January 10, 2006

It's me and Chas's fault!

Kevin Drum, the popular Washington Monthly bl*gger, writes:

COGNITIVE ABILITIES....Fred Kaplan writes in Slate that the Army has responded to its recruiting woes by dramatically lowering its standards:

The bad news is twofold. First, the number of Category IV recruits is starting to skyrocket. Second, a new study compellingly demonstrates that, in all realms of military activity, intelligence does matter. Smarter soldiers and units perform their tasks better; dumber ones do theirs worse.

"Category IV" is the Army's term for recruits who score in the bottom third of the Armed Forces Qualifying Test. Matt Yglesias comments:

I tend to doubt, however, that this line of criticism will gain any traction, since making the argument requires you to say that IQ tests (which is all the AFQT really is) are an important measurement and most liberals prefer to shy away from the topic.

If that's true, it's too bad for a community that likes to think of itself as reality based. Like it or not, all the PC handwaving in the world won't change the fact that (a) IQ tests are a pretty good measure of the cognitive ability normally referred to as "intelligence" and (b) intelligence is an important trait for a wide variety of modern day tasks. Kaplan reviews the evidence that intelligence matters for military tasks in his Slate piece.

Of course, we all know what the real problem is here: in contemporary discourse intelligence is inextricably bound up with race, which is why it's almost impossible to talk honestly about it. For that we mainly have conservative race demagogues like Charles Murray and Steve Sailer to blame — even though liberals themselves haven't been entirely blameless either when it comes to demagoging IQ.


[Comment Here]

Actually, it's quite easy to talk honestly about IQ. Charles Murray and I do it every time we write about IQ. All that it takes to be honest about IQ is to be willing to put up with demagogic smears from the likes of Kevin Drum.

The way to talk honestly about IQ is to resolve to talk honestly everything, because all truths are interconnected.

A reader sends me $100 and responds that I should thank Kevin Drum:

I'd been meaning to PayPal you some funds for your day-in, day-out kickass blogging but hadn't gotten around to doing it. Then I read where Kevin Drum, WHO OBVIOUSLY HAS EXACTLY THE SAME VIEWS ON RACE AND INTELLIGENCE AS YOU DO, called you a "race demagogue" on his site, and I thought, "OK, that's it, I'm sending Sailer $100". So please take your wife out to dinner with it, and drink a toast to Kevin Drum!

Working in the media as I do, I can't say what you say, even though I believe it. But I can send you money, which feels almost as good! Keep up the good, *important* work.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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