Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why John Derbyshire Is Sexist & Racist

Conservative columnist John Derbyshire argues to Alan Colmes that America would have been better if the women's suffrage movement failed. Derbyshire feels so strongly about this his book "We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism" has a section called “The Case Against Female Suffrage.”


DERBYSHIRE: Among the hopes that I do not realistically nurse is the hope that female suffrage will be repealed. But I’ll say this – if it were to be, I wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep.

COLMES: We’d be a better country if women didn’t vote?

DERBYSHIRE: Probably. Don’t you think so?

COLMES: No, I do not think so whatsoever.

DERBYSHIRE: Come on Alan. Come clean here [laughing].

COLMES: We would be a better country? John Derbyshire making the statement, we would be a better country if women did not vote.

DERBYSHIRE: Yeah, probably.


Derbyshire is perfectly happy with restricting the liberties of half the population to further his conservative worldview.This isn't conjucture on my part. He literally admits so. Colmes asked Derbyshire if the Civil Right Act of 1964 should be repealed.


DERBYSHIRE: The 1964 Civil Rights Act? I think there is a case for repealing it.

COLMES: Why would you repeal that?

DERBYSHIRE: Because I think that you shouldn’t try to force people to be good.


Why build jails and convict dangerous criminals? We shouldn’t try to force people to be good. If we followed Derbyshire's illogical logic then people would be alllowed to commit crimes. If those crimes include lynching black males we can't force people to be good with federal civil rights laws. That would be silly.

Does anyone actually believe Derbyshire cares about the rights of women and minorities? In a National Review op-ed, Derbyshire gave away his belief white races are superior to blacks.


Name any universal characteristic of human nature, including cognitive and personality characteristics. Of all the observed variation in that characteristic, about half is caused by genetic differences. You may say that is only a half victory; but it is a complete shattering of the nurturist absolutism that ruled in the human sciences 40 years ago, and that is still the approved dogma in polite society, including polite political society, today.


Derbyshire is a supporter of the debunked book the Bell Curve. Authors Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray wrote that IQ is based on race. Professor Melvin Konner wrote a rebuttal to the book.


This book presented strong evidence that genes play a role in intelligence but linked it to the unsupported claim that genes explain the small but consistent black-white difference in IQ. The juxtaposition of good argument with a bad one seemed politically motivated, and persuasive refutations soon appeared. Actually, African-Americans have excelled in virtually every enriched environment they have been placed in, most of which they were previously barred from, and this in only the first decade or two of improved but still not equal opportunity. It is likely that the real curves for the two races will one day be superimposable on each other, but this may require decades of change and different environments for different people. Claims about genetic potential are meaningless except in light of this requirement.



Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting notes Herrnstein and Murray got most of the book's research from the neo Nazi Pioneer Fund. The Southern Poverty Law Center has PF on it's hate groups list. The disingenuous Derbyshire wrote the "book that should, if anything, appeal more to the bleeding-heart, how-can-we-lift-up-the-poor?, earnest social reformer of the political Left than to the flint-faced, I've-made-my-pile-now-you-go-and-make-yours elitist of the political Right."

Derbyshire goes on to pump white supremist propaganda of racial superiority.


Even more offensive to the political Left was the book's retailing of some facts, well-known among psychometrists of all political persuasions, about the different statistical profiles presented by different common-ancestry groups when given standardized psychometric tests en masse. Groups of Ashkenazi-Jewish ancestry present very high means; groups of East Asian ancestry somewhat lower means; groups of white European-gentile ancestry lower still; and groups of black-African ancestry much lower yet. (Other common-ancestry groups scatter around the map, with their means mostly falling mostly between the black African and white European-gentile values. There are also differences in the standard deviations — the "spreads" — of the distributions, though these attract less interest because they require more math to understand.)

None of this is controversial among researchers. The results have been replicated thousands of times, all over the world, with every imaginable kind of control in place, and every conceivable objection factored in. Hypotheses about the test results being false on various grounds were decisively refuted decades ago, though they linger on as urban legends. Are the statistical differences produced by class bias? No: If your test-takers are drawn only from a narrow family-income band, the statistical differences are still there. Are they biased by ignorance on points of cultural experience? No: as Herrnstein and Murray describe at length, the statistical differences in scores are "wider on items that appear to be culturally neutral than on items that appear to be culturally loaded. And so on. These differences in statistical profiles are, as a sociologist of my acquaintance once remarked, as well established as the orbit of the Moon. To deny them, you have to deny the validity of psychometry altogether, or take refuge in pseudoscientific "hidden variable" hocus-pocus like the currently trendy though scientifically hilarious "stereotype threat" theory.


Do you still believe Derbyshire doesn't have a problem with women and black men?

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