Why Race Matters: a review of Michael Levin's latest book
The 1997 book, Why Race Matters: Race Differences and What They Mean by Michael Levin, is one of those rare books that will be slow to catch on because it will be ignored by the press due to its explosive treatment of intelligence and affirmative action. The book, part of the Praeger Press series Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence (edited by Seymour Itzkoff) is in my estimation the most thorough treatment of race and intelligence I have come across to date. Even while anxiously awaiting my copy of The g Factor by Arthur Jensen, this book, unlike Jensen's psychometric analysis of race differences, is an all encompassing conflation of science and moral philosophy asking 'what do we, as Americans, owe those who blame us for their own failure?' His unequivocal answer is 'nothing.' If anything, whites are owed for all they have done for blacks. Blacks in the United States have faired very well indeed compared to those still in Africa. Living amongst whites, they have been given more than any other group, just because they are black. For the last forty years enormous sums of money, produced by whites, have been pumped into the failing black community. Whites have given more than anyone could expect and have received little in return but condemnation from those we have tried to help. This condemnation, or charge of racism, and its treatment by Levin is enough in itself to make this book a must read for anyone interested in racial justice.
Genetic vs. environmental reasons for failure
In 1995 the American Psychological Association, in response to The Bell Curve, published the report "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns." They report that blacks indeed do score below whites on IQ tests and these tests are unbiased and correlate strongly with social outcomes (the full report is available at http://www.neoeugenics.net/apa.htm). But the APA was unwilling to speculate why the difference is so constant and repeatable over time and by test method. Levin does not suffer from the same timidity. He goes into detail, outlining how and why it must be mostly genetic rather than environmental.
Levin elegantly dismembers the arguments for an environmental cause such as malnutrition, institutional racism, test bias, etc. He thoroughly covers all of the stale and easily disposed of arguments put forth by the left. Levin cogently states, "The claim that racism harms black mental development rests on two premises: that subtle forms of racism are omnipresent, penetrating even intervention and transracial adoption, and that racism of this sort retards intelligence. Environmentalists have generally assumed the second without argument, but the superior performance of minority groups that have been less advantaged socially than blacks suggests that it is untrue". And then he makes the case that not only are blacks less intelligent, but they vary on a number of traits. According to Levin:
"In theory, white women could bear illegitimate children at the black rate and raise them on welfare until society went bankrupt, yet this has not happened. Despite the rise in white illegitimacy over the last half-century, most white children are still born to married parents, most white women still insist that the fathers of their children work to support them, most white men regard unemployment as shameful, and most whites of both sexes despise men who live off women. Differential rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases indicate that promiscuity is more prevalent among black adolescent females than white. Whether whites think of their aversion to welfare as 'pride' or the desire to live a better life than welfare provides, from a behavioral point of view, blacks find welfare more attractive; welfare incentives affect the races differently. Current black illegitimacy rates may be unnatural, since they reflect subsidies not found in African ancestral environments, but, since this environmental factor has been the same for blacks and whites, the race difference in response to the introduction of this factor indicates genetic variation. The hypothesis that blacks are more ready to devote effort to reproduction than child-care predicts a more rapid decline in pair-bonding among blacks than whites when others offer to support their children.."
Finally he asks the simple question that is obvious to anyone following the IQ debate, where is the evidence that intelligence for blacks is just waiting to be discovered? Levin states, "Authors like Gould and Kamin tirelessly criticize studies that show black intelligence to be lower than white, but cite no black performances that indicate high mean intelligence. This is one of those cases in which absence of evidence for a hypothesis constitutes evidence against it. Everyday observation, together with the failure of egalitarians to produce evidence that the races are equal, disconfirms racial parity."
A defense against accusations of racism
Levin's most important contribution to the race debate is his refutation of the blame placed on white America for black's failures. Often it is alleged that there is no reason to raise the point that blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites, but Levin points out in elegant detail that if we are charged with holding back blacks then we must be allowed to defend ourselves, and much of this book is dealing with just such a defense. If we whites are charged with causing black failure, where is the proof? For starters, Levin asks:
"No one has forced blacks to attend white schools; blacks demanded admission to them. Surely it is unseemly to demand access to an institution in the name of equal opportunity--opportunity, that is, to compete by the rules the institution has established--and then insist that its rules be changed. What would we think of a short man who asks for only a 'fair chance' to play basketball, to be judged by his ability rather than his height, and then, once on the court, insists that the basket be lowered or the ball changed? In being allowed to play by the going rules, he got a chance that was fair by his own stipulation. In asking for more he complains of rules he has implicitly agreed to accept. That is what blacks do when, after entering schools known to be of European design, they complain of a 'Eurocentric' curriculum they have difficulty mastering."
He then unabashedly presents why whites should be proud of their traits and culture, in marked contrast to blacks:
"Some readers may well be embarrassed to have Caucasoid values attributed to them. Whites have been ridiculed so often, by whites as well as blacks (e.g. McCall l994), that 'white middle class' has become a term of derision signifying blandness, conformity and hypocrisy. Yet what ideals does this phrase summon? Hard work, certainly, and self-reliance, self-control, modesty, honesty, punctuality, politeness, sportsmanship, and considerateness. A Caucasoid may not always live up to these ideals, but he thinks he should--and I doubt that, on reflection, the reader can easily dismiss them as ridiculous."
But the liberal press has been very effective in making whites ashamed of being what they are, while blaming how blacks behave, also on whites. It seems, without proof, that we have been found guilty of all what ails black society, and we have never been allowed to defend ourselves because of the very nature of our tolerance and concern for the less fortunate. But our patience runs thin.
Levin argues that if the evidence is presented, it is easily recognized that it is not white America-- but the innate nature of blacks--that accounts for their failure. He writes:
"It cannot be proven beyond all doubt that intelligence is a valid construct measured by IQ, that the races differ with respect to it, that this difference explains race differences in outcome, and that this difference is due significantly to genes. But certainty on these points is not required. All that is required to rebut the compensation argument is that these propositions, taken together, offer an account of the attainment gap at least as plausible as the racism hypothesis. Claims of damage must be sustained, a burden carried by the plaintiff. Jones cannot just hobble into court, accuse Smith of breaking his leg, and expect to collect damages; he must show that the condition of his leg is due to an action of Smith's. Compensation theorists must likewise show that whites damaged blacks. As the claim is one of tortuous liability, the showing need meet only the relatively undemanding civil standard of the preponderance of the evidence: it must be more likely than not that white misdeeds opened the attainment gap. But show this the compensation theorist must, which means that a rebuttal need not prove categorically that white misdeeds did not open the gap, merely that it is at least as probable as not that the attainment gap was created by some innocent factor, such as genes. The hereditarian analysis need not be demonstrative, only as likely as 'racism'--a conclusion that will be drawn, I believe, by any impartial student of the evidence. Arguably a weaker defense suffices. Given the scope of the demands based on charges against whites, and the extraordinary harshness with which these charges are brought, claims against whites might well be asked to meet the higher standards of a criminal trial. The racism theory would then have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and it would be a sufficient defense of whites that the hereditarian analysis cannot reasonably be rejected. The verdict under that standard seems obvious. Lest placement of the burden of proof seem legalistic quibbling in its own right, the reader should reflect that over the past three decades a great many whites have watched jobs and resources go to less qualified blacks because of the 'racism' theory. It is only fair to ask that this theory be shown to be more plausible than its rivals before more sacrifices from whites are demanded in its name."
Clearly, with the costs that whites have suffered from black on white crime at ten times that of white on black crime, with the transfer of billions of dollars from whites to blacks to pay for programs to try and make them whole only to fail over and over again, with the blight and destruction of our once prosperous urban centers now crime ridden and in decay, with our children going with less education while funds are directed toward the uneducable black children, with whites being denied college education because they are displaced by less qualified blacks, with our neighborhoods less protected because affirmative action has forced less qualified black police and firemen to displace more qualified whites, surely enough is enough and we will not be bled anymore. And if this seems callous, Levin writes:
"The basic argument for studying race differences is that racial outcomes are currently viewed through a lens of guilt, and it is important to know whether this lens is distorting. One result of racial guilt feelings, already alluded to, is the idea that blacks deserve compensatory preferences in employment and education. Another is use of a 'disparate impact' criterion for bias, according to which a standard or practice discriminates against blacks if blacks do not do as well as whites with respect to it. Since whites usually do outperform blacks, seemingly rational practices are besieged throughout society. One example is the cancellation of the presumption of innocence by the 1991 Civil Rights Restoration Act, under which an employer accused of bias for hiring disproportionately few blacks bears the burden of proving that he did not discriminate. This use of numbers to create a presumption against the defendant is reasonable (if constitutionally objectionable) only if there are in fact proportionately as many able blacks as whites in the workforce."
All of the racial bitterness and misunderstanding, I believe, can be laid at the feet of liberal do-gooders that along with equality also desired a world unequivocally fair. Nature unfortunately is not so designed and neither is the genetic makeup of groups. So the racial tension that persists in America, long after the majority of whites accepted the equality of opportunity as espoused by Martin Luther King, persists because we have been telling blacks that they would end up "just like us" once racism was over. But equality also requires that groups be absolutely equal. The proof however comes down on the side of genetic dissimilarities as the cause of disparate outcomes.
The accusations accusing whites of holding blacks back have now turned desperately to demanding compensation for the damage done. If equal opportunity requires that equal results be earned, and that end is not met, then blacks will go for the quick buck. "You whites screwed us so pay up!" But the evidence is just not there. Levin explains:
"Compensatory arguments assume that some proportion of the phenotypic differences between groups is due to past unjust treatment. . . . To the extent that arguments are advanced for proportionate-to-population quotas which rely on assumptions about the distribution of genotypic abilities, it becomes relevant to assess the validity of such assumptions. One suspects that the growing severity of taboos since that time has made it harder to mention race differences even for purposes of repudiation. The topic of racial variation is admittedly disturbing, and in an ideal world might be passed over in silence, but accusations against whites have made such discretion impossible. The right of the accused to present his case includes the right to raise issues that distress his accuser. A plaintiff demanding damages for a broken leg cannot ask at the same time that his leg not be talked about, nor take offense when the defendant presents evidence that the injury was congenital. By claiming harm he opens the question of why his leg is game. Claiming racial harm has opened the topic of race differences."
In essence, we owe nothing more because we have done nothing. What has been done 'for' blacks to date has been done only because whites have unilaterally tried to help them beyond anything deserved because of injustices. Any injustices done have been adequately paid many times over.
Why the difference in intelligence is genetic
"To put matters bluntly, the question is not why anyone would believe the races are unequal in intelligence, but why anyone would believe them equal. When someone asserts that black intellectual performance would equal that of whites were society free of bias, the proper response is 'What makes you think so?' The burden of proof, usually placed on those who deny the intellectual equality of the races, rests squarely on those who assert it."
Levin not only summarizes the data showing why the differences between races and groups is genetic but he also lays a firm foundation explaining the philosophy of science that is the foundation for such claims. Levin points out that:
"According to Neisser et al., 'what little [direct evidence] there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis. . . . There is certainly no [direct] support for a genetic interpretation'. Yet the step from phenotypic race differences to genetic variation is a short one, and a number of lines of evidence converge on it: time of onset of race differences, relevant physiological race differences, adoption studies, intervention studies, comparison of African and Eurasian attainment, and the positive correlation between the heritability of an IQ subtest with the race difference on that test. A second possible (and quite common) reply to the time-of-onset data is that the relevant early environmental factors have simply not been identified, but there are two countervailing considerations. First, it is an ethological rule of thumb that the earlier and more regularly a phenomenon appears in a population, the likelier it is to be genetically controlled. Earliness and uniformity rule out any factors whose time of impact varies, which excludes many environmental factors and therewith reduces the prospects for an environmental explanation. Environmentalists must posit a factor that affects all black and white children between birth and the third year." "Second, anticipating normative issues, the earlier in life differentiating environmental factors enter, the less likely they are to be the fault of whites. Low teacher expectation cannot quash the intelligence of blacks before they reach school. Hence, whatever early environmental factors lower black IQ are less likely to create white liability for the intelligence gap or its consequences."
The reason for believing that IQ is genetic between races is because it is genetic between individuals and no other explanation has been found to account for the race differences. Science works on the principal of parsimony, the simplest answer is the one accepted unless it can be displaced by a better one. And the genetic explanation has everything going for it, while environmental explanations have been a recurring failure when put to the test. The three best documented environmental interventions, aimed at showing how enrichment can raise IQ's, have all been failures (Perry Preshool, Milwaukee Project, and Head Start). In every case, any increase in the children's ability to perform better on tests (teaching to the test) faded away as they got older. Intelligence could not be altered but followed its own genetic trajectory.
Then there is the old claims of intelligence and brain size (high-brows=smart people). These accusations, having been around for over a hundred years and having been presented by using several methodologies, had been so ridiculed and laughed at over the last twenty years that it seemed finally settled. But then along came new scientific tools such as PET and MIR and low and behold there is in fact a high correlation between brain size and intelligence. So how do the environmentalists refute this claim once again? We saw that nutrition is the same between whites and blacks in the U.S., so why the difference in brain size, and especially gray matter (thank you medical diagnostic technology). Gould has been a proponent of a theory that there was not enough time over the last 30,000 years for a genetic difference. In fact, the black white difference of 86 cubic centimeters could have easily occurred, from climatic pressures in the last 30,000 years, as evidenced from New World fossils. It has never been necessary for new smart genes to mutate, only for natural selection to redistribute the smart genes differently under different environments.
The evidence for genetic differences between American whites and blacks is real, robust, and has not deviated from the single standard deviation reported over the last 100 years. So how does the argument for an environmental causation hold up to scrutiny? Well, the most ardent current scholar of the theory that blacks, unlike other minorities, are disproportionately less intelligent because they have suffered from slavery, is Ogbu. His argument makes the claim that slavery caused blacks to 'act less like whites' and in essence 'act stupid.' Had they not been enslaved they would act more intelligently. According to Levin:
"The most obvious flaw in this theory is that, while slaves were an 'involuntary minority,' American blacks have been free to emigrate for five generations. During the last century and the earlier parts of this one, the 'back to Africa' movement urged by both white nativists and black nationalists had few takers. Judging by their behavior, contemporary American blacks are where they are voluntarily. Moreover, like many environmentalist hypotheses, Ogbu's suggests no mechanism by which involuntary minorityhood reduces IQ, nor does Ogbu present any evidence linking inability to 'return to the homeland' to academic failure and poor test performance." [Levin later adds.] "Most important, the involuntary-minority hypothesis requires blacks on their own [in Africa] to do as well as American whites, and they do not. As we have seen, American blacks outperform African blacks on standardized intelligence tests, and, with the exception of South Africa, until recently run by whites, majority black countries are the poorest and most crime-ridden in the world."
So much for the slavery excuse. But persistence is as important as the facts, and the press has lent a helping hand to the apologists making the theory acceptable to many who have not been exposed to the ongoing debate in academic journals. Only the environmental side is presented by both conservatives and liberals alike, as explained later by Levin.
Over and over again the 15 IQ point difference in innate intelligence between blacks and whites is seen to hold up by observation. Levin points out that:
"Taking the mean white IQ to be 101.8 with an SD of 16.4, and the mean black IQ to be 83.4 with an SD of 12.9 . . . ." "In fact, blacks earned 838 doctorates in 1990 and whites earned 35,199, a real-world ratio of .023, three times greater than predicted [by the difference in IQ]. This discrepancy may indicate lower standards for blacks, a cutoff for Ph.D.'s below 130, a concentration of blacks in the less intellectually demanding areas, or some combination of these factors, but the discrepancy is not in the direction it would be if able blacks were being denied degrees."
This argument may seem circular, because if blacks are achieving above what would be expected by intelligence test scores, maybe they are more intelligent than they test out to be. Levin explains:
". . . using the correlation between IQ and attainment to validate IQ and then turning around to use IQ to explain attainment is not self-sealing because IQ correlates with other phenomena, including physiological ones. In contrast, it is viciously circular to explain race difference in test performance as a bias effect, when bias is posited on no basis other than differences in test performance."
Finally, many have made the argument that there is not enough genetic difference between groups of people that could reflect large mean differences in IQ. But this is specious. If very slight differences in genes can vary the intelligence of siblings, certainly they can vary significantly between groups of people. The number of genes need be only slight, and it is only the frequency of many genes that determines the smart from the dumb, not some unique gene that evolved in some groups and not in others. Chimpanzees and humans share 98.4% of their genes, and different human groups such as blacks and whites share 99.84%. But how much does it take? Dogs have a similar closeness in genes, and yet we all know that breeds of dogs, equivalent to human races, vary radically in intelligence, personality, temperament, and behavior. If we can get such radical differences in a short time of breeding for certain traits in dogs, how similar is this to thousands of years of human isolation in radically different environments selecting for different intelligences and behaviors? (see my article on this web site Canine Intelligence and How We Humans Should Copy the Success of Breeding Dogs.)
Conservatives and liberals; both are wrong
This is why the IQ debate is so elusive when it becomes political. What would normally be debated dispassionately in most scientific areas, intelligence becomes a game of slipping and sliding unless one is willing to look at all of the evidence, and the only ones that have done so are also highly political. I have yet to find more than a handful of academics versed in the subject that do not come prejudiced to the debate. And thus one side usually refuses to acknowledge the other's point without calling it racist or morally bankrupt. Levin, in a purely scientific way shuns both the conservative and the liberal explanations:
"The Left holds that blacks would do as well as whites but for racism, the Right that blacks would do as well as whites but for well-meaning government policies like welfare that sap black ambition. (The seductions of popular culture are sometimes added.) The Left's theory may be wrong, but it observes the forms of correct reasoning. It tries to deal with conflicting evidence, positing unconscious 'structural' discrimination to explain black failure in the United States after the passage of civil rights measures, and internalization of the white man's image of blacks to explain the decline of postcolonial Africa. On the other hand, while conservatives have made a strong case that welfare has accelerated black crime, poverty, and illegitimacy, they ignore the failure of whites to respond as blacks do to welfare incentives available to both races, and explain black failure in the post-civil rights era as a legacy of slavery in language borrowed from the Left. Conservatives such as Thomas Sowell, aware of the worldwide failure of black cultures to develop European/Asian levels of technology, circularly attribute this failure to black culture. The truism that a bad theory beats no theory may explain why the Right's account of race relations is seldom taken seriously." [And later.] "A preoccupation with blame leads both the Left and the Right to mix questions of cause with questions of fault. The causal question is, simply, 'Why do the races differ?' The complex fault question is, 'What malice or folly created these differences?' For the Left it is malicious racism, for the Right it is foolish welfare, with both sides ignoring the possibility that human action has nothing to do with it. The upshot is scolding and lecturing, as the Left scolds whites for 'racism' of which they may be innocent, the Right lectures everyone about a work ethic blacks may be unable to follow, and the Left scolds the Right right back for 'blaming the victim.' Finally, both Left and Right see the failure of blacks to live like whites as a problem. Certainly, blacks are less prosperous than whites. But this relative shortfall does not imply that blacks are deprived in any absolute sense; a black with a TV set and flush toilet has treasures undreamed of by the Pharaohs."
Why intelligence is such an integral component of racial discussions
We all understand beauty and what it means, and yet there is not a great deal of effort in trying to find out what racial groups are the most attractive. People may have an opinion about beauty, most people accept that there is such a thing as beauty, and yet no one tries to assert scientifically that one race is more or less beautiful than another even though it is often expressed that one ethnic group is attractive, and another is not. And yet, hardly anyone would argue that it was primarily environment that made a person beautiful. Aside from disease or poor health, we all acknowledge that beauty is highly variable between members of a family and between racial groups. We also would have a very difficult time trying to quantify it to everyone's satisfaction so that any one person's attractiveness could be given a number like IQ. But in many ways, intelligence and beauty are both human attributes that most people accept as legitimate areas of discussion because they are both used to describe people along with height, weight, etc.
But unlike beauty, which is nice to have, intelligence is in addition to being a trait desired, it is also a trait that makes a nation, group or individual more successful than another nation, group or individual. There is just too much evidence that intelligence counts for a lot, making technology and advancement possible. Without it we would not be what we are or discussing this very topic; we would still be in the stone age unable to create a written language. In fact, no written language was ever developed by sub-Saharan Africans for this very reason. With an average IQ of somewhere around 70, a written language was not possible.
So why is there such a denial of intelligence by those interested in improving race relations? Because they are not willing to let the truth be known because they themselves believe that all human value is linked to human intelligence, which it is not. Intelligence "just is", like the long neck on a giraffe. It is a useful tool, and especially useful to modern man. It may not have been all that useful to everyone however in more primitive environments such as Africa. Other attributes, like running fast, may have been selected for instead of intelligence. So why all the name calling?
Levin goes into great detail in explaining the illogical and circular arguments used by the main defenders of racial equality in intelligence. I will just touch on a couple of the more interesting ones: calling anyone who discusses the issue a racist and denial of intelligence as a measurable trait, two of the more common arguments routinely used to try and stop scientific discussion of intelligence and race. First, the racist argument. Levin writes:
"Calling claims of genetic race differences 'racist,' in particular, begs not one but four questions: (1) Are race differences in themselves bad? (2) Is believing in race differences bad? (3) Is saying there are race differences bad? (4) Is studying race differences bad? Once it is realized that an affirmative answer to each of these questions must be established before the charge of racism can be made to stick, the charge itself collapses. Consider question (1) first. Race differences, as facts of nature, have no moral dimension. They either exist or do not exist. Reality may frustrate our wishes, but it is not in itself bad or good. Since a thing must be bad to be racist, race differences, if they exist, are not racist." [And later.] "Will believing in race differences form estimable motives, such as intellectual persuasion. Precisely the same assessment applies to assertions, which, like beliefs, are merely true or false, not good or bad. A maliciously motivated act of asserting that blacks are less intelligent than whites may be bad, and possibly racist, but I have repeatedly pointed out good reasons for making this assertion, such as a desire for justice. Calling attention to race differences, considered apart from the motives for doing so, is not inherently racist. Finally, research into race differences is bad, and potentially racist, only if driven by bad motives, such as active enjoyment of humiliating blacks. But, once again, such research can just as easily be driven by good motives, such as curiosity or a desire for justice. So research into race differences is not in itself racist."
With regards to the denial of intelligence, Levin does a splendid job of showing how absurd it is to blame whites for stunting black intelligence while claiming that there is no such thing as intelligence. He writes:
"Informed egalitarians accept the race difference in IQ test scores but dispute its significance, mostly for one of the following five reasons: 1) There is no such thing as intelligence--a claim based in turn on the multiplicity of human abilities, the supposed multiplicity of kinds of intelligence, or the supposed multiplicity of meanings given the word 'intelligence' by different people and cultures. 2) There may be such a thing as intelligence, but so-called intelligence tests do not measure it. 3) Intelligence tests may measure the intelligence of whites, but not that of blacks. 4) Intelligence tests may measure intelligence for all races, but individual differences in intelligence are due entirely to environment. 5) Individual differences in intelligence may be due in part to genetic factors, but race differences are due entirely to environment. These points of logic may be summed up in two simple precepts. First, you cannot say there is no such thing as intelligence and that everyone's intelligence is equal. If there is no such thing as intelligence, individuals cannot be compared with respect to it. Second, you cannot say that racism stunts the mental development of black children and that black children are as intelligent as white. If the mental development of black children has been stunted by racism or by anything else, it follows that their intelligence has been limited. Lower black intelligence might then be the fault of whites, but, once again, individuals and groups may possess traits for which they are not to blame."[37-8]
Race defines what IS as well as any other indicator
"Let us call the rule that everyone should be judged and treated as an individual, not as a member of a group, the principle of individualism. This principle does not deny statistical race differences, but it bans appeal to them in practical contexts (especially legal contexts), and emphatically bans the application of statistical differences to individuals. It commands you to base your treatment of a person on his traits, not traits he has or is likely to have in virtue of a group to which he belongs. However confused the principle of individualism may prove to be, it is clear at the outset that supporters of affirmative action must reject it. Preference benefits blacks on the basis of their race, without regard to the specifically demonstrated claim of any black beneficiary or the specifically demonstrated liability of any white male. On any of the rationales reviewed, preference must categorize by race."
Since advocates of affirmative action want to categorize by race then it is fair game to expand upon differences and state what they really stand for, as indicators of where one has evolved and what traits that evolutionary process has bequeathed upon the group that is identified by racial characteristics. No one judges others because of skin color but because of what is carried in the information. We are not frightened of a very well dressed, extremely tan Italian coming down the street. What we are frightened of is what we recognize as a male that is African American and from experience belongs to a group that based on available data is by nature violent. Human nature includes trying to protect oneself and using all available information to improve the odds of survival. We all instinctively feel safer in a brand new car than one that is all beat up and rusting out. We base these odds on available evidence, that it is more likely that an old car will fail than a new one. And it is more likely that someone of African descent, because of evolution, is more prone to violence than say an Asian, even though we do not know either individual personally. As humans, we process all information available to improve our odds against a hostile environment.
There are a large number of traits that are highly heritable, and thus we would expect to find them expressed in different proportions according to the environment that each group evolved in: neuroticism, impulsiveness, emotionality, positive emotionality, negative emotionality, activity level, extraversion, sociability, sense of well-being, social potency, achievement orientation, alienation, aggression, stress reaction, altruism, cautiousness, constraint, control, following rules and authority, traditionalism, dominance, emotional reactivity, job satisfaction, work values, comfort, autonomy, etc. And crime is the most notable when it comes to traits we ascribe to people who evolved in Africa, they are violent. As civil rights kicked-in over thirty years ago, blacks became more violent as opportunities opened up for them. This would indicate that as the environments for blacks and whites became more similar, their behaviors diverged from whites. Blacks, when given the opportunity to possess guns, turned to violence. As Levin explains it:
"Violence will increase when a group acquires killing technologies it did not evolve. Stable groups that manufacture devices such as firearms must also have evolved the self-restraint not to employ them to maladaptive excess. A group developing the intelligence to invent weapons ahead of sufficiently strong inhibitions against their indiscriminate use will tend to destroy itself. New technologies themselves exert selectional pressure toward ability to control their use. (Whether any population is restrained enough to survive the discovery of atomic reactions is not yet clear.) Therefore, a group that acquires a weapon from another group, rather than having developed it, is less likely to have evolved the appropriate inhibitions."
So even though the press paints a picture of white violence against blacks, the truth is very different:
"Some criminologists use the rule of thumb that a black male is ten times more likely than his white counterpart to be involved in homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The data do not sustain the idea that blacks are arrested more frequently, hence tried and convicted more frequently, because of police bias. Prevalence rates by race in arrests parallel prevalence rates by victim's reports, so do not represent bias in arrests. In a California study, they found no race differences in incarceration rates or sentencing when such variables as number of previous convictions and age of earliest conviction were fixed."
What this leads to is that if blacks are in fact the same as whites in intelligence, proneness to violence, and other behavioral attributes, then there is no diversity in trying to achieve diversity. This is a circular argument. If the only difference is skin color, then it should make little difference if an employer hires a well-tanned Italian over a light-skinned African American. Since they are alike in every way, there really is no diversity if they act just alike. As Levin puts it:
"So it is understandable that diversity advocates generally attribute black virtues to oppression. Blacks are said to make better policemen for the slums because they remember the slums, more scrupulous judges because they have known injustice, more compassionate economic planners because they have known poverty. Apart from a lack of evidence that oppression ennobles, however, this idea contradicts the claim, otherwise insisted on, that oppression produces a poor self-image, a sense of grievance, disdain for authority, erratic work habits, and a readiness for violence. The preference advocate who attributes black virtues to oppression must either say that oppression has actually helped blacks, after all, or that truculent, suspicious individuals improve the workplace. There is one contribution blacks alone are said to be capable of making that does not require special virtues, namely destruction of stereotypes. Since the idea is that seeing more blacks will convince whites of black capabilities, blacks hired to achieve this effect need not be exceptional and in fact, the more like whites they are the better. Even allowing that the destruction of stereotypes is an important good, this argument requires that preferences do have the intended effect. What little research exists on the taboo topic of white attitudes suggests, to the contrary, that whites resent affirmative action blacks. In an attitude survey, Sniderman and Piazza found whites significantly 'more likely to perceive [blacks] as irresponsible and lazy merely in consequence of the issue of affirmative action being brought up'. When whites are asked about blacks in contexts in which affirmative action is not mentioned, the number of negative characterizations decreases. My own experience in the academic world is that the white professorate supports hiring quotas in the abstract, but scorns Black Studies departments and other concrete manifestations."
It is interesting that the very reason that whites have given up so much to try and help blacks is the very nature of their high intelligence and morality. It takes intelligence to see injustice and to understand others not like oneself that would move so many whites to do so much for minorities. Now that very nature is denied and is being turned against those who have been the most benevolent. One only has to look at the Jews, technically also white, but of much higher intelligence on average, and also much more aware of injustice, to see the correlation of intelligence with empathy. The Jews, even though they are by far the most prosperous and intelligent group identified to date by psychometric studies, have been the most liberal. It is ironic now that blacks hate them even more than gentile whites. One has to wonder, has compassion gone so far as to be unjust in itself when the benefactor of charity turns against those wanting to help?
The lack of evidence for the equality of blacks
Levin needs no elaboration or further comments on his forthright listing of the lack of evidence for the equality of blacks:
*. . . not one of the 1500 discoveries listed in Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery (1989) was made by a Negroid people.
* It is often asserted that black schools are poorer than white schools, but, primarily because of special and remedial programs and the need for psychologists and social workers, public schools now spend more per capita on black children than on white.
* As everyone knows but has become reluctant to say, the world as a whole would hardly have noticed had sub-Saharan Africa not existed or never been contacted by Europeans and Asians. No important discovery, invention, or world leader emerged from Africa. The art, music, architecture, literature, and political history of Eurasia owe virtually nothing to Africans. Trade with black Africa (as opposed to European exploitation of the mineral wealth of the African continent) has always been negligible. Afrocentrists point to or, as in Bernal (1991) exaggerate, the contributions of Egypt, but in any event Egyptians were not black (Baker 1974).
* Of the formative works of American literature, only Huckleberry Finn is concerned significantly with race: the topic is scarcely mentioned by Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, Whitman, Dreiser, James, Wharton, Sinclair, Hemingway, Salinger, Heller, or Roth. Few blacks have achieved eminence in areas other than sports, entertainment, the demand for rights, or writing about race itself. Afrocentrists accuse conventional white authorities of inventing these facts. But white historians, who freely acknowledge the attainments of Asians, have no reason to lie about blacks. The truth is that, until recently, most whites gave blacks relatively little thought, and would not have cared enough about blacks one way or the other to invest energy in obscuring their achievements.
* Indeed, evidence mentioned in chapters 3 and 4 suggests that feasible environmental interventions will not significantly raise intelligence, hence are unlikely to shrink the race gap. This failure of special stimulation to boost the lQs of black children further weakens the interaction argument: every new experiment that leaves the race gap intact reduces the likelihood that some gap-reducing environment waits over the horizon.
* Retrospection is crucial when the topic is racial justice. Whether or not there are environments in which the attainments of the races would be equal, if in fact, in the environment(s) in which blacks and whites have actually functioned, the extant race difference in attainment was caused by genetic factors rather than white misdeeds, this difference is not an injury, hence not an injury for which whites are to blame, hence not a condition whites are obliged to remedy. Given that race differences express genetic variation in the environments that have actually existed, how these same genetic factors would respond to other environments is irrelevant to questions of fault, just as, given that I did not steal the sweater from you, it is absurd to argue that you deserve it because it might have been yours. It is absurd to accuse B of cheating A, and give A a share of the prize to make up for it, because A might have run faster. From this perspective, the significance of genetic race differences is what they disprove, namely, every claim denying race differences or attributing them to a racist environment. A genetic explanation of black failure refutes these accusations against whites and undermines the policies premised on them. That is why genetic race differences are anything but "politically neutral."
* The gap in attainment between blacks and whites in Africa is wider than the American racial gap, yet blacks were not enslaved in Africa and colonialism, which began in the 19th century, ended after World War II. Extensive economic investment in black Africa has not been accompanied by economic growth, nor prevented Africa from reverting to pre-technological conditions. Occam's razor, paring away multiple explanations of the economic failure of similar populations, implies that oppression is not a significant cause of the attainment gap in the United States.
* I mentioned earlier the $2 billion spent by the National Science Foundation and NIH since 1972 to stimulate the intellectual development of blacks. By now hundreds of billions have been spent on Head Start. Publications such as Directory of Financial Aid to Minorities and Directory of Special Programs for Minority Group Members list literally thousands of training programs, scholarships, fellowships, internships, and awards reserved for blacks (and, usually, non-European Hispanics, along with women).
* Indeed, American blacks at the end of World War II may usefully be compared to the Germans and Japanese of that period, whose countries lay in ruins under the occupation of foreign powers. Japan had suffered two atomic attacks, a collective psychic trauma (if one believes in such things) as severe as any in black history. Contemporary black father absence is often traced to the disruption of families during slavery; by way of comparison, 25% of the adult male population of Germany had been killed in the war, and hundreds of thousands of German women raped by Russian soldiers. By any measure, Japanese and Germans were worse off than the American black population in 1945. Yet by 1950 Germany had attained its 1936 production level, and within three decades Germany and Japan had become world economic leaders. Family stability is not a problem in either country. It seems plausible to attribute the different trajectories of their three cultures to the traits of Germans, Japanese and blacks. The black/white income ratio stabilized at 57% in the early 1970's, as federal and state income taxes are progressive, blacks may be assumed to pay about 50% in taxes for every dollar whites do. So blacks, at 12% of the population, collectively pay about 6% of the cost of welfare, or roughly $13 billion, for a net annual white-to-black transfer of roughly $75 billion. This is in effect a Marshal Plan for the "inner cities" every three years.
* Thomas argues that the bloodier wars waged by whites show that, far from being less criminal than blacks, whites are "worse." Judgments of value aside, it is pertinent to ask how can blacks be more innately prone to violence when, collectively, Europeans and Asians have been more destructive. The answer is probably the superior technology of Eurasians made possible by their greater intelligence, and a superior capacity to organize into large armies, also an effect of greater intelligence and ability to subordinate the self. Although tribal conflict is endemic to Africa, Africans have been unable to invent weapons of mass destruction or assemble themselves into million-man forces. Greater black criminality requires only that individual blacks be on average more aggressive than individual whites.
* If the races are equally intelligent, it should be possible to find a task intuitively requiring intelligence that blacks perform as well as whites. To insist time after time that black ability is present but hidden by bias is like claiming that someone who apparently knows only English can also speak Pushtu, but never does so because circumstances are never propitious.
* Take this sentence: "The country has watched passively for more than a generation as its urban cores have devoured the people who live there" (Deparle 1992). Its author is treating the place where blacks reside as an entity with causal powers (which, it is implied, whites have negligently failed to restrain). Yet, speaking literally, urban cores devour no-one. When different people lived in those places, there was no "devouring"; blacks there now are being victimized by other predatory blacks. Or consider the oft-heard remark that black children misbehave in school because they "bring the streets with them." Black children don't literally bring pavement into the schoolroom, nor the values taught by pavement. They bring the values of the children who live on those streets; which is to say, their own. The equally familiar diagnosis of black teenage crime and destructiveness as a product of "peer pressure" is also reification, disguising the very phenomenon that needs to be explained-the source of the malign peers, who are, after all, merely other black youths.
* Scholars as well as journalists make similar mistakes. Fischer et al. (1996) propose the vacuous "community conditions" (18) as a way to explain poor black outcomes. Like a great many other writers, they assert that segregation "reduced living standards and housing quality" (180), without explaining how the sheer proportion of black people in a region can effect housing quality unless black people either individually or collectively tend to squalor. Most absurdly, they explain the educational difficulties experienced by blacks in all-black neighborhoods in terms of greater exposure to crime and lower levels of safety (see 196), as if crime were a force independent of blacks themselves.
* "Jobs," "wealth," and "opportunities" are here treated as things that surge through neighborhoods, build roads, and magically produce luxury cars, and that unnamed (but easily identified) forces prevent blacks from "partaking of." This is a muddle. The occupational tasks characteristic of a group are determined by its members' abilities and preferences, and can no more exist apart from it, or be "left behind" when the group leaves, than can the social structure of a wolf pack stay in place when the wolves migrate. Certain abilities allow performance of certain highly valued tasks. When an ability is so widespread that a group comes to rely on its being exercised, and those with the ability come to rely on its exercise being rewarded, the resultant feedback creates an occupational role. The "job" of whittling darts presumably took hold among the Yekuana of South America because enough Yekuana could whittle darts for other Yekuana to hunt monkeys with blowguns, and for each generation of craftsmen to train the next. The Yekuana could "leave" this skill by teaching it to any group that replaces them, should their replacements have sufficiently many craftsmen and a taste for monkey meat. But dart-making does not exist in the jungle apart from the Yekuana, and is not, like a bar of gold, physically transferable. If the Yekuana are replaced by fishermen, they will not have "taken" anything they could have left. It would be absurd for a community of fishermen near the Yekuana to complain that hunting was "surging" through the Amazon Basin but bypassing them. White flight "takes" jobs in the sense that tasks characteristic of whites cease being performed in the absence of whites. There is no reason to expect these tasks to be performed, in light of the differences between black abilities, preferences, and levels of persistence and those of the group that created them. When colonial whites left Africa, the roads they built began to disintegrate in the absence of engineers to maintain them. Detroit fell into similar disrepair when whites left. The reified entity "'Detroit" ceased manufacturing automobiles because too few of the blacks who remained were able or inclined to manufacture cars on their own.
Pathology, morality and evolutionary forces
Many scholars have written about glaciation and its effect on Eurasians, pushing them into separate niches from sub-Saharan Africans, including selection for intelligence. That is, in a climate where storing food and providing shelter is not as important there will not be evolutionary pressures to increase intelligence for use in planning, hunting, storing food for winter, making clothes, etc.
Levin expands this theory to help account for why blacks are so different from whites as well as explaining why they are not in any way pathological or less fit because they are not as moral. Morality has been a favorite subject of behavior geneticists, in that reciprocal altruism must be explained in terms of evolutionary theory because of its persistence in all cultures. Even the Nazis had a highly developed structure of morality, or obedience to the principles of the Aryan family and fitness. They just stopped their concern at the genetic border between Aryans and everyone else, because they had been betrayed by the allies who had imposed on them the unreasonable conditions under the Versailles Treaty, and they felt threatened by the Jewish Bolshevik Communists who they saw as a real threat to their existence. But morality is not good or bad, it is a biological trait that allows humans to be subjugated to the rules of the culture. The morality or indoctrinability of humans is not necessarily a good thing. We may be better off without it but we can't easily change. It is as much a part of us as sex, love and war. And like all traits, some have more of it than others. Levin says:
"What is worrisome is that the irrationality of cooperating [rules of morality] seems to leave cooperation in danger of breaking down the moment people come to their senses. Sociobiology tells us to stop worrying. We can't help being reciprocators--or, more precisely, we are so strongly disposed to reciprocate benefits that we can be depended upon to do so even when game-theoretical reason counsels otherwise."
Levin explains, in a better way than I have heard anyone else put it, that blacks are only pathological in comparison to white norms.[167-87] Since they evolved in an environment that was less demanding of cooperation for group survival, either between sexual partners or hunting parties, they have fewer qualms about a readiness for violence, drug use, reliance on public assistance, illegitimacy, lack of ambition, etc. It is not that one race has a trait and another is without it, but that different races or breeds of people naturally have higher levels of some genes than others if they evolved in a different environment. This is a basic principle of evolution. Finally, they are also not less fit because of their behavior. Quite the contrary, as a group they have a higher fertility rate than whites or Asians in America, making their behavior in terms of evolutionary success more fit than others. They will eventually become the majority, and do it without contributing any wealth themselves to society, but rather by living off the rest of society. That is, it is only because of the genetic propensity towards benevolence and caring of the white majority for the underclass of any race that this strategy is a success. It would not be effective in Africa, where everyone would be trying to get a free ride. There would be no wealth to redistribute. Parasitical black behavior requires a cooperative host. Levin states:
" Moreover, it is hard to see how black fertility could be higher if illegitimacy, drug use, and crime were lower. Thirty-three percent of all black children (and their mothers) are now supported almost entirely by the resources of genetically unrelated whites in the form of public assistance, rather than by their biological parents. Black success at inducing whites to divert resources from their own children to the children of unrelated blacks is successful exploitation of the environment rarely matched in nature."
One of the reasons that the willingness of whites to continue supporting black failure while getting nothing in return is coming to an end is because whites are starting to realize that this caring is not appreciated. As Levin puts it:
"This caricatures the 'moral principles' of 'other Americans.' White mothers believe their first obligation is to care for their children through their own efforts and those of their husbands. White norms forbid a woman to have children until she has married a man able to support them. Whites find public assistance shameful. The average white would not be comfortable buying her children 'occasional treats' with someone else's money, let alone feel entitled to, and would regard it as profoundly wrong to break rules she has agreed to obey to get money taken from others by a third party. This difference in attitudes probably illustrates the interaction of motivational and cognitive factors in morality. One reason an unmarried 17-year-old black mother whose IQ is 80 does not worry about the ethics of welfare is that she cannot comprehend where her welfare check comes from or the workings of the political system that provides it."
This is where whites must take a stand and say no more. Charity must as a minimum be appreciated by the one receiving the benefits in order to sustain it. It is finally being exposed that blacks either are incapable of understanding how they get aid from whites or choose not to give any credit to whites for the benefits they have received. This is a form of racism at its cruelest, as Levin explains:
" The belief that blacks steal and break promises more frequently than whites is a claim of fact which is not racist if true and believed on the basis of evidence. Should honesty and reliability be white criteria of personal moral stature, the claim that blacks are morally inferior to whites becomes operationalized, empirical and, if supported by the evidence, not racist. Many people say blacks cannot be 'racist,' no matter how strident their demands or their vilification of whites. The oddity is that this proposition is intuitively correct: 'black racism' seems oxymoronic. Yet if demands for special treatment on the basis of one's own race and phillipics against other races do not count as racism, what does? The usual explanation for this double standard, that whites have the power, is unconvincing. None of the definitions of 'racism' reviewed in chapter 5--belief in biological differences, belief in racial superiority, race--based judgment of individuals-include the ability to enforce one's views. To exist, says Hacker, racism must have 'an impact on the real world', which not only implies that Hitler was not anti-Semitic until he became chancellor, but is circular. An idea cannot include its enforcement, since there is then no way to specify what idea is to be enforced. (Even Hacker admits problems here.) It is also doubtful that running through people's minds is the idea that, since whites have power, all white criticism of blacks must be driven by the bad (hence 'racist') desire to oppress, whereas all black criticism of whites is driven by a benign desire for equality. Many black tirades are far from benign."
Jews, according to MacDonald (see bibliography) have a highly evolved morality as well as intelligence, thanks to their own peculiar and successful evolutionary strategy. It has also been apparent that they have been at the forefront of the civil rights movement, sacrificing more than any other group to help blacks. And yet I have never heard or read of any black who has come forward with a special thanks for the Jewish participation. I think this is an example of one group of people with an innateness towards morality giving to another group that is lacking in it, and both groups unable to do otherwise. Blacks heap abuse after abuse upon Jews, and yet Jews continue to support, defend, champion and give of themselves to help blacks.
Arguments against integration and the cost to whites
Levin's conflation of philosophy and science are at there best when he points out the flaws in other scholar's logic; it is pure entertainment. For example:
"Hacker suggests that blacks would be happier being educated away from whites, although he would surely denounce the idea that white children would be happier away from blacks who cannot speak grammatically, sit still, or keep to the point." [And later.] "The desire of white children (and their parents) for orderly, stimulating classrooms is personal; the evidence that black children are on average less intelligent than white children is overwhelming, and there is considerable evidence that black children are more disruptive, especially in integrated settings. The scanty data that exists from the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study suggests that close association with black children may affect white children in undesirable ways. Although Coleman et al. do not emphasize this fact, they found the academic achievement of whites (as well as blacks) to vary inversely with the proportion of blacks in their schools. One might also wonder about the effect on white children's self-esteem of knowing they must attend school with less able, more disruptive black children for the good of the blacks, not their own. As school integration appears not to benefit blacks, a utilitarian argument for school segregation from Dworkin's standpoint would be sound. A second utilitarian argument sound from Dworkin's standpoint concerns rape: black males rape almost as many white females as black females, and rape white females at twice the rate white males do. Given the limited opportunities for unplanned interracial contact allowed by residence patterns, a preference on the part of black rapists for white victims seems indicated. If keeping black men away from white women promised to reduce the victimization of white women without increasing the victimization of black women, the assuredly personal preference of white women for avoiding rape would justify shielding them from black men."
And finally, in a brilliant explanation of the golden rule, he explains what seems to me to be a very solid argument for freedom of association:
"Declining to live or deal with members of any race is an exercise of freedom of association permitted by the golden rule. It is easy to imagine a world in which everyone associates and deals with just those individuals he wishes to deal with and who wish to deal with him. The reader probably does not want undesired associations forced on him, so as a Kantian he should have second thoughts about forcing associations on others. Actually, the golden rule plays a double role in the argument: it is the principle that permits whites to decline to deal with blacks, and the factor--the race difference in Kantianism--that explains the wish to decline. Let us take up these issues in order. 'Racial discrimination' carries a bad aroma, in part, because of failure to distinguish its two different forms. There is aggressive, positive discrimination, or persecution and non aggressive, noninvasive, negative discrimination. Aggressive discriminators seek to harm individuals because of their race. Beating a man because he is black and mugging a woman because she is white discriminate aggressively. By ordinary standards such actions are wrong, some so wrong that others may prevent them by force. (There are no enforcible rights against more trivial forms of aggressive discrimination--maliciously breaking appointments with blacks to inconvenience them, for instance.) However, it is not necessary to reach their discriminatory character to criticize or criminalize them: that they are acts of aggression suffices. It is wrong to assault or break promises to blacks because assault and deceit are wrong. (It might be thought that racial motives make an assault worse because they imply a willingness to repeat; but the badness of a series of acts derives from the badness of the acts in the series, leaving us again with individual race-based assaults themselves no worse than any other assault.) Negative discrimination, on the other hand, is the race-based refusal to bestow benefits. Refusing to hire a black, sell him a house, or cooperate with him in any other way because of his race discriminates negatively. The difference is that positive discriminators generally initiate interaction and leave their victim worse off than he was--they harm him--whereas negative discriminators are virtually always responding to an invitation to deal, and, more important, leave their 'victim' no worse off than he was before interaction. You cannot refuse to hire a black or anyone else unless he volunteers to be your employee, and a black refused a job because of his race is no worse off than he was before he presented himself. He lacked a job initially, and he lacks a job at the end. The whole notion of 'victims' of negative discrimination is confused. It is not as if anyone minding his own business can be zapped out of the blue by it; you cannot be rebuffed because of your race unless you first ask a landlord, firm, or bank for an apartment, job, or loan, and you can hardly claim to have been victimized if your subsequent position is unchanged. Negative discrimination is consistent with the golden rule, which lets people do what they want so long as their doing it prevents no one else from doing likewise. Universalizable liberties such as free association can be exercised capriciously, but negative racial discrimination need not be capricious. In chapter 7 the race difference in temperament was epitomized as a difference in Kantianism, among whites the central criterion of personal worth. In nonracial contexts, likelihood of low Kantianism is an excellent reason for refusal to deal, as when a landlord declines to rent to someone he believes will damage his property. Also, in nonracial contexts, inferences about Kantianism drawn from statistics are also reasonable. A landlord who knows only that a would-be lessor belongs to a motorcycle gang may refuse to rent, or ask a higher rent, because of what he knows of the character of typical motorcycle gang members. In consistency, permitting negative discrimination against some groups membership in which predicts low Kantianism permits negative discrimination against any such group."
I hope this review of Why Race Matters does the book justice. It is in my
estimation the best book I have read to date explaining why racial
investigations into differences was foisted upon whites who had no choice but to
defend themselves. If affirmative action and racial shakedowns were not
occurring on a daily basis, with an increase in white-male bashing, a defense
would be unnecessary. In addition, this book is an excellent summary of both the
genetic and philosophical arguments in defense of white and Asian culture.