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How Small an Enemy: Jonathan Chait edition

January 4th, 2012 by Jim May · 73 Comments · Uncategorized

“Take a look at them now, when you face your last choice—and if you choose to perish, do so with full knowledge of how cheaply how small an enemy has claimed your life.” 

— John Galt, from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

 

At New York magazine, Jonathan Chait posts an example of the kind of tendentious, on-plantation tract that seems intended solely to reassure its denizens that it’s the right place to be.  The logical fallacies present therein are sufficiently obvious that the reader will either spot them in just a few minutes — or see nothing on account of having his eyes closed.

The point of my critique is not the refuting of it, as formatting this text will take more brainpower.  The point is to supply an illustrative example of a well-known and commonly used fallacy, but in a context where people usually fail to recognize it — unless one is armed with the principle of ideological causation.

Chait’s article is entitled “How Ron Paul’s Libertarian Principles Support Racism”.  That’s a pretty big, unambiguous claim isn’t it?  Chait’s going to show us how libertarian principles support racism.  Chait is saying that he intends to establish causation between “libertarian principles” and racism.  That would be huge, wouldn’t it?  He’d be refuting the core of the Enlightenment in one fell swoop!

So let’s see what he actually does.

In the first two-thirds of the article, Chait supplies us with examples from Ron Paul’s spoken and written words.  He doesn’t pull any of the usual tricks here.  The quotes aren’t sufficiently ambiguous to be conveniently distorted into straw men, nor are they out of context.  What Chait is isolating from Paul’s words is indeed the principle of individual rights as it is familiar to Objectivists and libertarians alike.  Chait’s point isn’t to call Ron Paul a racist (though he does that by passive-aggressive implication that he may be an “unconscious” one); on the contrary, the article isn’t about Ron Paul at all.  For a change, this Leftist is attempting to deal with ideas instead of people!  Stand back!

Remember, he’s up against some formidable logic.  We hold, from the basic logic of the ideas involved, that the principle of individual rights directly contradicts the principle of racism; the former rests on the individualist premise (in terms of individual sovereignty, and individual moral self-authorship) while collectivism, of which racism is a species, follows from the direct inversion of those principles (group sovereignty, and individual interchangeability).  It’s pretty, um, “airtight” — no gaps, no contradictions.

With only one third of the article left, this is going to be one short and sweet refutation of liberty for all time, isn’t it?  It has to be, to deliver on that headline.

Is the suspension getting to you yet?

All right.  Here it comes!

This is an analysis that makes sense only within the airtight confines of libertarian doctrine. It dissipates with even the slightest whiff of exposure to external reality. The entire premise rests upon ignoring the social power that dominant social groups are able to wield outside of the channels of the state. Yet in the absence of government protection, white males, acting solely through their exercise of freedom of contract and association, have historically proven quite capable of erecting what any sane observer would recognize as actual impediments to the freedom of minorities and women.

The most fevered opponents of civil rights in the fifties and sixties — and, for that matter, the most fervent defenders of slavery a century before — also usually made their case in in process terms rather than racist ones. They stood for the rights of the individual, or the rights of the states, against the federal Goliath. I am sure Paul’s motives derive from ideological fervor rather than a conscious desire to oppress minorities. But the relationship between the abstract principles of his worldview and the ugly racism with which it has so frequently been expressed is hardly coincidental.

Ok, that’s the standard weak sauce Leftist boilerplate, I know.  Logic versus reality, equating economic and political power, no concept of the nature of government, package dealing, yeah.

But he does point out an historical correlation (though a weak one, fraught with unanswered questions and which does not account for cultural backgroundat all), and he asserts his case right there at the end.  So that amazing argument is coming right up in the next paragraph, isn’t it?  It’s got to be an earthshaker, given what Chait promised us in that headline!  We’re going to see the causation any minute now!

Well, except that the article ends there.  That’s it.  Ta da.

Yes, folks, that’s really all he’s got:  post hoc ergo propter hoc.  That correlation IS the causation, as far as Chait is concerned.  Because some racists argued for slavery in terms of property rights and individual rights (of property owners), those principles must therefore support racism.  Never mind the whopping contradictions involved! Never mind that the abolitionists were also speaking in such terms, but without such contradiction.  Never mind the *actual*, logical causation of the ideas involved.  The non sequitur is the thing.

What Chait is doing is the equivalent of walking up to a house on fire, observing that the house is full of fire and full of water together, and concluding that the firefighters are actually the arsonists.  That’s the argument he presents to the public as being worth taking seriously.  No joke.

For defenders of liberty, Chait’s decision to publish this is telling.  If this is meant solely for internal consumption by Leftists seeking reassurance, it tells us how intellectually crippled Chait’s audience is (or he thinks it is).  If he imagines that this is serious and incisive argument that is somehow supposed to impress those of us outside the Leftist compound in external reality, it tells us how intellectually crippled Chait himself is — how truly small our Leftist opponents really are, intellectually, from top to bottom.

73 Comments so far ↓

  • Michael

    how do you reconcile individual rights with something like private discrimination? Isn’t that a return to the Jim Crow era and Jim Crow laws?

  • Andrew Dalton

    “private discrimination”

    “Jim Crow laws”

    I think that you just answered your own question.

  • Michael

    I am not sure I get it. Those laws were passed to prevent just that: private discrimination.

  • madmax

    how do you reconcile individual rights with something like private discrimination? Isn’t that a return to the Jim Crow era and Jim Crow laws?

    No. Jim Crow was *state mandated* discrimination. If private business wanted to discriminate they would have to face market pressures. Goggle up Walter Block and racism and wage rates. He gave a lecture which I think is posted on the Von Mises Institute which shows how under laissez-faire it would be next to impossible to discriminate on the basis of race or gender.

    Wage rates are driven by what Block calls the value theory of wages. People tend towards being paid what their labor deserves. If you desire to pay a black employee 20 cents less than market value, other employers would bid up his wages. Its impossible to keep his wages down and any suggestions of collusion are unrealistic under laissez-faire.

    The main point however is the distinction between economic and political power. That is a fundamental Objectivist political argument. A study of economics however shows that under laissez-faire it is not possible to maintain a racist wage rate structure.

    Chait’s argument is standard Leftist boilerplate. The Left is dominated by racial egalitarianism and they are driven by an all-consuming desire to paint anyone disagreeing with welfare-state policies as a racist monster. I believe this is driven by a hatred of white heterosexual males among Leftists. The Left is motivated by an anti-white animus. Its a sickness with them. But sadly most Objectivists don’t see the white-hatred of the Left and by many non-whites.

  • L-C

    “how do you reconcile individual rights with something like private discrimination?”

    Your comparison to the Jim Crow laws has been dealt with already. As for private discrimination, that is indeed an individual right. Discrimination has been made into a dysphemism for the exercise of freedom of association.

    Not all discrimination is rational, but the rationality of an action is not what determines its legal status. Choosing not to associate with another, for whatever reason, is not a violation of their rights – unless those rights include the right to force that association, which would be a contradiction.

    How do you reconcile individual rights with the notion of duty? You can’t even try unless you invoke, without jest, that famous line from Animal Farm.

  • John McVey

    Straight out of a freshman sociology textbook, which are all themselves replete with fallacy after paper-thin fallacy.

  • Jim May

    Michael: I’m going to answer you in a new post, as the comment got too big.

  • Jim May

    The Left is motivated by an anti-white animus. Its a sickness with them. But sadly most Objectivists don’t see the white-hatred of the Left and by many non-whites.

    Utter horseshit. Just because your vision is shallower than ours does not mean we are “blind” to the point where yours stops.

    The Left is more fundamental than that. They don’t care about particular races; they care about collectives as such. As I’ve told you before, the Left is not after “race war”, or war at all. They simply want to collectivize humanity, and eliminate all knowledge of the possibility of individualism. That’s the goal; the particulars (of how the collectives are drawn or whether the collectives fight each other) don’t matter.

    They are not focused on whites, so much as they are are focused on the individualist Enlightenment — which happened to come from a white culture.

    If they were primarily racists, race would trump all other considerations. They would grant the same free passes to Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and Herman Cain that they do Jesse Jackson and AL Sharpton.

    That they don’t, tells you it isn’t about race at all. On the contrary, the brute fact of race in these cases is plainly being trumped by something else.

    Switch out to something unrelated to race, and its’ the same pattern: Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and Ayn Rand. No race there, but the same deranged hatreds.

    “Heterosexual”? Same deal. Ask members of GOProud or The Pink Pistols about that one.

    Racists are a *species* of collectivism. That means that there are non-racial forms of collectivism. It means that there is a wider class to which all of these things belong, which is collectivism as a whole. That’s the Left.

    Who is the collectivists’ ultimate enemy, who he fears the most, who distrupts and destroys his entire world just by existing? The individual. The thinker. The independent man. The “sinner” who says “No” to God, the people who leave Omelas. That is the constant of Leftist hatred. Their is an anti-individual animus. The particular collective involved does not matter.

  • Trojan Horse: On “Discrimination” and Individual Rights — The New Clarion

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  • madmax

    As I’ve told you before, the Left is not after “race war”, or war at all. They simply want to collectivize humanity, and eliminate all knowledge of the possibility of individualism.

    This is incomplete and naive. I’m starting to understand why Paleo-Conservatives argue that Objectivists are children. Its as if you have never lived a day in your life. The *form* of today’s Left is racial egalitarianism. Yes, the fundamental is collectivism but the enemy is more than just “individualism”, its the the white non-Leftist male.

    There is a script that the Left follows. It is in nearly every one of their movies. It has three main players:

    1) the noble white liberal who fights…
    2) the ignoble white traditionalist conservative for the purpose of saving…
    3) the pure and saintly non-white other.

    Think Dances With Wolves or Avatar or Pocohontas or V for Vendetta or any other of hundreds of films . The constant villain is the white male and the reason he is a villain is because he oppresses blacks, Mexicans, women, gays, Muslims, the poor, etc, etc, etc. Many Leftists have expressed hopes that whites will no longer be a majority in the future and America will become a non-white country. Google up Tim Wise.

    Jim, if you don’t see how the Left is possessed of a murderous HATRED of non-Leftist whites which includes you then what good is all your Objectivist knowledge? What of Objectivism being a philosophy of “identifying reality”? What reality are you looking at?

    I just received an alumni magazine from my alma mater. It had a black on the front cover and two on the back cover and on almost every page in between. It was a tribute to white guilt and also white hatred. And it was a Christian University no less!!

    But no, Objectivist Jim May tells us that hatred of whites has nothing to do with it. That all this is motivated by a hatred of “individualism”. Jim, humans don’t work that way. Maybe one day you will understand. Or maybe not…

  • Neil Parille

    Mr. Max,

    I wouldn’t say the left is driven by hatred of whites or heterosexuals, it’s just these are the two groups that share the values that they believe are evil and the “marginalizing” of whom will result in a leftist takeover.

    I was struck recently by an article on Hsieh’s blog. She was thrilled over the gradual toleration of homosexuality because it would lead to the end of “theocratic America.” She’s forever attacking Christianity and, in particular, because (like O’ism) it considers homosexuality immoral. She doesn’t get that worked up over Islam or the Left. Not a peep from her about the growing possibility of Eurabia or the no go zones in Europe, but Galt forbid the pope says something critical about the gays.

    What kind of society do Objectivists who believe in “open immigration” think results from this policy?

    Jim,

    Why do you think the Left here and in Europe so strongly support massive immigration of Moslems?

  • Mike

    Madmax:
    “Think Dances With Wolves or Avatar or Pocohontas or V for Vendetta or any other of hundreds of films . The constant villain is the white male and the reason he is a villain is because he oppresses blacks, Mexicans, women, gays, Muslims, the poor, etc, etc, etc. Many Leftists have expressed hopes that whites will no longer be a majority in the future and America will become a non-white country.”

    The constant villain is a white male because he’s given power by unjust privilege in leftist eyes. There’s a conflation of race and (in the most glaring examples) capitalism because leftists hate inequality and see all inequality as of a piece–and they turn to the trope of racial oppression because it is much more commonly considered evil in American society than financial success. And even these movies are only a subset of the ones you could have chosen which attack capitalism as such through evil businessmen without racial oppression playing any role in the film: Wall Street, Indecent Proposal, There Will Be Blood, even the Alien franchise for that matter.

    And you can see this is what is fundamental in your own chosen example, Tim Wise: [To the question “And Tim, why do you think that diversity is a good thing, racial diversity is a good thing?”] Well, I’ll give you an answer to it, let me also start out by saying though that I want to make real clear that my position is principally that any society, regardless of its existing levels of diversity should practice equity, true equity of opportunity and access for all. I’d rather that we speak about those issues of equity/inequity, ongoing discrimination, et cetera.

    “I just received an alumni magazine from my alma mater. It had a black on the front cover and two on the back cover and on almost every page in between. It was a tribute to white guilt and also white hatred. And it was a Christian University no less!!”

    Oh my, it showed pictures of black people! How horrid! How despicable! You do realize, don’t you, that without further context this is indistinguishable from the worst sort of racist bilge you claim leftists put out? And what does the last sentence have to do with the rest? Clearly you’ve spent so much time reading Larry Auster and his ilk that you’ve assimilated their views on religion and race. Guy, for your own sake, I urge you to step back, give them a rest, and find something less sick to obsess over.

    “But no, Objectivist Jim May tells us that hatred of whites has nothing to do with it. That all this is motivated by a hatred of “individualism”. Jim, humans don’t work that way.”

    So in your view it is not reason and individualism but group think and collectivism that is the fundamental characteristic of humanity. Yes, you have been reading Larry Auster too much.

    Parille:
    “I was struck recently by an article on Hsieh’s blog. She was thrilled over the gradual toleration of homosexuality because it would lead to the end of “theocratic America.” She’s forever attacking Christianity and, in particular, because (like O’ism) it considers homosexuality immoral. She doesn’t get that worked up over Islam or the Left.”

    First, “Objectivism” doesn’t consider homosexuality immoral, Ayn Rand did. Despite your insinuation, Objectivism doesn’t have dogmas you have to follow like the Pope’s word, but rather fundamental principles you should accept through rational conviction, and while many Objectivits do not share Rand’s view of homosexuality, it is not one of those fundamental issues. But then you’ve been told this countless times by Objectivists and don’t care to be intellectually honest enough to acknowledge it, because a big lie repeated long enough might come to be believed.

    Second, your last sentence is simply unfair. Given the amount of energy she devotes to arguing gainst Obamacare, the fact that her dissertation tackled one of the leftist egalitarians’ deepest convictions (that moral luck is unearned and should be redressed in justice), and the like, what this signals is you disagree with her about gay marriage and immigration policy, and more deeply about other matters. Anyone who wants a more balanced idea of what her views seem to be should read this post by her husband.

    Third, of course she attacks Christianity–so what? What would you expect from an Objectivist? But I wouldn’t say her attack is motivated particularly by its views of homosexuality but rather its views more generally on sexuality and earthly happiness, and more deeply because these views are based on an unquestioning acceptance of age-old myths and lies.

    “Why do you think the Left here and in Europe so strongly support massive immigration of Moslems?”

    In my experience, it’s because we’re the haves and they’re the have-nots, and because the quotas that keep them out are ostensibly racist because they’re unequal by racial and religious group. It’s all part and parcel of an egalitarian point of view whose radical opposition to any degree of inequality demands the destruction of any potentially “discriminatory” view to the contrary, particularly individualism–the hatred of “individualism” as simply a cloak or a naive submission to institutionalized inequality is far deeper than Madmax’s putative racial hatreds. Consider, for exmple, Ayelet Shachar’s The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality, a perfect example of the leftist program of universal leveling in every sphere of life.

  • Mike

    Madmax:
    What of Objectivism being a philosophy of “identifying reality”? What reality are you looking at?

    There’s more to reality than skin color. Indeed, one might say there’s a whole world of ideas underneath the skin. However, because it’s the color of the skin that you focus on, this deeper part of reality escapes you.

  • Neil Parille

    Mike,

    Rand said homosexuality is “immoral.” When did Rand say that calling something “immoral” meant anything other than inconsistent with Objectivism?

    She also said that the essence of femininity is man worship, so a lesbianism must be immoral.

    I’m not an Objectivist, but I think Rand is a better authority on Objectivism than you.

    -Neil

  • Neil Parille

    Mike,

    Actually Hsieh’s main concern is cats with hypothyroidism playing Parkour and answering such world historical questions as the morality of extreme couponing and the proper evaluation of people who use butter and margarine interchangeably.

    -NP

  • L-C

    If homosexuality is not chosen, it does not have a moral status and you’ll never find anything in Objectivism claiming otherwise.

    Not everything Ayn Rand said was part of her philosophical system. But you know that.

  • joey

    “Not everything Ayn Rand said was part of her philosophical system.”
    hi

    …which is why her position on libertarianism also is not, and why contemporary Objectivism’s visceral hatred of anything even remotely libertarian is so laughable.

    Why is it that simply because libertarianism will eventually lead a person to advocate for liberty on mystical/subjectivist grounds, and thus discredit it and be impotent to defend it, that that *must* be his true motivation? However, when a person is a homosexual – even though it *is* a rejection of the axiom of identity (albeit to a small degree, quite possibly) – what allowed him to reject the nature of his own body could *never* be bad philosophy. It is always a matter of biology or – at best – irreversible early childhood experiences.

    “Don’t bother to examine a contradiction, ask yourself only what it accomplishes.” Libertarianism – no, Libertarians – are *mostly* decent people who would embrace Objectivism (since it already their implicit method of functioning; their “sense of life”), but that can’t be allowed to happen lest they interfere with the personal ambitions of many Objectivists who imagine themselves in (one of the limited number of) positions of intellectual amd administrative in the upcoming pro-liberty revolution. Thus, it must always be cherry season. Libertarians *must* be attacked at every opportunity as subjectivists and nihilists, *despite* what we all see with our own eyes.

    Homosexual, on the other hand… well, the support of gays would swell the ranks and confound befuddled establishment thinkers… and they can’t hold a candle to those Objectivists wannabe leaders in an Ayn Rand trivia pissing contest, so let ’em in. If the evidence of the senses has to be ignored in order to miss the subjectivism and nihilism which dominates *the community*, so be it.

  • Andrew Dalton

    joey –

    It’s quite an accomplishment of yours to assemble four paragraphs containing nothing but misrepresentations and psychologizing. The total non-sequitur of your first sentence is a nice touch, too. The Objectivist movement is undoubtedly impoverished by alienating people of your intellectual caliber.

  • joey

    Allow me to translate Andrew Dalton’s comment:

    “I want to go out of my way to go on record as being the lap dog of May, Hsieh, Peikoff, et al. I am ready to assert my blind loyalty to their twisted vision of Objectivism, and of reality that it necessitates, because I hope to be on the side of those with the purse strings and copyrights during the next schism. I accept that such schisms are necessary in order to receive a greater degree of personal benefit from the promotion of Objectivism than it deserves, and I also realize that in order for them to appear credible, Objectivism must continue to be twisted further and further into dogmatism. Therefore, in exchange for my own (hoped for) disproportionate personal reward given my efforts, I am willing to do my part as a rank and file obfuscator. I will assist the leadership in their efforts to appear consistent and credible by performing whatever rear guard actions are necessary. I am fully committed to exasperate or opponents by muddying the water of just what terms like “what Ayn Rand really meant” and “the proper application of Objectivist principles” really mean, and therefore afford my overlords free reign, without any of the consequences to intellectual credibility – and thus prestige and financial success – that normally stem from such poor quality work.”

  • Inspector

    “The *form* of today’s Left is racial egalitarianism. Yes, the fundamental is collectivism but the enemy is more than just “individualism”, its the the white non-Leftist male.”

    Guys, this is true. Not commenting on the rest of what he’s said, but this much is true – the Left are a pack of racists and they do in fact want specifically to denigrate and marginalize the white and male, specifically. That is indeed the form that their egalitarian collectivism takes, and it is not a fact that is lost on any of us; at least I don’t think so.

    The reason WHY this is is because of what Jim said about wanting to erase the enlightenment. But the form this takes is because they were taught their own Marxist version of history in which the enlightenment consisted of – to use their terms, not mine – white males learning to enslave and exploit the brown people who had perfectly wonderful and valid cultures that weren’t violent, mystical, anti-scientific, misogynistic, and oppressive at all, but rather noble savagery as per the (laughably false) trope.

    Actually I’m sure Max wouldn’t dispute that.

    And just because that is the ideological cause for the matter, doesn’t mean that the on-the-ground Leftist is smart enough to cite his sources. All he knows is that white males are Bad and their culture is Bad and the cause of all of the world’s (and history’s!) ills. And he knows to, as Max says, accuse anyone who disagrees with their Marxism as racist because of this erroneous conception of history.

    Actually, I’m not sure what we’re arguing about here. I think both sides would agree with all of the above. I don’t think everyone is doing a good enough job of actually identifying where they actually disagree with the other side – most of the criticisms I see from both sides here seem to be things that the other side doesn’t dispute.

    If we’re going to disagree with Max – and I think there is likely something in there somewhere to dispute – we have to make sure to actually point out the correct points of contention, otherwise we sound like we disagree on the valid parts of what he’s saying, which will only feed his misconceptions about us and drive him (and other readers who are watching this) away from understanding what we’re really all about.

    Take for example his concern about the university pamphlet. Does his phrasing make him sound like a racist, himself? Yes. Totally. Max, that is not how you go about pointing out the racism of the Left. You did that wrong.

    But is it probably true that the pamphlets are the way they are because racist Leftists engineered them that way for racist reasons? YES. I think that is quite likely. Come on, we all know how Politically Correct those kinds of pamphlets are, and they probably managed to put the only five black people in New Zealand on their pamphlet. (Because that’s where I’m assuming his alma mater is; apologies if I got that wrong.)

  • Inspector

    “specifically to denigrate and marginalize the white and male, specifically.”

    Blech, never enough proofreading.

  • Inspector

    joey,

    I was about to say that I judge people who self-identify as libertarians on an individual basis, and that while I am wary of and in disagreement with the movement as a whole, I wouldn’t call myself automatically hostile to any individual member.

    But it seems you just came here to troll and pick fights, so have fun with that.

  • M Pearlstein

    *** much time reading Larry Auster and his ***

    Auster comments on this here.

    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/021429.html

  • thordaddy

    Objectivism encompasses the right for your mother to have killed you in utero and stands quite accepting of the self-annihilating nature of homosexuality. Which is to say that Objectivism is radically liberal.

    But what Chait is really saying is that Paul’s libertarianism will lead to “white supremacy.” That is the real fear of those that scream “racism” at Paul’s fight for the individual over the state. Paul’s call for libertarian “individualism” is a call for “white supremacy” in the eyes of an ever more radical variant of liberal. But this is false in both the idea that Paul is ushering in “white supremacy” or that libertarianism leads to “white supremacy,” itself.

    And it is a fact that all the variants of radical liberationism have as their collective arch enemy, white Supremacy, both real and perceived.

  • John McVey

    Thordaddy: you’re overanalysing. Chait’s article is just leftist sociology 101: individual liberty means governments not directing things, and that will lead to those already having ‘power’ gaining and keeping power. It is ALWAYS about power relations, with the left.

    The present attacks on white males is not originally predicated in root racism but the history of actual white supremacism and the leftist line that those with power will be succesful in increasing that power unless another collective gathers its powers and usurps control. Leftist politics is about that usurpation on behalf of all humanity where every individual is an interchangeagble cipher and has no more or less power than any other. After that, some liberal racism is just kneejerk psychology and others having foolishly painted themselves into ideological corners. It is simply not on the same level as the tossers who went on about black skin being the mark of Cain and whatnot or the race-realism scum.

  • White Knight

    @thordaddy: Err… what? On the subject of abortion, the position of an Objectivist is that the fetus is not yet a moral actor, because until it is separate from the mother it remains -part- of the mother, and thus cannot have recognized rights in much the same way that a person’s right arm cannot have rights against the person.

    As such abortion is not murder because there is as yet no human to be murdered. This neatly sidesteps issues of whether or not a man who punches a pregnant woman in the stomach is guilty of more than mere assault; he has just done the equivalent of lopping off her arm or leg.

  • Inspector

    White Knight,

    I actually think that – even though it was a cheap shot in the way you illustrate – thordaddy was really only saying that Objectivism is not arch conservatism and therefore Chait’s point is off base.

  • madmax

    Interesting responses to me here especially from Inspector and Mike.

    Regarding the university brochure: yes, I could have phrased that differently. But Inspector picked up on my point. The University’s brochure showed something like 20 blacks as opposed to about 20 whites. That gives the impression that the university is 50% black. It is not. It is less than 4% black. What does that tell you? Just what Inspector pointed out: Leftist multi-cult racism. Against who? Whites obviously.

    But my point is not to sell Traditionalism. I’ll be honest, I find Auster VERY interesting although I disagree with every philosophical position he takes. He’s an Augustinian, evolution-denying, true believing Christian. BUT, he raises points about culture that no Objectivist will touch. How I wish there were an Objectivist with as much depth as Larry Auster; one who even had the guts to mention the savage of black culture or the vicious evil of feminism’s war against men. (Your typical Objectivist like that fool Hsieh wont even allow such subjects to be discussed.)

    What I am wrestling with is something that Auster is terrified of, and that is Human BioDiversity. If Traditionalism does have a legitimate claim to make, it is not on the Christian, religious, supernatural foundation that Auster would like to put it on. It is on a biological, evolutionary foundation. The more I read about biology and brain chemistry, the more I question the free-will assumptions that Objectivism and libertarianism are based on. Or at least I am beginning to think that free will is far more limited than though and that *may* have political implications. I must admit, I really have no peace with this subject.

    Biology is a potent force. There *are* innate differences between the sexes and the races. Whether that matters for ethics and politics is a question I have not answered. But IMO neither has Objectivism. If Objectivism is to succeed and capture the culture, it will have to defeat materialism and the neuro-evolutionary sciences. They do NOT point in the direction of the blank-slate paradigm that Objectivism champions. The blank-slate element of O’ism may be its fatal flaw.

    I don’t say that with happiness. I genuinely have love for Objectivism. But when I see that Objectivism has no answers for Islam and its mosques and its Muslim hordes colonizing Western nations, for demographic change and the destruction of the Anglo-European culture that made America America, for the destruction of men and masculinity which most Objectivists seem oblivious to, and for the massive hostility of non-whites towards whites and the imminent race war that Objectivists can’t even see although it is fomenting right in front of their faces… When I see that an imbecile like Diana Hsieh – who sees a “Christian theocrat” behind every corner but ignores the Leftists tyrants all around her – is a leading figure in the Objectivist movement, I want to cry. When I see these things, I wonder just what type of potency Objectivism can ever have.

    We’ll see…

  • thordaddy

    Madmax,

    Take what you said and add what I’ve said and you have an “Objectivism” that essentially asserts that the white man self-annihilating is a highly coveted “individual right.”

  • Inspector

    “It is ALWAYS about power relations, with the left.”

    Isn’t THAT the truth! This is absolutely fundamental to Leftism, rooted in Marx of course. I find it fascinating how it serves as yet another self-reinforcing mechanism for them. Of course everyone is all about taking power and abusing it. It eases the burden on their consciences of the fact that their entire program is just that. (everybody’s doing it!)

    Hey Max,

    Two things – I remember one of the first things that attracted me to Objectivism was a deeply scathing article against Feminism (that, and environmentalism). Ayn Rand was absolutely awesome on those issues, and left no room whatsoever for doubt about what her (yes, and Objectivism’s) stance was. If you see any Objectivist with less than total contempt for either of them, they’re doing it wrong.

    As for biology, I can only encourage you to dig into Gus Van Horn’s archives (sorry, I’m sure I have other sources, but they escape me just now). The fact is that there is a lot of category error and false assumptions driving many of these “studies” that “prove” free will isn’t real. And for the rest, I’ve found that – even if true – they don’t represent any kind of actual challenge to free will. (in essence, my response is: “So what?”) My point is, keep your mind active and skeptical of these people.

  • Neil Parille

    Someone from Italy once asked me (because of watching TV), “Are most judges black women?”

    I would say that Rand in her more unguarded moments had a different understand of group differences than what she let on to in her published writings. She was quite critical (as a group) of American Indians and Arabs, if you read her Q&A. In her Journals she speculated about whether we were living in the presence of unevolved not-complete humans. In her Journals (before Harriman Bowdlerized them) she speculated about the “degeneration of the white race.”

    She was also a staunch supporter of Israel (even buying its bonds), a country which has an explicitly racial and religious immigration policy and which would disappear if her nutty “open immigration” followers had their way.

  • madmax

    For all those that doubt the race war I am referring to, please read this and really grasp what you are reading:

    http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/mich.-family%3A-grandmother-assaulted-at-chuck-e.-cheese%27s-20120116

    Do you see Mr. May? Tell me there is no pending race war in America.

  • madmax

    Another article for Mr. May. This one from the New York Times:

    http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/14/whats-race-got-to-do-with-it/?hp

    I say this to Mr. May and every Objectivist here. I dare you to read this article and tell me that the Left does not hate white people. Call it “hatred of the white for being the white.” Go ahead and read it and see where we are heading. The Left is sick, twisted and evil.

    Note to “Dr. Diana Hsieh” aka the imbecile: Please tell me one more time how America is really in danger from Christian theocrats like Rick Santorum when Leftists like Lee Siegel are openly salivating at the thought of the utter destruction of White Gentiles. “GOP, I hate you”? But nothing worth hatred in the Left right “Dr. Hsieh”? Fool.

    Somewhere in infinity right now, Ayn Rand is crying.

  • Inspector

    The Left sees racism under every unturned object. The Left is also notorious for projecting its own vices onto its enemies. I won’t dispute that the Left are a pack of racists of the anti-white variety. (but also, deeper than that: plain racists. There are implications to this fact.)

    What you’re missing – I think because the discussion gets a bit heated – is that I don’t think Jim or anyone here disputes this – he just wants to make the important point about why – i.e. it is rooted in the hatred of the enlightenment, in the false teachings of Marxist revisionist history, in self-hating nihilism, and so on. (i.e., the ideological causes, which are primary)

    Detroit is a particularly telling example of Leftism run wild. It is nearly a DMZ today, and getting worse. I joked yesterday that Detroit has become what the Robocop movies predicted. Minus Robocop, of course.

    If you want to see what the Left wants for America – what their vision would produce – simply look to Detroit. And, yes, that includes mini-race-wars, but that is actually kind of beside the point when you look at the panoply of other ills Detroit is.

    Which is, I think, the crux of what folks here are trying to argue with you, Madmax. It’s not that the Left doesn’t want race wars. They do! It’s that the picture is wider, and even worse, than simply that.

  • John McVey

    To add to what Inspector said, I think it also important to realise that there’s a difference between the rank and file leftists on the one hand and the intellectualists like Chait on the other. I can certainly foresee crude bloodline-oriented racism on the part of the former (just as Miss Rand herself pointed out would happen as reason was shut down and collectivism took over), but that’s not what Chait et al are driven by. Instead, they are driven by Marxist sociology and history, viewing all social phenomena as power struggles engaged in by collectives. They dont hate whites for being white but for the history of whites having power. For the intellectuals thr race war is intended as a means to wrecking existing power structures and clearing the path for them to install new ones, whereas for true racists a war is about having race x win and take power.

    The problem is that the intellectuals’ worldview is nonsense, and is only fuelling the rank and file in their slow changeover to actually hating whites for being whites, and in the end this is liable to lead to the exact opposite of their stated intentions – they want the race war so as to burn out individualism and foster multiracial collectivism, but what they’ll get is more bloodline-oriented racism with regular conflict to match. Think of the mistake made by Dr Cocteau in Demolition Man writ large.

    JJM

  • steve jackson

    Sure leftism has run wild in Detroit but you can’t get more leftist than Vermont. Yet Vermont has a low crime rate and is prosperous.

    Detroit is 82 black and Vermont is 98% white.

    Just keep telling yourself group differences don’t matter its all the individual verses the collective.

  • Inspector

    But, Mr. Jackson, Detroit doesn’t invalidate a thing any of the writers here have said. It’s been a perfect little Skinner Box for the Left to run their social experiments. The results are apparent. Those results are only attributable to race inasmuch as race is a part of their victimhood ideology.

    Detroit is ideology in action.

  • steve jackson

    Even Communist east Germany was better off than Detroit.

    You probably think the rioters in London are the descendants of heingeist and Hor sa.

    Name one black society that has a high standard of living or high IQs.

  • Micahel

    Sure leftism has run wild in Detroit but you can’t get more leftist than Vermont. Yet Vermont has a low crime rate and is prosperous.

    Detroit is 82 black and Vermont is 98% white.

    Just keep telling yourself group differences don’t matter its all the individual verses the collective.

    so you pointed out a silly correlation and ignored the underlying ideologies at work. Nice

  • Inspector

    Mr. Jackson,

    To answer your question, I have a counter question for you: name one black society that holds enlightenment ideology. To my knowledge, every one of them is either poisoned by anti-enlightenment Leftism or never really adopted the enlightenment in the first place. (which can largely be blamed on the lack of confidence that the teachers of this ideology had in it)

    From what I understand, the Ivory Coast adopted Western values to a certain extent, and to exactly that extent, they prospered. And, correspondingly, to the extent that they had Leftist (socialist) ideas, they failed and suffered crises.

    And, in fact, I think the rioters in London are very much products of ideology as well. You can’t tell me that the ideology to cause exactly that behavior isn’t present there.

  • steve jackson

    East Germany didn’t hold enlightenment values and it had a relatively high standard of living. Same with still Communist China.

    Let me ask you this: what kind of society would you expect people with low IQs to produce?

    I suggest reading IQ and the Wealth of Nations and The Global Bell Curve.

  • Richard

    I like this blog and always find interesting unique ways of coming at political and philosophic ideas. But no matter what gets posted it always seems to attract the irrational paranoia driven types. You could post a Peanuts cartoon and the comments would inevitably open with why Diana Hsieh is so mean for opposing Republicans, why Leonard Peikoff is crazy, and why Paleocons really really might be onto something.

    Typically I can enjoy the blog posts here on their own, and eyeroll enough to ignore the comments, but I think it’s past the point of acceptability. If the blog owner is going to allow Madmax and Neil’s tripe to continue I think it reflects on their willingness to play host to it.

    I think it’s well beyond the point now where Madmax and Niel’s garbage posts should be given the benefit of the doubt. Particularly now in light of Madmax’s plainly petty name calling and outright admittance that he holds determinism and collectivism as more important than Objectivist ideas.

  • Bill Brown

    Typically I can enjoy the blog posts here on their own

    Thank you! “Avoid reading the comments” is my general practice for most of the Web. Use of a feed reader really helps out in that regard.

    It’s a tenuous balance between moderation and stifling. If you’re too heavy-handed, then discussions aren’t freewheeling if they even happen at all. If you let anything go, then your comment section becomes a “hive of scum and villainy.” I prefer to lean towards the “anything goes” pole and save the hammer for completely off-topic, vile characters (it’s happened), and spam.

    I won’t discuss the particular commenters you mention but nothing that’s on the site right now has run afoul of the above rubric. I moderate ex post facto. “Past the point of acceptability” and “given the benefit of the doubt” aren’t your evaluations to make except as a reader.

  • Inspector

    “East Germany didn’t hold enlightenment values and it had a relatively high standard of living. Same with still Communist China.”

    That is simply a question of the height, both economically and philosophically, that those nations had to fall from. Consider North Korea – they’re worse off than East Germany, despite roughly the same kind of influence, and there isn’t any major IQ difference claimed to be at work, there. But North Korea didn’t have the Enlightenment do its philosophic (and, as a consequence, economic) work for as long before the fall.

    China is a different ball of wax. They had a non-enlightenment culture pre-Leftism, but it had some virtues in play that gave a certain degree of resilience. Africa had no such advantages.

    My point is that ideological causality fully accounts for the phenomena that you cite.

  • Inspector

    There’s a deeper problem with the claims of IQ driving history, however.

    I’ve yet to see an IQ test that would not be skewed by the knowledge and training of the subject. (philosophy being a fundamental factor in the ability of the subject to even have knowledge) Of course someone whose mind has been destroyed or aborted by bad philosophy is going to measure low on an IQ test. How do you separate this from their natural level of ability? No way that I know of. Yet the “scientists” conducting these tests blithely ignore this (as a result of the bad philosophy driving them).

    Measuring IQ is a chicken-and-the-egg problem. It’s not that IQ doesn’t exist – it’s that we can only measure effective IQ, and not the biological factor of IQ by itself.

    My point is that the entire well of the subject is poisoned. There’s no way to distinguish the signal from the noise. The only sensible course of action is to ignore it, or regard it as a curiosity at best.

  • steve jackson

    You might want to go to YouTube and look at Phil Rushtons videos and also read his paper in response to R.A Nisbett.

  • steve

    If you want to find the IQ of an adopted child you look to the IQ of the biological parents not the adoptive parents. Identical twins have closer IQs than non identical twins. Korean children who are adopted have higher than average IQs.

    There are lots of tools available even if its not easy to tease out all the variables.

  • Michael

    high IQ doesn’t mean you are rational or even willing to use your brain

  • Neil Parille

    Mr. Inspector,

    One problem I have with Objectivism is the (to me least) knee-jerk approach when it comes to issues such as innate knowledge, intelligence, free will and cultural determinism.

    Isn’t it necessary to engage in a lot of empirical inquiry to come up with an answer to these topics?

    It’s just as likely that intelligence is part genetic and part environmental, that genes and philosophy both influence a culture, that the human will is partly free, etc.

    Most Objectivists believe there is a strong biological component to sexual orientation, so why not the same in other areas?

    -Neil Parille

  • Inspector

    Neil,

    Since you’re being more polite (and less troll-like) today, I’ll respond to that.

    My response to it isn’t knee-jerk, although it’s true that I haven’t gone into a lot of depth here so maybe it looks that way.

    My response is based on having seen a lot of bad science, and knowing the signs of it. What I do is I read the studies and articles, and watch for flaws in their methodology. These flaws usually involve erroneous assumptions that fatally compromise the studies and experiments in question.

    An example of a bad study method would be one in which the scientist is establishing a correlation, rather than a causation, and merely assuming that a causative effect exists. Most often, because this assumption is part of a widely-believed idea, such as Global Warming.

    In essence, what I find is that the scientists are engaging in the fallacy of begging the question.

    For the rest of their claims, I have yet to see any that would represent a fundamental threat to the philosophy of Objectivism. I’ve read your criticisms, Neil, and I can tell you that for the most part the things you say undermine the philosophy really don’t – you’re just misunderstanding the philosophy.

    Here’s the short version of why: It does not matter if a man has some urge or another – so long as he still possesses a rational faculty which can override that urge when he chooses to think about it, Bob’s your uncle.

  • John McVey

    Leaving aside the dubiousness of IQ statistics and BS about different races having different urges this way and that, in any event the discussion is pointless as:

    a) statistics tell me nothing about a given individual before me and do not override that individual’s own test results should I find need to administer such tests (didn’t Sowell make this point, too?);

    b) individuals of all races do have both free wills and the same psychoepistemological faculties, and so the same bases for moral assessment and mechanisms of ideological causation apply, with differences in mental contents and methods being but the mix of particular histories of external suggestions and individual choices in the face thereof;

    and c) the law and its execution ought be what they ought be, including being colourblind, also irrespective of statistics be they real or dubious.

    A man’s race tells me not one damn thing about how I should act towards him either on a personal or political level. Race is of zero consequence for morality. Hence, regarding race statistics: woopty bloody doo.

    And on top of that, Jim’s original point remains: the left has nothing to offer but tedious drivel that Objectivists should be able to knock over in two seconds flat. This enemy is small indeed, and made seemingly fearsome only because of the inanities and defaults of our other – and greater – enemy. Never forget that Kant loosed toads like Chait upon the world precisely to make room for that other enemy.

    JJM

  • Neil Parille

    John,

    After the Bell Curve came out in 94, the American Psychological Association prepared a response. They said that the consensus of experts was that IQ tests are neutral and IQ substantially predicts success in life. They also concluded that there was a substantial genetic component. They found that the black/white IQ gap was real and not due to bias testing, but said it was likely not genetic.

    While the group who prepared the report was probably on the left, considering the left’s belief in education and egalitarianism, I find this significant.

    If you were going to have a child and could push a button providing him with an IQ of 120 or another button with an IQ of 90 you wouldn’t push the 120?

  • Inspector

    “Hence, regarding race statistics: woopty bloody doo.”

    Marvelous, sir. Consider my hat tipped.

  • c andrew

    Thanks, John, for your 3 points. One would think that a freedom philosophy wouldn’t have to belabour the point that we deal with individuals rather than collectives, collectivists, like sheep, are very dim. Once they get an idear in their heads, there’s no shifting of it.

  • Antacid

    “If you were going to have a child and could push a button providing him with an IQ of 120 or another button with an IQ of 90 you wouldn’t push the 120?”

    Neil,

    I don’t get the point that you’re trying to make here. Are you trying to suggest that black people shouldn’t have children? Because the American Psychological Association believes that black people, overall as a group, have a lower IQ compared to other races, should they be treated differently or excluded from things intended for “better” people? Or maybe, as the left seems to believe, they need “help” to put them on equal footing?

    We’ve all seen where that leads, and it’s ugly.

    I know this may seem like a jump, but this is the logical conclusion to what you appear to be advocating. I think you need to re-read what Inspector and John McVey have written as you don’t seem to have understood them.

  • Inspector

    That’s a good line of questioning, Antacid. It got me thinking: so what if such an IQ difference did exist? The philosophy behind individual rights, and the political conclusions reached don’t change one whit.

    The whole idea of group IQ is a collectivist fallacy. If one man happens to have a lower IQ – although not, legally speaking, retarded – there doesn’t need to be a different set of laws for that one person. From there, it doesn’t matter if there are two such people… or even two (hundred) million.

    The same exact argument that proves the necessity of individual rights applies, even doubly so, when surrounded by morons. Because the last thing that the non-morons need is political power for the morons to usurp.

  • John McVey

    C Andrew & Inspector: You’re welcome *bow*.

    Antacid: He’s trying to suggest that, in consideration of my potential offspring, I ought contemplate the race of an intriguing-looking woman when deciding whether I should talk to her with an eye to possibly starting a relationship that might lead to raising a family with her. The answer is that I judge her as an individual and not as a member of race X – ie it is covered by point a. All that statistics might say on this matter is that ten thousand men like me will only find girlfriend material yay-percentage of the time from among women of race X, a fact that is of no significance when dealing with the particular ladies who happen to be race X and who bring a smile to my face. In point of fact, been there done that, including direct consideration of family planning (we even had names picked out). Race wasn’t a factor in our breakup, and this experience has not at all inclined me to pay more attention to the race of women I might smile at (mmmm… Sarah Shahi…).

    Also, speaking of personal history, I grew up with Antiguan family in Scotland. My Antiguan uncle is as black as the ace of spades, and before retirement was a mechanical engineer – as in actual degree-having engineer – at a milk processing factory in Glasgow. My Scots Aunt was a housewife. The three cousins I spent my early youth with, and have happy memories of, have since grown up to be intelligent and educated people. Annnd, FWIW, when my parents brought us out here to Australia in 1979 the first people to give us a real heart-felt “Welcome to Australia!” were Aborigines – to everyone else we were just more New Chums. Annnd #2, both my current and previous doctors are decidedly-nonwhite immigrants, being Pakistani and Ghanan (IIRC) respectively. I’ve had no problem with my life being in their hands, and I’d have no race-based problem with me dating one of their children or one of my future children dating one of their future grandchildren. I think that’s enough anecdotal skewers for one day.

    BTW, I did try to think of a scenario where one might have valid reason to act towards an individual man by reference to his race and which was not obviated by direct examination of him as per point a. The only thing I could think of is ER staff dealing with a just-rushed-in unconscious patient of unknown medical history where one of the things they can identify about him is that he appears to be race X, and they must act **NOW**. I do not know what the reality on this matter is but I know just barely enough to think it plausible that statistics about race X may change the kinds of tests that should be performed in what order and what things to be prepared for as possible complications from various medications given to him, and so on, before his test results come back. Now, surely this sort of thing is too concrete-bound to give any moral emphasis to, but given the presence of trolls tossing mental rubble around it wouldn’t hurt to throw the occasional grenade under bridges that can handle the explosions.

    JJM

  • c andrew

    JJM,
    Regarding the hypothetical of Race X in the ER, here is a plausible scenario:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle_cell_disease

    Otherwise, the only people that I can see that, as a career, would have to focus on the question of skin color would be cosmetics manufacturers, makeup artists, and, possibly, clothes designers both haute couture and theatrical and other derivative or related fields.

  • c andrew

    Antacid,
    Here’s another hypothetical.

    If Asians are determined to have a higher group IQ than Caucasians, then do they have the right to agitate to reduce the birth rate of whites to help contribute to racial uplift?

    As you say, we’ve seen this before, where it goes, and how ugly it gets.

  • madmax

    More good comments here especially by Inspector. I appreciate that he takes what I am saying seriously. Some comments of my own:

    I think it’s well beyond the point now where Madmax and Niel’s garbage posts should be given the benefit of the doubt.

    Richard, yours is the type of knee-jerk idiocy that inspires Conservatives to call Objectivists “Randroids”. You sir *are* a Randroid. If you can read the articles I linked to and not at least see social problems worthy of thought and attention then you are lost. Any active minded reader would at least recognize that I raised serious question about serious issues. But you are not active minded. Good day to you sir.

    he just wants to make the important point about why – i.e. it is rooted in the hatred of the enlightenment

    I get your general point and I’ll consider it. But how would you or any Objectivist argue that the Left itself *is the product of the Enlightenment*? Many Leftists claim the Enlightenment heritage as their own. And the Enlightenment did reject religion but it threw out objectivity in the process; ie it ushered in skepticism. I can’t help but think that the Left is the end-of-road of Enlightenment “skeptical thought”. I have no answers here accept to raise this issue.

    Measuring IQ is a chicken-and-the-egg problem. It’s not that IQ doesn’t exist – it’s that we can only measure effective IQ, and not the biological factor of IQ by itself.

    My point is that the entire well of the subject is poisoned.

    This is an interesting line of thought. I really wish there were a Rand influenced social scientist to follow through on this. Perhaps IQ is flawed as a metric and Murray and Rushton are basing their theories on misleading information. But proving that would be a Herculean task.

    The problem is that the intellectuals’ worldview is nonsense, and is only fuelling the rank and file in their slow changeover to actually hating whites for being whites, and in the end this is liable to lead to the exact opposite of their stated intentions

    That could be true and its an interesting response to the racialist arguments. Still, the survival of a multi-racial libertarian / liberal society is still very much theoretical. I’d like for it to be possible but I do question whether biology will ever let you fully remove race consciousness and identity (and the inevitable race conflicts that come with it). I hope it can.

    I give this blog credit for allowing this subject to be discussed. Its a sad state of affairs when Objectivists wont even address the subject of the Left’s hatred and demonization of white people. Hopefully the more open-minded Objectivists will read this and at least be aware of the phenomenon.

  • madmax

    If Asians are determined to have a higher group IQ than Caucasians, then do they have the right to agitate to reduce the birth rate of whites to help contribute to racial uplift?

    This is ignorant of the actual data and arguments by racialist. Its also the ad Hitlerium fallacy; ie appeal to Hitler and the Nazis to emotionally intimidate your opponent. The difference b/w Asian and Caucasian IQ is not statistically significant because Caucasians have greater variation around the mean. This means that Caucasions have greater outliers; ie more idots but more importantly more geniuses. Whites produce more high IQ people than Asians or anyone else – well with the exception of Ashkenazi Jews. And the actual race of the Jews and the reason for their high IQ is a really big scientific question.

    There is also the question of emotional temperament. Here you would have to read Phillip Rushton’s work; specifically his R v K selection theory. Asians are not risk takers as a group. Caucasians on the other hand are. So Whites produce more genius level intellects and they take greater risks. *This* makes Caucasians very important for the development of humanity. It is the Europeans that have in essence industrialized the world. Charles Murray has written on how the bulk of the world’s scientific discoveries originate from a certain zone of Europe; ie Caucasians.

    Address that C Andrew.

    BTW, I did try to think of a scenario where one might have valid reason to act towards an individual man by reference to his race and which was not obviated by direct examination of him as per point a.

    Are you serious? How about being in any inner city in the Western world? Especially after nightfall. Did you even read the Chucky Cheese article I linked to? Yours is the very worst type of “my best friends are black” pandering that I would expect from leftists.

    If I see an ethnic looking Black or Hispanic I cross the street and I always watch what I say around Black people. READ that Chucky Cheese article I linked. The patterns of Black crime are remarkably predictable. No other racial group on earth commits violent crime in the numbers or the pattern that Blacks do.

    Seriously John, your response is pathetic. More “Randroid” nonsense. And I say that as someone who loves Rand.

  • Antacid

    John,

    I guess I just didn’t see that in what Neil wrote. Re-reading it, I now see what you’re talking about. I guess I hate racism so much that it’s hard not to get upset (and, perhaps, fly off the handle).

  • Neil Parille

    Mr. Antacid,

    Of course that’s not what I believe and nothing I wrote could be taken in that way. And as I pointed out, the concesus is that group differences (to the extent they exist) are not genetic.

    My point was that when Objectivists attack the validity of IQ and IQ tests or (like Rand) have wildly optimistic ideas about how a person’s intelligence can be increased, they are holding a view that is on the far left.

  • John McVey

    C Andrew: Thank you, that is indeed the sort of thing I had in mind.

    Antacid: Trolls and collectivists alike delight in trying to lead people down garden paths and to elicit emotional responses in pursuit of their respective agendas.

  • madmax

    My point was that when Objectivists attack the validity of IQ and IQ tests or (like Rand) have wildly optimistic ideas about how a person’s intelligence can be increased, they are holding a view that is on the far left.

    Exactly. Do you realize that if you were to pull that crap with Charles Murray that he would destroy you.

    I keep saying this and you O’ists keep holding your hands over year ears and screaming no! But prepare yourself for the fact that there *are* racial differences in intelligence, temperament, sexual psychology and basically everything else. Do you honestly think evolution didn’t influence human development? And yet an Objectivist will say they are “pro-science”. Prove it.

    Trolls and collectivists alike delight in trying to lead people down garden paths and to elicit emotional responses in pursuit of their respective agendas.

    Maybe they are trying to show you that you have knee-jerk Leftist elements to you on the subject of race. Ever think of that Mr. “I once dated a black girl”?

  • John McVey

    You know what they say about assumptions, Max?

    Me qua individual, I don’t *care* about statistics, real or not. I treat individuals as individuals.

    Me qua student of Objectivism, given the same essential nature of men, I see no reason to tailor any part of the philosophy or its implementation to race. Hell, the same premises would apply to true AIs or intelligent aliens. So I still don’ give a damn.

    Statistics, be they real or not, can take care of themselves, and I question the mindsets of those who make an issue about them for any kind of agenda.

  • Inspector

    “Maybe they are trying to show you that you have knee-jerk Leftist elements to you on the subject of race. Ever think of that Mr. “I once dated a black girl”?”

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. His point about dating was spot on and well put. The entire crux of the argument is that statistical differences do not individual attributes make, nor political or philosophical consequences have. And Neil has acted very much in a troll like fashion at times here, so there’s no sense in getting upset with that label. (again, he’s doing better at the moment, which helps him and elicits a better and more productive discussion, so I do hope he keeps it up)

    And, indeed, as I’ve advised in the past: all parties, including yourself, would benefit if you tried to remain calm when posting here. I don’t think you help your case when you post angry here, as difficult as it can be not to in this kind of thing.

  • Mike

    “Maybe they are trying to show you that you have knee-jerk Leftist elements to you on the subject of race.”

    Maybe his responses are not knee-jerk but considered? And labeling his position as “Leftist” tells us nothing about whwther it is true or not. In other words, you’re simply assuming that your comments are being disagreed with because of bias on our part rather than a failure to make a convincing case on yours.

  • Mike

    Madmax:
    “Perhaps IQ is flawed as a metric and Murray and Rushton are basing their theories on misleading information. But proving that would be a Herculean task.”

    Thomas Sowell has had some useful critical comments on Murray’s work:

    http://econ161.berkeley.edu/movable_type/2003_archives/000792.html

    http://seattlecentral.edu/faculty/jhubert/crippledbyculture.html

    I know the latter of these at least has been pointed to by many Objectivists in the blogosphere, and I certainly agree with it. Perhaps this is the reason you don’t make much headway in your arguments–you show yourself in your rants here and elsewhere to seem thoroughly unfamiliar with such alternate explanations by scholars like Sowell who are quite thoroughly anti-leftist.

    “But prepare yourself for the fact that there *are* racial differences in intelligence, temperament, sexual psychology and basically everything else. Do you honestly think evolution didn’t influence human development?”

    The disagreement is not over whether there are such differences statistically speaking, but their explanation. Your step from the former sentence to the latter is exactly where you run into opposition from Objectivists (well, that and your silly infatuation with manipulating women with power dating nonsense).

  • John McVey

    IMO a rational sociology is essential to fully understanding history (and economics). It is the study of the bridge between philosophy and history. A rational sociology – which doesn’t need crap such as determinism to be valid, but knowledge of psychological phenomena such as psychoepistemology – would be a sight to behold. I think only an Objectivist is capable of making sociology bloom properly. (No, I make no claim to be that Objectivist.)

    With that in mind, let me repeat here something I’e said elsewhere and add a further observation. A fair chunk of a rational sociology would consist of the epidemiology of second-handedness. In turn, the present topic would be a large – and controversial – part of that discussion.

    JJM

  • steve

    I’d like to see footnotes for Sowell’s claims. I’ve searched for these supposed test results and can’t find them.

    Pinker has a good discussion of Jewish IQ on YouTube.

    The Rushton/Nisbett papers on the web are a better place to start.

    Even liberal William Saletan was persuaded by Rushton.

    Please explain why black IQs regress to a lower mean. Please give a good environmentalist explanation for the trans racial adoption studies.

  • steve

    Incidentally I’m a little skeptical about s ome if these old IQ tests particularly of non English speaking. Were the Russian Jews tested in Russian?

    I’ve read that they weren’t. Its also said that many test takers might not have even used a pencil before.

  • Neil Parille

    I purchased Nisbett’s book Intelligence (2009), which contains a lengthy appendix arguing that the black/white IQ gap is not genetic.

    Rushton and Jensen critiqued it here:

    http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushtonpdfs/2010%20Review%20of%20Nisbett.pdf

    I don’t have access to the original studies, so it’s hard to know what to make of all this.

    -Neil