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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Human biodiversity

John Derbyshire at Taki's sees signs that HBD* is beginning to show up on a lot of radars. The tone of the linked essay and comment thread is glum, as HBD remains a bloody shirt for denunciations of eugenics, racism, genocide, Hitler!, etc.

If, as Enoch Powell said, the supreme function of statesmanship is to warn against preventable evils, then the Dark Enlightenment (which, by the way, includes no 'statesmen') needs to take a progressivist tack. In terms of policy, HBD naturally augurs for a society where people can find their own level. Call it 'small pond' strategy** (as in, big fish). For example, there should be no artificial barriers to a black man with the necessary chops becoming a surgeon and, conversely, there should be no shame in a black man being a janitor, and whites should not cherry-pick the Talented Tenth out of communities where they are most needed. A sure way to frustrate the process by which people have naturally sorted themselves for millenia is to enact a compulsory 'civil rights' regime which takes away peoples' safe harbors, from which they can associate or not associate as they see fit.

We can't unring the bell on multi-culturalism. Travel has become easy, people have money and leisure and want the benefits of international trade. But if 'diversity' really is a social good then we need to think hard about what generates diversity in the first place. The rest of the world developed rich, viable cultures in which diverse peoples freely sojourned all on their own before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In their private lives at least, people know HBD is real. They marry within a one-third standard deviation of IQ, houses cost more in white/Asian school districts, phenotypes persist despite centuries of co-existence. This reality can only be suppressed by earnest slogans for so long. HBD can no more be legislated out of existence than lunar tides can be legislated out of existence. As Derbyshire notes, the problem is the cultural elites have pushed the dialectic beyond any possibility of reasonable synthesis and when reality re-sets, things will get ugly.

* - "Human biodiversity is an acknowledgment that humans differ from each other in various ways because of our different genotypes. Differences include, but are not limited to, physical appearance, athletic ability, personality, and cognitive abilities."

** - "Small pond strategy" will be a new addition to the tag cloud, and hopefully enable discussion in a more positive direction.

3 comments:

Matt said...

The problem with HBD is the genetic thing. It sounds like, and--let's be honest--often is, a pretext for racial bigotry. It also doesn't fit with the American myth, which is something of an egalitarian anyone-can-be-president sentiment. Just look at the Abe Lincoln "born in a log cabin" thing, which is hilarious these days for other reasons (can you imagine anyone not rich and Ivy League educated becoming president?).

The big things of HBD can be gotten other ways. You don't need to have a general HBD theory to realize that some people are unfit for certain endeavors, nor did we stop believing that because an HBD theory was rejected. The vogue theory is the left-liberal one that external factors cause inequality, which is becoming increasingly absurd as the age of intervention gets pushed back further. What are we at now, inequal outcomes start to solidify in toddlers?

In the end, you have a theory tainted by racism and that says nothing the most ignorant ancient peasant didn't know. It would require a unimaginable shift for it to become the new dogma of the age.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Excellent observations. We'll probably get to the point where presidents have never had real jobs. Did Obama even bag groceries during high school?

The awful probability is that reality will have to wipe out the governing dogmas, and it will, before we can get on a sustainable path. And the elites at that point won't be thinking in old-fashioned terms like 'good stock' and 'marrying well' but in vitro eugenics.

Rev. Right said...

"The problem with HBD is the genetic thing. It sounds like, and--let's be honest--often is, a pretext for racial bigotry. It also doesn't fit with the American myth, which is something of an egalitarian anyone-can-be-president sentiment."

It can be a pretext for bigotry, but it is better suited as a tool to demonstrate the absence of bigotry, and perhaps free us from the racialist thinking that so warps contemporary society.

Racism is only evil when it is used to deny the rights of an individual. There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with noting and discussing the differences between different human groups.

Noting that the inherent differences between groups may be the explanation, for example, of the fact there are more African basketball players and more Chinese physicists is rational (i.e. not 'racist').

It would be irrational (i.e. 'racist') to apply group differences to limit individual opportunities. Like assigning Neil DeGrasse Tyson to the basketball team and Yao Ming to the physics faculty because of the average abilities of the groups to which they belong instead of by their individual talents or desires.

But we don't do that. Instead we do something just as irrational when we try to make certain groups representation in particular areas proportional to their percentage of the population without consideration of their individual talents or desires.

Because HBD has the potential to be applied in a racist way doesn't delegitimize the study of group differences. Nor, if everyone is judged on their own merits, does the acceptance of HBD concepts get in the way of anyone being president.

What should be delegitimized are the notions of group rights and social justice, as the concepts of rights and justice are only rightly applied to individuals.