Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Jul/09

18

12 questions for John Derbyshire

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In The Economist. John is promoting his new book, We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism.

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65 comments

  • Susan · July 22, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Now I need a drink.

  • ppnl · July 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Ivan dude, anyone who lives long enough is destined to see society change in ways they do not like and may not be able to accept. Conservatives are especially vulnerable to this and this is the source of conservative pessimism.

    Obsessing over the evil liberal conspiracy is one symptom of this. In the past conservatives obsessed over those communists trying to let women vote, give political power to blacks and other such evil things.

    But if the republican party becomes defined by a fear of the future rather than a commitment to well defined principles then we are done. If fear of change causes us to lie as political strategy, do a deal with the devil for political power then those principles will be lost.

    Telling people they can’t vote because you don’t think they are smart enough is losing sight of some important principles.

    Liberals are not the problem the republican party faces. Fear and pessimism in the face of inevitable change is. The lies we tell and the dirty deals we do out of fear will cause far more harm than the evil liberal conspiracy.

    The republican southern strategy was strategically brilliant. It delivered power to the republican party. It was also an evil thing that should not have been done.

  • Ivan Karamazov · July 22, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Ivan dude, anyone who lives long enough is destined to see society change in ways they do not like and may not be able to accept. Conservatives are especially vulnerable to this and this is the source of conservative pessimism.

    Funny, I thought the source of conservative pessimism was a realism as regards the true nature of human nature.

    Obsessing over the evil liberal conspiracy is one symptom of this.

    Not sure who you are addressing here. Liberals are merely and collectively “wrong”. No “conspiracy” required.

    In the past conservatives obsessed over those communists trying to let women vote, give political power to blacks and other such evil things.

    ???

    But if the republican party becomes defined by a fear of the future rather than a commitment to well defined principles then we are done. If fear of change causes us to lie as political strategy, do a deal with the devil for political power then those principles will be lost.

    If speaking the truth is a “thought/hate crime”, then putting it between the lines (lying ) seems the only course. You know another?

    Telling people they can’t vote because you don’t think they are smart enough is losing sight of some important principles.

    Is that what I said? I don’t recognize it. If you can’t repeat my clear points correctly, debate is going to be REALLY tedious, as I have to constantly correct your errors. If an IQ test were required for voting, people wouldn’t be denied because someone “thinks” that they are not smart enough. It would be an empirical fact. Anyway, I was just saying that I would prefer to live in a country where voting was restricted to those above a certain IQ, and a certain familiarity with the issues being voted on. This brings with it it’s own set of problems, but I would rather deal with those, than the ones we have. You are free to prefer the results of a more ecumenical, but dumbed down, electorate, as you wish.

    Liberals are not the problem the republican party faces. Fear and pessimism in the face of inevitable change is. The lies we tell and the dirty deals we do out of fear will cause far more harm than the evil liberal conspiracy.

    Ah, the old “inevitable change” mousetrap that Popper writes of as being the core trick of Marxism. If the change is “inevitable”, well then those who are just delaying the inevitable need to be removed, by any means necessary, don’t they. Nice.

  • ppnl · July 23, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Ivan,

    Everyone thinks they have a grasp of the true nature of human nature. Everyone is probably wrong.

    The vast liberal conspiracy is a common motif among conservatives. Obama secretly hates America and is actively working to hurt America. Liberals are somehow supernaturally good at propaganda. Their end game is to line republicans up against a wall and shoot them. According to Limbaugh liberals created the credit crunch as a plot to discredit republicans. Liberal bashing has reached ridicules levels in the republican party. I do not hate or fear liberals. I have few purely moral differences with them. My differences with them are operational.

    As far as I know you have not engaged in this kind of liberal bashing wingnuttery. I did not mean to imply that you had.

    The only empirical fact is what a given person scores on an IQ test. The decision on who gets to vote and why is a values choice. All I can say is if they put up with being told they can’t vote then they truly are stupid. The problem has never really been stupid voters anyway. The problem is the very very smart people who get paid vast amounts of money to get morally bankrupt people elected. The problem is a party that cares more about winning than standing up for reality. Smarter voters would make very little difference.

    Every society that has ever existed has changed over time. There is no “the” change that is inevitable. But change is. And it is you who was wishing some people couldn’t vote so as to further your vision of the future. Not nice. Russia attempted to prevent change by limiting the vote to the proletariat. How did that work out?

  • Caledonian · July 24, 2009 at 7:05 am

    The problem has never really been stupid voters anyway.

    Stupid voters have *always* been a problem. But the overarching problem is that people consider “stupidity” to be a trait rather than a behavior; a trait incompatible with cognitive processing power, rather than a behavior enhanced (and made far more dangerous) by intelligence.

    The stupidest people I’ve ever met were also some of the brightest. Their intelligence gave them access to forms of stupidity that the dimbulbs could never reach if they tried.

  • Cornelius J. Troost · July 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    This discussion meanders considerably but Ivan was right about conservatives having a grasp of human nature that is correct even if depressing. Derb is right about the state of culture and history generating conditions ripe for severe pessimism.ppnl seems to be a liberal fully clothed in post-modern thinking about the impermanance of everything and misguided by a strict adherence to the “inequality taboo.”

    I did a book on human nature that reviews some of the genetic,neuroscience, and anthropological evidence for the scientific view of man.Check apesorangels.com if you wish to learn more. Now, among those who know human nature best, perspectives are divided by political ideology. Liberals like Stephen Jay Gould could never bring themselves to accept Darwinian inequality even though they easily accept it for other species.The modern “war” over human nature began in 1960 and it has grown ever more deadly as liberalism has captured the market, so to speak. Only a few books, those by Sarich, Harpending, Wade, and myself have bravely opposed the liberal myth so widely accepted by the millions of “true believers” who voted- often for the wrong reasons- for a narcissistic black man named Obama.As many have commented, conservatism is in disarray despite Ivan’s correct conclusion that they are right about human nature. Of course, Ivan was referring to the Darwinian perspective that Christian conservatives often vigorously oppose. A real grasp of human nature, like that of Mr. Derbyshire and Steve Sailer, may not capture penultimate reality, but it is much closer to the truth than the absolutely false doctrine of equality spread so feverishly by the liberal fanatics like our Hollywood saviors and open borders treason lobby.

    Yes, Derb and Ivan have good reason for pessimism. Obama’s socialist crusade and “bridge the gap” educational misadventures will further degrade our once proud meritocracy and enmesh us in a new social order where 1984 will look like a factual document. What Stalin failed to achieve Obama will try to create in a kinder, gentler way. Afraid of change? You bet!!Check out the Mexican border while you’re at it.

  • Ivan Karamazov · July 25, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Cornelius J. Troost :

    Cornelius J. Troost

    Thanks for weighing in, Cornelius. Always enjoy your posts ( and book and videos, etc ). My only ray of hope amidst the gloom is that there are still brave truth-tellers like you, Sailer, Murray, Derb, Hart, and a few others, ( and now that Cambridge cop, assuming he stands his ground – ha!). Maybe it will spread.

  • Florida resident · July 25, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I think an historical anecdote about soviet dictator Stalin is appropriate here. He was commenting about two pre-bolshevik-coup parties: SR (socialist-revolutionary party) and Mensheviks (splinter of Stalin’s “bolshevik” communist party). Stalin supposedly made this comment (depicting himself as a Connoisseur of All Sciences, mathematics including):
    “The difference between SR and Mensheviks is so small, that it is equal to zero”.
    To paraphrase Stalin, the difference (in attitude towards human biodiversity) between “liberal fanatics like our Hollywood saviors” and “fundamentalist creationists” is so small, that it is equal to zero.

  • Cornelius J. Troost · July 25, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Florida Resident is right that the SR-Menshevik difference was based upon ideological fine points that mattered much to them at that time but to outsiders seem trivial. Hollywood saviors are simply wealthy exhibionists who gain a Bono-style cachet by saving Africa via adoption or donation.They are reflexive liberals alive to all things relativistic.Creationists, however, are absolutists as regards moral values and would oppose secular liberals on many fronts. So Florida Resident is plainly wrong but for the fact that recent decades saw the creationist South move from racist oppression to folksy egalitarianism.The Bible Belt quite literally transformed into a form of liberal Christianity which now votes for Obama and agees with La Raza.However, as regards abortion, homosexuality, and evolution, they would oppose the liberal agenda. Conservative Christians have lost ground to secular liberalism but they still serve as vigorous opposition on certain issues. The difference is far more than zero.

  • ppnl · July 25, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    “ppnl seems to be a liberal fully clothed in post-modern thinking about the impermanance of everything and misguided by a strict adherence to the “inequality taboo.”

    I don’t know how you got that from anything I said. But I am use to it.

    Where did I say everything is impermanent? I said change happens. It has happened to every society that has ever existed.

    But the fact that some things do change does not mean that all things are impermanent. Just about all animal species have a style of behaviors that is forced on them by biology. This is no less true of humans.

    And from the fact that things change it does not follow that change was good. Most societies that have ever existed are gone. Thats change. Be careful with it but recognize that it will happen. How you respond to it is your life and your death.

    Women gained the right to vote in 1920. This was change. This was change that was sweeping the world at the time. Conservatives at the time saw it as a bad thing that would have vast unforeseen effects for society. They were correct about the unforeseen effects. Anybody wanna go back? Anyone who lives long enough will see changes like this that they do not like and cannot accept. That does not mean all things are impermanent or that all change is good. It just means you are getting old.

    Nor can I see that I adhere to an inequality taboo. People differ in their abilities and some of these differences are irreducibly genetic. So the hell what? You treat people as individuals and not as a member of some class. Liberals often failed to appreciate this with some bad effects. But since republicans were actively courting the southern bigot vote I don’t think their hands are clean either.

    There is an interesting dilemma that liberals face in their pursuit of a 100% egalitarian society. The more fair society becomes the more the differences between people will reflect purely genetic differences. What to do then.

    But is anyone here really going to defend an IQ test for voters?

    As for post-modern thinking I was complaining about people saying that it was ok to lie about being a creationist in order to get elected. I’m simply demanding truth and honor from the republican party. When did truth and honor become post-modernist concepts? Maybe I’m the one getting old but truth and honor should not be negotiable.

    I also contend that it is the combination of religion and politics that is responsible for the moral decline of the republican party. That isn’t exactly a new concept.

    I identify with the republican party because of a respect for negative liberty and a belief that science, industry and reason solves more problems than politicians ever will. But the republican party is so infested with wingnuts that they are not very good advocates of these ideas. Why so many wingnuts? Could it be because we have embraced lying about simple basic things like evolution for the power it brings us?

  • Ivan Karamazov · July 25, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    ppnl :

    ppnl

    People differ in their abilities and some of these differences are irreducibly genetic. So the hell what?

    So the hell what? So the hell the despicable 4/5th’s rule. So the hell NCLB. And so the hell other similar idiocies.

  • ppnl · July 25, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Ivan, finish what I said.

    “People differ in their abilities and some of these differences are irreducibly genetic. So the hell what? You treat people as individuals and not as a member of some class. Liberals often failed to appreciate this with some bad effects. But since republicans were actively courting the southern bigot vote I don’t think their hands are clean either.”

    We seem to agree that people should be treated as individuals rather than members of some class. We seem to agree that some liberal programs fail to do this and this is a bad thing. But I would add three points.

    1)Republicans didn’t deal truthfully and honorably with the issue back in the civil rights movement. There were good tactical reasons for that but that does not absolve the party for some responsibility for what followed.

    2)Republicans are making the same kind of mistake today in its close ties to the religious right. It may make tactical sense but in the end it will just continue the moral decay.

    3)The simple reality is that people have been treated as members of a class rather than as individuals throughout history. There is nothing especially malign about what is happening today. By most measures the problem is far less today.

  • Cornelius J. Troost · July 26, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    For ppnl: I accept your defense of your conservatism as regards The Inequality Taboo. You sound very much like a progressive and your critique of the Republican Party is too severe.How about political corruption in the Democratic Party, including ACORN and Obama? How about dozens of tsars and little accountability? Do you sense a “cult of Obama?”

    As I discuss in detail in my book, the belief in inequality was universal for centuries. Darwin only worried about Christians for that reason. Liberalism had to grow as a political philosophy in Europe and it reached maturation only in the twentieth century. Hitler did much to degrade the ideas of racial differences and eugenics, a stigma still very much with us.However, Marxist thought went mainstream with Lenin and Stalin, leading to vast human destruction.Stalin’s version of utopia turned out to be a real Hell.

    How did the Civil Rights Movement become a crusade for equal results? How did it ride a tidal wave of liberalism into our present state of what Richard Bernstein called the Dictatorship of Virtue? Liberals won over blacks and now Hispanics by pushing affirmative action, open borders, and a variety of political and legal actions aimed at reducing white power and changing America’s very national character.Hollywood made sure that secular values triumphed over Christian ones as porn went mainstream. I personally was an expert witness in 10 porn trials in Los Angeles in the stormy Sixties until the LAPD told me that organized crime was soon to eliminate me for my success. Still, after winning all ten suits, I lost to a very high-powered lawyer from SF in San Jose and realized that California’s “progressivism” would eventually lead it to ruin. Today I see much to substantiate my belief.

    The good that liberalism brings is offset my its great evils. While well-intended, its “inequality taboo” is a muzzle on constitutional freedoms. Blacks like Dr. Gates can get headlines for neurotic responses to routine police action. Stereotypes that contain substantial truth are deemed poisonous by liberals who wish to arrest us for “hate crimes.” If you know the crime staistics you are a fool if you don’t feel threatened by black youth almost anywhere at night.Their inordinate criminality likely has a genetic basis which will create severe problems in the criminal justice system of a future socialist government.

    As I have said previously, equality of opportunity has mushroomed out of control as blacks gained immense power via affirmative action and quota systems. The Ricci decision was only a temporary setback for rabid egalitarians seeking EQUAL OUTCOMES. A society that had good intentions has allowed wingnuts to run wild. No wonder Gates believes he is above the law! He may very well be.While you chastise a Republican Party that certainly plays some games and will NEVER support James D. Watson or myself, you must look at the Dems and their dangerous myths and programs.
    If they have their way we will soon look like Brazil in the worst sense and have schools that will award grades based upon portfolios of personal creativity and multicultural openness.I can promise you that Obama’s stupid advocacy of making the dumbest kids move up to the middle ranks will finish off the entire education profession and leave us dead last among nations.Charles Murray warned us but he was quickly dismissed.

    You will sterotype and so will I. Treat people as individuals but never forget generalizations that hold truth.Harvard students tend to be very smart. Germans tend to be fastidious. Irish drink alot. Russians die young because of vodka.MENSA members tend to be egotists. Science works that way and we must if we wish to survive.

  • Author comment by Bradlaugh · July 26, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    I must say, I like the cut of Susan’s jib. I’ve been sitting here drinking all evening. Now I’m pretty drunk, and it’s fine. Here’s to ya, Susan!

    Everybody buy my book!

    Which blog is this again?

  • Susan · July 27, 2009 at 5:53 am

    And here’s to you and your new book, J.D.!

    You know what they say about strong drink…it’s the curse of the writing class.

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