Serious discussion of the reality of genetic differences seldom reaches a mass audience, much less the largest one in talk radio, but Rush Limbaugh gave 20 million Americans a lesson in human biological diversity last Thursday.
On August 5, Limbaugh delivered the monologue “Life is Not Fair.” He was so pleased with the result he posted a transcript on his website. It revisited one of his favorite topics:
I've made the point throughout my career, the undeniable truths of life, many monologues on this program, that life is not fair by definition. Life isn't fair. I mean, it just isn't, and there's no way that you can change certain aspects that make life unfair to make them fair. Life is not equal.
He recounted economic, moral, and genetic disparities to show it is life, not the U.S. Constitution, that is unfair. Among his examples were professional sports stars:
Athletes are another thing. Champions are born. They are not made in the weight room. They are not made on the practice field. It's honed and it's practiced and it's improved, but champions are born. If you can't run a 4.2 40, nobody can teach you how. If you can't throw a baseball 100 miles an hour, nobody can teach you how. It's not fair. Some people can and some can't. It's not because the Constitution or the country's unfair.
Rush isn't speaking as a novice. He worked for the Kansas City Royals, lost his post on Monday Night Football for non-PC comments, and attempted to purchase the St. Louis Rams only to be blocked on the basis of lies about race. Rush knows sports.
There is no doubt genetics disproportionately affect sports ability, nor that certain talents cluster along racial lines. But while some champions are born, others' talents are “honed.” Athletes from Teddy Roosevelt to Rudy Ruettiger have overcome genetic limitations through hard work.
The lessons learned on the sports field have clarified some aspects of conservative thought. A favorite tactic of Rush and his radio clones is to parody affirmative action by applying it to thing like basketball. Imagine if social pressure convinced a guilt-ridden owner to recruit a team of halt, squat, flabby mediocrities. Would anyone want to watch such a team play? Would anyone expect the franchise’s revenues to increase? Would anyone deny that the team owner had gone insane?
Let's call this team “The United States of America,” and a number of facts about our immigration policy become clear.
Rush understands certain talents are genetically distributed. Many scientists argue this is also true of intelligence. American Hispanics have an average IQ of 89, compared to 100 for Caucasians. Some estimate that 75 percent of all IQ traits are heritable. This is not fair, but it is a fact.
But even those strongly invested in the heritability of intelligence say genetics is only one component. J. Philippe Rushton, Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, and others conclude “race differences in intelligence are 50 percent genetic and 50 percent environmental.”
How have Hispanic Americans done at improving their mental capital? A 2008 study conducted by UCLA sociology professors Edward E. Telles and Vilma Ortiz for the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center indicates, “Mexican Americans have the lowest educational level among major racial/ethnic groups in the United States.” Steve Sailer has pointed that third generation Mexican-Americans stalled at a dismally low educational level, while fourth generation Mexican-Americans did even worse.
Telles and Ortiz found that “years of schooling for second- and third-generation children were nearly the same. Moreover, fourth-generation children had fewer years of education -- only 12.4.”
Graduation rates hold to the same pattern. Some “84 percent of the second generation and 87 percent of the third generation (Mexican-Americans) reported in 2000 that they had completed high school. Completion rates for the fourth generation were even lower, with only 73 percent receiving a high school diploma.”
It's much worse for foreign-born Latinos -- the rapidly expanding group that Barack Obama wants to grant U.S. citizenship -- where only 48 percent have completed high school.
The authors agree “[s]tudents in segregated schools did no worse than those in integrated schools.” Regardless, they conclude, “Our findings support the claims of policymakers and educators that public schools are failing Mexican American students and cementing their low status in American society.”
As Rush might say, it’s not the schools that are failing, it’s the Chicanos. Life isn't fair and neither is the global bell curve. Even if one rejects any genetic influence on intelligence, low Hispanic achievement is one of “the undeniable truths of life.” As a group, they appear to lack both the genetic memory of intelligent ancestors and the desire or driving will to better themselves. Should the United States want to import millions more of them? Would a rational person want them to become the largest segment of our population? Will this country be better off when they apply their numerical weight to exercising political power?
The country as a whole will invariably suffer when more intelligent voters are replaced by less intelligent ones.
So, when will Rush make that case?