The book review section of American Renaissance has been particularly interesting of late, with a deconstruction of Nell Irvin Painter's History of White People in last month’s issue and in this month’s, a discussion of the life and work of the eminent research psychologist Raymond Cattell (1905-1998). (I wish I could link to these pieces, but Jared Taylor delays posting articles from the print edition online. AltRight’s review of Painter’s terrible book can be read here.)
The occasion for the Cattell piece is a recent biography of the man by anti-racist professor William Tucker, The Cattell Controversy: Race, Science, and Ideology, which, according to Jared’s review, amounts to a dishonest hit-piece, with some facts and a narrative of the man’s life tossed in along the way. What interested me while reading the review was the degree to which someone like Cattell is representative of a “Darwinian Left” -- even a “eugenic Left” -- a surprising, though not necessarily self-contradictory, position that Richard Hoste outlined not too long ago.
Eugenics and Social Darwinism are, of course, associated with Nazism and the “extreme Right” in the public’s mind nowadays (and are rejected by the mainstream Left and Right with equal vigor.) Moreover, “HBD” or applied Sociobiology (aka, The“Sailer-sphere”) is most definitely a phenomenon of the (alternative) Right. Even Steven Pinker, who, I would guess, is culturally and socially liberal, quotes approvingly from Thomas Sowell in The Blank Slate and argues that a “tragic” view of life befits those who are realistic about human nature.
Raymond Cattell certainly put forth views that would horrify most every contemporary leftist (as well as most every pro-lifer): He proposed restricting the vote to those with IQs above 90, reducing the birthrate of the feeble minded, ceasing foreign aide to the third world, and allowing racial gene pools to develop in segregated environments. As Jared writes, “Cattell expected different racial and national groups to evolve separately and competitively” and rejected what he called “indiscriminate altruism”:
Just as it was wrong, within a single society, to tax the productive to subsidize the procreation of the unproductive, it was ‘biologically perverse’ to extend altruism across national lines. If Somalis or Congolese, for example, could not build societies that prevented starvation, it violated the norms of evolution -- and therefore of scientifically established morality -- for the French or the Japanese to feed them.
Cattell was unflinching and unsentimental, but, again, what I find most striking about him is that he felt his “scientific morality” could be compatible with state-planning. Cattell thought, for instance, that reproduction was “far from being a personal matter but must admit of fine regulation by the state on behalf of the happiness of all.” In advocating “fertility quotas” based on IQ, Cattell operated under the assumption that the weaker and less intelligent could, with proper education, be convinced “of the profound social implications of procreation, and would stay within their quotas” (in Jared’s words). It’s hard to imagine, in our democratic age of “Have It Your Way!” any dumb person, of any race, agreeing to give up his right to vote and ability to spread his seed.
Some of Cattell’s political proposals read like Alex Jones's worst nightmare. Jared reports that Cattell “suggested that the legislature should have a ‘house of scientists’ that would operate more of less like the House of Lords, and help make evolutionary choices for society … Cattell even wanted a ‘world federal government’ that would be a clearing house for promising evolutionary information to be made available to all.”
As Jared notes, such propositions could be criticized on “libertarian grounds,” to be sure. They also reveal much about a the inner-nature of the contemporary welfare state and globalist order.
Older generations of “progressive socialists,” including George Bernard Shaw and Sidney Webb, could support eugenics as part of their larger project of improving mankind and increasing economic output. The reason I unequivocally oppose the American welfare state’s involvement in reproduction is not because I fear it might go after the “unfit” races and people with Down Syndrome -- but because it would likely go after people like me.
The American state, and much of its corporate, capitalist class, is enthralled with the feeble minded: they have promoted people of failed countries with primitive economies through their immigration policies; they have dedicated trillions in social spending, not to mention the lives of millions of well-intentioned leftish do-gooders, to empowering and improving the self-esteem of populations destined to remain part of the underclass. The fact that the Department of Justice “targeted” those who suffer from retardation and convulsive disorder as people it’d like to hire (not sterilize) reveals the depths to which our current state has sunk.
I have not read Cattell’s political oeuvre so I hesitate to make general pronouncements, but it seems that Cattell, despite his brilliance in evolutionary psychology, misunderstood the dynamic of the postwar welfare state. Canttell assumed that Western governments and peoples were “in it together” in desiring to create a better, more beautiful, more intelligent world; he failed to grasp that the elites truly desire to build a inverted one -- with a cabal of high IQ managers on top to take care of the misshapen dullards down below, of course.
(It’s worth noting that the only way that Christian critics of abortion seem able to attack the state’s involvement in reproduction is as a heartless, fascistic “war against the weak.” Adherents to the religion that promises “the last shall be first” have a hard time perceiving that the welfare state’s war is one against the strong.)
Cattell also seems to have ignored the class conflict inherent within the welfare state (and probably every political order as well.) HL Mencken famously wrote, “All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man”:
[I]ts one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
For the welfare state, the intelligent and independent are potential competition for leadership, and it’s thus not surprising that the state would want them neutralized, if not crushed.
Idiots, on the other hand, make perfect citizens. The proud Emurkans whom Jay Leno features in his “Jaywalking” segments -- those who are entirely ignorant of the most elemental facts of their country’s history and yet who are convinced that they are free, rich, and living in the greatest country ever -- are, indeed, the ideal subjects -- or rather objects -- for social engineering.
I mean, Duh!