February 19, 2014

A Border Collie and a pit bull

A Border Collie and a pit bull

In Group Mode, everything changes according to the group being discussed. If I said that Jews were smart, and adduced all manner of achievements over the centuries, no one would deny it. Similarly for the Chinese. If I said, however, that Australian aborigines were inferior in IQ, I would be told as follows: Intelligence does not exist; it is a social construct; it is culturally determined; it can”€™t be measured; it has no genetic basis; the tests are biased; lack of achievement is caused by discrimination, or institutional racism running through Australian society, or geographic considerations. Whereas if I said that Italians were of low intelligence, the response would be to produce counter evidence; in the case of the aborigines it would be to give all manner of reasons why there was no counter evidence.

It is remarkable how closely the observable behavior of races over the long haul tracks their measured intelligence. Arrange all the visibly distinct groups in descending order of measured IQ. Next to each put its contributions to the arts and sciences; its great civilizations present or past; its mean family income; its rate of criminality; its Nobel prizes and its scores on the GRE, and their representation in demanding universities without affirmative action. Each of the clear disparities can be explained away, yes. E.g., for many centuries Germans were primitive while Italians and Greeks flourished intellectually, and Brazil only recently started designing airliners. Yet the aborigines never did anything. This is not probative, but highly suspicious.

Political and social consequences flow from apparent or, more likely, real differences in intelligence. For example, the Chinese are hated in Indonesia and Malaya, as have been Jews in countless places, because of consistently greater success in things requiring brains (such as making money). (An excellent book on this is World on Fire by Amy Chua.)

If no such differences in IQ existed, those around the world who produce and pay taxes might reasonably tell their welfare classes to stop being parasites and do their part. If, on the other hand, some groups are genuinely dim, the problem changes. You cannot blame people for being what they were born, and you cannot expect them to do what they cannot. The social-Darwinist approach”€””€œScratch, dog, who can, and the devil take the rest”€”€”is cruel. If some cannot function, or find work, in a rapidly automating economy with high endemic unemployment, what do you do? To make matters worse, those who cannot compete intellectually tend to develop a cultural aversion to the whole idea.

It is when gradations of intelligence and hence of prosperity correlate closely with visible distinctions”€”for example, when north Asian students in California swamp Berkeley, greatly outperforming Caucasians”€”that anger arises. If dull-witted whites live in broken-down trailers in the pine barrens of the South, no one much cares. But if American Indians, racially distinct, live similarly on reservations, it is a political issue. And that is what we face, no matter how hard we pretend otherwise.



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