A commenter named John says in regard to the National Merit semifinalist lists:
What we are seeing is that Jews are beginning to neglect vanity projects in terms of intellectual achievement - they no longer care about dominating purely social markers of intellectual success, that are more about vanity than real accomplishment.
So far as I know we have not seen any decline in Jewish Nobels or in Jewish names amongst famous intellectuals in all areas. Has there been such a decline? THAT would be a significant marker.
Good question. A methodological problem is that a lot of measures of accomplishment -- Nobels, Forbes 400, Oscars, etc. -- have time lags built in. Probably looking at founders of major IPOs in this century would be a good test with the shortest time lag. The three most obvious names are Zuckerberg, Page, and Brin, but I don't follow that field closely.
But as far as I know where it counts, Jews perform as well as ever. But in terms of social vanity markers, Jews simply no longer have the motivation they had when they were outsiders in American society - which is exactly what one would expect.
Interestingly, whites have been underperforming their average IQ in terms of vanity and prestige projects (including admission to an elite unis, which is in many ways more about vanity than economic success) for quite some time now, which is precisely what one would expect - viewed from sociological perspective - from the group that has the most secure social position and feels the least need to *prove* anything.
That Asians are exerting enormous effort to do well in areas whose significance is to a high degree about vanity and prestige makes total sense. It brings to mind the way many Third World countries spend enormous amounts to build sparkling, palatial airports, while LAX is a dump ;)
That Jews are now converging with Whites in terms of their indifference to vanity projects is something that we should have expected.
I predict that in 50 years, the crazy Asian numbers we are seeing now in all these fields - coupled with a troubling lack of real world excellence - will diminish considerably and become more in line with their average IQ, which will still give them a modest overrepresentation in some fields, but nothing like what we are seeing now.
When that happens, we will know that Asians have *arrived* as Americans and no longer feel the need to *prove* themselves, and we can welcome them into the fold ;) But before that Asians will have to come to terms with the painful reality that their talents are far more modest than they would have wished. The Japanese have already gone through this self-reckoning, and are the most relaxed and easy going of the Asians as a result.
Could be. Or then again, maybe not.
Remember how there was a brief war in 1962 between China and India over some sparsely inhabited high-altitude terrain in the Himalayas where the border wasn't agreed upon? Perhaps the big issue in American politics in 2062 will be over that border, with one party backing China's claims and the other India's. How do we know that in fifty years, the burning issue of the day in American political and intellectual circles won't be whether China or India has rightful control of Aksai Chin, a region of salt deserts at 16,000 feet?
If that sounds nuts, then imagine what President Eisenhower would have said in 1956 if you told him that in 2012 the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination would compete over foreign policy mostly by trying to promise the most fervently to beat up anybody who questions Israel's right to the shore of the Dead Sea?