Some readers’ comments on my yesterday’s piece touched upon the issue of IQ. That jogged my memory and I recalled an article I wrote on this subject years ago. Committed as I am to responsible recycling, I thought I’d re-run it, for the subject continues to be topical.
Say ‘chairman’ instead of ‘chair’, and you’ll be accused of being politically incorrect. This re-emphasises that everything in modern life has become politicised, denying the very reason in the name of which modernity was shoved down people’s throats in the first place.
And modern politics precludes rational debate: the choice is between shrill propaganda and vile abuse. The moment today’s big-enders smell a little-ender, they won’t listen to arguments. As in any war, truth doesn’t matter. Only victory does.
Take IQ, for example. Its fans claim it measures intelligence. It does nothing of the sort. It measures potential for intelligence, which potential may or may not be developed.
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 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, can become a dysfunctional moron away from the chessboard.
IQ testing may be a useful tool, for example in determining someone’s suitability for a job that depends on being able to solve practical problems quickly. In a sane world we’d decide where IQ is applicable and where it isn’t, and leave it at that.
In our mad world, however, equality has become such a political shibboleth for the post-truth post-Christians that they’ll deny obvious facts in its name. Whoever dares to mention the easily provable fact that different groups, be that class or race, have different median IQs will be accused of racism, fascism, elitism or some other faddish ism.
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 top 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 East Asians (refuting the Eurocentricity argument against IQ testing) 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, 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.
Material success is the main 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 term 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 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, on average, some groups of people tended to be more intelligent than others – and civilised people considered it foolhardy to think that any single representative of any group could be presumed to be intelligent or stupid simply because he belonged to that group.
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 be either 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 value is. For denying facts is neither amusing, nor grown-up nor especially clever. Ever had your own IQ checked?