Some Thoughts on IQ and Eugenics

As quoted by Marginal Revolution poster, So Much for Subtlety:

But that is the difference between the old fashioned British-origin American Establishment and its Radical heirs. The Old School believed in their own values, especially things like academic freedom and the importance of public debate. Which is why they did nothing to stop the Hard Left taking over. They are less forgiving. It is now more or less impossible to work in any institution they dominate if you stray too far from the party line.

The troublesome inheritance is an inconvenient truth for the left. The only acceptable view is that race is a social construct and the differences between individuals are only attributable to their environment. This is called liberal creationism, or the willful denial of the endogenous or in-utero origin of individual intelligence, in much the same way conservative creationism is a denial of evolution. If some people fail to thrive in this economic boom, it’s because we’re not doing enough to help them, says the left. That means more wasteful entitlement spending and wealth redistribution in a futile effort to fix a problem that is biological in nature. The achievement gap is a well-documented IQ gap. Similar to the liberal delusion that the economy is still in a recession or that America is not exceptional, they want to believe that IQ is irrelevant or influenced by environment rather than genes.

From iSteve Sailer: “The Strange Evolution of Eugenics”

Usually Steve is on the money. His take-down of Daniel Kahneman was brilliant, but his recent article on eugenics misses the mark.

He writes:

Similarly, more high-tech eugenic techniques such as selective abortion, discarding fertilized loser embryos, and sterilization all strike me as distasteful, at the least.

Sounds like he’s parroting the liberal position on this issue. Even if we haven’t yet identified all the important genetic markers for important phenotypes such as IQ, behavior and criminality, we have a fairly good grasp that such traits tend to have a large hereditary or biological component, or to put it simply: losers typically breed more losers. Because some liberals may have condoned eugenics, some are letting partisanship get in the way of potentially good policy. For those who make the equivocation between eugenics and liberalism, any past support of eugenics from the left has long been disavowed.

An awareness of the advantages of competition in business, nature, or politics is related to John Milton’s and John Stuart Mill’s defenses of free expression as making possible a marketplace of ideas in which the best would win.

If this is true, which I agree it is, then does that mean we have to learn to accept tech worker immigration if the marketplace has decided that’s what it wants? He wants it both ways in that he wants a free market, if only he and like-minded individuals approve of what activities constitute a market. In a free market and meritocracy, if a foreigner can do the job cheaper and the same quality as an American citizen, doesn’t he or she deserve the job? In the spirit of John Stuart Mill, that would maximize economic utility. Republicans can support pragmatic policy that will help maximize resources for the most important and productive individuals of society, instead of frittering away billions of dollars on entitlement spending and incarceration.

Someone commented:

In the absence of an Asimovian world where robots perform all the menial tasks that society requires, it is not desirable to have too many smart (i.e., individually) people around. It’s great to have a lot of high-IQ scientists, but those scientists need someone to cook their food and handle their garbage. So proles are necessary, and the scientists need to give them a fair deal so they lead decent lives. Eugenics may sound attractive, but the consequences seem not to have been considered very carefully.

Selective breeding for high IQ doesn’t imply everyone else has to be eliminated. Second, we’re nowhere near a prole shortage judging by the labor statistics that show that the supply of labor vastly exceeds the demand. For example, McDonald’s only hired 65,000 people during a recent hiring day out of 1 million applicants.

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