Monday, July 31, 2017

“How Stupid Can You Get?”

     ...is not a question one should bandy about carelessly. Some people might take it as a challenge:

     The University of Iowa’s student newspaper has announced the discovery of a special privilege which intelligent people acquire as an accident of birth. This new privilege — called “cognitive privilege” — functions in essentially the same way as white privilege.

     The Daily Iowan revealed the discovery of this new privilege earlier this week....

     As with skin color and much else, Daily Iowan author Dan Williams argues, people have no control over how smart they are. Life is a huge cosmic lottery full of winners and losers.

     Cognitive privilege is one of “many kinds of privilege besides white privilege.”

     Let’s see, now: for decades, the Left has had multiple cows whenever anyone suggests actually studying intelligence. For instance, when Herrnstein and Murray published The Bell Curve, the first systematic study of general intelligence and its correlates since Arthur Jensen’s tarring and feathering back in 1969, virtually the whole of the academic Left denounced them as racists, sexists, et cetera ad nauseam infinitam. Their sin, of course, was to look at genetic factors’ participation in intelligence. Social “scientists” on the Left insisted in a virtual chorus that only environmental factors that affect intelligence ought to be studied or considered for public policy purposes.

     Why? The reason is actually quite simple: if only environmental factors – e.g., home life, cultural surroundings, quality of schooling, and so forth – are valid subjects for study, then government can justify intrusive adjustments to such things in the name of a “level intellectual playing field.” It’s a BLEEP!ing money river for the social engineers.

     There’s just one problem: No one has yet identified a controllable environmental factor that correlates with measurable intelligence, whether the metric chosen is school grades or the Revised Stanford-Binet. Programs such as “Head Start” have spent billions without producing enduring cognitive gains for their clients, even in the early grades of grammar school.

     That’s becoming generally known. As it becomes known, those who absorb the lesson will turn ever more firmly against intrusive government programs to “equalize” educational results, especially as regards the races and sexes. That troubles the Left, ever the fans of the Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnibenevolent State.

     That makes me wonder whether, given that it’s in a losing position on the environmental-factors front, the Left has decided to embrace the position it previously condemned: i.e., that general intelligence is somewhere between one third and two thirds a product of genetics.

     Mind you, the prevailing consensus among cognitive scientists is as open to dispute as the supposed consensus among “climate scientists.” Science has no use for consensus; anyone who tells you different is either an ignoramus or a liar. At this time, no one knows the genesis of intelligence, particularly the highest reaches of intelligence. All anyone has is an opinion.

     If this Dan Williams fellow is “on his own,” he might soon be reined in sharply by his fellow-traveling Leftists for implying the endorsement of a thesis that’s long been unacceptable to them. However, he could also be tossing a straw to the wind: a flier intended to test the currents of opinion for whether a new sally in identity politics might be popular. For among the things becoming generally known are the means and distributions of IQ as controlled by race and sex – and if the race and gender hustlers could use these measures, which have displeased them for decades, they’d turn their previous stance on its head to make use of them.

     It doesn’t bother me either way. Regardless of the position they adopt, we know what the race and gender hustlers will demand: more government intervention, more government programs, and more government spending. They can’t “redistribute” IQ points...and thank You most sincerely, dear God, for that great blessing.

1 comment:

  1. I think someone in Iowa is getting an asswhuppin for mentioning the unmentionable. Some people are born smart, some stupid.
    And University of Iowa can't change that. So let's cut some spending on the morons!

    ReplyDelete

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