Friday, November 25, 2011

Green Friday, and Andrew Sullivan wants to bring back the Bell Curve.

Today is Green Friday in A-merry-ca. It is a day of crass commercialism designed by merchants and corporations to get gullible shoppers into stores. Prices have been marked up so that they can be slashed right back down with coupons and promises of price cuts in the stores.

Of course, as we all know by now, it's working. Pepper spray, shootings, bomb threats, and mobs at every box store door. I don't think that Jesus wanted us to prepare for his birthday quite like this. Professional shoppers (see Mrs. Field) have been preparing for this day for months. (15,000 at the Mall of America!) So for all of you amateurs out there, you shop at your own risk on days like these.

I tried to brave the "madding" crowd today. (Today. Not early this morning. Not last night. Today!) People watching was interesting, but I just couldn't take the crowds after awhile. I will get whatever gifts I have left online. It's a shame God didn't have two sons who were born months apart. Oh well, Cyber Monday is just a few days away.

Finally, I used to respect the writings of blogger Andrew Sullivan; he was one of the few conservative writers in A-merry-ca who I considered relevant. So imagine my shock when I read what Jason Johnson penned over at Politc365 about Sullivan's contribution to the Bell Curve debate. At first I thought that Johnson's take on what Sullivan wrote might have been misguided, but then I read Sullivan's post for myself and I....well, read it for yourself:

"Two points: research is not about helping people; it's about finding out stuff. And I have long opposed the political chilling of free inquiry into any area of legitimate curiosity or research. I'm not going to stop now. Secondly, I agree that there would be very little, if any, use for this data in our society, apart from the existence of affirmative action. But when public policy holds that all racial difference in, say, college degrees, are due to racism, a truth claim has already been made. So the p.c. egalitarians have made this a public and social issue by a statement of fact they subsequently do not want to see debated or challenged using the data. That's an illiberal position, in my view.

I remain gob-smacked by the resilience of IQ differences between broad racial groups, controlling for much other data. Maybe if we understood what was going on - which particular and subtle combination of genetics, culture and generation makes this the result - we could help increase equality of opportunity. Maybe racial categories themselves have become so fluid and opaque the whole area is now moot. Maybe we should accept that differences in outcomes among racial groups have some element of irreducibility to them. Maybe the answer is to abolish racial affirmative action and replace it by class-based forms. Maybe the answer is to abolish affirmative action altogether (my preferred outcome). But all these questions depend on a thriving research culture which has been chilled by politics. That's what saddens me." [Source]

Holy s^%*! Johnson was right! A big WTF? for my British friend.

I have more of an appreciation now of how Johnson ended his post:

"Because everyone’s work proves that their people are the smartest. In fact, even when Roland Fryer, a brilliant academic at Harvard showed what a farce IQ tests are, his work was largely ignored. Less than 4 years ago Dr. Fryer’s research showed that IQ levels, which are supposed to be immutable, are equal for African American and White children but differences only show up on tests once they’ve been in public schools for 2 years proving that the impact of racism and schooling is muting IQ scores more than actually assessing them.

Of course, his research was largely ignored by the press and pundit mags because it didn’t support the sexy self-aggrandizing narrative that people like Andrew Sullivan live by: Whites are smarter than Blacks, but it is their extreme benevolence that leads them to allow us to play house in the societies ‘they’ve’ created."

Not all of us Mr. Johnson. Some of us still choose "to play" in the fields.

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