A well-known difference in world cultures is the degree to which members of a culture marry close relatives. This is called consanguinity. The map below shows rates of consanguinity across the world. Click on the image to expand the map and see the numbers better.
Cultures with high rates of consanguinity tend to be clannish. This means that a basic organizational unit of the society is a clan made up of closely related members. Clans are usually hierarchical and demand primary loyalty from their members. And this generally results in nations with weak state institutions, corruption, and lots of fighting among clans.
Young males in clans generally learn from an early age that violence is the best way to settle disputes because that is how it has been for centuries and because there are no alternative like a fair and effective legal system.
Clannish societies also engage in crowd behaviors such as those that occurred in Cologne on New Years Eve. To an anthropologist, attacks of that nature should not be surprising. They are a fairly normal aspect of clan-based behavior and psychology. Germans, though…
…have been shocked by the scale of the attacks, involving many groups of drunk and aggressive young men.
Witnesses and police said the men were of Arab or North African appearance. (same link as above)
Being shocked by something so predictable says a good deal about German idealism. Do they really think that just breathing the air in Germany will change the psycho-sociologies of migrants that have developed over thousands of years?
Displaying amazing ignorance of the root cause of what is happening in Cologne and many other parts of Europe, the Mayor of Cologne herself actually said
…that [German] women should adopt a “code of conduct” to prevent future assault at a crisis meeting following the sexual attack of women by 1000 men on New Year’s eve. (link)
When your ideals stubbornly do not match reality, it’s time to change your ideals.
Europe used to be a clannish society. But the Catholic Church banned consanguinity during the Middle Ages. Banning consanguinity was a deliberate and premeditated way to destroy the clan structure of much of Europe.
After that ban, a different sort of society evolved in Europe, based on strong state laws and a universal morality that sees other people as being largely “the same as” oneself and thus deserving of fair treatment.
Some other really basic differences between societies are the way women are treated (see the above) and how the truth is treated.
In Europe and European-derived cultures, the truths people believe in are open and ideally should be shared with others without prejudice. The scientific method is a good example of this. Europe did not keep its science and technology secret.
This is not the case in many other cultures. In many parts of the world codes exist that define what can be said or not said to “outsiders.” And in many of those societies it is considered right and proper to lie to “outsiders” in order to gain an advantage over them. If you allow large numbers of people like that into your society, you are going to have problems.
The ideas expressed above are so basic to human social psychology, it’s long past time to stop being ignorant of them or pretending they are more malleable than they are.