Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Political Correctness

This post could have been titled, had I had enough space, How Liberal "Political Correctness" Destroys Lives, Tramples the Pursuit of Truth, and Stifles Free Speech.

Jason Richwine was a doctoral student at Harvard whose dissertation incorporated the following rather indisputable facts:

IQ tests fairly measure mental ability. The average IQ of immigrants is well below that of white Americans. This difference in IQ is likely to persist through several generations with the result that we can expect, as he puts it, “A lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market.”

This thesis brought down the wrath of the Guardians of Proper Thought for whom any deviation from the dogma that claims there are no distinctions between ethnic groups as to intelligence is considered heresy warranting literal social banishment and figurative execution.

What these elites will not do, however, what they apparently cannot do, is show why Richwine's argument, an argument good enough to pass muster at Harvard, is not sound.

Pat Buchanan writes about this sad episode and tells us this:
Consider Richwine’s contention that differences in mental ability exist and seem to persist among racial and ethnic groups.

In The Wall Street Journal last month, Warren Kozak noted that 28,000 students in America’s citadel of diversity, New York City, took the eighth-grade exam to enter Stuyvesant, the Bronx School of Science and Brooklyn Tech, the city’s most elite high schools. Students are admitted solely on their entrance test scores. Of the 830 students who will be entering Stuyvesant as freshmen this fall, 1 percent are black, 3 percent are Hispanic, 21 percent are white — and 75 percent are Asian.

Now, blacks and Hispanics far outnumber Asians in New York. But at Stuyvesant, Asians will outnumber blacks and Hispanics together 19-to-1.

Is this the result of racially biased tests at Stuyvesant?

At Berkeley, crown jewel of the California university system, Hispanics, 40 percent of California’s population and an even larger share of California’s young, are 12 percent of the freshman class. Asians, outnumbered almost 3-to-1 by Hispanics in California, have almost four times as many slots as Hispanics in the freshman class. Another example of racial bias?

The 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA, which measures the academic ability of 15-year-olds worldwide, found the U.S.A. falling to 17th in reading, 23rd in science, 31st in math. Yet, Spain aside, not one Hispanic nation, from which a plurality of our immigrants come, was among the top 40 in reading, science or math.

But these folks are going to come here and make us No. 1 again?
Buchanan goes on to examine the evidential basis for Richwine's other claims and finds them equally compelling, but facts don't matter when the "true faith" of progressive egalitarianism has been transgressed. Our politically correct elites instead conduct themselves like the parade spectators exclaiming how admirably attired is the emperor whose actual nakedness is plain to see. It's as silly to pretend that there are no differences in intellectual ability among ethnic groups as it is to pretend that there are no differences in physical abilities - as if African-Americans and Asians are equally adept in the athletic skills it takes to be a good basketball or football player.

But, alas, these are uncomfortable topics. The conclusions to which the evidence about intelligence leads doesn't fit the egalitarian worldview. Thus, since the elites have no counterargument or refutation to offer, they deem it expedient to silence and suppress those who investigate such inconvenient truths rather than allow them to freely go about persuading the public with their convincing arguments.

Buchanan has more at the link. Richwine himself offers his take on his recent encounter with our Orwellian thought police at National Review Online. It's worth the time to read both. If you do read them ask yourself whether you prefer to live in a society in which people are punished for advancing heterodox ideas, or if you would rather live in a society where each idea is evaluated on the basis of the evidence that can be mustered in its support.

The first type of society is what our liberal progressives envision, the second type is what our Founding Fathers envisioned.