I started this posting on the inability of the Left to learn anything, but it ended up where it needed to go. Bear with me.
This delicious quote comes from Jason Richwine, formerly of the Heritage Foundation, fired for saying true things about IQ differentials between whites and Hispanics:
“For people who have studied mental ability, what’s truly frustrating is the déjà vu they feel each time a media firestorm [about IQ differentials] like this one erupts. Attempts by experts in the field to defend the embattled messenger inevitably fall on deaf ears. When the firestorm is over, the media’s mindset always resets to a state of comfortable ignorance, ready to be shocked all over again when the next messenger comes along.”
At stake here, incidentally, is not just knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but also how science informs public policy. The U.S. education system, for example, is suffused with mental testing, yet few in the political classes understand cognitive ability research. Angry and repeated condemnations of the science will not help.
What scholars of mental ability know, but have never successfully gotten the media to understand, is that a scientific consensus, based on an extensive and consistent literature, has long been reached on many of the questions that still seem controversial to journalists.
For example, virtually all psychologists believe there is a general mental ability factor(referred to colloquially as “intelligence”) that explains much of an individual’s performance on cognitive tests. IQ tests approximately measure this general factor. Psychologists recognize that a person’s IQ score, which is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, usually remains stable upon reaching adolescence. And they know that IQ scores are correlated with educational attainment, income, and many other socioeconomic outcomes.
You can read the vilification he has to endure from half-educated leftist twits like Ana Marie Cox of the Guardian here.
Now the question asks itself: why does there exist in the media – which is a stand-in for the leftist project itself – a wholly different attitude towards “consensus” on man-caused climate change (drastic, large and exclusively human-caused), and consensus in the cognitive sciences on IQ measurements (bad science, racist, disputed).
Well obviously it suits the interests of some people to believe that a vastly expanded state control of everything can and should solve the sin of carbon emissions, and that humans are sufficiently plastic (malleable) that vastly expanded state activities can equalize the condition of man regardless of the (non-existent) biologically-based differences in their intelligences.
The leftist project is acutely uncomfortable with the notion that there is a biological basis for any significant aspect of human existence, particularly if these differences reinforce existing hierarchies or the possibility of permanent inequalities or different outcomes. You know the drill: racist, sexist, classist, phallocentric, Eurocentric, differentist, and so forth.
The second outstanding feature of Richwine’s comments was to note the obduracy of the media position: no amount of factual research can influence their views on IQ (that people are all equal in all respects, and if they are not, it should not be discussed) , and that man is the exclusive cause of climate change, denial of which is heresy.
The wise political campaign that offends these principles has to take a very cautious and clever line to slip past the guardians of political correctness. I recall that during the 1984 presidential campaign, Reagan’s forces launched one of the best political ads ever. It showed a bear shambling on a ridge, backlit by the sky. The bear was only doing what bears do, snuffling the ground for grubs and nibbling on a bush. The bear was obviously a stand-in for the Russian military, which had been built up through the Brezhnev years until over 40% of the USSR’s GDP was being spent on the military. The voice-over in the ad simply asked the question: if there existed a bear, would you not want to be able to defend yourself against it. The last line of the voice-over asked, after a pause: “if there is a bear?”.
Today it seems incredible that a US political campaign would have to soft-peddle the notion that the USSR had built up an enormous military, ultimately bankrupting itself in the process. The politically correct forces of the time, however, had different ideas. Pointing out the obvious size and menace of the USSR was “McCarthyism”, “fear-mongering”, and signs of delusional thinking.
So how would a political campaign ask about how to deal with Islam?
Picture an ad showing throngs of Muslims screaming in streets, shouting anti-US or anti-Christian slogans, burning embassies, preaching hate on televisions, beheading and stoning adulterers, converts, apostates, and blocking streets in European cities with praying men, butts in the air.
The voice-over comes on:
“Imagine there is a religion which believes it is the duty of every one of its adherents to kill, enslave and degrade anyone not belonging to it.
“Imagine there is a religion whose adherents believe in removing the clitorises of young girls to secure their sexual constancy and obedience to their husbands.
“Imagine there is a religion which takes as its divinely-ordained human model a man who married his twelve year old niece, disavowed his adopted nephew to do so, slaughtered thousands of prisoners of war, and who made his lusts the criterion and authoritative guide of all male behaviour for all time?
“Imagine a religion which says its primary texts are not just divinely inspired, but are the dictations of God to man, literally and fully authoritative, even though one fifth of it cannot be logically or grammatically deciphered, even it its original language?”
“Imagine a religion that considers all inquiry, of whatever kind, to be formally forbidden”
“Imagine a religion that believes that if God says two plus two makes five, then there is no human basis for disputing that absurdity, and that to do so would merit death?
“Imagine a religion which says that the match does not light the gasoline, but that all physical events happen directly and without intermediation or operation of physical laws, but by the will of God alone?”
“Imagine if there were a religion which says that everything that happens in the universe: every molecule jiggling, every event that happen to a human, every bird falling from the sky, happens by the will of God alone?”
“Imagine the effects on scientific education and rational inquiry, when all possible subjects of inquiry: religious, philosophical or scientific, are forbidden.
“Would you not want to defend yourself against this religion? Would you not seek to have it disputed in public places by people in authority?
“If there were such a religion?”
I can see the hate-crime prosecutions now, but I can see the ad very clearly, and so do many of you, dear readers, without the benefit of televisions or computers. It is running every day, just the voice-over is missing. And now you have one.