While it’s good news that John Derbyshire lost his job at National Review Online for his disgusting racist screed, Freddie deBoer notes that Derbyshire’s arguments about IQ and race aren’t different from many of the ‘genetic conservatives’ (boldface mine):
Some people are expressing incredulity that Derbyshire has not yet been fired. But why? William Saletan still has a career. And his series of essays endorsing race science used the exact same research that the grimier, Stormfront-reading wing of the racist Internet references time and again. Elspeth Reeve’s piece in the Atlantic attacking Derbyshire plays this same game. Reeve claims “Derbyshire doesn’t say that black people, especially women, are pathetically stupid people….” Yes! Yes he does! Here’s Derbyshire:
The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. “Life is an IQ test.”
That is precisely saying that black people are pathetically stupid people. It is so aggravating that journalists, under the guise of attacking race science, repeat this canard that there is somehow a more responsible, less racist version of race science….
If we’re going to make progress and move beyond the John Derbyshires of the world, we have to stop pretending that there is some difference between what Derbyshire wrote and books like the Bell Curve. And we have to insist on honesty from those who talk about these issues. Weigel makes hay out of the fact that Taki Mag is a fringe publication. But Slate is not a fringe publication. The New Republic is not a fringe publication. Mainstream publications dip their toes in these waters all the time.
Like Derbyshire, Murray and the racialists (potential band name!) wouldn’t be able to explain why the Alabama-Massachusetts gap among non-poor whites with college-educated parents is as large as the black-white gap in Massachusetts. Because this is the issue:
Murray really needs to be asked why these two states differ so much–and remember, these are not poor children, and these children also have well-educated parents. If it’s genetic, well, I hope conservatives have fun explaining how ‘real Americans’ (as opposed to coastal, subway-riding ‘elites’) are genetically inferior. “It’s not your fault you’re stupid, you were born that way…” If it’s cultural, then that would invalidate much of what Murray preaches in Coming Apart. Massachusetts has a relatively expansive state government and liberal social policies (e.g., gay marriage). And remember: you can’t cite a ‘culture of poverty’ or the supposed decline of the lower-middle class. The parents of these students are college-educated and not-poor (at least 200% of the poverty line)
There’s a lot of this IQ racialism lurking around the conservative movement (as well as the brave contrarians like Andrew Sullivan, whom I mock here). And even if they think they’re just being ‘bold intellectual explorers’ or some other bullshit (never mind that they never address serious methodological and statistical problems with IQ), many who cheer them on are nothing but despicable racists.
I suppose Derbyshire did us a favor: he showed us how, under the IQ flimflam, there’s just the usual movement conservative id.