Tuesday, April 06, 2010


I guess the world of politics in my country is getting into my subconscious. Last night I dreamt of being in a new country, a ReFounded America built out of the Northwest and parts of the upper West. It was a place, apparently, where you can tell offensive jokes without fear of being arrested, since one of the first acts of the government there was to repeal most laws passed since 1960. Grounds being First Amendmentish, "it's not our business to tell citizens how to talk."

I'll miss the weather in California.



WashedUpDown said...

Great, the Northwest.
Lousy weather, hemp trousers, the Space Needle, salmon jerky.
At least the coffee will be good.

DoDoGuRu said...

"And since I am being unseasonable, I wonder if there are or were any societies where there was a difference in skin color and darker color did not correlate with lower social status?"

This is an interesting point I gleaned from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Infidel": that across cultures dark-ness is less valuable. For some reason it didn't occur to me that in Africa, there was such a thing as too black.

Anonymous said...

Re: "And since I am being unseasonable, I wonder if there are or were any societies where there was a difference in skin color and darker color did not correlate with lower social status?" Colour and valuation is more subtle than light vs dark. For instance, with us whites a (skin-ruining) suntan'd look is more attractive although untan'd is whiter. ... As for a strictly 'racial' supremacy by culture, surley nothing would be easier than for us to culturally legislate thin lips and tons o' body hair as most beautiful: the other races couldn't begin to keep up with us in these areas. But body hair even on men is now unattractive in "our" "white supremacy" culture. And almost no white women have lips lush enough to be deem'd attractive enough without cosmetic surgery enhancement (cf actresses and supermodels). To judge by older vs newer pix of news anchors and actors, seems even white men have lip enhancement surgery. ... But I guess white women don't deem lush lips and no body hair as anti-caucasian, race-traitor values, whereas unfortunately maybe black women if they daydream of being lighter do feel like traitors to their own, or as victims of internalized colonization by white supremacy values. Presumably overweight women don't daydream of living in a culture where overweightness is prized, but of being slender yet shapely. ... Yeah, "looks don't matter" (another Christian value maintain'd by secular liberal culture). Sure, looks don't matter except to self-image, not feeling self-loathing, etc. "Beauty is only skin deep" -- and has a deep psychic impact via the eyes of the beholder, and this response then has a deep psychic impact on the view'd.

Anonymous said...

I might even venture to add that "our" sense of value -- including especially how value is added to a culture in general -- is absurdly narrow: the most valuable population groups are deem'd those which have the highest proportion of personnel who excel in IQ tests, SAT, LSAT and so on, and related knowledge work. But when I recently drove to a major airport to pick up someone arriving on a very late flight, walking down one of the otherwise totally desolate corridors was a group of ordinary worker-type airport employees (in uniforms) probably all heading home together. They were singing.

Ain't nobody else in that airport was singing. And this group was composed of a 'race' terribly exploited and oppress'd not only in North America but elsewhere, and in America they were stereotyped as happily singing while working either as slaves or as low-pay'd and socially marginalized sharecroppers and so on. In reacting against that history, "we" have put together a social program (the Great Society in the USA) based on the dictum that all racial groups can produce the same proportion of high-achievers in knowledge work and knowledge work related tests (on grounds that previously asumptions about IQ etc were flaw'd, misapply'd etc).

On those grounds, we keep driving at that goal -- with the implication that anyone who doesn't believe in such equality of racial groups "agrees with Hitler" or "agrees with the KKK": extermination programs not for individuals of low IQ but apparently of identifiable 'racial' population groups of collective disproportionate low IQ must somehow logically and practically follow. (Sure there's pervasive doubt of such equality, but the insistence is that this doubt is caused by racist prejudice. No doubt it can be exploited by racist agitators in cyberspace.) (Nazis actually had a richer sense of cultural value: not IQ but qualities like courage, loyalty, and lack-of-decadence were prized. Absurdly enough, but they didn't go around implying that if you aren't a workaholic orthodontist or at least a member of Mensa you aren't contributing to Kultur.)

The most recent attempt to prove all groups are equality in this way is research into "stereotype threat": the reports are, telling people that an IQ type test isn't really being scored makes population groups perform equally well on that test. That's how the research was reported. I think it extends to gender too.

What a lucky thing for equality as conceived of by IQ fanatics. I mean, millions and millions of years of evolution arrived at population groups of quite different bodily type and skin colour etc, but the most complex organ of all, the brain, is equal in knowledge work as far as groups are concern'd, although individuals' aptitudes for knowledge work differ greatly -- but not their value, which remains equal. What a lucky fluke! Perhaps the fundamentalists are right that God not random evolution guides development.

Anonymous said...

Inequality in individuals' IQs does not validate Hitler, but inequality in group IQs would validate Hitler. Fortunately, "stereotype threat" and cultural deprivation or cultural advantagedness etc accounts not for part but all of the inequalities in population groups re IQ etc. The ex-president of Harvard now surely understands that millions of years of evolution did not result in any real mental differences between men and women. All groups are equal in the only criterion that the culture takes seriously! Phew! Otherwise we would have to implement the Nazi program in America, Canada, Europe, Australia, etc.

Sc if 100 randomly selected white Jews and 100 randomly selected white Gentiles are given such a test but told that it won't be scored, both groups will perform equally well -- and Hitler will be refuted yet again. Apparently liberal authorities must constantly struggle to make sure Hitler remains refuted.

(If this isn't true, we would have to start herding white Gentiles into death camps. ... These implications somehow always apply to groups, not to individuals. Individuals are given the tests, but the positive or negative value measured by the tests accrues to groups.)

Now the difficulty is that our culture (rather similarly to Hitler, after all) not only imposes identity by racial and gender groupings, but also prizes knowledge work (done by individuals or by groups whose members' racial and gender identity are irrelevant).

Knowledge work is a fine achievement, or can be. But IMHO it is not the only way to live a good life. It is not IMHO the only way to make a contribution to the general culture -- as the marvellous singing airport workers proved (again) to me. Not paid to sing. Not singing as part of their careers. They just wanted to sing -- and the song wasn't some usual pop song thing. I didn't recognize it. Don't know what it was.

A football player named Reggie White (I think) once deliver'd a speech to a state legislative gathering in the Midwest. Naively enough -- marvellously naive in a fine sense -- he outlined a sort of American Purusha, specifying the contributions made by Hispanics, Blacks, Whites and Asians. (silent on Jews) He did not speak in contempt for any of these groups, but rather in a kind of awe. I won't mention the contributions he deem'd made by Asians and Hispanics, since I'm not Asian or Hispanic, and I can't say how "threaten'd" such groups might feel by his remarks. But of whites he said that we are talented with money. Well, perhaps we ought to wonder if that's how we seem to a lot of Blacks. (The speech admittedly occur'd before the Wall Street meltdown.) As for blacks or maybe African Americans, he said something like they give to America its sense of celebration.

Such generalizations have been and perhaps still are used to exclude individuals from work and promotions that they are fitted to. Mr White's generalizations could be used to confirm prejudices e.g. that it's no point promoting an African American to the presidency because he would only be good for celebrations. And I am shaken, really, to think what might be the routine devaluation of blacks outside North America, Europe, Australia, etc: every now and then I get a hint of this and I am stun’d.

Anonymous said...

But when we suppress generalizations like Mr White's there are costs. Mr White got away with delivering his speech because white legislators didn't want to be seen shouting down a black man, whereas surely a white saying anything like this would have been shouted down. But essentially his speech was suppress'd -- ignored. On the other hand, American blacks who were somehow able to hear or read the speech may well have agreed with Mr White, and felt a sense of pride at "their" contribution to American life. Culturally you take blacks and blacks' contributions out of America and you'd have a very different America, and maybe one correctly described as not having much celebration.

Nevertheless, everywhere in the West we whites press on with the insistence that equality is meaningful as an ideal because (and apparently only if) all identifiable population groups will perform equally well on SAT tests etc if only given the proper opportunities and preparations, and if whites are prevented from discriminating against individuals of colour who are taking the tests.

Some may suppose that there aren't serious costs to this continuing effort. But I think there are. Because even though Blacks may find their way to feeling pride in their cultural contribution to American life other than through knowledge work, the heavy message is that they continue to be a sub-human species because (for whatever reasons) "as a group" they don't perform as well on IQ tests given to individuals compared with whites, even white Gentiles, not to mention certain high achieving "GOOD immigrant" groups.

I worry that blacks internalize this heavy message. Sure, America would have a poor sense of celebration without blacks-as-a-group, but what's the value of that, right? Ask Nietzsche? No way! The music that flows through our psyches is irrelevant to our value and the value of life. Everything is Egyptian knowledge work. Well, we do “valuate” that way. Despite all the hype for movie celebrities etc, Einstein is more revered, more an icon of achievement, about things we take “seriously.”

The point is to be a population group that develops a high proportion of high-achieving knowledge workers. The "proof" that African Americans can be or become a valuable population group in American society with a proud racial identity is that IQ tests etc have been used to discriminate against individuals who are black, therefore: they are like very other population group equal with white Jews as a group. If any black doubts this sort of proof and wonders if in fact his group isn't that valuable, then racial-identity shame would haunt him, wouldn't it?

Great Society TV ads presented achievement as a competition between racial groups. I remember the ads showing that it's absurd to expect a black man to compete with white men in a running race while the black man is still burden'd by heavy weights. Special programs are necessary to correct this inequality, and then the black population group will be able to achieve as much (in knowledge work, not in running) as the white population group.

The competition between groups for IQ etc is a constant implication of our culture -- race and gender identity groups competing for shame vs honour in knowledge work done by individuals. The groups that don't perform well in such work and tests consider'd to measure aptitude for such work are in danger of feeling shame plus a pervasively harmful sense of "Why even bother?" -- if ever the usual reasons white liberals insist on seem doubtful. For this honor and shame system for population groups has been the invention of white liberals -- which blacks presumably internalize. :(

Anonymous said...

P.S. Really I do wonder if "IQ" can be measured accurately, let alone group-fairly. Analogies are going to be removed from the new GRE on grounds that items employ'd in analogies are likely to reflect the class (and racial) context of the test designers, not to mention the Americanness of the test designers, who aren't going to be thinking of examples from third world countries from which some grad school applicants come. No doubt one can't decide if cane is to walking as glasses are to seeing if one doesn't know what glasses are. I mean this seriously: you'd have to know the world from which examples are taken in order to excel at such a test. ... And I remember how much my answers improved when I study'd up for the GRE: this isn't to say that my intelligence increased, is it? ... A person who had never seen an IQ test before, would probably not know what to make of it. Very different from the sort of questions that Aristotle might ask, or a rabbi.

Written tests are going to replace the analogies. Right. No subjectivity there, including what to do when one senses by word choice etc that a test taker might be black or from a third world country -- grade him or her easier in order to compensate him or her for cultural deprivation and foreign contextedness? or will some testers unconsciously notice a "black" style of writing and assume the writer isn't smart and grade him down? Liberal and "conservative" answer evaluators may think to strongly skew their grading in order to compensate for the unfairness that the other is no doubt going to impose. Oh well.

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