24 October 2007

Egalitarianism: An Ideological Fallacy?


[From French egalite: equality.]

(politics) The view that equality is the most important societal (and even ethical) value. Egalitarians usually focus on equality of results, rather than equality of opportunity or equality before the law, which are ideas usually associated with classical liberalism or libertarianism. In practice, egalitarian policies usually focus on the equal distribution [ed: redistribution] of wealth, sometimes verging on socialism.
the ism book
The type of egalitarianism defined above is the basis for most counter-productive leftist social policies. As the curve above shows, the closer society tries to get to the leftist ideal of egalitarianism, the more it falls into the characteristic "traps" that bedevil all attempts to implement socialism on the scale of large populations--particularly those with heterogeneous populations such as the US, New Zealand, and Australia.

The likelihood that different population groups can be characterized by different "Bell Curves of natural ability" makes it particularly difficult to achieve an ideal "Gini-curve" placement of a heterogeneous society, while simultaneously avoiding the traps above.

Ideological leftists tend to deny all scientifically measurable differences between population intellectual aptitudes. Physical aptitude differences between populations appear beyond dispute, and are generally ignored by egalitarian theorists and acolytes. But where population differences in physical aptitudes and characteristics exist, it is not unreasonable to also expect population differences in mental and intellectual (as well as emotional) characteristics and aptitudes.The blogger Half Sigma looks at an interesting way to study possible genetic contributors to IQ differences between populations:
There exists a publicly available gene database, The HapMap Project, that contains random samples of genetic sequences from people in China, Japan, Nigeria, and people in the United States with European ancestry. It’s now possible to search the HapMap database for genes that have been linked with intelligence in published scientific studies. In this manner, we can determine if high intelligence genes occur with greater or lesser frequency in the various races.

Now, here’s an interesting point. If even a single gene correlated with intelligence occurs with different frequencies in the different races, this alone proves that there are racial differences in intelligence. How is that? Well, the egalitarian theory holds that every race has identical intelligence. Therefore, whatever genes there are that affect intelligence, they must be distributed exactly equally in all human races. Once even a small race difference is proven, the egalitarian theory is proven false. At that point, it’s only a matter of determining which race has the higher average intelligence based on the genetic evidence.
Half Sigma

Of course it is really far too early to use the HapMap for a definitive demonstration of population genetic differences that may lead to IQ differences in populations. Only a few of the genes that contribute to IQ have been found, and far too few genomes have been sampled to provide representative comparisons of populations. Even so, the idea is promising, and within the next decade should begin providing results that go beyond twins studies, IQ test studies of schoolchildren, adoptees, and military members, and other methods currently used to compare population IQs.

True genomic and hapmap studies of population IQ and aptitude differences lie in the future. But they will be done, and there is no use for ideologues to attempt to stop them. And whether the race bigots and lobotomised ideologues like it or not some of the findings that emerge will make them all unhappy.

It is quite easy to get caught up in lazy arguments on this (and most any complex controversial) argument. One one extreme you find bitter and bigoted people with their minds made up, and on the other extreme you find people completely disassociated from reality with their minds made up. Anyone who uses either racially charged language, or ideologically charged language should not be trusted here. Their biases are already showing, even before touching on the substance.

Eventually the laws that force society into regressive, leftward positions on the Gini Curve will have to be changed. Reality, rather than ideology, will have to guide society into the future.

Among the blogs that follow these issues, GNXP, Audacious Epigone, and ISteve are among the best.

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Blogger SensibleEnergy said...

If it were established/accepted that there were differences in intelligence between races, of what use would this be? How would it affect policies?

Wednesday, 24 October, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

First of all, it is unscientific to run away from a question simply because no one can currently see a use for the knowledge gained from answering it. That is the fearful, self-blinded approach--and it is an approach for toothless old men and women.

Affirmative action policies in the US were based upon real discrimination in the past. But AA was not meant to be open-ended and everlasting. To some uninformed people, unequal results is prima facie evidence of discrimination. In reality, unequal results in 21st century North America are largely the consequence of unequal aptitudes and efforts.

If there is a reasonable way to make aptitudes more equitable by raising aptitudes all the way around--my personal preference--then fine. That is a worthy cause.

If egalitarian policies costing tens and hundreds of billions over time were shown to be based upon an ideological fallacy, more realistic policies might be called for.

Wednesday, 24 October, 2007  
Blogger Audacious Epigone said...


The kind mention is much appreciated.


Overturning the 'disparate impact' precedent set in Griggs v. Duke Power. The ruling greatly restricted employers' ability to use tests of general aptitude in hiring decisions. This has cost the US economy billions of dollars over the last 35 years.

Egalitarian predilections need not be abandoned in the face of differences in average intelligence. Affirmative action policies can be adjusted in the realization of differences so as to minimize its disruption. That is, instead of dumping merit tests because of unequal results by race, race-norm the tests.

This will result in some productivity cost, of course, but it will not be nearly as steep as dropping relevant tests altogether in favor of reference checks, credentialism, etc.

Thursday, 25 October, 2007  
Blogger SensibleEnergy said...

I hope my comments weren't taken to mean that I thought we should run away from a question, I was merely asking how we would use the results. I don't think the question has been run away from as evidenced by your post.

Since this questionhas been studied, it seems worthwhile to ask: Of what use is it? This is the question that has been run away from.

Using race normed tests doesn't seems like a particularly good use; how is this different than regular affirmative action? You would still have different standards.

If we treat everyone as an individual, then why does it matter what the average of their race is? How would knowledge of a race's average intelligence be of more use than scientific curiosity?

Friday, 26 October, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

How would knowledge of a race's average intelligence be of more use than scientific curiosity?

SE: Thanks for the clarifiction.

Imagination plays a larger role in eliciting practical uses for "curious knowledge" than most people realise. In the case of population IQ differences, documented knowledge of such differences opens huge areas of study into the genetic and environmental determinants of IQ, as well as the role of IQ in relative success of populations.

But more important, facing such a documented problem opens the possibility that science can provide solutions. Initially, the ability to take an effective "smart drug" to aid the performance of high paying work that might otherwise be at the edge of a person's capacity. Later, genetic and other long-term treatments--as well as technological augmentation devices--would be available.

It is only in refusing to face a problem that we doom ourselves to perpetually suffering from it. In the case of group IQ differences, political ideologues are more interested in propping up the crumbling "blank slate" philosophy of egalitarianism, than in actually helping people to expand their horizons.

Most unfortunate.

Saturday, 27 October, 2007  
Blogger Socioengineer said...

'Since this question has been studied, it seems worthwhile to ask: Of what use is it? This is the question that has been run away from.'

Has it? The abysmal performance of black governments is predicted by relatively low IQ, both in averages and on the tails, as well as a much higher prevalence of psychopathy and impulsiveness. Had such findings been fully considered in the era of "racist" South Africa, perhaps SA would not today be the rape capital of the world, where a girl is more likely to be raped than ever learn to read.

If findings in race differences are taken into consideration in the future, perhaps future fiascos along the lines of the ANC (South Africa) and ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe) can be avoided. It really doesn't even take much imagination to see how this scientific and empirical knowledge can be extremely useful. Immigration policy could also be shaped with such findings in mind, as has been done by Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore.


The potential usefulness of scientific research regarding IQ (and other race differences) would be limited largely by your lack of imagination -- if you were permanently in charge of the world, which thankfully you are not.

Monday, 18 April, 2011  

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