Posted on May 14, 2014

“By Giving a Definite Answer, People Will Say ‘Racism, Racism!'”

Henry Wolff, American Renaissance, May 14, 2014

Why are some countries rich and others poor?

Why can’t countries in the Middle East import Western institutions?

Why was China the first modern state?

What was the cause of the Industrial Revolution?

With these questions, Nicholas Wade opened a talk last night at a book signing in Washington, DC. He pointed out that anthropologists, economists, and social scientists who raise these questions all ignore genetic factors, and that in the wake of the Human Genome Project, there is no longer any excuse for this approach.

For the most part, Mr. Wade reiterated the thesis of his remarkable book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional, leading to clear racial differences that have civilizational significance. This direct assault on the prevailing taboos of our age has so far been met with a guarded response, but if anyone can shift the debate it is this erudite, soft-spoken Englishman.

During the question period, I asked Mr. Wade about the implications of his book:

You mentioned that Western institutions couldn’t be transferred to tribal societies, Middle Eastern societies, partly because of genetic factors. Do you expect that if large numbers of non-Western immigrants arrive in Western countries that those Western institutions would still be preserved, or do you expect that they might be changed as well?

Mr. Wade pointed out that genes affecting our social behavior are not deterministic — they “give little nudges” that can be powerful in the aggregate. He said that when people come to the US from other countries, the instinct to conform takes over, “so people from China or Japan who come to the US don’t build little Chinese-type political structures within the US. They follow the same rules as everyone else.” For that reason, Mr. Wade said, “I don’t think it should matter what kind of society a person comes from.”

I then asked about substantial populations shifts. I noted that California has gone from 90 percent white to less than 50 percent white in about 30 years. Wouldn’t that change institutions?

Mr. Wade answered:

You know I suppose if the shift were large enough, yes it would. And I think we’re obviously getting into a very dangerous area and by giving a definite answer, people will say ‘racism, racism!’ But I think it’s a very reasonable question and we should surely be able to find some way of looking at it in a dispassionate, non-racist way and saying, well, ‘what is the answer?’ My suspicion is if you have an awfully large proportion of people from a tribal community–suppose 90 percent of people in Minnesota came from Somalia–I guess you might start having problems if they start to organize themselves in the ways they are most accustomed to. But that hasn’t happened anywhere in the US so far as I’m aware. So I think we have to say that while it is possible, it hasn’t happened here.

I asked about Detroit. Mr. Wade replied:

Detroit? Well now I think now we’re getting into slightly different . . . [inaudible] . . . sort of violent social transitions as a whole industry collapses and reorganizes itself . . . so I think . . . you’re putting me on the spot here. And good for you, right? If we say there’s a sort of genetic component in here we need to be very careful about using it as an explanation for any sort of current social problem. I’m much happier painting with a broad evolutionary brush stroke. I just can’t guide you when it comes down to the fine details.

There were several other questions, including one from a cultural anthropologist who accused Mr. Wade of erecting a straw man by suggesting anthropologists ignore genetics. The most interesting question was posed by Jason Richwine, who lost his job at the Heritage Foundation last year after publicity about his Harvard dissertation which mentioned the genetic contribution to group differences in IQ.

Dr. Richwine noted that many people have lost their jobs for discussing the topics covered in Mr. Wade’s book. “How confident were you,” he asked, “that writing this book would not result in the loss of your livelihood?”

Mr. Wade answered:

This is a subject that is very difficult for academics to discuss. In fact, I think academics steer way clear of this subject. I found in writing stories about the human genome, anything that touched on race, for example, just petrified the academics I would speak to. I thought it was very sad, that we would have intimidation in this country. So I thought there was an opportunity, maybe a duty to write this book and to break the ice and try to discuss some of these issues.

As for my own job, most of this book is based on articles that I wrote for the New York Times, and I never had the slightest problem putting them into the paper. It’s just that I happened to be a reporter covering genetics, so this is the way I wrote the stories. I prepared them exactly like any other story would be prepared. They went through the Times’ elaborate editorial system without anyone raising the slightest objection, so I’ve never had any fear that the Times would be pissed off by these articles. I don’t know what they think about the book. They probably don’t have a position. But there’s not anything racist in the book, so as far as I’m concerned there’s nothing anyone should object to.

It certainly was courageous of Mr. Wade to write A Troublesome Inheritance, and to cover genetics research as frankly as he has for the Times. It was clear from his answers to my questions that he is, himself, subject to the same pressures felt by academics. As he noted, “By giving a definite answer, people will say ‘racism, racism!’ ”

That is what orthodoxy has done to our country, and Mr. Wade has struck an important blow for the truth. All praise to him. He has helped clear the path for other truth-tellers to follow.