Thomas Sowell on The Bell Curve

In his book Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Sowell blames ‘redneck’ culture for black dysfunction, arguing that white culture made blacks dysfunctional:

What the [white] rednecks or crackers brought with them across the ocean was a whole constellation of attitudes, values, and behavior patterns that might have made sense in the world in which they had lived for centuries, but which would prove to be counterproductive in the world to which they were going — and counterproductive to the blacks who would live in their midst for centuries before emerging into freedom and migrating to the great urban centers of the United States, taking with them similar values.

The cultural values and social patterns prevalent among Southern whites included an aversion to work, proneness to violence, neglect of education, sexual promiscuity, improvidence, drunkenness, lack of entrepreneurship, reckless searches for excitement, a lively music and dance, and a style of religious oratory marked by strident rhetoric, unbridled emotions, and flamboyant imagery. This oratorical style carried over into the political oratory of the region in both the Jim Crow era and the civil rights era, and has continued on into our own times among black politicians, preachers, and activists. Touchy pride, vanity, and boastful self-dramatization were also part of this redneck culture among people from regions of Britain where the civilization was the least developed.[25]

Yeah, redneck inventions like Rap Music keeping blacks down lol. It’s just laughable.

Sowell has voiced criticism of the The Bell Curve, writing:

[Herrnstein and Murray] seem to conclude… that… biological inheritance of IQ… among members of the general society may also explain IQ differences between different racial and ethnic groups…. Such a conclusion goes… much beyond what the facts will support….continued

There are some flaws in his analysis:

1. Little is known about these WW1 military competency tests, and we can’t assume as Sowell does that it’s equivalent to modern IQ tests.

2. According to a multitude of studies, the black-white IQ gap is persistent, even to this day.

3. Studies have also shown IQ tests are not culturally biased.

4. Sowell moves the goalposts, deflecting attention away from blacks and onto Jews, arguing that if Jews saw an IQ rise, then so must blacks and therefore the book is invalid.

Perhaps the most dramatic changes were those in the mental test performances of Jews in the United States. The results of World War I mental tests conducted among American soldiers born in Russia–the great majority of whom were Jews–showed such low scores as to cause Carl Brigham, creator of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, to declare that these results “disprove the popular belief that the Jew is highly intelligent.” Within a decade, however, Jews in the United States were scoring above the national average on mental tests, and the data in The Bell Curve indicate that they are now far above the national average in IQ.

5. The above is an example of the fallacy of composition – that Russian Jews who served in WW1 are the same as all Jews. There could be a selection bias here in that Jews who were less intelligent fought in the war, whereas more intelligent Jews went school or business and would not be included in the WW1 testing sample. Jews ‘in the united states’ may not be the same as those Russian Jews in WW1, yet Sowell lumps them together. There is no distinction between Ashkenazi Jews, who are smarter, versus Sephardi. Hitler supposedly banned IQ tests, presumably because Jews scored too high?

No-one as yet however has found any documentation of a formal ban by the Nazis. It seems that the tests were frowned on by the Nazis rather than banned outright—which is also broadly true of today’s Left of course. And there was certainly some acceptance of the greater intelligence of Jews in prewar Germany.

This was in the late 30’s, just two decades after WW1, so in accordance with Sowell’s thesis those Jews sure got smart fast. Same for the Manhattan Project, in the early 40’s, predominately involved Jewish scientists.

Sowell seems to be subscribing to the ‘magic dirt‘ thesis that Jews suddenly wised up upon stepping foot on America’s ‘magic dirt’.

Even if Jews saw gains in IQ, that doesn’t change the fact that blacks still lag, even after many decades despite billions spent on education and other programs.

Sowell is using Asians and Jews as pawns to advance his leftist views. Had the book not mentioned blacks, he would not have have taken issue with it.

6. Upper-income black children score as poorly on the SAT (a good proxy for IQ) as poor whites, which deals a blow to the left’s thesis that poverty is the cause of black underachievement: