The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Hereditary Genius

Posted on | November 27, 2019 | Comments Off on Hereditary Genius



These two portraits, of my 19-year-old son Emerson and my 17-year-old daughter Reagan, were taken Tuesday by my brother Kirby McCain. If you’ll click on the images you can see the photos full-size. Emerson is home for Thanksgiving from college, where he is a member of the acrobatics team and also president of the freshman class. Reagan, now a junior at her Christian school, is president of the student assembly, was awarded most valuable midfielder on the girl’s soccer team, and has recently been inducted into the National Honor Society. So our two youngest are not merely good-looking kids, but actually good kids.

In 1869, Sir Francis Galton published Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry Into Its Laws and Consequences. the first attempt to examine scientifically the role of ancestry in human intelligence. A cousin of Charles Darwin, Galton believed he could show that “genius,” as he called it, was largely a matter of heredity, thus favoring nature over nurture in explaining the development of extraordinary ability. Galton’s book was the original seed of a controversy that has raged ever since, with opponents seeking to discredit the idea of natural (hereditary) ability in favor of an environmental (nurture) explanation of human differences.

Of course, Charles Murray (co-author of The Bell Curve) is nowadays considered a Thought Criminal for daring to cite evidence in favor of the hereditary propositions first made by Galton, and it is strange to me, as a conservative Christian, to see mobs of militant atheists protesting campus appearances by Murray, who is accused of “racism” for applying to human life the evolutionary theories of Darwinism. What explains the Left’s rage against the idea of inherited ability? First, and most obviously, we are cursed by the Shadow of Hitler’s Ghost. The Nazi regime, with its fanatical belief in Aryan superiority and its sinister hatred of Jews, imprinted a perhaps indelible stain on what is sometimes called “eugenics.” Since World War II, any discussion of human heredity is likely to be denounced as a “neo-Nazi pseudo-science” if the discussion tends toward the view that variations in ability can be explained by genetics. Yet if Charles Murray has advocated any sort of Third Reich-style government coercion, I must have missed it (in fact, Murray calls himself a libertarian), but the way the Left has smeared him, you might be forgiven for thinking Murray was a latter-day Adolf Eichmann.

The second reason why Murray is so demonized, however, is that The Bell Curve is an implicit criticism of a modern liberal worldview that I have called The Contraceptive Culture. Our educational elite have diligently propagated this worldview, in which sex is radically separated from its natural function, i.e., reproduction. The feminist devotion to “choice” and the Planned Parenthood-sponsored celebrations of “safe sex” amount to a curriculum of voluntary sterility, teaching young people to view sex strictly as hedonistic pleasure-seeking, and to develop a contemptuous attitude toward sex in its biological purpose of procreation.

Few Americans have noticed how the promotion of so-called “safe sex” has suffused our culture with an anti-natal ideology. Whereas previous generations thought of pregnancy as a natural (and generally desirable) consequence of sexual intercourse, younger Americans have been indoctrinated to believe that pregnancy is a rare and catastrophic event. While the disciples of “pro-sex” feminism encourage rampant promiscuity, and the LGBTQ lobby advocates the avoidance of heterosexuality, it has become unsual (and unpopular) to encourage young people to think of sex in terms of making babies. The “safe sex” ideology is anti-marriage, anti-motherhood and anti-family. Therefore, Murray’s writings (not only in The Bell Curve, but also in his 1984 classic Losing Ground and his forthcoming book Human Diversity) are decidedly in contradiction of what “educated” young people are supposed to believe about sexual behavior. No college student today is supposed to consider their inherited traits as a biological legacy bequeathed to them by generations of their ancestors, nor is it permissible for them to contemplate their sexual behavior in its procreative possibilities as a gift to future generations. And so angry mobs of “progressive” students turn out to disrupt any event which brings Charles Murray to the university campus, because his work calls attention to biological realities that students have been taught to ignore. But I digress . . .

As a father, I take pride in my children’s outstanding qualities, seeing in them a reflection of myself. If I have accomplished nothing else in my life, certainly I have done OK in the procreation department, with six fine children and four grandchildren, with our fifth grandchild (our oldest daughter’s second child) due to be born any day now. And the excellent portraits of our two youngest children, taken by their Uncle Kirby, show both his photography skill and their remarkable good looks.

Since October, Kirby has been living with us, getting medical treatment for his high blood pressure, which resulted in the suspension of his DOT certification as a long-haul trucker. Today, Kirby has an appointment at the Veteran’s Administration hospital, and I hope readers who have enjoyed this tale of Hereditary Genius will be kind enough to send Kirby money via PayPal. Whatever you can give — $5$10$20 — would be appreciated. He’s also got a GoFundMe account, if you would rather contribute that way. Thanks in advance, and may God bless you.



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