David Thompson
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April 24, 2017

Comments

Sporkatus

Let's start off by assuming everyone is exactly as intelligent as everyone else, and anything to be learned has to be learned "together", because nobody really knows anything more than anybody else. What could possibly go wrong?

R. Sherman

But remember: there was a "March for Science!" recently. Only right wing, regressive troglodytes object to the results of scientific studies.

Sam Duncan

“But remember: there was a "March for Science!" recently.”

Ah, but that was good Brian-Cox-staring-at-the-sky-in-awe-and-wonder Science!™, with shiny computer graphics and a soaring orchestral soundtrack, that Stephen Fry can pretend to understand. This is bad science, with all books and numbers and maths and stuff.

Stuck-Record

Can one of you egg-heads clear a point up for me?

Over the years I've seen one gay friend or another lose their rag at the suggestion that homosexuality was not an innate characteristic. They would brook no argument on this subject. I also assumed it was a defence against the fundamentalist religious, "well, we can just re-educate you out of your homosexuality," argument.

I always thought it was odd that they had the exact opposite reaction to any suggestion that intelligence was inherited.

Now it's even more confusing. The current dogma amongst progressives seems to be that it is completely homophobic to suggest that you cannot decide to be gay. Or that it's simply societal pressure that forces people to be one thing or another.

So if everything is now up for grabs as a social construct; sexuality, intelligence, and now even gender and race, doesn't that open up the possibility that the anti-gay brainwashing by religious fundamentalists would work?

Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but it seems that progressives are very confused about what they are allowed to believe is innate, and what is a social construct.

As usual they seem to be having their cake and eating it.

jabrwok

Can one of you egg-heads clear a point up for me?

Sure. The Left believes whatever is convenient for the Left to believe in order to get more power for the Left. Easy!

Bill Peschel

jabrwok, when you look at it from that standpoint, it all makes sense.

Like the NYT being in favor of the filibuster when the GOP is in power, and against it when they're not.

Lotte Ledl

As we all know, Science demonstrates that IQ gaps don’t exist; but if they did, they would be the fault of the book The Bell Curve for noticing them and thus conjuring them into existence via Stereotype Threat.

Elites think that judiciousness and thoughtfulness MUST arrive at their conclusion of faux-dogma-on-equality. Of course, they don’t really believe in it themselves, but they strongly believe in the importance of make-believing in it. It’s like the Church. Maybe not everyone in the Church really believes in God, and they, wink-wink, know it. Maybe God doesn’t really exist, wink wink. But they all have to say publicly that God exists. Otherwise, the Church has lost its spiritual justification.

Equality became the official religion of postwar intellectualism in both capitalist west and communist east. You don’t have to believe in it privately. In small circles, you can even discuss race differences. But publicly, NO. Publicly, Equality is the god that must be upheld.

David

As we’ve seen, intelligence and its unequal distribution is a subject that prompts all kinds of contortion.

Killer Marmot

Jessica Valenti is a feminist who often writes for The Guardian. During the height of the Rolling Stone scandal over the story "A Rape On Campus", she wrote an article declaring that she believed Jackie's story.

By this time, the story looked like a pasta strainer. Any person with a modicum of common sense had to admit that the rape likely did not happen, or at least was vastly different than the original version.

So why did Valenti declare her belief? I suggest it was because truth was not the point. Valenti's declaration was an act of faith, not of logic, and the greater the evidence against Jacki's story, the greater was Valenti's act of fidelity to her religion.

We are seeing this increasingly more. One quarter of university women will get raped some time during their college career. Women get paid 78% that of men for the same job. Gender is entirely a social construct. Differences in outcome must necessarily be the result of oppression.

None of these stand up to even mild scrutiny, and people are puzzled why feminists would choose to destroy their credibility by holding to them. But these claims are not meant to reflect reality, but rather are declarations of one's unbreakable piety and adherence to the cause.

R. Sherman

Of course, they don’t really believe in it themselves, but they strongly believe in the importance of make-believing in it.

Indeed. What they refuse to believe or accept is the inherent and equal dignity of every human being regardless of the basket of attributes--physical, emotional, intellectual--with which he is born, by virtue of being born. With "intelligence," however that is defined, they value certain types more than others and enjoy mocking those whom they deem to be deficient. The meltdowns about "equality" merely serve to camouflage their own self-declared and smug superiority.

Daniel Ream

Ordinary people are perfectly comfortable with the idea that some people are smarter than others.

In my experience, this is absolutely untrue.

"Ordinary" people - which is to say people within two standard deviations of the mean - seem much more likely to engage in all kinds of mental gymnastics to avoid admitting that someone is smarter than they are.

Celebrities, that's different, but only if it's Your Guy. Linus Torvalds is a genius, but not Bill Gates. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a Lion of Science, but that nasty Judith Curry not so much.

But when it comes to real people that they actually know and interact with, it seems to me that most people will find any excuse to avoid acknowledging that some people are smarter than they are.

Killer Marmot

DR:

Believing the some people are smarter than others, and believing that some people are smarter than you, are two different things.

David

Of course, they don’t really believe in it themselves, but they strongly believe in the importance of make-believing in it.

As Dr Murray says in the interview, regarding The Bell Curve and some public reactions to it:

It turned out that people I know of, academics especially, who actually read the book had to know that they were lying [in their reviews], because – I’m thinking of specific academics – they just simply know too much about this subject not to have known that they were lying, and they lied without any apparent shadow of guilt.

The departure from evidence, and from what Murray and Herrnstein had actually written, carefully, didn’t impede them. A display was felt necessary.

Surreptitious Evil

Can one of you egg-heads clear a point up for me?

Over the years I've seen one gay friend or another lose their rag at the suggestion that homosexuality was not an innate characteristic. They would brook no argument on this subject. I also assumed it was a defence against the fundamentalist religious, "well, we can just re-educate you out of your homosexuality," argument.

No, interestingly. It's all down to the "Americans with Disabilities Act".

The meme was that if it was proven that gayness was innate, like disabilities (hey, not my argument - many disabilities are environmental not innate {like getting both legs blown off by an IED in Afghanistan, for example} and, were I gay, I would be insulted by my gayness being likened, legally, to a disability) then the ADA would prohibit all sorts of discrimination against our QUILTBAG fellow denizens.

In Yankland, of course. 'Cause nowhere else matters.

It seems to have died down a bit. Dunno why.

Daniel Ream

KM: Yes, but they're irreconcilable.

Unless one truly believes oneself to be the Smartest Person In The World, believing that some people are smarter than others means that there must be people smarter than oneself.

I know I'm being pedantic, but I wanted to point out that part of the rejection of Murray's work - or at least, the wholesale uncritical acceptance of the rejection of Murray's work - is that a lot of people emotionally cannot handle the notion that perhaps the reason they aren't as successful, happy, well-liked or famous as the Johnsons down the road is that they are deficient in some way. That's very threatening to the self-image.

If Everyone is Equal, then the only reason the Johnsons are so much more handsome, wealthy and well-regarded must be due to random outside factors or sinister dealings. They can't have earned it, because that raises the nagging question of why I haven't earned it. And then I might have to examine my own choices, or abilities.

David

But they’re irreconcilable.

It’s been my experience that people rarely fret about whether their ideas are compatible and consistent. Hence the blog, I suppose.

Sporkatus

@Daniel Ream: Radical Equalism. Like egalitarianism, but premises equal inputs and equal outcomes. If anything is due to ones own choices it challenges status as a victim, and difference in abilities just lead to hierarchy, and We Can't Have That.

dicentra

Maybe one of you yutzes can make it through this video. Cuz I sure can't.

I can't EVEN.

David

Maybe one of you yutzes can make it through this video.

She’s dropping knowledge. With her mighty vagina.

Chester Draws

DR my experience teaching is that most people are totally able to cope with different ability levels. They will even project them where they don't exist (hard working kids are often told it's easy for them as they are smart). They aren't happy that someone is a better person for it, but that's a different concern.

In a meritocratic society it's very hard to get people to man the Marxist barricades because, deep down in our hearts, we know the differences are there. Aristocratic societies suffer revolutions because ability and hard work are not enough, and people hate that. The hard Left in the West work on getting people to believe that the right believe that higher earning people are also more valued, and so sets off the "fairness" filter in the credulous. The idea that money earned is no sort of moral judgement is difficult despite its obviousness.

There are some people, however, who are very poor judges of their own ability. Kids of less than average intelligence who want to be doctors always leave me flummoxed what to say at parent interviews. Such people can make a lot of noise and fuss about the system ripping them off.

But let us not confuse the minority who shout and scream with the vast bulk of people. While they would prefer to be wealthy, provided the system does not equate moral worth with money (as an aristocratic system does) then most people will accept reasonable inequality. They understand that an unequal deal in terms of ability will lead to unequal outcomes. They may not like it -- why would they? -- but they understand it.

Konnie

What happened to just plain merit? All of this "I'm poor, I'm gay, I'm a woman, I'm black, I'm XYZ...". Who cares? The powers that be have lost their minds and they are ramming it down the throats of our young. Get rid of any affirmative action type laws and let the chips fall where they may. I am bone tired of all the whining by offended groups. Put up or shut up.

Daniel Ream

equate moral worth with money (as an aristocratic system does)

I don't think that's a very good description of an aristocracy, which is about moral worth being heritable.

Did you perhaps mean plutocratic?

Daniel Ream

She’s dropping knowledge. With her mighty vagina.

That is a mental image I did not need.

David

That is a mental image I did not need.

Now with its own dedicated post.

I spoil you people, I really do.

Chester Draws

Daniel: technically plutocratic.

In practice either aristocrats have money or those with money can work their way into aristocracy.

If the aristocracy try to close off entry to money, as France did in the 17th Century, you end up with angry rich people. Who can become revolutionaries with a grudge. Robespierre, Danton, Marat, Carnot, Montesquieu, Mirabeau -- they weren't peasants.

Trevor

Regarding the disruption at Middlebury, Charles Murray is far too kind about Allison Stanger, the professor who was apparently injured. I assume he has not read Peter Wood's piece in The Federalist:

If you examine the video carefully, Stanger makes several appearances before she goes on stage. At one point (29:08), Stanger is to be found grinning at the chant, “Hey hey, ho, ho, Charles Murray has got to go.” At another (30:05) Stanger is broadly smiling as the crowd chants, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray go away.” Still later, as the crowd chants, “Black Lives Matter,” Stanger raises her hands above her head (33:20) and claps along. Soon after, the camera pans across her again (33:34) and she is chanting the slogan as well as clapping.

In other words, Stanger was not just present at the protest, but participated in it.

David

In other news, teaching financial competence is racist.

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