When IQ clashes with PC, reason is the loser

Say ‘chairman’ rather than ‘chair’, and you’ll be accused of being politically incorrect. Politically – not factually, linguistically, morally, aesthetically or otherwise. This stands to reason: everything in modern life has become politicised, thus denying the very reason in the name of which modernity was shoved down people’s throats in the first place.

Modern political divisions preclude rational debate; serious argument isn’t a tool on the table – the choice is between shrill propaganda and vile abuse. The moment today’s big-enders detect a little-ender on the other side, they won’t listen to arguments – they’ll just scream and flap their wings or, alternatively, toot their own horn. As in any war, truth doesn’t matter; only victory does.

Take IQ, for example. Its enthusiastic supporters claim it measures intelligence. It does nothing of the sort. It measures potential for intelligence, the same difference as between musicality and musicianship. Those endowed with a fine musical sense may never become musicians and, as Yuja Wang proves, those who do become musicians may have no musical sense whatsoever. Thus someone with a modest IQ of 110 (the average IQ of an American college graduate is 115), such as William Stockley, can become a Nobel prize winner in physics; someone with a frightfully low IQ of 86, such as Andy Warhol, can become a famous artist; and someone with a genius IQ of 187, such as Bobby Fischer, may be a dysfunctional moron away from the chess board.

Yet IQ testing may under some circumstance be a useful tool, particularly in determining someone’s suitability for a job where it’s essential to be able to solve practical problems quickly. In a sane world we’d decide where IQ is applicable and where it isn’t, what it tells about a person and what it doesn’t – and leave it at that.  

In our mad world, however, equality has become such a political shibboleth for the post-Christian classes that they’ll deny obvious facts in its name. Whoever dares to mention the easily provable empirical fact that different groups, be that class or race, have different median IQ scores will be instantly accused of racism, fascism, elitism or any other ism that’s the faddish bogeyman at the time. That happened, for example, to Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, authors of the bestselling 1994 book The Bell Curve, who were subjected to the kind of savage salvos that were never aimed by the same people at, say, Castro or Arafat.

The accusers are undoubtedly entitled to their own opinions, but they aren’t entitled to their own facts. And these show that a) median IQ scores do differ from one group to the next and b) they are the most reliable predictor of practical success in almost any occupation (except perhaps, on current evidence, public service).

For example, in spite of being discriminated against, the Malayan Chinese are heavily overrepresented in professional and managerial positions. All sorts of spurious explanations are offered for this, but never the real one: the median IQ of the Chinese is a hugely significant 16 points higher than that of the ethnic Malays. In the US, the descending scale of median IQ scores goes from the Asians (refuting the spurious Eurocentricity argument against IQ tests) to the Jews to the other whites to the blacks, and this happens to correspond to the relative scale of these groups’ practical success in life – as measured by education, median income, family stability, propensity for crime and many other indicators.

No matter. Actual reality is no longer allowed to interfere with the virtual, PC kind. If the facts don’t support the egalitarian bias, then so much the worse for the facts – and for whomever as much as mentions them. As Albert Einstein put it, ‘If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.’

Material success is the real desideratum of the modern world, but political correctness – that is, imposing virtual standards on the real world – matters too. The first serves the all-important body, the second strokes what used to be called the soul, and now is called whatever psychobabble is in vogue. The two clash on the issue of IQ, with our materialists parlaying their high scores into practical success, while bleating all along the way that IQ scores mean nothing. They do mean something. But not very much.

Before Jesus Christ became a superstar, intelligence testing, had it existed, would have been dismissed as a quaint irrelevance. The ability to get ahead in life was then not regarded as the indicator of human worth. It went without saying that some groups of people tended to be more intelligent, on average, than others – and it was regarded as foolhardy to think that any single representative of any group could be automatically presumed to be intelligent or stupid. But none of this mattered. Because it came from a sphere that was infinitely higher, the true equality shared by all towered over the transient inequality of worldly success.

The bogus equality of the modern world, however, has to presuppose parity where none exists: practical ability. Deception is the only way out of this conundrum: as empirical evidence destroys this presupposition everywhere we look, the evidence must either be falsified or, better still, hushed up. In this the modern world displays more ruthless consistency than Christendom ever did in opposing, say, the heliocentric theory.

A note to the PC purveyors: some facts have nothing to do with politics. They are just facts. Take them for what they’re worth, however little or great their worth is. For denying facts is neither amusing, nor grown-up nor clever. Ever had your own IQ checked?

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