I planned to do something else today (and still might, it’s early), but Reality Doug wrote a post in which my response to the HBD kertuffle over at Next Level Up. I’ve no idea if he considers my post or my comments over there to be part of the “hysterics” regarding the issue, and he addresses none of my points specifically, but his respose is intelligent and inspires a reply. Parts of this post he would agree with, parts he wouldn’t, and this is by no means a point-by-point response to his post. Read it yourself.
First, although I agree with Rick’s (who wrote the NLU post ) overall rejection of HBD, I disagree with this approach, which I should have made more clear. First, his guilt/shame assessment applies to many of the movement’s adherents, but not necessarily all of them. I know not enough about the movement to properly assess whether or not the movement is a cult, but his bold declaration that it is one, if not ad hominem, comes dangerously close to it. Furthermore, even if you can back up an ad hominem attack (which he does fairly well in his comment responses), to begin with one is a markedly ineffective way to make your case.
After posting, I have investigated some of the recommended links. I’ve learned that there is more to HBD than I knew, but those aspects that I judged do exist, and I continue to disagree with many of its themes, staunchly. However, first and foremost I reject or adopt ideas; I only reject their adherents after being persuaded that their ideas are connected to a psychological defficiency.
Nevertheless, Rick is correct that although many HBD adherents may not be racist, enough of them are to tarnish the movement. To some, HBD may be an interesting way to study the dynamics of human nature; to others it is in fact a means to “[c]onvince themselves and others that despite their unremarkable, mundane daily lives, they are in fact remarkable, superior people who are only out for fairness and justice.” “Blacks Behaving Badly” posts don’t do it any favors.
Doug writes that “[t]he unequal distribution of results by races is on record for anyone not a coward to see.” Perhaps. I also know that such distributions have varied with time and place. Would IQ’s in North Korea mirror those in South Korea if we could acurately assess them? How did IQ’s of northern blacks during WWI exceed those of southern whites? (I know I cite that column repeatedly. Sowell goes into great detail on this issue in Black Rednecks, White Liberals and other books, none of which I have access to at the moment.) Is IQ alone a valid way to determine superiority or lack thereof? After all, most humanities professors are exceptionally intelligent, but a great mind clouded by faulty premises with warped values can cause far more harm than a clinical moron with decency and common sense.
So, I don’t doubt that today, here in America in 2013, that the IQ of the average white would probably exceed that of the average black. I suppose I could be persuaded that this is more the result of evolution than pre-natal nutrition, educational standards, or child-rearing techniques, but it would take a lot of time, and it’s time that would be wasted.
I”m not one to deny facts, but facts have relative degrees of importance. I could learn every baseball statistic imaginable from the 1960’s, and everything I learn would be true, but it would not change any aspect of my life in the slightest unless I happen to run into some sports nut at a bar and want to waste my time discussing the merits of Al Kaline.
Likewise, whatever the relative distribution of IQ among the races, it has no bearing on my philosophy whatsoever. It means nothing to my political views, nor to how I would interact with any person I encounter of whatever racial background. “Exceptions are not the general rule.” True enough, but the important “general rule” is that individuals are individuals. We all have innate talents, struggles, advantages, and hindrances. If I judge individuals based on their group, whatever that group’s tendencies may be, I do both myself and them a disservice.
(That said, I’m not a fool. If I’m walking down a dark street and I hear the steps behind me growing louder, I will react differently if the person behind me is dressed like a thug than if he appears respectable. A black with his pants around his ass will inspire a different reaction than an Asian in khakis. However, a black in a suit will inspire less of a sense of dread than a white in a stained wife-beater.)
This is why I’ve differentiated between The Red Pill and The Red Placebo. The Red Pill has altered my interactions with women and improved them substantially; the “rules” of the Red Pill are rules you can follow that will rarely steer you wrong. How will an increased awareness of the predisposition for Amerindians to become alcoholics change anything I do? NAWALT is violated incredibly rarely, NABALT (not all blacks are like that) much more often, often enough that whatever “rules” there may be regarding blacks I can safely ignore (save those that I can just as easily attribute to culture).
A belief in the Individual is intrinsic to Western Civilization. America has adhered to this belief more than Europe, and America has thrived compared to Europe as a result. All of us are potential “outliers”, exceptions to the “rules” of our race and class. As Doug says, “If you want the general rule of your racial group to define you, or if you accept that it does, that’s your problem.” Unfortunately, Americans (especially minorities) do this far more than they should, and it’s part of what’s ruining our country.
Therefore, I’m naturally suspicious of any movement that emphasizes the “rules” over the exceptions that any of us in a free society can become. I believe that we should accurately assess our instincts and circumstances, but to emphasize what happens to us or how we are born over what we can do about it implies that our chains are stronger than they are. Statistically, I am an outlier in that I’m not dead or in jail. I’ve had many strikes against me (no father figure, raised below the poverty level) and many advantages (decent head on my shoulders, pretty eyes), but the more I emphasize what I can’t control, the less I take advantage of what I can do about it.
Doug’s correct that they’re related, but wrong in believing that “[t}he nature vs. nurture argument is stupid in the absolute.” Nuture can be controlled; nature can not. When we ascribe to nuture what we should ascribe to nature (gender), we call for the Gods of the Copybook headings to return for more slaughter. When we do the reverse, we surrender our autonomy and stagnate. Nature/nuture is a balance we must forever strive to find.
However, the central debate is Freewill versus Determinism, and both nature and nuture are deterministic influences on the Individual. Obviously, if you’re born in North Korea, you’re fucked, but in a free country, you’re free. Maybe not free to change your IQ, but free to study harder to overcome it. Perhaps not free to slam dunk ’cause you’re too damn short, but free to master ball-handling and free throws, or maybe play baseball instead.
Hence, my suspicion of HBD, regardless of its statistical merits. To simply state that “GENERALLY SPEAKING, blacks are more athletic than whites” is harmless; to repeat it ad infinitum, to harp on it, to hijack otherwise phenomenal forums so that nobody can make a point about music, politics, or Game without constantly referring to race is not. Athletically inferior me can destroy any black with superior athletic genes who sits on the couch eating Cheetos all day every day, and that’s what matters.
Certain HBD adherents (most of those I’ve encountered) remind me of MSNBC’s Toure. Every issue is fundamentally about race, every argument to the contrary is racist, his group and what others do to it is the prism through which he views everything. Determinism and its evil twin, collectivism, all the fucking time.
Multiculturalsim (with plenty of help from every other aspect of leftism) is destroying the West. The reason for this isn’t just that we’re degrading whites, we’re degrading the Individual and the principles He adopted to create the greatest nation humanity has ever known. HBD may defend whites, but it does nothing for Individualism.
Tribalism is a powerful instinct, and we don’t fight it by promoting our own tribe. Whites degraded blacks, put them in chains, and when forced to release them ensured they remained disarmed and unequal before the law. The white tribe kept down the black tribe. In response, the Left worked to punish the white tribe to pay back the black tribe through affirmative action, cultural conditioning, and massive wealth redistribution. The black tribe trying to pay back the white tribe, and neither tribe benefits (how are blacks doing under Obama?).
We’ve done so well compared to other countries, but we’ve yet to exemplify our founding principle that we are all equal before the Law and before God. The exploitative racism of the slaveholder has been replaced by the paternalistic racism of the Left, and I don’t want it replaced by the “scientific” racism of HBD. At no point have all of us simply been judged as individuals by the “content of our character.”
I’m sick of the pendulum, and the only way to stop the perpetual war between the collectives is to declare our independence as individuals, both for ourselves and our countrymen.
I don’t see how HBD can get us there.