Posted on | May 20, 2013 | 22 Comments
Jonathan Karl of ABC News is evidently a Republican, and liberals think it’s a horrible scandal that a Republican could be employed as a reporter: “Didn’t he see the ‘No Republicans Allowed’ sign?”
Meanwhile, Jason Richwine’s recent resignation from the Heritage Foundation, a subject I haven’t previously discussed, yields a secondary story that is either amusing or frightening, depending on whether you take Harvard students seriously:
Harvard students, outraged over a doctoral dissertation arguing that Hispanic immigrants lack “raw cognitive ability or intelligence,” this week urged the university to investigate how the thesis came to be approved and to ban future research on racial superiority. students presented 1,200 signatures to president Drew Faust and the dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, David Ellwood.
“Academic freedom and a reasoned debate are essential to our academic community,’’ the petition said. “However, the Harvard Kennedy School cannot ethically stand behind academic work advocating a national policy of exclusion and advancing an agenda of discrimination.”
The thesis — “IQ and Immigration Policy,’’ by Jason Richwine, a former doctoral candidate at the Kennedy School — compared IQ scores of US residents, including immigrants from a variety of countries, and concluded that the scores of Hispanic immigrants were substantially lower than those of native whites. The paper argued that the United States should allow only immigrants with high IQs.
This controversy essentially re-hashes the controversy over Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein’s The Bell Curve back in the 1990s. And the problem is that the facts are the facts. You can explain the facts or interpret the facts however you wish. You can use the facts as arguments for one policy or another, or you can even argue that the facts have no relevance in terms of policy. What you cannot do — at least if you have any regard for intellectual integrity — is to attempt to suppress the facts as politically incorrect.
This is the same basic problem that Harvard feminists had with Larry Summers, who merely referred to available data in suggesting that innate differences between men and women explained the relative paucity of women in elite science positions.
In all of these cases, we are talking about measurements of average group differences. I repeat: average group differences.
Men — as a group, on average — are taller and stronger than women. This does not mean there aren’t tall women who could kick my ass. Also, men — again, as a group, on average — have better mathematical aptitude than do women. (It so happens that I’m crappy at math.) Such average group differences don’t really matter in terms of assessing any individual’s aptitude, but do matter when attempting to explain large-scale socio-economic phenomena.
Liberals have spent the past several decades insisting that all socio-economic differences between groups — male and female, white and black, native and immigrant — can be explained in terms of unfair discrimination which must be remedied by policies (including quotas) to equalize outcomes between these groups.
So when Larry Summers tried to say that maybe the reason there aren’t more women doing advanced scientific research at elite institutions is because women aren’t as good at science or, alternately, aren’t as interested as men in pursuing such careers, the feminist outrage was to be expected. Summers had denied the radical-egalitarian thesis that all differences between groups are the result of systematic unfairness — “social injustice” — that must be rectified at all costs.
To quote Orwell, “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that; no ordinary man could be such a fool.”
Radical egalitarianism so pervades the thinking of our 21st-century intelligentsia that they can’t seem to think outside of its dogma. The witch-hunt against Jason Richwine is typical: Exactly what did he do wrong? He was not, as the article says, doing “research on racial superiority,” nor did he argue that all Hispanics lack “raw cognitive ability or intelligence.” Richwine examined the data and found that — as a group, on average — immigrants score lower on IQ tests than native-born Americans, so that our current policy (or lack thereof) has the effect of lowering the nation’s average intelligence, with consequences that are both unfortunate and predictable.
One can disagree with Richwine’s policy recommendations without shutting down an entire field of academic inquiry, which is what the Harvard petitioners seem to have in mind. But any institution that would make Soledad O’Brien a “distinguished visiting fellow” obviously doesn’t have much intellectual integrity left to lose.
Harvard students are assholes. As a group. On average.