Friday, July 20, 2012


Simon Grey is one of the bloggers I like to visit and it's quite a mystery to me why he does not get more of comments on his blog. He writes well, can maintain a consistent line of thought and unlike a lot of bloggers in this bit cyberspace is not a one trick pony. He put up a rather good post a week ago, which I think touches on one of the motive forces of political correctness. From his post:
This pathology, it seems to me, extends beyond just emotional directness.  We lie to people about everything, for fear of offending them[ED].  I cannot even begin to count the number of times where I pretended to agree with someone just so they wouldn’t get angry.  I know that there are many people who tell me only what they think I want to hear just so that I will feel good about myself.  It is almost impossible for me to find anyone who is able and willing to give me constructive criticism about anything because most of the people I know are simply too afraid to say anything that might even begin to appear to be ever-so-slightly confrontational.
This modern American society, then, is founded upon a culture of lies.  The fact that we cannot be honest with how we feel about one another is but one microcosm of all the big lies we have bought into.  Dishonesty permeates every aspect of our culture, and so we hide behind irony, false insincerity, and false bravado.  Nothing is serious, even when it ought to be.
I'll disagree with Simon here. It's still my impression, especially amongst the SWPL crowd, that Americans have a degree of cultural insecurity and when they want to appear cultured they traditionally aped the habits of the Europeans,  particularly the middle to upper English. As a result, modern mainstream American culture is founded upon the high Anglo-Saxon cultural tradition.

Now, My upbringing was essentially continental European whilst I living in an Anglo-Saxon culture. I've now realised that this has put me in the privileged position  of being able to see both the strengths and weaknesses of both cultures. It's a common complaint amongst lots of Europeans that you can't trust the English. Perfide Albion and its variants are a common theme throughout Continental Europe, but I think the Europeans are wrong in attributing to the English outright dishonesty. It's my opinion that the English place a much higher value on politeness than the Europeans do. They are concerned with not giving offence and are hence more diplomatic or circumspect than your average German or Italian. The European, of course, interprets this as the Englishman lying whereas in reality he is trying not be offensive.

The Germans, on the other hand. are pretty forthright at what they want to do. For this they are considered coarse and brutal. Yet, to the German he is being forthright and "honest". Unlike the Anglosphere politicians. The Germans are quite frank about what Europe needs to do to balance its books and are less likely to speak in euphemisms like "quantative easing". i.e printing money. They're direct.

It's my opinion that one of the big weak spots in Anglo-Saxon culture is the cult of politeness which America has inherited as a consequence of historical circumstances. I imagine that that this cult has it's origins in the ideals of upper class behaviour; in the ideal of behaving in such a way to never cause offense. This ideal manifests in many ways; in always being considerate of the other, in not talking about "taboo subjects" and in being deferential to others. To put it simply, Americans are too polite to tell the truth.

I imagine that the reason that politeness is so entrenched in Anglosphere is because it is necessary pre-condition of a tolerant society. For a society to work,  people need to get along, and it's obvious that deliberately rubbing people the wrong way is going to lead to societal dysfunction. The ideal of politeness relegated contentious points of difference to the private sphere whilst the common good was freely discussed.

The problem with this ideal though, is that the private actions and beliefs can't be compartmentalised; private beliefs have public consequences. For example, the belief in the permissibility of divorce is a private matter but the familial dysfunction and societal consequences thereof are a public effect. What the cult of politeness does is stop us from dealing with common good problems which stem from private choice. Particularly, the problems of the social effects of personal morality.

But this cult of politeness also generates a far more insidious problem; that of self-censorship. The polite man does not want to cause offence, but what that means he is constantly trying to gauge what is offensive, and hence the level of public discourse is limited by "sensitivity" of his audience. A very "sensitive" audience can shut down discussion on a subject entirely by being offended or feigning offence. In days of old a man could be censured for lying but all he has to do now is be offensive, say something the mob doesn't want to hear, for him to be punished. This is why "hate speech" legislation is so insidious, it purports to do a good whilst in fact furthering an evil.

It is the shrieking violets in our society which now control the public debate. There are large areas of that are simply off limits to discussion simply because polite society finds the truth offensive, not factually wrong. It's this cult of politeness that makes a man a public enemy for speaking the truth.

Success in Anglosphere society is not only predicated on one's objective achievements but upon the social conventions that one assumes. Admission into this society, the society which still effectively governs and wields power, comes with the adoption of its habits and behaviours. Having the right attitude is just as important as one's achievements. Just ask Nobel Laureates James Watson or William Shockley. ( I don't personally support their views but their treatment at expressing them is a cause of serious concern). Politeness then becomes a mechanism that suppresses the truth and excludes it from the governing  Anglo-Saxon(High Protestant) cultured class. It's also why business is a big enforcer of political correctness. The boss's company is a refection of himself and if his employees are openly spouting certain positions on Middle East policy, Racial IQ or Game, he is going to look bad amongst his golfing buddies or the hot secretary he is trying to bed. He wants to be part of the club. Social pressure keeps him toeing the line.

The solution to this problem is not the elimination of politeness as an ideal, but the recognition that excessive "sensitivity" or offense to the truth is a vice and that pandering to these people is evil. It needs to be recognised that Politeness has its limits though Redneck Primitivism is no solution to corrupt Haute Bourgeois Socialism i.e SWPL (though the Rednecks have time on their side as reality always triumphs in the end.) The solution, of course, is the polite man who unafraid to speak truth to social convention. In the end, the good man can't engage in pretty lies of omission just to keep the peace or look good amongst his friends.

One of the things that I noticed on my recent trip to the U.S. was that Americans were very, very polite.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Apropos My Previous Post.

As I said in my previous post, it appears that both national IQ and culture matter with regard to a country's economic performance.  Richard Lynn, one of the authors of, IQ and the Wealth of Nations, has put up and updated list of National IQ correlated to academic performance. Unlike some of the strong HBD supporters, even Lynn recognises that IQ only partially, though quite significantly, explains the economic success of a country.

To test this hypothesis, Lynn and Vanhanen (2002) examined the relationship between measured national IQs of 81 nations and GDP (gross domestic product) in 1998. The correlation was .73. It was argued from this result that national IQs explained 53 per cent of the variance in national per capita income[ED], and therefore that it provided a major contribution to a long-standing problem in  development economics first raised by Adam Smith (1776) in his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of  Nations, and summarized by Landes (1999) as the problem of “Why some are so rich and some are so poor”. The solution proposed by Lynn and Vanhanen (2002) to this question was that some are so rich partly because they have higher average IQs than those who are so poor. It was argued that this should be regarded as a causal relationship because it is an extension to nations of the established causal relationship of IQ to income among individuals.
Rindermann and Thompson, in Cognitive Capitalism, put forth an quite forceful argument linking the wealth of nations with the IQ of their elites. But even here they did this with a qualifier;
The results underscore the relevance of human capital for the wealth of nations, more particularly, the relevance of the intellectual classes, as mediated by high accomplishment in STEM and by economic freedom.[Ed]
I'm more impressed by this idea (and its implications) than the national IQ approach because the governing elites provide the mileau amongst which their lessers operate in.

But it also appears the IQ alone is not enough, rather an IQ that can deal with scientific and technical issues is the one that provides the payoff. Arts IQ doesn't seem to provide the goods.  The interesting thing is why is this so?  Why does STEM competency translate into economic development? The obvious answer would be that STEM competency translates into industrial might which raises living standards, but I think this would a false conclusion.  Russia has provided some of the best scientists and engineers ever and yet it's economic development lagged the West.

My personal view is that STEM competency is conditional on an understanding of reality. In other words, you can't ignore reality and be competent in the STEM fields. On the other hand, you can be competent in the humanities with a total disregard to reality. Russia may have had brilliant engineers but it was ruled by a taliban of Communists who literally ignored the realities of human nature and hence operated its society with system of flawed morals. Likewise, particularly in the Anglosphere West, our ruling elites are made up of humanities majors "i.e Lawyers" who hold a view of human nature that is at odds with reality.  Their decision making is idiotic because their understanding of the world is idiotic as well.

I'm not saying that the Humanities are irrelevant; a world without art and culture would be an impoverished one, rather a Humanities disconnected with reality of human nature is a malignant version of it. A classical education, for all its faults, at least thoroughly schooled men in the reality of human nature.  It's understanding of beauty at least produced beautiful buildings as opposed to modern architecture which seems deliberately designed to uglify the world.  It's emphasis on philosophy at least emphasised the principles of logic based on commonsense.

The secret to economic success from a national perspective seems to be  and elite which possess both high IQ technical competence and moral conservatism.

Great Article by Fred Reed.

I'm late to the party, but Fred has put up a good essay over at his site.

Executive summary: IQ matters but so does culture.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


My apologies to my readers for my absence. It's been a rather hectic few weeks and I'm suffering a case of writing apathy. I imagine I'll have something to say over the next few weeks.

Just in case anyone is interested!