Quote of the Day: Thomas Sowell on Identity Politics

 

This quote is from Sowell’s book Intellectuals and Race, a subset of his 2012 tome Intellectuals and Society.  He understands how today’s intellectuals formulate their approach to race, and sees right through them.

Whether in Europe, Asia, Africa, or the Western Hemisphere, a common pattern among intellectuals has been to seek, or demand, equality of results without equality of causes–or on sheer presumptions of equality of causes.  Nor have such demands been limited to intellectuals within the lagging groups, whether minorities or majorities.  Outside intellectuals, including intellectuals in other countries, have often discussed statistical differences in incomes or other outcomes as “disparities” and “inequities” that need to be “corrected” as if they were discussing abstract people in an abstract world.

The corrections being urged are seldom corrections within the lagging groups, such as Hume urged upon his fellow Scots in the eighteenth century.  Today, the prevailing tenets of multiculturalism declare all cultures equal, sealing members of lagging groups within a bubble of their current habits and practices, much as believers in multiculturalism have sealed themselves within a bubble of peer-consensus dogma.

There are certain possibilities that many among the intelligentsia cannot even acknowledge as possibilities, much less try to test empirically, which would be risking a whole vision of the world–and of themselves–on a roll of the dice.  Chief among these is the possibility that the most fundamental disparity among people is in their disparities in wealth-generating capabilities, of which the disparities in income and wealth are results, rather than causes.  Other disparities, whether in crime, violence and alcohol intake or other social pathology, may also have internal roots.  But these possibilities as well are not allowed inside the sealed bubble of the prevailing vision.

It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions, by the intellectuals who wish to be seen as their advocates, or maybe “saviors.”

Published in Group Writing
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 59 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Good post.  Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

    I do have a concern about your conclusion — focus on the highlighted word:

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions, by the intellectuals who wish to be seen as their advocates, or maybe “saviors”.

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things.  Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything.  They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could be a biological basis for some group differences.  My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    • #1
  2. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    RushBabe49:

    Outside intellectuals, including intellectuals in other countries, have often discussed statistical differences in incomes or other outcomes as “disparities” and “inequities” that need to be “corrected”…

    So true.  These intellectuals are a great danger to humankind, and Sowell taught millions how to recognize their error.

    …as if they were discussing abstract people in an abstract world.

    Ouch!  I wish he hadn’t added that. Although I have no idea what he meant by “abstract”, and doubt that any unambiguous and clear definition could be given that doesn’t make a hash of every other definition, I fear that it is a symptom of a sort of counter-hubris that is as dangerous to mankind as that of the outside intellectuals. The belief that one has been granted the gift of thinking without abstraction.

    • #2
  3. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Good post. Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

    I do have a concern about your conclusion — focus on the highlighted word:

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions, by the intellectuals who wish to be seen as their advocates, or maybe “saviors”.

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things. Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything. They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could be a biological basis for some group differences. My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    ‘Kept’ perhaps in the sense that their dependence is subsidized and they are promised deliverance in the nebulous future at the mere cost of their votes. 

    • #3
  4. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    RushBabe49:

    Outside intellectuals, including intellectuals in other countries, have often discussed statistical differences in incomes or other outcomes as “disparities” and “inequities” that need to be “corrected”…

    So true. These intellectuals are a great danger to humankind, and Sowell taught millions how to recognize their error.

    …as if they were discussing abstract people in an abstract world.

    Ouch! I wish he hadn’t added that. Although I have no idea what he meant by “abstract”, and doubt that any unambiguous and clear definition could be given that doesn’t make a hash of every other definition, I fear that it is a symptom of a sort of counter-hubris that is as dangerous to mankind as that of the outside intellectuals. The belief that one has been granted the gift of thinking without abstraction.

    Abstract in the sense of disregarding empirical data.   For example, accusing classical orchestras of racial discrimination because they have relatively few black members — ignoring the fact that black musicians tend to be more interested in jazz, R&B, soul, pop, etc.   (BTW, I get the impression that whites, too, are losing interest in classical music.)

    • #4
  5. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    I don’t think that very many of the people calling for ‘Equality’ really want any such thing, at least as far as themselves and people they know & care about are concerned.  See my post here.

     

    • #5
  6. James Salerno Coolidge
    James Salerno
    @JamesSalerno

    I like Sowell a lot. But I’ve been thinking about Black Rednecks and White Liberals and wonder if its a bit too simple of a thesis. There is certainly a bit of the uncouth, vulgar Ulster Scott culture that shows up in all peoples of the American South. But using this to explain the problems in black culture only works in an American sense. It doesn’t explain why these problems exist with blacks in Haiti, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, etc. I also think these problems predate the usual culprits. For example, they predate the exportation of American gangster rap culture.

    • #6
  7. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Good post. Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

    I do have a concern about your conclusion — focus on the highlighted word:

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions, by the intellectuals who wish to be seen as their advocates, or maybe “saviors”.

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things. Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything. They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could actually be a biological basis for some group differences. My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    “Kept” sounds like an appropriate term given that that is what the aim of the intellectuals appears to be. Here Jerry seems to be suggesting a Eugenics solution to the problem, which was the most popular agenda of Progressives in the first half of the 20th Century. The question is whether he prefers forced sterilization of the unfit, or their direct extermination, or some program of selective breeding like Linus Pauling’s “yellow star” proposals. Which is it, Jerry?

    • #7
  8. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Good post. Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

    I do have a concern about your conclusion — focus on the highlighted word:

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions, by the intellectuals who wish to be seen as their advocates, or maybe “saviors”.

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things. Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything. They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could actually be a biological basis for some group differences. My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    “Kept” sounds like an appropriate term given that that is what the aim of the intellectuals appears to be. Here Jerry seems to be suggesting a Eugenics solution to the problem, which was the most popular agenda of Progressives in the first half of the 20th Century. The question is whether he prefers forced sterilization of the unfit, or their direct extermination, or some program of selective breeding like Linus Pauling’s “yellow star” proposals. Which is it, Jerry?

    Noting a problem is not the same as proposing a solution.   (Muddling the two appears to be a common logical fallacy, though I don’t know what it’s called.)

    Roe v. Wade, i.e., making abortion more available to lower IQs, was a successful eugenic policy for 50 years.   Providing contraceptives in public high school might work, too.

    Given that intelligence is a polygenic trait, as long as the slightly above average have more kids than the slightly below average, a society is moving in the “right” direction.

    • #8
  9. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Taras (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    RushBabe49:

    Outside intellectuals, including intellectuals in other countries, have often discussed statistical differences in incomes or other outcomes as “disparities” and “inequities” that need to be “corrected”…

    So true. These intellectuals are a great danger to humankind, and Sowell taught millions how to recognize their error.

    …as if they were discussing abstract people in an abstract world.

    Ouch! I wish he hadn’t added that. Although I have no idea what he meant by “abstract”, and doubt that any unambiguous and clear definition could be given that doesn’t make a hash of every other definition, I fear that it is a symptom of a sort of counter-hubris that is as dangerous to mankind as that of the outside intellectuals. The belief that one has been granted the gift of thinking without abstraction.

    Abstract in the sense of disregarding empirical data. For example, accusing classical orchestras of racial discrimination because they have relatively few black members — ignoring the fact that black musicians tend to be more interested in jazz, R&B, soul, pop, etc. (BTW, I get the impression that whites, too, are losing interest in classical music.)

    Classical orchestras use blind auditions, in which the judges cannot know the race or sex of the musician. This made the accusations of racism blatantly risible, which in turn necessitated the invention of complex theories of “institutional racism” and the crackpot theory that diversity in and of itself will improve the quality of any organization.

    • #9
  10. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    I wonder if it would be deemed racist to do the research to find out if “diversity” is really a strength.  Could anyone in the social sciences even propose that research without getting fired?

    • #10
  11. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Taras (View Comment):
    Given that intelligence is a polygenic trait…

    I still encounter the assertion that “there is no gene for intelligence”, as if any scientist denies that it is polygenic. What’s more, the evidence for the heritability of intelligence has only increased over the last 50 years.

    Remember how Steven Pinker was attacked when he published The Blank Slate? The idea that human minds are tabulae rasas upon which anything can be written is essential to leftist theories.

    • #11
  12. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Taras (View Comment):

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Good post. Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

    I do have a concern about your conclusion — focus on the highlighted word:

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions, by the intellectuals who wish to be seen as their advocates, or maybe “saviors”.

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things. Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything. They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could actually be a biological basis for some group differences. My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    “Kept” sounds like an appropriate term given that that is what the aim of the intellectuals appears to be. Here Jerry seems to be suggesting a Eugenics solution to the problem, which was the most popular agenda of Progressives in the first half of the 20th Century. The question is whether he prefers forced sterilization of the unfit, or their direct extermination, or some program of selective breeding like Linus Pauling’s “yellow star” proposals. Which is it, Jerry?

    Noting a problem is not the same as proposing a solution. (Muddling the two appears to be a common logical fallacy, though I don’t know what it’s called.)

    Roe v. Wade, i.e., making abortion more available to lower IQs, was a successful eugenic policy for 50 years. Providing contraceptives in public high school might work, too.

    Given that intelligence is a polygenic trait, as long as the slightly above average have more kids than the slightly below average, a society is moving in the “right” direction.

    You are exactly correct that Roe v. Wade was a Eugenics policy, a shift from forced sterilization, but a eugenics policy nevertheless, and racist to boot. 

    You forget about regression to the mean. And hybrid vigor. So there is no way to guarantee anything about “moving in the right direction.”  We simply know far too little (almost nothing) about human cognition (IQ testing is not a legitimate undertaking) to pursue any effective policy in regard to “improving” the species. As much of a crock as pretending that we can mitigate climate change. Hubris to the Nth power. No one knows what cognition is, or consciousness for that matter, despite retentions (see Dennett’s book, “Consciousness Explained”–a completely mendacious title–which, to his credit, Dennett admits at the end of the book).

    • #12
  13. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    RushBabe49:

    Outside intellectuals, including intellectuals in other countries, have often discussed statistical differences in incomes or other outcomes as “disparities” and “inequities” that need to be “corrected”…

    So true. These intellectuals are a great danger to humankind, and Sowell taught millions how to recognize their error.

    …as if they were discussing abstract people in an abstract world.

    Ouch! I wish he hadn’t added that. Although I have no idea what he meant by “abstract”, and doubt that any unambiguous and clear definition could be given that doesn’t make a hash of every other definition, I fear that it is a symptom of a sort of counter-hubris that is as dangerous to mankind as that of the outside intellectuals. The belief that one has been granted the gift of thinking without abstraction.

    Abstract in the sense of disregarding empirical data. For example, accusing classical orchestras of racial discrimination because they have relatively few black members — ignoring the fact that black musicians tend to be more interested in jazz, R&B, soul, pop, etc. (BTW, I get the impression that whites, too, are losing interest in classical music.)

    Classical orchestras use blind auditions, in which the judges cannot know the race or sex of the musician. This made the accusations of racism blatantly risible, which in turn necessitated the invention of complex theories of “institutional racism” and the crackpot theory that diversity in and of itself will improve the quality of any organization.

    New York Times, July 16, 2020:   “To Make Orchestras More Diverse, End Blind Auditions”.

    • #13
  14. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I wonder if it would be deemed racist to do the research to find out if “diversity” is really a strength. Could anyone in the social sciences even propose that research without getting fired?

    The data is probably already out there, buried in statistical tables included in appendices to articles ostensibly on other subjects.

    • #14
  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Taras (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    RushBabe49:

    Outside intellectuals, including intellectuals in other countries, have often discussed statistical differences in incomes or other outcomes as “disparities” and “inequities” that need to be “corrected”…

    So true. These intellectuals are a great danger to humankind, and Sowell taught millions how to recognize their error.

    …as if they were discussing abstract people in an abstract world.

    Ouch! I wish he hadn’t added that. Although I have no idea what he meant by “abstract”, and doubt that any unambiguous and clear definition could be given that doesn’t make a hash of every other definition, I fear that it is a symptom of a sort of counter-hubris that is as dangerous to mankind as that of the outside intellectuals. The belief that one has been granted the gift of thinking without abstraction.

    Abstract in the sense of disregarding empirical data. For example, accusing classical orchestras of racial discrimination because they have relatively few black members — ignoring the fact that black musicians tend to be more interested in jazz, R&B, soul, pop, etc. (BTW, I get the impression that whites, too, are losing interest in classical music.)

    Classical orchestras use blind auditions, in which the judges cannot know the race or sex of the musician. This made the accusations of racism blatantly risible, which in turn necessitated the invention of complex theories of “institutional racism” and the crackpot theory that diversity in and of itself will improve the quality of any organization.

    New York Times, July 16, 2020: “To Make Orchestras More Diverse, End Blind Auditions”.

    Outlaw having white people in the orchestras.

    • #15
  16. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Taras (View Comment):

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Good post. Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

    I do have a concern about your conclusion — focus on the highlighted word:

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions, by the intellectuals who wish to be seen as their advocates, or maybe “saviors”.

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things. Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything. They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could actually be a biological basis for some group differences. My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    “Kept” sounds like an appropriate term given that that is what the aim of the intellectuals appears to be. Here Jerry seems to be suggesting a Eugenics solution to the problem, which was the most popular agenda of Progressives in the first half of the 20th Century. The question is whether he prefers forced sterilization of the unfit, or their direct extermination, or some program of selective breeding like Linus Pauling’s “yellow star” proposals. Which is it, Jerry?

    Noting a problem is not the same as proposing a solution. (Muddling the two appears to be a common logical fallacy, though I don’t know what it’s called.)

    Roe v. Wade, i.e., making abortion more available to lower IQs, was a successful eugenic policy for 50 years. Providing contraceptives in public high school might work, too.

    Given that intelligence is a polygenic trait, as long as the slightly above average have more kids than the slightly below average, a society is moving in the “right” direction.

    “Noting a problem is not the same as promoting a solution.”

    I think you are completely off base here. Jerry Giordano is an intelligent and knowledgable man.  He is an attorney and must have heard of Buck v. Bell. I find it impossible to believe that he is unaware of the efforts at improving the race biologically via Eugenics. With such results as the Holocaust. Thomas Sowell has shown that biological or genetic explanations for IQ differences are completely bogus (He was writing articles and doing research on IQ testing at least as early as the 1970s). His work completely refutes Charles Murray’s claims on inherent IQ differences based on race or biology.  Jerry would have to be living on a different planet to not be aware of this history.  Hence, his mild casual criticism of Sowell for failing to attend to biology (race) is entirely false, and he should know it. I find his comment at best disingenuous. 

    • #16
  17. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    @NanoceltTheContrarian — The attack on IQ is mostly wishful thinking (and deception, of course).    

    During the so-called “IQ Argument” of the late Sixties  and Seventies, a leading psychometrician described how journalists would truculently demand to see his evidence.   He would hand over an already prepared package, and wait for the inevitable sequel:   nothing.

    The journalists didn’t want to lie outright, but they didn’t dare publish the truth, either.

    This is consistent pattern:   the moment somebody understands the science, he falls silent.  “Holy sh*t, I can’t write about that!”  

    This tends to leave the field to the ignorant.

    • #17
  18. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Good post. Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

    I do have a concern about your conclusion — focus on the highlighted word:

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions, by the intellectuals who wish to be seen as their advocates, or maybe “saviors”.

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things. Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything. They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could actually be a biological basis for some group differences. My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    “Kept” sounds like an appropriate term given that that is what the aim of the intellectuals appears to be. Here Jerry seems to be suggesting a Eugenics solution to the problem, which was the most popular agenda of Progressives in the first half of the 20th Century. The question is whether he prefers forced sterilization of the unfit, or their direct extermination, or some program of selective breeding like Linus Pauling’s “yellow star” proposals. Which is it, Jerry?

    That can’t be what Jerry means, but I don’t know what he would cite as the solution to genetically inferior underperformers in practices and attitudes.

    • #18
  19. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Good post. Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

    I do have a concern about your conclusion — focus on the highlighted word:

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions…

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things. Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything. They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could actually be a biological basis for some group differences. My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    “Kept” sounds like an appropriate term given that that is what the aim of the intellectuals appears to be. Here Jerry seems to be suggesting a Eugenics solution to the problem, which was the most popular agenda of Progressives in the first half of the 20th Century. The question is whether he prefers forced sterilization of the unfit, or their direct extermination, or some program of selective breeding like Linus Pauling’s “yellow star” proposals. Which is it, Jerry?

    Noting a problem is not the same as proposing a solution. (Muddling the two appears to be a common logical fallacy, though I don’t know what it’s called.)

    Roe v. Wade, i.e., making abortion more available to lower IQs, was a successful eugenic policy for 50 years. Providing contraceptives in public high school might work, too.

    Given that intelligence is a polygenic trait, as long as the slightly above average have more kids than the slightly below average, a society is moving in the “right” direction.

    You are exactly correct that Roe v. Wade was a Eugenics policy, a shift from forced sterilization, but a eugenics policy nevertheless, and racist to boot.

    You forget about regression to the mean. And hybrid vigor. So there is no way to guarantee anything about “moving in the right direction.” We simply know far too little (almost nothing) about human cognition (IQ testing is not a legitimate undertaking) to pursue any effective policy in regard to “improving” the species. As much of a crock as pretending that we can mitigate climate change. Hubris to the Nth power. No one knows what cognition is, or consciousness for that matter, despite retentions (see Dennett’s book, “Consciousness Explained”–a completely mendacious title–which, to his credit, Dennett admits at the end of the book).

    Would psychological sterilization be alright?  Specifically, inculcating within genetically underperforming groups (not individuals, but recognizable groups) the desire to not bring their babies to term?  I believe the financial and social mechanisms already exist.  Would that be okay?

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Percival (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    RushBabe49:

    Outside intellectuals, including intellectuals in other countries, have often discussed statistical differences in incomes or other outcomes as “disparities” and “inequities” that need to be “corrected”…

    So true. These intellectuals are a great danger to humankind, and Sowell taught millions how to recognize their error.

    …as if they were discussing abstract people in an abstract world.

    Ouch! I wish he hadn’t added that. Although I have no idea what he meant by “abstract”, and doubt that any unambiguous and clear definition could be given that doesn’t make a hash of every other definition, I fear that it is a symptom of a sort of counter-hubris that is as dangerous to mankind as that of the outside intellectuals. The belief that one has been granted the gift of thinking without abstraction.

    Abstract in the sense of disregarding empirical data. For example, accusing classical orchestras of racial discrimination because they have relatively few black members — ignoring the fact that black musicians tend to be more interested in jazz, R&B, soul, pop, etc. (BTW, I get the impression that whites, too, are losing interest in classical music.)

    Classical orchestras use blind auditions, in which the judges cannot know the race or sex of the musician. This made the accusations of racism blatantly risible, which in turn necessitated the invention of complex theories of “institutional racism” and the crackpot theory that diversity in and of itself will improve the quality of any organization.

    New York Times, July 16, 2020: “To Make Orchestras More Diverse, End Blind Auditions”.

    Outlaw having white people in the orchestras.

    Or just don’t allow them to breed.

    • #20
  21. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Taras (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I wonder if it would be deemed racist to do the research to find out if “diversity” is really a strength. Could anyone in the social sciences even propose that research without getting fired?

    The data is probably already out there, buried in statistical tables included in appendices to articles ostensibly on other subjects.

    A number of historians and political scientists have remarked that the historical record shows diversity to be a weakness: More diversity (ethnic, religious, etc) means less social cohesion, less trust, more conflict. (This should be obvious: If you know that people do not share your valves values, whether in small matters or large, you will not trust them so much and you will not for close ties with them. Only an intellectual could be so stupid as to fail to realize this.) There have been many multi-ethnic empires but they have always been prone to fracture and were held together by a strong State.

    If you want a high-trust, cohesive, stable society you need low diversity. The traditional way to achieve the cohesion of low diversity is to have a single securely dominant ethnicity/religion. America is an exception, which worked by developing an American culture which could accept various ethnicities and religions as long as they were happy to assimilate and embrace American culture. The left, unfortunately, has been working hard to destroy that cohesiveness by dismantling the institutions of assimilation and by telling immigrants that they should not assimilate and even that they should despise America. And, to make matters worse, some immigrant groups do not need to be persuaded that we are evil and contemptible. This decay can also be seen in Europe, where crime rates are much higher than 50 years ago thanks to unassimilable immigrant groups.

    • #21
  22. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    If diversity was a strength no one would feel the need to repeat it like a catechism – it would just kind of be. 

    • #22
  23. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    TBA (View Comment):

    If diversity was a strength no one would feel the need to repeat it like a catechism – it would just kind of be.

    And the left never demonstrated that it was a strength; they merely repeated their assertion over and over, while shouting down those who demurred.

    • #23
  24. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Good post. Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

     

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions…

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things. Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything. They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could actually be a biological basis for some group differences. My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    “Kept” sounds like an appropriate term given that that is what the aim of the intellectuals appears to be. Here Jerry seems to be suggesting a Eugenics solution to the problem, which was the most popular agenda of Progressives in the first half of the 20th Century. The question is whether he prefers forced sterilization of the unfit, or their direct extermination, or some program of selective breeding like Linus Pauling’s “yellow star” proposals. Which is it, Jerry?

    Noting a problem is not the same as proposing a solution. (Muddling the two appears to be a common logical fallacy, though I don’t know what it’s called.)

    Roe v. Wade, i.e., making abortion more available to lower IQs, was a successful eugenic policy for 50 years. Providing contraceptives in public high school might work, too.

    Given that intelligence is a polygenic trait, as long as the slightly above average have more kids than the slightly below average, a society is moving in the “right” direction.

    You are exactly correct that Roe v. Wade was a Eugenics policy, a shift from forced sterilization, but a eugenics policy nevertheless, and racist to boot.

    You forget about regression to the mean. And hybrid vigor. So there is no way to guarantee anything about “moving in the right direction.” We simply know far too little (almost nothing) about human cognition (IQ testing is not a legitimate undertaking) to pursue any effective policy in regard to “improving” the species. As much of a crock as pretending that we can mitigate climate change. Hubris to the Nth power. No one knows what cognition is, or consciousness for that matter, despite retentions (see Dennett’s book, “Consciousness Explained”–a completely mendacious title–which, to his credit, Dennett admits at the end of the book).

    Would psychological sterilization be alright? Specifically, inculcating within genetically underperforming groups (not individuals, but recognizable groups) the desire to not bring their babies to term? I believe the financial and social mechanisms already exist. Would that be okay?

    NO

     

    • #24
  25. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Taras (View Comment):

    @ NanoceltTheContrarian — The attack on IQ is mostly wishful thinking (and deception, of course).

    During the so-called “IQ Argument” of the late Sixties and Seventies, a leading psychometrician described how journalists would truculently demand to see his evidence. He would hand over an already prepared package, and wait for the inevitable sequel: nothing.

    The journalists didn’t want to lie outright, but they didn’t dare publish the truth, either.

    This is consistent pattern: the moment somebody understands the science, he falls silent. “Holy sh*t, I can’t write about that!”

    This tends to leave the field to the ignorant.

    Well, Thomas Sowell attacked it head on with massive amounts of data showing both that so called IQ correlated best with cultural assimilation and negatively with cultural isolation, changed over time in different ways in different groups for different reasons, and depended heavily on circumstances. Nothing fixed or immutable or inherent about it. So I guess you consider Sowell ignorant?

    The psychometricians should change their appellation to Psychomeritricious. They mostly follow the Michael Mann school of statistical analysis..

    • #25
  26. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    TBA (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Good post. Sowell’s work in this area is very solid, I think.

    I do have a concern about your conclusion — focus on the highlighted word:

    RushBabe49: It sounds like a great description of how minority communities are kept in their unequal and poverty-stricken conditions, by the intellectuals who wish to be seen as their advocates, or maybe “saviors”.

    “Kept?”

    This seems like the wrong way to look at things. Underperforming groups are not being “kept” in anything. They are underperforming, and may be able to do better if they change their practices and attitudes.

    One issue that Sowell does not address much is the possibility that there could be a biological basis for some group differences. My recollection is that he doesn’t dispute the possibility, either, but he doesn’t seem to think that addressing this issue would be helpful, and he seems more optimistic about changes in cultural practices leading to significant improvements.

    ‘Kept’ perhaps in the sense that their dependence is subsidized and they are promised deliverance in the nebulous future at the mere cost of their votes.

    Professor William Allen called it guardianship.

    • #26
  27. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I wonder if it would be deemed racist to do the research to find out if “diversity” is really a strength. Could anyone in the social sciences even propose that research without getting fired?

    Diversity isn’t a strength. Unity is.

    • #27
  28. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    @ NanoceltTheContrarian — The attack on IQ is mostly wishful thinking (and deception, of course).

    During the so-called “IQ Argument” of the late Sixties and Seventies, a leading psychometrician described how journalists would truculently demand to see his evidence. He would hand over an already prepared package, and wait for the inevitable sequel: nothing.

    The journalists didn’t want to lie outright, but they didn’t dare publish the truth, either.

    This is consistent pattern: the moment somebody understands the science, he falls silent. “Holy sh*t, I can’t write about that!”

    This tends to leave the field to the ignorant.

    Well, Thomas Sowell attacked it head on with massive amounts of data showing both that so called IQ correlated best with cultural assimilation and negatively with cultural isolation, changed over time in different ways in different groups for different reasons, and depended heavily on circumstances. Nothing fixed or immutable or inherent about it. So I guess you consider Sowell ignorant?

    The psychometricians should change their appellation to Psychomeritricious. They mostly follow the Michael Mann school of statistical analysis..

    Intelligence is about 50% inherited and 50% environmental. This was pretty clear in the 70’s and subsequent research has only supported that. Those studies are not fraudulent, despite your silly invocation of fabulist Michael Mann. And ironically, it is Michael Mann and his allies who seek to silence their critics, just as Blank Slate leftists seek to silence researchers interested in the heritability of cognitive traits.

    • #28
  29. James Salerno Coolidge
    James Salerno
    @JamesSalerno

    On diversity as a strength:

    There are three factors in an economy – limited time, limited physical resources, and limited human capital. But there is an abstract factor that doesn’t get talked about as much – the social factor. Social trust makes transactions run smoother. Mutual trust lessens the need for transactions to be monitored post-facto.

    For example, in the 19th century frontier west, everyone belonged to the same churches or grange clubs. This was important because enforcing contracts through legal monitoring was simply not possible due to how sparse the population density was. You could not monitor your land from 20 miles away. You had to trust that your neighbor would not infringe on your property rights. The social trust that was built-in made these societies work. Social capital is the oil that makes the engine run smooth.

    Diversity is not a strength. The melting pot is a farce. When groups don’t trust each other, you need to allocate additional resources to make things run smoothly. Cops, lawyers, etc. A homogenous culture is more efficient because it does not need as many post-facto resources to enforce contracts.

    • #29
  30. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    If you know that people do not share your valves, whether in small matters or large, you will not trust them so much and you will not for close ties with them.

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Outlaw having white people in the orchestras.

    I don’t mind having white horn players in orchestras as long as I know they are not sharing their valves.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.