January 31, 2014

Brad DeLong, Rod Dreher, and "Be Like Me"

A few days ago, Rod Dreher published a long thoughtful post, "Evolution & the Culture Wars," that began with with a quote from an old article I wrote for the Toronto National Post back in the previous century called "Darwin's Enemies on the Left."

If I had to write it over again, I'd tone down the ending's late 1990s expectation that genetic selection techniques were going to become a big deal fairly soon. In truth, nothing involving medicine moves quickly. But, my 1999 views have certainly held up better to the last decade and a half of subsequent scientific discoveries than those of the conventional wisdom of 1999, as exemplified, at its high end, by the late Stephen Jay Gould.

Rod writes:
That link takes you to a 1999 Steve Sailer piece in which he observed that many on the left embrace Darwinian evolution not so much because Science as because it gives them a point of view with which to bash the troglodytes of Jesusland. ... 

Rod goes on to say:
I don’t see how evolution could be right and Sailer be wrong. I like reading Sailer because he forces me to see things I would often prefer not to see. 

But he also says:
As Sailer points out, it is perfectly possible to reconcile the spiritual and moral equality of humanity with what science tells us is true about human biological variability. The problem, I think, is that we humans are bad at this. Given the history of the 20th century, I flat-out don’t trust our species to handle the knowledge of human biodiversity without turning it into an ideology of dehumanization, racism, and at worst, genocide. Put another way, I am hostile to this kind of thing not because I believe it’s probably false, but because I believe a lot of it is probably true — and we have shown that we, by our natures, can’t handle this kind of truth.

Perhaps.

But allow me to point out where much of the mindless fury of the 21st Century resides by quoting from today's blog by prominent economics professor and former Clinton Administration official Brad DeLong
ROD DREHER: "WE'LL USE... RACIST SOCIAL DARWINISM!": THURSDAY IDIOCY 
Yet More Thursday Idiocy: Outsourced to bspencer [at Lawyers, Guns, and Money]: Rod D: 
[Lawyers, Guns, and Money] "I’m not quite sure how to talk about this Rod Dreher post because it’s so bizarre.  
It reads as a whiny appeal for liberals to quit being so mean to creationists and fundies. But if you scratch the surface, you’ll find it’s really a threat. And the threat is basically: “Be careful shoving your beloved SCIENCE down our throats, libs, because SCIENCE also says Black people are stupid.” To make his case, he links approvingly to racist XXXXXXXX Steve Sailer. 
[Rod Dreher] One of the things that keeps drawing me to Steve Sailer’s writing is that his beliefs on human biodiversity sometimes lead him to point out inconvenient truths about ideologies informing our common life.
If I’ve given you the impression that Dreher is bullying, racist sxxxhead, I apologize. He’s not. He’s heavy-hearted about what he’s telling us. He’s SAD that black people are stupid and inferior. But don’t you see that he’s left no choice but to be a racist sxxxbag when we insist on forcing our reality down his throat? 
“Darwin wouldn’t be surprised to learn which race had invented rap music”–Steve Sailer 
I’ve got a few issues.... One... there is no consensus in the scientific community that there are significant differences among the races. 
Two... there’s a long way to go from acknowledging differences to enacting eugenicist-influenced policies in response to said differences. 
Three: People are different, period... living full and happy lives. 
So, yes, I’m going to call it: Rod Dreher’s post is at threat, and a disgusting one at that.

The 250+ comments at the blog approvingly quoted by DeLong are highly indicative of the hate-filled state of mind of the people who are true believers in today's conventional wisdom. You really need to read them to believe them.

As for Rod's point about "the importance of maintaining the concept of forbidden knowledge," allow me to make a self-serving suggestion.

Since a 1996 article I wrote for National Review, "Great Black Hopes," I've been poking fun at the intellectual's panacea for all social problems: "Be like me!" For example, in my review of Steven Pinker's 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature, I wrote:
The subject of violence is so gigantic that even Pinker is eventually reduced to advocating that all-purpose solution of intellectuals: Be Like Me! Fortunately, I’m all in favor of humanity becoming more like Pinker: witty, learned, reasonable, and very, very smart. I’m even half-persuaded by Pinker’s ultimate argument that people are becoming more rational, as demonstrated by the rising raw scores on IQ tests—the celebrated “Flynn Effect.” Thus they are less likely to, say, invade Russia.

Most people aren't intellectuals, of course, so it isn't reasonable to offer policies based on the assumption that All We Have to Do is pester everybody into becoming intellectuals.

So, I've been disinclined to offer Be Like Me advice to anybody.

On the other hand, it is not unreasonable to pester public intellectuals to be better public intellectuals by pointing out the flaws, intellectual and moral in the dominant, and noting the admirable aspects of the demonized.

After all, public intellectuals' views influence policy directly and eventually seep down to the masses. And, they've "entered the arena" so it's not at all unsporting to recommend improvements to make them better public intellectuals.

Hence, here's a bit of egomaniacal advice to public intellectuals: Be Like Me.

Try to be extremely reasonable. Put yourself in other people's shoes so you can understand the incentives they face. Learn a few important subject areas in depth, especially major topics where the quality of thought is typically shallow. Don't assume you are an expert on complicated subjects such as macroeconomics or race if you are not. Check yourself to make sure your theories are level-headed. Read widely and carefully. Rethink your old policy favorites, especially when they've become popular because diminishing returns are probably setting in. Question conventional wisdom. Use wit to deflate the powerful, prestigious, and the smug when they go wrong. Don't pile on the unfashionable. Undermine Malcolm Gladwell when he's riding high in 2005-2012, but ease off in 2013 when everybody else finally gets what you've been pointing out. In summary, be less like Brad DeLong writing about race and more like Steve Sailer.

Obviously, that's extremely bad career advice.

And I'm sure that Rod would argue that, just as I laugh at public intellectuals telling average people to Be Like Me, most public intellectuals just couldn't hack it.

But how will they know unless they are encouraged to try? Who knows, maybe a few will be able to surprise themselves?
   

89 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work, you're a daily inspiration of intellectual honesty and accuracy, not just in the US:)

Noah172 said...

Steve,

For the record, in that long comment thread, a number of your supporters (I proudly among them) defended you, and quite ably, if I do say so myself. We do so often at Dreher's blog (and Rod, for those who don't know, is more in agreement with your thoughts than disagreement).

candid_observer said...

There's so much stupid to be found in DeLong's commentary it's hard to know where to start.

But how can he possibly read Dreher's comments (which admittedly are a little bizarre) as representing a "threat"?

Unless one insists on reading into his comments motives completely antithetical to those he invokes, how does anything resembling a "threat" arise?

Anonymous said...

OT: WWT

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/01/30/transgender-candidate-to-challenge-gay-senator-in-maryland/

NOTA said...

bspencer's post at Lawyers, Guns and Money was truly bizarre. I assume he must have actually read Dreher's post, but you couldn't really prove it by what *he* wrote.

Sometimes, you have this experience where you are having one conversation, and you realize that the person you're talking with is having a completely different one, probably carried over from many previous conversations with other people, real or imagined. Like they're yelling at some other person whom you've reminded them of. I think that's what happened with bspencer--he came at Dreher's post feom a place that led him to read bizarre stuff into what Dreher wrote.

My experience is that this kind of conversation just never progresses from that point. At best, both sides can remain polite, but there's not going to be a lot of communication at this point.

candid_observer said...

OK, so DeLong is just reiterating the conclusion of one Beth Spenser.

Who and what is Beth Spenser?

An Artist, it seems.

Stupid explained.

Anonymous said...

there is no consensus in the scientific community that there are significant differences among the races

Just like Global Warming supporters.

What is so hard to understand about the fact that consensus is not part of the scientific method?

Billy Chav said...

Tried to read the comments on DeLong's post but what's the point? They're saying things like "I’d like to see Dreher sit-down and explain his opinion/theory about this subject with either Neil deGrasse Tyson and/or Richard Sherman." What the hell? How can they get so excited about the fact that a black football player is reasonably intelligent? They're like children.

Anonymous said...

I am happy to learn that Rod Dreher is reading your blog. Years ago, when I was a regular reader of National Review Online, I was often under the impression that Dreher was not seeing the world very clearly; it made it hard for me to read anything he wrote back then. It seems that he is finally beginning to see through the fog.

The reaction to Dreher's intellectual honesty here is disheartening, yet hardly surprising. Brad DeLong's little screed is a perfect example of self-serving nastiness, which I would call sophistry if only it rose to that level. It's a sad thing indeed that our academic institutions play host to the kind of vile, simple-minded posturing that Brad DeLong is so eager to demonstrate.

department 11 said...

"But if you scratch the surface ..."

That's Lefty for, "If we impute, in bad faith, a malicious intent obviously not justified by the writer's actual words ..."

Maguro said...

bspencer has to be a chick, right?

Anonymous said...

A lot of their arguments seem based on an undying conviction that race doesn't exist. I would be willing to go along with that belief if it meant the end of the entire universe of anti-white legislation and cultural practices. Race certainly seems to exist when it comes to affirmative action, contract set-asides, shakedowns, discrimination lawsuits, etc.

Whiskey said...

Bspencer is like 85-95% of SWPL women. You doubt me, but I've lived aming them forever.

Eric Ruttencutter said...

Inside every person of color is a liberal white person fighting to get out .

sunbeam said...

What exactly is a "public intellectual?"

Or an intellectual of any sort honestly? What qualifies you to be one? Is it a test? Having a piece of paper that said you have a degree in this or that?

I don't know if Eric Hoffer was "public," but I think most people would say he was an intellectual.

But when people use that word it seems to me it is used to describe someone who mouths off about everything, and for some reason the media pays attention to him, or he has a successful blog.

I am going to say something that I firmly believe, and am not trying to be bombastic or use hyperbole.

I have heard not one single thing from a talking head on TV, or read in print, or in a blog that sounds any more reasonable than what you can hear sitting on any barstool during happy hour.

The only difference is that the people you see on tv have better grammar and use bigger words. Usually.

Come to think of it, some of our intellectuals are very stupid.

Thomas Friedman writes the stupidest crap I have ever written. And because he has NY Times in his official title, and has a porn star stache he gets massive amounts of attention.

But I honestly can't think of anything he has ever been right about. I dunno though, maybe if you do or believe exactly the opposite of what he says you are guaranteed to do well or know truth.

Plus his prose is awful. Another person who has no business writing is David Brooks. God, I'd shave my dog's butt and make him walk backwards if he somehow typed some of that drivel. Even the wonder of a communicating dog wouldn't excuse that vapid, cliched nonsense.

Glossy said...

"Humanity can't handle the truth of HBD, widespread acknowledgement of HBD would lead to genocide" is a common argument. I'll list some counter-arguments to it.

First, the reality of race was never denied until the 20th century. Until relatively recently everyone assumed that races and ethnicities differed from each other on all important characteristics (intelligence, honesty, bravery, strength, capacity for hard work, etc.) and that these differences were inborn.

Yet the centuries when no one denied these truths weren't as violent, on average, as the 20th century, the one that witnessed history's first attempts to deny them. Remember that original Marxism denied the importance of race as much as modern, cultural Marxism does. It blamed everything on class instead. So a large percentage of the extraordinary death toll of the 20th century was amassed by race-deniers.

And another large percentage was amassed by race-affirmers. But the grand total, and the percentage of the globe's population killed, were larger than during most of the centuries when everyone was a race-affirmer.

Many would blame 20th century's large death toll on technological progress. That blame is not necessarily deserved. The 17th century in Europe was more violent than either the 18th or the 19th, even though fire arms always kept getting more effective. The 13th century was far more violent in most of Eurasia than the ones that immediately followed it. Among hunter gatherers in the Amazon something like a third of all males die violently. The correlation between death tolls and technological progress is not necessarily positive.

The point of all of this is that the historical record tells us that race-denial has failed to decrease the death toll. Humans still hate each other, and mostly for all the old tribal reasons, but we now hide these reasons from ourselves and from others with two new fig leaves (class warfare and democracy) and with one old fig leaf (religion).

It's true that racial and ethnic hatred can lead to lots of violence. Still do. But race denial can lead to something even worse, namely the death of civilization.

The world is experiencing a strong dysgenic trend. All over the world people without high school diplomas (and their foreign equivalents) are outbreeding people with them, who are outbreeding people with college degrees who are outbreeding people with graduate degrees, who are outbreeding people with Ph.Ds, etc.

There are non-violent, non-coercive ways to reverse this dysgenic trend (I'm thinking of monetary incentives), but they won't be tried in the current anti-Darwinian climate.

If the dysgenic trend continues for enough generations, civilization would die. The death of civilization would be worse than orgies of violence because it would include them within itself. It would be orgies of violence plus.

There is no evidence for civilization anywhere in the Universe besides the Earth. The death of civilization here may mean its death everywhere in the Universe. Forever.

How do we know that humanity can handle the truth about race? Because it did for many millenia. We're still here. Can it handle the truth about God though? Perhaps not. Irreligion is correlated with low fertility everywhere. It's one of the biggest drivers of the dysgenic trend.

Perhaps the best strategy for the long-term survival of civilization would be to remove the taboo on race realism and to reinstate the taboo on irreligion. And I'm saying this as an atheist. The fact that this strategy is the mirror image of the PC view just adds to its persuasive power for me.

Tanstaafl said...

Sailer's Law of Journolism: Be Like Me.

John Derbyshire said...

The Derbyshire Quotient on that comment thread (timewise percentage into the thread at which someone cites The Mismeasure of Man as an authority on intelligence testing) is an incredible 2.2; i.e. 48 minutes into a 2,198-minute thread.

David said...

As a rule, the number of abusive curse words in an argument is inversely proportional to its merit.

But it is directly proportional to the speaker's aggressiveness. The strategy seems to be: when you're losing, scream trash talk and maybe you can win somehow!

Neoliberalism is bankrupting the world; no surprise that its modern advocates are intellectually bankrupt.

Here's a good piece by Steve on cursing your way to the top.

http://isteve.blogspot.mx/2014/01/the-best-defense-is-good-offense.html?m=1

My hunch is that DeLong is an adept at such psychopathy.

My name is gumby said...

Though Delong boy is pretty obnoxious, I think there's something to the 'threat' element.

Neocons certainly feel it in their support of 'intelligent design; and other such nonsense. I don't think most neocon Jews are really dumb enough to believe that nonsense--does Ben Stein really into intelligent design?--, but they'd rather have white cons embracing ID or Creationism--based on Bible or some spiritual intuition that says God loves all equally and Jews more equally than others--than Darwinism that will make white folks more race-conscious.

While PC biology says race is a 'social construct', Darwinism says race-ization is the path to species-ization. It is real and racial differences are real.

Anonymous said...

"Unless one insists on reading into his comments motives completely antithetical to those he invokes, how does anything resembling a "threat" arise?"

I think Dreher argument is more of warning than a "threat", but there is something to "threat" element as well. Dreher is telling liberals that the very foundation of their social beliefs is misinformed. Dreher is saying you can't be a nice, decent liberal and a Evolutionist at the same time b/c Evolutionary theory results in some awfully difficult truths about human beings. For Dreher, intellectual honesty would demand that the entire liberal edifice of our 21st century society be dismantled and he just would rather not.

In the end, Dreher is saying, just as Steve noted in 1999, "liberals stop bashing us religious types--we're probably the best friends you morons have."

Madison Rockefeller said...

Wait a minute. Sailer aint no racist. I am the racist here.

DPG said...

Sweet jeebus. Those comments make me want to burn an effigy of Stephen Jay Gould.

Ex Machina said...

I'm always amused how our "moral and intellectual superiors" on the left declare any science they disagree with as "pseudo-science". I suppose that's a the definition of pseudo-science, huh? I.e., any science with which the left disagrees.

Anonymous said...

"I’m even half-persuaded by Pinker’s ultimate argument that people are becoming more rational, as demonstrated by the rising raw scores on IQ tests—the celebrated “Flynn Effect.” Thus they are less likely to, say, invade Russia."

Didn't Georgia invade Russia in 2008?

Anonymous said...

Delong is a 4th generation Harvard alumn, if I'm not mistaken (may be 5).

Anonymous said...

quoting from today's blog by prominent economics professor and former Clinton Administration official Brad DeLong:

Economics IMO has little to do with science. Most of the hypotheses are not testable and empirical results are certainly not repeatable using controlled experimentation. So who cares?

Anonymous said...

As a rule, the number of abusive curse words in an argument is inversely proportional to its merit.

But it is directly proportional to the speaker's aggressiveness. The strategy seems to be: when you're losing, scream trash talk and maybe you can win somehow!


Ever played AAU basketball?

Big Bill said...

Actually DeLong is wonderful for Steve.

Always remember, there ain't no such thing as bad press. DeLong got Steve's name out there, big time. Thanks, Brad!

When people read DeLong they will come to Steve and see how moderate he is. they will wonder why DeLong is so psycho by comparison.

They will start reading Steve furtively at first then more and more, until they finally take the red pill, too.

DeLong may never take the pill, but by performing his flipped out Father Coughlin imitation there are lots of others who will compare and contrast and be glad they found Steve.

Eventually they will start dropping Steve's name in conversation (to select friends and family initially) and the awareness will spread.

And Mrs. Steve will like it because it means more cash coming in the door.

Spencer's friends will pat him on the back, he will do some more moral preening and Steve will get converts.

Again, a hearty thank you to Brad DeLong.

Harry Baldwin said...

I don't think most neocon Jews are really dumb enough to believe that nonsense--does Ben Stein really into intelligent design?

I dunno, Ben Stein professes to believe some pretty dumb stuff. I heard him interviewed recently about America's debt crisis and he blew it off, assuring us that it doesn't matter because we have the biggest army.

I suppose that's a the definition of pseudo-science, huh? I.e., any science with which the left disagrees.

Along those lines, in some of the fevered exposes of the Dark Enlightenment that have appeared lately, I noticed the use of "pseudo-intellectual" to describe the intellectuals associated with that trend. I guess when you're denouncing opponents who are obviously intelligent, calling them "pseudo-intellectual" is your best shot at diminishing them.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I hear someone talk about how Steve espouses "hate", I can't help but laugh. In part because it reminds me about what he said about Projection - if you want to see someone who is the epitome of of rage and hate, just look for a leftist critic of Steve Sailer. But also because Steve himself is about as far as you can get from "hate". I never sense even a hint of anger in his writings - at worst his tone could be described as bewildered amusement at the idiocy of our elites. Others in the blogosphere would be wise to emulate Steve's disarming, laid-back style, because that's what makes him so damn effective.

ferd said...

Dreher:

"Though I’m a theist, and therefore one who believes that all life is ultimately of divine origin, I also believe that evolution is the best available explanation for how life in all its diversity came to be."

The first use of the word "believe" is appropriate, the second is not. Can we please make an honest effort to keep our faith away from our scientific appraisals? The epistemologies are miles apart.

Anonymous said...

It's depressing reading those comments. Guess most of them are sycophant students?

Have you noticed recently that it's become popular for members of the Unthinking to scream that it's whites who have Neanderthal genes while blacks don't (they don't, of course even know to mention Eurasians) as if that's a BAD thing?

Anonymous said...

"DeLong considers himself a free trade neo-liberal."

Free trade neo-liberalism is basically the atheist version of satanism.

Anthony said...

Brad deLong is either really regretting or really enjoying this, depending whether or not he likes deleting comments which show him up. Because he's probably pretty busy tonight deleting facts which disagree with his worldview.

David said...

>Thus they are less likely to, say, invade Russia.<

Hm.

Contra Pinker, every war is advertised as either a quick affair or the end of war on earth. But we've hardly been beset by more wars and rumors of war than during the past century. The body count was fairly high, too.

I can see the US invading Russia. We're hard up for an enemy. I still think the target will be China, but maybe Russia will be a proxy for China like Nagasaki was a proxy for the Soviet Union, or Iraq for Saudi Arabia or Iran.

The granddaddy of 'em all began 100 years ago this year. If I had my way, WW1 would be front and center in the media until December. America's involvement and homefront were as insane as anything in the most recent unpleasantnesses (take your pick). The theme of the retrospectives would be as simple as mud: people never learn.

If another Armageddon occurs soon (this time over the right of men to wear dresses and of women to be prostitutes?), then Pinker will be the next James K. Glassman, although he might spin the outbreak of a new world war as merely an exception to the trend. Of course, everything is an exception when you're wrong.

Pinker is great, but Better Angels feels like happy talk or whistling past the graveyard. It may take no more than a Princip in a miniskirt to induce an apocalypse.

Dave Pinsen said...

This racist exemplifies the risks Mr. Dreher and Ms. Spencer warn us about.

Anonymous said...

"Brad deLong is either really regretting or really enjoying this"

More publicity for Sailer.

ben tillman said...

Given the history of the 20th century, I flat-out don’t trust our species to handle the KNOWLEDGE of human biodiversity without turning it into an ideology of dehumanization, racism, and at worst, genocide.

Twice I've told Dreher that his concern is off by one word:

Given the history of the 20th century, I flat-out don’t trust our species to handle the DENIAL of human biodiversity without turning it into an ideology of dehumanization, racism, and at worst, genocide.

He doesn't get it.

Enrique Cardova said...

From original article:
Why is unfettered Darwinism so subversive of the reigning political pieties?

As pointed out- it isn't, for the Left can use Darwinism to bash conservatives, on religious AND scientific grounds.

Thereafter the prestige of evolutionary biology encouraged egalitarians to discard that corny creed of spiritual equality - and to adopt the shiny new scientific hypotheses that humans are physically and mentally uniform.

^^Only thing is, they don't say humans are physically and mentally uniform. Most card carrying liberals do not go around saying African Dinka- who average around 6' or more in height are the same as short, cold-adapted Eskimos, nor do they deny differences in IQ among populations. As Sowell showed long ago- IQ differences are all over the place- northern Italians post higher scores than southern Italians for example. The debate is not on whether there are differences in posted scores on things called IQ tests. All recognize there are and do not "deny" the data. The debate is the causes of the differences, and the exact strength of things called IQ scores to significant life outcomes as compared to other relevant variables, besides IQ scores.

For Darwinism requires hereditary inequalities.
Few Card carrying liberals deny that there are hereditary inequalities. Of course there are. Tall people on the average will tend to do better on the basketball court than short people. Who is going about "denying" this? But things like income level are subject to a lot more complex factors, weighing in more complex ways than the height example- ranging from geography to union membership, to education and many other variables. Liberals have done a service in debunking simplistic right-wing "IQ IS ALL" claims.

The left fears Darwinian science because its dogma of our factual equality cannot survive the relentlessly accumulating evidence of our genetic variability.
Actually "the Left" are big boosters of the concept of genetic variability. Mainstream scholars (lets assume they are all lefty for the sake of argument) have shown for example that the most diverse people in the world- whether as measured by DNA or phenotypic traits like skin color. Far from rejecting or avoiding Darwinism, such variability is right up Darwin's alley.

Gould is reduced to insisting we chant: "Say it five times before breakfast tomorrow: … Human equality is a contingent fact of history"
And Gould, despite weaknesses on other matters still remains correct on the above. Human equality IS contingent on a whole slew of interrelated variables rather than the simplistic "IQ SCORES" meme of many right wingers as the be all and end all of human existence.

. Darwin's great contribution was the precise engine of evolution: selection.
Actually selection is only ONE force in the engine of evolution. As any college sophomore knows, GENETIC DRIFT can play just as strong a part in evolutionary outcomes as selection.

Enrique Cardova said...

A race is simply an extremely extended family that inbreeds to some degree. In turn, a species is a race that inbreeds virtually exclusively, typically due to reproductive incompatibilities with outsiders.
^^If so, then this is what many "liberals" have said for decades. Humanity has interbred extensively causing a very small proportion of human diversity to be credibly assigned to "race." Many right wingers actually view "race" as almost exclusively interbreeding units with only minor overlap. But this is not how Darwinian evolution has worked. Europeans and Asians are subsets of African diversity and as Cavalli-Sforza showed, Europeans may not be a primary "Race" at all, but a mixed breed, one third African, and two-thirds Asian. (Cavalli-Sforza 2001, Genes, Peoples, and languages)
http://egyptsearchreloaded.proboards.com/thread/870

Yet, we are also almost endlessly subdividable into partially inbred races, each with recognizable genetic tendencies.
Actually what you say here does not show or define biological "race" at all as in many other mammalian species, but simply a range of human variability. If races as you say are "inbred to some degrees" then Cavalli-Sforza is right- Europeans are a mixed breed- one third African, two-thirds Asian and NOT a primary "race" at all.

To stay one species, we have to be many races.
Not quite actually. To stay one species, we have a range of adaptation over different locales and climes. That doesn’t mean that the species is divided into biological "races" at all.

The more environments we have been selected to adapt to, the more trade-offs selection has had to make. Thus, the more diversity, the more meaningless it is to boast that your group is supreme overall. But the more implausible it also is to expect all groups to be identically favoured in each particular setting or skill -- whether it is engineering, charisma, running the 100 metres, or stand-up comedy.
Fair enough, but very few people are running around saying there are just as many 100 meter sprinters of African descent as white 100 meter sprinters. And engineering or sprinting have changed hands over human history. Ancient Egyptians, a tropical African population as credible scholars show, have done pretty well with engineering, an ancient Greeks, a cold-adapted European population did well with Olympic type sprints, marathons and such in antiquity long before any African runners showed up on the European culture area radar.


For example, over the 6,000 or so years that New World Indians have lived 12,000 feet up in the Andes, individuals with genetic variations useful in that harsh environment -- e.g., larger lungs -- have left more descendents than their less gifted neighbors.

True, but keep in mind that in the birthplace of anatomically modern humanity, Africa, the built in diversity of its peoples, along with its numerous micro-climates means virtually all bases of variability can be covered. Light-skinned, narrow nosed people can be found in sweltering West African savannah, and broad nosed, dark skinned types can be found on high altitude East African mountains. High altitude locales, BUT ALSO deserts themselves can favor peoples with narrower noses, without needing any "race mix" from elsewhere to explain why.

Everyone who has had the opportunity of comparison must have been struck by the contrast between the taciturn, even morose aborigines of South America and the light-hearted, talkative negroes."
And here Darwin got it wrong, confusing numerous cultural filters with fixed "racial" characteristics.

Enrique Cardova said...

Darwin wouldn't be surprised to learn which race had invented rap music.
But Darwin still got it wrong. Rap is a very specialized 20th century form, but the white Irish had something equivalent long before black "gangsta" rappers showed up, with a bawdy, rhyming style filled with profanity. See histories of the white Irish and their use of "flash talk."

Here again, cultural filters are confused with embedded, fixed "racial" characteristics. Documentation on the taciturn Zulu regiments under Chaka does not show any special penchant for merriment or "trash talk" - quite the contrary. Likewise the hard-nosed bowmen of Nubia that barred Islamic expansion in Northeast Africa for centuries show no such "black comedy" leanings. To the contrary their opponents noted their dour demeanour as they took care of business.

ben tillman said...

The 250+ comments at the blog approvingly quoted by DeLong are highly indicative of the hate-filled state of mind of the people who are true believers in today's conventional wisdom. You really need to read them to believe them.

No kidding. The very first comment says that cornerback Sherman is a violent criminal thug, which is much more "racist" than any comment that appeared on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I've been pitching in on that thread. As 'Lurker'. Come on, we can take these guys!

Anonymous said...

No kidding. The very first comment says that cornerback Sherman is a violent criminal thug, which is much more "racist" than any comment that appeared on this blog.

Yes, I noticed that and the two following. Implying *nudge* *nudge* that three black intellectuals would soon silence Mr Waycist.

Anonymous said...

"Darwin wouldn't be surprised to learn which race had invented rap music."

"But Darwin still got it wrong."

Well Darwin didn't actually say it but if he had he would have got the right race - just not the relevant portion of it i.e. West Africa, as being "flash" is a trait you'd expect to find in high frequencies in a population where women do all the work.

.

"Africa, the built in diversity of its peoples, along with its numerous micro-climates means virtually all bases of variability can be covered"

Not remotely true.

.

"Europeans and Asians are subsets of African diversity"

Not remotely true.

Bert said...

Those comments are pretty funny. It's revealing that all those guys are old white liberals. Just a bunch of aging baby boomers clinging to their fading relevance. How anyone could have such bile for Rod Dreher of all people shows that they don't know anything about him.

They also seem to have a big problem with Steve not liking rap.

Jane Dough, PostPartisan, Swampland said...

Would just like to point out here that "Lawyers Guns & Money" is an extremely dorky SWPLish & self-congratulatory choice as a title for a blog; I guess "Politically Incorrect Fact-Check" and "Samuel Dyspepys" were already taken...

Maxwell Power said...

LawyersBrainsAndMoney was also unavailable at Godaddy

Cail Corishev said...

Whenever I hear someone talk about how Steve espouses "hate", I can't help but laugh.

No kidding. Anyone who spends a couple hours reading Steve should be able to tell he's a genuinely nice guy who doesn't have an evil wish for anyone -- not even for the people who try to destroy him with the worst accusations they can think of. Anyone who accuses him of "hate" is being outright dishonest or simply isn't paying attention and didn't get past, "He's talking about race; get him!"

Rod Dreher is similar. I very much enjoyed Crunchy Cons, but stopped reading him not much long after that because he was too nice. Steve's niceness doesn't override his interest in the truth, but Rod is such a Nice Guy that it makes him naive -- he's so far from hating anyone that he's willing to train himself to avoid certain truths on the off chance that he might accidentally seem to hate someone.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

It's depressing reading those comments. Guess most of them are sycophant students?

My theory is they are Mother Jones readers who now have grandkids.

Anonymous said...

Enrique Cordova obviously hasn't actually read Cavalli-Sforza. Or, I should I say, he obviously just read introductions and conclusions and ignored everything else.

Anonymous said...

Europeans and Asians are subsets of African diversity and as Cavalli-Sforza showed

Oh boy, the ignorance, it burns.

See, that is the funny thing about Science. It keeps looking for answers.

Ever looked a any PCA charts for the genetics of human groups based?

Anonymous said...

It pains me to see someone whose writing and thinking have provided me with such enlightenment vilified with the "r" word. I guess you're use to it by now, but it would demoralize me. Notwithstanding, I'll continue to read and learn form you.

Anonymous said...

Glossy said: First, the reality of race was never denied until the 20th century. Until relatively recently everyone assumed that races and ethnicities differed from each other on all important characteristics (intelligence, honesty, bravery, strength, capacity for hard work, etc.) and that these differences were inborn.

Yet the centuries when no one denied these truths weren't as violent, on average, as the 20th century, the one that witnessed history's first attempts to deny them.


I'm on Steve's side against Dreher here, but this is a poor argument. Political correctness took off after the 50s, but the second half of the 20th century was likely the most peaceful in history. The spread of democracy and economic interconnectedness are the most plausible explanations of the (truly remarkable, really) decrease in war in the past 70 years.

Saying that continued acceptance of PC will lead to genocide is implausible, and makes you sound paranoid to those on the left. There are much better arguments for accepting the reality of HBD -- for example, it would improve our education system by allowing our teachers to properly discipline and educate black Americans without getting slapped with disparate impact lawsuits.

Enrique said: Only thing is, they don't say humans are physically and mentally uniform. Most card carrying liberals do not go around saying African Dinka- who average around 6' or more in height are the same as short, cold-adapted Eskimos, nor do they deny differences in IQ among populations.

I hear this from liberals (and others) on blogs like Dreher's frequently, but it doesn't match my experience on the ground (as an academic constantly surrounded by progressives). I think that many will, if you push them privately, admit to what you've just said, but some won't, and most would never say what you've just said publicly. More significantly, many common progressive arguments presuppose (without explicitly stating) that there are not (even environmental) IQ differences between groups. For example, in my experience arguments that underrepresentation of group X in field Y prove discrimination rarely consider the possibility that members of group X are on average less intelligent (or even just worse at the particular field) -- even if that's purely a result of environmental factors. For example, the underrepresentation of women in my field is a big concern right now. If I said publicly, "I think there are fewer women in our field because -- as a matter of contingent environmental fact -- they are not as skilled at our field," I would make a lot of enemies. I'm confident that I'd be even worse off saying the same thing about black people.

I think it's easy, when you've steeped yourself in this discussion for long enough, to forget what people who haven't really thought about this stuff are capable of believing, at least consciously.

Anonymous said...

What a pathetic thought-free rant by DeLong. I have to say, economics professors seem to be as worthless a group as 'Womens Studies' or 'Afro -Studies' professors.

BurplesonAFB said...

>But things like income level are subject to a lot more complex factors

If that's the case, why does the black/white income gap disappear when you control for IQ?

Anonymous said...

If that's the case, why does the black/white income gap disappear when you control for IQ?

Could you link to papers showing that?

pat said...

I'd like to make a case for genocide. In this case Hypomesus transpacificus the Delta Smelt.

I notice that your acceptance for biological diversity dating back decades now, always excludes genocide. I'm a little more open minded.

In the great film 'Chinatown' Jake Gittes first knows that evil is afoot because someone is dumping perfectly good water into the ocean during a drought. The same thing is happening right now except it isn't a mystery. A federal judge has declared that we can't pump water to the parched fields because the pumps may kill this tiny smelt.

In fact we stopped pumping a couple years ago and the smelt population continues to decline. It might be something else. We have stocked the delta with Striped Bass from Virginia which probably prey on the native smelt. In fact we have declared this non-native game fish 'endangered'. We seem to have 'dueling' endangered fish.

But my suggestion is simpler. Just allow the smelt to die out. Let's have a smelt genocide. What's the harm?

There are five species or sub-species of this kind of smelt. The one all the fuss is about is the transpacific variety. The name derives from the fact that this little fish is found on both sides of the Pacific. That means even if we wiped out every one of them in California, there would still be plenty in Japan should we want them back.

But why would we bother. We have these little pointless fish in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. Wipe them all out and we could just re-introduce another similar species - who would notice? If anyone did notice we could breed a domesticated variety that looked the same.

The environmentalists like to chant "Extinction is forever". But that slogan is obsolete - at least for pointless little fish. We can't make a Bengal Tiger from scratch but we can make substitute smelt from some other smelt.

Nor does letting this tiny fish fade away reduce genetic diversity. Mankind has introduced hundreds of new species into California with few bad consequences. If for some reason we find we need a little fish in our waterways it is trivial to find one. Perhaps we can find one that is pre-adapted for infrastructure of the Peripheral Canal.

For those readers from out of state - this is a multibillion dollar issue here. Steve and I may have to move eastward if this problem isn't resolved. The current California drought you hear about on cable news is largely man made. We planned and built for periodic natural drought decades ago but those plans have been subverted by the faulty thinking of environmentalists.

Genocide now!

Albertosaurus

Oswald Spengler said...

Hardcore leftists shout "race doesn't exist" like a mantra to ward off demons.

"The power of Franz Boas compels you!"

Sid said...

I don't agree with the liberals who admit that HBD is true, but that we should pretend it isn't. Even so, I can understand their argument when it comes to blacks. They seem to say: "Look, they're not going away, not without mass deportation or genocide. Even though we can tacitly agree that the welfare state won't make them smarter, it's still better to believe that it will work than that it won't, because the alternatives are worse."

What I don't respect, much less understand, about these liberals, however, is that they can concede that HBD is true in one article, but that it should not be believed in for the sake of blacks, but then insist in the next article they write that we need to open our borders up and let in as many Guatemalans, Somalis and Chechens as we can.

Look, how about we be reasonable and compromise? Blacks get affirmative action, welfare, the right to air grievances, with the understanding that we shouldn't add in more ethnic groups with similar rights. I'd be more than happy to give blacks all sorts of goodies, if it meant that America would be a white-majority nation for the next two hundred years.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone who spends a couple hours reading Steve should be able to tell he's a genuinely nice guy who doesn't have an evil wish for anyone -- not even for the people who try to destroy him with the worst accusations they can think of."

I'm not saying Sailer is a 'hater', but nice guys can hate too.

There were plenty of commies, Nazis, Zionists, Muslim radicals, black nationalists, and etc. who were nice guys or could be nice guys. But they all hate their hatreds.

Everyone has things he or she hates. Some show their hatred more aggressively, but others hide it better. Some maintain gentle composure while emitting hints and signals of how they really feel.

Albert Speer and Zhou En-lai were not ranters or demagogues like Hitler or Mao but rather genteel types, but they were committed to serving tyrannical regimes.

Some might even say niceness is a kind of privileged indifference and aloofness, a genteel sort of 'hate' in and of itself.
For strong defenders of 12 Yrs a Shave, to be truly human means to be shocked and horrified by the film. Sailer's cool-headed review might be seen as uncaring and indifferent to the plight of blacks. Even if it's not aggressive hatred, its an indifference toward the suffering of blacks that some might see as a kind of hatred.

The way I see it, everyone is like this to some degree. All those who bleat about 12 Yrs a Slave probably feel indifferent about the plight of Palestinians or Ukrainians under communism.

Everyone has biases when it comes to sympathy, and the 'left' is no different from the 'right' in this.

While I sympathize with suffering folks all over the world, I care a lot more for some than for others. It is only natural, and I know Jews, Negroes, homos, and etc all feel the same way, so they should shut the F up. I mean how many Jews were willing to send their kids to Rwanda to end the holocaust there via US military intervention? How many Jews were willing to sacrifice their own kids to save Hutu kids?

Sympathies are always ideologically or tribally biased.
Libs seem to think they are sooooo good cuz they care for Negroes and Jews, but in fact, there are lots of people they don't care about at all.

According to Libs, 'hate' is not a universal but an ideological thing. So, if Jews and homos hate the Catholic Church, that is not hate. But if Russian conservatives hate homo propaganda, that is hate. If Jews hate wasps, that is not hate, but if whites hate Jews, it's hate.

I hate Lib Jews and make no bones about it.

Anonymous said...

Dreher is a fool.

If he has such low faith in humans to deal with the fact of racial differences, then the logical conclusion is that diversity is bad because people have no choice but to notice differences, and that might lead to trouble.

So, how about limiting diversity all over the world?
If homogeneity prevails all over the world, there won't be any problem with 'racism' since most nations will be made up of their own people.
But if you increase diversity, people will begin to notice differences.

The Lib way is to push policies that make people notice differences via greater diversity and then to bully people into not noticing.

I mean really. If Dreher has no faith in humanity's ability to deal with differences, then how about creating communities that are more homogeneous?

Anonymous said...

What Nazism did was discredit radical racism,
not rational race-ism.

But Lib logic goes... since the most radical version of an ideas was discredited, the ENTIRE idea was discredited. It's discrediting by association.
It's like saying that even the sanest and most moderate social-democratic policies have been discredited by Stalinism or Pol-Pot-ism.

Race and class are both natural though conceptually in social terms.

There are natural differences among lifeforms by either species or race.

There are natural hierarchies within every species, race, and pack. Just look at bees. There are drone bees, fighter bees, nursery bees, etc. It's like there are ranks in the military. Even among primitive folks, there are chieftains among the warriors.

Rifleman said...

Bradford J. DeLong - To make his case, he links approvingly to racist XXXXXXXX Steve Sailer ... If I’ve given you the impression that Dreher is bullying, racist sxxxhead, I apologize.

Rod Dreher’s post is at threat, and a disgusting one at that.


So Bradford flings verbal excrement at his opponent and then speaks of other people being "disgusting".

He could have calmly countered the arguments with facts and reason. Or maybe he couldn't, hence his emotional overreaction.

I’ve got a few issues...

We agree!

Apparently, someone mentioned a White woman and Whiskey was "triggered".

Whiskey said...

Bspencer is like 85-95% of SWPL women. You doubt me, but I've lived among them forever.


Lived among? Maybe. Kissed? Had sex with? Never. And you never will which explains EVERY post you've ever made online.

But also because Steve himself is about as far as you can get from "hate". I never sense even a hint of anger in his writings...

True. Steve is a well meaning, non emotional nerd. How hateful can a guy be whose biggest thrill in life is looking at photos of golf courses and distribution graphs.

Closest think I've noticed to Steve getting his dander up at all was his recent response to writers at Edge challenging his eternal love for Okham's Razor and Regression Toward The Mean.

I suspect he referred to them under his breath as nincompoops.

And then felt bad about it.

Mr. Anon said...

Scientists and their professional organizations make a show of despising creationism and intelligent design because they claim it will undermine science. This is self-evident nonsense. Why should the American Physical Society care that a third or a half of all Americans don't believe in evolution? As a practical matter it has no impact on the physical sciences at all. Whether you believe that man evolved from lemur-like rodents or was created fully formed from God's handful of clay probably has no effect at all on your beliefs concerning how much money should be spent building the next particle accelerator. I think the real reason that scientists despise creationism and intelligent design is not becaue it undermines the authority of science, but that it undermines the authority of scientists.

Rifleman said...

OK, I misread that post in part. It was NOT written by Brad DeLong but by this artist author, Beth Spencer

So why did Brad outsource his Steve-hate?

Svigor said...

Given the history of the 20th century, I flat-out don’t trust our species to handle the DENIAL of human biodiversity without turning it into an ideology of dehumanization, racism, and at worst, genocide.

Well said.

Anonymous said...

better hate than surrender

Oswald Spengler said...

"What I don't respect, much less understand, about these liberals, however, is that they can concede that HBD is true in one article, but that it should not be believed in for the sake of blacks, but then insist in the next article they write that we need to open our borders up and let in as many Guatemalans, Somalis and Chechens as we can."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Advocating for open borders is all about cementing leftist power, pure and simple. Unlimited immigration from the Third World will insure that the United States becomes a one-party leftist state for the foreseeable future.

Also, pushing for open borders gives SWPL leftists the opportunity to stick it to the "wrong" kind of white people. That the world they are building won't be that pleasant a place for whites in general isn't of much importance to SWPLs. By the time whites in America become a demographic minority, the SWPL left elite will either be at death's door or in their graves.

As for their children, the SWPL overclass doesn't have that many kids on average to worry about, Of those that are reproducing, the elite are gambling that their progeny will still somehow manage to stay on top, a la Brazil rather than Zimbabwe.

The SWPL elite's philosophy in nutshell: "It is better to rule in a multicultural hell than serve in monocultural heaven."

Anonymous said...

Regression to meanness.

Svigor said...

The SWPL elite's philosophy in nutshell: "It is better to rule in a multicultural hell than serve in monocultural heaven."

Hey, that's not bad.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

In "discussion" with DeLong, please be alert that he does not engage or answer objections, he merely sneers and reasserts his original premise. If you are polite with him, he treats it as weakness.

I'm not saying you should be rude or try to be more forceful or snarkier. I'm saying don't bother. He has no interest in anyone who disagrees with him.

Anonymous said...

If that's the case, why does the black/white income gap disappear when you control for IQ?

I'd think that gap reverses, given the reality of racial quotas.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is the connection between DeLong and the shrill mommy blogger "artist" who wrote this lovely little piece?

james wilson said...

How poorly people may handle The Truth is open to debate since they don't get much practice at it, but The False has an unblemished record of failure.

Udolpho.com said...

Brad DeLong seems to have pretty severe emotional problems. His comments area is a riot though--people still pimping Gould and Lewontin's fallacy. Dunning-Kruger in full effect there.

kfg said...

“Darwin wouldn’t be surprised to learn which race had invented rap music”

Well, actually, so far as I can tell, rap music was invented by a white, Oklahoma Jesus freak in the 1930s by extending square dance calling into song form.

He called it "Talking Blues." His street name was "Woody."

It was introduced to the "urban youth" in NYC, circa 1963, by a white, teenage kid from Minnesota who was developing the talking blues into a more advanced poetic form.

His street name was "Little Bobby Zimmerman."

So no, they didn't even invent rap, just adopted it and reformed it all stupid like.

Jonathan Silber said...

People are different, period... living full and happy lives.

Right, period; and a disproportionate number of blacks pass their full and happy lives in prison, having snuffed out the full and happy lives of others.

Jonathan Silber said...

Given the history of the 20th century, I flat-out don’t trust our species to handle the knowledge of human biodiversity without turning it into an ideology of dehumanization, racism, and at worst, genocide.

The great mass murders of the twentieth century were perpetrated not by racists, but by leftists.

Jonathan Silber said...

All that fancy education the so-called elites pride themselves on having, and yet they believe--fanatically--in things that the dullest of ignorant, unlettered peasants would laugh off as the nonsense that it is.

Our elites are world-class crackpots, without equal in all of history.

Your run-of-the-mill patient of an insane asylum has a better grip on reality.

Reg C├Žsar said...

His street name was "Woody." --KFG

But KFG, what was his KGB name? (Or NKVD name, to be chronistic.)

And I think you're confusing "Jesus freak" with "Josef freak".

About the best thing I can say about "the Hibbing minstrel" is that he was well to the right of, and less political than, the goyish Woody and Pete. But that's damning with faint praise! (It also makes him a neocon by folkie standards.!)

Woody's son Arlo likes Ron Paul. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

The great mass murders of the twentieth century were perpetrated not by racists, but by leftists.

Many of these leftists were also racists who persecuted certain races for being insufficiently leftist.

Anonymous said...

Steve, what human beings cannot be trusted with are low levels of empathy and ignorance. So keep posting, but do it gently.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2/1/14, 10:11 AM asked for a source for the claim that the black/white wage gap goes away after controlling for IQ. This issue is discussed on pages 322-326 of The Bell Curve, where the authors say, "After controlling for IQ, the average black made 98 percent of the white wage" (323). As far as I know this claim was not challenged by the many critics of the book.

NOTA said...

Dreher's argument about how humans can't handle the truth about hbd and thus we must keep silencing it runs into a fundamental problem. There is no inner circle of people who have good information and make good decisions. Even very smart, capable people are frequently fools when they get far outside their expertise.

So when we let the Goulds of the world define what will be the received wisdom on race and IQ, or biological bases of racial categories, or whatever, we're not just keeping the uninformed voters from having a good picture of reality, we're keeping our decisionmakers from it, too. No doubt Obama and Holder and Bloomberg and Gates know a lot of the PC creed about race is nonsense, but there is no reason to think they have coherent, well-thought-out understandings of (say) results from IQ testing and personality testing and genetics and anthropology and however many other fields would contribute to a coherent worldview about this stuff. Probably, like most people, they mostly absorb their tribe's and culture's propaganda everywhere except in specific places where they have some special reason to question it or to know better.

Nobody is smart enough to know all the implications of propagating bullshit through the beliefs of millions of people like this. You can kind of guess some (NCLB, pressure on schools to adopt different behavior standards for black and white students), but nobody can know all the places where decisionmakers are taking this bullshit picture of the world and making bad decisions of their own on its basis.

kfg said...

Reg; about the time Woody was inventing the Talking Blues he also wrote The Ballad of Jesus Christ, sung to the tune of The Ballad of Jesse James.

However uncomfortable the idea might be, Woody's introduction to socialist ideas really was through being a Jesus freak.

Even today there isn't a lot of free market capitalism going on in the average monastary.

Oswald Spengler said...

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2014/01/rod-d

There were 800-plus comments at last count on the Rod Dreher - Evolution and the Culture Wars blog post by bspencer at Lawyers, Guns & Money. I wonder if the post comment count will eventually break the 1,000 mark.

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