In today’s hyper-PC, race-sensitive world, asserting that whites have higher IQs than blacks and that this is at least partially genetic is the equivalent of falling into the La Brae Tar Pits: there is no escape. Forget about marshalling scientific evidence or qualifying one’s remarks with “some experts believe . . . .” or “unpleasant as it is to admit, the evidence . . . .” The reputation-ruining stigma of racism is forever. Just ask Noble-Prize-winner James Watson or, more recently, Pat Buchannan.
Nevertheless, honesty about the higher intelligence of whites is possible without self-immolation. It is not IQ differences per se that generate outrage (most blacks probably know and accept this reality); the frenzy comes from whites linking low IQ to the idea of black inferiority. The problem is not acknowledging statistical differences but assuming that there is a racial hierarchy.
Thankfully, there is a scientifically valid escape from this trap. IQ differences need not imply superiority or inferiority. The Darwinian standard of “goodness” is surviving and passing one’s genes on to the next generation. High intelligence is just one of perhaps thousands of survival-relevant traits. What promotes survival is purely an empirical matter, independent of any moral values. Conceivably, a very high IQ could be a liability since it requires a large energy-consuming brain and a long gestation period. Larger brains may also bring multiple lethal neurological disorders. Indeed, some mothers carrying big-brained geniuses may spontaneously abort, and thus stop the mutation that caused the big brain. Meanwhile, mothers who easily and repeatedly give birth to small-brained dullards may produce dozens of surviving offspring.
A frank analysis might conclude that a high male sex drive, early female sexual maturation and a willingness to accept many sexual partners is a combination that historically far outperforms intelligence as a reproductive strategy. It is true that low population growth and investing more heavily in fewer children brings material wealth, but accumulated wealth is not survival. Though Japan and Germany are rich, high-IQ nations, they may ultimately vanish because of low reproduction rates.
Survival is what matters. Unlike various proto-humans, blacks have not gone extinct despite a low average IQ. Moreover, African behavior has shown itself to adapt to complex, fluid circumstances. Adaption includes behavior that many whites deplore, most notably a penchant for living off welfare and rampant illegitimacy. Africans also kill each other by the score, yet their populations increase. Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons are inferior to whites, but African blacks are not. Those proto-humans failed to survive, whereas blacks are flourishing.
According to UN population growth estimates, black Africans are now far out-breeding whites and Asians–the average fertility rate for Africa is 4.64 vs. 1.53 for Europe, and the European figure includes many high-fertility African and Muslims. Africans also readily adapt to varied climates and foods, even if some blacks succumb disproportionately to the cold or Big Mac-induced obesity. People of African extraction are also skilled at driving out whites–think of Zimbabwe or Detroit–while the reverse is unusual.
A black might reasonably say:
In the battle to dominate racial competitors, namely whites and Asians, we may not be the smartest as measured by IQ tests but we are out-breeding you and taking your land, and that is all that counts when calculating “good” and “bad.”
Our black chauvinist might also add that high IQ is a liability in the battle for survival. The high-IQ races are not replacing themselves, and even among blacks, high-IQ women have the lowest fertility. Yes, high IQ reduces mortality since smart people have fewer accidents, better health, less personal violence, and avoid dangerous sex etc., but this says nothing about overall proliferation, which is the Darwinian bottom line. If one needed proof of the uncertain relationship between brain power and survival, consider Ashkenazi Jews. On average, they are the smartest people on the planet, yet they struggle to avoid vanishing.
Imagine a society of 100 whites and 100 blacks. At Time 1, as a result of foolish decisions and bad habits, 25 percent of the blacks are dead while whites live into peaceful old age. Nevertheless, blacks can still be more successful in the Darwinian sense if at Time 2 nearly all whites lack progeny while the remaining black women average a half dozen children each (remember: only a single black male need survive to guarantee Darwinian success). This mini-society will soon be all black despite deadly violence and disease for the simple reason that whites, despite higher IQ and all that it brings, fail to reproduce. Can you imagine the last white standing claiming that his 140 IQ makes him superior to blacks? He would be the equivalent of the last saber tooth tiger.
Let us return to the question of how to escape from the tar pit of accusations of “racism.” Once we have set aside the question of better or worse, high IQ just means doing some things better than those with low IQs, things like inventing computers or building skyscrapers, i.e., Western civilization. Being smart is just one survival tool for some people (mainly whites and Asians), and like all advantageous traits, its value is temporary since survival demands constant adaptation. Those with narrow hips and long legs can usually run faster than pear-shaped folk, but in certain environments running speed may lose its long-term survival value.
Furthermore, the less intelligent easily exploit the advances made by high-IQ types so there is no innate or permanent advantage in being smart. Modern medicine and technology have come to Africa, too.
Though we may appreciate computers and skyscrapers, they do not necessarily ensure survival. Those engaged in the time-consuming, intellectually demanding tasks of building civilization may be too tired to breed, and thus leave their civilization to promiscuous party animals. Could Bill Gates survive in a world where only brute strength mattered? Again: the link between any one trait and Darwinian success is iffy at best, so it is inappropriate to celebrate high IQ as the preeminent virtue. Everything depends on producing children and, as we noted, high IQ is no guarantee of junior Watsons and Buchanans by the carload.
How can we use this reasoning to escape from the tar pits of racism? You are asked to explain why whites outperform blacks academically and you correctly believe this outcome largely reflects genetic differences in intelligence. In order to answer honestly but safely you say:
People who excel in school usually have higher IQs, but this is no different in principle from some people being genetically better able to avoid malaria or osteoporosis. Even if we acknowledge racial differences in IQ, the only measure of “goodness” is passing on our genes, and we are all equally proficient at this, as you can see by looking around. If blacks were “inferior” they wouldn’t be here. Case closed.
Put another way, society abounds with tasks, and some people are simply better at some tasks rather than others–not inherently better or worse. The only relevant fact is that there are a billion blacks but no surviving Neanderthals–and Neanderthals were almost certainly white.
I suspect some readers are unhappy to see intelligence (and the modern civilization it produces) reduced to just one of countless survival skills. But the aim here is not to inflate black self-esteem or disparage whites by minimizing the one ability–intelligence–in which whites clearly outperform blacks. Rather, the goal is to promote honest public discussion of intelligence as a factor in everything from crime to SAT scores. No social problems can be honestly approached without an understanding of the importance of group differences in IQ, and it is vital to refute the view that black failure can be attributed to everything but brains.
Today, it is nearly impossible to talk about brains because, as we have argued, the question of which is the “better” or “worse” race instantly poisons the discussion. The solution is to make average IQ differences a mere trait, no different in principle from lactose tolerance, that differs from group to group and that may or may not have survival value. Again–for the last time–blacks are not inferior to whites because of their lower average IQ any more than blacks are superior to whites because of their higher sex drive. Both traits may be useful for getting genes into the next generation, and in that sense are equal.
Jared Taylor replies:
As always, Mr. Kay has written a provocative and ingenious essay. Needless to say, I share his frustration at the barriers that prevent honest discussion of racial differences in rates of everything from school suspension to illegitimacy to prostate cancer. To assume, as dogma requires, that blacks and whites are biologically equivalent means that whites will forever be blamed for black failure, and that any policy that might actually help blacks will never be tried.
I admire Mr. Kay’s practical turn of mind: How can we drag the question of race and IQ out of the La Brea Tar Pits and make it fit for polite society? Since I have spent the last 25 years trying to do that–and have utterly failed–I am open to all suggestions, but I am not convinced Mr. Kay’s proposal will work. And the problem, of course, is whites rather than blacks.
As Mr. Kay notes, and as I have written elsewhere, most blacks shrug off the obvious fact of racial differences in intelligence. They think of IQ exactly as Mr. Kay suggests they should: as just one trait among many, and not necessarily a very desirable one. If a young black could trade 10 IQ points for NBA-class basketball talent, would he hesitate? (Some whites might not hesitate either.) If blacks ever worry that they are not as smart as whites, I’m sure they just remind themselves that they have “soul,” that they know how to party, that they dominate the NFL, and have better game with the ladies.
It is whites, and especially the whites who run the thought police, who are so enamored of intelligence–much as they deny it–that they cannot separate IQ from worth. They are the last people who would accept a Darwinian view of group differences, and agree that high testosterone is as good a route to reproductive success as high IQ. They are the people who play Mozart to babies in cribs and send their children to SAT cram courses. They think everyone is as obsessed with intelligence as they are, and that is why they assume–wrongly–that blacks will fly into a fury if you whisper the letters “IQ” in their ears. Despite their claims to admire such non-IQ traits as “compassion” and “spirituality,” they are constitutionally incapable of seeing intelligence as no different from resistance to malaria. They would spit fire if you gave them the “case closed” speech that Mr. Kay proposes.
This is not to say that Mr. Kay’s Darwinian analysis is wrong. It is 100 percent correct. All nature cares about is survival, and American blacks have found the perfect environment for proliferation. Where but in wealthy, guilt-ridden, white-run America could you possibly read a newspaper account of some murdered, low-g car thief who is survived by 12 children, all under age 10? As Mr. Kay points out, blacks have adapted perfectly to their new, nutrient-rich environment.
As all good Darwinians know, however, environments change, and whites, who are a crucial part of the black environment, have not always been such willing hosts. High-IQ Europeans brought African slaves from South America and the Caribbean and worked many of them to death. If Africans had been smarter they might have prevented that. Mr. Kay writes that blacks are good at displacing whites in places such as Detroit and Zimbabwe, but the picture was once very different. High-IQ whites pushed their way into southern Africa and took the best land for themselves. It was only after the devastating mid-20th-century denaturing of the white man that he became a pliant, dependable food source.
In evolutionary terms, the century that will have run from, say, 1950 to 2050, is a fantastic aberration that will never be repeated. Whites created a completely artificial environment in which low-g black car thieves really can have dozens of children, thus ensuring a steady decline in black IQ. Only whites could ever do something so insane, and either whites will recover from insanity or they will disappear. In either case, blacks will find themselves in a more conventional–and demanding–environment.
If whites do not wake up, there soon won’t be enough of them to pay for free school lunches and AIDS medicine. The Mexicans (and Asians) who will be calling the shots are not sentimental chumps. Blacks will have to fend for themselves in circumstances in which a few more IQ points would be useful after all.
The wonder is that not even the smartest black rabble-rousers realize this. Their faith in the productivity and generosity of whites is truly touching. They seem to think that even when we are a tiny minority we will still be handing out free lunches. Surely, they don’t think the Mexicans will feed them.
One of the big differences between blacks and whites is that most of the time blacks act in their own interests, but by supporting non-white immigration blacks are destroying the best ecological niche they could ever hope for. Their resentment must have got the better of them; in their frenzy to reduce the power of the white man, they have lost sight of the fact that when the white man no longer runs things the handouts will dry up.
But this is just a miscalculation of interests. If blacks could see the future clearly, they would help keep Mexicans out and encourage whites to have more children. It is whites, as usual, who do not give the slightest thought to their own interests, much less do anything to advance them.