Monthly Archives: November 2010

Why have East Asians not dominated?

Why have Asians not dominated?

 Why have Asians not dominated human cultural evolution? How can it be that the racial group which has the highest average IQ is not that which has reached, to date, the greatest cultural achievement, wealth and power?

Before I answer that question, let me debunk some of the Western myths about China so that we start from the proper historical and cultural place when assessing Asian achievement and development. (The Asian population is of course more than China, but China by population represents most Asians and Asians at their most culturally advanced throughout history until perhaps the last century, since when Japan has arguably taken the lead).

Insofar as people in the West think about China’s place in history – and most do not think about it at all – they normally believe that China has long been a unified state sharing a single  culture and  a single language with a continuous history stretching back thousands of years (thus making it unique) and that it was always culturally and technologically in advance of the West until relatively recently, the “relatively recently” being anything from 1500 to as late as 1800 AD depending on which authority you choose to follow. Joseph Needham in his monumental Science and Civilisation in China is the prime example of someone propagating this myth.

The reality is that the history of China has been as politically messy and fractured as that of Europe, arguably more so because their territory is larger and their population throughout history has been substantially greater than that of Europe. The country was not even nominally unified until the third century BC – under the short lived Chhin dynasty (221-207 BC) and has spent more than half of the time since being split between competing dynasties, for example, the Northern and Southern Sung 960-1126, times of general warlordism (5/6th centuries AD) or subject to foreign invaders such as the Mongols (1279-1368) and the Manchu (1644-1912). Moreover, even at times of supposed unification the actual amount of control exercised by Emperors was necessarily small compared with that achieved by the modern industrialised state because the means to govern vast territories and large populations was minute in the past compared with our own day. China is also so far from being a single racial/ethnic entity that today it contains within its borders approximately 100 million people who are in modern Western terms ethnic minorities.

As for the supposed cultural unity, the spoken language is very far from being a single tongue understood throughout China. The division between Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese is reasonably well known in the West, but the fracturing of Chinese goes far beyond that. For example, the erstwhile Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping spoke with such a heavy accent and dialect that his daughter had to translate for him when he spoke in public. Nor is the written language a single language similarly understood by all literate Chinese – different characters are used in different parts of the country and the same character may have different nuances depending on the origins of the reader.

In short, it makes no more sense to speak of China as a continuous state or single civilisation than it does to speak of Europe as a continuous state or single civilisation.

Nor is it true that there is a special antiquity to Chinese civilisation. In matters such as writing and the use of metals, the Chinese were at best no earlier than the civilisations of the Middle East and Mediterranean, and arguably behind them, especially in writing.

The claim that the Chinese were throughout history more culturally advanced than Europe until fairly recently is especially weak. It is only necessary to reflect on the archaeological and historical evidence of the cultural achievements of the Egyptians, those in the Fertile Crescent (Assyria, Babylon), the Cretans, Mycenaeans and the immense achievements of ancient Greece and Rome to realise that the China of antiquity was not superior in terms of their physical control of the world. To take one striking example, few Chinese buildings pre-dating the Ming era (1368-1644) are extant; most buildings, including those of the great, before that date being of timber. Compare that with the great stone buildings of the European and Mediterranean ancient world, the magnificent castles, abbeys, cathedrals and churches of the European mediaeval world and the amazing architectural diversity of the European modern period.

Of course, it is very easy to cherry pick particular material accomplishments at particular times and places, but fail to place them in their general historical context by posing questions such was an invention followed through and did it become generally used? Such a failure gives a wholly unbalanced picture of the relative merits of cultures. It is true that before the modern period (say 1500 AD)the Chinese can be shown to have had certain inventions before Europe but the opposite also applies, for example, the Chinese had the compass before Europe, but Europe boast priority with the Archimedean screw.

Even where China produced an invention before Europe and then Europe introduced it at a later date, it does not follow that Europe copied that invention from China or the experience of using the invention was the same in Europe as in China. The classic example of this is printing with moveable type. China and Korea had moveable type many centuries before Gutenberg printed his great Bible in the 15th century, but there is no evidence that Gutenberg was influenced in any way by the far Eastern example. Discrete invention of the same thing or process in different cultures is common. Not only that, whereas moveable type printing never gained widespread use in China it very rapidly became the norm in Europe, most probably because written European languages are  based on an alphabetical system with a few characters  while written Chinese is an ideographic language with thousands  of ideograms, each of which requires a single block of type. Since 1700 at the latest, European technology has utterly dwarfed the achievements of the Chinese.

There is of course far more to civilisation than its material consequences. The intellectual and social science, philosophy, art, political structure and so on. Here China also falls well short of Europe.

China never managed to develop anything worthy of the name of science. Throughout their history the Chinese have been very inventive when it comes to producing artefacts and practical solutions to particular problems but have displayed a remarkable lack of interest in developing theory from those practical solutions to provide general explanations of the world.

It is also noteworthy that although the Chinese produced many important inventions such as gunpowder, they commonly failed to exploit them either at all or to develop them substantially. When Europeans began to make regular contact with China in the seventeenth century the guns of the Europeans were much superior to those of the Chinese despite the latter having invented gunpowder. Looking at the frequent failures to develop inventions, the suspicion arises that often an invention was produced to amuse or serve the interests of a powerful person rather than with the idea of making it a commercial proposition or from a simple interest in the challenge of making it and subsequently understanding how it could be improved. Lord McCartney, who headed the first official British diplomatic mission to China in 1793/4 noted  “Most of the things the Chinese know they seem to have invented themselves, to have applied them solely to the purpose wanted, and to never have thought of improving or extending them further”  (A Journal of the embassy to China (Folio Society), while Adam Smith commented in the latter half of the 18th century that “China has been long one of the richest, that is, one of the most fertile, best cultivated, most industrious and most populous countries in the world. It seems, however, to have long been stationary. Marco Polo, who visited it more than five hundred years ago, describes its cultivation, industry and populousness , almost in the same terms in which they are described by travellers in the present times”. (The Wealth of Nations Penguin edition p 174.)

Philosophy as we would understand it in the West, that is, analytical thought examining the nature of reality with, in theory at least, an absence of ideological baggage clouding the issue, is virtually  missing from Chinese history. Traditional Chinese philosophy never divorced itself entirely from religion and was predominantly concerned with how society should be ordered. Its primary purpose was social control. It is more a series of maxims than an exercise in philosophical enquiry. The let-everything-be-challenged method found intermittently in Western philosophy from at least the sixth century BC onwards appears foreign to the Chinese mind. Interestingly, they were great compilers of what we would call encyclopaedias. They delighted in recording what was already known or thought, rather than investigating what was not known or might be thought.

A similar resistance to change can be seen in Chinese art and fashion. Look at contemporary depictions of Chinese and the dress of a Chinese in 1000 AD is much the same as the dress of a Chinese in 1800. Chinese art shows a similar stability over the same period, being for the most part heavily constrained by artistic conventions. Where there is a deviation from such academic artistic discipline it is mainly found in periods where foreign invaders gained power, most noticeably under the Mongol emperors who imported craftsmen and artists from here, there and everywhere. Looking at Chinese fashions and art over time is similar to viewing Egyptian artefacts which show a remarkable stability over several thousand years. This is the direct antithesis of the general European cultural experience which consistently shows change in fashion and art.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the Chinese is their political and social development. Politically, the Chinese never really moved beyond the rather primitive state of believing in an absolute ruler who was a god or a man directly in touch with gods and warlordism. There were attempts to introduce more rational and less absolute forms of government, but these were invariably short lived. Ideologies such as Confucianism attempted to lay down moral rules for rulers, but that was about the limit of any sustained attempt to restrain emperors with anything short of violence. Ideas of constitutions restricting what government may do, representative government or direct democracy were simply alien to Chinese society.

State administration is often lauded as an area of great Chinese superiority, with the Mandarin system put forward as evidence of this, appointment by examination having begun as early as the 7th century AD. But was it really superior to that of the Roman Empire, which pre-dated it by centuries, or more impressive than that of the Catholic Church at the height of its power? Arguably, the Mandarin system was primarily an expression of the general trait of Chinese society to control and categorise rather than a system designed to meet a particular need, as opposed to the administrations of Europe which developed to serve needs such as the management of money.

Below formal government it is difficult to discern in Chinese history anything which could be described as civil society, those organisations and relationships which perform a civic social function but which are not part of the formal political structure, for example, charities, clubs, the co-operative movement and trade unions. Chinese life has traditionally revolved around the family – including a strong dose of ancestor worship – with any social organisation beyond that being the province of those in authority. There is nothing which resembles the corporate charitable concern for the poor found within the Catholic Church let alone a formal legal obligation such as the English Poor Law of 1601.

A society which leaves the vast majority of a society in abject penury and small elite with immense wealth is a primitive form of social organisation. It is a form known since the beginning of history unlike the settled societies which have spread wealth more evenly, which are all of more recent growth. Left to its own devices Chinese society never went beyond the great disparity of wealth state. When Europeans began to gain first hand experience of China from the seventeenth century onwards a common observation was the tremendous disparity of wealth. Here is Adam Smith again: “The poverty of the lower ranks of people in China far surpasses that of the most beggarly nations in Europe” (The Wealth of Nations p174), but “the rich, having a superabundance of food to dispose of beyond what they can themselves consume, have the means of purchasing the labour of other people. The retinue of a grandee in China or Indostan accordingly is, by all accounts, much more numerous and splendid than the richest subjects in Europe” (The Wealth of Nations p310).

This brief de-bunking of the myth of Chinese cultural superiority carries within it suggestions of why Asians have not achieved cultural supremacy, despite their superior IQ distribution. IQ is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for cultural advance. What is missing from the Asian mentality to have hindered their advance? Could it simply be that a combination of sufficiently propitious circumstances have never arisen to drive them beyond a certain point, that Europe surged ahead simply by luck rather than any innate difference? This would seem to be most unlikely because of the length of time during which China has been a sophisticated society with substantial technological and organisational achievements.

Why did China never make the jump from by-guess-and-by-God technology to true science? Why did China show so little interest in analytical philosophy? Why did China never develop a political system more sophisticated than that of the god-Emperor when Europeans ran through just about every form of political organisations there is in the past 2,500 years, most of them before the birth of Christ? Why was the idea of political participation, so widespread in Europe in both the ancient and the late mediaeval world, absent in China? Why was there an absence of civil society in China? These differences would seem to be more than culturally determined, to be the cultural expressions of innate tendencies in behaviour.

IQ is far from being the only measurable innate difference between races (insofar as IQ is innate). J Philippe Ruston in Race, Evolution and Behaviour lists several dozen race-dependent variables under the headings of Brain size, Intelligence, Maturation rate, Personality, Social organisation and Reproductive effort. Under Personality are listed the following: activity level, aggressiveness, cautiousness, dominance, impulsivity, self-concept, sociability. On all of these except cautiousness blacks score higher than whites who in turn score higher than Asians. With cautiousness the position is reversed with blacks scoring lower than whites who score lower than Asians. It is not unreasonable to interpret these differences as the Asian personality being less enquiring or adventurous than that of whites, less sociable and more submissive.

The ascending ranking of black-white-Asian is steady throughout almost all the variables described by Ruston – the odd men out are administrative efficiency and  cultural achievement which Rushton ranks as simply “higher” for both whites and Asians than for blacks. Arguably, those are the two variables most open to subjectivity and, judged by the entire sweep of human history; it would seem to be stretching a point to put whites and Asians on the same level in these two areas. As previously mentioned whites managed an industrial revolution from scratch, created modern science, developed analytical philosophy and very early on evolved many varied forms of political life, including direct democracy. Before European examples were put before those, Asians never advanced much beyond by-guess-and-by-God technology, had nothing moderns would describe as science, possessed no analytical philosophy and did not develop a political system more sophisticated than that of the absolute monarch.

When they are a minority in high IQ societies Asians tend to fill technical posts – which favour higher IQs – or engage in business, much of which is conducted within their own racial group. They make surprisingly little headway in areas which require the highest level “people skills”, such as formal politics or interest groups. Whether they as a minority live in high or low IQ societies Asians display an extremely strong tendency to keep within their own communities, but unlike many other minority groups they generally do not engage in much overt antisocial behaviour – their crime tends to be directed at other members of the racial group – and display little overt ethnic aggression such as portraying themselves as victims of racism or by demanding racially based privileges for their group. This behaviour also fits the Asian personality template described above.

There is a further consideration. IQ is not of a piece. Although Asian IQ is higher than white IQ overall, it is not higher in all respects. Asians score substantially higher than whites on non-verbal tests but are significantly inferior to whites on verbal tests. They score particularly strongly on spatial tests. These differences in the quality of racial IQs fit neatly into the differences listed by Ruston and to work such as Freedman’s. The inferior verbal ability of Asians fits with the idea of reduced sociability. The greater aptitude on non-verbal tests could be plausibly be interpreted as meaning that the Asian mind is adapted to solving what I would call bounded problems, that is, problems which have objective boundaries such as how do we build this canal? rather than problems without such boundaries such as what is the good? and what is art?

The limitations of the Chinese intellect can be seen in their adherence to an ideographic form of writing. If one set a genius and a dullard the task of developing a system of writing, the genius would come up with an alphabetical system and the dullard some form of pictorial representation. The genius would produce the alphabetical system because he would see beyond the obvious and immediate and eschew the literal representation of a thing or idea, while the dullard would see only the obvious and immediate way of representing a thing or idea. The genius would go for the less obvious for he would see that it was both more economical and powerful a means of representation because it required only a small number of signs to express infinity of things and ideas. The dullard would merely see a need to keep on adding to the number of signs.

Of course the Chinese went far beyond crude pictograms which each literally depicted something, but by retaining  a pictorial system in which each thing or idea had to be represented by a particular sign or group of signs they retained the problems associated with a non-alphabetical system, namely its lack of economy and flexibility, there being several thousand characters associated with  written Chinese. The sheer number of characters makes the learning of written Chinese a monumental task, especially for those learning the written language as an adult. Many, probably the large majority, of foreigners who speak Chinese cannot read and/or write it. Nor is this purely a non-Asian trait. When the Chinese communists attempted to create a literate China in the 1950s they found that many pupils simply were not up to the task – there was a spate of suicides at the time amongst those being forced to learn to read and write Chinese. The Chinese met this difficulty by introducing a system of 1,000 simplified characters and a 25 letter Roman alphabet was introduced into Chinese primary schools in 1957 to help with pronunciation.

Why did the major representatives of the group with the highest IQ not only start down the dullard’s path with a written language but continues on that path today despite its very obvious disadvantages? Perhaps the answer lies in their IQ and other psychometrically measurable traits. If Asians have minds which are orientated toward the visual, perhaps it is natural to prefer a pictorial system of writing. Nonetheless it is strange that such an obviously cumbersome system should have been retained for so long by the Chinese – the racially similar Koreans adopted an alphabetical system of writing in the 15th Century. Of course, literacy in China was very restricted and it may have been retained simply because it was the system known to the elite (who were its prime users) and cultural inertia became the controlling force. It also had the advantage for the elite of naturally restricting literacy, because of the considerable mental demands the written language makes on the individual when they are learning it. However, such an advantage in the past is a positive disadvantage today and has been since the Chinese first had to compete with modern advanced societies.

We have the experience of more than a century of industrialisation and Westernisation in Japan and several generations of such behaviour in South Korea and Taiwan. China has gone down the industrialising road intermittently for over a century and full-bloodedly for the past quarter century. These societies have had the example of the white experience of industrialisation, science and general cultural heritage before them. Despite this and whatever their economic success, and that is patchy vide Japan‘s post-1980s stagnation and the oceanic gulf between coastal city China and the vast Chinese interior, compared with white societies there has been in Asian societies since their opening up to the West remarkably little evidence of fundamental scientific discovery or technological innovation which goes beyond the adaptation of what has been invented or discovered elsewhere. Nor, despite the very large numbers of Asians living in advanced white majority societies, can one find front-rank scientists or technologists in proportion to their proportion to the population, a surprising fact when Asian academic achievement and business involvement is on average higher than that of whites (anyone who doubts Asian under-representation in this area should try identifying Asians living in white majority societies who fit the description of front-rank scientists and technologists).

The willingness to imitate white societies extends to culture. The Japanese in particular are famous for aping both high and low white culture, from Beethoven to the Beatles. Asian Harry Potter fans are amongst the most frenzied in the world. The architecture of whites is copied enthusiastically and extensively and is accompanied by a widespread willingness to destroy indigenous architecture, the white concern for giving a special value to the old and preserving being weak in Asian majority societies. An equivalent mass response to Asian culture simply does not exist in white societies – the most that can be found are periodic outbreaks of the use of oriental art and motifs by white designers. This willingness to imitate might seem odd in view of the traditionally static cultural nature of Asian societies. It might be ascribed to the feelings of inferiority which Asian societies felt when faced with the power of industrialised societies and at least in China’s case, a sense of humiliation because of past white quasi-colonial involvement in China. If this explanation is believed Asians copy white behaviour because they are proving to themselves that they are not inferior to white society by emulating what white societies have achieved. However, that shows a strange lack of ambition. Why not aspire to do something beyond what whites have done? (Many Chinese would say they are industrialising and modernising generally now simply because they were held back in the past by white control and manipulation of their societies, but difficult that is to fit with the facts that foreign influence over China effectively ended in 1949 and their general failure to advance before Western meddling began in the 19th century).

An alternative explanation is that Asians imitate so readily because it is natural for them to do so because their general personality traits lead them to do it. Or rather, it is natural for them to imitate in certain aspects of life but not others. Where Asians do not show such an appetite for imitation is in social structures. The Japanese and South Koreans may have formally adopted systems of elective government from white examples, but within these the traditional social relations remain – practices are accepted which in the West would be considered straight forward bribery of voters or undue influence over them, for example “clan” loyalties. Or take the rule of law. In Japan, supposedly the most Westernised of Asian societies, hardly anyone who is brought to trial for a criminal offence is acquitted, a nonsense for any meaningful system of justice As for China, uniquely amongst Communist countries, the Communist elite have managed to retain control whilst allowing capitalism but eschewing democratisation or the idea of the law being above manipulation by the state.

Why do Asians imitate in some ways but not others? I suspect that the answer rests on what is the elite view of society. Traditionally, the Chinese elite were always contemptuous of other peoples, routinely treating them as subordinate peoples who owed tribute to the Emperor (Lord Macartney‘s. gifts to the Emperor in 1794 were described as tribute). Macartney, who visited China before white interference in the country, constantly referred to the fact that the Chinese had what we would now describe as a monstrous superiority complex and that when presented with products of the early Industrial Revolution, the equivalent of which were unknown in China, they frequently refused to show any overt interest in them. Macartney left China having failed to gain what he had been charged with obtaining, namely, the right of British merchants to trade in China.

A similar refusal to engage with white societies can be found in Japan, which after some experience of white merchants and priests took the dramatic step of sealing off Japan from all but the most limited European contact for three centuries until the American Commodore Perry forced trade with the white world upon them in 1853.

Once Japan had engagement with the West forced upon them a new elite ideology emerged which saw imitation of certain aspects of white society as the way to compete with those societies. This new elite ideology was accepted by the mass of their population with astonishing readiness bearing in mind the previous refusal to engage with outsiders (there was even a proposal in the 1870s for English to replace Japanese as the language of Japan.) Why did this happen?  Most probably because the general personality profile of Asians makes them unusually susceptible to authority. Imitation of white social relationships did not occur so readily because such relationships are themselves the product of innate personality traits. (It is worth bearing in mind that Japan decided to modernise without being quasi-colonised in the fashion of China.)

In summary, despite their higher average IQ, Asians have probably failed to become the culturally dominant race because their innate personality traits work against them. They are too passive, too unquestioning, too lacking in initiative. The shape of their IQ with higher non-verbal scores and lower verbal scores may be wholly or partially the cause of these personality traits or, conversely, the shape of the IQ is simply an expression of the personality traits. Other biological traits such as low testosterone levels may also promote such behaviour.

How the IQ level of a society rises

 How natural selection works on the mind is still uncertain, but if the attributes of mind are substantially genetically determined then they must be subject to natural selection. If this is the case then natural selection would favour differences in mentality which are suited to particular environments.

The mechanics of a rising average IQ would seem to be simple. If IQ is genetically determined, in part or whole, it will be subjected to natural selection. If a higher IQ is advantageous in an environment it will be preferentially selected. That will result in an increase in the average IQ within the group. From that increase will arise the possibility, but not the necessity, of more complex social arrangements. If such arrangements occur, natural selection will favour ever more strongly the high IQ which in turn will provide the opportunity for a yet more complex society. And so on ad infinitum or at least to the limits of what can be achieved within homo sapiens. (Of course, it may become possible for Man to go beyond what natural selection can achieve by means such as cybernetics or genetic engineering.)

The ability of a racial group to naturally evolve into  more sophisticated societies is not a certain or rapid thing. The vast periods of time in which, from the palaeontological and archaeological evidence we have, little social change appears to have occurred are testimony to that. More certainly we know that throughout historical times different human populations have lived in very different stages of social evolution. Even today we see people living around the world in every social state from hunter-gatherer to the most sophisticated form of the modern industrialised society.

What we are talking about is the potential to evolve socially. This potential may lay untapped for tens of thousands of years, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, because the point is not reached where an increase in average group IQ coincides with an environment favourable to utilise the potential of the increased average group IQ.

Social evolution could also be delayed if the move from a simpler to a more complex society requires a certain average group IQ to be reached, a critical mass if you will. For example, imagine that a group of hunter-gatherers starts with an average IQ of 50 and this gradually rises. Imagine further that to become a settled community indulging in farming requires and average IQ of 70. Of course, such radical cultural change is unlikely to ever have been so brutally direct or mechanical for any hunter-gather group will have moved by degrees from hunter-gathering to farming, but the general principle holds good.

It is noticeable that the major racial groups have reached different degrees of social evolution. It is not that any single racial group has reached a uniform level of social evolution, rather that the different racial groups seem to have an upper limit to the level of general social and cultural evolution each can achieve. For example, no black society created a system of writing as far as is known and nowhere outside of Europe did forms of government which went beyond monarchical autocracy evolve naturally – countries outside Europe have of course mimicked, at least in form if often not in content, non-autocratic systems after contact with Europeans.

Another way of judging whether racial type places limits to social evolution is to look at how the various major racial groups have responded to the example of more sophisticated societies. Whites in Europe and their descendents abroad have shown a general ability to imitate the leaders in social evolution, whether that be Rome and Greece in the ancient world, Italy in the Renaissance or Britain during the Industrial Revolution. Asians have shown themselves capable of rapidly copying the white example in some respects at least, most notably by industrialising. Blacks are the odd man out. Nowhere is there a black majority society which has managed to modernise by its own efforts. Indeed, it is not possible to find a black majority society of any size which has been capable of modernising successfully even with a great deal of outside support from the First World.

High status/high IQ jobs

Some jobs by their nature require a strong IQ, for example, you will not find people with low IQs working as physicists or mathematicians. Anyone who has to master a complex technical job such as flying an airliner will have a healthy IQ.

But not all high status jobs require the mastery of a particular skill or ability that can be objectively measured and there is good circumstantial evidence that in many high status jobs an individual can get by with only a mediocre IQ. It is also true that job status is strongly class-dependent. Some jobs which are considered to have relatively low status in the context of a society as a whole because they are mostly done by those drawn from the lower social levels may require a strong IQ, for example, the skilled mechanic, the rank-and-file police detective.

Jobs also have status within their social stratum. The skilled mechanic will enjoy high status within the working class; a brain surgeon will trump a bank manager in middle class circles. A few occupations are beyond class, for example, those who exercise serious political power or, in our celebrity obsessed world, the likes of film stars.

The status of a job and of a person’s position within a work hierarchy can play an important part in disguising incompetence, as can political ideology. The Bell Curve identified an interesting trait in US society: blacks and Latinos are over represented in reputedly high status jobs such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, the over-representation plausibly being the consequence of an ideologically driven policy, namely, “positive” discrimination: —

“We have obtained SAT data on classes entering twenty-six of the nation’s top colleges and universities. In 1975, most of the nation’s elite private colleges and universities formed the Consortium on financing Higher Education (COHFHE, which amongst other things, compiles and shares information on the students at member institutions, including SAT scores. We have obtained these data for the classes entering in 1991 and 1992… In addition, the figure includes data on the University of Virginia and the University of California at Berkeley in 1988.” (The Bell Curve p451).

“The difference between black and white scores was less than 100 points at only one school, Harvard. It exceeded 200 points at nine schools, reaching its highest at Berkeley (288 points). Overall, the media difference between the black and white mean was 180 SAT points, or conservatively estimated, about 1.3 standard deviations.” (The Bell Curve p451)

For US graduate schools Murray and Herrstein found that in Law school only 7 per cent of blacks had scores above the white mean. The figures for medical schools were similar to those of the Law schools, while the arts and sciences were slightly stronger. (The Bell Curve pp455-8).

As for teachers, affirmative action in the workplace Teacher competency exams showed whites passing at twice the rate of blacks in three of the four states cited – California, New York and Georgia – with Pennsylvania the odd man out with a white/black pass rate of 93/68. (The Bell Curve P494)

It is difficult to conclude anything other than that the intellectual quality of blacks working in medicine, law and education is on average substantially less than those of whites and Asians and that this inferiority will manifest itself in a reduced ability of blacks to do the job. However, many blacks manifestly do survive in such jobs. How do they do it? The answer is a mixture of the subjective nature of the subjects (even the law allows many interpretations), status and political correctness.

Take the case of medicine. It is far from being an exact science. Consequently, many mistakes remain hidden because an error can be explained away as being a reasonable opinion which just happened to be wrong, misdiagnosis would be the classic example of this behaviour.

To this “get out of jail free card” can be added the natural respect that a doctor carries for most people, including other medical staff, the ignorance of the general public on medical matters and a very strong reluctance on the part of medical staff to make a complaint about other medical staff. All this makes people generally reluctant to question a doctor’s behaviour. Where the doctor is from a group which is protected by political correctness these natural barriers become amplified.

The power of all these traits can be seen from the frequent cases of unqualified people successfully impersonating doctors for long periods of time. There have even been a few cases of people successfully impersonating surgeons for years.

But there is another reason why those with low to mediocre IQs get away with being doctors: medicine is not the most intellectually demanding profession (it used to be known as the stupid profession). To be medically competent a doctor needs a powerful memory – to master the very large amount of information presented to him during training and ongoing post-training experience – and personality traits which allow him to both judge patients and be able to inspire trust and confidence in them. What it does not require most of the time is very high level problem solving.

Despite the limited intellectual demands of medicine it is accounted a high IQ profession nowadays, at least by implication, and the academic entry requirements for medical school grow ever more stringent. Why?  There is great competition to enter the profession because it has high status and pays well. This means that higher IQ candidates for medical school will, other things being equal, be preferred to those with lower IQs. In short, medicine today is probably burdened with higher IQ personnel than it requires.

But over-qualification applies only to those who are not beneficiaries of “positive” discrimination and lower IQ candidates disproportionately come from the groups who do benefit from such favouritism. For the reasons given above, they can survive because the job does not make intellectual demands which unambiguously reveal their inadequacy. In addition, those who benefit from “positive” discrimination will tend to generally benefit from political correctness, for this will drive those outside the protection of political correctness – in the developed world white doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators- to cover up the inadequacies of the low IQ politically correct protected doctor. Ironically, the higher than necessary IQ of those doctors outside the politically correct fold will assist in the process of covering up because they will tend to be more competent at doing so because of their higher IQ and greater competence.

What is true of medicine applies to many other high status jobs. People with low to mediocre IQs can and survive for long periods in positions which are patently beyond their competence (this of course applies to all races not merely blacks). There is far more to competence than just IQ, but often the incompetence is ascribable to a lack of IQ-related problem solving ability – the Dilbert cartoon strip deals brilliantly with both the question of incompetents in high places and the different qualities required by people in different jobs.

Even more fundamental to understanding how low IQ individuals survive in high status jobs is the fact that having an incompetent in a high status job does not automatically mean that the operation of the organisation or unit they work within is dysfunctional. If the incompetent person is a senior manager the people under him will compensate for the person’s incompetence by quietly ignoring what the manager says should be done, by using their intelligence and experience and by following standard rules and practices. Organisations of any size but the very smallest have an in-built functionality which transcends the individual.

The larger and more complex the organisation is the less important the position of a senior manager becomes, because the larger the organisation the greater the in-built functionality and the less the effect an individual can have on the organisation, try as they may. Anyone who doubts this should examine the careers of those who have risen to be chief executives of large public companies which they have not founded (entrepreneurs who create their own businesses are a different kettle of fish). Their careers are almost invariably patchy: they have success at one company then fail at another. But once they are on the corporate CEO gravy train it is the devil’s own job to get them off. Like high profile Premiership football managers, no matter how often they fail there is seemingly always another big job waiting for them.

What applies to private business applies in spades to public servants, both because there is no bottom line (the taxpayer pays regardless of outcome) and because those ultimately responsible are the politicians who misuse their power to cover up mistakes where possible, and where it is not, to pretend that a monumental piece of incompetence is nothing of the sort. They get away with it in the main because most so-called democratic systems (in reality elective oligarchies) are tightly controlled by an elite which manages to bar by one means or another (sociological inertia, control of the media and so on) any new political force from gaining power or even influence. Even where a new party does gain power, it is almost always comprised of the same class of people who held power before. The electorate is left with no meaningful choice and the politicians as a class are literally irresponsible in such circumstances.

Positions of authority generally offer the low or mediocre IQ individual a great deal of latitude, because such people are protected from an objective examination of their performance by their status and because they can call upon the ability of others to do the high IQ work. They can also take the ideas of their subordinates for their own and place the blame for failure on their subordinates. The higher the status of the job, the greater the ability of the low IQ individual to hide their inadequacies, both moral and intellectual.

Much of what those in positions of authority do is little more than the exercise of personality plus the acting out of learned positions. This is particularly obvious in the case of politicians who commonly operate simply on the recitation of learned statements rather than responding intelligently to questioning or the demands of situation. Often when politicians are forced by circumstances to make a serious attempt at explaining something they make a frightful hash of it because they do not have any proper understanding of the subject.

The case of George W Bush is an extreme example of this behaviour. When presented with a prepared speech which he has rehearsed extensively and with the use of a teleprompt, he can speak fluently, although even in these circumstances he will get some of the phrasing of his delivery comically wrong by placing stresses where there should be none. But put Bush into a situation where he has to answer questions without any prior knowledge of what is to be asked and his speech takes on a chaotic form with stretches of hesitancy followed by passages where he suddenly becomes fluent for a sentence or two, although the fluent passages often  have no direct relevance to the question he is answering – this, of course, is a common politician’s ploy, but Bush does not use the tactic as a means of avoiding the question but to fill the space with words, any words. This behaviour is easily explained: Bush cannot deal with questions on the hoof. This leads him to stutter and hesitate until he remembers something he has learned parrot fashion which he then trots out. Once this is delivered he is back to not knowing what to say and the stumbling hesitancy re-surfaces.

What applies to politicians has application to not only people in authority but in some degree to any person. For much of any person’s life, both social and working, the individual can get by without needing to exercise higher intellectual functions. For a large part of the population their lives can be lived without ever having to exercise high level intellectual functions because, contrary to popular opinion, most jobs in a modern advanced state are as they have always been: mundane.

The high status people who cannot easily hide their incompetence are those who undertake jobs which can be judged objectively, most commonly those involving a technical ability such as an engineer or scientist. Bluff there will not carry you through, well, not unless you are a cosmologist.

Tellingly, although the black middleclass has increased massively in the USA over the past 50 years, the distribution of blacks across the full gamut of middleclass occupations is uneven. For example, black academics have become much more common in the USA in the past fifty years, but there are few in the indubitably high IQ subjects such as maths, physics and chemistry. I was tempted to include philosophy but that is a subject which is difficult to define. It is indubitably a high IQ subject when done well, but it can also be done badly and still get an academic hearing in a way that work by an incompetent physicist could not. Hence, quite a few blacks have entered philosophy departments but what they produce is more social commentary and political polemic than analytical philosophy in the Western tradition. Certainly, no major black philosopher in that tradition exists. Where blacks do appear in great numbers in academia is in “black” studies, an area in which they can rule the roost with virtually no academic challenge because of political correctness.

The High IQ individual in a low IQ society

Insofar as the person’s life makes calls upon IQ related abilities the higher IQ individual will enjoy an advantage. However, such an individual could be at a considerable disadvantage simply because he will be abnormal. The society will value particular knowledge and skills and discount the value of intelligence. Indeed, intelligence may lead to behaviour which is viewed as dangerous because it is innovative.

Even if his high IQ does not result in behaviour judged to be “dangerous”, the high IQ individual will find his intelligence to be of far less use and advantage than it would be in a high IQ society because the range of problems to which the person’s intelligence can be harnessed are much more limited than they would be in a high IQ society.

The exception to this rule is where the high IQ minority is the controlling elite, either because they hold formal power (various Latin American countries) or because the country is de facto dependent upon them to maintain the proper functioning of society (South Africa).

A low IQ individual in a high IQ society

What does an individual do when faced with a situation which is beyond their experience or capabilities? Generally they panic at some level; at the least the person becomes very uncomfortable. The low IQ person placed in a society which is best suited to those with substantially higher IQs  is potentially at risk of suffering such stress far more often than the higher IQ individual. Most dramatically, low IQ is associated with mental illness, viz:

“Many people with psychiatric disorders appear to have a lower than average level of intelligence prior to developing mental illness, study findings suggest. Dr Erik Lykke Mortensen, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues therefore suggest that poor performance on cognitive tests among psychiatric patients could reflect low intelligence rather than the effects of the mental health disorder. For their study, the researchers identified 350 men in their late 20s who had a range of psychiatric disorders, all of whom had completed an IQ test when 18 years old. In all, nine different groups of psychiatric diagnoses were represented: schizophrenia and schizotypal disorders, other psychotic disorders, mood disorders, neuroses and related disorders, adjustment disorders, personality disorders, alcohol-related disorders, other substance use disorders and other diagnoses. All the psychiatric disorders, with the exception of mood disorders and neuroses and related disorders, were associated with a low IQ score, with scores for patients with the average scores for patients in the other psychotic disorders group 8 points below average, while they were 13 points below average for those in the substance use disorders group. Neither the social status of the parents nor the presence of psychiatric illness in the parents could explain the low IQ scores seen in the men.” Low intelligence linked to a range of psychiatric disorders. 11 November 2005

It is conceivable that the stress low IQ people experience in a high IQ society may be in part the cause of this greater incidence of mental illness. That could explain why blacks in Britain are massively over-represented in the mental health system while in countries such as Jamaica the incidence is not abnormally high. I say could because the difference between the incidence in Britain and Jamaica could be simply a reflection of the vastly different mental health resources in the two countries. There may also be an issue of racial discrimination: the Black Londoner’s Forum claims African Caribbean’s are 44% more likely to be sectioned, 29%more likely to be forcibly restrained, 50% more likely to be placed in seclusion and make up 30% of in patients on medium secure psychiatric wards, despite having similar rates of mental illness as British white people.

The behaviour of a low IQ individual in a high IQ society will largely depend on two things: the opportunity to live a life within the limits of their intellect and the extent to which their lives are controlled by the group in which they live.

A low IQ individual with a secure job asking little by way of skill or intellect but paying enough to allow the individual to marry and raise a family, can live a life which is neither socially disruptive nor unfulfilling for the person or those associated with him or her. The stability of such a person’s life will be increased by support mechanisms such as a closely integrated community, civil society institutions such as unions and friendly societies and the universal state provision of such necessities as education, healthcare and welfare. If the low IQ individual lives in a community with those who are of generally higher IQ, their behaviour can assist the low IQ individual to exist by offering assistance through direct help, example and the fact that the higher IQ individuals create a more secure and efficient society through their general behaviour and abilities. In addition, such a community can directly shape the behaviour of the low IQ individual by setting socially beneficial standards and norms which would be less likely to exist in a community of low IQ individuals.

Where a high IQ society removes or diminishes the opportunities for those with low IQs to live comfortably their behaviour will become more anti-social. For example, policies such as mass immigration and “free trade” diminish the quantity of work and the level of wages available to the lower IQ individual through increased job competition within the domestic market and the export of jobs. In addition, immigrants increase competition for community provided social goods such as healthcare and this bears most heavily on those with low IQs because they are disproportionately found amongst the poor. In such circumstances those with low IQs will be more prone to crime, unemployment, welfare dependency, poverty and social alienation.

The propensity for anti-social behaviour is enhanced where the elite inflates the sense of victimhood of a minority group which has a weak IQ profile. The trait has four strands: first, there is the overt promotion of the group’s victimhood by the elite; second, there is the removal from public debate of criticism of the group, third, the operation of double standards when dealing with the “victim” group and the rest of the population and fourth, the creation of formal privileges (affirmative action) and covert privileges (equality laws).

American blacks are a prime example of what happens when a low IQ ethnic group exists within an advanced society and the reins of the high IQ majority are slackened. They have a much higher rate of anti-social behaviour now, especially in areas such as illegitimacy and single parenthood, than they did before Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” legislation, a time of overt segregation in the South and widespread  racial  discrimination everywhere. The anti-social behaviour of blacks on average was higher than that of the majority white population even before the legislation in the 1960s, but their natural tendency to produce antisocial behaviour was restricted by the white majority behaviour which neither fed a sense of victimhood nor diminished the number of jobs most blacks could do by allowing vast immigration, increased imports and outsourcing. Nor was there the vast panoply of publicly funded support, both at the federal and state level, to make not working a viable proposition.

Regardless of race, the lower the IQ the more dependent a person is on the support of the group. Modern advanced societies, especially those in countries such as Britain and the USA, provide an ever weaker system of social support as the natural support groups from the family to a person’s social class are actively undermined by the trend towards greater general affluence and the increasing withdrawal of the state from the control of economic activity through their elites’ commitment to “globalism”, which  is  a curious hybrid of the laissez faire  version of internationalism which extols the free movement of goods and services and people and the Left Internationalist ideal of humanity as a single social entity. This elite commitment, seen in its most extreme form in Britain over the past quarter century, undermines the opportunities for those at the lower end of the IQ distribution to gain and hold a job which is within their capabilities and which can  provide them with an income which will allow them to live an independent life.

The opening of national markets to imports from lower cost countries such as China destroys home based manufacturing, which however efficient cannot compete with producers who pay a tiny fraction of what a Western employer must pay both in terms of wages and in meeting the other bureaucratically imposed costs such as those relating to social security and health and safety.

Added to cheap imports are the mass immigration of cheap labour and the export of jobs such as call centre posts to low cost countries such as India. (Generally, employers who have to compete globally are ruthless in cutting staff). Finally, in the name of removing protectionist behaviour, governments are prevented by the treaties they have themselves signed from subsidising employers in their own countries.

The other side of the disadvantage coin is the movement towards the dismantling of the Welfare State on the ostensible grounds that it is “too costly”. In reality, this mentality is the consequence of globalism, which has greatly reduced democratic control in the First World  by  weakening the position of labour through the lowering of protectionist  barriers and the cheap labour produced  by  mass immigration and by the committing of nation-states to international treaties which restrict national action and impinge upon the sense of ethnic solidarity.

Mass immigration provides not only immediately increased competition for scarce social goods, but causes a weakening of the will of the majority to support social provision because there is a reluctance to fund social goods for those who are seen as ethnically different.

The upshot of the weakening of social provision and individual ethnic help is, of course, an increased inability of those with weak IQs to live comfortably or fulfilling in an advanced society. At best they risk being reduced to permanent pensioners of the more intellectually able members of their society.

IQ and the position of ethnic minorities

Ethnic minorities have a built-in insoluble problem – the majority population will invariably resent their presence if the ethnic population is of a size which allows them to effectively colonise a territory – and that territory may be as small as a few streets – and to be visible as a distinct group.

Where this occurs the majority population will normally not feel any ethnic solidarity with the minority, while the ethnic minority will keep itself to itself. This will severely limit any assistance at the purely social level the majority gives to the ethnic minority populations. Where the minority is of a lower average IQ than the majority population they will not benefit from the help of the higher IQ majority in the same way that the lower IQ members of the high IQ majority are helped by higher IQ members of their own group.

The larger the minority group the more extreme its position will become, because the larger it is the easier it is for a member of the minority to live without having social inter-action with the majority population. This will make the majority population even less inclined to offer aid to members of the minority. As mentioned previously (see Welfare, Ethnicity and Altruism), there is also solid evidence that the more racial and ethnically divided a society is, the less willing are its members, and particularly those of the majority group, to provide for social goods such as welfare or healthcare.

Because the low IQ minority has inadequate access to aid from those with higher IQs, as a group they will display a disproportionately high level of antisocial behaviour because they are less able to cope with the practical and psychological demands of a high IQ society. Being a low performing minority in a high IQ society also feeds the paranoia and victimhood of the minority, who tend to attribute their failure to succeed in the society to oppression and discrimination by the majority. They will make this attribution even when other higher IQ minorities in the society do succeed.

A higher IQ minority amidst a lower IQ majority is a much rarer phenomenon. The examples involving black majority populations are mostly restricted to colonial situations, whether past or extant, the most notable example being South Africa which is kept afloat as the most advanced state in black Africa by the white created infrastructure and continuing large-scale white involvement in the country.

Minorities of Ashkenazi Jews and Asians in Western countries have higher average IQs than the societies in which they live, but there are two important differences between their position and the position of whites in SA and their majority black population. The first is the fact that the difference between Ashkenazi Jews and Asians and that of the white majority population is nothing like as great as that between  blacks and whites. The second difference is that the white average IQ of 100 is adequate to create and sustain an advanced modern society.

Is MigrationWatch UK a security service front organisation?

When the British media wishes to provide an “an opponent to immigration” they almost invariably turn to MigrationWatch UK. Its ubiquity in this role is suspicious in itself for why should one organisation so often be called upon to represent a position on an issue  which is seen as amongst the top two or three  issues facing Britain when virtually no other person or body opposed to mass immigration is given regular access to the mainstream media? To that suspicious circumstance can be added several  other distinctly odd features about MigrationWatch UK which taken together suggest that it may not be all that it seems but  an agency of the British state.

Consider these facts:

1.  Its  founder,  Sir  Andrew Green,  is  a  retired  career  diplomat,  just about the most improbable background one could  find in someone supposedly campaigning against immigration.

2. Migration Watch appeared very suddenly, fully formed, with   funds and a functioning administration.

3.  Despite having no public profile, Green had absolutely no  difficulty in gaining frequent access to the mainstream media   despite  the  fact  that  he was dealing  with  a  subject  –  immigration  concern – normally  guaranteed to  keep   anyone  out  of  the  media.   A  plausible  explanation  for   this  exceptional treatment is that media folk run by the  security  services  are facilitating his access to the public.

4.  Almost all of Migration Watch’s broadcast media interviews and most of its mainstream press articles  are  made or written by Green.  This allows firm control to  exercised  over  what is said.

5.  Migration  Watch have an official  policy of  only  using   written  work  produced by their “approved”  researchers  and  writers. Again, this gives control.

6. Comments  on their website  which MigrationWatch UK claim are from “ordinary people” are anonymous. They could be written by anyone.  Control again. (

7. There is no opportunity of the MigrationWatch UK website for members of the public to post comments either directly or moderated with their names intact.  Control yet again.

8. MigrationWatch UK frames its opposition to immigration on economic grounds. This  is clearly displayed on their website: 

“An Introduction to MigrationWatch UK

While we appreciate the valuable contribution that many earlier immigrants have made, we believe that the numbers have now become too great. In 2007, net foreign immigration was 333,000; this fell to 250,000 in 2008, mainly because more east Europeans went home. According to the projections of the Office for National Statistics, the population of the UK will increase by 10 million in the next 24 years, mainly in England. Nearly 70% of this increase will be due to immigration.

We believe that this will place an unacceptable strain on our public services, infrastructure and environment. Our concern is widely shared by the public, 81% want to see a substantial reduction in immigration.” (

No mention is made of the dangers to the  dilution of our  culture  and sense of national solidarity or the immense damage  that has already be done to British traditions of liberty through the imposition of laws which penalise anyone who expresses their discontent with mass immigration  and the creation and imposition by our elite of a  culture of political correctness whereby any white Briton is frightened of saying anything which could be construed as “racist”.  Note also the routine liberal mantra of “the valuable contribution that many earlier migrants have made.”

9.  Look  beyond  the  rhetoric at  the  actual  policies  of   Migration Watch.  They  are not that far removed from  either   the  Labour or Coalition  immigration policies*.  Apart from  a  few       murmurs about the new EU entrant states,  Migration Watch has   ignored  migration  within  the EU.  It  also  sanctions  the   replacement  of  the native population by immigrants  of  any   type provided  inward and outward immigration is balanced. It  is also vague on exactly how many should come through  asylum   and  would  allow those deemed absolutely necessary  for  the   economy.  All of these policies are merely variations on  the   theme  of “controlled immigration” that is plied  assiduously  by the Labour and Tory parties. Again, let me refer to the MigrationWatch UK website:

“Why hasn’t Balanced Migration been proposed before?

For a generation people have avoided tackling the subject for fear of being thought to be racist. Now we are having a proper debate, we can address the issues sensibly. The Government are now putting in place a whole range of measures to try to get our borders back under control. The Prime Minister has declared the government’s intention to get net immigration down to “tens of thousands”. They are well aware that public opinion is extremely strong.

“Is “Balanced Migration” really feasible?

“Certainly – over a period of time. It would also provide a focus for policy formation as the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs has suggested.” (

That completely sells the pass because  MigrationWatch UK is effectively echoing the Coalition line which is also in broad agreement with that of Labour.   They are also promoting the idea that “balanced migration” – which only means as many coming in as leave the UK , regardless of their origins –  is feasible when quite clearly it is not while we remain within the EU.

Why  would  the security services want to  set  up  Migration  Watch?  Simple, to  control and manipulate  the expression of  dissent.  This is a routine security service tactic. It allows those with power within politics and the media to maintain a façade of  “all views are being publicly heard” whilst controlling what is said.  The hope of this ploy is that the general public – the vast majority of whom  detest mass migration –  will be gulled into believing that someone is speaking for them.

Is MigrationWatch UK  a security service front?  Decide for yourself.

*The chairman of MigrationWatch, Sir Andrew Green,   was on  Victoria  Victoria Derbyshire’s  R5 morning programme (14 Feb 2005).

I managed to get on towards the end  of Green’s stint and asked him  why  MigrationWatch  ignored the EU dimension entirely when our membership of the EU rendered any control of our borders null and void. Green had already said that MigrationWatch  was in favour of a nil net immigration each year, that is,   the same number leaving as coming in. He also gave as the current net inflow 100,000  per year, with 100,000 leaving and 200,000 coming. .

In response to my question, he  at first  quite incredibly claimed that the numbers coming from the EU  before the  recent EU enlargement were balanced, that is, as many leaving as  coming. I say quite incredibly because MigrationWatch  has itself tried in the past to get   solid figures for the EU movements and has been unable to do so  for the simple reason that no record is kept because movement within the EU is free.  I challenged him on this and he refused to answer but kept on with what was obviously his prepared script.

Eventually by butting in vigorously  – I had to do it because the interview was nearing its end – I got him to say that since enlargement  10,000 net per month were coming  from the new EU states, or 120,000 pa.   Green eventually said that if more came from within the EU then those coming from outside would have to be reduced. I tried to point  out that if we were to have balanced migration only 100,000  could come in to match  that number who were leaving and that this would mean not only that the  new EU inflow of  120,000, pa being reduced to 100,000 but that there could be no migration from outside the EU. Unfortunately I was cut off before I could fully make the point.

Low and high IQ behaviour

 Low IQ individuals are not monsters. Rather, they are simply people with a more limited range of behaviour than the common run of homo sapiens, just as children display a more limited range of behaviour than a normal adult. In particular low IQ individuals have difficulty with abstractions. This has implications both for problem solving and the empathic understanding of other people.

A low IQ means that its possessor will find it difficult to deal with the demands of an advanced society because such a society will require a good deal of abstract thought, knowledge acquisition which is not related to the natural world, constant learning as information becomes outdated or additional information has to be learnt.

Of course the problems associated with a low IQ are not restricted only to the racial groups which possess an inferior IQ distribution In a country with an average IQ of 100 approximately a quarter of the population will have an IQ of 89 or less. Approximately ten per cent of such a population will have an IQ of 80 or less. But there are two important differences between such a society and a low IQ community. First, in a high IQ society the number with IQs which make them unfitted to live independent lives is comparatively small. Second, those with low IQs can rely on the help of the much larger group who form the higher IQ majority, the exact reverse of a low IQ society.

Because of the way human beings generally behave, favouring those most like themselves, it is probable that that the more ethnically/racially homogenous a society is the more likely it is for the low IQ individual to receive help from higher IQ individuals because of the enhanced sense of group solidarity. (Welfare, Ethnicity and Altruism edited by Frank Salter provides substantial statistical evidence that as the diversity of a society increases support from the majority population for social provision falls).

High IQ behaviour

High IQ behaviour is more complex than low IQ behaviour for the beautifully simple reason that the high IQ individual has a wider range of intellectual competence than the low IQ individual.

A high IQ will, other things being equal, give its possessor an advantage in any occupation which relies significantly on IQ related skills. This does not have to be a high status occupation. For example, someone with an IQ of 160 will tend to be a more expert machinist than someone with a low IQ.

The higher the IQ the more people will tend to earn and the higher status job they will tend to occupy. However, when it comes to making a fortune (as opposed to inheriting it or gaining it through good fortune such as a win on the lottery), IQ is probably not the prime determinant. At best it might be a necessary but not sufficient condition but even that is dubious. Think of all the highly intelligent academics whose material circumstances are modest and the many people of little education and no obvious unusual intelligence who end up as multi-millionaires. The making a fortune would seem to be more a question of personality – having a risk-taking personality – persistence and circumstances. It is noteworthy that most successful entrepreneurs have quite a few attempts before succeeding. This suggests that a large part of their success is simply the willingness to keep trying and a disregard for the social harm they cause while failing. It may also be that because a high IQ is more likely to lead to higher intellectual activity, those with a high IQ are simply more interested in that activity rather than making money or building a company (entrepreneurship is not only about money). More prosaically, much will depend on a person’s social circumstances. Many entrepreneurs have some financial help from inheritance or family assistance, whether that be financial or simply growing up in a business environment.

The increasing IQ demands of modern society

 Take a simple everyday example of how everyday life has rapidly become more complex in our own society. Fifty years ago if you looked in the pockets of the ordinary working man you would find a wallet which probably contained money and the odd photo or a scrap of paper on which notes had been made: the pockets of a middle class man would contain what the working man’s contained plus probably a cheque book and possibly a driving licence. Today the pockets of most people will contain cash, a wallet a wide variety of credit, bank and store cards, a driving licence and a mobile phone.

All the person, whether working class or middle class, had to worry about fifty years ago was not losing any of the things they carried. If they did lose them, the most that they were likely to have to do was cancel their cheque book and get a new licence. Now most people have to not only worry about what the person fifty years ago had to worry about, they also have to deal with a great deal more. They must remember passwords to use their cards and, should they lose any of them, they not only have to cancel the cards and get new ones but have the added worry of identity theft.

That is just a one example of what the modern industrial society demands of its members. It does much more. Vast numbers of laws are passed which no person however conscientious can be expected to master (that includes lawyers) and the state imposes hideously bureaucratic procedures for everything from applying for a passport to gaining welfare benefits. The modern state even in in its most benign forms also increasing interferes actively through attempts to micro-manage the lives of those who come under its sway, whether that be congestion charging, the sorting of rubbish for environmental or the imposition of highly intrusive surveillance practices such as high-tech ID cards. More generally, it imposes ideologies such as political correctness on its population through the use of political propagandising and the passing of laws to make dissent difficult or simply illegal. That is what the benign form of the modern state does: its more malign incarnations do the same things but in a more extreme manner. All of this is mentally demanding and exhausting for any person to take on board and of course most people do not even try let alone succeed in knowing and observing every new law or de facto official custom.

But it is not only the state which makes increasing demands on the emotional and mental resources of its people. Partly because of technology and partly because of the demands of ever widening competition as national trade barriers are lowered, large private companies have joined the complexity party. Customers are expected to increasingly serve themselves, whether that is through the use of websites, automated telephone systems, onsite computer such as ATMs and checkout machines in supermarkets. It is increasingly difficult in many of the ordinary spheres of life to engage directly with another human being. (I examine the implications of computers in more detail in  Appendix B)

A nasty question arises from this increasing complexity: are the demands made on humanity by the advanced modern state such as to distract them from learning things which previous generations learned. Do people today know much more about processes but have far less general knowledge than they once had? My feeling is that this is precisely what has happened. Does this make people on average less intelligent because the intelligence of erudition is reduced? If so, does this imply that populations as a whole are becoming less intellectually competent or merely intellectually competent in a different way? I suspect it is the former because the intelligence of erudition is the main source of human competence.

There is also the worrying prospect that technological advance may be proceeding so rapidly that the demands it makes on people in general may eventually outstrip the society’s general IQ capacity. At the least, the additional demands are leaving millions of people in an increasing precarious position – an IQ of 80 is the point at which most psychologists would say that a person begins to struggle to live an independent life in a modern advanced society such as Britain. Approximately ten per cent of the population of Britain have IQs of 80 or below. That is six million people.

Blind obedience to the law is the dictator’s friend

The great historian of British politics Sir Lewis Namier described the government of 18th century England as “aristocracy tempered by rioting.” There is something of that in any society, for all who exercise power become corrupted in some degree by the identification of their interest  with the common good.  Even in a place as politically placid as modern Britain, rioting has played its part in fundamental change, the last time being in 1990 when the Thatcher Government was finally frightened into dropping a tax in which Margaret Thatcher had invested a great deal of her personal prestige – the Community Charge, popularly known as  the Poll Tax – by a serious riot in Trafalgar Square in central London.

That is the reality of politics. Democratic theory is rather at odds with the reality. “The law must be obeyed” and “violence is always wrong” are two of the most chanted modern political mantras in those states which seriously pretend to democracy. Not bad chants as political dicta go, for the law is the skeleton upon which society rests and violence can become an endemic social disease with a ghastly ease.  Yet the  logic  of an absolute bar  on disobeying  the law or engaging in violence  for political ends  is  that  an elite  may behave  as  badly  or dangerously as they want without fear of punishment.

Suppose the House of Commons passed a law which extended the life of a Parliament to 50 years – this the Commons could do quite legitimately, because there is no constitutional restraint on Parliament on the Acts it may pass. Would we simply accept such a gross political abuse because it had been achieved legally, that it was done within the form of democratic procedure?  The sane answer has to be no.  But if we do not accept it, how do we act against those who abuse power without provoking something approaching anarchy or simply replacing one abuse of power with another?

The general answer can be found by addressing another question, namely what is such extra-democratic action (which includes everything from passive resistance to full blooded civil war) a substitute for?  The answer is that it replaces the formal  democratic political process and  becomes  legitimate where  a society is  so ordered that there is no normal democratic process, where meaningful participation in a formal democratic  process  is  denied by those in power, either overtly or  covertly, or when the behaviour of the ruling elite constitutes treason.

That is all very well as a general description of the circumstances in which extra-democratic action should be taken, but how in practice do we determine both when such action is legitimate and the extent to which it is legitimate in any particular situation?

When is it reasonable to disobey the law?

When the law is made by made without democratic authority; when the law is not equally applied; when the law in principle disadvantages one man but not another; when the law amounts to treason.  When, in short, the law is incompatible with a free, self-governing society.

What are the political requirements for such a society?  I suggest these: there must be free expression, for a free society must be democratic and a democratic society cannot outlaw any aspect of life from debate and be called either free or democratic. The mass media must be both free  of  government control and give opportunities for the  expression of  a wide range of political opinion, for example through the same sort of laws which are designed to ensure “balance” during general elections and a statutory “right of reply”.  All adults must have the vote and meaningful opportunity to engage in mainstream political activity. Political parties and individual candidates must be allowed to operate freely and not only at the discretion of the state. The state must not place obstacles, such as deposits, in the way of candidates for election which disadvantage individuals and smaller or new parties.  The state must not use force against its people which is disproportionate nor have a monopoly of force. To that end the people should be allowed weapons and no weapon forbidden to the people should be used against them by the forces of the state.

That is the ideal. The important thing is not perhaps that all these goods are met in full measure in any society, although in principle all could be given the force of  law, but that sufficient of them are observed to make democratic participation and control of the elite to be such that extra-democratic action is not required. Of course, there can be no absolute standard by which that may be judged. Ultimately the moral decision as to when political circumstances are such that they fail to allow proper control of the elite by the masses is a personal one for each individual.


Extra-democratic action should be proportionate to the political circumstances and the ill to be cured and as moderate as is compatible with effect.  Faced with an unambiguous, brutal and efficient dictator, the masses are left with little alternative but extreme violence such as assassination, because other and lesser forms of protest are effectively denied.

That is not the case in societies which have at least the form of representative democracies. In such societies other forms of political disobedience, including non-violent methods, can be effective and violence is inappropriate as anything but a final resort, when all else has failed and the damage being done by those in power is considerable.

In practice, governments in states which have both the form of representative democracies and some of the content are peculiarly vulnerable to non-violent resistance, provided it is truly widespread or arises from a strike in a vital industry. Such governments are bound by the pretence at least that they are not dictatorships. Thus strong-arm measures which are the common currency of the dictator cannot be used with impunity because they are publicly observed and sooner or later elections must be held.

But if non-violent protest may be effective in an ostensible democracy, it often in practice needs a focusing act of violence or the threat of violence to bring those with power to a decision to change their policy or behaviour. Thus it was with Thatcher’s Poll Tax. The tax collapsed primarily because hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, refused to pay the tax. The courts could not cope with the consequent numbers served with summons’for non-payment. Yet that alone did not bring about the end of the Poll Tax. A serious riot against the Tax was needed. It took place in the most famous modern London site for demonstrations, Trafalgar Square. Within a few months the Tax was dropped.

Generally, the more broadly power is spread in a political system, the wider the range of extra-democratic action available and the less extreme it need be.

When is violence unambiguously justified?

This is the most difficult of questions. In an outright dictatorship the answer is morally unambiguous; it is justified because there is no meaningful opportunity for any lesser action. Anything less than an outright dictatorship and the moral waters become muddied.  Where an outright dictatorship does not exist, the question can best  be answered  by adhering to the rule that all non-violent means should always be exhausted first.  That in itself will act as a good yardstick to judge whether nothing but violence will do.

But there is one instance in any society where violence is unequivocally justified, namely where the political elite as a class engages in behaviour which is objectively treasonable. It is justified because such a matter becomes a question of self-defence.

Treason is a slippery word, yet it clearly has an objective meaning. In a dynastic context it is betrayal of the sovereign. In a democratic context it is the betrayal of the population to an external power for the general population has become the sovereign.

Of what does treason consist? Generally it must be the conscious decision by those in power to act in a way which will weaken the integrity of the nation.  To give up sovereignty is by definition to weaken the integrity of a nation.

Proportionality of violence

Violence should be minimised for moral reasons, but selective violence is also arguably the most effective. Elites do not care about violence perpetrated on the masses unless the violence threatens to provoke public unrest which the elite is not confident of controlling.  What they really care about is violence directed at the elite.  A good example of this mentality concerns the IRA and successive British governments in the years 1969-1984.

The IRA practice of public bombing continued for 15 years after 1969 without gaining anything from British governments of any political colour.  The IRA then attempted to kill Margaret Thatcher and members of her cabinet in the Brighton bombing of 1984 during the Tory Party conference.  Within 18 months the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which granted a foreign power (the Republic of Ireland) legal rights in Northern Ireland, had been developed and signed by Margaret Thatcher and the Irish Prime Minister.

The restriction of violence to those in the elite has another great advantage, the mass of the population will not feel threatened.  This means that they are less likely to become viscerally antagonistic to the perpetrator of the violence. Moreover, if the ends of the perpetrator of violence are reasonable, then the mass of the population will probably support them tacitly or at least not violently oppose them.

Hence, for both moral and practical reasons,  violence should always be kept to a minimum and directed at the elite, especially those who wield political power.

A lesson from the past

In the twelfth century there was developed the doctrine of rightful tyranicide. It has lessons for us.  The first and probably the most famous of its proponents was John of Salisbury (“He who usurps the sword is worthy to die by the sword.”)  John’s world is seemingly far removed from ours in custom as well as years, yet it has striking political similarities with our own, for in practice the power of European rulers was very far from absolute. Mediaeval monarchs were commonly confronted with parliaments resisting taxation, fractious towns and ambitious nobles.  In many ways the late Middle Ages was more democratic, in the sense of power being shared, than any subsequent time before the nineteenth century. The consequence of this was a need to define the relationship between ruler and ruled in a way which had not been done since the ancient world struggled with the problem.

For John the distinction was between power legitimately and illegitimately exercised. In his work Policraticus he puts it thus:

“Between a tyrant and a prince there is this single or chief difference, that the latter obeys the law and rules the people by its dictates, accounting himself as but their servant. It is by virtue of the law that he makes good his claim to the foremost and chief place in the management  of the affairs of  the  commonwealth.”

(Policraticus Bk. IV. ch. i; Dickinson’s trans. p. 3.)

In our world, formal kingship with political power is a rarity, yet we have what are, in effect, elected monarchs in our presidents and prime ministers and an abundant and never ending supply of unelected tyrants.  Even in the best of the “liberal democracies” power is remote from the masses.  Moreover, the signs are not encouraging for the future as national sovereignty is increasing constrained by the coils of supra-national agreements and organisations such as the EU.

Have we reached the stage where such action is legitimate in Britain? Well, it is for each man to judge that himself, but we can test what actually is happening against the criteria I have already given for judging the democratic validity of the formal political system.

Recent developments in Britain are symptomatic of what is happening throughout the West. Our elite is gradually squeezing out of our political system such democratic control as has been grudging conceded over the past two centuries. We have only two parties with a realistic chance of forming a government in their own right. Increasingly they offer no more than variations on the same theme. The only real choice a British voter has on almost all important areas of policy  is between having more or less of the same general fare. Worse, much of that fare is self-evidently designed to remove more and more power from the political institutions we have. Indeed, in large part the similarity between both the theory and practice of British parties and governments is the result of the wilful giving up of sovereignty through our membership of the European Union and various organisations such as the UN and WTO with their concomitant treaty obligations.

But the situation is even bleaker than a bald description of the policy vacuum suggests, for what a party or politician says at any one point is next to meaningless. There is in practice no means of holding a party or a politician to a declared policy, because the only choice is to elect another party which will in all probability do much the same once they are in power.  Not only that, but politicians of all parties frequently refuse to give a clear and unambiguous statement on anything, which allows them to weasel word their way to a new position when they think it necessary. Where a coalition is formed, as we are presently seeing in Britain, what little democratic control remains within our political system evaporates as both parties to the coalition simply trot out the mantra that a coalition is a compromise and no manifesto commitment is sacrosanct.

Because of this ideological coming together of the major parties and the draining of power from Westminster to supranational bodies and interests, there is a growing need to suppress dissent. Where there is no real electoral choice on policy, substantial minorities at best and the majority at worst are effectively disenfranchised. To that obvious disenfranchisement may be added the persistent failure of the British media to honestly report and debate many issues. Not one British national newspaper has as its editorial policy the withdrawal of Britain from the EU. Questions of race and immigration are, as a matter of course, only discussed within the narrow parameters decided by the liberal elite, namely those which almost invariably represent the immigrant as a victim of circumstances and the native population as the source of all racial evil. Those who wish to put forward views seriously unpalatable to the liberal elite are rigorously excluded from the media and from the mainstream political parties.

How did we get into this sorry state? Our immersion in the EU since 1973 speaks for itself, with all parties and all prime ministers since being culpable. The erosion of our liberties is less starkly obvious, being an insidious creeping towards authoritarianism.  Margaret Thatcher began the process by showing a cavalier disregard for the law on occasion, most notably during the miners’ strike. The miners came close to success, but more importantly it caused the British state to take action against miners and their supporters which were essentially those of the police state. This began the attack on  those features of our legal system which had long offered a safeguard to the individual such as the absolute right to silence.

The Blair government followed the example of Thatcher with a deluge of measures such as Anti-Terrorism Acts (which allow the Government in practice to define any individual or group as terrorist if they engage in public protest), The Regulation of Investigative Powers Act (which amongst others things allows the State to electronically spy on people without a warrant),and such authoritarian delicacies as the abridgement of the right to jury trial and control orders.

The general treatment of protestors in Britain has become ever more violent and cynical. Would-be protesters against the Chinese president’s visit in Blair’s time were rigorously policed to the point at which no meaningful demonstration could be held and the Countryside March – one of the largest and possibly the largest public protest in modern British history – encountered an astounding degree of police belligerence which extended to protestors being battered with riot sticks. This police violence was  made all the more unwonted by the fact that the Countryside Marchers were probably the most pacific and law-abiding bunch you would ever be likely to find on a mass protest.

Recently, we have seen protests by students against the proposed raising of tuition fees to as much as £9,999 per annum. Many will not approve of these particular protesters, but what of protesters of whom they approve? Will the great mass of people be cheering if they are oppressed and silenced? As the Leveller, John Lilburne never tired of saying by way of exhortation to others, “What they do to me today, they may do to any man tomorrow.” Every time the state is allowed to  extend the limits of its oppressive behaviour that sets the benchmark for the future. Freedom is gradually eroded.

The question which John of Salisbury addressed in the thirteenth century is an eternal question, the central problem of politics in fact, namely,  how shall those who wield power be prevented from abusing the mass of those they govern? The only rational answer when formal democratic methods fail is action which goes beyond the normal democratic structures and habits, because the alternative is simply the acceptance of what is, no matter how oppressive that reality is or may become.

Have we reached in Britain the point where extra-democratic action is the only meaningful action for those outside the political elite?   The answer I would say is indubitably yes if we are not to stand by helplessly while our freedoms are remorselessly removed. The betrayal of our sovereignty to the EU indubitably meets any reasonable definition of treason, because it has given foreigners power over our lives. This has been achieved by an extended and on-going act of deception whereby the British political elite constantly deny sovereignty has been surrendered, whilst ensuring that the electorate is never offered an opportunity to repudiate the giving away of sovereignty through a referendum or to vote for a party which realistically might be expected to form a government that advocates withdrawal from the EU.

Alongside that treason lies an ever tightening noose of censorship of what may be publicly said; a censorship which is enforced by the law which punishes those who breach the politically correct credo, the very real threat of the loss of employment if someone is accused of a politically correct “crime” and the willingness of the mainstream media to mount hate campaigns against those judged to be politically incorrect. It is impossible to have a functioning democracy if people cannot put forward their political ideas because they are deemed illegal. That also is an adequate reason for going beyond the normal political process.

But it cannot be said too often or too emphatically that the dangers of extra-democratic action are great. If it is not to be merely the prelude to anarchy or the assumption of power by another group of oppressors, it must be taken within a moral context. It is to be a means to an end, not an end in itself. That end must have a clear and limited moral purpose if law-breaking or violence are to have any foreseeable limit. The end must be to create or restore those structures which are necessary to a free and democratic society, nothing more or less than that.

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