Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kling Klanger

I greatly admire the writings on economics by Arnold Kling. His recent comment on IQ is deficient, however. He falls into the trap of regarding mental abilities as specific when the whole thrust of a century of research into IQ shows that they are general. Everybody has things that they are best at but in general a person who is good at solving one sort of problem will be good at solving many sorts of problems. IQ represents in fact precisely that general ability which Kling concedes is badly needed in today's world. IQ is therefore a useful sorting method for determining in advance who can handle college education. And the SAT that is much used for that purpose in the USA is in fact little more than an IQ test.

To be fair, Kling seeems to be talking about top talent rather than normal ability. He is correct that extreme ability in any field is poorly predicted by IQ tests. Once you get into the genius range (say the top 2%) IQ tests can no longer sort out who will be the highest achievers among that population.

But Kling seems to conclude from that that IQ tests are not GENERALLY useful -- which is false. There may of course be a few rare cases where a person of genius ability in some particular field cannot make it into the top 20% of IQ scorers and who might therefore in a strict system be barred from higher education. But making provision for exceptional cases is part of any form of administration. Teachers do it all the time already when they award marks. So that poses no great difficulty.


Perhaps an example of ability generalizing might be in order -- to show what I mean:

My own greatest ability is getting papers published in academic journals. I am exceptionally good at that -- which is why I have had hundreds published. Papers which I have taken only a day to write generally get accepted for publication whereas some of my unfortunate colleagues labour for a year over a paper and then get it knocked back.

So I am hopeless at other things, right? Yes. I am a total washout at sport for instance. But I am also reasonably good at many apparently unrelated things. I am good at fixing old locks, for instance, and I have been quite successful in business.

But I am no billionaire and any locksmith is better at fixing locks than I am. I have just the one special ability but, associated with that, I also have a range of lesser abilities in which I am no world-beater but in which I do better than most. And that is pretty much how abilities generally are related to one another.

Jesus put it rather bluntly: "To him that hath, more will be given him. And to him that hath not, what little he hath will be taken away".



Environmentalism, free trade and globalization don't bring people or nations together. Neither do feminism, human rights, cures for disease or the myriad of other common causes, all vying for our attention. There is only one cause that unites people and nations, today, like no other. That cause is anti-Americanism. The dislike or hatred of America and Americans is an obsession that unifies most people on the planet. That hatred crosses race, religious, gender and age barriers. It is an activity that produces almost sexual like pleasures among those that engage in it. They are in a word, obsessed. America is the root all evils- past, present and future.

It is hard for those who have such great hatred for America to opine on which gave them greater pleasure- the people who jumped to their deaths from the World Trade Center, or those who burned to death. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. Ward Churchill has become a respected and sought after speaker to a certain segment of the population, justifying the deaths of all those `little Eichmanns'- to cheering audiences. Those who blame George Bush for the all the ills of the world make no apologies for their decit or despicable behavior. As Dr Sanity points out,

The chant, "Bush Lied, People Died" would be revised to, "3000 People Died on 9/11 before Bush Said Anything" . The former has the advantage of rhyming, but the latter is closer to truth in advertising. And, that is exactly why the people chanting the former cutesy phrase are so indignant and scream ragefully like stuck pigs about "cynical manipulation" when images of 9/11 are shown; or even when that horrible day is mentioned. They know all about it. The "cynical manipulation" they are referring to is entirely a product of their own minds.

Pesky truths! Of course, virulent anti Americanism is not just home grown (dysfunctional hate is rarely a confined and local phenomena). With great irony, the French and Germans feel compelled to lecture America on militarism, despite their own spectacular and bloody legacies. When you consider that US military intervention has been for the most part at the request of and as a result of European military and adventurism of all other varieties, their charges are laughable and accepted only as fact by the `useful idiots.'

Over the years, anti-Americanism has evolved from the minor religion of has-been Marxists, professional victims, radical Islamists and Third World tin pot dictators playing to the cameras, into what can best be described as new found religious status, elevated to unimaginable heights. Hugo Chavez, and other recently minted Latin American dictators-in-training are a few of the latest new apostles and saints of the left (Look for Castro to be canonized immediately upon death). Along with with Che Gueverra, Mao, Ho Chi Minh and every Middle Eastern dysfunctional despot, to name a few, are now the angels sitting on the shoulders of the leftists, all blessed and ordained by Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and the religious orders of MoveOn, TruthOut and CounterPunch.

Of course, every religion needs demons and sin. The objective of the new religion is to put the US into the worst possible light, defined as evil and whose every motive is suspect and deadly. Equally as important is ignore those things that the US does well, or redefine those things into evil. For example, the MSM had virtually nothing to say when US soldiers were brutally murdered along with Iraqi children, as the soldiers were passing out gifts. In fact, the story was ignored and almost immediately forgotten. The pretend Quran desecration story, went on for weeks.

America is the hell and Mr Bush is the devil in this new religion. Of course, there can be no heaven or God- anti American ideology of the left precludes the need for a deity (If you are an anti-American, Jew hating radical Islamist, you can impose your beliefs at will with the cheers and encouragement of the `we feel your pain, for the most part' crowd. FGM is just `cultural expression.' Don't you know that?).

What the anti American religion pretends to offer it's millions, if not billions, of adherents, is the same as any other faith-meaning. Of course it is really no more than an illusion, a mirage, to mitigate an otherwise useless existence (When anti-Americanism is the focus of your life, that life is indeed meaningless). A life predicated on hate and rage is not real meaning at all. A life predicated on positive actions and efforts is a life with real meaning.

To be a successful adherent to this new faith requires a lot of mental gymnastics and leaps of faith. The High Priests of the anti-American religion would have you believe is that no matter how hypocritical, backward, bigoted, ignorant, corrupt, evil, murderous or cruel you or the regime you pledge allegiance to, you are better than the disgusting Americans.

The new religion of the left, anti-Americanism, was founded for one reason and one reason only: to counter the incoming high tide of truth. Revolutions today aren't about marxist or socialist agendas. Today's revolutionaries cannot hide the truth any longer. Today's revolutions are about power. Today's revolutionaries need to upend free societies, capitalism and market economies. That is what people want, from Africa to South America to Eastern Europe because those are the ideas that have liberated and empowered billions of people. The war of ideas is over and the socialist agenda has been soundly defeated on every front. The high tides of freedoms and the aspirations of free men can no more held be back than the high tides of the oceans. Todays' leaders of `the revolution' will be forgotten. Their proved excesses in death, destruction and the curtailing of human rights have guaranteed their legacy- and the legacy of their supporters....

Are there liberal voices today, demanding freedom for oppressed peoples? Of course not. The despots and totalitarian regimes found all over the world are reflective of what passes for liberal ideology. The failed economies, failed education systems and entrenched failed human and civil rights disasters all scar and identify these nations....

The religion of the left is as bereft of ideas as it is of political integrity. The sloganeering of `No to Terror! No to War!` is as relevant as saying `No to Cancer! No to Radiation!` Terror cannot be addressed with conversation any more than cancer can be cured by focusing on crystals and eating root of rutabaga. Terror and cancer must be addressed head on and aggressively. To believe otherwise is to delude oneself. The simple fact is, we cannot all just get `along.'...

For today's leftist, it is about `the color of one's skin' and not the `content of character. It is about image and not substance. The deliberate obfuscation continues and the blurring of reality continues. As the left indicts America as self absorbed and drunk with materialistic inclinations, they ignore yet another truth. In fact, the most self absorbed and materialistic regimes are the leaders of the most tyrannical regimes in Africa and the Arab world, where greed, corruption, excess and deceit are the defining adjectives of those regimes. Those levels of greed, excess, corruption and self serving attitudes rival the most fanatical religious extremists in their tenacious expressions by citizens of all strata in those countries- and these are the leaders the left reveres. For the left the truth is as toxic as is the sun to a vampire.

More here



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason -- Details here and here

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