Posted on May 19, 2019

Race and Intelligence in American Society

Thomas Jackson, American Renaissance, April 1993

The Road to Equality: Evolution and Social Reality, Seymour Itzkoff, Praeger Publishers, 1992, 219 pp.

America’s Bimodal Crisis: Black Intelligence in White Society, Foundation for Human Understanding, Stanley Burnham, 1993, 126 pp.

The Road to Equality, by Seymour Itzkoff, is a book about which one scarcely knows whether to be pleased or disappointed. Unquestionably, it is reason to celebrate when a publisher brings out a book that dares to speak so many forbidden truths: That intelligence is largely hereditary, that the races differ in average intelligence, that a nation’s competitiveness lies in the intelligence of its people, and that salvation for the United States lies in a vigorous eugenics program. It is only the unusual and courageous author who says these things, and it is wonderful that he should find a publisher to let him say them.

And yet, the preceding paragraph essentially summarizes the entire book. Prof. Itzkoff tells us over and over that high intelligence is the vital substrate for civilization, and that a nation in which the stupid are outbreeding the intelligent is on the road to barbarism. This is certainly true, and it is good to say so, but repeating it does not make it any more true.

This book is more a cry of pain than a sober analysis. It is not a patient, didactic text that presents evidence and draws careful conclusions. At the outset, Prof. Itzkoff warns the reader that thought crimes lie ahead, so we assume that he expects us to be unfamiliar with the ideas that follow. However, he then simply states the hereditarian thesis on intelligence without describing the evidence that supports it, and bemoans the fact that the average intelligence of Americans is dropping with every generation.

How does Prof. Itzkoff propose to stop the downward drift in what he calls the nation’s “intellectual capital”? His eugenics plan—which lies at what should logically be the heart of his message—consists of two sentences: “In each generation let us strive to bring 50 percent more children into this world from the upper half of the intelligence scale than from the lower 50 percent.” Later he alludes to “a whole series of adjustments” that society must make to bring this about. What adjustments? How implemented? Under whose auspices?

This book is likely to be unsatisfactory for almost all readers. Those who already see the truth of what Prof. Itzkoff says will find little that is new or illuminating; those who do not agree are unlikely to be persuaded by sweeping assertions. Moreover, the book veers into stylistic peculiarities that do not succeed. One chapter is the lecture Prof. Itzkoff thinks Plato might deliver to Americans if he were to come back from the dead. Another is an open letter to whomever is elected President of the United States in 1996. These chapters are just different ways of saying the same things.

Although Prof. Itzkoff has clear, hard-headed views on intelligence and heredity, he is surprisingly muddy about race. He recognizes that the “races and ethnic groups of the tropical south” are not at the same level of intelligence as the more northern races, but dismisses this as “a matter of historical and evolutionary accident.” Accident it may be, but calling it that changes nothing. Perhaps it was “by accident” that the Australian aborigines took a different evolutionary turn from that of the Japanese, but the two groups are still vastly different from each other.

Prof. Itzkoff notes that it is no coincidence that the most successful nations on earth—Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany—are racially homogeneous. And yet he writes hopefully of how race could be made to fade into insignificance in America if we could only institute a eugenics program to bring blacks and Hispanics up to the same level as whites and Asians. It is difficult to see how he can believe this when, elsewhere, he wonders whether white flight to the suburbs may not be the first step in the racial breakup of the United States.

Perhaps it is this effort to down play race that explains why Prof. Itzkoff says nothing about immigration. According to the book’s dust jacket, we can expect to learn why the less intelligent behave no differently when they are put into an environment created by the more intelligent. This is what explains why America’s inner cities have much in common with Kinshasa and why Los Angeles’ barrios look, sound, and even smell like Mexico. But if Prof. Itzkoff is worried about America’s declining intellectual capital, why is he silent about large-scale immigration from the admittedly less developed “tropical south.” Perhaps eugenics will iron out whatever problems the newcomers bring with them.

There is no joy in being so critical of a book that takes brave stands on urgent questions. Prof. Itzkoff has clearly agonized over the dysgenic course that America has set for itself and sees the pressing need to right that course. For this fact alone it is vital that books like his should be published, but since the voice of reason has so few opportunities to make itself heard, we can only wish that it would speak with more care and eloquence.

A Different Kind of Book

The just-published second edition of Black Intelligence in White Society is an entirely different kind of book. It is a clear-eyed, methodical account of what the presence of large numbers of blacks means for the United States. The author, writing under the pseudonym of Stanley Burnham, explains how employment, education, law enforcement, and welfare programs have all been strained nearly to the breaking point to accommodate a group that cannot, on average, meet the cognitive standards that European civilization requires.

Those accommodations have been made in awkward, often destructive ways because our country refuses to face the fact that racial differences in achievement are due largely to heredity rather than to environment. The first part of this book is therefore an overview of the evidence for a genetic explanation of racial differences. Mr. Burnham summarizes the data on intelligence testing, physiological differences, and cultural achievements of blacks around the world, and draws the only conclusions that the evidence permits.

Good though this summary is, it is diminished by the fact that the only parts of this book—first published in 1985—that have been brought up to date in this edition are the introduction and the bibliography. There has been something of a renaissance in research on racial differences, and it is a pity that Mr. Burnham has not included the most recent results. However, his observations on American society in general are still accurate; little has happened in the last eight years to invalidate them.

Mr. Burnham is acutely aware of the costs to American society of its refusal to acknowledge racial differences. Since it is forbidden to attribute the failures of blacks to their true cause, “racism” and other environmental evils must be held accountable. The increasingly hysterical and futile search for “racism” that ensues does nothing to encourage black achievement.

Mr. Burnham has spent several decades teaching college students, both black and white, and his description of how standards are lowered is especially convincing. Universities simply cannot afford to give blacks the failing grades many deserve, and everyone else’s grades must then be pushed up by way of compensation. Standards then decline for everyone. Our schools and universities will slide still further into mediocrity unless we accept that blacks and whites do not achieve at the same levels. Some blacks are, of course, capable of excellent work, and Mr. Burnham argues in favor of selective, compensatory education whenever it may be effective.

In law enforcement as well, writes Mr. Burnham, we are reaping the inevitable consequences of expecting blacks to meet white standards:

[T]he United States endures the very worst crime rate among industrialized nations and at the same time offers the world’s most generous guarantees for protecting the rights of suspected criminals. . . [W]e are trying to apply unduly civilized standards in the effort to curtail widespread low-I.Q. criminal behavior. We want to maintain our Constitutional rights despite our multi-racial composition which puts us in a class with the nations of Africa and South and Central America, all of which have found it necessary to resort to more stringent law enforcement policies.

Mr. Burnham writes that most common criminals, who are disproportionately black, have no understanding of the meaning or purpose of Constitutional safeguards. They know only that when the authorities are incapable of enforcing the law, they have all the more reason to break it.

Our welfare programs are yet another example of a social structure first devised for people with a certain level of intelligence and discipline but now twisted by a different people into something entirely unintended. What was designed as temporary, Depression-era relief for women with small children whose fathers had died has now become an accepted way of life for succeeding generations of illegitimates. As the irresponsible behavior of blacks becomes more common and goes unrebuked, whites too become infected with the same diseases. Although blacks are six times more likely to be on welfare than whites, there are nevertheless almost as many whites as blacks on the dole.

Like Prof. Itzkoff, Mr. Burnham fears a “dysgenic juggernaut.” “A revolutionary horde is being created right before our eyes,” he writes, “and its threat to our nation consists of nothing more than its perpetuating itself in exactly the same fashion as it is doing today.” Elsewhere, he writes, “Marxist theory has been turned on its head: This underclass has become the exploiters and everybody else the exploited, and the familiar metaphors of class conflict (theft, rape, and the liquidation of the bourgeoisie, etc.) seem perversely appropriate . . .”

Mr. Burnham is not optimistic that our country has the will to look the Gorgon in the face and take the measures necessary to avert catastrophe. He does not see separation or segregation as solutions, but proposes tax incentives to subsidize procreation by the intelligent and cash rewards to welfare recipients if they agree to be sterilized.

Like Prof. Itzkoff, Mr. Burnham asesses the prospects for our nation and concludes that American civilization hangs in the balance. Unlike Prof. Itzkoff, he sees race as central both to the problems we face and to the solutions we might attempt. Black Intelligence in White Society is an invaluable summary of what is not only our most threatening problem but the one we most resolutely refuse to face.