May 20, 2008

Non-parallel Universes

Although I might otherwise enjoy continuing my dialogue with Justin, he and I plainly operate in such non-parallel universes that any further discussion between us must lead into a semantic snag. For example, I don?t really know what he means when he identifies those who notice disparate IQ averages as ?racialists? or when he reveals that nations are built on ?concepts.? Why should Richard, Marcus, Christopher and the others who have objected to his dismissal of evidence about innate intelligence be belabored with accusations of ?racialism?? Perhaps there is value in noticing IQ data for the reasons Murray Rothbard offered, that is, to protect the rest of us whenever the civil rights establishment tries to shake us down for more set-asides and quotas because blacks are not proportionately represented at the best universities or in the most prestigious professions. It might be advantageous to make and demonstrate the point that not all groups have the same genetic endowments. The figures about differential IQ levels might also come in handy in countering the hand-wringing of silly whites who ascribe all differences in performance levels between the races to the legacy of systemic racism.

I?m also not sure how Justin?s view of nations as built on abstraction differs much from the neoconservatives? invention of the US as a ?propositional nation.? Of course the neoconservatives are operating by a double standard, for they clearly view Israel as a real nation, unlike the ethnically decontextualized character they have bestowed on the world power that they temporarily control. But what exactly is this ?concept? that turned the US from a collection of solitary individuals into a ?nation?? Presumably, according to Justin, the early American republic was not the work of a specific culture and ethnicity that had given itself a constitution as a political structure. It was some kind of universal idea. Perhaps it was like the one that Harry Jaffa and Bill Kristol have provided the world with, some ?concept? about equality and democracy. Are we morally required to share our ?concept? with those who don?t want it? This brings us back to what Edmund Burke once wrote about the danger of ?armed doctrines.? Or is Justin?s universal concept a less belligerent kind than the one that has been used to justify the preemptive strike on Iraq? Perhaps he is being simply less consistent or less generous than the neoconservatives who wish to give their preferred value to the rest of the human race.

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