|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 22, No. 10||October 2011|
The Decline of the West
Are Whites Lying?
Latest ACT Test Results
The Galton Report: Francis Galton, in Memoriam, Part I
David Yeagley Sues Thugs Who Shut Down 2010 AR Conference
O Tempora, O Mores!
The Decline of the West
Richard Lynn, Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations, Second Revised Edition, Ulster Institute for Social Research, 2011, 381 pp. soft cover $39.00, hard cover $60.00.
A century of genetic deterioration.
In 1996, Richard Lynn wrote a remarkable book: Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations. It was available only in hardcover for the stiff price of $59.95 and its tiny print run quickly sold out. Earlier this year, there was just one second-hand copy available on Amazon.com — for $400.
Fortunately, Prof. Lynn has just released a revised second edition, so this classic is once again obtainable. It is unquestionably the most thorough investigation of whether differential fertility rates are now reversing the achievements of millions of years of evolution.
The assumptions in this book are simple: Human characteristics are heritable. Some are more desirable than others. When people with desirable characteristics have more children than those with undesirable characteristics we evolve. When they do not we degenerate. These principles are taken for granted by plant or animal breeders; it is only when they are applied to humans that they become controversial.
The desire to improve human genetics is called “eugenics,” a word coined by the British scientist and polymath Francis Galton (1822 – 1911) in 1883. “Dysgenics,” a term first used by the British doctor Caleb Saleeby (1878 – 1940) in 1915, means the reverse: genetic deterioration.
Galton was greatly influenced by his half-cousin Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882), whose 1859 The Origin of Species revolutionized biology. Galton immediately grasped the implications of evolution for humans, and was worried that the upper classes, whom he assumed to be genetically superior, were having fewer children than the lower classes. In the past, nature had winnowed out the less fit, but modern societies kept them alive through charity. Galton thought it necessary “to replace natural selection by other processes,” namely, selective breeding. He wrote that “it would be quite practicable to produce a highly gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations.”
Darwin also worried about genetic decline. In his 1871 book, The Descent of Man, he noted that “the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind,” adding that “no-one will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.” By the end of his life, Darwin was gloomy about the future of mankind because people he called “the scum” were reproducing so quickly.
The philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903), who coined the term “survival of the fittest,” shared Darwin’s pessimism, and opposed social welfare, arguing that “to aid the bad in multiplying is, in effect, the same as maliciously providing for our descendants a multitude of enemies.” These men believed that misguided kindness had put an end to the forces of evolution.
Prof. Lynn explains that evolution works through two effects: greater reproductive success for the fit and higher mortality for the less fit. Almost all pre-industrial societies are examples of the first effect: The strongest and smartest men of the tribe become leaders and monopolize the women. One study of Kalahari Bushmen found that virtually all women had children but only 38 percent of men did.
Polygamy is therefore eugenic. Men who can support and manage many wives are likely to be superior to men who cannot, and their children inherit these superior traits. Prof. Lynn therefore argues that the Catholic Church had a dysgenic effect on the West when it banned polygamy. He wonders why the Roman emperors who adopted Christianity deprived themselves of multiple wives and scores of children, but notes that lower-class men were now better able to find wives. Prof. Lynn points out that the 4th century decision to require celibacy of priests was also dysgenic, since men with the intelligence to become priests were forced to be childless.
An example of the other evolutionary force — higher mortality of the unfit — is the culling effect of diseases. Before Europe had good sewers and clean drinking water, it was the poor, who lived in crowded and dirty conditions, who were most likely to die from childhood diseases and epidemics. The rich, who were presumably genetically superior, lived in healthier conditions and were more likely to survive. If women of all classes practiced natural fertility — that is to say, did not try to limit their childbearing — the results were eugenic because of greater mortality among the unfit.
Birth records in Europe suggest that natural fertility was nearly universal up until about 1880. The only exception was France, where the nobility and high bourgeoisie began limiting births about 80 years earlier. In 1870, the latex condom was invented, and the smartest, wealthiest, and most self-disciplined people started using it first. The number of births in the upper classes plummeted, leading to what Prof. Lynn calls dysgenic fertility, that is to say, higher fertility among the unfit than the fit. The first half of the 20th century was therefore sharply dysgenic, but later in the century, as the middle and lower classes also began to use contraception, their birthrates also declined — but not as much. In all developed countries, fertility is still dysgenic and likely to remain so.
This is not to say that natural selection has completely disappeared. Infant mortality is highest among the least intelligent and least educated; some women are simply not capable of looking after a baby. Likewise, the children of unmarried women die more frequently than those of married women. Prof. Lynn argues that this is because single mothers are more heedless and less capable than women who marry before they have children. This has always been true, but when strictures against bastardy were severe, the eugenic effect was stronger; single mothers often exposed unwanted babies. Prof. Lynn says that until the middle of the 19th century it was common to see dead babies left in gutters and on rubbish heaps.
Prof. Lynn points out that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) also contribute to natural selection because some result in sterility and AIDS can kill people of reproductive age. There are no data on the average IQs of people who get STDs because no one dares research this, but these diseases are found disproportionately in the lower classes.
Medical advances, on the other hand, are often dysgenic because they mean that people with what used to be fatal defects now live to reproduce. Prof. Lynn cites evidence that over the next 30 years in developed countries, there will be a 26 percent increase in hemophilia and a 120 percent increase in cystic fibrosis. The welfare state is, of course, highly dysgenic. It takes the sting out of reckless procreation, which is most likely to be practiced by the unfit.
Dysgenic fertility differs by sex. It is greater for women than for men, and this is true at both ends of the fitness scale. That is, compared to men, the most able women have even fewer babies and the least able women have even more. The burden of childrearing falls more heavily on women, so at the top end of the fitness scale, many smart, ambitious women put off having children while they establish careers. By the time they decide to have children, they may be infertile or able to have only one or two. At the same time, most women still want to marry men who are smarter and better educated than themselves, and the pool of potential mates becomes very small for the smartest women.
Many men can still count on a wife to look after children while they build their careers, and even if they delay having children they remain fertile much longer than women. Smart, rich, high-status men can attract mates of childbearing age even as they approach old age.
There is a mirror-image effect at the bottom end of the fitness scale. Even the dimmest, least capable women of reproductive age have no trouble finding sex partners. Such women are least likely to use contraception, and therefore have many children, especially in societies with generous welfare. Dim, incapable men, on the other hand, may have a hard time finding partners, and so have few children.
These dysgenic effects are worse for blacks than for whites. Many low-IQ black women have many children, whereas smart, educated black women cannot find black men at their own social level. The average intelligence of blacks is therefore falling faster than that of whites.
Is average IQ actually falling? The first eugenicists had no way of measuring the decline because they did not have IQ tests. Once they became available, scientists hit upon a clever way to determine if fertility was dysgenic: measure the IQs of children and see if the smart ones had fewer siblings than the dim ones. Because siblings have similar IQs, if smart children have few brothers and sisters, it means average IQ is falling. The first tests of this kind were carried out in the 1920s and found a clear, negative correlation between IQ and number of siblings.
Some people have argued that even if smart children have fewer brothers and sisters than dim children, it is not because smart parents are having fewer children, but because parents put more effort into fewer children, thus boosting their IQs.
This is unlikely. First, single children are no smarter than children with just one sibling, despite the fact that they presumably get twice as much parental attention. The IQ differences are found between one- and two-child families and four- and five-child families. At the same time, the negative correlation between IQ and number of siblings is not found in families of adopted children. Finally, there are some underdeveloped countries that do not yet have dysgenic fertility, and family size has no correlation with intelligence.
Another way to check for dysgenic fertility is to test a representative sample of adults for intelligence and see whether the smart ones have fewer children. This method also suggests decline. Prof. Lynn cites many attempts to calculate the rate of decline in Western societies, with figures running from 3 IQ points per generation to 0.58 points per generation. He concludes that estimates in the lower range are more accurate.
Prof. Lynn points out that the gene pool deteriorates even if there is perfectly even fertility — neither eugenic nor dysgenic. Imagine a population in which every child reaches maturity and has exactly two children each. This would ensure genetic stability — but for mutations. The human body is already so well designed that mutations are almost always harmful, and greater exposure to chemicals and radiation makes them more common. Thus, a certain amount of eugenic fertility is necessary just to stay even.
Intelligence is rising
Despite all the reasons to believe that the average intelligence is falling in developed societies, it has actually been rising for the last half century or so. This rise, known as the Flynn Effect (though it should perhaps be known as the Lynn-Flynn Effect because Prof. Lynn wrote about this rise even earlier than did Prof. James R. Flynn for whom it is named), was discovered by using IQ tests standardized for different time periods. Tests are regularly “renormed,” that is, they are given to a large, representative sample and the questions adjusted so that the average is 100.
It was a surprise to many psychologists to learn that people in developed countries do better on tests normed for 1950, say, than on tests normed for 1980. The older tests are easier, which means IQ is rising — as much as two to three points per decade since the 1940s.
Various theories have been proposed to explain this. One was that children have become “test wise,” that is, they have simply got better at taking tests even if they are actually less intelligent. This is unlikely, though, because two- to six-year-olds, who have not had time to become “test wise,” get higher scores, too. Another theory was that children were maturing more rapidly, showing an IQ gain over children of earlier decades, but that their adult IQ scores were no higher. Wrong again. Adults get higher scores, too.
Prof. Lynn believes that improved nutrition accounts for the rise, and that this masks the genetic deterioration that must be taking place. Genetic intelligence has been declining, but phenotypic intelligence — its expression in human beings — has been rising. Prof. Lynn likens this to planting worse and worse seeds but getting ever-larger harvests by pouring on more and more fertilizer.
Nutrition has diminishing returns, however, and can raise IQ by only so much; Prof. Lynn points out that Flynn-Effect gains have stopped in most developed countries. Denmark, for example, which tests all young men for military conscription, is typical: It found that average IQ peaked in 1998, with a gentle decline since then. Prof. Lynn believes further declines are inevitable as the effects of dysgenic fertility begin to bite. Poor countries, on the other hand, can look forward to Flynn-Effect increases as their diets improve.
The early eugenicists recognized that high achievement requires not just intelligence but also persistence and self-discipline, which they called “character.” Again, they had no tools for measuring character but were convinced that the upper classes had more of it than the lower classes, and that dysgenic fertility meant deterioration in character.
Today, there are various ways to measure what psychologists call “conscientiousness.” One is by using pencil-and-paper tests, which give surprisingly consistent and reliable results. Conscientiousness is, indeed, correlated with social class and is highly heritable, just like intelligence. Twin studies and adoption studies of the kind that measure the heritability of intelligence suggest that about two-thirds of the variation in conscientiousness is due to genes, and one-third to environment. For example, one adoption study found that the level of psychopathic personality — considered the opposite of conscientiousness — of the biological mother was a three-times better predictor of psychopathic personality in a child than was the level of psychopathy of the adopting mother.
Smoking, alcoholism, obesity, sexually transmitted disease, and illegitimate childbearing are also considered signs of low conscientiousness because people with strong wills usually avoid these things. Not surprisingly, they are found more often in the lower and working classes. In like manner, it is typical to find that working-class children prefer a small reward now rather than a large reward later, whereas upper-class children have the discipline to forego a small reward now for a bigger one later.
The famous Terman Study of the Gifted that identified 1,400 highly intelligent young Californians in 1921 and has tracked them ever since, found that those who did not achieve at high levels lacked conscientiousness. As Terman himself noted, “intellect and achievement are far from perfectly correlated.”
Criminality is another example of “bad character” and is likewise heritable. In one study, researchers found 41 female criminals who had given 52 babies up for adoption. They also found another sample of 52 adopted children from mothers of non-criminal but otherwise comparable women. All the children were adopted by non-criminal families. Seventeen of the children of criminals ended up with criminal records whereas none of the other children did. Prof. Lynn examines several similar studies and concludes that criminality is .68 heritable for men and .58 for women.
Eugenicists, of course, are curious to know whether criminals have more children than non-criminals, but Prof. Lynn was surprised to find that no one has ever researched this question. From the 1950s to the 1990s, when crime rates were rising quickly, this would have been an obvious area of study, but political considerations no doubt ruled it out. Prof. Lynn did find that criminals have more siblings than non-criminals, and has little doubt that crime-related genes have been spreading for many decades. Nor has there been a Flynn effect to counter genetic decline; during the 20th century crime rates soared in the developed world, just as eugenicists would have predicted.
Egalitarians are repelled by the thought, but social classes are genetically stratified. Egalitarians would rather believe that if upper-class children do better in life, it is because they got unfair advantages from their upper-class parents. However, as Prof. Lynn points out, one third of all children end up in a different social class from that of their parents — either up or down. A child’s IQ is a better predictor of where he will end up than is the social class of his parents.
Adoption studies support the importance of IQ: There is hardly any correlation between an adopted child’s eventual social level and that of his adoptive parents. There is a strong correlation with that of his biological parents.
Education has a high correlation with intelligence and social class, and Prof. Lynn offers eye-opening data on education and unplanned births. In 1998, American mothers who were high school dropouts admitted that no fewer than 58 percent of their births had been unplanned. The figures for high school graduates was 46 percent; for mothers with some college 39 percent; for college graduates 27 percent. It is likely always to be the case that the least educated will practice contraception least competently.
As the table below shows, Latin America has sharply dysgenic fertility. The “dysgenic ratio” is calculated by dividing the fertility of the group with the least education by the fertility of the group with the most. According to polls, Latin American mothers with little education are not having more children because they want them. Like their North American counterparts, they are having them by accident.
As the next table shows, some of the better-off African countries have reached the dysgenic-fertility stage, but most have not. In the poorest countries not even the upper classes use contraception, so fertility is not dysgenic. At least this was still the case in the late 1970s.
Prof. Lynn notes that immigration affects the genetic quality of a population. Given the mix of low-IQ people coming to the United States, he predicts a 4.4 point decline in average IQ between 2000 and 2050. He expects gentler declines in Canada and New Zealand because they receive relatively more high-IQ Chinese immigrants.
Needless to say, world fertility is sharply dysgenic because North Asians and whites are not even replacing themselves while the populations of Africa and South Asia are growing quickly. Prof. Lynn predicts that between 2000 and 2050 there should be a world-wide decline of 1.29 IQ points per generation for this reason alone.
It is, of course, taboo to notice or care about any of this, but this was not always so. Prof. Lynn points out that eugenics was broadly supported up through the first half of the 20th century. Perhaps its high point was a 1963 meeting attended by three Nobel laureates in genetics, Francis Crick, Hermann Muller, and Joshua Lederberg, all of whom were staunch eugenicists. Crick, for example, said that it was bad for society to let everyone have children, and that only people who met certain criteria should be licensed to reproduce.
The subsequent decline of eugenics was very quick. When the British scientist Steven Jones was appointed in 1990 to head what was still known as the Galton Laboratory at University College in London (and absorbed by the biology department in 1996), he said he considered Galton “a fascist swine.”
Today, eugenics is held in universal disrepute but many objections to it are silly. James Neel of the University of Michigan claims that “any attempt at varying the number of children according to parental attributes requires massive value judgments which cannot be supported on social or scientific grounds.”
Massive value judgments? Educational curricula and the criminal codes are both based on value judgments. Nor do people have much trouble naming traits they consider desirable — unless they are academics. Another anti-eugenicist, David Smith of the University of South Carolina, asks: “Is mental retardation always a disease to be prevented, or is it a human condition worthy of being valued?”
One British scholar, Donald McKay, says there should be no attempt to raise the general level of intelligence because that would make criminals smarter. He doesn’t seem to realize that the police would be smarter too, and that if criminals were smarter they would be more likely to find proper jobs.
Of course, virtually everyone understands that genetic laws apply to human beings, and intelligent people practice eugenics to the extent they can. Most obviously, they choose their spouses carefully. Many pregnant women undergo amniocentesis, which gives an indication of the genotype of the fetus, and has only one purpose: to make it possible to abort defectives. Known carriers of serious genetic illnesses may also seek “genetic counseling” before they have children.
People looking for egg or sperm donors are often very particular about what they want. Most supply agencies offer detailed profiles of donors that often include SAT, ACT, or IQ scores. Some infertile couples solicit especially outstanding donors through advertisements in Ivy League college newspapers.
Eugenics and dysgenics are yet another self-destructive taboo, and with this magisterial treatment, Prof. Lynn has again given us a splendid contribution to our understanding of ourselves.
Are Whites Lying?
A reply to Greenberg and Taylor.
In the lead article in the August 2011 issue, Robert Greenberg writes that when whites talk about blacks they are guilty of “outrageous fabrications” and “deliberate lying.” He claims that everyone from Melinda Gates to Mayor Bloomberg of New York is lying shamelessly when they say blacks and whites have equal abilities.
Jared Taylor disagrees. He writes in the same issue that whites really do believe what they say about racial equality, and that if you believe what you are saying — even if it is fantastically wrong — you are not lying.
I come down on Mr. Taylor’s side. To be sure, there are white race hustlers who are lying, but in my experience the great majority of whites who proclaim black equality really, truly believe what they are saying. The question is, why would anyone believe what Mr. Taylor calls “such foolishness”?
First, much of what we know — or think we know — comes from mediated rather than direct experience. We don’t actually see, hear, touch, smell, and taste for ourselves. Other people tell us what is real and what that reality means. We learn from teachers, books, television, journalists, politicians, religious figures, family members, and friends.
And if everyone is saying the same thing it creates a powerful conventional wisdom. Everything in the discourse of our time — the idea flow, the public and personal dialogue — says blacks and whites are equal. Most of us therefore believe; who are we to stand up against all that? The idea of equality has become so powerful that when most people learn there is a one-standard deviation difference in black and white IQ scores, they honestly believe the tests are biased.
Second, as the late psychologist Abraham Maslow explained, people have needs that come before anything else: water, food, clothing, shelter, security, love and belonging, sex, self-respect and the approval of others. Most people go along with anything that satisfies those needs. Believing the racial dogma brings Maslow payoffs; doubting it brings punishment.
Put these two things together and you have a theory of behavior. All I need to know is the ideas that might come into people’s heads, and the Maslow-related rewards or punishments that will follow. I can then predict what the vast majority of people are going to do and believe. The truth has very little to do with it.
Human beings are malleable. In Germany in the 1930s, they are National Socialists. In China in the 1960s and ’70s, they are Red Guards. In America in the ’40s and ’50s, they root out Communists. In our time, in America and Europe, they hunt down racists. You say, “I’d never be a Nazi, not me.” The fact is, you would.
Humans are herd creatures, conformists. They truly believe what other people believe, whatever that may be. Meeting Maslow’s basic needs is top priority and everything else is subordinate. Therefore, when experience contradicts beliefs, people suffer from uncomfortable dissonance, but the Maslow needs still have to be met, so they try to get back into equilibrium. Most of the time that means denying or misinterpreting their own experiences, rather than abandoning beliefs that have Maslow payoffs.
This happens all the time. People see video footage of flash mobs, but deny that blacks are more crime-prone than whites. Every report on school performance confirms that whites and Asians do better than blacks and Hispanics, but most whites either deny the validity of the tests or trot out excuses: “poverty,” “institutional racism,” “the legacy of Jim Crow.”
People go to great lengths to protect their beliefs; they simply ignore anything that threatens them. You have something to say about racial differences in IQ? They don’t hear you. You don’t exist. Arthur Jensen and Charles Murray and Michael Levin write books explaining that genes account for much of the difference in black/white ability. These books don’t exist.
If you have ever tried to talk to one of these people about an idea that leads to Maslow punishment rather than payoffs you know what I mean. They get a slight smile. They pretend you’re not in the room. If you are too articulate or go on too long, they will try to shut you up even if they are normally “nice” people. They will take away your microphone, tell other people you are evil, turn you down for tenure, ostracize you, get you fired. They really believe you must be silenced, and they aren’t lying about that.
There are exceptions. A few people believe in free speech, and good for them. But the vast majority of people are incapable of believing anything unfashionable, and are happy to see dissidents silenced.
Mr. Greenberg argues that the “lies” white people tell about blacks are particularly baffling because they are not the normal kind of lie that leads to an advantage by tricking someone. It’s true that whites are not trying to trick anyone — I don’t think they are even lying — but they are seeking advantages. When they say conventional things about blacks they get support and acceptance.
Mr. Greenberg also marvels that the usual deterrent to lying — being exposed — doesn’t seem to stop whites from telling lies. But when everyone who matters agrees about something, it is only cranks who disagree. Who is going to “expose” Mayor Bloomberg or Melinda Gates? Robert Greenberg? Jared Taylor? Robert Griffin? We are hardly a threat.
Finally, Mr. Greenberg shakes his head over the spectacle of all this “lying” in a culture that, at least in principle, respects truth. In fact, there are many settings in which truth is hardly the first priority. In my world, the university, what people conceive to be “social justice” is far more important than truth. In sports, winning comes first. In business it’s profits, and in show business it’s celebrity. And so on.
I’m glad the term “race realism” is gaining popularity, because reality is our great ally. Our opponents desperately want to avoid facing what is real. To lie is to understand the difference between what is real and what is not. When it comes to race, I don’t think most Americans can tell them apart.
Robert S. Griffin teaches education at the University of Vermont, and is the author of The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds: An Up-Close Portrait of White Nationalist William Pierce.
Latest ACT Test Results
Racial gaps are widening.
ACT (known until 1996 as American College Testing) publishes a national college admission and placement examination that has been in use since 1959. Its popularity is increasing. Forty-nine percent — about 1.62 million — of 2011 high school graduates took the exam at least once, slightly more than took its competitor, the SAT. Composite ACT scores range from 1 to 36 in a bell-curve distribution. The test is accepted at all US colleges and universities, though not all require it. Most students take the ACT test in their junior or senior year, and a student may take it as many as 12 times.
Since 2006, the ACT organization has released data on the percentage of students who met its College Readiness Benchmarks, which it defines as “minimum scores needed on the ACT subject area tests to indicate a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding first-year credit-bearing college courses.” The four ACT subject-area tests are English, math, science, and reading, which correspond to freshman courses in English Composition, Algebra, Biology, and introductory social sciences.
There are considerable racial differences in scores (see Figure 1). In 2011, only 4 percent of blacks and 11 percent of Hispanics met all four College Readiness Benchmarks, compared to 31 percent of whites and 41 percent of Asians. This means that Asian graduates who took the ACT are 10 times more likely than black graduates to be prepared for all four college courses. Scores for American Indians track those for Hispanics almost perfectly.
Since 2006, there has been only slight improvement in black and Hispanic scores, whereas whites and especially Asians have made considerable gains (see Figure 2). All four racial groups improved in math and science, but in English and reading, Hispanics did not show much improvement, and black scores declined.
These four groups accounted for 90 percent of the one quarter of high school graduates who met all four College Readiness Benchmarks (the other 10 percent were American Indian, mixed race, or undeclared). Of that 90 percent — 362,920 students in all — 83.9 percent were white, 7.6 percent were Asian, 6.1 percent were Hispanic, and 2.5 percent were black. If college admissions were limited to these students, campuses would be overwhelmingly white.
The ACT achievement gap seems to be increasing (see Figure 3). Average composite scores for blacks have not improved since 2005, and those for Hispanics dropped by 0.2. Whites have improved by 0.5 and Asians by 1.5.
In 2010, the ACT published a report called “Mind the Gaps: How College Readiness Narrows Achievement Gaps in College Success.” It noted that “racial/ethnic and family income gaps may seem large and persistent” but assured readers that a “straightforward remedy” would be to provide underachievers with a “rigorous core curriculum that is clearly focused on the essential knowledge and skills for college and career readiness.”
Affirmative action ensures racial diversity in the freshman class, but not as much in the graduating class. Six years after enrolling in four-year colleges, the following percentages of the different groups have graduated: Asians – 71 percent, whites – 68 percent, American Indians – 55 percent, Hispanics – 54 percent, blacks – 51 percent. Furthermore, according to the report, Indians, Hispanics, and blacks are “almost twice as likely to take one or more remedial courses in college as are Asian American and white students.”
The report notes that minorities are projected to become the majority by 2050, and adds somberly that “persistent gaps in college success among racial/ethnic and family income groups [will] become untenable.”
The Galton Report
Francis Galton, in Memoriam, Part I
The Galton Report is a column started in AR by the late Prof. Glayde Whitney, who named it after Francis Galton (1822-1911), the great 19th-century British polymath, statistician, social scientist, and eugenicist. This year is the centenary of Galton’s death and it is therefore appropriate to review his work and see how valid his conclusions remain today.
Galton’s statistical work was some of his most important, and laid the foundations for many of his other achievements. He devised the method for calculating the correlation coefficient, which is today used universally in the social sciences. He also solved the subtleties of regression to the mean, which some statisticians consider to be one of the greatest achievements in the history of science.
Galton published papers on many topics, some of them quite controversial. One was on the effectiveness of prayer. He argued that if prayer works, monarchs should live longer than ordinary folks, since millions of their subjects pray for them to enjoy a long life. He found that the life span of monarchs is about the same as that of their subjects, and concluded that prayers, even in the millions, are not effective. However, his most controversial work was on intelligence, and it is this that we shall discuss in these columns.
All of Galton’s important insights on intelligence can be found in his first book, Hereditary Genius, published in 1869 when he was 47 years old. He argued five principal points. First, he asserted that people vary greatly in intelligence: “[T]he range of mental powers between . . . the greatest and the least of English intellects, is enormous” (p. 66). This is widely accepted today but was a novel idea in the mid-19th century.
Galton sent a copy of his book to his cousin Charles Darwin, who replied, saying that hitherto he had always supposed that there was not much difference between people in intelligence (“excepting fools”) and that differences in achievement were largely due to differences in application, but that after reading Hereditary Genius he was convinced Galton was right.
Galton’s second contention was that intelligence is a single entity that can be directed into different activities. Thus, he wrote, “People lay too much stress on apparent specialities, thinking over-rashly perhaps, that because a man is devoted to some particular pursuit, he could not possibly have succeeded in anything else” (p.64). Galton held that those who reach high levels of achievement in one field could have risen as high in any number of others.
This contention was to some degree confirmed by Charles Spearman in his famous 1904 paper in which he demonstrated the existence of g, the general mental ability that is an important determinant of performance in all cognitive tasks. Spearman’s theory was disputed in the first half of the 20th century by some psychologists who maintained that there are a number of independent intelligences (verbal, spatial-mathematical, musical, etc.), and this position is still maintained by Prof. Howard Gardner, but it is now very much a minority view.
Nevertheless, it has also become universally accepted that in addition to Spearman’s g, there are a number of more specific abilities that contribute to a person’s achievement. For example, there is a mathematical ability that is apparently independent of g. An outstanding mathematician needs to have strong g but also strong mathematical ability as well.
Furthermore, it is now known that g is less important, and special abilities correspondingly more important among people with high IQs. Thus, it is now considered very improbable that Einstein, for example, could equally well have become an outstanding novelist, painter, or composer, if he had chosen that kind of work. It is equally improbable that van Gogh could have become an outstanding mathematician or physicist. Hence, Galton was partly right in pointing out that what is known as general intelligence is important for high achievement, but he overstated the case when he claimed that a person of high intelligence could succeed in any field. It is now accepted that there is more to intelligence than g.
Galton’s third contention was that intelligence is much more strongly determined by inheritance than by environment. He supported this position by examining the achievements of the relatives of eminent men. He argued that if intelligence is largely hereditary, there should be more eminent men among the relatives of eminent men than among the general population. He examined the pedigrees of eminent scientists, lawyers, writers, and others, and showed that this was so. He also found that the number of eminent relatives declined when going from first-degree to the second-degree relatives, and from the second-degree to third. He found, for example, that the sons of very eminent men are less eminent than their fathers, and their grandsons even less eminent.
Some have claimed that this can be explained as an environmental effect. They argue that eminent men often had the environmental advantages of encouragement and tuition, of the kind Mozart received from his father, but then failed to give their own children similar advantages, with the result that their sons were less accomplished. Galton anticipated this objection by showing that the adopted sons of popes rarely achieved eminence of any kind, despite their environmental advantages.
Galton realized that what he called the nature-nurture problem could best be solved by examining the differences in intelligence between identical and non-identical twins, and that if nature (genetic factors) is important, identical twins should be more similar in intelligence than fraternal twins. Many studies of this kind were carried out in the 20th century and showed that Galton was right.
This research has been supplemented by studies of the extent to which identical twins separated shortly after birth and brought up in different families resemble each other in intelligence. It is now well known that pairs of twins are remarkably similar, despite being reared in different environments.
A third set of studies examined the similarities of biologically unrelated children who were adopted and brought up in the same family. The environmental theory predicts they should be similar, while the genetic theory predicts they should be dissimilar. These studies found that adopted children had hardly any similarities, indicating yet again that genes have a stronger influence than environment on intelligence.
Despite all this evidence, throughout much of the 20th century there was no consensus on the genetic contribution to intelligence. Some psychologists, such as Arthur Jensen and Richard Herrnstein in the United States, and Sir Cyril Burt and Hans Eysenck in Britain, took a strong genetic position, while others such as Leon Kamin in the United States even asserted that there was no persuasive evidence that genes had any effect on intelligence at all.
By the end of the 20th century, the argument had been won by the hereditarians, and the heritability of intelligence is now virtually universally accepted as lying between 40 and 80 percent. In young children, the heritability is lowest at about 40 percent. It rises in later childhood, and is about 80 percent in adults. This suggests that family influences have a temporary boosting (or, in some cases, lowering) effect on the intelligence of young children but this wears off as the children become older and they reach their natural level, which is mainly determined by genes. So Galton was right about the high heritability of intelligence.
Galton advanced two more important ideas about intelligence. These concerned race differences, and his formulation of the concept of eugenics. We will take these questions up in subsequent columns.
Galton, F. (1869). Hereditary Genius. London: Macmillan, republished by Collins, 1962.
David Yeagley Sues Thugs Who Shut Down 2010 AR Conference
Brings suit for conspiracy and tortious interference.
The American Renaissance conference planned for February 2010 had to be cancelled because three successive hotels that had agreed to host the meeting were intimidated by “anti-fascist” thugs (see “Reflections on the 2010 AR Conference,” AR, April 2010). We are pleased to learn that one of the speakers planned for the conference, David Yeagley, has filed suit against the “anti-fascists” on charges of conspiracy and tortious interference with contract.
It is high time that the shameless attacks on our right to assemble got the response they deserve. Joe Sibley of the Houston, Texas, firm of Camara and Sibley is lead counsel in the case.
David Yeagley, the great-great-grandson of the legendary Comanche chief Bad Eagle, has filed charges in Oklahoma state court against Jeffrey Imm, Daryl Lamont Jenkins, and several other “John Doe” defendants whose names will be added to the suit as their identities become known.
According to Dr. Yeagley’s complaint:
These Defendants and their co-conspirators contacted hotels retained to host Plaintiff’s speaking engagement and used threats of murder, violence, and other tactics to induce those hotels to breach their contractual agreement to host Plaintiff’s speaking engagement. These terrorists must now be brought to answer for their actions . . . .
He adds the following about the defendants:
While their monikers and supposed ideologies may differ, there is one thing they all have in common: They will use any means necessary, including violence and threats of violence, to stop those whom they disagree with from associating and expressing their views.
Dr. Yeagley is seeking actual monetary damages for the harm he suffered because of the cancelation, in addition to “unlimited punitive damages” and “such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.”
Dr. Yeagley is an accomplished musician, composer, author, and political commentator. His commentaries on American patriotism have so infuriated liberal Indians that a few have even accused him of being an imposter and not really an Indian.
When asked about his decision to sue, Dr. Yeagley replied, “It is my cultural and traditional duty to defend my nation. America is my adopted nation, and it is an honor to defend her freedoms. Our freedoms are imperiled by the actions of what amount to liberal racists.”
Being a plaintiff in a lawsuit is very burdensome and time-consuming, and we are gratified that Dr. Yeagley has taken this decisive step. Dr. Yeagley is by no means a wealthy man. He manages a small, 501(c)3 educational public charity. We encourage all those who approve of his action against the “anti-fascists” to send a tax-deductible contribution to:
Bad Eagle Foundation
PO Box 75017
Oklahoma City, OK 73147
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Genetics and Intelligence
Researchers led by the University of Edinburgh’s Dr. Ian Deary have finished a study that they say “unequivocally confirm[s] that a substantial proportion of individual differences in intelligence is due to genetic variation.” The team estimates that at least 40 percent of crystallized-type intelligence (measured by tests of acquired knowledge) and at least 51 percent of fluid-type intelligence (measured by tests of problem-solving) are inheritable.
The study involved 3,511 healthy Caucasian adults who were not related to each other, and whose IQs had been thoroughly tested. Each participant’s genome was compared with the others with regard to 549,692 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A SNP (pronounced “snip”) is a location on a person’s genome that differs from that of another person by a single nucleotide, or DNA base pair. It reflects the smallest level of genetic difference between two people. Careful correlations between SNPs and measured IQs definitively proved that genetic variation accounts for a significant proportion of individual variation in intelligence.
Before this study, there was very little direct genetic evidence for the heritability of intelligence. The researchers noted that this is the first study to show “biologically and unequivocally” that “purely genetic (SNP) information can be used to predict intelligence.”
The team also found conclusive evidence that intelligence is highly polygenic, that is to say, many genes each have a small effect on overall intelligence. The researchers were unable to pinpoint specific genetic loci that contribute to intelligence, noting that to do so would require a larger sample.
Bell Curve co-author Charles Murray says this is a “landmark” study, and points out that “shelves of books and articles denying or minimizing the heritability of IQ have suddenly become obsolete.” He noted that “those who continue to claim that IQ tests don’t measure anything real inside the brain also have their work cut out for them.” This paper has been largely ignored by the media. [I.J. Deary et al., Genome-wide Association Studies Establish that Human Intelligence Is Highly Heritable and Polygenic, Molecular Psychiatry, August 9, 2011. Charles Murray, The Debate About Heritability of General Intelligence Radically Narrows, American Enterprise Institute, August 11, 2011.]
Elizabeth Wright, RIP
Elizabeth Wright died in August, several months after moving into a hospice for cancer care. She was a black woman who had a piercingly clear understanding of race and wrote in an uncompromising style. She was the editor of Issues and Views, in which she wrote commentaries against racial preferences, and in favor of self-help for blacks. She was adamantly opposed to Third-World immigration, about which she once wrote this:
The new dominant ethnics come to this land with their own sob stories of oppression. Unlike whites, they are hardly likely to fall over one another to apologize for past wrongs. Nor are they likely to spend their time in Congress concocting new laws designed to discriminate against their own sons and daughters in favor of blacks. “Reparations,” did you say? Just wait until the first move is made to un-name and re-name some of those Martin Luther King, Jr. boulevards.
Elizabeth Wright fully understood the need for racially conscious whites to organize and to defend their interests, and had nothing but contempt for whites who fawned over blacks. Her comments on the flap over radio host Don Imus were typical. On April 4, 2007, Mr. Imus referred to the largely black Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.” He then apologized to everyone in sight and even abased himself to Al Sharpton, but lost his job anyway. Elizabeth Wright wrote this:
So, after all this cringing and groveling, what was accomplished? Nothing more than could have been if Imus had initially said, ‘Take this job and stuff it!’ And how many more white men will feel compelled to prostrate themselves at the feet of blacks? While he was down there, it’s surprising that Imus failed to wash Sharpton’s feet — a practice that actually was performed on the feet of black men by the contrite white members of the ‘Christian’ organization Promise Keepers. What a wonderful set of role models they make.
Elizabeth Wright wrote occasionally for Vdare.com, and several of her essays appeared on the AR website. She was a very private person, and though she corresponded with AR editor Jared Taylor, she politely declined when he asked to meet her. She gently deflected questions about her background and personal life, but there can be no doubt that she suffered terribly because of the positions she took.
A woman who could write and think as clearly as Elizabeth Wright could have achieved prominence. Instead, she courageously chose to write what she believed, whatever the consequences. She was a remarkable woman, the like of whom we are not likely to see again.
Needless to say, the champions of “tolerance” and “diversity” hated her. One People’s Project, a self-styled “anti-fascist” website, wrote a brief notice of her death under the headline, “Elizabeth Wright, Rot in Hell.”
Linking Up is Hard to Do
San Diego, California, is having a hard time with integration. The school district lets parents choose schools for their children. Administrators thought parents would choose “diversity,” but they choose homogeneity instead. For example, Jefferson Elementary is in the North Park part of town, but fewer than half of the students for whom it is the “neighborhood school” attend. The rest go to different schools outside the neighborhood.
Kathy Taylor, a white woman who lives in North Park, planned to send her child to Jefferson — until she took a tour and found that virtually all the students were Hispanic. “Is this really my neighborhood school?” she wondered. Mrs. Taylor expected to find the children of the nice white people who attend outdoor concerts in a nearby park. “I wanted this feeling of community,” she said, but “everybody is sending their kids to other places.” She decided Jefferson Elementary was not for her, either.
Hispanics, on the other hand, like Jefferson. They are using their own school choice options to send their children outside their own neighborhoods to Jefferson so they can be with other Hispanics. [Emily Alpert, The Resegregation of North Park, Voices of San Diego, Aug. 31, 2011.]
Meanwhile, the city’s black and Hispanic homosexuals are upset because they think they were left out of a celebration called San Diego Pride. The festival, which was held on July 16 and 17, had various stages and performance areas, but no “diversity stages” just for blacks or Hispanics. Latin Pride and Ebony Pride used to have their own festivals, and claim they agreed to a joint celebration with San Diego Pride only on the condition that they have their own performance stages. Judi Schaim, co-chairwoman of the board of San Diego Pride says she never heard of this, though such an agreement might have been struck with previous management.
Representatives of Latin Pride and Ebony Pride say they will go back to having segregated festivals if San Diego Pride does not give them segregated “diversity stages.” [Jonathan Young, Pride Criticized for Lacking Diversity, LGBT Weekly (San Diego), August 25, 2011.]
Maybe people in San Diego could have learned something from a $100,000 study just published by the school district of Irving, Texas. The district is 71 percent Hispanic and 12 percent black, and an investigation of black fifth graders found that they don’t like being the minority. A report called “The Skin They’re In” says black children feel “isolated” and “inferior” because they can’t understand anything when Hispanic children speak to each other in Spanish. Black children also think teachers treat Hispanic students more favorably, and they are lonely because classrooms are “full of minority students whose brown mannerisms, style, and language form the dominant culture of Irving’s elementary classrooms.”
Will Irving give black children classes where “black mannerisms, style, and language form the dominant culture?” No. Instead, teachers “have opened up a dialog to encourage equality.” [Debbie Denmon, Irving ISD Study Finds Black Fifth Graders Feel ‘Lonely,’ WFAA (Dallas), August 29, 2011.]
Cornell Jones is a convicted drug trafficker who was later glorified in the Black Entertainment Television series “American Gangster.” He went on to start a non-profit agency called Miracle Hands that was supposed to help Washington, DC, HIV and AIDS carriers. Over the years, he had what is delicately referred to in the press as a “relationship” with Debra Rowe, the head of the district’s HIV/AIDS Administration, and received more than $5.8 million in grants from 2000 through February of this year.
In 2007, Miracle Hands received $329,000 from the HIV/AIDS Administration to turn a derelict warehouse into a job training center for AIDS carriers. The money went into the warehouse, alright, but it did not become a training center. Instead, it opened in March 2010 as the Stadium Club, which claims to offer “Five Star Dining and a Premier Gentleman’s Club Experience.” In plainer terms: a strip joint.
Only now, it appears, is the DC Attorney General getting around to filing charges against Miracle Hands and Mr. Jones, seeking $1 million in damages. [Jeffrey Anderson, D.C. Seeks to Recover Nonprofit Funds Used to Renovate Strip Club, Washington Times, August 30, 2011.]
On March 28, Jennifer O’Brien, a first-grade teacher at School 21 in Paterson, New Jersey, wrote on her Facebook page, “I’m not a teacher — I’m a warden for future criminals.” Half her students are black and the other half are Hispanic, so within days, she drew national attention. A small group of parents and “activists” even protested at the school. Miss O’Brien deleted the comment and apologized to her principal. However, on April 1 — just four days after the posting — the school district suspended her without pay and started the procedure to revoke her tenure.
Miss O’Brien is now in a fight for her job. In August, she attended a two-day hearing before an administrative law judge, who will recommend whether Miss O’Brien be fired. She told the judge that she wrote the posts out of frustration because six or seven unruly students kept disrupting her lessons and distracting children who wanted to learn. She added that some students had stolen a box of stickers she used as prizes, and that one had hit another child. One had even attacked Miss O’Brien and, as she explained, “If you’re hitting your teacher at 6 or 7 years old, that’s not a good path.”
Rev. Kenneth Clayton, president of the Paterson branch of the NAACP said Miss O’Brien should be fired. He said her comment “helps us realize again that racism has not been erased from our country,” adding that “if a teacher or any adult leader could look at children like that in the first grade and think that, then the children are doomed.” A lawyer for the school district agreed, saying it was especially painful for Miss O’Brien to have described her students as future criminals because many live in high-crime areas.
Capt. James Smith, executive director of security for Paterson schools, testified on behalf of Miss O’Brien. He said that police got 9,000 calls for service during the past year for the School-21 neighborhood. Among these calls were 41 for fights with weapons, 29 for robberies, and hundreds for gang activity, drugs and other “quality-of-life issues.”
The principal of the school testified that he saw no evidence that Miss O’Brien had a low opinion of her first graders, and no one could think of an occasion when she had said anything inappropriate about her students since she joined the school district in 1998.
The judge will accept briefs from both sides on Oct. 10, and will then have 45 days to issue an opinion on whether Miss O’Brien should keep her $60,000-a-year-job. Curiously, the education bureaucrats can then ignore the opinion if they want. [Leslie Brody, Paterson Teacher Who Called Students ‘Future Criminals’ in Facebook Post Defends Herself in Hearing, The Record, Aug. 25, 2011].
Fake Ivy League Blacks
For decades, Ivy League schools have been trying to admit fewer white students. This year, at both Dartmouth and University of Pennsylvania the freshman class is 44 percent non-white. Harvard and Brown did not cite figures but said there were fewer whites in their freshman classes than ever. (They didn’t put it that way — they said there were record levels of “diversity.”)
Blacks are still beefing. They say too many of the black faces at the Ivies are immigrants. They cite a 2007 study at Princeton and Penn that found that although African immigrants are less than 1 percent of the US population, they accounted for 41 percent of the black students in the Ivy League. This means they are over four times more likely than American blacks to be admitted. (These figures do not include black Caribbean immigrants, who are also much more likely than American blacks to attend top schools.) Forty-four percent of adult African immigrants are college graduates whereas only 18 percent of American blacks are.
African immigrants are richer than US blacks. In 2000 they had a median household income of $45,000 compared to a median figure of $30,000 for American blacks. They are also more likely to grow up in two-parent homes.
Joy Cooper is a black woman who graduated from Harvard in 2006. “There was an overrepresentation of Africans,” she says, “and specifically Nigerians.” She does not think Africans are any smarter than American blacks. Their advantage is that their desire to succeed has not been crushed out of them by centuries of oppression. “Honestly, I believe it’s difficult to strive for better when you already live in what people name the American dream, but what you have lived is a nightmare,” she says. [Cord Jefferson, Ivy League Fooled: How America’s Top Colleges Avoid Real Diversity, Good Education, August 31, 2011.]
Education for Illegals
In October 2010, the Georgia Board of Regents voted to bar the admission of illegal immigrants to Georgia’s main state universities: University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia, and Georgia College & State University.
Now, a group of professors from the University of Georgia who want to teach illegals has announced what it calls Freedom University, which is accepting applications. Classes will meet once a week and will be geared towards illegals who have graduated from Georgia high schools but are barred from state universities. The classes will not use university facilities.
Courses will be non-credit but will give students the experience of college-level work. Freedom University hopes for eventual accreditation, which would mean that students could take credits with them if they enroll in a real college. The first class, American Civilization I, was set to start on September 8. [Carla Caldwell, Five UGA Professors Teach Banned Illegal Immigrants, Atlanta Business Chronicle, August 26, 2011.]
Trail of Tears
Thousands of blacks may soon be walking a Trail of Tears now that the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court has upheld a decision to withdraw tribal membership from the descendants of black slaves who were owned by Cherokees. Many slaves made the infamous westward trek with their Indian masters in 1838. After the slaves were freed, the Cherokees voted to admit the so-called “Freedmen” into the tribe, but had a change of heart in 2007, when 77 percent voted to define membership by blood.
With roughly 250,000 members, the Cherokee are the second-largest Indian tribe in the US, after the Navajo at 300,000. The expulsion order removed 2,800 blacks and put a stop to pending applications from 3,500 more. Freedmen leader Marilyn Vann says as many as 25,000 more could have been eligible for membership. The ousted blacks will no longer get tribal benefits, such as free medical care and advantages in education. “This is racism and apartheid in the 21st Century,” says Miss Vann.
Some black members of Congress are upset, but it is unclear whether they will do anything. A federal lawsuit challenging the removal is pending in Washington. The tribe argues that as a sovereign nation it has the right to amend its membership rules. [Steve Olafson, Second-Largest U.S. Indian Tribe Expels Slave Descendants, Reuters, August 23, 2011. Cherokees Eject Slave Descendants, BBC News, March 4, 2007.]
Reactions to the Riots
Britain is searching for answers in the wake of the mid-August rioting and looting that resulted in more than 3,000 arrests and an estimated £200 million in property damage. Reactions have run the predictable gamut from cowardice and mendacity to flashes of boldness.
Though he ignored the racial aspects of the riots, David Cameron came close to the mark when he declared the rioting “criminality pure and simple,” and said of the thugs’ motivation, “This is not about poverty, it’s about culture. A culture that glorifies violence, shows disrespect to authority, and says everything about rights but nothing about responsibilities.” The Prime Minister called the riots a wake-up call, asking, “Do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of this country in the past few generations?” Mr. Cameron encouraged local authorities and landlords to evict rioters from public housing. [UK Riots: Text of David Cameron’s Address to Commons, Telegraph (London), Aug. 11, 2011. Cameron: Riot-Hit U.K. Must Reverse ‘Moral Collapse,’ National Public Radio, Aug. 14, 2011.]
Labour opposition leader David Miliband rejected Mr. Cameron’s “pure criminality” argument, saying it is wrong to “dismiss the importance of opportunity and hope.” He said thousands of Britons pillaged their own neighborhoods because of problems that need “deep rooted, lasting solutions,” which could come only from a “genuine national conversation” that “must start with the communities affected.” [Full Transcript: Ed Miliband Speech on the Riots, New Statesman, Aug. 15, 2011.]
Ordinary Britons had a concrete solution. An Internet petition calling for convicted rioters to lose all government benefits gathered 220,000 signatures, far more than the 100,000 required to trigger a Commons debate. The website got so much traffic it crashed. This proposal goes beyond current rules that require only that anyone who goes to jail be denied benefits. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith supported the proposal, agreeing that convicted rioters should lose benefits even if they are not incarcerated. [UK Riots: Rioters Could Lose All Benefits, Iain Duncan Smith Says, Telegraph (London), August 15, 2011. Jack Doyle, Riot Boy’s Family is Kicked out of Home, Daily Mail (London), August 13, 2011.]
Television historian David Starkey noted that he had reread Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, adding: “His prophecy was absolutely right in one sense. The Tiber didn’t foam with blood, but flames lambent wrapped around Tottenham and wrapped around Clapham.” He blamed the riots on a “violent, destructive, nihilistic” gang culture, adding that many white people had embraced a gangster ethos and had “now become black.”
A group of more than 100 leading historians responded by signing an open letter claiming that Mr. Starkey’s “crass generalizations about black culture and white culture as oppositional, monolithic entities demonstrate a failure to grasp the subtleties of race and class that would disgrace a first-year history undergraduate.” [David Starkey’s Race Comments After the Riots ‘Disgraced the Academic World’, Daily Mail (London), August 26, 2011.]
The prize for the most limp-wristed response to the riots goes to Prince Charles, who said that a “lack of self-confidence and self-worth” caused Britain’s social ills, and that when teenagers join gangs it is a “cry for help.” The Duchess of Cornwall was also sympathetic. She patted a black woman on the arm and said, “The next few months will be hard but stick together. Show that spirit of true Britishness that is so important.” [Rebecca English, ‘A Cry for Help’, Daily Mail (London), August 18, 2011.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — Your cover story is right about the Southern Poverty Law Center: It is in the business of stamping out speech with which it disagrees. It is outrageous that anyone takes it seriously. This proves how few people have any principles in this country.
I ask you, however: If the shoe were on the other foot, and race realists had power and the multi-culties were marginal, would you treat them any better than they treat you?
Paul Hopper, Winston-Salem, N. C.
Sir — You have been running ads for the political party known as American Third Position (A3P), which says its goal is “to fight on behalf of the Dispossessed White Majority.” This is fully understandable, but there is just one problem: Such a strategy won’t work in the real world. The history of third party movements in the US is a history of failure, of succeeding only in throwing the election to the wrong candidate. Sadly, such a fate also awaits A3P, despite this party’s gutsy, independent spirit.
On top of the usual problems facing any new party, A3P also enters the ring with a glass jaw when it says it backs the “White Majority.” The contrived, cry-baby backlash against any party that demands “fair play for whites” would be devastating. Just look at how the left has been slandering the Tea Party.
O.M. Ostland, Jr., Altoona, Pa.
Sir — Schooling based on lies has consequences. In the August 2011 issue of AR, both Robert Greenberg and Hippocrates offered brilliant analyses of the false explanations routinely offered for black behavior and the black-white achievement gap. These articles brought to mind a reader’s comment on an on-line, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle article called “Summit Called to Address Racial Disparities in Academic Performance.” The article insisted that the reason non-whites cannot read is that white teachers are insensitive to their needs. “Teachergirl” wrote:
“As a long-term veteran teacher of the Oakland schools, I can only say that I completely dread the likely professional development which is surely to come, in which white teachers will again be told how culturally insensitive we are and how we fail at teaching. I have been hearing this . . . for my entire tenure of nearly two decades in the district. I have been called a racist for every imaginable reason . . . except actual racism . . . . Meanwhile, if I try to address issues such as absenteeism, illiteracy, or failure to do homework, I am taken to task by students and their families. The real story that should be investigated is the endless racism TOWARDS white teachers . . . Almost every white teacher in Oakland has been subjected to treatment that would be headline news if it were black teachers being treated this way. Welcome to OUSD! [Oakland Unified School District]”
Tom Shuford, Lenoir, N.C.
Sir — I was moved by the photo you ran on page six of the September issue as an illustration for the series of book reviews about Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. The caption said it was a photo of children getting ready for a school play in Bulawayo in 1976. What a charming class of little white children! Even in the United States you would have to go to Idaho to find such a wholesome, all-white class. Somehow that group of innocent white children — utterly impossible in Zimbabwe today — brought home to me how much our race has lost in Africa. An entire world has disappeared since 1976 — just 35 years.
Sarah Wentworth, Richmond, Va.
Sir — I read with much interest Roger Devlin’s article about witchcraft in Africa. Since he was summarizing a report by UNICEF — an organization that portrays blacks in as rosy a light as possible — I do not doubt that belief in magic is just as widespread and devastating as he described.
In the 1990s, I was working for a consulting firm in New York City, and one of our customers was from the West African country of Senegal. I can’t quite remember what prompted this, but I took a client representative to the New York Museum of Natural History. As we walked the galleries we happened onto a collection of African carvings: masks, stools, fetishes, etc.
My client stopped suddenly in front of a mask that had what seemed to be hundreds of rusty black nails hammered into it, and shaggy hair hanging from it. His eyes opened wide, and he said we had to leave right away. We hurried out of the gallery and I could see that his hands were shaking. I asked him what was the matter but he mumbled a reply I did not understand. Since he was a client I didn’t feel as though I could press him. I always assumed he had been frightened by what he took to be a magical object. Now that I have read Mr. Devlin’s article I am sure he was.
Simon Goldberg, New York City
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