June 19, 2016

"The 2010s, in contrast [to the 1950s], are a terrible time to not be brainy."

"Those who consider themselves bright openly mock others for being less so. Even in this age of rampant concern over microaggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the nonsmart. People who’d swerve off a cliff rather than use a pejorative for race, religion, physical appearance, or disability are all too happy to drop the s‑bomb: Indeed, degrading others for being 'stupid' has become nearly automatic in all forms of disagreement."

From an article in The Atlantic by David H. Freedman titled "The War on Stupid People/American society increasingly mistakes intelligence for human worth."

I was interested to see that — linked by Instapundit — because just a couple days ago I got taunted by the NYU professor, Mark Kleiman, who wrote, "Ann Althouse teaches law at the University of Wisconsin, which implies that her IQ must be above room temperature." I said:
I was surprised to see that, because, as you know, Donald Trump has been accused of mocking the disabled, and the phrase "IQ... above room temperature" is a reference to the mentally challenged, genuinely disabled people who are not properly the subject of humor. Moreover, IQ is a touchy subject in America, as a professor of public policy should know, and I thought decent people refrained from using IQ as their go-to basis of trashing other people. Ah, well, ironically, I'm supposed to join the Trump-hating crowd because of all the indecent things he's supposedly said.
Sorry for the sudden intrusion of Trump into the subject, but Trump was the subject of Kleiman's attack on me. But notice how many Trump-haters attack his supporters — and his non-haters like me — as lacking intelligence. And consider Trump's own "I love the poorly educated!" — though to be poorly educated is not to be stupid. For example, you have to be reasonably smart to get into a school like NYU, but you might be poorly educated by a professor who devotes his class to political indoctrination and not to deep study and clear thinking.

IN THE COMMENTS: MayBee said:
There is almost nothing funnier than your NY Prof complaining about room temperature IQ while also saying there's no evidence Obama exhibited bad judgement.

Perfect example of the Agree With Me = Smart mentality.
That's right. As the commenters on this earlier post noticed, Kleiman wrote — talking about our efforts to help the "rebels" in Syria and conceding that everyone knows that we were helping ISIS and al Qaeda — "Just to be clear: there’s no evidence whatsoever that Clinton and Obama had bad judgement, didn’t know what they were doing, 'or worse.'" '

AND: Why did Kleiman say "everyone knows"? To my ear, it sounds like Hillary's "What difference, at this point, does it make?" That is, it's a "shut up" delivered in the guise of impugning the questioner for dwelling on things that are no longer important instead of moving on to what supposedly matters now.

75 comments:

PB said...

I chuckle at how private school professors and alums look down on their public school peers, yet the liberal private school profs and alums insist that charter (privately operated) schools can't possibly perform better than public schools.

Liberals can't appreciate irony. It makes them angry.

MayBee said...

Ha!

Chuck said...

Lol.

Eleanor said...

There's a difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance can be cured. The "uneducated" can cure their ignorance in lots of ways that don't involve going to school. But "highly educated" stupid people are stupid for life.

MayBee said...

Yes, there is a big push to label people who disagree with the current orthodoxy as stupid.

I am reminded once again of Nick Kristof's latest series of columns, encouraging people and universities to consider Christians and Conservatives worthy of hire. And the commenters were all, "Christians don't belong in the University because they think people rode dinosaurs and the earth is 3000 years old!". As if that is representative of what Christians all believe. They are all so very stupid. Conservatives are stupid for the exact same reason.

MayBee said...

There is almost nothing funnier than your NY Prof complaining about room temperature IQ while also saying there's no evidence Obama exhibited bad judgement.
Perfect example of the Agree With Me = Smart mentality.

retail lawyer said...

I have great sympathy for the stupid, unless they think that they are the smartest person in the room.

Terry said...

Freedman's definition of smart seems to be circular. Smart people are people who are successful, successful people are people who are smart. There are people we call stupid because they are ignorant or bigoted, regardless of IQ, and people who aren't good with abstract thinking, and still others (the Darwin Award recipients) who are often unable to understand that actions have consequences. Look at Clinton and Lewinsky. We can say that Clinton was a smart man who did a stupid thing, but it makes little sense to say that the brains that got him a Rhodes Scholar are part of him, but the stupidity that caused the Lewinsky scandal is not a part of him.

rhhardin said...

Funny people are the problem.

Phil 3:14 said...

The article implies that there's more insulting from smarter people than in the past. Maybe its just that the smarter people are better with words and their put downs are more memmorable.

Terry said...

F. Scott Fitzgerald was smart person. Yet he failed at marriage, failed financially, was not a critical success while he lived, and his alcoholism contributed to his early death.
Maybe the best measure of 'smartness' is how much control a person feels that they have over their own destiny. Smartness really might be social privilege.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Actually, I think it's the reverse. Watch a few old episodes of shows like "What's My Line?" and compare them to something like "Family Feud." (I watched a bit of the latter the last time I was in a doctor's waiting room and was struck by how witless it was.) "What's My Line?" sometimes featured scientists, writers, and artists like Dali. Magazines like The Saturday Evening Post published serious fiction. Jacques Barzun made the cover of Time magazine in the 1950's. It's easy enough to mock the era's middle brow culture, until you compare it to the relentlessly low brow crap we are flooded with today.

If the SJWs at Yale get their way (and campus SJWs tend to get their way), it will be possible to major in English without reading any English authors - not the dead white male ones at any rate.

There are many credentialed people out there today and fewer well-educated ones.

Comanche Voter said...

Ah Professor Kleiman. I'm "smart"--would have earned an A+ in your class had I had the bad judgment to enroll in a class you taught. I'm highly educated; JD, Order of the Coif, Law Review at a top eight law school, (and unlike Obama, actually wrote and published a comment still cited almost 50 years on).

That said (a) I've met a lot of highly educated fools in my life--and Professor Kleiman, you might be one of those highly educated fools--- and(b) one of the smartest people I ever met had an eighth grade education from a backwoods school in Tennessee.

MayBee said...

That is, it's a "shut up" delivered in the guise of impugning the questioner for dwelling on things that are no longer important instead of moving on to what supposedly matters now.

Exactly. The "everybody knows" is always best when something hasn't been discussed much at all- has almost been suppressed- until a date where you can declare it old news.

Another good example is Tommy Vietor's "Dude...that was two years ago" as an answer for something nobody knows....what Obama was doing the night of Benghazi.

Ann Althouse said...

I think Freedman is right that there is more debate these days that comes in the form of saying who's smart and who's stupid (and Trump is tapping into the energy that disrespect has created in the working class).

I've decided to make a particular issue out of this because it really is an exception to the usual etiquette of the politically correct. To call attention in a negative way to someone's intelligence is to flaunt that you are judging them based on their natural gifts and the happenstance of their early life (the education they got as children and the environment provided by their parents and community). That should be considered wrong the way racism is wrong.

That doesn't mean there aren't stupid proposals and ideas that deserve attack. Just refrain from attacking the person.

If the person really is stupid, he should get more credit for thinking of an idea if the idea is good, just as you might give special praise to a short person for being good at basketball.

Fernandinande said...

"As recently as the 1950s, possessing only middling intelligence was not likely to severely limit your life’s trajectory. IQ wasn’t a big factor in whom you married, where you lived, or what others thought of you."

Not so much. Assortive mating by education: "Hardly anything has changed in 60 years!"

Studies have furthermore found that, compared with the intelligent, less intelligent people are more likely to suffer from some types of mental illness, become obese,...likely to die sooner.

AKA, "genetic load".

As instantiated most famously by the Perry Preschool Project in Ypsilanti, Michigan

No increase in IQ for age > 10 (pg 15)

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Sounds like you are proposing Donald Trump as an affirmative action candidate for stupid people.

Larry J said...

There are a lot of "highly educated" people that are incredibly stupid outside of their domain. In contrast, I have an 80 year old brother-in-law that, at best, has a high school education. He's a retired pipe fitter. He raises cattle, repairs farm equipment, does home repairs, and has given me a lot of sound advice over the years. He isn't highly educated, but he is highly intelligent.

Roughcoat said...

"Everyone knows" is a manipulative rhetorical device that harks back to the even more pernicious "it is well known" (eto khorosho izvestno)formulation used by Stalin and his creatures against soon-to-be-executed defendants in the Show Trials of the late 1930s. Both are forms of argumentation aimed at forestalling argumentation.

Bob Boyd said...

"there is a deep-seated craving common to
almost all men of words...It is a craving for recognition; a craving for a
clearly marked status above the common run of humanity." - Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

exiledonmainstreet said...

" And the commenters were all, "Christians don't belong in the University because they think people rode dinosaurs and the earth is 3000 years old!". As if that is representative of what Christians all believe."

Yes, the religion which profoundly shaped Western Civilization over the past 2000 years has been reduced to a silly caricature. I am not particularly devout but you can not understand the world we live in if your knowledge of religion is on the level of DeGrasse Tyson's - "This dumb thing that smart people were once dumb enough to believe in and that we are too smart to believe in now." Take that, Augustine and Newton and Bach.

And that arrogance blinds many of them to the dangers of radical Islam. They have a difficult time imagining people who do not think like them or are motivated by the same beliefs and so they find Islamic religious fervour incomprehensible. Their hatred of the West has to be about colonialism or economics instead.

Fernandinande said...

coined the term meritocracy in 1958

Google ngram shows "meritocracy" in 1810.

Terry said...

Maybe Freedman should have spent more time discussing why people want to be smart. Why the emphasis on being smart, instead of being good looking, or dressing well, or being the kind of person others want to be around, or just being happy?

Fernandinande said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
"This dumb thing that smart people were once dumb enough to believe in and that we are too smart to believe in now."


That become more true all the time, fortunately.

And that arrogance blinds many of them to the dangers of radical Islam.

No it doesn't.

They have a difficult time imagining people who do not think like them or are motivated by the same beliefs and so they find Islamic religious fervour incomprehensible.

No they don't.

Their hatred of the West has to be about colonialism or economics instead.

False premise.

Matthew Sablan said...

There's a lot of visceral hate directed towards people perceived as not as smart. I don't get it; I'm a fairly average intelligence person, and yet, my degree of smartness is often directly correlated with my degree of agreeing with the judgement maker.

rhhardin said...

He'll get smarter as he gains inexperience.

Big Mike said...

For example, you have to be reasonably smart to get into a school like NYU, but you might be poorly educated by a professor who devotes his class to political indoctrination and not to deep study and clear thinking.

And of course the really stupid people are the college dropouts who just don't have what it takes to finish a degree. Like Bill Gates, like Steve Jobs, like Steve Wozniak (who actually did finish an engineering degree but only after co-founding Apple with Jobs following his expulsion from Colorado (Boulder), like Mark Zuckerberg, like Larry Ellison (the flamboyant founder of Oracle, the software company that is second only to Microsoft in size), and like the founders of Uber and Whole Foods. Those stupid people.

Virgil Hilts said...

As Krauthammer used to write "To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."
I think that the growing evidence that liberal policies have caused so much disaster -- that they are in fact stupid, poorly thought out, do not work, and attendant to a bunch of bad unintended consequences -- is causing a lot of progressives to try to switch the dynamic; heh our policies may be disasters, every city controlled by Democrats a cess pool and bankrupt, and Socialist countries that we used to tout devolving into anarchy, but, but, but. . . you conservatives are the ones who are really stupid, so there.

exiledonmainstreet said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
"This dumb thing that smart people were once dumb enough to believe in and that we are too smart to believe in now."

That become more true all the time, fortunately.
_________________

Right. Now the smart people all believe in the power of the state to provide an endless supply of loaves and fishes. Maybe not you in particular, but atheists do tend to fall on the left side of the political scale. They've just swapped out one god for another.

Hagar said...

"IQ" refers to your talent and skill in filling in little ovals with a #2 pencil after graduating from an American high school that has trained you for such exercises.

"Intelligence," well we recognize it when we see it, especially if the person under consideration agrees with us, but really, what is it?

Temujin said...

This is the most credentialed, most degreed, and least intelligent generation in history. But they do have great self-regard.

Hagar said...

Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."

Krauthammer has this backwards - as he does so much else too.

Fernandinande said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
And that arrogance blinds many of them to the dangers of radical Islam.


Qualifying your statements with undefined "some" and "many" people makes the statements rather meaningless, but ...

"All of the major Christian churches in America have come out in favor of importing hundreds of thousands of Muslims into the US from the Middle East, even though such a move will speed up the extinction of both European-Americans and Christianity itself."

"In an NTEB Special Report, we have recently received information that the Catholic Church received payments totalling $79,590,512.00 to facilitate the flow of undocumented and illegal immigrants into the United States in 2014. This is six million dollars more than they were paid in 2013. Now you know why Pope Francis is so eager to push Obama’s insane flood of illegal migrants, he’s getting paid millions to do it!"

Southern Baptists Vote to Support Refugee Resettlement After Trump Says to Ban All Muslim Immigration

Etc.

I suppose arrogance blinds many of them to the dangers of radical Islam.

Terry said...

Smart people now consider themselves uniquely capable of passing moral judgment on others. It wasn't always that way.

Sebastian said...

"Those who consider themselves bright openly mock others for being less so. Even in this age of rampant concern over microaggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the non smart" Byproduct of the cognitive stratification Charles Murray has been vilified for diagnosing. Which is only a version of Michael Young's meritocracy, as hinted upthread.

I suggest some Dunning-Kruger corollaries: everyone overestimates their own intelligence, everyone overestimates the extent to which their general intelligence enhances their judgment, and everyone overestimates the extent to which talent in one area carries over to any other. Hypothesis: degree of overestimation rises with IQ.

Fernandinande said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
Right. Now the smart people all believe in the power of the state to provide an endless supply of loaves and fishes.


That's obviously false.

Maybe not you in particular, but atheists do tend to fall on the left side of the political scale. They've just swapped out one god for another.

Atheists are to the Left on fiscal issues, but only very slightly.

Exposure to data might help with your arrogant prejudices.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Fernandinande, it is indeed sloppy to use "some" and "all." My apologies. I will be more specific. 73% of atheists and agnostics voted for Obama in 2012:

http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise-social-and-political-views/

I also agree that there are many soft-headed religious leaders like the present Pope, for instance, and that their inability to present a strong united front against Islam, which has been at war with Christianity since its' founding, is another example of the decline of the West. However, I do not confuse their appeasement with the central tenets of the Christian faith.

exiledonmainstreet said...

From the Pew study I linked to above:

"Religiously unaffiliated voters tilt strongly toward the Democrats over the Republicans, however. About six-in-ten unaffiliated voters (63%) say they are Democrats or lean toward the Democrats, while a quarter (26%) identify with or lean toward the GOP. This pattern is especially pronounced among atheists and agnostics."

T

JCC said...

Well, you shouldn't be too concerned about Mr Kleiman, after a review of his writing at thet Washington Monthly. First, his article about Trump and the Middle East is, generally, a bunch of crap. He says, for, " there’s no evidence whatsoever that Clinton and Obama had bad judgement", which is, of course, a complete fantasy, considering the disaster that US Middle East policy has been. We could talk about bailing out of Iraq prematurely, leaving it to Shiite politicians who jailed and marginalized the Sunnis. leading to the rise of Sunnis militias. That would be ISIS. Or we could talk about the red line/no red line that arguably led to the wider civil war and huminatarian crisis in Syria. Or the completely unnecessary coup in Libya. And so on. Finally, we would refer to the lies and prevarications which ended in the Iran nuclear deal, so well explicated in the NY Times, ending in the somehow overlooked pivot from traditional allies like Isreal, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and the turn to new ally, Shiite power Iran. Do Americans really understand this yet? Does the brilliant Mr Kleiman? Mabe the inelegant phrases of of Trump do this better, as much as I cannot stand the man either. He has a point. Unfortunately.

He does like personal attacks, like "mouth-breather" for instance, in what substitutes for logic and argument. He seems overwhelmed by his own brightness however, but does tend to summarize things, as pointed out, by inclusive phrases like "everyone knows" or "common-sense approach adopted by many others on the Right" without really defining such.

But you're from the hinterlands, you dope, you.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Opps, I apologize again. I need more coffee!

This was the D/R dvide among atheists in 2008 (not 2012):

In 2008, 75% of the unaffiliated voted for Obama, while 23% voted for McCain, a 52-point gap.

Rumpletweezer said...

Stupid people don't know they're stupid. If you think you're smart...you might be stupid.

mockturtle said...

Intelligence, while desirable, does not equate with wisdom.

Gahrie said...

That is, it's a "shut up" delivered in the guise of impugning the questioner for dwelling on things that are no longer important instead of moving on to what supposedly matters now.

It is no accident that an organization called "Move On" was formed to defend the Clintons and advance their agenda.

aritai said...

Aha. Gramma says unless you change direction real quick now, you’re in for a very bad time, when the new rich discover that the old guard wants more than a handout but a job (trigger alert) where the father can hold his head up (can you “identify as chromosomally challenged and “and be a father figure to your children”? Holding his head up when asked by his son “how did it go today dad?” after the laid off 35 year-old mechanical engineer, dressed in his spit shined shoes and best suit and tie comes home, holding his clipboard with only two names on his clipboard of sold newspaper subscriptions. You have only a short time to start on some real infrastructure to put these “low IQ” people to work. You’re so smart. Maybe. Rather than wealth transfers which create broken homes, drug users, gangs, male suicides (why is it always men?), and suicides by car much worse than handing out guns, you fools) and worse.

Men can’t seem to deal with the dole as well as women do. Go figure. This dates back to your days crawling out of the cave when ladies were the ultimate in a dependent class.. Your easy fix is suspend all regulation for the one generation of next generation education for the “low iq” workers to catch up, which is a much better “Leveler” than any amount of wealth transfer, to say nothing of generating new wealth and taxes, Temporarily suspending regs and law including those extorted by a judge’s signature on settlements between the dirt worshipers and your so called “government” which house of congress approved these new laws?

Do this and you give your country time to adjust at the small cost of Beijing like smog, pre-reg land use, Less federally owned land and more eyesores bad smells for your elites. Reverse all the dirt worshipers gains over the last 20 years. Old fashioned stimulus, not buying off special interests or states which can’t balance their own budgets by reopening all the dirty business, coal, oil, steel, refineries, Forest products industry, building an XXL from Alaska to Mexico, attach it to a new Atlantic to Pacific line, quadruple rail heads into and thru Seattle, making it and the U.S. port to the world for shipping everything, coal and other nasty stuff. And while you’re at it use nuclear geo-engineering to build a 200 meter wide aqueduct from the Canadian Cascades to the Gulf into Mexico. Make America Great Again by making it the largest supplier of the world’s best CO2 emitting grain fed beef and pork to the world, as well as all Fruit, nuts, grain and energy. Rinse and repeat for every generational situation like this. A small price for your relatively tiny elite to pay for causing this challenge to the low IQ by not proving the best schools by replacing whatever gets in the way improving everyone’s lot, preserving the peace, take one step back for every two forward.

Or face the passive resistance of an MLK or Gandhi 90 day general strike after the fans who’ve been pelted by bottles of frozen water with no arrests for attempted murder, when they decide they’ve suffered enough and sit on their hands for 90 days which empties your cities because you feed yourself, keep water and lights on, to say nothing of sewage and do this with no leadership like your Taxed Enough folks no one to arrest or shoot., The low IQ with their archaic institutions like churches that have always sustained their members during difficult times. those who worship at the Church of dirt and government can’t match this, even with DHS and its machine guns since the Blue collar have just laid down, willing suffer with their friends Can’t be worse than the now. Killing them doesn’t restart the trains. Granma is laughing again. “low IQ? That’s what they said about Pol Pot. Try backing up an 18 wheeler into a gas station without knocking it down. Or scheduling trains and trucks to deliver food without it all rotting. Good luck. You have one chance. To respect the low IQ more than their “betters.”

Howard said...

Rumpletweezer has the nub of it. We are all... a middling hairless ape mostly concerned with mirrors. The trick to intelligence is the recognition of your own stupidity. Forrest Gump had it right: Stupid is as stupid does. Sling Blade hits on this fundamental truth as well:
Ain't no gas in it

Paco Wové said...

I paused at a stop light behind a car that assured me morality was "doing the right thing, no matter what people said", while religion was "doing what you were told"*. Always mystified at people going out of their way to broadcast stupid insults at the world, but whatever. I'm a tolerant guy.

--
*Also, "Obama!" and "Obama - Biden!"

J. Farmer said...

There was a book written back in the mid-90's called The Bell Curve that predicted all of this. Unfortunately, it contained a single sentenced expressing agnosticism on the fact that biology may play some component in racial differences in IQ. It was attacked and excoriated for being a racist screed and the other content making up the vast majority of the book was ignored.

rhhardin said...

If you want IQ vs country, and indirectly race, see pdf.

I gather it's a scientific field that knows enough to disambiguate and decorrelate from factors they don't want to figure in.

They do not measure good character vs country and race, and I think there's good reason to think that varies a lot over time.

Good character is what gets you ahead in life.

tim in vermont said...

"IQ" refers to your talent and skill in filling in little ovals with a #2 pencil after graduating from an American high school that has trained you for such exercises.

Sure, if you say so.

n.n said...

A moron (i.e. exhibits bad judgment) can be smart, intelligent, and even "decent". However, it is not necessarily a progressive (i.e. monotonic) or liberal (i.e. divergent) behavior.

Principles matter in order to reconcile moral (i.e. individual dignity, intrinsic value) and natural (e.g. evolutionary fitness) imperatives.

robother said...

Of course, The Bell Curve was attacked precisely because the genetic understanding of IQ fundamentally undermines the moral principle underlaying the Meritocracy. If we are all born with a blank slate, and all scholastic or intellectual achievement can be attributed to formal education and individual hard work, this suggests that society can raise its collective IQ simply by pouring additional resources into formal education (giving the clerisy a greater claim on resources than their own hard work or creativity would otherwise generate). It also allows the clerisy to see this greater claim as morally justified, since their own greater than average IQ is evidence of their own accomplishment and hard work.

If we acknowledge IQ to be largely genetically determined, that forces mass societies to confront questions about technology, free trade, immigration and economic efficiency that neo-liberals and neoconservatives find uncomfortable.

tim in vermont said...

I think the Women's ways of knowing things that Althouse linked to on Wikipedia some time back is a very powerful way of understanding why people believe what they believe. I wonder if there is a "Men's ways of knowing" study that is comparable. It turns out that most women in their study believed that thinking involved learning stuff from authorities and repeating that stuff back, without actual ownership in the process.

So many posters are like this. They can't defend their ideas because they don't really understand them. All they seem to be able to do is post a link to whatever authority, in their mind, told them the thing that they believe, without any ability to generate what most people who think for themselves would consider a demonstration of mastery of the ideas.

Terry said...

I think I got it. When Freedman uses the term "smart" he means what people used to mean when they said "well bred."

J. Farmer said...

@Hagar:

"IQ" refers to your talent and skill in filling in little ovals with a #2 pencil after graduating from an American high school that has trained you for such exercises.

No, no it doesn't. Performance on such tests quite frequently correlates with IQ. But it is not IQ at all.

Greek Donkey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

It seems like schools are more interested in training their students in the desired politics than educating them. That's because public education is inherently dangerous to the elite and once education became widely available, it could no longer be about teaching how to think, but to preserve the place of the elites, it had to become about teaching what to think. Even the Ivy Leagues have fallen into this trap.

J. Farmer said...

@robother:

"Of course, The Bell Curve was attacked precisely because the genetic understanding of IQ fundamentally undermines the moral principle underlaying the Meritocracy."

I agree, but I think it's more wrapped up specifically with the racial problem in the country than with the problems meritocracy causes more broadly. It's often forgotten that the meritocratic society Young envisioned in his 1958 novel was a dystopian one. There's a gigantic cottage industry devoted to closing the racial gap in achievement. And yet its remained one of the most consistent findings on standardized tests. If intellectual and dispositional differences between racial groups is genetically determined to a large extent, then a good chunk of the entire post-New Deal progressive movement is not only wrongheaded but destined for failure. On the other hand, the small L libertarian society of minimal regulations and laissez-faire economics is similarly unworkable. The trick is to find the right balance without getting bogged down in the dumb ideological fights these discussions often fall into.

jimbino said...

In compensation, the not-so smart seem to have a leg up when it comes to gaining public office or a job as police officer or public school teacher.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

call attention in a negative way to someone's intelligence is to flaunt that you are judging them based on their natural gifts and the happenstance of their early life (the education they got as children and the environment provided by their parents and community). That should be considered wrong the way racism is wrong.

In general, we shouldn't make fun of people's looks, their lack of talent, or their intelligence. However...

If you are ugly, and you enter a beauty contest, you are fair game.
If you can't sing, and you try out for American Idol, you are fair game.
If you are stupid, and you enter the arena of ideas, you are fair game.

A man's got to know his limitation...

Fernandinande said...

Somebody was smart enough to quite accurately predict the future regarding a realm of smartness:

"Heterodox Academy member Amy Wax sent us the text of an astonishing letter written in 1969, at the dawn of racial preferences, from Macklin Fleming, Justice of the California Court of Appeal."
...[paragraph breaks added by "Ed."]
"The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms.

First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training.

Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies.

Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards."

J. Farmer said...

@Fernandinande:

Prescient words indeed. Amy Wax is a terrific, underappreciated voice in the realm of public policy as it pertains to race. Her book Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century is a fantastic contribution to the field. She's a tenured law professor at Penn (after previously working as a neurologist), so she's smart enough to sidestep a few landmines, and her writings get right up to the line of what is permissible to say without stepping a toe over. Personally, I don't think Wax goes far enough, but but even then her work gets the usual knee jerk criticisms that are so boringly predictable when the subject is discussed publicly.

"Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards."

In other words, the complete inversion of what Martin Luther King, Jr. said he wanted (i.e. judgment by content of character). I've always found it odd that black students asking for more black students, more black teachers, and more black administration is an argument for "diversity." Their whole complaint is there aren't enough people that look like them and have similar personal histories and cultural traits. They're asking for the opposite of diversity.

Fernandinande said...

J. Farmer said...
Prescient words indeed.


Note that Amy Wax didn't write the letter, she just forwarded it; amazingly enough, it was written by an individual from a group known for having stupid ideas.

Amy Wax is a terrific, underappreciated voice in the realm of public policy as it pertains to race.

Indeed: "Disparate Impact Realism"

Linda Gottfredson has tons of good - and therefore mostly ignored - info and analysis.

Steve Hsu has been working with the Beijing Genomics Institute on genetically increasing intelligence.

J. Farmer said...

@Fernandinande:

"Note that Amy Wax didn't write the letter, she just forwarded it;"

Yeah, I saw that it was written in 1969. I just wanted to take the opportunity to give a shout out to Professor Wax for the aforementioned reasons.

"Linda Gottfredson has tons of good - and therefore mostly ignored - info and analysis."

Gottfredson is a giant in educational psychology. The funniest thing about the Bell Curve brouhaha was when the American Psychological Association (APA) was asked to release a statement. They said that the findings regarding racial differences in IQ were empirically sound, but the reason is just a big mystery. Hernstein and Murray were punished for merely speculating a potential cause (again, in a single sentence).

buwaya puti said...

"The trick is to find the right balance without getting bogged down in the dumb ideological fights these discussions often fall into."

There is no alternative to getting bogged down in dumb ideological fights.
You assume that the objective is a solution. It isn't. The point of everything is power.
The other side can't let go of ethnic grievances or deal in facts because it threatens their power. And vice versa to the extent of that.
There is no venue for a reasonable argument because few want one.

Fernandinande said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
From the Pew study I linked to above:


I was addressing your "power of the state to provide an endless supply of loaves and fishes...swapped out one god for another." Your link doesn't address economics separately from politics: mine did, and atheists are pretty middle of the road regarding economics.

Pew: "The 'unaffiliated' closely mirror the general public in their views about the role of government. Half of the unaffiliated say they would rather have a smaller government with fewer services, while 42% would rather have a bigger government providing more services.

The views of those with a religious affiliation are roughly the same: 52% of this group prefers a smaller government with fewer services, while 38% would rather have a larger, more activist government."

So much for the "endless supply of loaves and fishes" and god-swapping.

Both links agree that "unaffiliated" tend strongly toward social (classical) liberalism (abortion, homos, etc) which may explain part of the voting pattern - given a choice between two jokers, which do you dislike less?

Pew also says: "There is little evidence that the unaffiliated are, by and large, “seekers” who are searching for a religion that fits them or that they have embraced New Age spirituality, Eastern religious ideas or other beliefs from non-Abrahamic faiths."

Sydney said...

I used to think of the readership of The Atlantic as smart people. Then the Internet made it possible to read the thoughts of the readership of The Atlantic. Now I know I was wrong. The readership of Te Atlantic is only educated.

buwaya puti said...

The readership of the Atlantic arent educated, they are schooled. Its not the same thing.

hombre said...

The Instapundit makes a critical distinction between "credentialed" and "intelligent."

When we read statements by the so called intelligentsia it frequently becomes clear that they lack critical thinking skills or are delusional or dishonest. None of these preclude intelligence, but can you imagine any of the top 50 people in the Obama Administration or, for that matter, any of your college professors writing, say, The Federalist Papers?

hombre said...

Fernandinande wrote: 'Pew also says: "There is little evidence that the unaffiliated are, by and large, “seekers” who are searching for a religion that fits them ...."'

Yes. The winnowing has begun.

Michael K said...

"s easy enough to mock the era's middle brow culture, until you compare it to the relentlessly low brow crap we are flooded with today."

Yes. Read a high school textbook from 1930 or a newspaper from 1860. Granted there was a large uneducated population who might not read the newspaper in 1860 but by 1930, most of the population was attending high school.

IQ is mostly useful in solving puzzles and understanding geometric shapes. Education can be quite thorough in people with IQs of 100.

The book, "The 10,000 Year Explosion" speculates that Ashkenazi Jews evolved a higher mean IQ because the only occupation open to that highly inbred population in Europe was mathematics and calculation of money exchanges. The same pressure may have led to certain genetic mutations that cause Tay-Sachs Disease and other forms of Gangliosidosis

I have wondered if we are seeing an experiment of nature in women who have high IQ children as a result of "assortive mating" and then turn them over to low IQ nannies to raise.

Just a thought.

Arik said...

It seems to me that it is too early to decide if Obama's policies in the Middle East have demonstrated poor judgement or or amazing judgment. I can understand why some democrats may consider Obama's policies a disaster but measuring Obama by the yardstick of past republican presidents you would think most republicans would be jealous. Why cann't republican presidents not have success like this. Regan and Bush Jr presidencies look like down right failures compare to Obama. Only our enemies actually benefit from their presidencies. If you view the Middle East from a republican Neo-con perspective Obama been very successful. With exceptions of outburst of violence which have happened through out its history, Israel is pretty peaceful compare to the past. No one is truly pressuring Netayahu into anything. Israel has strengthen their geo political ties to the region and have unofficially become a junior partner in the Sunni alliance against Iran. The Saudi and Israelis are not even hiding their ties anymore. Assad is still on the ropes and the Russians have over extended themselves and pulling back. They are even sending signals, mixed signals though, that they may be willing to deal in the issue of Assad. Al Qaeda and ISIL are enemies. United States was able to pull out of of the money pit known as Iraq and Iraq is still able to push ISIL out of Fallejah. But with the recognition that they could not have done it without the assistance of the United States and non Shia forces. United States has been able to strengthen the Kurdish State as counter balance in the region. There have not been any major terrorist attacks on the soil of the United States organized by terrorist cells. And we keep on managing to kill the heads of most of the major terrorist organizations as soon as they pop their heads up to breath. Afghanistan maybe the one area where tehe United States is in more of a holding pattern. Libya is a mess but their dictator is gone and half the country is dependent on our help and the other half is serving as a gigantic bullseye in the war on terror. (Maybe a bit optimistic). Sounds like a republican fantasy. I will never understand the hostility towards Obama on things that republicans would have supported in any other Republican president. For all the attacks on Obama and his family and the vacations he takes with them, you would think conservatives would at least praise Obama for being the first president to actually practice family values. Non of his children are going to grow up relieved that their dad "at least did not put us in the kennel." Saw this quote this week from Jeb Bush. I just wish republicans could come back to sanity and attack the president's policies not he president himself.

JamesB.BKK said...

"Maybe Freedman should have spent more time discussing why people want to be smart. Why the emphasis on being smart, instead of being good looking, or dressing well, or being the kind of person others want to be around, or just being happy?"

Don't forget: or having several billions of dollars and lots of famous and hot friends.

JamesB.BKK said...

This contains a description of a standard against which a measure is taken? "Half of the unaffiliated say they would rather have a smaller government with fewer services, while 42% would rather have a bigger government providing more services."

Nothing about more or less respect for and enforcement of property rights, freedom of exchange, freedom of contract, freedom of exit, or privacy - the real one having to do with finances and associations.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

I have wondered if we are seeing an experiment of nature in women who have high IQ children as a result of "assortive mating" and then turn them over to low IQ nannies to raise.

Just a thought.


Given the large genetic component to IQ, it's likely that the nanny (or any other parental figure) would have much impact on the child's IQ one way or the other. It's starting to look that when we say early environment matters, what we mean is severe malnourishment in early childhood can suppress an IQ. Whether or not the family plays Mozart in the house, on the other hand, probably has no effect whatsoever.

Also, it's not really say they hand them over to "nannies to raise." By and large, wealthy people who employ nannies are not heartless sociopaths who care nothing for their children. They quite enjoy spending time with their children and having playtime and spending "quality time together." What is delegated to the nanny is the menial drudgery of daily parenthood (e.g. changing diapers, feedings, feeling with business, late night needs, etc.).

damikesc said...

Thing is, Kleiman is smart in things that don't matter.

Sure, nice to know legal precedent...But if your car dies, you need one of the dumb guys who is able to fix them. You'll need a "dumb" guy to fix your plumbing. Your wiring. Lawyers have to have onerous laws passed to make them useful. Professors need a culture to make them useful.