The Dual Legacy of the Declaration of Independence

[cross-posted at C4SS, BHL, and POT]

No one should raise the stars and stripes on the 4th. The proper flag to raise on the 4th of July is the black flag of anarchy.

The Fourth of July commemorates the anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence, a document which the anarchist must view with mixed emotions.

The document’s stirring proclamation that “all men are created equal,” with inalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that no government is entitled to infringe; its further insistence that all authority must depend on the “consent of the governed,” and that when such authority becomes abusive it is the “right of the people to alter or to abolish it” – all of these are welcome statements of a philosophical outlook which, if logically pursued, leads inexorably to a much wider liberation (an implication clearly grasped at the time by many of the Revolution’s critics).

In Charles Johnson’s words, the Declaration enunciates

the revolutionary doctrine that we all, each of us, are the equal of every puffed-up prince and President – that as such you, personally, have every right to refuse the arbitrary orders of tyrants – to ignore their sanctimonious claims of sovereignty – to sever all political connections if you want – and to defend yourself from any usurper who would try to rule you without your consent. There is no man or woman on this earth who has the natural right to rule over you, and you have every right, whenever and wherever you will to do so, to oppose, withdraw, resist, and thus stand aright as a free and sovereign human being.

The logical conclusion of the radical equality proclaimed by the Declaration is not, however, what Jefferson or any of the other quasi-revolutionists thought it was. It is not home rule, and it is not republican government. It is not majoritarian democracy or the elective kingship that passes for the Presidency today. It is not democratic government or limited government; it is not any kind of government at all. If you, personally, are equal in rightful authority to your would-be rulers, and so have every right to tell them where they can go promulgate their law; if you, personally, have every right to refuse their demands and nullify their authority over you, at your discretion; if you have every right to withdraw your allegiance, and every right to defend yourself if they should come after you; then the logical conclusion is not popular sovereignty, but individual sovereignty, for each of us, which is to say, anarchy.

But the reality underlying the Declaration must give the anarchist pause. At the time that the political leaders of the rebellious colonies were boldly declaring all men equal and trumpeting the inalienable right to liberty, the institution of slavery existed throughout those colonies; indeed one of the charges the declaration brings against the British monarch is that he has “excited domestic insurrections” (i.e., slave rebellions) in America – as though such insurrections were not a clear case of people acting “to alter or to abolish” the regime whose “long train of abuses and usurpations” had kept Americans of African descent from exercising their rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the words of abolitionist Thomas Day, “If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.” (Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration did contain a passage condemning the institution of slavery – though rather hypocritically characterizing it as something foisted on reluctant American colonists by the British government, a claim belied by the history of American slavery subsequent to separation from Britain – but that section was excised by the Continental Congress.)

Likewise, when John Adams wrote that the anniversary of declaring independence ought henceforth to be celebrated “with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more” – evidently endorsing the idea that the American Republic’s territory should expand indefinitely westward – he seems to have entertained no prospect of the continent’s existing inhabitants (identified by the Declaration as “merciless Indian savages”) being asked for their consent to this rising regime that was about to roll over them in its westbound juggernaut course.

And of course the slippery ambiguity of the generic “men” leaves the status of women among those supposedly “created equal” conveniently invisible.

When escaped slave Frederick Douglass gave his Independence Day oration in 1852, he asked “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?, and answered his own question thus:

[Y]our celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery ….

(Douglass lived to see the end of literal chattel slavery, but the relegation of slaves’ descendants to second-class status would last far longer, and in many ways of course still persists today.)

The hypocrisy of the Declaration with regard to women and nonwhites is an issue that has finally percolated its way into mainstream public consciousness. But there is a further problem with the Declaration that has not yet done likewise, a problem visible to anarchists alone.

The aim of the Declaration of Independence is not to overthrow government as such, but rather to overthrow one government and replace it with another: “it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish [their government], and to institute new government.” The American colonies are to become “free and independent states,” laying claim to a “separate and equal station …. among the powers of the earth,” including “full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.”

It’s difficult not to hear in those lines the echo of the elders’ pleas to Samuel in the Bible, “that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”

Charles Johnson says that “What was proclaimed on July 4th was not the establishment of a new government, but the dissolution of all political allegiance to the old one.” But it seems to me that it was both.

Here, in the Declaration of Independence, we see the foundation of the toxic American state, exercising its military imperial might, shaping commercial exchange to its requirements, eagerly joining the “powers of the earth” as one – and today the mightiest one – of that flock of predatory raptors.

Moreover, while insisting that governmental legitimacy rests on the “consent of the governed,” the Declaration offers no solution to the problem of what counts as consent, or what is to be done about those who do not consent. Is consent to be by majority vote? If so, how can this bind the minority? And how far can any consent to state authority be binding, if the right to liberty is truly “inalienable”? (To say nothing of the fact that voting rights were restricted to a minority in the early republic anyway – or that the claim of the signers of the Declaration to be expressing the will of the populations they “represented” was dubious by even the most generous standard.)

ifulove-blogpic

But the American state, it may be objected, has provided its citizens with at least a wide range of rights and liberties. Has it, though? Certainly American citizens on average enjoy a level of freedom greater than that of people in many other countries. But in Kevin Carson’s words:

Who has given us our rights? Nobody. We have taken them. Every right we have, we have because we fought for it from below. We have these rights because we resisted violations of them, because we fought those who violated them … and compelled the state to recognize them. …

Rights have never been granted by authority. They have always been asserted against authority, and won from it. We don’t have our rights because the government and its soldiers are nice – but because we’re not. It’s… the dissidents, the hell-raisers, the dirty flag-burning hippies, the folks with bad attitudes towards authority in general, who have given us our rights throughout history, by fighting for them.

It’s easy to see, then, how the legacy of the Declaration of Independence might be viewed as purely negative – a veil of libertarian rhetoric cloaking and legitimizing a massive engine of aggression, oppression, and exploitation – and its annual commemoration a mere occasion for fatuous self-congratulation on the part of the ruling elite, their shills, and their dupes.

But if that’s a legacy of the Declaration that flows through the governmental institutions that have taken its words as their legitimation, the Declaration also has a second, distinct legacy that flows outside and against government, through the traditions of “dissidents” and “hell-raisers” invoked by Carson.

As I’ve written elsewhere,

any given theory is more than just a collection of its author’s opinions; it’s a structure in the space of reasons, with its own internal dynamic, its natural tendencies of development, its stresses and strains, its “objective tendency of the problematic.”

Thus the ideals that the Declaration has helped to establish in the deep layers of the American consciousness (and indeed more widely) – such ideals as liberty, equality, inalienable rights, the pursuit of happiness, justified revolution, and the illegitimacy of nonconsensual authority – have a momentum of their own that leads them to overspill the narrow confines of the document’s original purposes. That’s why it’s no coincidence that those outside the American state, struggling against that state, or against systems of oppression in which that state played a central role – abolitionists, feminists, labour activists, anti-imperialists, civil rights activists, LGBT liberationists, free-market anarchists, communist anarchists, and others – have so often turned to the language of the Declaration of Independence to express their aspirations.

The Declaration of Sentiments issuing from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention for Women’s Rights was closely modeled on the Declaration of Independence; so was Emma Goldman’s anarchist manifesto of 1909, while the Black Panther Party’s 10-point platform of 1966 simply reproduces the Declaration’s preamble verbatim.

Frederick Douglass, in his aforementioned Independence Day oration, referenced the Declaration in saying: “Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it.” An earlier black abolitionist, David Walker, wrote in 1829: “See your Declaration Americans!!! Do you understand your own language?”

Pre-Stonewall gay-rights activism often took the form of Independence Day marches in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed; these events were called “Annual Reminders,” meaning specifically and explicitly reminders of the applicability of the Declaration’s language to the rights of gays.

In 1965, in the midst of the struggle against white supremacy, Martin Luther King Jr. gave an Independence Day oration of his own, in which he praised the Declaration – “Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality” – while at the same time noting that America has had a “schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against herself” in the disconnect between the principles it has “proudly professed” and those it has “sadly practiced.” In similar vein, the 1962 New Left Port Huron Statement cited the contradiction between the Declaration’s language and the ongoing reality of segregation as a “disturbing paradox.”

The language of the Declaration may serve as mere window-dressing for the American state, but it has been much more than that for those struggling against it.

What, then, to the anarchist, is the Fourth of July? If the Declaration’s legacy has two strands – one running through the state it served to establish, and serving to legitimate that state; and the other running outside that state and serving as a resource for resistance to the state – then while anarchists must condemn the first strand, they can celebrate the second.

Thus, for Charles Johnson, the Fourth of July can be a legitimate anarchist holiday:

Today is not a day for nationalist bromides; least of all is it a day for government or its laws or its foot-soldiers. It’s a day for radicals and revolutionaries. A day to proclaim independence, and a day to remember that the American Revolution, if it was worth anything, is far from over.

Other anarchists, like PunkJohnnyCash, have offered a different suggestion:

Your flag represents the largest criminal syndicate in the history of mankind. Your “Independence day” is a lie, there is no independence within a state. You will be extolling the virtue of mass murderers. …

The statist can celebrate the union of their states. I will celebrate after the state’s rule. I will celebrate after the state when we will abolish the state. They will celebrate the birth of the unholy union of their states on the 4th of july. I will take the 5th of july to celebrate anarchy.

Join me on the 5th in your own celebration. Celebrate the 5th of July … this will be the true “independence day”.

I think anarchists can reasonably disagree as to which strand of the Declaration’s legacy to treat as more salient, and thus in the same way as to whether to regard the Fourth of July as something that can be usefully redeemed and appropriated in the service of anarchism, or else as an unsalvageable chauvinistic ritual to be shunned as an “unclean thing.” (I’ll note in passing that one purely pragmatic reason to favor celebrating anarchist revolution on the fourth rather than, e.g., the fifth is that people are more likely to get off from work on that day – and if you like big fireworks shows, that’s also when they hold ’em.)

But those anarchists inclined toward a celebration of the more libertarian strand in the Declaration’s legacy must beware of its pitfalls. For Declaration-based resistance to the American state can all too easily turn into a plea for mere inclusion in the establishment power structure: “See, we speak the language of your sacred texts too! Let us in, so that we too may participate in being one of the ‘powers of the earth’.” Appeal to the Declaration can also serve as a way for people to still feel patriotic while struggling against the state – and that’s seriously dangerous, since patriotism has a tendency to lure people into ultimately supporting the state and proposing merely minor reforms within a persistingly oppressive framework. Emma Goldman in 1917 called the anarchist “the real patriot,” the kind who “loves America with open eyes”; but she said this in a courtroom, while on trial for subversion, a milieu conducive to defensive speech rather than to accurate speech; nine years earlier she had more frankly denounced patriotism as a “menace to liberty” and a “superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods.”

The Declaration is also difficult to separate completely from the personality of its author, Thomas Jefferson; and while Jefferson was certainly a brilliant and often insightful thinker, worthy of study, he was also a man who kept people enslaved on his farm like an 18th-century Ariel Castro, championed Indian “removal” (for the Indians’ own good, naturally), and abused power as President in precisely the way he warned that powerful people would abuse power. If one seeks a manifesto, there are less problematic authors. And from a purely rhetorical point of view, while appeal to the Declaration can on the one hand be an effective way of leveraging many Americans’ pre-existing values on behalf of anarchism, on the other hand such appeals can also serve to alienate those Americans for whom reference to Jefferson inexorably conjures up the slave pens of Monticello.

Moreover, even if Jefferson had been an anarchist saint, one must always beware of the risk of fetishizing a particular document; in Nicolas Walter’s words, “Anarchism has no prophets and no sacred texts … for more than a century anarchists have refused to give authority to writers and books as much as to rulers and laws.”

In her 1908 essay “Anarchism and American Traditions” (not a sacred text! but a good one), Voltairine de Cleyre praised the ideas behind the Declaration of Independence and noted with approval their anarchistic implications; but she also added: “Let the guarantee of free speech be in every man’s determination to use it, and we shall have no need of paper declarations.”

In closing, I wish you a happy Anarchist Revolution Day – but with the caveat that every day is Anarchist Revolution Day.

57 Responses to The Dual Legacy of the Declaration of Independence

  1. Joe James July 7, 2019 at 11:59 am #

    I don’t think the South was arguing for “white supremacy.” It was an issue of states rights and implicitly because there are innate differences among the races concerning Intelligence and behavior.

    The Bell Curve came out 25 years ago and the case for group differences has gotten only stronger

    • Roderick July 7, 2019 at 4:54 pm #

      Yeah, nope.

    • Rad Geek July 11, 2019 at 8:44 am #

      I don’t think the South was arguing for “white supremacy.” It was an issue of states rights and implicitly because there are innate differences among the races concerning Intelligence and behavior.

      Of course The South wasn’t arguing for anything, because The South is a region of a dozen or so different states whose populations included a whole lot of different people, from Bull Connor to Martin Luther King Jr., Willie Nelson, Henry B. Gonzales, Big Jim Folsom, Tallulah Bankhead, W. J. Cash, Fannie Lou Hamer, Jim Eastland, etc. etc. etc. — who are all pretty different from each other, argued and fought with each other, certainly didn’t all agree with each other on quesitons of race, state or federal politics, educaiton, states rights, etc. etc.

      From context, it seems like you might mean to say that Southern segregationists were not arguing for “white supremacy.” Is that what you mean to say?

      If it is, then the segregationists would disagree with you. “White Supremacy” was a phrase that they used, explicitly and often, to describe what they were arguing for. The 1901 Alabama Constitution was adopted by a convention whose president stated explicitly that the purpose of the constitution was to establish “white supremacy by law” (you can read the address here: https://books.google.com/books?id=Au2AAAAAIAAJ&dq=%22white%20supremacy%20by%20law%22%20alabama%201901&pg=PA12#v=onepage&q=%22white%20supremacy%20by%20law%22%20alabama%201901&f=false ). From 1904 to 1966, this was the slogan of the Alabama Democratic Party:

      https://web.archive.org/web/20160424021813/https://cdn.newsbusters.org/images/democrat_white1.png

      The party leadership finally voted to remove the phrase only over the objection of the hardcore segregationists (among them then-Governor Wallace), explicitly in a move to abandon the losing fight to halt desegregation by means of massive resistance. (Here’s a story from the Birmingham News for some context: https://archive.org/details/RacistDemocraticPartyLogo ; the “Loyalist” faction at the time were those who favored loyalty to the national Democratic Party’s embrace of civil rights legislation.)

      You could, of course, argue that even though Southern segregationists explicitly said that they were arguing for “white supremacy,” quote, unquote, there is some other, imaginary argument that you’ve come up with which also could have justified their claims without invoking the idea. You could argue that they would have been better off adopting your favored approach, rather than the approach that they actually adopted. But that would be your argument; not the argument that white segregationists made at the time that King was opposing them.

  2. Joe James July 8, 2019 at 7:10 am #

    I don’t think anyone would deny that The Bell Curve’s claims have been vindicated, certainly on intelligence and the heritability of intelligence. The genetic data is coming in quite strongly on the likely fact that group differences in intelligence have a substantial genetic component, see e.g., David Piffer’s recent work on GWAS hits in relationship to intelligence.

    • Roderick July 9, 2019 at 2:37 am #

      “I don’t think anyone would deny ….”

      Then you’re living in a bubble. The claims of The Bell Curve have been widely debunked. See e.g. Alondra Oubré’s _Race, Genes and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences_.

  3. Joe James July 9, 2019 at 5:50 pm #

    I’ve read extensively about Race/Iq and have never heard of her. My arguments post date her book anyway.
    Race, Genes and Ability:

    1. Nisbet et al (2012) agree that East Asian and White brain are heavier than blacks. They also agree that the high IQ of Ashkenazi Jews has a genetic component.

    2. Rimmer (2013) et al did a poll of experts on intelligence and 80% believe the black/white IQ gap has a genetic component.

    3. Piffer has shown that GWAS hits on alleles that correspond to IQ vary from race to race.

    4. Reich (2018) says that when the genes for intelligence and IQ are found they will vary from race to race because all genes vary from race to race.

    5. Kierkegard (2019) found that the higher the European admixture of blacks and Hispanics the higher the IQ.

    • Roderick July 9, 2019 at 8:35 pm #

      What’s your take on the Flynn effect?

  4. Joe James July 10, 2019 at 1:16 am #

    I don’t know what is behind the Flynn effect. It’s probably a combination of things, such as the tail end being brought up, more “teaching to the test,” among other things. It probably isn’t an increase in g. Michael Levin said that if the Flynn effect were an increase in intelligence then you’d have to conclude the WW1 was fought by morons. But if anything the FE is evidence for hereditarianism because the gaps in IQ have stayed the same. Women today are probably on average smarter than men in 1700 but the gap indicated that men have a genetic advantage for height.

    The egalitarian position is highly unlikely to be true. How likely is it that all groups evolved with the same (or even roughly the same) intelligence? There was no place where selection pressures resulted in higher intelligence? Even egalitarians concede that the high IQ of Ashkenazi Jews has a genetic component, so it is unlikely that they are the only group.

    • Roderick July 10, 2019 at 5:39 am #

      So it sounds like you’re taking the standard racialist position on the Flynn effect, which is that even if success on the tests is determined (largely) by nurture, still the gap between black and white test scores is determined (largely) by nature. But even leaving aside the weirdness of an innately-determined relationship between two non-innately determined variables (which smacks of quantum entanglement), the IQ gap between blacks and whites hasn’t remained constant either. The gap between black and white scores on IQ tests has narrowed from 15 points to 10 points during the period from 1972 to 2002. If one puts the Flynn Effect and the narrowed gap together, the result,is that “the IQ gap between black and white people today is only about half the gap between America as a whole now and America as a whole in 1948″ — which strongly suggests that the black/white gap is determined by nurture as well. (See http://www.iapsych.com/iqmr/fe/LinkedDocuments/dickens2006a.pdf and https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/6/15/15797120/race-black-white-iq-response-critics )

  5. Joe James July 10, 2019 at 1:21 am #

    Here is a good summary of the case for hereditarianism.

    https://quillette.com/2017/06/02/getting-voxed-charles-murray-ideology-science-iq/

    One additional thing worth considering are studies of identical twins separated at birth and adopted into different families. These studies indicate that the things which are often used to explain the B/W IQ gap, such as poor parenting and schools, do not produce a 15 point IQ gap.

    • Roderick July 10, 2019 at 5:48 am #

      But realistically, a white child raised by a white family and a black child raised by a similar white family do not even remotely face the same environment.

      The reason we egalitarians are skeptical of predominantly genetic explanations is that we’re aware of massive environmental differences that racialists seem to ignore. It’s as though we’re both looking at two people, one carrying a 5-pound backpack and the other dragging a 500-pound backpack, and your side keeps spinning innatist explanations for why why the second person is having more trouble than the first. It hardly seems the most salient factor to focus on.

      Plus there’s the history. Your side has been spinning innatist theories for the past 200 years or more, and every time they get debunked you come back with a new one, expecting us to examine the new one in dewy-eyed innocence as though this history didn’t exist, like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown again and again.

  6. Joe James July 10, 2019 at 7:12 am #

    “The gap between black and white scores on IQ tests has narrowed from 15 points to 10 points during the period from 1972 to 2002.”

    It’s unlikely that the gap has narrowed by more than a couple points, if at all. And the narrowing hasn’t been on g. Even Flynn (in his 2006 debate with Murray which you can find on the web), admits that it is likely to increase due to dysgenic mating.

    “But realistically, a white child raised by a white family and a black child raised by a similar white family do not even remotely face the same environment.”

    In what ways? A white family adopting a black child is unlikely to be racist. They will give the child the same schooling and home environment. Flynn claims that even educated black parents don’t talk to their children as much as white parents and this is what causes at least part of the IQ decline starting at age 7. I don’t imagine the educated white parents (apparently the majority had masters degrees) in the Minn. Transracial Adoption study talked to their black children less.

    “Your side has been spinning innatist theories for the past 200 years or more, and every time they get debunked you come back with a new one, expecting us to examine the new one in dewy-eyed innocence as though this history didn’t exist,”

    I can only comment on the recent debate following Gould’s Mismeasure of Man (read it in high school and TBC came out when I was in college). All the claims about IQ testing and the within group heritability of intelligence by people like Gould has been debunked. The claim that there is no correlation between brain sizes and race has been debunked. We were told that integrated schools, spending more money on schools, head start, etc. were going to close or end the gap and they didn’t. Now we are left with a claim that black culture and parenting are the problems. So people on ‘your side’ have from what I can tell have been ‘spinning theories’ just as much as anybody.

    I like Flynn and I think he is the most reasonable of the egalitarians. When Jensen died he said Jensen was a great scientist and it is only “more likely than not that the black white IQ gap is environmental.” He also said once that US scholars were “cowards” for not doing the kind of testing (admixture studies and IQ). Now that Kikegards study on this is coming out (which confirms hereditarianism for both US blacks and Hispanics) it will be interesting to see what Flynn says.

    I’m curious what your explanation is for the high IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is (around 110, with 20% of the world’s Nobel prizes in science). Or what about the abnormally low IQ of Australian Aborigines (lows 70s). I’m sure they have legitimate complaints about how they have been treated, but under your theory it must have been much worse than blacks in the US.

  7. Joe James July 10, 2019 at 8:23 am #

    “The reason we egalitarians are skeptical of predominantly genetic explanations is that we’re aware of massive environmental differences that racialists seem to ignore. It’s as though we’re both looking at two people, one carrying a 5-pound backpack and the other dragging a 500-pound backpack, and your side keeps spinning innatist explanations for why why the second person is having more trouble than the first. It hardly seems the most salient factor to focus on.”

    And what are the “massive environmental differences” between ethnic groups in the USA? Most people have adequate nutrition, adequate health care, go to reasonably good (and generally integrated) schools. We all watch the same tv, go to the same movies. Yet gaps persist. And as Boutwell says, given the high heritability of intelligence you’d have to come up with a tremendous cultural gap to explain persistent IQ differences.

    Also, you wouldn’t expect a group with an IQ of 100 to have the same culture as one with 85. What the hereditarian does is look at all the evidence and see if you can come up with an environmental explanation and there doesn’t seem to be any. As I said all the things that are put forward don’t create the kind of gaps that exist and persist. Even a scholarly egalitarian like Flynn acknowledges the difficulty of coming up with an adequate explanation for the B/W IQ gap.

  8. Roderick July 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm #

    “In what ways? A white family adopting a black child is unlikely to be racist. They will give the child the same schooling and home environment.”

    Studies have shown that caregivers with no consciously sexist attitudes interact very differently with babies depending on whether they believe the babies to be male or female. (See Fausto-Sterling, Myths of Gender.) Given the pervasiveness of racist attitudes it seems unlikely that white families would treat white and black children in precisely the same way. And even if they did, they’d be growing up in a wider social environment with very different attitudes and expectations vis-a-vis blacks and whites. How likely is it that such a barrage wouldn’t affect them?

    There’ve been studies to show that teachers grade the same work differently, and employers evaluate the same job applications differently, depending on what they believe about the race, gender, etc. of the student.

    “And what are the ‘massive environmental differences’ between ethnic groups in the USA? Most people have adequate nutrition, adequate health care, go to reasonably good (and generally integrated) schools. We all watch the same tv, go to the same movies.”

    You’re missing the point. Yes, we watch the same shows, but those shows tend to embody differential expectations and stereotypes for blacks and whites, and so the very same show can count as an encouraging environment for whites and a discouraging environment for blacks.

    “I’m curious what your explanation is for the high IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is (around 110, with 20% of the world’s Nobel prizes in science).”

    Ashkenazi Jews share both a common genetic heritage and a common cultural heritage. What is your evidence for claiming that the genetics rather than the culture must be responsible?

    I’m also having trouble tracking what IQ tests are supposed to show, on your view. When IQ tests don’t give the results you want, you say, “well, IQ tests don’t measure g anyway, so it’s no surprise that they’re influenced by environmental factors.” But when IQ tests do give you the results you want, then suddenly you treat them as measuring innate intelligence. Which is it?

    • Joe James July 24, 2019 at 7:25 am #

      “Studies have shown that caregivers with no consciously sexist attitudes interact very differently with babies depending on whether they believe the babies to be male or female. (See Fausto-Sterling, Myths of Gender.)”

      Interesting, however, that males and females end up with roughly the same average IQ. And, the mental retardation rate in males is significantly higher than in females. (There seems to be more variation around the mean in psychological traits for males than in females.)

  9. Joe James July 10, 2019 at 8:04 pm #

    So what is your explanation for the high IQ of Ashkenazi Jews and the low IQ of African-Americans?

  10. Joe James July 10, 2019 at 8:07 pm #

    “There’ve been studies to show that teachers grade the same work differently, and employers evaluate the same job applications differently, depending on what they believe about the race, gender, etc. of the student.”

    And this results in a 25 point IQ gap between blacks and Ashkenazi Jews?

    You should start a school with your non-racist approach and increase everyone’s IQ by 25 points. You’d be richer than Bezos and Gates combined.

  11. Joe James July 10, 2019 at 8:20 pm #

    “And even if they did, they’d be growing up in a wider social environment with very different attitudes and expectations vis-a-vis blacks and whites. How likely is it that such a barrage wouldn’t affect them?”

    And what’s your reason to think it would result in a 15 point IQ gap?

  12. Joe James July 10, 2019 at 8:25 pm #

    ” Yes, we watch the same shows, but those shows tend to embody differential expectations and stereotypes for blacks and whites, and so the very same show can count as an encouraging environment for whites and a discouraging environment for blacks.”

    That results in a 10-15 point IQ gap?

    • Roderick July 11, 2019 at 1:31 am #

      You’re avoiding the issue. You’ve already conceded that you can’t explain the Flynn effect except by granting that IQ data are substantially environmentally determined (whether or not the elusive “g” is so). You’re not entitled to then reassert the genetic hypothesis concerning IQ de novo as though you hadn’t just placed such appeals off limits to yourself; and you’re also not entitled to treat IQ as a proxy for g when it helps your case, when you’ve just denied that IQ is a proxy for g when its being so would hurt your case.

      • Joe James July 11, 2019 at 3:30 am #

        My assertion is that the *gap* between blacks and whites in IQ scores is largely genetic. This is like asserting that the gap between men and women in height is genetic. My assertion that the gap in height between men and women is genetic is not undermined by the fact that height is substantially environmentally determined (eg, Boutwell’s example that women in 2000 were probably taller than men in 1700).

        Strictly speaking, heritability is only meaningful in the context of a similar environment. This is why, I assume, Flynn himself has said that whatever caused the rise in IQ scores is a separate issue from what causes the gap.

        “Ashkenazi Jews share both a common genetic heritage and a common cultural heritage. What is your evidence for claiming that the genetics rather than the culture must be responsible?”

        Because, as Pinker pointed out, Ashkenazi Jews have a 10-15 point higher IQ in the US then non A-Jew whites. And, as he noted, we don’t know how to raise IQ that many points. From what I’ve read Ashkenazi Jews and non A-Jews in Israel go to the same schools and there the same or greater gap. There is also some evidence from brain science, but that’s not something I know much about. I’d also point of that the claim that the high IQ of Ashkenazi Jews has a genetic component seems widely held by egalitarians. See Nisbet, et al (2012).

        Pinker made an interesting point in one of his talks, to the effect that “cultural explanations have to be held to the same standards as environmental ones.” I’m still waiting for a cultural explanation for the various gaps, unless you think tv shows reduce IQs of blacks but not of whites. (I don’t watch much tv, but it seems to be rather ‘affirming’ of blacks. My ex-wife, who was from Italy, once asked me if most judges were black females.) Incidentally there have been studies which indicate that blacks have high self esteem and evaluate their intelligence highly. So there is no evidence that blacks have internalized the kind of racism that you think is pervasive. And racism doesn’t necessarily cause low IQ. If it did Jews wouldn’t be so successful.

        • Joe James July 11, 2019 at 3:39 am #

          “Pinker made an interesting point in one of his talks, to the effect that ‘cultural explanations have to be held to the same standards as environmental ones.”’ I meant ” . . . as genetic ones.” This was in the context that the high success rates of Jews in the US was do to pushy mothers or a “literate culture.” I recall him saying that when Chomsky told his father he wanted to be a linguist, his father’s response was “who wants to study that – luft.”

        • Roderick July 12, 2019 at 12:47 am #

          “My assertion that the gap in height between men and women is genetic is not undermined by the fact that height is substantially environmentally determined”

          A fair point, agreed.

          However, as Cordelia Fine points out with regard to gender, we know that believing that the test that one is about to take is one that members of one’s group tend to do well/poorly on tends to drive test scores significantly up/down. Whereas no such beliefs affect measurement of height. So there’s reason to expect cultural influence to be a major factor in once case and not in the other.

          “I don’t watch much tv, but it seems to be rather ‘affirming’ of blacks.”

          In TV and film depictions, blacks are disproportionately portrayed as criminals. When the depiction is positive, it is usually for achievements in sports or entertainment rather than something academic or intellectual:

          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262083408_Category_Inclusion_and_Exclusion_in_Perceptions_of_African_Americans_Using_the_Stereotype_Content_Model_to_Examine_Perceptions_of_Groups_and_Individuals

          “Incidentally there have been studies which indicate that blacks have high self esteem and evaluate their intelligence highly.”

          There’s a difference between rating one’s own intelligence highly and rating one’s capacity for academic success highly. The widespread stereotype (which you are incidentally contributing to right now) is that blacks are less likely to do well academically, which includes success on IQ tests. (This could contrast with “street smarts.”) And again, we also know (see Cordelia Fine’s book) that people’s success on tests is highly affected by their expectations of whether they are likely to do well or not.

          “And racism doesn’t necessarily cause low IQ. If it did Jews wouldn’t be so successful.”

          Anti-Jewish racism doesn’t ordinarily take the form of stereotyping Jews as un-academic or non-intellectual.

        • Brandon July 12, 2019 at 6:24 am #

          In TV and film depictions, blacks are disproportionately portrayed as criminals. When the depiction is positive, it is usually for achievements in sports or entertainment rather than something academic or intellectual

          Do you think that the tendency for nonblacks to excuse and apologize for the negative aspects of black culture, eg. criminality and drug use et al. rather than criticizing those things has an effect on the choices blacks tend to make?

        • Roderick July 12, 2019 at 6:42 pm #

          I see very little “tendency for nonblacks to excuse and apologize for the negative aspects of black culture” compared with the vastly negative portrayals.

  13. Joe James July 12, 2019 at 6:48 am #

    “However, as Cordelia Fine points out with regard to gender, we know that believing that the test that one is about to take is one that members of one’s group tend to do well/poorly on tends to drive test scores significantly up/down”

    I’ve never been persuaded by the “stereotype threat.” And again we are talking about substantial gaps in IQ.

    “Anti-Jewish racism doesn’t ordinarily take the form of stereotyping Jews as un-academic or non-intellectual.”

    It has however taken the form of gas chambers and pogroms. If centuries of persecution didn’t lower the Jewish IQ, I don’t see how TV programs would.

    “The widespread stereotype (which you are incidentally contributing to right now) is that blacks are less likely to do well academically, which includes success on IQ tests.”

    I don’t think it does anyone any good to give unreasonable expectations. Groups do differently on IQ tests. And, as I pointed out, the genetic date is coming in strongly on the hereditarian side.

    Prof. Sean Reardon of Stamford (who is an egalitarian) obtained date on all school districts where you could get meaningful data on B/W achievement. There was none where blacks scored as well as whites.

    • Roderick July 12, 2019 at 7:03 pm #

      “I’ve never been persuaded by the ‘stereotype threat.'”

      So you think the studies that show this were faked? Or what?

      “If centuries of persecution didn’t lower the Jewish IQ, I don’t see how TV programs would.”

      It’s not the intensity of persecution I’m talking about, it’s the kind. Anti-Jewish stereotypes never portrayed Jews as anti-intellectual or un-academic; rather the opposite.

      Nor, for that matter, did governments generally forbid Jews to learn to read, as they did with blacks under slavery; or systematically break apart Jewish families as they did black ones (first through slavery, later through welfare laws). A Jewish culture of education and literacy , and a high evaluation of scholarship, runs back for millennia; a medieval Jewish farmer was far more likely to be literate than a medieval Christian farmer.

      Here’s a list of 20 different possible explanations — some genetic, some environmental, some a mix:
      https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET2/more/pellissier20131211

      Btw, I don’t know why you keep citing more “data on B/W achievement” and “evidence for a high Jewish IQ” when the dispute is not about those numbers but about what they mean.

      • Rad Geek July 23, 2019 at 4:29 pm #

        So you think the studies that show this were faked? Or what?

        For what it’s worth, some Stereotype Threat studies have not performed great under recent replication tests (for a recent large-sample replication attempt, which is narrowly focused on looking for gender-stereotype threats among Dutch teenagers on math tests, see here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23743603.2018.1559647?scroll=top&needAccess=true ; it also has a detailed discussion of the “heterogeneous” results in recent Stereotype Threat literature). If this does indicate a problem, the problem it would indicate would be one with weak samples or with fluke results inflated by publication bias, rather than a problem with studies being faked.

        But on the other hand the existing Stereotype Threat literature is really large and it covers a wide range of different identities, different subjects, different age cohorts, different testing contexts, a couple decades’ worth of changes in social contexts and pedagogical practices, etc. To the best of my knowledge, the results from replications have been mixed, not straightforwardly negative, and I think mostly on a pretty narrow topic (most frequently, whether or not you can replicate significant ST effects for girls’ and young women’s performance on difficult math tests). So I’d definitely take this as a reason for caution, not anything like a shot-out-of-the-sky refutation or a reason for categorical rejection of the ST literature. But it is a reason why I’d put it more in the “possibly explanatory” column than in the “definitely explanatory” column, as far as environmental factors go.

  14. Joe James July 12, 2019 at 7:31 pm #

    “So you think the studies that show this were faked? Or what?”

    I don’t think there is such a thing as stereotype threat. It can’t explain the low IQ, low academic scores, and low achievement of certain groups. You mentioned how girls are subconsciously treated different than boys. Yet males and females have roughly the same IQs.

    “Nor, for that matter, did governments generally forbid Jews to learn to read, as they did with blacks under slavery; or systematically break apart Jewish families as they did black ones (first through slavery, later through welfare laws). ”

    After slavery was ended, black literacy increased dramatically, from 30 to 80 percent if I recall correctly within 2 or 3 generations. Blacks go to schools which are on average higher funded than whites. There is nothing forcing black parents not to get married although I grant welfare doesn’t help. The black/white IQ gap exists in the north, the south, the Midwest, Canada.

    I went to my local Friday night watering hole. I watched TV from 4-7 (only the commercials). How anyone think blacks are somehow presented as challenged or whatever is beyond me. There is the articulate black guy talking about insurance, the black doctor or nurse who is treating white patients. There was a commercial that simulated a bank robbery and none of the perps were black. There were a couple commercials where people were gently mocked and both were white (and one of the ‘mockers’ was black).

    • Rad Geek July 22, 2019 at 4:15 pm #

      “I don’t think there is such a thing as stereotype threat. It can’t explain the low IQ, low academic scores, and low achievement of certain groups”

      Those are two distinct claims:

      (1) There’s no such phenomenon as Stereotype Threat.

      (2) Stereotype Threat isn’t a good explanation of average-performance gaps (in IQ, academic scores, socioeconomic outcomes, etc.) between “certain groups” (= between racial groups in America?)

      To introduce a nice distinction, Claim (2) might be either of two different sub-claims:

      (2a) Stereotype Threat doesn’t succeed in explaining average-performance gaps between races at all; or

      (2b) Stereotype Threat might explain some non-zero part of the average-performance gaps between races, but it can’t explain anywhere near the magnitude of the gaps in question.

      Note that you could consistently maintain (1) and (2a) at the same time (non-existent phenomena don’t explain anything), but you could also hold not-(1) and (2a) (lots of real phenomena don’t explain long-term racial disparities), or you could hold not-(1) and (2b) (lots of real phenomena can explain part of a disparity while leaving most of it to be explained by other phenomena).

      It’s not clear to me which claims you meant to make in responding to Roderick’s questions. Could you clarify?

      (3) Blacks go to schools which are on average higher funded than whites …

      Can you provide a source I could refer to for this claim about school funding? (*)

      Supposing for the moment that this is true: what do you think follows from it?

      (3), if true, might provide some evidence against educational explanations, if it is also true that:

      (4) Higher-funded schools reliably provide better education to their students (both white and non-white) than lower-funded schools. (I.e., the higher the funding, the better the education provided.)

      But I’m not convinced that (4) is true. Why should I be? Public education in the U.S. is subject to much the same sort of bureaucratic dysfunctions and allocative problems as everything else that government does in the U.S. There are lots of times where increasing resource inputs doesn’t produce better practices or better product. That’s part of the problem with bureaucracy. And if so, it seems like education funding isn’t necessarily a very useful metric for educational quality. In which case a reversed sign here wouldn’t actually provide much evidence (one way or the other) about educational explanations of achievement gaps.

      (* I’m asking in earnest, not rhetorically: for all I know it may well be true, given some aspects of how school funding is allocated; and if you have a study in print, or some journalism that will refer me to the study in print, I’d be interested to read the underlying study. But I’d like to see the numbers.)

      • Joe James July 23, 2019 at 6:15 am #

        Here are some sources on education funding:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXeZT6rObmg

        Steve Sailer quotes Sean Reardon here:

        https://www.takimag.com/article/san-francisco-vs-frisco/

        “As a result of state school financing reforms enacted by state legislatures or ordered by courts, per-pupil revenues are now modestly positively correlated with districts’ enrollment rates of poor and minority students within most states (Cornman 2015). This means that in most states—conventional wisdom notwithstanding—poor and minority students are enrolled in districts with higher per pupil spending than white and middle-class students….”

        I don’t necessarily think the higher amount spent on schools necessarily means better education. (For all know, inner city schools might be spending more money on things like school security, so the amount spent on education per se isn’t much different.)

        My view is that education isn’t as important as we often think, so long as it is OK, Say you don’t have an aptitude for math – if your school offers calculus and has the best calculus teachers on earth, it’s unlikely that you’ll do well.

        Reardon found that in all 2000 schools districts where there was meaningful data, white children out perform blacks. And the gaps were often quite high in liberal conclaves.

        • Rad Geek July 23, 2019 at 12:18 pm #

          Here are some sources on education funding…

          0. Re: the YouTube video, could you tell me what, if any, additional print sources that video provides, above and beyond referring to Reardon et al.’s paper? I don’t want to be rude, but this is not an academic source and I’m not going to sit through a half-hour of Internet television in order to try to get to the part where they do (I hope) explain what underlying sources they use to get their data.

          1. O.K. I have read the Reardon, Kalogrides and Shores paper that is mentioned in the magazine article you linked to (“The Geography of Racial/Ethnic Test Score Gaps,” Stanford CEPA Working Paper No. 16-10; fulltext is available online here: https://cepa.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/wp16-10-v201604.pdf ; the Figures and Tables are currently not laid out inline, but they are available after the end of the paper). Thanks for pointing me to it. Have you read it? (The paper, I mean.)

          Here’s what the quoted passage says, in context (boldface added):

          “As a result of state school financing reforms enacted by state legislatures or ordered by courts, per-pupil revenues are now modestly positively correlated with districts’ enrollment rates of poor and minority students within most states (Cornman 2015). This means that in most states—conventional wisdom notwithstanding—poor and minority students are enrolled in districts with higher per-pupil spending than white and middle-class students, although there are notable exceptions. Cost-adjustments can affect this inference, as high poverty school districts have greater costs than low poverty districts (Bifulco 2005). Given recent evidence indicating that school spending positively affects student achievement and graduation rates (Jackson, Johnson and Persico 2014; Lafortune, Rothstein and Schanzenbach 2015), this suggests that school policies affecting the distribution of resources among school districts may have important effects on achievement gaps.

          Despite the fact that in some states, school districts serving predominantly poor students spend
          more per pupil than those serving higher-income students, low-income and non-white students are, on
          average, more likely to have inexperienced teachers and greater teacher turnover
          (Clotfelter, Ladd and
          Vigdor 2005; Lankford, Loeb and Wycoff 2002; Scafidi, Sjoquist and Stinebrickner 2007), some of which
          may be due to the fact that high poverty districts must pay teachers more to attract them (Clotfelter et al.
          2008). Higher salaries are thought to be necessary because teachers value working conditions that tend
          to be correlated with the demographic composition of schools such as safety, proximity of the school to
          their place or residence, leadership stability, availability of support staff (Boyd et al. 2011; Boyd et al.
          2005a; Boyd et al. 2005b)….
          (pp. 7-8 in my PDF).

          So, some notable features:

          (1) The paper’s co-authors claim to find a modest positive correlation between “poor and minority” enrollments in a school district and per-student funding levels in that district. This finding about funding to school districts does not actually support a claim about the levels of funding in schools where “minority” students are enrolled. (Districts may contain more than one school, and different schools within the same district often have very different per-student expenditures; for example see Ary Spatig-Amerikaner, “Unequal Education,” p. 14-16, https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/UnequalEduation-1.pdf ). The district-level data might well still translate to on-the-whole higher school-level funding for schools with higher “poor and minority” enrollments. But if it does, that hasn’t yet been shown, and you’d need stronger and more specific evidence to justify your claim about funding to schools.

          (2) The paper’s co-authors note that there are “notable exceptions” to this trend across states, but (perhaps understandably so — the main thrust of the paper is on a different topic) they don’t say where or how many, or quantify how far these exceptions differ from correlation found “in most states.”

          (3) The authors immediately note a number of factors that undermine the ability to make a direct inference about levels of educational quality from levels of per-student spending. Which seems to go directly to my question about why we should treat higher school [district] funding as a proxy for educational quality. It doesn’t seem like a very good proxy when funding rates are differentially shaped by different cost structures, bureaucratic allocation that’s relatively unrelated to quality (and possibly inefficient at producing it on the margin), etc. etc.

          (4) More broadly, a big part of the upshot of the paper is that the authors found large-magnitude, significant geographical variation in (non-Hispanic) white/black achievement gaps and (non-Hispanic) white/Hispanic achievement gaps, depending on the school districts and metropolitan areas they were looking at — “ranging from nearly 0 in some places to larger than 1.2 standard deviations in others” (p. 1). Much of the point of the paper is to try to suss out the factors that might explain this variation. (With some of the leading candidates being differences about surrounding socioeconomic environments, which are outside of the schools’ control, and others being differences in quality between schools, or differences in students’ experiences within a school.) Of course, I did ask a narrow question (about school funding levels), and you might well make use of one part of the paper (the bit at the beginning that briefly discusses levels of school district funding) without accepting the results of the entire paper (which specifically emphasize the high variability in the magnitude of racial and ethnic achievement gaps as the key phenomenon to be explained). But I don’t think your bit at the end about Reardon et al.’s findings (which you rather counter-intuitively bend into a claim about constancy, by ignoring any question of variations in magnitude) comes anywhere near a fair summary of its import for the overarching argument.

          It certainly is true that in some cases — notably, in several affluent college towns that were included in the study — Reardon et al. found performance gaps that were far larger in magnitude than the national norm. And those may be places that could accurately be described as being “more liberal” (= having more people with liberal political and social views, or having people with more extreme forms of liberal political and social views) than the national norm. If so, I don’t know what that is supposed to prove, except that putting more affluent liberals into a school district doesn’t seem to be a reliable method for remedying racial disparities on the margin. Joke’s on the liberals, I suppose, but I don’t know why (other than an uncharitable guess about affluent liberals’ levels of self-regard) anyone would have thought that was a relevant independent variable to begin with.

          I don’t necessarily think the higher amount spent on schools necessarily means better education. (For all know, inner city schools might be spending more money on things like school security, so the amount spent on education per se isn’t much different.)

          Well, here’s some district-level breakdown on how the money got spent: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED564135.pdf . I selected this one because it corresponds to one of the data sets used in Reardon’s paper, but they put out similar reports every year. There are a lot of reasons why it’s more expensive to run schools in large cities than it is to run them in suburbs, smaller towns or rural areas. Some of them have to do with features that are general to big cities (it’s also a lot more expensive to run a movie theater, or a restaurant, or to rent an apartment). Others have to do with features that are more specific to the political dynamics around public school systems (employee pension systems, bureaucratic overhead, etc.).

          Of course, this doesn’t offer much insight into questions about school funding inputs, or educational quality, in districts with high minority enrollment that aren’t in “inner cities” (e.g. in rural South Texas, the Central Valley, New Mexico, central Florida, etc.; or in the Deep South Black Belt, etc.).

        • Joe James July 24, 2019 at 7:17 am #

          I have looked at the funding issue in depth, but my point is that, no matter how you slice things, the white/black gap in test scores persists in time and location. And if you look at compensatory education programs such as Head Start they don’t increase IQ.

  15. Joe James July 12, 2019 at 8:10 pm #

    “Btw, I don’t know why you keep citing more “data on B/W achievement” and “evidence for a high Jewish IQ” when the dispute is not about those numbers but about what they mean.”

    On the most charitable estimate, the Jewish/white IQ gap is 10 points, the white/black gap is 10 points.

    As Pinker points out, we don’t know how to raise IQ 10 points. So your contention that the Jewish/black IQ gap of 20 points is entirely environmental is hard to swallow. (I don’t think Pinker has talked about other differences in intelligence but my contention follows from his jew/gentile argument.)

  16. Joe James July 13, 2019 at 9:30 am #

    “I gave you a link to a scientific study. You responded with anecdotal evidence. (Plus media have bee improving very recently.)”

    I skimmed the study. It is a study of peoples perception of blacks in general and prominent blacks (actors, politicians, etc.). I don’t see any research the authors did on how blacks are potryaed in TV and movies c. 2010.

    “Study showing that adoption from a poor family into a more affluent family can result in gains in IQ of 12-18 points:”

    Here is what Boutwell, et al say about this study:

    https://quillette.com/2017/06/02/getting-voxed-charles-murray-ideology-science-iq/
    _________________

    This claim stems from an analysis of six studies with 253 total subjects, and should be interpreted cautiously for several reasons. First, in one of the studies, the “poor families” from which the children were adopted were so poor that the children were suffering from primary undernutrition at the time of adoption. Second, most of the studies examined IQ at young ages, which is important because the genetic effect (heritability) of intelligence increases with age, a phenomenon labelled the “Wilson effect” by behavior geneticist Thomas Bouchard; therefore, the gains might be smaller if the subjects had been tested later in life. Third, even if one accepted the large IQ gains uncritically, those gains are still consistent with heritability estimates of 60%, as was clearly noted by Herrnstein and Murray in The Bell Curve (see page 771, note 86). And, fourth, as with the “Flynn effect” the adoption gains are primarily on subtests that are not strongly associated with g, which means that the cause(s) of the Black-White gap probably are different from the cause(s) of adoption IQ gains.

    _________________

    “Study showing no significant IQ difference between blacks of low European ancestry and blacks of high European ancestry:”

    This is a references older admixture studies such as Eyferth, etc. We now have a scientific study of which compares European ancestry in Black-Americans and Hispanic-Americans and the higher the European ancestry, the higher the IQ.

    https://osf.io/z8dy5/

  17. Roderick July 13, 2019 at 9:34 pm #

    I have a hard time taking Emil Kirkegaard and John Fuerst seriously as reliable researchers.

    • Joe James July 14, 2019 at 7:26 am #

      “I have a hard time taking Emil Kirkegaard and John Fuerst seriously as reliable researchers.”

      Well, they claim that based on data obtained from others, that there is a correlation of European Ancestry in Black-Americans and Hispanic-Americans and IQ. If true, wouldn’t that be evidence for racial hereditarianism? I’m having a hard time pulling up the article, but they conceded that it could be consistent with an environment only hypothesis, but for statistical and other reasons it’s more consistent with a hereditarian one.

      There is an interesting backstory here. Several years ago, Charles Murray suggested that such a study be done and, to make it fair, there would scholars on all sides of the debate. According to Murray, no one from the “environment only” side of things agreed to take part. (I can’t imagine who would be fund it.) I guess that’s why Flynn said a couple years ago that US scholars were “cowards” for not doing such a study. Obviously the egalitarians believe that if the results came out with a positive correlation that would be evidence for hereditarianism. K&F got their data from a study that was done, if I recall correctly, on providing medical care to low IQ people and minorities.

      I agree this doesn’t prove hereditarianism, but it’s fairly strong evidence. And if you combine it with other things (persistent gap in IQ, the high heritability of intelligence w/in group, Spearman’s hypothesis, regression to the mean, Piffer’s GWAS studies, etc.) I think we are in “game over” territory.

      • Brandon July 14, 2019 at 6:35 pm #

        If your view of this issue were proven correct beyond any doubt, I’m curious what you’d do with that information? In other words, why do you care how heritable IQ is or isn’t?

        • Joe James July 14, 2019 at 6:54 pm #

          Because all the things that we are supposed to do to reduce the gap between blacks and whites (and Hispanic and whites) cost a lot of money and involve a great deal of social engineering. For example we now have democratic candidates for president who want reparations for blacks and want to bring bag forced busing. It’s important for whites to say vis-a-s the gap that “it’s not our fault . . . it’s the fault of God, nature or whatever you want to call it.”

          Also, it doesn’t help to give people unreasonable expectations. My parents wouldn’t have done me any good if they told me I was smart enough to be a physicist. If blacks are told they are just as smart as whites then, if they don’t do well, they will claim racism.

        • Roderick July 15, 2019 at 1:58 am #

          “Because all the things that we are supposed to do to reduce the gap between blacks and whites (and Hispanic and whites) cost a lot of money and involve a great deal of social engineering.”

          Well, though, you started this exchange by suggesting that racial differences justified the Southern states’ policies of segregation. Those policies were active (and presumably expensive) exercises in social engineering. So it sounds as though you mind big-government social engineering only when it’s aimed at decreasing inequality and not when it’s aimed at increasing it?

          “If blacks are told they are just as smart as whites then, if they don’t do well, they will claim racism.”

          But if they are told they *aren’t* as smart as whites, they *won’t* call *that* racism? Your strategic argument is elusive.

  18. Joe James July 15, 2019 at 6:37 am #

    “But if they are told they *aren’t* as smart as whites, they *won’t* call *that* racism? Your strategic argument is elusive.”

    My argument is that, as David Reich (a leftist), said “when the genes for behavior and intelligence are found they will vary from race to race, just like the genes for everything else do.” Why does hiding the truth help? The most extensively studied gap in IQ differences has been the black/white gap in the USA and as I pointed out the evidence is coming in strongly that there is a large genetic component.

    • Brandon July 15, 2019 at 10:28 am #

      You’re speaking in abstractions, but that says nothing about any individual, so what would you say to individual blacks, that none of them can be as smart as any white person? I think Thomas Sowell would be surprised to hear that.

      • Joe James July 17, 2019 at 7:02 am #

        “You’re speaking in abstractions, but that says nothing about any individual, so what would you say to individual blacks, that none of them can be as smart as any white person?”

        Of course that’s not what I said. However, the average white IQ being 100 and the black 85, unfortunately only 12 percent of blacks will have an IQ equal to or above that of the average white person

  19. Joe James July 20, 2019 at 7:28 am #

    One thing I had wanted to mention before the discussion concluded was this video by Sean Last. Last points out that it generally takes 2 generations or so for a group to recover from a hardship, so it’s unlikely that the legacy of slavery or Jim Crow is somehow causing the low IQ and relative lack of success of black people.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJwPpNzTWoQ

    • Roderick July 21, 2019 at 2:09 am #

      As though structural racism weren’t still pervasive in society today.

      • Joe James July 21, 2019 at 8:23 am #

        I haven’t mentioned the drop-off in black IQ beginning around 7. This is rather hard to explain by ‘structural racism.’ For example, how are black children in 83% black Detroit so racially mistreated that their IQ is affected when they are 7 but not 5? It’s for this reason that egalitarians like Flynn and Nisbet posit bad black parenting as the cause of the low average black IQ. I think that if there is an environmental explanation, this would be it. (Perhaps this is a particularly important time during brain development.)

      • Rolf Andersen July 21, 2019 at 11:23 am #

        There are countries in Africa such as Kenya and Tanzania that have large Indian populations and the Indians do better than the natives notwithstanding the racism of the “native” populations. Chinese have been persecuted in Malaysia and Indonesia and do well. Racism is a canard.

  20. Joe James July 21, 2019 at 7:27 am #

    “As though structural racism weren’t still pervasive in society today.”

    I don’t believe ‘structural racism’ is pervasive. If that’s the case, then why is it that whites (and maybe Asians) are the only group you can legally discriminate against? Why do we spend at least as much (if perhaps more) on black and Hispanics school children than whites?

    Linda Gottfriedsen did a study of the IQ that one needs for a job according to the DOL (115 for an accountant for example) and the percentage of blacks in these jobs. Blacks are if anything ‘over represented’ based on their IQ. There have been studies of police reports and blacks are arrested and convicted in proportion to the extent that they are named as perpetrators.

    But even if the USA were racist, how does this explain the low IQ of blacks? To appreciate the significance of you have to look to the extremes: an Q of 115 is considered “smart,” Only 2.5% of blacks have an IQ that high, compared to 16% of whites. Conversely, an IQ in the 75-70 range is borderline retarded. At least 20% of blacks are in that range compared to 5% of whites.

    http://library.flawlesslogic.com/iq.htm

    How does ‘structural racism’ cause such a low IQ? Say you had a white couple both with IQs of 100 who had 10 children. How would they have to raise their children (or what could society do to the family) to result in their children having an average of 85 and 2 borderline retarded? (I wonder what the IQs of the Turpin children in California is?)

    • Roderick July 21, 2019 at 10:14 pm #

      The evidence for structural racism is overwhelming. It’s one thing to debate to what extent it is plausibly the cause of the IQ gap. But to deny the existence of structural racism per se is to be closing one’s eyes to obvious and pervasive realities.

      Also: the fact that a group is granted some advantages to make up for other disadvantages inflicted on them does not show that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. (Compare Carson on primary and secondary regulations.)

      You really also need to make up your mind whether you regard IQ as a test of g or not. In discussing the Flynn effect you said not. But your current arguments seem to assume it is again.

      • Joe james July 21, 2019 at 10:53 pm #

        What’s your explanation for the black / white IQ gap in the USA?

        • Roderick July 22, 2019 at 1:55 am #

          I don’t know. It’s not my area of specialisation. But in light of the massively different social environments that blacks and whites face, plus the compelling evidence I’ve seen for regarding genetic differences among “races” as negligible, and the strong evidence for IQ being heavily influenced by environmental factors, along with the dismal track record and perpetually moving goalposts of “scientific racism,” I think that those who favour genetic explanations have a much heavier burden of proof than has been met. And given the motivations that seem to drive such claims, they merit an extra-high level of skepticism.

          A more interesting pair of questions:

          a) why are you so strongly committed to the legitimacy of segregation (which is how this discussion started) that you need the genetic explanation to be true? (Although I think the genetic explanation is false, nothing in my political program depends on its being false. On my view, any being that meets the minimal standard for rational and moral agency is entitled to a sphere of freedom in which to exercise their capacities fully, whatever the extent of those capacities; and so segregation and subordination would be unjust regardless of how the details of IQ shake out.)

          b) why do you think the genetic explanation supports segregation anyway? If those of innately higher and innately lower IQ cannot live together on equal political terms, why not segregate on the basis of IQ instead of race? Given that variation in IQ within “races” is greater than that between “races,” segregating by race as a proxy for IQ is not going to give you the result you claim to want.

          In short: why are you in love with a vision of segregation, subordination, and inequality, instead of a vision of cooperation and freedom? Why cling to the armed camp as your model, rather than the market fair?

  21. Joe James July 22, 2019 at 5:50 am #

    “But in light of the massively different social environments that blacks and whites face, ”

    Just what are these “massively different social environments”?

    “plus the compelling evidence I’ve seen for regarding genetic differences among ‘races’ as negligible,”

    I pointed out that blacks, whites and East Asians have difference brain sizes. Even egalitarians agree with that. Also, the genes for brain development have been found and they vary from race to race.

    “and the strong evidence for IQ being heavily influenced by environmental factors,”

    But the issue is that gap in g, which hasn’t changed. And we know that g has a biological component (for example, Haier’s bran scan studies).

    ” along with the dismal track record and perpetually moving goalposts of “scientific racism,”

    Who is moving the goal posts? Race realists have over the years put forward evidence that the gap is genetic: regression to the mean, Spearman’s hypothesis, etc. Now we have genetic evidence coming in strongly such as K’s admixture study and Piffer’s GWAS studies. What’s the response of the egalitarians? We can’t conclude that the gap is genetic until we find the genes. That’s a standard we don’t use in almost any other area. (For example egalitarians believe that the within group gap has a strong genetic component even though the genes haven’t been found). We are now being told that if the genes for intelligence are found and they very from race to race, they don’t “work” in the same way for all races. Talk about moving the goal posts.

    By the way, what predictions have the egalitarians made that have come true? More Head Start will raise IQ? Integrating schools and increasing the money spent on schools will increase test scores? Why weren’t egalitarians pushing for admixture studies (with the exception of Flynn).

    “I think that those who favour genetic explanations have a much heavier burden of proof than has been met. And given the motivations that seem to drive such claims, they merit an extra-high level of skepticism.”

    What proof do you have that all groups have the same innate intellectual capacity? Isn’t the burden on the egalitarian to show that evolution stopped at the neck?

    And the motivations of egalitarians have always been benign? Gould was a Marxist; Flynn, Nisbet and Turkheimer are socialists.

    “why are you so strongly committed to the legitimacy of segregation (which is how this discussion started) that you need the genetic explanation to be true? ”

    If we repealed the 64 Civil Rights Act and related laws, society would voluntarily segregate. I don’t have a problem with that. I think people tend to like to be around those of their own kind.

    “why do you think the genetic explanation supports segregation anyway? If those of innately higher and innately lower IQ cannot live together on equal political terms, why not segregate on the basis of IQ instead of race? Given that variation in IQ within “races” is greater than that between “races,” segregating by race as a proxy for IQ is not going to give you the result you claim to want.”

    People like to be with their own. There is a history of conflict due to ethnicity. Sure there are counterexamples but that’s the trend.

    • Rad Geek July 23, 2019 at 12:34 pm #

      If we repealed the 64 Civil Rights Act and related laws, society would voluntarily segregate.

      Maybe. I’m not at all sure that’s so; but if so, more’s the shame for “society.”(*)

      But what does any of that have to do with your comments up at the top of this thread about Southern segregationists and their goals? In the real world, Jim Crow had nothing to do with “voluntary” segregation; it was a direct product of state law and local ordinance (along with occasional explosions of extralegal mob violence).

      Do you think that George Wallace or Bull Connor or Sherriff Jim Clark were arguing in favor of leaving racial questions up to free exchange and voluntary social sorting? Because if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

      (* In a world full of fallible and ignorant and sometimes vicious people, “society” might do all kinds of stupid things if people are allowed the freedom to do so. Especially if by “society” what you mean is something more like “dominant majorities.” Now, that’s no reason to keep around coercive legal prohibitions — like most libertarians, I think prohibition is really a pretty bad way of trying to remedy ignorance or combat vice. But it’s also no reason to infer that a voluntary outcome is an especially good outcome, just because it is voluntary.)

      • Joe James July 24, 2019 at 7:27 am #

        The South was wrong to insist on forced segregation. On the other hand, the federal government should have stayed out of the issue.

  22. dL July 22, 2019 at 11:58 pm #

    What proof do you have that all groups have the same innate intellectual capacity? Isn’t the burden on the egalitarian to show that evolution stopped at the neck?

    Oh, in your case, I guessing evolution stopped at your genitals or your wallet. An thread hijack to this extent is a pretty good indication you are compensating for something, brah. I would venture your obsession with the bell curve is matched by your fixation that “high IQ” Ivy League universities are ruining America, indicating that you probably have no real conviction RE: intelligence and self-governance. Otherwise, the subjugation of flyover country to governance by intellectual elites would follow using the same logic you’re employing to argue the subjugation of black and brown people. More often than not, race realism is not a conclusion drawn but rather a presumption in search of shit to stick against a wall.

Leave a Reply to Joe james Click here to cancel reply.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes