Posted on May 12, 2017

Richard Nixon, Race Realist

Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, May 12, 2017

Richard Nixon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Richard Nixon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan

A fascinating recording of a 1971 conversation between President Richard Nixon and his advisor, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was recently released (embedded below). It shows that both Nixon and Moynihan knew about group differences in IQ, and fully understood their policy implications. And yet, for reasons neither explains, they insist that differences of this kind must be kept a secret.

The 25-minute conversation begins with a discussion about an article called “IQ” that Richard Herrnstein had just published in The Atlantic and that Moynihan had sent to Nixon. This was a comprehensive, 18-page explanation of the heritability of intelligence, its correlation with success in life and — most controversially — the suggestion that the black/white gap in average IQ is due, at least in part, to genetic differences.

Nixon: Nobody on the staff even knows I read the goddamn article.

Moynihan: Oh, good.

Nixon: . . . The Herrnstein stuff and all the rest: First, nobody must know we are thinking about it, and second, if we do find out it’s correct we must never tell anybody.

Moynihan: I’m afraid that’s just the case. Yep, yep.

Nixon: . . .  I reluctantly concluded . . . that what Herrnstein says, and — what’s that earlier, by [Arthur] Jensen? — and so forth is probably very close to the truth.

Nixon clearly thinks Herrnstein and Jensen are right. He even describes how the facts could be made more palatable.

Nixon: Then you counter that by saying something the racists would never agree with, that within groups there are geniuses — there are geniuses within black groups, [but] there are more within Asian groups. And, incidentally, it was a rather neat trick to point out that the Asians are number one, and Caucasians are number two, and the . . .

Moynihan: The Eskimos [Moynihan is clearly suggesting the word “Eskimos” as a euphemism for Jews].

Nixon: . . . the Eskimos are above the whites, which is good. And also your little deal about the English and the Irish [Moynihan was of Irish ancestry]. Now, that is the best example of the fact that this is knowledge, but it is knowledge that is better not to know. [Nixon is referring to evidence that the Irish have a lower average IQ than the English.] At least, good God, it would cause another war. They’re having enough damn problems in Northern Ireland now. And, basically, there are Irish geniuses.

Nixon then explains why it is important for him to know the truth about race and IQ.

Nixon: . . . You can pass this on to Herrnstein, but the reason I have to know it is that as I go for programs, I must know that they have basic weaknesses.

In other words, some programs will not work because different groups do not have the same abilities. It is important for the President to know this even if he does not talk about it openly. Nixon then talks of the danger of people becoming dependent on welfare and making it a way of life. He refers to Sweden, where he believes social programs have not made people lazy, but clearly thinks blacks are susceptible to welfare dependency.

Nixon: [In Sweden,] they still have a tremendous emphasis on the work ethic, that going on welfare is sort of ain’t the thing people ought to do. Now, that is, of course, why the work requirement thing [for receiving welfare in the United States] is so important here. Everybody says, “Well, the work requirement is only for the purpose of making these poor colored women, you know, who can’t work, and have little babies coming every month or — sorry — every nine months, I believe.” . . . The whole point is, as you well know, that we just not get into the sort of psychology that welfare is a good way of life.

Nixon then repeats the warning that social programs that ignore race will fail:

Nixon: On family assistance, on anything we do, we’ve got to recognize the limits of social policy. If we don’t, we’re going to raise these expectations and then have the dull thud. That was the problem with [Lyndon] Johnson. . . . He carried out a lot of things [the social assistance that became known as “Great Society” programs] . . . I think he convinced himself all this stuff was going to work.

Nixon then gets back to race:

Nixon: Of the 40 or 45 black countries that have representatives at the United Nations, not one has a president or a prime minister who is there as a result of a contested election, such as we were insisting on in Vietnam. . . . I’m not saying that blacks cannot govern. I am saying they have a hell of a time. Now, that must demonstrate something. Now, having said that, let’s look at Latin America. Latin America has had 150 years of trying at it, and they don’t have much going down there, either. . . .

As you compare the Latin dictatorships, etc., their forms of government, they at least do it their way. It is an orderly way, which works relatively well. They have been able to run the damn place. Looking at the black countries — of course there are only two old ones. Haiti is an old one, and Liberia is a very old one. Ethiopia is a very old one. But they have a hell of a time running the place. . . .

It’s right beneath the surface, this whole black-white deal. It’s gonna come out: the fact that Asians are capable of governing themselves, one way or another, we Caucasians have learned it after having slaughtered each other in religious wars and other wars for many, many years including a couple in this last century. The Latins do it in a miserable way, but they do it. But the Africans just can’t run things. Now, that’s a very, very fundamental point in the international scene. . . .

Nixon then talks about African diplomats.

Nixon: I receive their ambassadors; they change all the time. I love them, they’re so kind and so nice, and they’re children. Children.

Moynihan: And they always want something, like children.

Nixon: God, yes, but what I mean is so childlike, the childlike faith in this and that. And of course a lot of them are crooks, but we have crooks, too. . . .

There are many other areas, as you pointed out, where they can beat the hell out of us. And they should be proud of those. Athletics isn’t a bad achievement. . . . And music, the dance. And are these things there just to be pissed upon? No. They’re important. And also in certain areas — poetry, etc. — they have a free and easy style that adds enormously to our culture. But, on the other hand, when you get to — shall we say — some of the more profound, rigid disciplines, basically, they have a hell of a time making it. An Ed Brooke [attorney general of Massachusetts and senator from Massachusetts from 1967 to 1979] is an exception. We’ve got to face it. In terms of good lawyers, there are damn few good lawyers in any group, but in terms of good lawyers, even though a lot of them go to law school, it’s not really their dish of tea. See? Now, that’s a fact.

. . . My theory is that the responsibility of a president, in my present position, first, is to know these things. But also my theory is that I must do everything I possibly can to deny them. . . . If we do not, what we are going to do is encourage a latent prejudice that is in all of us. In other words, it’s the unthinkable. Do you agree with me?

. . . I’m putting it out all over this place that we’ve got to proceed on the assumption — not that everybody is equal — but that everybody should have an equal opportunity and that anybody might go to the top. And God knows, he might. A Brooke could, you know.

Sadly, President Nixon is espousing the “noble lie” theory: that certain myths promote the greater good. As I noted in an interview with John Derbyshire, I don’t believe in noble lies for anyone over the age of seven or eight. Santa Claus and the baby stork are fine for children, but by the time people can vote they should hear the truth.

I have argued elsewhere — and not nearly often enough — that deliberately lying about race and IQ does not keep the racial peace, as Nixon seemed to believe. It stirs up blacks by encouraging them to think that all their problems are our fault. This is the best possible way to teach them to hate us.

That may not have occurred to Nixon, but he did recognize that group differences in IQ mean some programs are doomed produce a “dull thud.” But he still wanted to hide the truth. Ignoring race and IQ gets us idiotic laws like “No Child Left Behind,” which was approved by huge majorities in both houses and, of course, was a miserable flop.

So, how many people are hiding the truth? Some in our movement, notably Robert Weissberg, think IQ differences are so obvious that everyone with the brains of a bullfrog knows the score. I think not, and for a lot of reasons, but one is that I can’t imagine a race-realist Congress passing a law to punish schools if they can’t rewrite the laws of biology and make blacks perform like Asians. No matter what silliness they spouted in public, secret disciples of Richard Lynn would have found some way to let No Child Left Behind die in committee.

Does Donald Trump know the score? Does Steve Bannon lecture him in the Oval Office on standard deviation and regression to the mean? I doubt it. But even if he did, knowing the score isn’t enough.

Nixon was wise to IQ 45 years ago, but never acted as though he was, and never talked about it openly. By the time he died in 1994, he had regained public esteem. He could have made a huge and useful stink if he had publicly endorsed Arthur Jensen. He never did. Either he was a coward, or he still thought the lie was a noble one, or both.

We are running out of time. Noble lies are killing us.

Video credit: Ian McAfee