By now you’ve heard that a right-wing scholar by the name of Jason Richwine has resigned from the Heritage Foundation as a result of his previous work on race and IQ. Richwine produced a paper on the costs of immigration, which brought him into the public eye and led some to check his credentials. This inevitably led to the discovery of his Harvard dissertation on low IQ in latinos.
Some folks on the right, including the inevitable Andrew Sullivan, weigh in. They speak as if this in unplumbed territory that is being carefully guarded by political correctness and leftist thought police. I think the best response comes from Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Dark Art of Racecraft“:
It is almost as though the “dark arts of race and IQ” were an untapped field of potential knowledge, not one of the most discredited fields of study in modern history. We should first be clear that there is nothing mysterious or forbidden about purporting to study race and intelligence. Indeed, despite an inability to define “race” or “intelligence,” such studies are one of the dominant intellectual strains in Western history. We forget this because its convient to believe that history begins with the Watts riots. But it’s important to remember the particular tradition that Charles Murray and Jason Richwine are working in.
Coates shows off the advantages of the blog format by blockquoting selections from previous racial scientists like Lothrop Stoddard. Coates points out that their success rate with predictions is on par with Christian apocalyptics:
One might oppose the Stoddard tradition strictly on its tendency to birth suffering, misery, and catastrophe. But one can oppose it for simpler reasons — its practitioners have a nasty habit of being wrong.
Just as an aside, it’s amusing that this should all happen just as The Great Gatsby is coming out it theaters.
“Civilization’s going to pieces,’ broke out Tom violently. ‘I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard?’
“Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be — will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientiic stuff; it’s been proved.”
“Tom’s getting very profound,” said Daisy, with an expression of unthoughtful sadness. “He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we ——””
“Goddard” is probably a reference to Stoddard, possibly by joining it with Madison Grant, another eugenicist.