An HBD’er on traditional conservatism
It’s high time that the HBD people realized that the Austerites are an ill chosen ally. They have more in common with the medieval, clitorectomizing, school burning, statue destroying, Taliban than they do with progressive thinkers.
—comment by AngloAmerican at Mangan’s Miscellany
(Notice that what this HBD’er thinks of conservatives fits right in with what liberal cartoonist David Horsey thinks of conservatives
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Tim W. writes:
You know you’re winning an argument against a liberal when he accuses you of racism, sexism, or homophobia. He’s exhausted his last real argument and has nothing left in his arsenal. Likewise, I’ve noticed over the years that libertarians invoke the Taliban when they realize they’re whipped. Apparently the Mangan crowd is borrowing the tactic. It means you’re winning.
Incidentally, have these secular cons ever actually established any kind of civilization or nation, or even a territory within a nation? That is, a militantly secularist right-wing society or region? Obviously they have not. My experience is that the more secular a region is, the more it tracks leftward, and the more it becomes tolerant of the Taliban. Christian Europe fought the Muslims off for centuries, but progressive secular Europe welcomes them with open arms and even grovels before them.
At the surface it appears there is an alliance possible between HBDers and Traditionalists, but as you start digging you find a rift, and the deeper you go, the wider the rift. Finally, we stand looking at each other, far apart. It’s very much the same as when Russell Kirk called out the libertarians as “Chirping Sectaries” and described how there was no alliance between conservatives and libertarians.
The two sides of the rift is the dialectic, and if we try to reconcile the two sides, we’ll find ourselves dragged Leftward / Nihilistically.
If you haven’t read this Kirk essay (or haven’t read it recently), it’s worth a re-read: “Libertarians: The Chirping Sectaries,” Modern Age, Fall, 1981.
Quoting from it is hard, it’s a PDF of a scanned article.
Here is a quote from it (referencing Voegelin again!):
The great line of division in modem politics—as Eric Voegelin reminds us—is not between totalitarians on the one hand and liberals (or libertarians) on the other; rather, it lies between all those who believe in some sort of transcendent moral order, on one side, and on the other side all those who take this ephemeral existence of ours for the be-all and end-all-to be devoted chiefly to producing and consuming. In this discrimination between the sheep and the goats, the libertarians must be classified with the goats—that is, as utilitarians admitting no transcendent sanctions for conduct. In effect, they are converts to Marx’s dialectical materialism; so conservatives draw back from them on the first principle of all.
Ken Hechtman, VFR’s Canadian leftist reader, writes:
Nice try on AngloAmerican’s part. The left owns the trademark on “progressive thinkers” and we’re not sharing it with the Bell Curvers any more than you’re inclined to share the “conservative” label with them.
It’s a free country. You want to cite pseudoscience and cherry-picked statistics in order to justify denying advancement opportunities to the people who need them most, you can do that. You just don’t get to call it “progressive.”
You want to train yourself and your friends to think of women as nothing but programmable sex-robots, you can do that too. Nobody’s going to stop you. You just can’t call that “progressive” either. I mean, the Gamers do not disagree with the Taliban’s Vice and Virtue cops on the nature and purpose of women. They just disagree on what to do about it.
“… than they do with progressive thinkers.”
This comment alone tells you where these people are coming from. Don’t we all just love to think of ourselves as progressive thinkers. With an attitude like that, how can they fail to win the hearts and minds of the people?
Kathlene M. writes:
I think I’m beginning to understand the overall viewpoint of the HBD crew.
Mangan commented early on his latest thread (8/30/09) that “Only Christians or other religious believers claim immunity from criticism of their core beliefs; this shows that religious beliefs aren’t about evidence or trying to make sense of the world, unlike science. Were a scientist to say that any criticism is a personal attack on his most sacred beliefs, he’d be rightly laughed out of town.”
A commenter named Clarence much later said, “Without a good science background he [Auster] is not competent to dissect evolutionary biology; we’ve already seen how much he misunderstands game.” [LA replies: And he’s saying that only a scientist is competent to have an opinion on whether Darwinian evolution is true. So why do leading Darwinists such as Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins publish books for the general public arguing that Darwinism is true? Since such readers have no right to an opinion on the matter, evidently they are only allowed to agree with the authors!]
These guys are scientists by occupation and/or college degree, and only science can explain the world. HBD and Game are scientific, verifiable systems that neatly explain how the world works. Traditional conservatives aren’t scientists or scientific in their eyes, and are held in less esteem. How could Traditional Conservatives dare to criticize scientific systems when Tradcons hold non-verifiable unscientific beliefs that are, in their opinion, immune from criticism? [LA replies: Yes. And that includes any discussion of Darwinism. Since all criticisms of Darwinism are by definition faith-based and not rational, no criticism of Darwinism can be legitimate. Pretty neat set-up for the Darwinians. ]
Last year an artist named Jonathan Keats explored the theme of science as religion. He commented in a Wired interview that:
“I heard about the Beyond Belief conference in 2006. Richard Dawkins was there, and Steven Weinberg, and Neil Degrasse Tyson. They were trying to figure out what science might do to provide an alternative to religion. There wasn’t a consensus, but there was momentum towards the idea that science could do everything religion could, that it could be everything religion had been.”
So Mr. Keats built The Atheon, a Temple of Science, to illustrate what science as religion would be. [LA replies: has there ever been anything so foolish? And this goes back to E.O. Wilson’s Consilience, in which he tries to establish an entire “religious” worldview based on reductionist materialism! Lost souls like Dawkins and Wilson despise actual religion, particularly the highest and truest religion, Christianity, and then try to create their own.]
P.S. Now I can understand why some of the Gamers complain that they can’t find women. First, if they are scientific and prone toward atheism, they will probably reject any “religious” women. Second, how many marriageable women—atheist or not—want to raise kids with men who are atheists? Why bring new life into this world if there’s no higher purpose to it? Third, attraction is more than a physical, scientific “game” or theory, there is some non-scientific mystery to it as well.)
You write: “And he’s saying that only a scientist is competent to have an opinion on whether Darwinian evolution is true.”
One obvious reason you get attacked is that you hold steadfastly to your beliefs and support them with reasoning. However reasoning isn’t good enough to the HBD scientists; your beliefs must be scientifically proved. Otherwise there is no truth to them.
What you have done with Mangan is forced him to stop hanging, in tension, between traditionalism and materialism. You could see that tension in previous threads, and one had to wonder what would happen in the end. We are at the end now. He has, in trying to resolve the two positions, moved Nihilistically. That’s the Marxist dialectic in action.
The dialectic you describe is also known at VFR as the Hegelian Mambo, a term coined by the brilliant VFR commenter Matt (who blogs online now under a different name). Here are links
While AngloAmerican’s comment is worse in degree, it’s not different in kind from the type of comments about conservatives and Christians one commonly sees at HBD- and other “conservative” evolution-oriented websites such as Secular Right. This doesn’t mean that all or most HBD’ers hate religion and Christianity, but it does clearly mean that such hatred is an accepted and constituent part of the HBD universe. How then can HBD be allied with conservatism, let alone be the next conservatism, as the Undiscovered Jew put it in our earlier discussion?
Does not the presence of such virulent secularism within the HBD movement point to the truth of my reply to the Undiscovered Jew, that HBD has valid and important insights about human differences, but these insights need to be integrated within conservatism, rather than being set up as an autonomous, reductive, anti-God ideology opposed to conservatism?
Todd White writes:
Debating with Darwinbots is a dull and hopeless chore because when it comes to examining the actual scientific evidence, their position is always the same: “Heads I win; Tails you lose.”
From my essay, “Sex with Blondes and Darwin”:
Using evolution to explain human behavior is inherently silly. Why? Because the Darwinists insist that literally every behavior is a victory for evolution. Consider the following:
On P. 6-9 of her book, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes, Jena Pincott addresses the question, “Why do men prefer big pupils?” She answers: “Evolutionarily speaking, men prefer big, gaping pupils because they’re a sign of arousal and receptivity … Your pupils dilate widest around ovulation, the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle.” Ok … so … the blind forces of nature designed women’s pupils to dilate as a “sign of fertility?” Seems plausible.
But then we come to this … on p. 90-92, Ms. Pincott asks, “What does a “wiggle” in your walk reveal?” Answer: “The more wiggle in your walk, the tinier your waist is in proportion to your hips—a telltale sign of youth and fertility.” OK, so “evolutionarily speaking,” we would expect a woman’s “wiggle” to be greatest during ovulation, right? Wrong! “To the contrary, it turns out that’s when a woman’s gait is most restrained.” Does this contradict sociobiology? Of course not. As Pincott says—without any hint of irony—“the reason women walk less provocatively when they’re most fertile is an unconscious attempt to avoid excessive male attention.”
Got that? During ovulation, women’s eyes dilate to gain men’s attention, and during the same period, their hips wiggle less to avoid men’s attention! Of course, that makes absolutely NO sense! But that’s exactly what happens when you use Darwinism to explain every facet of human behavior. For the atheist Darwinists, everything in life is Darwinist. In every debate, they play the same game: “heads I win; tails you lose.”
I don’t believe that there is any neccessary conflict between HBD and conservatism. They occupy two different spheres of thought.
HBD is a field of scientific inquiry—the study of differences in various population groups. Conservatism is concerned with the proper relationship between man and the state, man and his fellow man, man and God. Confusion only comes in where people start to think that HBD has someting to say about non-scientific matters. Several of Mangans commenters, including The Undiscoverd Jew, consider HBD to be a rival political philosophy to conservatism. It can never be that. Conservatism is about what sort of world we ought to live in. HBD, as science, cannot venture an opinion on such topics. It can never say—“the totalitarian state is bad”. It can only observe what is and not pass judgement on it.
If the HBD’ers accepted the fact that they fill a very different role than that of political and social philosphy, most of the acrimony would subside.
Very well put. But the question is, do the HBD’ers see HBD as you see it? Are you describing HBD as it is, or as you would like it to be? I also in these recent discussion have stated what I think HBD ought to be, which would not be in conflict with conservatism. But if what I and you think HBD ought to be, is not what the HBD’ers think it is, then they’re simply going to reject our “solution.”
In this connection, if you haven’t already read it, could you read the post just below this one, “Conservatism, God, and HBD,” and tell me if that affects your view of whether your understanding of HBD will be acceptable to the HBD’ers?
do the HBD’ers see HBD as you see it? Are you describing HBD as it is, or as you would like it to be?
Some of the HBD’ers have muddled thinking, and are blurring the lines between their own preferred policy positions and what science has to say about human differences. But if we look at the HBD’ers description of HBD it is clear that it cannot be anything more than a scientific endeavor.
A great many HBD’ers are on the left, something not evident from reading Mangan’s site but more obvious if you go to Gene Expression or similar places. That undermines the theory that HBD is some inherently conservative position and supports the idea that it is merely a value neutral field of science usable by people of any political persuasion. I believe that some HBD’ers grasp the distinction.
As for your entry on Conservatism, God and HBD, there’s too much in that essay for me to respond to comprehensively. Some short points.
For reasons touched on above I don’t see any connection between God and conservatism on the one hand and HBD on the other. Those HBD’ers who do not presently believe in God (or conservatism) will have little reason to change; those who do will have little trouble incorporating new data on group differences. The HBD’ers are not a homogenous body. Heck, in many respects you and I are HBD’ers. We’re just not “HBD as the answer to all questions” types.
I suspect that many of the HBD’ers who are not evangelical atheists can be made to see, or will eventually see on their own, that HBD can never address the most pressing questions we all face. For instance, what is the HBD answer to the question “Should America be a multi-racial state?” It can’t answer. It can give us information about what different sorts of multi-racial and mono-racial states are likely to look like, socially, culturally, and economically, but it can’t tell us which one of these possible futures we should desire. For the answers to that we must turn to a different plane of thought.
As for God and conservatism, I think that conservatism in the West should not be hostile to God, but that belief in God is not necessary for conservatism. And not sufficient either—Jimmy Carter seems to have a genuine belief.
“A great many HBD’ers are on the left,”
Well, if that’s the case, then conservative-leaning HBD’ers have no right to expect traditional conservatives to accept HBD per se as conservative, and therefore my position in this debate has been correct.
“… , but that belief in God is not necessary for conservatism. And not sufficient either—Jimmy Carter seems to have a genuine belief.”
Interesting question. As you may know, Alan Roebuck has said, and I agree with him, that liberals, virtually by definition, reject the God of the Bible. They may say they believe in God, but it’s couched around in all kinds of ways so that it becomes a humanistic God, not the personal God, and certainly not the LORD, Adonai, not the God of whom the Psalmist said,
The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein.
Now I haven’t read anything by Jimmy Carter on his religious beliefs in a long time. I would be interested to how he now talks about God, whether it’s the God of the Bible, or the vague, egalitarian, humanistic God.
At my blog, I attempt to shift the conversation between HBDers and social conservatives, focusing on the more important practical aspects of the debate. In doing so, I argue that HBD provides much better pragmatic explanatory tools and reform processes for stabilizing society.
Murray Love writes:
I just read the post at his site that OneSTDV links to in the apparent belief that he has clinched the argument in favour of the HBDers. My goodness. These guys (and they are mostly guys) just don’t get it. [LA replies: not only are they all guys, but they all seem to be very young guys, in the flush of their first Big Idea.]
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 31, 2009 12:52 PM | Send
OneSTDV seems to think that all he has to do is claim that “social conservatism” is based on religion, throw up a few charts demonstrating weak statistical relationships between religiosity and various social phenomena, and QED! He has thereby shown that HBD “provides much better pragmatic explanatory tools and reform processes for stabilizing society”.
And so the HBDers show themselves to be yet another movement of technocratic young nerds like the libertarians before them: Having arrived at one truth (and HBD is a fertile field of study, just like free-market economics), they conclude that they now have the master key to social reform. (As an aside, this may help to explain why there seems to be considerable overlap between HBD and Game enthusiasts. Technocratic nerds have always had trouble attracting babes.) Like the libertarians, the HBDers seem to think that they can build a movement on bar charts and rational argumentation alone, as if the American public, once apprised of IQ differences between the races, will suddenly adopt the civilization-preserving policies favoured by traditional conservatives.
But while this will make the HBDers roll their eyes, Solomon had it exactly right when he wrote Proverbs 29: Where there is no vision, the people perish [or more appropriately, Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint]. HBD isn’t a vision, nor is it a philosophy, let alone any kind of manifesto; it’s a welcome field of study which brings to light many neglected facts about human beings, but that’s all. As one of OneSTDV’s commenters points out, it could just as easily be used to justify even more aggressive affirmative action policies or for a huge increase in East Asian immigration. Which brings the argument full circle, no?
What these guys don’t realize is that, by dismissing the concept of a shared, transcendent good as an irrational superstition, they risk walking in the footprints of the totalitarian movements of the last two centuries. They think that—being nice, reasonable guys—they can simply decide to preserve the bits of society that they personally find congenial. And of course, they would never countenance the unjust oppression of others in the name of their, uh … “pragmatic explanatory tools and reform processes for stabilizing society”. But history shows that such a movement—one that highlights the differences between groups of human beings without a corresponding conception of the inherent, God-given dignity of each individual—can and probably will turn to tyranny and bloodlust, given half a chance. One might say that recent history is littered with the corpses of purged technocratic nerds and their millions of victims. Or is that too strong?
To conclude, I’d like to express my regret at the falling-out between you and Mr. Mangan. I enjoy both your blogs, and while I also perceived the tension that Gintas details between Mr. Mangan’s traditionalism and his materialism, I was pleased that you and he managed to disagree so civilly for so long. It’s a shame that he has chosen after all this time to take offense to ideas that you have always held openly.