Permanent Children?

May 21, 2008

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Roach wrote:

I believe this [raw data on IQ and ethnic differences] should make us more charitable and more willing to find ways through charity and the laws of softening the rough edges of a free society for those dull and irresponsible individuals that are, in certain important respects, permanent children. ... There are a lot of whites on the left half of the Bell Curve too .... and I don?t lose sleep over the integrity of elections, for example, when they can?t figure out a butterfly ballot, nor do I particularly mind that state social workers check in sometimes to sure their kids are getting three hots and a cot. Not everyone is capable of living independently, but they do not necessarily have to be institutionalized either. As for the racial dimension, let?s just say concern for the tender feelings of the black race is why teenaged girls were gangraped in the New Orleans Superdome for a few days after Katrina.  It would have been racist to recognize what was bound to happen in the case of a bad storm in a very violent, mismanaged black-majority city.

Roach illustrates the biting corrosiveness of IQ studies in the wrong hands.  Throughout his posting there is a subtle but very clear connection drawn between IQ results and moral character.  For example, the “raw data on IQ and ethnic differences” translates into “irresponsible individuals” who can’t raise kids.  They are “permanent children”—-a moral distinction, not an intellectual one—-how could someone at all well read in the cognative sciences or acting in a good faith effort to simply understand “the truth” make such a gross error?  Morally reprehensible acts such as teenage rape are “bound to happen” in times of chaos in a “black-majority city.”  Again, we have a confusion between moral character and intelligence aided and abbetted by a sloppy factual recitation—-the reports of teenage rape were never substantiated or witnessed and other reports of crime in the Superdome were greatly exaggerated.  (I would think that in these racially charged waters Roach would want to excersize the uttmost prudence with regard to the facts he relies upon, but that would also be an issue of moral character and should in no way be used to undermine Roach’s intelligence.)

Even leaving aside Roach’s ludicrous endorsement of the nanny state and its sociological underpinnings (fie on any social worker treading on my stoop), we are left with some pretty raw racism that has nothing to do with IQ studies or bell curve hypotheses and which pretty clearly vindicates my earlier argument about the way this talk will undermine the legitimacy of not only our social contract, but now of the moral order that underlies that contract.  If I were Roach I would beware the self-fulfilling nature of false prophecy.  Again I ask, which way will that sword point?

For the sake of the publication (though it is not my place to say it) this kind of idiocy ought to be squelched fast and hard.

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