-Year Explosion book, but the regular comments Dieter Kief recommends it highly.

In the early 2010s did become a follower of Dr. Cochran’s in the blogging “space.” This brings the story about up to the one I began in the early part of this post, something on Dr. Cochran’s 2010s-2020s-era career as an online commentator ‘blogging’ personality, and up to his curious 2022 decision to embrace the Ukraine war.


Why does Greg Cochran support intervention in Ukraine?

Endless intervention, destabilization, proxy war, a hopped-up and dangerous form of (what is called) “liberal internationalism,” a form of empire-management, misguided enthusiasm for the whole thing. Why? How?

I can think of about ten explanations, some requiring more skilled worsmithery to express politely than others. Different people evaluating the situation will come to different conclusions if tasked with answering this. Or at least emphasize different things. I would be interested in what readers think the most salient reason(s) are.

Many of the reasons why Dr. Cochran might support the Ukraine war came into focus for me only as I put Cochran’s life-portrait together, i.e., the original research behind the “Life-profile of Dr. Gregory Cochran” section here. As far as I know, this is the most complete biographical portrait ever published on this man. I am critical of Cochran here but no more than is appropriate over his misplaced support for Ukraine adventurism and proxy-war. Anyway it makes me regret that this kind of profile came from such a place.

Those among us who have became captives, ideologically and geopolitically speaking, of the rogue-state known as Ukraine, and (more importantly and saliently) of the gang of adventurists and empire-managers that seek to use said rogue-state for fighting a proxy war, well, what can we say? We know they mean well, or many of them do. But the degree of miscalculation here is too much. We want to know why so many who (should) know better have allowed themselves to captives to the pro-war drumbeaters, the people tell us endlessly of how holy are Ukraine’s borders while caring nothing for the USA and the USA’s borders.


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42 Responses to Why does Gregory Cochran support the Ukraine war?

  1. PeterIke says:

    I have not yet read more than the first few sentences. But the U.S. did the bombing, and here’s the evidence.


    • Hail says:

      Thanks, it seems the evidence he uses are flight plans of a USAF aircraft. But if it is so easy to make this call, as the MonkeyWerx author would have it, why haven’t the Russians made the direct allegation?

      • PeterIke says:

        “why haven’t the Russians made the direct allegation?”

        I don’t know. But Putin has said quite clearly the West blew the pipeline. From his speech:

        “But the Anglo-Saxons believe sanctions are no longer enough and now they have turned to subversion. It seems incredible but it is a fact – by causing explosions on Nord Stream’s international gas pipelines passing along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they have actually embarked on the destruction of Europe’s entire energy infrastructure. It is clear to everyone who stands to gain. Those who benefit are responsible, of course.”

  2. >>”A Westerner taking an equally strong position the other way (uncritical support for Russia and against the Ukraine-regime) would stand out as something strange to behold. Such people do exist, and many have their own motivations. (One, CapitalistEric, recently came out as for the Russian side, revealing to a critical commenter that he has substantial personal ties to Russia. This is not to say his arguments are necessarily wrong, but it’s interesting to notice.)”<<

    Please post, exactly where I said I was "for the Russian side" in my commentary. I said I have been to Russia several times for extended periods. But then, so what? I've been to MANY countries in Eastern Europe, as well as Asia. I stated that I have family not far from the conflict, as well as close Russian friends that are naturalized American citizens.

    I am outspoken against Ukraine, for the *many* atrocities they've committed over the past eight years; some of the images, from 2014 and 2015, I'll remember to the day I die. But do NOT think I provide "uncritical support for Russia," any more than I would cheerlead the corrupt government in Washington, DC.

    And I made that PERFECTLY clear, when I "came out," as you claim.

    I didn't bother to read the rest of your article. Given your dishonesty about my comments, I won't waste my time.

  3. I’ve got The 10,000 Year Explosion coming from the ‘brary, Mr. Hail, since the good Dieter Kief recommended it highly. Oh, this guy Cochran might know a lot about HBD, then earlier Particle Physics, and he must have been smart and still likely is. However, the brightest of people can be sucked into the Lyin’ Press Infotainment fest as well as anyone else. Perspective gets lost, and that Gell-Mann amnesia has them thinking they are following people who know what they’re talking about. (There are SO many of them, saying pretty much the same thing!)

    Steve Sailer says he doesn’t watch TV, but I wonder about this guy.

    BTW, I went through Mr. Cochran’s comments on The Unz Review quite a ways back and saw the comments of those he was responding too. Indeed, he comes off as an arrogant ass. OK, you don’t have time for it. I get that. Then don’t comment. It’s not like he was right almost all the time. Many of the people knew more than Mr. Cochran did, though, or had spent more time thinking on the subject.

    Finally, is Greg Cochran in a fixed mindset that cannot keep up with the way society’s changed for the worse since his days in small-town Illinois? Yeah, I think so.

    Thanks for another good post, Mr. Hail.

  4. paleoandrew says:

    There are free thinkers, then there are smart people. Some smart people are free thinkers. Some smart people spend an hour doing their own research on a topic and come to realize that the the entire belief of mainstream opinion on a topic is a twisted facade, utter bunk, yet still go on believing everything *else* that the mainstream says.

    To me, this is Cochran and Sailer. They discovered HBD and think mainstream academia and media got *this one thing* horribly wrong, but are somehow 100% correct on everything else. Sadly this one area of knowledge has been corrupted, but luckily smart people “like me” never make mistakes, and how dare you question these brilliant geniuses and their unquestioning belief in people with badges?

    • Bo says:

      Good comment, paleo-andrew.

      A 3rd parameter – moral courage vs reputation protection..? Or – make my stand on this hill vs swim w the currents. Can influence Free-Thinking but, is a different trait.

      Even A smart Freethinker can be very interested inreputation protection!

      • paleoandrew says:

        This is an issue that perplexes me. I don’t have Fuck You money, but I’m close enough to Please Could You Kindly Not money that I lack the courage to speak out. Or maybe that’s just my excuse?

        This is no mere molehill.

  5. Dieter Kief says:

    From Henry Harpending’s great article about Cape buffalo hunting with !Kung bushmen in the (now Namibian) Kalahari desert (can be found on the Unz Review):

    “Several weeks after the rainy season ended there were reports in the neighborhood of a cape buffalo that was harassing people and animals. Often older males lose rank and leave herd to wander by themselves, angry and uncomfortable. ”

    ((“Mehr ist dazu nicht zu sagen” (That’s all that needs to be said here) – Quote from: Helmut Heissenbüttel: “Mehr ist dazu nicht zu sagen / Neue Herbste (New Autumns)/ Klett-Cotta publishers, Stuttgart 1984 – with illustrations by Heinz Edelmann (you remember that right: Heinz Edelmann was the art director of Yellow Submarine!)))

    • Hail says:

      Wow! You had a Harpending quote at the ready. Count me impressed.

      I think you are suggesting his thinking is basically shaped or constrained by nostalgia for his own prime. “The Russians” were the global-superpower enemy (before 1990). If the analogy holds, people may feel more comfortable inhabiting the world they remember, and if circumstances change in a way that disturbs or puzzles them, they are willing to continue the old ways “by themselves, angry and uncomfortable” if necessary.

    • Hail says:

      See below for an interview clip from Henry Harpending.

  6. Bo says:

    Thanks Hail , for what you’re doing.

    I read around people say Cochran lost a big number of fans for his Co-vid beliefs. Is it possible he does a Co-vid “mea culpa”..? But for Ukraine-Russia : it’s too soon.

    • Hail says:

      I still remember the sinking feeling I got when Steve Sailer published a post, about April 2020, saying “Greg Cochran calls for ‘nuking the curve’; why ONLY extreme lockdownism can save us from the Wuhan Apocalypse Virus.”

      An actual sinking feeling, like the simulated-weightlessness on a roller-coaster. I couldn’t believe it. Had I woken up in the Twilight Zone?

      • paleoandrew says:

        Hmm, looking back, I think they’re actually right in that claim. Only extreme lockdown would have kept us free of the virus. However, the virus wasn’t that deadly and, as could have been expected, mutated into milder forms. In the goal of saving lives, you’ve got to consider both morbidity and mortality and it feels like G bought the koolaid re: mortality.

        Pfizer et al wouldn’t have gotten emergency approval unless there were no other treatments so of course horse dewormer and HCQ had to be demonized, and then more evidence came out about The Two Ships and financial incentives for hospitals (not doctors! effin hospitals) to declare deaths to be from Covid. I remember concerns about sufficient respirators to keep everybody alive … but at the same time we were demonizing treatments to get Pfizer their money.

        Blah blah blah, y’all know this.

        You can’t scream “Lockdown!” without extremely serious, honest investigation into mortality and treatment.

        • You can’t scream “Lockdown!” without extremely serious, honest investigation into mortality and treatment.

          I don’t want to derail this thread into a Flu Manchu discussion, and, as much as I agree otherwise with your comment, PA, this is where I don’t. You can scream “Lockdown”, I suppose, but the actual implementation of it, as was done all over, is unConstitutional and Totalitarian, period. I don’t care what the numbers were or could have been.

          Had I seen or heard of 3 people on the block of 20 houses who died or telling me of siblings, parents, kids, who died of this, I would not be screaming for LOCKDOWN. I’d be screaming at the wife to go find that ammo she hid when she cleaned up recently, as we lock our doors ourselves, douse the house in clorox, load the guns, fill up the Coleman stove with unleaded gas (I got one like that), and hunker down for a month or two.

          I think people would, and would have had it been so in ’20, understand from their own eyes and perspective, a situation that resembles the Black Death 2.0, rather than the fairly severe flu year or two we had.

          • paleoandrew says:

            How dare you criticize my hyperbolic rhetoric?

            My point was really about you and me and G, not about Those Who Lock Down. I agree with your assessment of the implementation.

            Meanwhile I gotta find me a better stove; thanks for the tip.

  7. Dieter Kief says:

    Mr Hail: “An actual sinking feeling, like the simulated-weightlessness on a roller-coaster. I couldn’t believe it. Had I woken up in the Twilight Zone?”

    What I want to squeeze in here: Henry Harpending was the balanced/ the wise one of the two. Gregg Cochran suffered a big loss.

    People are made of crooked wood. Kant loved that old baltic insight. Maybe you too would want to contemplate it,  Mr. Hail. Btw. – Konstanz philosopher Friedrich Kambartel went on from this insight of Kant and – depotentialized the huge (now unnecessary or put in another way: Historical)) Kantian system  (Kant’s ladder).

    What Kambartel left over was Kant’s essence, which I have reformulated in some Unz comments in a few sentences (not even half a page). For those interested in these things, look up Friedrich Kambartel’s wikipedia page for a start. 

    The thought that applies here  is very old (and very European (and a bit Zen-like too)

    : Wer us diser valschen gelassenheit wolti wurken, des weri luter falsch (Heinrich Seuse, Exemplar – written in Konstanz from ca. 133o on).

     I paraphrase and translate at the same time from medieval German: As soon as you’ve lost your right composure, what you do and think is all wrong. – For the Mystics (as for the Zen adept) it is clear that what you think depends on the way you behave (and .i.n.t.e.r.a.c.t. – see Greg Cochran’s rudeness…). And it is essential to do a lot (Seuse’s uebunge – mental (and physical) training, basically) if you want to make sure that what you do and the way you interact is beneficial.**** Since we are made of crooked wood our thoughts ‘n’ deeds don’t work properly all by themselves (Kambartel touches on that too in his Kant-critique. And Jürgen Habermas’ systematic move away from the monological (= classical Kantian) subjectivity to the dia – and multi-logical even intersubjectivity allows the elements I sketched above to – work properly. (What you found out about the firm Methodist heritage of Greg Cochran fits in well here.)

    ***see also Peter Sloterdijk’s good book – Du musst dein Leben ändern (You Must  Change Your Life (The book’s title is a Rilke quote from Archaischer Torso Apollo’s – very old-European that one too…).

    • Hail says:

      I am not sure I fully understand what you mean with your comment on the relation of Methodist heritage and the power of thought and the relation of thought-and-deed, though it must be a theological point.


      For me, Methodism is one of the quintessential American religious movement. It was especially strong in some of the 19th-century frontier times and places. Something about its energy found best success among westward-moving people. After a period of being radical and controversial, it eventually became mainstream, even a contender for THE most-mainstream Middle America church.

      In cases of conversions in the very-late 1700s and early 1800s of persons associated with Calvinist or Lutheran or related religious traditions, when families went to Methodism it was usually through a female member ‘converted.’ Methodism was youthful in its early generations, still tied closely to traditional Protestant-Christianity (unlike coming rivals like Mormonism or something comparably ‘out there’ like post-Christian ‘Universalism’).

      Another surprise (?) in the annals of Methodist history is how many German ‘weak’-Lutheran arrivals in the 1850s to 1880s found enthusiastic receptions among U.S. Methodists. The Methodists set up and funded churches for them when there was either no German-speaking church presence or a weak or ‘parochial’ one of ultra-conservatives. In New York City at the height of the strength of German-Christians there in the later 1800s, it’s a surprise perhaps to learn that there were about as many German-speaking Methodist congregations than German-speaking Lutheran ones.

      Dr G Cochran’s ancestral surnames reveal one or two possible German surnames:

      – Cochran, Dawson, Collins, Danner, Wacaser, Wood, Gregory, Foster.

      I think all these family-lines arrives in Illinois between about 1820s and 1850s at the latest.

      The Danner family-line is U.S. colonial with many generations “under its belt” originally with the Germans pioneers of Frederick, Maryland. The first arriving ancestor is said to have been born about 1701 at a place called Wiesloch (much closer to you than all this talk of Illinois), arriving in the Mid-Atlantic colonial era by 1740. They were Lutherans. (Famously many of this type of German in that era were Calvinists, but almost as many were Lutherans. Virtually none were Catholics.)

      By the time the Danner line reaches the mid-19th century (and the person implied by my eight-person surname-list above), it was (as best I can tell) Methodist, and only about half-“German” by ancestry. The Danner-line German ancestry contributes 1/16th to Dr G Cochran’s total ancestral stock. There is likely more German sprinkled here and there, typical of U.S. colonial populations (except New England).

      • Dieter Kief says:

        “The first arriving ancestor is said to have been born about 1701 at a place called Wiesloch”
        You can see Wiesloch from the Church-tower of the village lying halfways between Wiesloch and the Rhine, in which I grew up in.
        What you write is as clear as it can be (I took a little (speculative) risk with my Methodism remark, but I felt close ties to Greg Cochran(I’m a bit prone to this kind of sentiments (I’ve mentioned other examples from my personal life before).To reformulate this stuff in a more accessible (rational) way: I feel how Greg Cochran grew up – and what he lost while – converting practically – – to his new life-form (Arno Borst) of – unguided let’s say – methodical (Hans Georg Gadamer)*** = STEM-scientific rationality.
        And to add one more sentence: All that has a lot to do with composure (see my Seuse-remarks above – full circle…).
        ***Gadamer taught and lived most of his life in Heidelberg. He visited and debated a seminar I was once attending. His opus magnum: Truth and Method. One important idea in this book: Methods are monological and don’t hold truth (= sind nicht wahrheitsfähig*****). Scientific methodology is no way to the truth. – You can take a streetcar from Heidelberg to Wiesloch.Now that I think of it: The village I grew up in has a homo sapiens of its own: Homo Reilingensis. – So: There’s a genetical tie too.  
        Homo erectus reilingensis m, (Czarnetzki 1989), archemorphic Homo sapiens, (Adam 1989), Praeneanderthaler, (Dean et al. 1998), prehistoric human skull found in a gravel pit near Reilingen in 1978, consisting of the two fused parietal bones, the occipital bone and one right temporal bone; the assignment to Homo erectus is not recognized; most researchers consider him to be a member of the lineage leading to Neanderthals. Age: Holstein Interglacial or younger, preneanderthal.

        (The two gravel-pit workers who found these bones used to visit my family’s restaurant. Their names: Heiner Geng and Erwin Uhl. I knew them, my father knew them well.)

        *****this is a rather confusing terminology, btw. For a while, Jürgen Habermas, who worked with Gadamer for a few years at the beginning of his career – in Heidelberg… – has that the other way round: For him, truth is to be found only in the nomological (=the measuring) field of the exact sciences. And what Gadamer calls truth (and what he is really looking for as a philosopher (and the son of a chemist…) is the Heideggerian Existential Truth. This truth, Habermas calls the rightfulness (Richtigkeit) – and not the truth. Lately, as an old man, he is not as strict as he was here all the decades before and says: Truth is whatever people think they can take home with them and take for granted – supported by facts and experience so to speak. Something that holds over time. But he still does have the ironic reserve nevertheless, because – as we know – truths change their Gestalt (their form) as time goes by. (Right. This is Hiedegger again, of course (Gadamer was a Heidegger pupil – he studied with him and – – he did saw firewood with him near his hut in the Black Forest)).Bottom line is: As a social being, you’re best off when you grasp that your truth is something that needs to be argued for (you can’t escape that – unless you enter the realm of the sacred (the ritual) – or that of your personal experience(s) – the things you feel deep down. – – – (I sense that this makes Greg Cochran impatient, but did amuse Henry Harpending.)

        …Btw.: Goethe called his autobiography – Truth and Poetology (he knew all that stuff already…(and the title of Gadamer’s opus magnum Truth and Methodology is a big nod to JWv Goethe**** (if not a bow)).

        ****If I remember right, Habermas never mentioned the close ties between Gadamer and Goethe. He always kept his distance from Goethe – until lately (but I’ll not go into this other than saying that this latest Habermasian move towards Goethe has to do with Weimar superintendent and writer/thinker Johann Gottfried Herder – who thought & wrote not least about – the origins of men…(and yes, he did inspire Goethe – and yes, amongst other things: Goethe did research the field Darwin would make famous later on (and establish it in the Jena university he oversaw***).
        ***Ernst Haeckel (Die Kunstformen der Natur) would work there later on, as did Gottlieb Frege and – Gottfried Gabriel (“Ästhetischer ‘Witz’ und logischer ‘Scharfsinn’ – Zum Verhältnis von wissenschaftlicher und ästhtischer Weltanschauung” (1995) – Very (!) insightful and very short little book. A sparkling gem, which does shed additional light on – what I wrote above.

        • Dieter Kief says:

          I’ve put an exclamation mark behind the name Uhl above, but wordpress did not take it.

        • Hail says:

          I didn’t know of your close connection to Wiesloch, but it shows just how closely connected all the NW-European peoples are in the “North America” project between the 16th century (1560s, Huguenots) and the following 350 years or so.

          People will sometimes say America has no history, but I always say it has all the history of Europe and the West up to x date, and parallels and cross-pollinates with Europe for y centuries.

        • Hail says:

          I see there is a well-known paleontologist named Dieter Uhl. There is a younger woman, Alexandra Uhl (Univ of Tuebingen; Leakey Foundation), also in this field. The way things work possible a daughter of Dieter Uhl.

          Now, what would be a movie-scripted revelation would be if both those were descended from “your” Erwin Uhl, and that the latter led a secret life as an amateur-paleontologist after his finding. Gravel-pit worker on weekday work-hours only!

        • Hail says:

          I wonder if I could request something from you. I have been doing some research which has put me in contact with German handwriting of the late-1800s, which I cannot properly read (because of the handwriting-style, not the language as such). I am guessing you might be able to read this style of handwriting a lot better. May I send these to you to see if you can read them? About four or five pages.

  8. Dieter Kief says:

    Steve Sailer about Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending:
    Henry Harpending, RIP, by Steve Sailer – The Unz Review, April , 2016

    “The great anthropologist Henry Harpending (1944-2016) has died. A genial polymath, Henry bridged the gap in anthropology between the old-fashioned cultural side (having spent almost 4 years in the field in Africa with Bushmen and Herero hunter-gatherers, at one point almost giving up academia to become a safari hunting guide) and the ascendant genetic side of anthropology.”

    “It’s my honor to have brought Henry and Gregory Cochran into contact around 1999. Their collaboration has proved productive, such as their landmark 2005 paper The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence, their 2010 book The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, and their blog West Hunter.”

    • Hail says:

      I remember feeling sad upon hearing the news that Henry Harpending had died. For our time, he was not old–in his early seventies.

      Harpending interview, 2010:

      Henry Harpending (8:00):

      “From the viewpoint of science, you don’t “believe” anything. You try to dis-believe, you try to dis-prove things. What is left is what you can’t falsify. I’m always skeptical, just because that’s “the way it works”…

      When we encounter a scientist who is telling us “the way things are” and is a ‘true believer,’ we can really just dismiss him. Don’t pay any attention to him. Many of us don’t pay a lot of attention to the global warming stuff, because it’s full of “true believers”…

      Any time you see a “true believer” in science, you walk the other way. Or, at least, scientists do!”

  9. Anonymous says:

    My reply to Paleo Andrew from here. (WPress doesn’t want comments to get too skinny. That’s understandable, but it’s why I like the best a system such at The Unz Review has.

    PA, I just made the point, because I’d read this many times – that was Steve Sailer’s logic too BTW (can’t speak about Mr. Cochran, as I’ve never read him) in fact. You and I and Mr. Hail knew that, no, this was not the Black Death 2.0, but that’s not my point about it. I don’t care HOW BIG the disease would have been – the LOCKDOWNing would have all still been wrong. Any implementation of Totalitarianism is wrong. (We also could see how the “pandemic” was being nicely used as an excuse for it, though.)

    Anyway, not to go even further off the rails into prepper-site territory, but yeah, that stove is just one thing that may be useful – unleaded gas is more ubiquitous than Coleman fuel, and you don’t need much.

    • Forgot to enter the 3 text fields below. That was me. Couldn’t you tell?


      • Hail says:

        I find it puzzling that when you use the posting-identity “Peak Stupidity” with link and all, you get this bluish avatar. But without anything else changing except not signing as PS, you get a different-looking green avatar:

        The usual Peak Stupidity avatar:


        The ‘anonymous’ version:

        • Here’s how I imagine it works, Mr. Hail. When someone first submits an email address with a name, the 2 get associated in a database table – this explains the weird bug (if you remember) that I’d get by typing the wrong version of my fake email address that I use. Someone had entered that before, if not on your site, maybe anywhere in WordPress(?)

          It picked an avatar for me when I did this the first time. When I wrote in as “Anonymous”, it reverted to the one for anonymous commenters.

          Why don’t you write back and take out your info – unless being the site “owner” makes that difficult – and see if you get the same green square design?

    • Hail says:

      That was me.

      (That anon-user avatar design is bold enough to maybe be banned in Germany.)

      Test result: The avatar changes based on several things, I think, including the input email and website. Just like at the big website whose owner shares a name with a famous potato chip brand (middle letter only different), for anon-users one’s unique-posting-identity comes primarily from details you input on email and/or website.

      • Yeah, Mr. Hail, something that took me (sadly!) a number of YEARS to realize was that, when an email address is required, it’s not always because the site owner wants the info on you for Big Brother reasons or Big Biz spam reasons. It’s just that it’s a unique sequence as obviously required by the email service.

        It could just as well be any unique code, but lots of people would forget some non-easy code they make up (like a PW, basically, but there’s no login process). I am more at ease knowing that a fake email address will do fine.

        If you are told that you will get a code or something back in an email to let you register or use the site, well, that’s different. I don’t participate in that sort of thing.

        BTW, I don’t think the website name, which is optional and not used by the majority of commenters, is part of that unique ID on the almost-potato-chip-brand site*. Just the name must match the email address after the first time, or one will get some correction message.


        * I had to look that up, Mr. Hail – never heard of them before. I thought you were talking about the Prangles website. ;-}

  10. Adam Smith says:

    Greetings, everyone,

    Thanks for the interesting read, Mr. Hail.
    And thanks for the reading suggestions, Dieter…

    The 10,000 Year Explosion…

    Truth and Method…

    I hope you guys have a great day! ☮

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