Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Some useful enquiries

Below is an email from an old friend which reminds me how much there is to explain in the matters I broach.  I propose to answer it in italics

While understanding that the understanding of authoritarianism may have some application in real life I don’t quite understand how proving that one race is less intelligent than another can have any application at all.

Back to authoritarianism for a moment; you blame all authoritarianism on ‘leftists’ despite ‘nationalism’ normally being seen as a right wing trait. Are there no ‘right wing’ regimes? Are not the Mugabe or the Idi Amins (and many other African states) right wing dictators? If not, then I would like to know the definition of right wing as I clearly don’t understand it. (Serious question)

Not all tyrants are ideologically motivated.  In history most tyrants have been just tyrants.  But as far as it goes Mugabe is a redistributionist, which makes him Leftist.  Amin was just a brute.

There is a distinction between patriotism (love of counrty) and nationalism (the desire to have your country control others).  The first is conservative, the second Leftist.  Democrats declared almost all America's foreign wars.  GWB went to war  only when America was attacked (9/11).  Friedrich Engels (co-author of Karl Marx) was a furious German nationalist; TR was a furious American nationalist and FDR so hankered for a war that he forced the unfortunate Japanese into one by cutting off their oil supplies

Actually I just looked up the definition in Wikipedia (interesting that your article prompted me to research something I normally wouldn’t have bothered with)

“In left-right politics, right-wing describes an outlook or specific position that accepts or supports social hierarchy or social inequality.[1][2][3][4] Social hierarchy and social inequality is viewed by those affiliated with the Right as either inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable,[2] whether it arises through traditional social differences[5] or from competition in market economies.[6][7] It typically accepts or justifies this position on the basis of natural law or tradition”
Would you agree with this definition?

No.  It is a Leftist definition.  "Rightist" is mainly a Leftist term these days.  It is often used for Hitler, who was actually a socialist.  "Conservative" is clearer for the non-Leftist side of politics. 

The great triumph of Leftist disinformation that has identified Hitler as a Rightist has upset the whole Left/Right terminology.  In his antisemitism, nationalism and eugenics Hitler was typical of prewar Leftists.  The Conservative Churchill was his great opponent, not an ally

If so, it would seem to me that most dictatorships would fall within this definition?

By choosing a wrong definition you can prove many wacky things

Ha ha, I just reread your authoritarianism piece again and realised that you are going to accuse me of attempting to ‘...prove that conservatives are the authoritarians...’ .That wasn’t my intention I was seriously trying to discover just exactly what you think ‘right wing’ means as opposed to what I thought it meant. Of course Shakespeare pre-empted Freud with regards to self-justification “...I believe he doth protest too much...”

Would it be fun to list specifically how a ‘right wing’ person would respond to all of today’s controversies?

Use "conservative" and we can have an empirical definition.  Briefly:   "Devoted to individual liberty".  Not much room for dictatorship there

Anyway, it wasn’t authoritarianism that prompted me to write, but intelligence across races.

Understand that I am not seeking to debate or argue with you but simply to align your thinking with mine in order to isolate where our thoughts might diverge.

In seeking to prove that one race is intellectually inferior to another how would you like to proceed with that knowledge to change the way the world works?

It could be used to give American blacks schools especially suited to their limited abilities -- They learn very little in today's schools

A few things occurred to me while reading:

Assuming that the average IQ is 100, what cross section of society is used to determine that number, ie is it the population of America or Africa or the Middle East, or is it the world or a specific race? I’m sure there is some complicated maths behind all of this.

The population mean (average) for the white population of Britain, the USA and most of Europe is 100 so that has become the norm

If it is America, then it must contain subsets of many races which (if your assertion is correct) must skew the average downwards making it irrelevant to any specific race and making a race of even a slightly higher IQ seem artificially higher. If IQ is determined on a racial basis (ie a different mean is set for each race) then I would have thought that cross-race testing would be very revealing given cultural specialities. I would be interested in these results if they are available.

Yes.  The mean for the USA as a whole would be meaningless.  You have to separate out the ethnic groups

Again, what actually is the point in proving your assertion? Are you suggesting that one race should be treated differently because they have a lower IQ? Should we assume that if we are talking to or listening to a Muslim we shouldn’t take any notice of what he thinks? Or are you suggesting that intelligent people are in some way better members of society than others? Or maybe better able to rule? There are many clever intellectuals who get many things wrong.

The policies adopted depend on many factors but treating all groups as the same will inevitably lead to policy failures -- outcomes not envisaged

I believe it to be true that many serial killers and sociopaths in general, have high IQ’s and are very charming people. My experience is that less intelligent people are much more likely to obey rules than those who think things through for themselves and therefore believe that ‘rules are made for the lowest common denominator and therefore don’t apply to me’. I have often found that the more ‘ordinary’ a person is the nicer human beings they are (if less interesting to communicate with)

There are exceptions but most incarcerated criminals are low IQ and poorly educated. 

I personally get on best with working class people as I find them more down to earth

I applaud your desire to simply state the truth that research reveals and I totally understand that ideal but in order to do that effectively I suggest that the use of emotive words and phrases like  ‘pretended’ ‘ ...who should know better’ ‘ is clearly...’ ‘...unlike...(fill in the assumption)...’ ‘...are obviously...’ ‘ is surely that...’ would best be avoided.

Yes.  I avoid that in my academic writings but for maximum reach I have to make things vivid a bit

I know it is difficult to avoid these common phrases but they are read as put downs by people who may have an opposing view or who even see grey where you might see black and white, and leads them to think that if they disagree with the subject of the sentence they are somehow wrong or misinformed or even worse, stupid. I think that your points could be just as impactful (if less reaffirming to the converted) without the emotive content.

I don't actually hope to convert Leftists.  That rarely happens except through aging.  I aim to buck up my side

Perhaps it is the association of IQ with superiority that needs to be addressed. I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you that people should be upset by being called inferior?

High IQ is broadly advantageous but is not much use for singing or running and various other things so it is not everything.  I accept, for instance,  that I am physically clumsy.  We all have our limitations and for a contented life you have to accept them

Maybe there is even a psychological inference to be drawn from those who seek to prove their superiority by these means? Lol. Didn’t someone once try to prove that the capacity of the skull was proof of superiority simply because he had a big head?

That was phrenology.  But more sophisticated measurements do show a correlation of about .3 between brain size and IQ

I would be interested to know where you would classify me in the scale of left to right. I seem to adopt ideas from both ‘isms’ with little or no conflict. I come to conclusions on issues (wherever I actually do hold an opinion) by largely empirical and logical means but don’t claim to have any answers to the bigger questions of life. An example of where I do conflict is when I quite happily tuck into a meat meal but am quite incapable of killing the animal that supplied it. I acknowledge my hypocrisy but am powerless to rationalise it. 

I think you are a recovering Leftist -- about right for your age.  How you had such a conservative son is the mystery

You claim that ‘leftists’ know all of the answers, in which case I know no ‘leftists’ at all (although I think you would disagree). In fact the person I know who does seem to have most of the answers is you, John? Ha ha

Leftist policy prescriptions show very little awareness of possible problems so they  do create the impression that they think they know it all. 

If I knew it all I would just write it down once and then stop.  That I keep writing indicates that I am always learning

I can’t help feeling that by spending your energies on segregating races you are simply employing the emperor Alexander’s solution to the Gordian knot problem, instead of trying to unravel the complex knot you would take a sword to it and simply cut the rope. Lol.

It's not at all complex.  The only complexity is that many people dislike the evidence. 

Race is a major problem in the USA but it is not I who have created it.  I just try to point out that most of the problem is due to wrong assumptions of equality and that the problem will remain until reality is recognized

Like you I find these topics fascinating but I can’t agree with your assertion that ALL leftists deny that race exists. I have never heard that, neither have I heard them insisting that everyone is equal, I have only ever interpreted it as all men should have ‘equal opportunity’ which is what I loosely believe. This allows talent to rise to the surface from whichever substrate they come, and accepts by definition that some will naturally end up as less equal than others. In fact the very acceptance of this tenet is the acceptance that men are not all equal.

You need to note the shrill outrage when Americans even mention IQ or race.  Belief in equal opportunity only  is conservative these days

Anyway, the more I read over your articles the more it makes me think and I thank you for that stimulation.


Moral bias at the New York Times

by Tibor R. Machan

The headline said it all: “Confusion and Staff Troubles Rife at I.R.S. Office in Ohio.” No mention of mendacity, of evil, of meanness, of vice, Nada.

For liberals their own pals are never morally amiss. They may make mistakes, be confused and have troubles. But guilty of malpractice never! Only Republicans and others who do not share their own attitudes can possibly be morally, ethically defective. When a Republican votes for reducing increases in welfare budgets or subsidies or other support for what liberals consider right and proper, the problem lies with their moral fiber, their lack of decency and good will. Not so with anything that liberals mismanage–that can only be due to some kind of technical malfeasance–”confusion and staff troubles.”

How do these folks manage, intellectually, to dodge the moral and ethical ire they are so eager to dish out at their opponents?

In liberal circles what is prominent when matters go awry is to give some kind of explanation–poverty, illness, ignorance, the bad influence of culture or the movies or whatever. Liberals must–yes, must–always be basically good, Their intentions are unfailingly impeccable. They always mean well. Accordingly, since it is the thought that counts, they are always innocent. Hope, audacious hope, is what makes one a good person, never mind how botched up one’s actions and even beliefs turn out to be, never mind what actually is accomplished with one’s preferred policies!

There is a prominent moral philosophical doctrine that this line of thinking follows. Immanuel Kant, the very famous and influential 18th century German philosopher, believed that human beings can only be morally good, praiseworthy, based on their intentions. It is their thought that makes them decent or indecent, not their actions or conduct. What they actually do is irrelevant to whether they are good or bad folks because, and here is the essence of the doctrine, there is ultimately no choice there; we must do what we do.

Free will for Kant has nothing to do with choosing our actions, only with choosing our thoughts. The mind is free, in this minimal way, but it has no practical impact on human action. The world moves in accordance with deterministic laws, of physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc., etc. We cannot change anything apart from what we think. So we can only be credited for good thoughts, good intentions, of which liberals, of course, have plenty.

The story is rather complex but this is the gist of it. This, mainly, is why The New York Times cannot even fathom liberals being morally guilty of anything. They always intend the best, never mind that they pay very little attention to the likely outcome. In the end, outcomes just happen and we have nothing to do with them.

The IRS folks, for example, just did their jobs and the fact that those jobs contained the seeds of malpractice–given that selectivity is always involved in giving citizens exemptions and breaks and such–is irrelevant.

In contrast, Republicans and their ilk never think right. They are worried about costs and whether a policy works and such, all mundane matters that people of genuine good will never bother about. It is petty thinking, not the noble kind that liberals produce!



A dream

The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners. It's an armored booth you step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on your person.

Israel sees this as a win-win situation for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It will also eliminate the costs of long and expensive trials.

You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter, an announcement: "Attention to all standby passengers, El Al is proud to announce a seat available on flight 670 to London. Shalom!"


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