Monday, November 07, 2005

Thoughts on Race and Equality, Part I: What is it We are Dealing with?

See also: Thoughts on Race and Equality, Part II: How Do We Deal with the IQ Gap if it Is Real?

I keep promising to post some things, but I haven't seemed to be able get around to all of them, although I did post my defense of "citizenism" on Sunday morning.

Well, here is the first part of piece I have been meaning to finish about what should be done about the racial IQ gap if it exists:

So back to a point I touched on earlier: what if there are genetic differences in IQ between different races? In an American context, what if the IQ gap between blacks and whites is genetic? How should that affect policy?

Dennis Dale suggested encouraging the smartest in the minority community to have more children in order to have a "benign eugenic" effect.

Perhaps. But for a moment, let's assume that we cannot significantly narrow the IQ gap for at least a generation or two, at least not in a permanent way. The question then becomes, assuming that we are not going to change the IQ gap, how should it effect policy and what effects of an IQ gap are inevitable and what effects are a result of our choices?

Let's think first about why this topic is important and what the basic borders are for how it would shape policy.

First of all, IQ differences, innate or not, should have no effect on the moral worth of a person. Any gaps that exist ought not to be used as an excuse to deny people their rights or to claim any sort of moral superiority.

Second, any IQ racial gaps are averages, and should be treated as such; in general, individuals ought not to be judged by the average character of whatever group they belong to. As Steve Sailer has pointed out, 6 million African-Americans are smarter than the median white person (I think those are the numbers, I can't find the reference off hand; if anyone can help I would certainl appreciate it) even if we assume that the 17-18 point IQ gap accurately reflects differences in average intelligence.

Third, the biggest reason why IQ gaps are relevant is to see whether or not racial discrimination is the primary reason for disproportionate racial representation in various fields. It is also important to deal with differences in racial IQ or in racial behavior or the relations between races because it is important to see that this is one of the ways in which we are significantly different from most European countries - and thus may explain some of the vast differences in our societies (for example, why the U.S. has more violent crime or why our welfare policies are so different from those in Europe). That is, it can explain why we shouldn't assume that policies that appear to work in Europe will work here. Nor should we assume that Europe has some magic bullet that would make our stats comparable to theirs if we followed their lead.

Fourth, studying IQ gaps might indicate strategies for dealing with pathologies that disproportionately affect certain communities.

Fifth, even if there is no racial IQ gap, any strategy aimed at helping lower-IQ individuals live productive lives would still be useful; because there will still be low-IQ individuals who need to find a way to lead a productive life even if such individuals are evenly distributed amongst all races. Therefore, many of the policies designed to help deal with a racial IQ gap would likely be useful even if there were no gap, because many could be applied to lower-IQ people even without any racial correlation.

Sixth, all persons of whatever IQ are part of society, and any attempt at "dealing with" the issue of people of lower-than-average IQ, whether there is or is not a racial correlation, will be concerned with promoting their well-being as a part of society, not looking at them as existing outside of society or as an undesirable part of society and thus looking at the problem as how to insulate society from them.
For an example of the latter point of view look at Jason Lande. In a message to Lawrence Auster, Jason Lande accuses Steve Sailer of liberalism for wanting to use "race realism" as a way to help blacks. I can only assume that Mr. Lande thinks it should be used to justify keeping blacks ghettoized and away from "decent" society. or at least as a reason why white people should not lose any sleep over problems that befall black people. I personally think that Steve Sailer's attitude of trying to use whatever insights race realism has to offer to make life better for all Americans is far preferable to the idea of using it as an excuse not to care about Americans outside one's own race, because one feels that they are savages and barbarians.

Next, in Part Two, I will discuss actual policy proposals. The majority will probably be cribbed more or less from Steve Sailer, but I don't think he ever compiled a list of all of his ideas before, so this will still be useful, methinks.

That is all for now.

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