May 16, 2008
Justin Raimondo’s post about racial differences has generated many responses. I will let others argue about the science of race and IQ, but I would like to make a comment about Justin’s assertion that:
Murray Rothbard rightly warned us to be wary of statistics, which are, of necessity, the instrument of government social engineers, and I would venture to say that Roach’s invocation of them in this instance reflects another sort of tribalism “in an undeniable and often depressing way.”
Looking at Rothbard’s article that Justin refers us to, it seems that his objection to statistics is that the government spends too much money on collecting them, and they allow the government to help plan the economy. He is not saying that statistical data is ipso facto suspect.
VDARE has an article yesterday on the end of paleolibertarianism (another debate I”ll try to sit out on) that links to an essay on The Bell Curve by Murray Rothbard. To say the least, Rothbard takes a very un-Raimondo view of racial differences:
Until literally mid-October 1994, it was shameful and taboo for anyone to talk publicly or write about, home truths which everyone, and I mean everyone, knew in their hearts and in private: that is, almost self-evident truths about race, intelligence, and heritability… Essentially, I mean the almost self-evident fact that individuals, ethnic groups, and races differ among themselves in intelligence and in many other traits, and that intelligence, as well as less controversial traits of temperament, are in large part hereditary.
In fact, insofar as Rothbard has a problem with statistics in the book is that “the Herrnstein-Murray book almost drowns its subject in statistics and qualifications, and it tries to downplay the entire race issue, devoting most of its space to inheritable differences among individuals within each ethnic or racial group.”
As for government social engineers, Rothbard writes,
If and when we as populists and libertarians abolish the welfare state in all of its aspects, and property rights and the free market shall be triumphant once more, many individuals and groups will predictably not like the end result. In that case, those ethnic and other groups who might be concentrated in lower-income or less prestigious occupations, guided by their socialistic mentors, will predictably raise the cry that free-market capitalism is evil and “discriminatory” and that therefore collectivism is needed to redress the balance… In short; racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors.
I would go a step further than Rothbard. If statistics and social science studies are the health of the state, then we should look at what studies the social engineers are creating. They have study after summit after symposium on “how to bridge the achievement gap” which consider every single possible explanation—except genetics.
This is no accident. If the social pathologies of the black population are due to environment rather than genetics then presumably state intervention can remedy the differences through Head Start, affirmative action, No Child Left Behind, and a plethora of other programs.
When those programs don”t work, then there must be another reason to consider. Maybe it’s that our standards are too Eurocentric so we can bridge the gap by reading about Toni Morison, Martin Luther King, and George Washington Carver instead of Shakespeare, George Washington, and Thomas Edison.
If that fails then we must fix black self esteem by instituting hate crime laws, removing any remnant of the Confederacy or other signs that are racist etc. When that fails we need to find more and more types of “institutional” and “structural” causes to uproot.
If, hypothetically, there are genetic differences in intelligence, then all of these interventions would be futile and counterproductive. I”m not saying that these differences necessarily exist, but arguing that they do certainly does not help the cause of the State and its social engineers.