Motives, part 2: self defense
Mar 20th, 2012 by Unamused
“Why even bother?” We wondered last time. (Make sure to check out the comments.)
Why compare one race to another? What is the practical purpose of popularizing, for example, race differences in intelligence or criminality or cultural achievement, when the major races each comprise hundreds of millions of people living all over the place? Why would anyone care that the average brain size among the 15 million or so Sinhalese people in the world (mostly in Sri Lanka) is approximately 1222 cc, while the average brain size among the 7 million or so Swiss people in the world (mostly in Switzerland) is 1408 cc? (Smith and Beals, 1990.)
Well, suppose millions of Sinhalese had been living prosperously in Switzerland for generations. What if they suddenly started demanding the Swiss pay them reparations, in perpetuity, for supposedly holding them back in Swiss society — systematically, maliciously, and particularly through a poorly defined “legacy” of some quasi-historical “injustices” specially selected and distorted to make the Swiss look like an evil race of useless, stupid, murderous oppressors, and the Sinhalese their gentle, noble, long-suffering victims?
Would that explain a Swiss interest in scientific research (some of which is summarized here by Chuck) that found, among other things, a 40% correlation between general mental ability and brain size as measured by MRI (Rushton and Ankney, 2009) and an 89% heritability of adult brain volume (Miller and Penke, 2007), which suggests that Swiss-Sinhalese differences in social outcomes (so-called disparate impact) are caused, at least in part, by race differences in ability, which in turn are at least partly genetic in origin?
And would it account for a long, sordid history of Switzerland Sinhalese and their Swiss political allies attempting to suppress those findings, calling them, let’s say, “anti-Sinhalese”?
I don’t know. Maybe Robert Lindsay was right, and the Swiss “obsession” with the heritability of brain volume and its correlation with general mental ability would make no sense at all until we saw it in the light of Swiss hatred of Sinhalese (the biggest Swiss hatred of all), because it can only be seen from the point of view of their high degree of hatred and rage against Sinhalese. Maybe Swiss ranting about “brain volume” is just another club to beat Sinhalese over the head with!
Well, he wasn’t, and it’s not.
The fundamental fallacy of race relations
I neither profit from nor especially enjoy my work, and I suspect my experience is typical of race realists, who would for the most part be quite pleased to never again say, “On average, [people of this race] are [more/less] likely to [do something good/bad] than [people of that race].”
Unfortunately, whether out of ignorance or malice, representatives of the various non-white racial grievance groups and their curiously titled “anti-racist” allies insist on making racial comparisons of their own for the apparent purpose of attacking whites.
These comparisons, unlike the race realists’, are always invalid; moreover, they are always invalid in essentially the same way. While these race denialists can fairly be said to obsess over race differences in outcomes, they utterly fail to understand, or simply refuse to acknowledge, the existence of race differences in relevant physical and behavioral traits, such as intelligence, conscientiousness, and aggression.
Instead, they assume — incorrectly, of course — that race is “skin deep” or a “social construct” (which is what makes them race denialists). In their minds, the only way to account for the race differences they will acknowledge is fictitious racial discrimination by and for the benefit of whites.
But the human races do differ statistically in many important traits. Therefore, disparate impact does not imply disparate treatment. When race denialists pretend that it does, they commit what I call the fundamental fallacy of race relations.
Let’s look at some examples.