Race realism enters the liberal mainstream!
due respect to the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes, today, November 10, 2007, there is something new under the sun: the New York Times
has virtually admitted
that there are inherited racial differences in intellectual abilities. As a result of the steady increase of information about DNA, even to the point of individuals being able to trace through their DNA what continent their ancestors came from, the genetic reality of racial differences beyond skin color is becoming more and more broadly accepted. The author of the article, Amy Harmon, says these accepted differences do not yet definitively include differences of intelligence, yet her language all but concedes that such differences exist and that society is already grappling with the challenge of how to deal with them. Thus she writes:
The [James Watson] incident has added to uneasiness about whether society is prepared to handle the consequences of science that may eventually reveal appreciable differences between races in the genes that influence socially important traits. [Emphasis added.]
New genetic information, some liberal critics say, could become the latest rallying point for a conservative political camp that objects to social policies like affirmative action, as happened with “The Bell Curve,” the controversial 1994 book that examined the relationship between race and I.Q.
Yet even some self-described liberals argue that accepting that there may be genetic differences between races is important in preparing to address them politically.
First, note how Harmon is strongly implying that these things about race are true, but that we just haven’t gotten to the point of formally saying that they are true. Second, to see how radical her concessions are, note the similarity between her phrase which I’ve emphasized above, “the consequences of science that may eventually reveal appreciable differences between races in the genes that influence socially important traits,”
and the concluding words of my article
on race and intelligence, that “there are intrinsic racial differences in civilizational abilities.”
That statement was, by the way, the apparent reason David Horowitz told David Mills that I had “racist and offensive” positions and expelled me from FrontPage Magazine. Will Horowitz now declare that the New York Times also has—or is getting very close to having—racist and offensive positions?
Returning to Harmon’s article, its headline, “In DNA Era, Worries About Revival of Prejudice,” sums up the piece’s main thrust. However, the kinds of renewed prejudices that the liberals profess to fear are red herrings. For example,
“If I were to believe the ‘facts’ in this post, what should I do?” one reader responded on Half Sigma [a blog where genetically based race differences were discussed]. “Should I advocate discrimination against blacks because they are less smart? Should I not hire them to my company because odds are I could find a smarter white person? Stop trying to prove that one group of people are genetically inferior to your group. Just stop.”
“Should I advocate discrimination against blacks? Should I not hire them to my company?” I call these red herrings because there is no reason to suppose that whites will arbitrarily discriminate against qualified black persons because of differences in average racial IQ, especially given the laws against discrimination. The real
problem for liberalism is not that the recognition of race differences in intelligence would lead to renewed irrational white prejudice; the real
problem for liberalism is that the recognition of race differences would destroy the liberal belief that all races should have equal intellectual and economic outcomes, which in turn would lead to the demise of the liberal indictment of supposed white racism as the supposed cause of those inequalities.
Of course, liberals will say (and they are quoted saying it in the article), that even if there are inherited differences of intelligence between the races, that only obligates society to spend twice as much on blacks in order to close the gap. That, however, is a very different argument from saying that the racial gap is due to white racism, white stereotypes, white cultural dominance, or white anything.
We live in strange times. On one hand, the modern liberal race orthodoxy is more aggressive and tyrannical than ever, as seen in recent incidents such as the Watson affair. On the other hand, the core premises of the modern liberal race orthodoxy are breaking down before our very eyes.
- end of initial entry -
Sage McLaughlin writes:
You write that, “On one hand, the modern liberal race orthodoxy is more aggressive and tyrannical then ever, as seen in recent incidents such as the Watson affair. On the other hand, the core premises of the modern liberal race orthodoxy are breaking down before our very eyes.” What is so interesting to me about this is that there never was any scientific or even rational basis for the liberal belief that men and women, whites and blacks, were all equally endowed in significant traits like IQ or aggression. No respectable endocrinologist would ever have suggested that men and women are equally wired for all interests, behaviors, and pursuits. Science isn’t proving something heretofore unknown—it is on;y vindicating what everybody already knew.
The point is, we don’t need genetic research to tell us that races and sexes differ in significant, consequential ways. The funny thing is this: A big part of modernist liberalism is its materialist, reductionist angle that claims in essence that scientific rationality is a suitable basis for understanding everything, and that nothing else can form the basis of real knowledge about human beings. So, when science—supposedly the enemy of traditional understandings of the way the world is—begins to contradict the basic tenets of liberalism, the response is simply to shriek and demand that people “just stop” making inquiries into such things. I think it was in anticipation of this that your more radical academic leftists began to embrace epistemological skepticism and relativism. By descending into the incoherent, demonic madness of postmodernism, they were able to reject the Western tradition in all its forms, even and especially those forms which revealed the sheer unreality of liberalism.
Dimitri K. writes:
Not a big deal, everyone knew it before, but did not say aloud. They have already admitted that Africa is failing and Islamic word is violent. So what? More outreach, more help. We must help those who need our help and no one should be left behind. They are just as people as we are, but they are kind of disadvantaged, so let them have some additional benefits.
I’ve been following the New York Times’ periodic head-fakes toward acknowledgment of race differences for many years. This article is different. The Times has never before suggested that it may be true that there are genetically based differences in intelligence between the races. When something new has happened in the Dar al Liberalism, we ought to acknowledge it.
John D. writes:
“The author of the article, Amy Harmon, says these accepted differences do not yet definitively include differences of intelligence, yet her language all but concedes that such differences exist and that society is already grappling with the challenge of how to deal with them.”
Judging from the quote she attributes to Prof. Feldman at Stanford, it appears that some may already be pursuing avenues either to spin it or to explain it away rather than deal with them in a direct and honest manner:
There are clear differences between people of different continental ancestries,” said Marcus W. Feldman, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University. “It’s not there yet for things like I.Q., but I can see it coming. And it has the potential to spark a new era of racism if we do not start explaining it better.” Liberal elites will continue to fight this with everything they have in their arsenal. But somehow, truth always reigns supreme. And the disorder of the egalitarianism they created out of thin air will disappear into the vacuum whence it came. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
Dr. Feldman said any finding on intelligence was likely to be exceedingly hard to pin down. But given that some may emerge, he said he wanted to create “ready response teams” of geneticists to put such socially fraught discoveries in perspective.
I see this as something short of “fighting this with everything they have.” Feldman is saying that a hard genetic basis for racial intelligence differences may well be found. That is NOT fighting the truth with everything they have. The very fact that he’s said this is already something new.
Mark Jaws writes:
Either one of two things has happened at the NY Times. Maybe a critical mass of them has been mugged by black thugs within the past two years, or perhaps they are realizing that with hordes of productive, tax-paying white boomers on the verge of retirement, there simply won’t be money to cool global warming, take care of the elderly, create alternative energy sources, and subsidize the dysfunctional behavior of tens of millions of black and Mestizo uneducable imbeciles. Guess which will be the first to be thrown overboard?
James W. writes:
Harmon dutifully repeats an assumption of her class—“new genetic information, some liberal critics say, could become the latest rallying point for a conservative political camp that objects to social policies like affirmative action…”
There is and was no rallying point against an awful idea whose time should never have come—the rallying points are all theirs.
Jonathan Swift complained that it is unfair to employ ignorance and malice together, because they give the answered double work. Conservatives should have had nothing to answer for in this issue whatever, but liberals just cannot stand to look at themselves alone, and I predict they will not. In shame there is no comfort but to be beyond all bounds of shame. Philip Sydney, who dated Swift by two centuries, saw them coming.
They hate dead Anglos for a reason.
Affirmative Action Part Two. You watch.
A reader writes:
Some comments on your essay about the NY Times possibly acknowledging the genetic basis of differences in intelligence. Most people accept these differences though we refuse to express them in public. This is especially true for the well-educated, since “being educated” means knowing what could be said with strangers listening. LA replies:
Official, scientific confirmation of this relationship will not change much at a personal level. Whites, as before, will avoid black doctors, majority black schools and so on.
The big question concerns government policy—affirmative action and all the rest. We now have a giant turnip-pressing machine (as in getting blood from a turnip). Will this be dismantled? What happens if this new-found scientific evidence is submitted in a court case challenging affirmative action?
This is hardly hypothetical since courts regularly accept science in their decisions. Ironically, of course, one of the most famous instances of this policy is Brown v. Board of Ed (1954) that used science to demonstrate the harmful consequences of state-imposed segregation.
This will be most interesting though it may be decades away.
I don’t agree that “Most people accept these differences though we refuse to express them in public.” Yes, most people believe there are some kinds of differences. But as to the precise nature and cause of those differences and their implications, they don’t know. They haven’t thought about it enough. How could they think about it, when discussion of it is forbidden and people have never tested and refined their views by having them challenged?
The reader replies:
I always look at behavior, not attitudes. People “know” that a black doctor is more likely to be incompetent than a white one etc etc. The failure of school integration and the need to impose diversity demonstrates this beyond all doubt. Actions speak louder than words. Why else do we have all the punitive measures to create equality.LA replies:
Point taken. But I’m not interested in people’s private, unarticulated feelings. Such feelings do not change anything politically, they still leave the reign of liberalism intact. I’m interested in the arguments and positions that people are prepared to take and defend publicly, because that is the only way that the false beliefs of liberalism that now rule our society can be replaced by true beliefs.
I’m not sure why outward appearances are so fundamental to you. These are Golden Lies and are fine to the extent that you can live your life apart from them. Hypocrisy is what makes the world possible. To attempt more is to risk totalitarianism.
Also, I suspect that the trend for genetics to confirm the bad news about blacks will further distance the left from science. Frankly, I can’t imagine science producing any good news for today’s soft-headed lefties. The evolution of this growing antagonism should be interesting. Hardly surprising since today’s left is often found in the Humanities. Post modernism is just the first installment.
To challenge the rule of liberalism is to risk totalitarianism?Reader replies:
It has nothing to do with liberalism or any other ideology. What brings totalitarianism is the state’s attempt to impose consistency between private and public thinking. This is what makes today’s left so evil: one must think “good” thoughts towards blacks, gays and the like. Just behaving decently is insufficient.LA replies:
We’re talking about two different things. You’re talking about the totalitarian attempt to impose consistency between private and public thinking. I’m talking about mounting a resistance to liberalism, which cannot take place unless people publicly reject liberalism. For you to say that my idea is totalitarian is tantamount to saying that politics as such is totalitarian, because politics means that people publicly take positions and don’t just keep them to themselves, which appears to be what you want them to do.
R. Davis writes:
Your enjoyable post on race—you’ve had a few good hits this past week, most notably that piece on Charles Johnson—left out the most entertaining sentence I’ve read in the NYT in a while: “Others hope that the genetic data may overturn preconceived notions of racial superiority by, for example, showing that Africans are innately more intelligent than other groups.” As Obama would put it, that’s audacious hope indeed!
Mark A. writes:
I fear James W. is correct. The left can acknowledge genetic differences and still blame whites for the differences at the same time. I heard the blame game about this years ago when a liberal told me flatly, “But yes, there may be genetic differences in intelligence, but this is mostly because of nutrition. And those in the ghetto don’t get proper nutrition because of oppression.” Affirmative Action Part 2. Exactly. Obama is already promising more. LA replies:
Well, it’s a flat out contradiction to say that the differences are genetic and that they are caused by nutrition. The nutrition argument is an alternative to the genetics argument, not the same thing as the genetics argument. I don’t think that even liberals would say something this blatantly contradictory.
Jeremy G. writes:
As I read through the article, the realization emerged that this is a leftist reaction to the growing influence of race realist web sites, which are all on the far right of the political spectrum. LA replies:
The New York Times is reacting in large part to bloggers like you, and VDARE, and AMREN, which are becoming more popular all the time. The topic of this article is no coincidence.
“Yet even some self-described liberals argue that accepting that there may be genetic differences between races is important in preparing to address them politically.”
They are trying to stay in control, so they can tell us all what racial differences really mean. They are conceding innate race differences, but they will provide politicians and academics with the vocabulary to continue opposing the logical implications of these differences. They are getting ready for the next battle.
Let’s assume Jeremy is correct. What arguments does that leave the liberals with?
“Yes, a significant causal factor in the black lag in academic achievement is inherited differences in mean IQ. But we are a society that believes in equality, meaning group equality of social outcome. Therefore it is our sacred calling to invest all the energy and wealth and innovative spirit of this great country in the greatest project in our history, to raise up the level of black achievement to be equal to whites, despite the fact that blacks’ lower performance is not due to any social or cultural factor but to heredity. Further, if we find after trying with all our might that we cannot equalize the abilities of the different races, then, given our national commitment to group equality of results, we must simply award black people proportionately equal outcomes in terms of college admissions, college grades, college graduation, graduate admissions, graduate degrees, income, social and professional status, and rates of arrest and incarceration.”
Now, the liberals may plan to use the first part of that argument, about raising abilities, and they may even plan on using the second part of the argument, about totalistic proportional race preferences in every area of life. After all, the latter argument is already contained, at least in seed form, in the U.S. Constitution via the Grutter decision. Contributors to The New Republic’s hysterical symposium on The Bell Curve back in 1994 used the affirmative action argument too. And the raise-their-abilities argument is already being advanced by one of the people quoted in the Times article. But would either of these arguments play in Peoria? I don’t think so. In my view, once the existence of significant inborn differences in intelligence between peoples has been admitted, the liberal egalitarian project will have been mortally wounded.
At that point we could return to sanity. We would say that every person in America ought to develop his abilities to the maximum, that’s what America is about, but that we are not going to worry about it if certain groups are underrepresented in areas of life involving high IQ. We will let each person find his own level, and not bend ourselves out of shape over the results.
Regarding the New York Times on race and IQ, you say:
Jeremy G. replies:
“Should I advocate discrimination against blacks? Should I not hire them to my company?” I call these red herrings because there is no reason to suppose that whites will arbitrarily discriminate against qualified black persons because of differences in average racial IQ, especially given the laws against discrimination. I agree. We will be able to get back to Kennedy, to MLK Jr., to Booker T. Washington and WEB du Bois, all of whom did not ask for handouts but for an honest assessment of abilities and a willingness to use the same criteria for blacks as whites. It is the lunacy of the last 40 years, with its mandated racial equality-of-result that is killing us. Griggs v. Duke Power and its doctrine of “disparate impact” can be overturned and we can again use IQ tests and other IQ-correlated tools to determine qualifications for jobs.
This accommodation to IQ reality can only be allowed, however, if they increase the attack on of Evil White Christians to keep what they consider our innate racism and anti-Semitism from bursting forth.
Rather than make things immediately better, they will get worse for a fairly long period of time, I am afraid. We are all considered Nazis under the skin who will slaughter anyone who is not a Christian of European descent if we are given the slightest justification or rationale.
I agree with you that the truth of innate racial differences is an enormous problem for the left. However, your reasoning assumes that liberals are honest/reasonable people. You ask, what argument are they left with? But what argument did they ever have? They are left with a slight modification of the same argument. Instead of saying that genes are meaningless and that environment is everything, they will concede that genes may play a small although largely insubstantial role, even as science produces genetic difference after genetic difference. Science will not only have to find racial differences in the IQ genes, but will have to prove that they are more determinative than the environment. My main point is that the left will not advance our cause. Courageous thinkers like you, Steve Sailer, and Jared Taylor will advance our cause. The left will always resist. LA replies:
Also, you noted several days ago that National Review had not defended Watson or discussed racial differences in intelligence during the aftermath of his public comments. With this article, is the New York Times now more courageous than the National Review?
Jeremy, on this issue, an infant sucking at its mother’s breast is more courageous than National Review.
Alex K. writes:
“Instead of saying that genes are meaningless and that environment is everything, they will concede that genes may play a small although largely insubstantial role, even as science produces genetic difference after genetic difference. Science will not only have to find racial differences in the IQ genes, but will have to prove that they are more determinative than the environment.”
I based my argument on what was actually conceded (or very close to conceded) in the Times article. Amy Harmon did not say that “genes may play a small although largely insubstantial role.” She said that science “may eventually reveal appreciable differences between races in the genes that influence socially important traits.” [Italics added.] And she strongly implied that that view is already the tacit consensus. So the Times has already conceded more than Jeremy thinks it may concede in the future.
I find myself in the fairly rare position of being more optimistic about this development than most of the people participating in this discussion.
I’ve been following The Corner, LGF, and Hot Air all day and they’re just exploding with commentary on this amazing genetics piece. There’s a lot of resistance but also a lot of cautious support and real interest in going further on the topic. I’m having trouble keeping up with all the back and forth.
A correspondent who has followed the race and intelligence issue for many years writes:
HA HA HAHAHAHA HAHHA HA HA HAHHHA HAH HA HAHH HAH ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haa haaahh ha ha ha ha ha ha ah ah haaah. Hee. Whew. Sorry, I had a rough night, I needed a laugh today.
No but seriously, it’s only 3 pm EST, plus it’s Sunday, plus Hot Air’s main blogger is on vacation. I’m sure over the next couple days all the neocon sites will be getting on this, as it has much to do with the neocon project of making other tribes into Westerners, not to mention so many other political issues, including the recent white nationalism fights at LGF and HA. Yep, it’s going to be quite a week in the neoconosphere.
Ha ha. Ha. Hee.
Someone from my right wing club sent this to me overnight. I sent her back a very short response: “The dam is starting to break.”
I am somewhat amused that the author thinks that we make no policy now that shouldn’t change if we were to show that blacks were genetically different (and less suited for our type of civilization). The NYT has had articles in the past week, highlighted on their web site, about the decline in Fortune 500 CEOs who were black (from 6 down to 4) and the “race gap” in mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures on houses. Then there is the twice weekly article about the schools somewhere “failing” blacks and all the attempts to remedy that. There is also the once weekly article on the difference in incarcerations by race. Also, as I’ve noted in the past, in doesn’t stop with affirmative action in hiring. One is definitely faulted if one doesn’t promote blacks on an equal or more than equal basis in comparison to whites. Blacks take it to EEO all the time and win all the time if there is any evidence of unequal representation in the senior ranks. No arguments re the competence of the black who brings the EEO complaint are permitted unless he/she is an absolute disaster. I could go on, but you know it all already.
I’m delighted the NYT printed this.
“But we are a society that believes in equality, meaning group equality of social outcome…”
Marc Z. writes:
The idea of “group equality” has always puzzled me. On what basis should the notion of a “group” be constituted to be meaningful? Are blacks a class? A political unit? A social entity? A professional guild? A caste? Why should their interests be considered collectively? How is the grouping of people on the racial basis be compatible with the idea of citizenship that we have in our society? The idea of non-discrimination only makes sense when applied to individuals.
You wrote: “Of course, liberals will say (and they are quoted saying it in the article), that even if there are inherited differences of intelligence between the races, that only obligates society to spend twice as much on blacks in order to close the gap.”
Russell Wardlow writes:
Jason Malloy, the self-identified liberal and blogger at Gene Expression quoted by the NYT, says in the comments section of the GNXP post on this article:
“To clarify this quote, I didn’t actually recommend spending twice as much to close the gap, nor does the evidence show that anything of the sort would work. I probably talked to Harmon for over 2 hours total, so a lot was said. When I said that, I was explaining how society could make choices using the range of reaction as one possible way to ameliorate genetic differences.
“The point was only that we need to start taking the issues into serious consideration before we can decide how or if we should work to remedy them.”
Regarding your post on the Amy Harmon article and the speculation as to how society will react once the evidence of average differences becomes unavoidable: Mark A. writes:
I believe it’s at least a strong possibility that society-wide programs like AA will be perpetuated, if not expanded, in response to people gaining a better understanding of the facts. You hinted at the reason when you wrote that liberals will claim that equality of group results is a bedrock foundation of our society, and we therefore must do everything we can to equalize performance between various races. I believe many will say this sort of thing, and that it might lead to a sort of Rawlsian theory of race: that is, whites and their accomplishments are due to inborn-traits. European culture, as well, is ultimately also an expression of these inborn-traits (this will be a rapid 180-degree shift from their previous position that culture constructs and dictates “race,” but then, what is truth to liberals?). Thus, liberals will claim, since European peoples’ achievement is and was merely an undeserved gift caused by being lucky in the genes department, they have no claim on which to prevent the benefits of those achievements from being distributed to groups that tend to lack them because they are not as productive, lawful, cooperative, etc.
I am certain this argument will be made by many liberal elites. I am uncertain as to whether it will be accepted or spurned by a majority of people. If it is true that the bedrock of liberal ideas about race is based on white guilt, then perhaps not, as it will reduce significantly the reasons for whites to feel guilty, showing that contemporary black failures do not arise from historical discrimination.
Leonard K. writes:
“Well, it’s a flat out contradiction to say that the differences are genetic and that they are caused by nutrition. The nutrition argument is an alternative to the genetics argument, not the same thing as the genetics argument. I don’t think that even liberals would say something this blatantly contradictory.”
Indeed. But I’ve heard Liberals tell me that a lack of nutrition caused a mutation in the genetic code that caused low intelligence, etc. I’ve heard this at cocktail parties with lawyers. Remember who writes the laws: they are not scientists. Science doesn’t matter. Neither does truth. They have their answer, now they just need a way to reverse engineer the logic.
A reader on Half Sigma writes:LA replies:
“Stop trying to prove that one group of people are genetically inferior to your group. Just stop.”
But the only way to stop it is Stalin’s way: declare genetics a bourgeois pseudoscience, arrest and execute all geneticists, and close the labs.
The reader is reversing the true cause and effect here. People didn’t just enter a neutral, hunky-dory racial environment and out of sheer nastiness start trying to prove the existence of racial diffrences. Rather they are responding to the official lie of racial equality of abilities that is being foisted on white Western society. Blacks and Mestizos’ achievements are lower than those of whites and Asians. Liberalism says that since all races have the same inborn abilities, the differential in attainment does not result from natural causes but is due to white society, and, further, that it can and must be fixed by white society, and, further, that white society’s ongoing failure to fix it is a delibitating moral stain. Thus the belief in racial equality of abilities leads to a permanent indictment of whites for something that in reality is entirely out of their power. So, if these sensitive liberals like the reader at Half Sigma really want people to stop trying to prove the existence of race differences, all they have to do is (1) stop asserting that the races are genetically equal in abilities, and (2) stop claiming that blacks’ lower performances are caused by whites and can be fixed by whites.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 10, 2007 08:11 PM | Send