Freedom of Expression? By Richard Sale


A Vermont college says it has initiated an independent investigation into a protest in which the author of a book discussing racial differences in intelligence was shouted down during a guest lecture and a professor was injured.

Middlebury College president Laurie Patton said in a letter to the school community on Monday that once that work is completed the college will follow a process of determining a course of action for each person understood to be involved in last week's events.

She says people have the right to make their voices heard in support of and in opposition to other people and ideas but the college's concern is acts of disruption and violence.

Author Charles Murray's talk was moved to a different location and was live-streamed to the original venue. But protesters drowned it out.

The college says some protesters became violent and one pulled a professor's hair, twisting her neck.

Hundreds of students chanted as Murray started to speak at an event Thursday, forcing the school to move the talk to an undisclosed location Charles Murray's new book argues that the economic problems of America's working class stem largely from their own character flaws, and that wealthier people should be less shy about teaching them how to live responsibly.



I don’t know him, nor have I read his writings beyond a review of his works in the article. 

He seems to belong to a school of thought we known to us. In 2012, I wrote,

“Belonging to a superior social class in Europe rested on family, lineage, and vast holdings of property. The wealth that resulted gave social prestige. Wealth was simply an enabler. In Europe, its possession did not make you a gentleman. “Flash forward to America. 

“The key to power in America was money and the possession of huge amounts of it.  After the Civil War, money was the key to ascending the social ladder, and getting a fortune was not a matter of polite duels between nimble rapiers but of brass knuckles. It was a high stakes game. Success meant glory; failure, bankruptcy and oblivion. Respect for the rule of law was ignored as irrelevant. When Jay Fiske and JP Morgan found themselves in control of the two ends of the Susquenna Railroad, they resolved the conflict by mounting locomotives at each end and then ramming them headfirst into each other. And even when one party lost, it retaliated as best as it could by ripping up tracks and destroying trestles as they went.

“Competition between companies meant no quarter given and none asked. In one case, a persistent opponent of Standard Oil was blown up by dynamite.  Some organizations resorted to kidnapping. There were other incidents of moral charm as well. When a great blizzard blew down telephone poles in New York, Jay Gould, a ruthless master of money markets was forced to send his financial dispatches by messenger. His competitors kidnapped the boy, substituted a look-alike, and for days, Gould was dismayed to find his moves were known days in advance.

“Not only were these titans of industry ruthless and implacable, they were vulgar and flagrantly arrogant, boasting openly about their immorality. At no time did they treat the American public with any reverence. Commodore Vanderbilt, the king of shipping and commerce, once said, “What do I care about the law? Haint I got the power?” J. Pierpont Morgan was no better. When an associate of his, Judge Gary, challenged him, he said, “I don’t want some lawyer telling me what I cannot do. I hired him to tell me how to do what I want to do.”

“Finding an honest financier in those days was as rare as finding a jewel in the head of a toad. The historian Robert Heilbroner once said that the rich in the 19th century ran the country as one big casino, but what he didn’t say was that the game was almost entirely rigged.  Heilbroner, Hofstadter, Josephson, and many others abound with incidents that make you turn away in moral disgust. These robber barons were alas simply ordinary men, simple, sentimental, and unimaginative and not very well educated.  Some like Carnegie turned to philanthropy later in life, but they were very old by then. They had spent their vital force.

“Over time, after the Civil War, embraced a doctrine of a debased, heartless form of Darwinism that proclaimed that those that had emerged at the top of the conniving heap were the best fitted to survive.  They claimed to be choicest flower of civilization. When the philosopher Herbert Spencer visited New York, it was almost a state occasion. Spencer, of course, was a close friend of Andrew Carnegie.

“Huge financial success has a strange effect. When any one of us begins his career, little notice is taken of him or her. When a businessman becomes a captain of industry, his fame somehow results in his being seen as a gifted person with extraordinary skills, superior diligence and superior insight.  Soon an ideology springs up around him, based on cowed servility, that embraces his poisonous practices all based on the maximization of profits, the minimization of risks — as if it were the source of the American greatness. Hofstadter said, “Assured by intellectuals of the progressive and civilizing value of their work, encouraged by their status exemplars of the order of opportunity, exhilarated by the thought that their energies were making the country rich, industrial millionaires felt safe in their exploitation and justified their dominion.”

“Every other measurement of merit was discarded as trivial or eccentric.  The long trials of reform — the passage of child labor laws, the Factory Acts, the struggle for Social Security — meant nothing for Big Business. The fact that economic life for the masses was intolerable meant nothing at all. For Big Business, power to compel was the grim idol it worshiped and adored. And worse, the famed barons were an incredibly crass bunch who smoked cigars wrapped in one hundred dollar bills.  They were vulgar and pedestrian souls.”

Professor Charles Murry

Murray has been described as a “libertarian capitalist” which Wikipedia defines as one devoted to “ fiscal discipline, respect for contracts, defense of private property and free markets[4] and the classical conservative stress on self-help and freedom of choice under a laissez-faire and economically liberal capitalist society with social tenets such as the importance of religion, and the value of traditional morality[5] through a framework of limited, constitutional, representative government.”

Some of these ideas are not to my taste because elements of them seem heartless, but having students at a small liberal arts college in Vermont shouting Murray down to prevent his speaking and explaining his ideas fills me with vivid alarm. It should alarm you as well.

On what grounds does a group shout down an author because your views disagree with his? What entitles any crowd to ignore considerations of forbearance and civil good manners in order to shout down views unfavorable to yours? What prompts such dogmatism in a student that it wants to rule out any discussion of views except ones that endorse your pet notions? Are you really so certain that your knowledge is so sound and valid that you can wield it like a club to silence a dissenting or skeptical voice?

To shout someone down may give you the complacency that comes from knowing that you think just like everyone else, but that sense of self-satisfied complacency that works to rot the soul. It weakens the power of the mind. Complacency in matters of intellect is a sinister quality.

See Part Two




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70 Responses to Freedom of Expression? By Richard Sale

  1. FkDahl says:

    Growing up in ethnically very homogeneous Sweden I thought, and many Swedes still do, that everybody else in the world is alike, just different in skin color (anecdote: the year before me my Fältjägarregemente (RIP) had it’s first black conscript ever. Concern over his winter camouflage led to him being issued white zinc paste by his NCO. That would probably be considered racist now). Now, years later, having lived in what is now a no-go zone in Stockholm, various parts of the US, Arab rich part of France, and now in Silicon Valley my outlook has changed. I think there are significant differences not just in IQ but also in disposition between ethnic groups. (and Trump has the right instinct about Sweden)
    I think northwest Europeans have a strong sense of inner guilt but also fairness, MENA to be strongly clan and respect centered, Africans to be childlike and family oriented, and east Asians to be smart and group shame centered.
    Murray’s thesis, and further developed as in r/k selection theory
    – is around the tenet that populations in cold climates were forces to plan and collaborate for winter which led to an overall increase in IQ and decrease in testosterone (so that males would collaborate) while in warm climates with food resources but also deadly diseases or predators around the incentive for planning was absent, and chance of sudden death meant an incentive to procreate rather than tinker, with no selective drive to increase IQ. The global IQ scores show 100 for Caucasians, 80-85 for Africans (or derived therefrom), around 105 for Chinese, and around 85 for MENA. This is a very touchy topic for an academic – we all know what will happen if they speak out about this.
    On a personal note I have noticed that high IQ people tend to plan ahead more and control themselves more, and have fewer children, if any (fellow theoretical physics graduates were not big hits with the ladies). What appears to be low IQ people (since I have not talked to these people I use “appears”) will, especially in a social welfare resource rich country like Sweden(istan) have lots of children. The academic achievements of these children is underwhelming, while they are strongly over-represented in crime. I am convinced if these recent immigrants were from China or Vietnam they would be much more successful. Recall the LA riots. The shop owners were to a large degree Asian.
    Comparing world-wide IQ scores it appears 90 to be the cutoff for a democracy. 85 is the average IQ of prison inmates. 15 is the standard deviation, of this bell (Gaussian distribution) that Murray is referring to.
    I’m a white guy, the source of all evil on this planet, the one ethnic group not allowed to express pride in his origins.
    I guess this makes me a racist and alt-right.
    As for Europe : Helmut Nyborg (prof emeritus) expresses it well

  2. BabelFish says:

    Very much looking forward to part two, Richard.

  3. MRW says:

    I like.

  4. ambrit says:

    Very well said sir. I have seen similar occurrences on a small scale in everyday life. We all have. I, alas, have done some of it myself. My theory is that the socially “powerless” can use such displays of “strength” to foster a false sense of their own importance and power. As you remarked, this behaviour reflects a lack of critical thinking. Facile solutions replace the trials of confronting moral problems head on. As my wife has said to me in the past; “Who ever told you that life would be easy?”
    I look forward to Part Two.

  5. helenk3 says:

    lets stop all federal money colleges. Also lets start examining the whole education in this country. The Constitution should be have to be taught in junior high school with refresher courses in high school.
    We have cheated our kids out of a good education and failed both parents and schools on preparing them for real life.
    Think about it if you were a business owner how many of the them would you hire? I can understand why businesses hire illegals. I do not agree with it but I understand it.
    I am not sure if I would send my kid to college in this country today. Cost a fortune and prepares them for nothing. I can see the need for charter schools and home schooling

  6. turcopolier says:

    Pls don’t put up a link without describing its content. pl

  7. Jack says:

    This incident points to the fact that as a society we can no longer agree to disagree. The classical liberal philosophy of Rousseau, Paine, Locke, Hobbes, et al, that provided the intellectual framework for the American political experiment is now fraying. How many Americans have any knowledge of the philosophical foundation of the American experiment with liberty and self-government?

  8. helenk3 says:

    it is Mike Rowe talking about today’s education.
    I thought the video would show not just the link

  9. helenk3 says:

    the rise of victimhood on campus

  10. Prem says:

    The student loan system needs to be reformed.
    As it stands, the taxpayer is underwriting ever larger sums, spent in ever more dubious ways.
    The system should transfer risk to colleges. They can choose to lend hundreds of thousands to people who graduate with “studies” majors, but their future revenues should depend on being able to collect the debt they generate.

  11. doug says:

    This is a topic I looked at back in the 90’s when M&H’s infamous, “The Bell curve,” came out. I was reading an article in the New Yorker by Gould just ripping into the book. Gould focused on the use of R-Squared, a measure of correlation and noted that a particular correlation claimed to be strong by M&H was listing in the book notes as fairly low which was nonetheless ignored by M&H.
    I was appalled, curious, and also reasonably mathematically literate so I picked up M&H’s book to see what was going on.
    What I discovered was a pretty compelling case that both Gould and M&H saw what they wanted to see and dismissed, or failed to look into, facts they were aware of that didn’t match their biases.
    It’s a long story that revolves around the meaning of R-Squared in logistical regression. Apparently neither bothered to inform themselves before shooting themselves in the foot. Some years later Murray admitted they made the error but, unfortunately, Gould died and I have not seen any indication he had addressed it.
    It’s a fascinating example of how pre-existing beliefs can drive analysis off the rails. Even in the relatively well defined field of math and statistics.

  12. Prem says:

    One of the things that surprised me most when I arrived at an RI campus (from England)in the early 90’s, was the fact that you could make somewhat accurate guesses at who was the top and bottom of a class just by looking at them.
    That’s a major weakness of affirmative action at elite colleges.
    Being in the bottom 10% of a class is a pretty depressing experience. It doesn’t surprise me that many affirmative action beneficiaries arrive with ambitions of a career in STEM, but give up, do a “studies” major and aim to become Diversity Officers in some corporation. They are also prone to vocal grievance mongering – the Yale Screaming Girl and Mizzou hunger striker are examples.
    HBUs actually do a better job than the Ivies of graduating African Americans in STEM fields.

  13. Babak Makkinejad says:

    IQ has been increasing historically as well.
    But this discussion reminds me of the Lincoln-Douglass debate on the social status of the African-Americans in contradistinction to those of European-Americans.
    And I think Lincoln articulated a respectable and eminently practical view; viz. :
    “I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects—certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man.” [Great applause.]
    The thrust of social and political policy, in my opinion, ought to be accommodationist, first and foremost, and then only distantly transformative.
    But we are dealing with a global ethos that pines for life as is lived by many in Sweden, having being sold the snake oil of Development Theory which puts transformation ahead of accommodation and instrumentalist approaches against educative one.

  14. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Mr. Sale,
    More on colleges (and college presidents):
    “Then other students decided to attack Reveley’s stance; one demanded, “We are students, and we pay tuition to be here. That is the reason why we are able to write these demands.”
    It does seem that serious change in the overall attitude of “students” is indicated. Such change probably needs to start with the “professors” who instigated the farce @ Middlebury.
    Ishmael Zechariah
    P.s: I had read the “Bell Curve” and studied its claims and its statistics. IMO by disregarding the extreme tribalism of certain ethnic groups, and their propensity to systematically exclude outsiders from industries/power centers they control, Murray oversimplified the problem. Under such conditions analysis using the “random” distribution is inapplicable.

  15. I would encourage a college education for certain majors, but only to college that do not force undergrads to take some of the usual freshmen and sophomore required courses: such as sociology, for example.
    Sad to say, as an English teacher for years, I told my own kids I would not pay anything if they chose English as a major. When I attended it was a wonderful major, wonderful classes and professors.
    Now it is nothing buy PC drivel. Heck they don’t even expect their students to understand standard grammar.
    Our public school systems must be reformed if they want to exist. Otherwise, only the children whose parents just want a baby sitter will attend.

  16. Prem says:

    I’m fairly sceptical about those numbers. The field attracts cranks, which is a pity. Some widely quoted numbers (on African IQ) are based on decades old, tiny samples.
    Anyhow, genome wide association studies will probably give us pretty solid answers in a decade or so.

  17. To read the philosophers and writers of the Enlightenment is beyond the capability of most people nowadays. Sad, for sure. I think that all this connection to the Internet is a large part of the problem. People are constantly checking what others are doing and trying to decide what others are doing to figure out if they should be doing the same thing. No thinking for themselves.

  18. Malooga says:

    “Charles Murray’s new book argues that the economic problems of America’s working class stem largely from their own character flaws, and that wealthier people should be less shy about teaching them how to live responsibly.”
    Ah yes, “the White Man’s Burden” in this year’s fashion.
    One way to test Murray’s thesis would be to redistribute all money from the “responsible” rich to the “flawed” working class and measure how well they hold onto their wealth over say a generation or two against how the newly poor ruling class manage to re-accrue wealth.
    Any wealthy believers willing to put their self-serving ideology to the test at the expense of their wealth? I didn’t think so.
    Surely the problems of the working class could not be caused by the disappearance of industrial jobs with union benefits and security and the dissolution of labor laws.
    And surely the wealthy only became more responsible after the repeal of Glass-Stegall and the ever more moral ways to employ their assets to make even more money in the FIRE, weapons, drug and GMO industries.
    The conceit that the wealthy suffer less from “character flaws” is risible. After all, classical Freudian analysis boomed in treating the pathologies of the wealthy, not the poor of their day.
    Nevertheless, your argument that Murray should be allowed to have his word is spot on. Our educational system encourages emotive reaction and herd psychology over individual critical thinking and argument.

  19. trinlae says:

    Ironically, the high church of utilitarianism has denied funding to any discipline of qualitative value that cannot be easily monetized.
    Philosophy, theology, arts, cultural history, all those areas of expertise and their discourse dont even hire faculty in USA anymore…its all “lecture pool” unstable outlook & poor income for the sorry soul who dares master such disciplines.
    Contrary to the thesis of the shunned & violently banished author, we see no rush by the 1% and above to actually undergo the scholarly training to take up the slack that their casino economy forbids.
    But loss of etiquette, discourse, formal debate is all given lots of crocodile tears in public. Lets see Goldman Sachs, Jp Morgan, BoA, Gates Foundation, etc replace the billions in liberal arts faculty endowments they crashed in 2008 sitting in Cayman Islands, then preach to working classes about eloquent communications.

  20. Peter AU says:

    Looking back through history, the various civilisations that have come and gone in various climates, some much longer lived than our current “western” civilisation, the so called dark ages ect, puts a hole in your theory on IQ or the development of IQ.

  21. VietnamVet says:

    There is a huge conflict over ideology, economics, and the future that is covered up but is discussed on alternative sites on the internet and to a degree on RT. There are very few people in power at the top of the West who are ultra-rich globalists. These moguls have converted the media to money making propaganda dispensers that defend the new aristocracy and perpetual war to the point of ignoring reality. Universities used to be hot beds of thought and experimentation. No More. They are student loan rent extractors that issue credentials to the top 20% so they can be the cosmopolitan privileged elite; servants to the 0.1%. What is taught is that free movement of money, people, and services is good. Ethnicity, religion and nationalism are bad. In effect to the lower 80%, go die.
    It is insane to ignore human nature. Mankind is a mixture of good and bad traits. Greed is the worst. But at our core, humans will die to defend our families against invaders, corruption, evil and unfairness.
    I recommend this YouTube video of the Summit with John Michael Greer, James Howard Kunstler, Chris Martenson, Frank Morris, and Dmitry Orlov that discusses the coming future.

  22. My fifth-grade teacher gave us an assignment once that forced us to think about IQ. At the time, there were still people writing about it and considering how to encourage high IQ’s in their children. It was an offshoot of the eugenics movement that had arisen before. (Makes me think of Margaret Sanger.)
    At that time a study had come out that families with fewer children had children with higher IQ’s, while families with many children had children with lower IQs.
    She asked us if we thought there should be some policy to encourage having fewer children. We had to write our thoughts on the subject.
    I came from a family with four children. In those days that was not a large family or a small family. We had many (mostly Caucasian) families with only one or two children. And our community had many Hispanic families with more than four children.
    In my own ethnic group, I knew great-aunts who had unbelievably large families: ten, twelve, even fourteen children. My grandparents on my father’s side had eight children, and my grandparents on my mother’s side had six children. My grandparents all came from mush larger families.
    In their old country–Russia–the Russians had been jealous of them because they were so “Kinderreich” (rich in kids). The more children, the more farm hands. We were Germans from Russia.
    So the writing assignment was very thought-provoking. The teacher was not trying to push an agenda, but trying to get us thinking.
    (I always seem to brag, but I have to say that everyone was always looking at me because I always got the highest grades and the highest scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills that we took each year. It was just part of my life.)
    Since then, and thinking of my own family, I think there are other considerations when discussing IQ and ability.
    I am cursed with extreme nearsightedness, always have been. It kept me from doing well in sports and thus never participating in them. It kept me in a sort of “confined” world of books and reading and studying.
    My siblings were good students, but were not really top academic achievers. They each grew up to have successful lives. But I also know that our ethnic group expected us to follow rules and take care that we kept our finances in order. We were expected to be self-reliant when we grew up.
    I truly believe each and every person is placed on a path when he or she is born and is here to learn particular things based on the path he/she has been given.
    A path for academics and IQ is perhaps just one and not better than the paths others have for athletics, art, music, social participation or group living, etc.
    Society needs to evolve somehow to offer people the chance to follow their individual paths as part of contributing to the entire society.
    There were many times in my life that I envied those without my IQ all while some wished they had my IQ. I wished I could sing, draw, or even pay some sport well. Bus my voice is terrible, I can draw a little, but only cartoons, but no one would ever pick me for a team sport.
    That assignment gave us important things to consider after we each read our papers, and shutting down a discussion of them would have certainly been wrong. I don’t remember one parent in our town who objected to my fifth-grade teacher’s assignment. What a different time that was in the U.S.

  23. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    This smells like cultural revolution to me.
    But it is grass roots, or at least less centrally organized.
    The west will have a hard time recovering from it if it’s even possible.

  24. FourthAndLong says:

    Richard, not be surprised if you find this of interest:
    Note how the man had to publicly humiliate himself with an apology. His speculation that anti-racism may become the Communism of the 21st century really hit me.
    I’d been reading through Bostock’s review of Carrere’s latest ‘The Kingdom” in the latest N Y Review of Books
    and while reading up on his very eminent and fascinating mother, Helene Carrere D’Encausseélène_Carrère_d%27Encausse
    found that despite her very distinguished position and career she had to give an interview on Russian TV to get her views across bc in France she might have been lynched, so to speak. Note her comment on French laws being similar to Stalin’s.
    This article in American Renaissance of IQ and Genes is recent and v interesting an on your topic:

  25. Peter AU says:

    Also this sentence – “Comparing world-wide IQ scores it appears 90 to be the cutoff for a democracy.”
    China according to your post generally scores the highest IQ but is not considered a democracy. Perhaps democracy is just for mid range IQ’s ?

  26. Haralambos says:

    Mr. Sale,
    I am looking forward to Part Two as I always do with your posts that require more than one part. I find it disheartening, as do others here,that discussion of these issues is so threatening to the free exchange of ideas on college campuses. There is plenty to discuss and debate as this indicates:
    For those looking for a rejoinder to Murray, I would recommend this:

  27. steve says:

    Yes, I don’t think students should do this. However, I think this represents a pretty small group of students. I don’t think it pertains to much of the real world. I will say that I have a different attitude towards universities and colleges. I paid for my undergrad education with a combination of GI Bill money and my own money (worked full time). I figured that since I was paying for my education, the teachers and administrators were being paid by me. So, if they had paid for someone like Murray (or a similar controversial figure) out of general college funds, I would have been pissed. If he was paid by some club I wouldn’t care. Even then I think the correct approach would have been to give the college admin a bit of grief, not the speaker.

  28. helenk3 says:

    I agree.
    I went to 13 different schools in 12 years and only have a high school education. But I think I am better educated than many coming out of college today. We were taught a lot differently than today’s idea of teaching. You studied, did your homework and if you could not do the work you got a failing grade. More was expected from students and those expectations prepared you for life.
    In a way I feel sorry for today’s kids. nothing is expected of them, How insulting. No pride from accomplishing something that is not easy. We are cheating out kids. There should be more expected from everyone involved.

  29. FourthAndLong says:

    It was long reported that Japan had an average IQ of 115. No idea here as to accuracy but I have personally observed awesome intelligence amongst the Japanese.I taught US mathematics & computer science for years in NY. My impression was that the most gifted intellectually were Russian Jews, Chinese, and Koreans. Awesome Brits as well.
    Very strong correlation between musical talent and intelligence. Nearly all the above were instrumental music majors.

  30. FourthAndLong says:

    Could not agree more.

  31. helenk3 says:

    I worked for a railroad and we carried a lot of freight and did take trucks off the roads for the long haul. But you still need short haul drivers to take the vans off the rail cars and take it to the local business where it was scheduled to go.
    I do hope manufacturing jobs come back one company has an effect on many others. The way things are manufactured may change, but the products still need to be delivered. Next time you are at a railroad crossing watch the freight train going by. If it is a “trailvan” train it will have trailers stacked two high and two to three long per car. each one of these vans will need a truck driver to take it to it’s final destination

  32. FourthAndLong says:

    >>> Universities used to be hot beds of thought and experimentation. No More. They are student loan rent extractors that issue credentials to the top 20% so they can be the cosmopolitan privileged elite >>>
    One of the most flagrantly notorious criminal manipulations in history IMHO. Rarely if ever discussed in popular journalism but an ongoing indentured servitude program of staggering magnitude with no sign it will ever be addressed. Where was Obama on that, or Clinton ?? Nowhere.

  33. Thirdeye says:

    I believe it is true that greater intelligence evolved in response to new challenges offered by new geographic regions during the spread of humanity. Those who ventured into new environments with new challenges were forced to use their brainpower to succeed at establishing a livelihood, in contrast to those who stayed behind in the cradle of humanity. However, I also believe that that was true relative to a specific phase of human history and counterexamples exist both within and outside of Africa. The Igbo of Nigeria are an extremely high IQ group. I would be very curious to know what unique conditions occurred in the development of the Igbo that fostered their great intelligence. Neanderthals were a cold-climate group whose culture remained static for multiple millennia. They also reproduced at a younger age than did Homo Sapiens. The later out-of-Africa migrants mixed their genes with the those of the less-intelligent Neanderthals; that heritage doesn’t seem to have hurt their abilities any. Eurasian Siberians and their descendants in the western hemisphere present no evidence of being a particularly talented group.
    IMHO the next differentiations of intelligence and social co-operation were largely driven by agriculture, which put a premium on understanding the environment and managing the fruits of agricultural labor. Wet rice farming, which emerged some time in the Fifth Millennium BCE, required a great deal of attention to detail and organization at the local level, and became the basis of the most influential cultures in east Asia.
    The first big breakthroughs in technology that I can think of were the marine fishing technologies developed in tropical Sundaland/Indonesia that revolutionized every culture they came into contact with. Those were system technologies: boats, lines, hooks, nets, etc. That’s how humans got to Australia and (with sails far more sophisticated than any originated anywhere else) into the Pacific. Pretty good for tropical hunter-gatherers.
    Computational mathematics, most likely for resource management purposes, emerged in Mesopotamia; the sexagecimal system was a profound breakthrough away from thinking of numbers in terms of how many fingers and toes humans had. It vastly increased the power of mathematics as a tool and put it on the path to abstraction. That was a huge reward for thinking outside of the fingers-and-toes conceptual counting box. That same part of the world provided the breakthrough that became the foundation of modern mathematics, the Arabic numeral system utilizing the concept of place value. Those brilliant breakthroughs originated in a pretty hot part of the world.

  34. helenk3 says:
    this is part of the problem.
    when the Constitution is not allowed something is wrong

  35. Thirdeye says:

    “……many affirmative action beneficiaries arrive with ambitions of a career in STEM…”
    Can you back that up? I’m skeptical. The cultural and ideological environments that affirmative action beneficiaries tend to come from de-value abstract and analytical thinking. IMO culture can either enhance or suppress the development of intelligence.

  36. Thirdeye says:

    It is every bit as centrally organized as the Cultural Revolution. The leaders are in various ethnic and gender studies departments whose main objective is providing fodder for identity-based NGOs and the “diversity” establishments in media, government, and corporate management (also ultimately driven by those of government). There are huge interests vested in keeping their troughs full at the expense of producers and taxpayers. Their basic tactics are legal and moral extortion. Now we’re seeing mob intimidation added to the toolbox.

  37. The Porkchop Express says:

    Great piece. Allan Bloom wrote a book long ago, “The Closing of the American Mind” that touched on some of these issues. Dissent, however, has always been a part of the human condition. So has the corollary human need to stifle dissent out of fear, for fiduciary reasons, or because of social/personal/political embarrassment. Socrates, after all, was executed for corrupting the youth–when in reality he was something of an annoying gadfly that seemed to ask too many questions that challenged the “consensus” of the Athenian elites.
    I am curious if some of the older members of this forum might hazard a guess when this became more foundational feature of our society at large, as opposed to a niche feature? And what might be some of the (anecdotal) causal features?
    Beyond fear and poor education, I’d throw in that the increasingly and (often) unnecessarily litigious nature of our society played a role.

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It started when the deans and presidents started imbibing that poison-laced kool aide that posited that schools are businesses and should be run as such.
    That became the dominant outlook even in public universities in the United States; you could not contradict the latest edict from out the Dean’s Office – not if you cared about your career.
    The logical conclusion, if students be the customers, is to issue them educational certificates, degrees, and what-have-you when they pay the tuition. For, say USD 20,000, they will receive an Associate Degree, for USD 40,000 a Bachelor’s degree etc.
    Why should the students care about learning if they can get their degrees at age 18?

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I read that Germans living in Romania were very successful farmers, butchers, artisans etc. and subject of their Romanian neighbors’ envy.
    The Germans seem to have embodied the proverbial Germanic ethos of Order and Organization while their neighbors’ wallowed in shiftlessness and sloth. Germans called the Romanians, contemptuously (as I read), “Gypsies”.
    I doubt that Germans and the Romanians had substantially different IQs. In fact, in mathematical sciences, Romanians have had a very strong tradition of excellence.

  40. The Germans in Russia were brought there first by Catherine the Great to settle along the Volga. Their duty was simply to farm. Then under Alexander I, Germans were brought in to the steppes above the Black Sea and into the Ukraine (Bessarabia),again to farm.
    They came gladly because they had been persecuted in Europe by Catholics, and their male children had been ripped from them to fight in various wars during that time in Europe. They worshipped in the Pietist tradition and were quite religious.
    I remember sayings: “Alles ist geputzt und in Ordnung.” Everything is put away and in order. “ARbeit schmeckt gut” (something like that.) Work tastes good. Men would brag that they could work harder and longer than others.
    I grew up in a church in the U.S. made up of family and other families of our ethnic group. We heard first a sermon in German and then one in English. We sang from the Volga Gesang Buch, some in English and some in German. (It sounded awful.) We all came to the U.S. to escape the Bolsheviks.
    But since my mother was a Volga German and my father was a Black Sea German, their dialects were different, and so they argued over the appropriate words. For example, Mom called potatoes “Kartoffeln,” which is the Hoch Deautsch word. But my father’s family, having come to Russia from the Alsace called them “Grund Beeren,” which may have been a German translation of the French work which mean, I believe, apples of the earth.
    In either case, each of the groups were clear about one thing: a person should not hang around “dirty Rooisans.”
    My parents never really understood my desire to read and learn, and read and learn. They wanted me to marry a farmer. But they were proud that all their children behaved well and did become hard working and independent early in life.
    (Many of those people who stayed in Russia ended up in Siberia after having their farms ripped away for the factory farming and communal farming experiments, which totally failed.)
    I attended high school with American kids whose parents were college professors, doctors, lawyers, etc. and whose parents kept pushing them because they couldn’t believe that farmer’s daughter could beat them in all the tests and class rankings.
    My own parents were just puzzled by my wish to learn but were proud that I was a “good girl” who behaved according to society’s rules and who succeeded in life enough to support myself well.

  41. helenk3 says:

    It started in the 60s. The Viet Nam war protests were one expression of rebellion. Also a lot of people went to college to become teachers to avoid the draft.
    My nephew was offered a scholarship to the college of his choice. When the professor started preaching against the war and offering bribes to protest he walked out and joined the military. He was an air force medic and was in Cambodia when our government swore we were not there.
    My neighbor’s kid had basically the same thing happen to him his professor told his class he would give them an A for the semester if they would join the march on DC against the war. He also walked out and joined the military.
    Now you have professors like bomber billy ayers and bernadette dorn teaching college classes. These two are domestic terrorist given the opportunity to indoctrinate our kids. No one seems to see anything wrong with this.
    People say and think that both parents working is a major cause of a lot of this . But think about it when many immigrants came to this country both parents worked and the kids turned out ok. More was expected of them.
    During WW2 while the men were overseas, women worked and the kids turned out ok because more was expected of them.
    somewhere along the way less was expected of kids and they were taught that they were special and should get rewards without earning them. Exactly when that happened I do not know because it did not happen in my house. I tried to raise my kids to be strong, survive and live good lives in turn they are teaching their kids the same thing

  42. helenk3 says:

    Imagine having a teacher in the 1950s tell you I am going to teach you about communism because you can not fight what you do not know. I did. I still remember what I was taught. Maybe that is why I am so upset on the indoctrination of kids today.
    it is true “give me the kids of a country and I will have the country”

  43. helenk3 says:

    I was watching Watter’s World and he was interviewing college kids on their spring break. Yes there was the beach bunch, but there was some who went to volunteer building a house in a poor area of the country. One of the young ladies who volunteers said something that made a lot of sense. They had the chance to get away from all the electronics and their distractions. With smart phones and ipads and other electronic devices when was the last time some of these kids had a real conversation with anyone? There is such a disconnect between people, parents and kids, teachers and kids, kids and other kids.
    I you do not talk and listen, how do you learn?

  44. FkDahl says:

    I have observed that correlation too – in my starting class of 120 students in engineering physics we could raise a small orchestra with a small choir. However, physical robustness was overall poor, as was the gender ratio, and it got worse, ass all the pretty girls quit.
    One weakness in the r/k selection theory is that I know north European women used to have many more childbirths than today, and I don’t have any good statistics how many made it into adult hood.
    Here is a discussion between Stefan Molyneux and Linda Gottfridson on the correlation of various type of intelligence, such as general IQ and musicality.

  45. ann says:

    Are people parroting what they hear on the radio: Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern? People who make their fortunes being rude and uncivil. And the television “reality shows” where manners are a detrimental attribute?
    I read a book, Nature V. Nurture, very interesting about the development (or not) of the brain and what it implies for our future attributes.
    Thanks for your thought provoking post.

  46. iowa steve says:

    If the left thinks that censorship against the right by college administrators is somehow a victory, they should think again. It can, and does and will in the future, cut both ways, as witness university hostility to campus organizations promoting Palestinian rights. As they say, the best strategy is more speech, not less.

  47. Rd says:

    “Murray has been described as a “libertarian capitalist” which Wikipedia defines as one devoted to “ fiscal discipline, respect for contracts, defense of private property and free markets[“
    We are the rich, we made america, and we intend to keep it that way. Not much has changed.
    “Not only were these titans of industry ruthless and implacable, they were vulgar and flagrantly arrogant, boasting openly about their immorality. “
    “On what grounds does a group shout down an author because your views disagree with his? What entitles any crowd to ignore considerations of forbearance and civil good manners in order to shout down views unfavorable to yours? “
    The above two paragraphs are the contradictions facing the society. When the first one goes way out of hand, the second one becomes the expected response. In its extreme social setting, they call it a revolution! It happens at times.

  48. Richard Sale says:

    On the way.

  49. Rd says:

    FkDahl said…
    “global IQ scores show 100 for Caucasians, 80-85 for Africans (or derived therefrom), around 105 for Chinese, and around 85 for MENA. ………
    Comparing world-wide IQ scores it appears 90 to be the cutoff for a democracy. 85 is the average IQ of prison inmates. “
    Academia and its application certainly has its place in any time and in any place. Thoughts explored within the confines of brick and mortar do not always add up to the real life experiences.
    I wonder, in real world, how would those hi iq western democracies function and be successful had they been depending on the democratically established greco roman numeral systems. As opposed to those ruthless backward people who came up with 0, 1, 2,…. numeral.
    “shapeshifting” is the characteristics of humanity in all its colors and shapes. This how we keep the academia working, so they can come up with new models and systems explaining why things are the way they are, for now. Till they change again and we have to come up with new definitions. Dark ages were not a myth, they were real.

  50. Bobo says:

    Thank you Richard for this commentary.
    Mr. Murray certainly stimulates one to think. The following comment was published in the Villanovan the student blog of Villanova after Murray’s recent visit. “Nova Resistance set out to show this afternoon that Charles Murray has no right to speak at Villanova,” the group said in a later statement. “By inviting Murray – after having rescinded an invitation to a queer activist, whose ‘free speech’ was apparently less important – Villanova offers his ideas the false veneer of respectability.” Interesting to note that of the three protestors removed by security that two were me,bets of the faculty. It’s good to see Colleges attempting to stimulate the thought of their students.
    I look forward to part two.

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think any discussion of the development of democracy and freedom without reference to the Traditions and Customs of Northern Europeans (e.g., Liberty among Germanic Tribes as well as the English Common Law) is not illuminating.
    One cold argue, in analogy with an individual operating farm or industrial machinery – whereby such a person would need to possess a certain amount of native intelligence as well as training to be able to do so effectively and safely – that operating the machinery of representative government also require a certain amount of native intelligence and aptitude plus training.
    However, the machine has to have existed first and outside of the Western Diocletian states, such machinery has never existed.

  52. turcopolier says:

    SST is not the public square. If you don’t like the way I run the place you are free to leave. pl

  53. Eric Newhill says:

    Yes. It is so ironic that the universities – bastions of liberalism, communist revival, etc – are among the most insidious vicious capitalists in our society. The cost of a college education has inflated at a rate that surpasses even that of healthcare. These institutions take our youth and turn them into wage slaves for the better part of their lives; luring them in with the promise of professional jobs that the degree earned actually will not lead to in many instances.
    All made possible by an abuse of a combination of misguided govt policies like student loans for all, misguided notions of social equality that have it that all should have equal opportunity for higher education and deceit of liberals.
    When everyone has a college education, the degree becomes worthless in the employment market place. Worse, the person who has the skills and/or ability, but not the degree, has no chance at all.
    For the govt’s part, it seems obvious they wish to perpetuate this mess b/c it results in assimilated drones.
    IMO, a college education is a massive waste for most young people. A tour in the military with a MOS that builds a useful skill, trade school, on the job apprenticeships – all make more sense.

  54. helenk3 says:

    agree. If you do not listen, and discuss different points of view, how do you learn?
    back in the day they used to teach debating. You had to have facts and be able to debate either side. that was in junior high and high school.
    one I remember was lowering the voting age to 18. You could not use the argument ” If they are old enough to fight (draft) they are old enough to vote”. You had give reasons proving that they were educated by school, newspapers and political discussions to have the facts to be able to vote.

  55. helenk3 says:

    I guess what bothers me the most about today’s education system is, I graduated high school 60 years ago. So many things have happened in the world since then. Education should have improved by leaps and bounds. It has not done so. It has closed minds not opened them. I want to be able to learn from the younger generation as well as them learn from me. My goal in life is to learn something new every day.

  56. Annem says:

    Issues of Race and of IQ can lead in dangerous directions, as one can see from the American [not to mention Nazi German] flirtation with Eugenics.There are many why people, even the same people, perform differently in a different environment. Culture is not immutable, but changes. There are serious scholars who have studied and written about “nature” and “nurture” as influences in human behavior and achievement. Charles Murray, alas, is not one of them. His work is deemed by many to be methodologically flawed. Generalizations based on one’s own observations can be quite faulty.
    The students at Middlebury acted unforgivably but it is important to remember that the faculty and administration of universities often ban speakers that cross “their” appropriate line.
    The best solution to a request to let someone like Murray speak would be to make it conditional that someone with opposing views is allowed to be there and speak as well. It would certainly be more satisfying for the student objectors to hear theories presented and challenged with alternative ideas, and I suspect that in that situation Murray would be trashed by the other scholar if he or she is a true expert. It sure beats heckling and violence.

  57. Fred says:

    To quote that great African leader, Idi Amin, “There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.”

  58. Jack says:

    What’s your opinion of this exchange between Dinesh D’Souza and a student at Amherst about white privilege and the righting of historical “wrongs”?
    Please focus only on the arguments of each party.

  59. Croesus says:

    “To shout someone down may give you the complacency that comes from knowing that you think just like everyone else, but that sense of self-satisfied complacency that works to rot the soul. It weakens the power of the mind. Complacency in matters of intellect is a sinister quality.”
    On the other hand —
    While I may agree with this sentiment with respect to college students who are in precisely the place and state in life to respond to an offensive opinion with “intellect” and the “power of the mind,” (and may snowflakes melt into puddles), most Americans are not.
    This morning I attended a Catholic Mass, something I do only infrequently, despite an intense Catholic upbringing.
    The sermon was inane, even if the priest did take full advantage of the powerful microphone & acoustics.
    It occurred to me that the several hundred adults in the congregation were only there to validate the Word as transmitted by the preacher; there was no exchange of opinions, no exercise of the “power of the mind,” no challenging and strengthening of the intellect, just “trust and obey.”
    Perhaps the people in the pews at that church — built through their financial and other efforts — ought to imitate, or even ratchet up the boisterous behavior of those college students. A large portion of the congregation was in the grey-hair demographic; surely they have acquired the wisdom and experience, and earned the right, to talk back to the man at the microphone; surely they are entitled, even obligated to call out, “What you say is irrelevant!” or “Nonsense! Here is what I learned and here is where I learned it _____.”
    Over 20 years ago I became aware of a book titled, “Your Perfect Right,” (iirc), by and about a Catholic man who finally demanded to be treated as an adult, not as someone subject to a (religious) body of authorities that demanded that he “sit down, shut up, and drop your envelope in the basket.”
    The lesson needs to be learned anew, perhaps by each generation.
    The tragedy of the young people at the Murray lecture was not that they protested, but that they did not know how to protest effectively.
    For adults in many religious congregations, the problem is compounded: they are equal parts impotent, ineffective, and pusillanimous.
    That’s a dangerous brew: Certain bodies in our society are, to an increasing extent, censoring, silencing and emasculating the adults in our culture; shaping acceptable discourse to suit their peculiar agenda.
    With no effective ability to protest and resist such incursions on our individual personhood and communal identity as well as our Constitutional rights; and with the pressure to submit ever increasing, it is only logical to expect even more eruptions of rebellion, most likely against weaker targets (the real sources of our ire being too powerful for us to safely attack directly).

  60. doug says:

    Actually, manufacturing jobs will come back. Work done by robots in the US will be less expensive than work done by robots overseas. The same is true for other countries. Differential human labor costs will drop. Transportation is expensive. Robots are the same price everywhere and that price is plummeting while their task flexibility rapidly expands.
    When the workers become robots things get interesting.

  61. Keith Harbaugh says:

    (Hope this comment survives the PC filter.)
    A book which address this issue is:
    The Global Bell Curve: Race, IQ, and Inequality Worldwide
    by Richard Lynn
    The SPLC is not exactly enamored of Professor Lynn:
    I think readers of SST deserve to be aware of his book,
    and decide for themselves how to regard it.

  62. turcopolier says:

    PC? Me? What a delightful thought. A first such description of me. pl

  63. steve says:

    If you think kids today are less educated than in the past, you probably haven’t ben spending time with them. Only in the late 60s early 70s did calculus become commonplace in high schools. Now, if you want to gain entrance into and succeed at the better STEM programs you had better have advanced calculus skills. The level of science education that kids bring with them now is much better than they brought with them 40-50 years ago. Today, if kids want to be successful they pretty much have to study year round. That certainly didn’t happen when I was young many years ago.
    Their one weak spot in comparison is probably the lack of exposure to classic literature, though even that is not uniform. I think that is largely offset by the advanced computer skills the strong students bring with them, but that can certainly be open to debate.

  64. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Sale wrote:

    Charles Murray’s new book argues that the economic problems of America’s working class stem largely from their own character flaws, and that wealthier people should be less shy about teaching them how to live responsibly.

    I presume Sale is referring to Murray’s 2012 book Coming Apart,
    which is not in fact the most recent book by Murray.
    I read it when it first came out.
    Murray certainly documents social dysfunction among lower-income whites,
    but my impression was that,
    rather than blaming this on the white affected themselves,
    he believed that the upper classes had restructured society
    so as to remove the support and props that once encouraged functional behavior in the lower classes.
    You can hear Murray make his case in his own words here
    (this runs from the beginning to about minute 26 of the video):
    Murray is very explicit is that the problem is the loss of a common culture.
    An example of this loss which I, at least,
    think is very significant is
    the 1963 elimination of prayer and readings from the Bible in the schools.
    This was certainly a change imposed from the top down
    (by the Supreme Court).
    America’s founding fathers certainly believed in the for religion to provide a moral code for the population.
    This is discussed, e.g., in the early chapters of
    Walter MacDougall’s The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy.
    Between kicking the Christian props out of American society,
    and allowing virtually unlimited non-Christian immigration,
    it is impossible for me to see how American can maintain its past success.

  65. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree. The American Axle corporation, as an example, is almost fully Mexican now in labor force. The Great Recession of 2008 did that to them; I was there for 6 months as a contractor and 1/3 of the company was let go. It continued after my contract ended.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    From Grauniad of the UK
    The LGBTQ/PC lobby on its latest crusade in that Hull University
    I would be in favor of universal neutering — of language and people — so that gender would be removed from society completely. Then, we would be so happy, wouldn’t we?
    Followed by some-sort of color treatment to color everyone the same neutral grey.

  67. Sam Peralta says:

    Very interesting discussion in that video. IMO, Dinesh had a very important argument that why don’t the SJWs lead by example. If they feel that there ought to be reparations, why don’t they set an example and give up their personal wealth and assets.
    It seems like the classic bolshevik sucker deal. Everyone but the proletarian leadership have to sacrifice.

  68. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thanks, I am getting it through Inter-Library Loan; another fine service which likely will be discarded sooner or later as being unprofitable, unhelpful, and unneeded for the emerging neo-peasantry.

  69. My hidden script, if you want to insist I have one, is that choosing something like “IQ,” which is a designation based on nothing often but a person’s ability to read, study, and remember, to compare different cultural groups (or races–if there really is such a thing) is a ridiculous exercise as far as I am concerned. There is no “smarter” ethnic group than another.
    Each group of humans must deal with their environment and the times they live in. One human trait at any given time might be valued or not valured.
    On our farm, my IQ often meant I was called “supid.” I remember an incident when my sister and I had been asked to round up two horses from the pasture. We walked out with his horse and two bridles for the two we wanted to bring in. After we bridled those two, my father rode his in the lead. I was on the second horse, and my sister on the third.
    We were coming up a hill on which a tree stood. I was lost in thought. My father turned to yell at me, “Watch the tree.” So I watched it, since i was a good obedient girl, as a branch hit me and knocked me off the horse. That kind of thing made me “stupid.” But I was livid because they were laughing at me and calling me that. I yelled at him that he should have told me to “Watch out for the tree.”
    So tell me now how important IQ tests are and then rethink what they really mean.

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