Every couple of years or so, a “respectable,” Establishmentarian, Center-Left commentator will touch on the subject of racial differences in intelligence. William Saletan was the last. Andrew Sullivan is the latest.
In the abstract, the fact that Beltway journalists would be interested in the subject of race and IQ should not at all be surprising. The evidence for racially defined and, more or less, intractable differences in General Intelligence (g) is mountainous. And race has tremendous predictive power when it comes to individuals and societies. (A report on an inexplicable achievement gap between Blacks and Asians might shock and dismay New York Times readers; among American Renaissance subscribers, it elicits a yawn.) The impact of racial differences in intelligence on international economies—and international investment—has yet to be fully explored.
Nevertheless, the reality of race undermines the civic religion of most Western societies—as well as almost every piece of socially uplifting legislation from the past 50 years—and thus has become the ultimate taboo.
And hesitant expeditions into the unspeakable by writers like Sullivan and Saletan usually evoke a quick, predictable response:
- The offender’s colleagues express outrage, and he is symbolically rapped across the wrist with a ruler;
- The offender’s critics eventually suggest ostracism as the only solution;
- The heretic relents, recants, and begs for forgiveness.
There’s no need for state intervention; journalists police themselves effectively.
But perhaps Sullivan will break the trend… In the mid-’90s, when Sullivan was Editor of The New Republic (and a neocon/neoliberal or sorts), he published an entire issue dedicated to sober commentary on Richard Hernstein and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve. Indeed, this issue—along with a non-hysterical review in the New York Times Book Review—marked the last moment in which racial differences in intelligence were discussed forthrightly in mainstream sources—before the door was slammed and bolted shut.
While little of what Sullivan writes will be surprising to readers in the AltRight sphere, he does make one important point that will touch fair-minded liberals: “The study of intelligence has been strangled by pc egalitarianism.” (Just ask Bruce Lahn, hardly a "White Nationalist" but simply a scholar searching for truth.)
Moreover, it came as no surprise to me that race realism is breaking out among liberals, who can no longer abide the cognitive dissonance between PC and their expressed support of the scientific method and empirical research—and not among conservatives and paleos. The “conservative movement” has fully embraced a kind of “Americanist Creationism,” in which everyone who believes in “equality” can be an American, and all earthly residents outside America's borders must be integrated into our One True Way. The paleos, it seems, have decided to take a pass on the central, most unavoidable geopolitical question of our time. This choice hasn’t granted them credibility...it's simply made them unthreatening. (Note that Charles Murray’s update on The Bell Curve, “The Inequality Taboo,” appeared in the neocon Commentary, not Chronicles.)
For years, Andrew Sullivan has been a reliable barometer of the social mood of America’s college-educated masses: that is to say, he’s flipped from being a neoliberal in the ‘90s...to a war-happy neocon after 9/11...to an anti-war “realist” around 2006...to an Obamaniac in 2008...etc. etc. etc.
Let’s hope that this time, he takes a principled stand.