“The liberation of the human mind has been best furthered by…fellows who throw dead cats in sanctuaries.” H. L. Mencken
A Sunday in Valley Forge Park. The sun was out and I sat in my lawn chair, under an oak tree, a Coke in the chair’s holder, and my D7100 resting on my canvas bag, wearing its fat fat Tamron 24-70 mm, f 2.8 lens. There was a steady trail of joggers – many of them women – and it wasn’t difficult to get at least one smile from one of them.
I thought about the effects of collectivists on our national park. For example, the entrance to one lot has five signs, each in a different color, telling us when to stop, turn, slow down, and to leave by sunset. The Visitors Center used to have convenient parking for joggers, walkers, and bike riders but is now “Parking for Staff;” the rest of us have to park down a hill and around a corner. Jefferson would have a bitter smile.
I read Nicolas Wade’s new book on the scientific and social utilities of “race.” There are five races plus two and are separated not only by continents but also by shifts in productivity. The Hunters/Gatherers (Mideast, Africa, and Australia eventually learned tribalism; The Chinese first established complex organizations but never passed the constraints of family interest. The Brits and the Scots discovered how to snare their rulers with laws that protected the landowners and merchants from tax increases and other government nastiness.
The arguments about genetics were reinforced by rodent data. The Chinese, for example, have small breasts, sweaty feet, thick hair shafts, shovel-shaped teeth, and dry ear wax some 70 percent of the time. Moving some genes into mice give you rodents with sweaty feet, thick fur, and small breasts. Another example of inheritance and conduct: Foxes can be inbred for tameness and after a score of generations, become good pets but also have floppy ears and white patches of fur.
While Wade supplies his share of “just so” tales, he is also provocative and another generation of leftist bullies will replace Ashley Montagu, Dick Lewontin, and Steven Gould and give hell to Wade as they did to Ed Wilson, Phil Rushton, and anyone else who believes in the G of GxE.
A 60 year-old paunchy male passed and was impressed by my Tamron (“Boy, what a serious lens!”) and asked if I wanted a 4×5 camera. He wasn’t interested in money but just “wanted to find a good home for it.” I told him that I was somewhat interested. He then added that he hoped for $150. I thought that I could handle that amount and gave him my photographer card.
He then peered at Wade.
He had heard of the book and had read Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene.
I explained: “I’m a behavior genetics guy and Wade re-justifies the utility of ‘race.’ I’m also an acquaintance of Phil Rushton, who was persecuted for 10 years while a senior faculty member/author (Race, Evolution & Human Behavior) at Windsor. I was also acquainted with Ed Wilson and some of the harassment that he faced at Harvard from radical students and their leaders, Dick Lewontin and Steve Gould. (Wade credits Ashley Montagu with international leadership against “racism.”) Phil kept his job without getting dirt on his knees, Ed Wilson discovered the glories of collectivism after Gould died, Lewontin sputters along at Harvard, and Montagu is dead. Dawkins is a fat-head who stole most of The Selfish Gene from Bill Hamilton.
“But Dawkins is a scientific journalist – stealing is what they do.”
I also mentioned that I’m a political conservative.
“I’m a liberal but I’ll listen to anyone even if I don’t change my mind.”
“We probably won’t get along. Here’s my newsletter card.”
He didn’t understand Mencken’s quote and I explained that Baltimore in the ‘30s had defiant youth who enjoyed throwing dead cats into sanctuaries.
He was distracted at this point. His little white terrier was in the middle of the bike/jogger path – licking hands and making friends.
One lady, however, wanted past and reached for the leash so that she could step around it … “Stop! You could hurt yourself, that’s very sharp.”
He went to her, disentangled her from his dog, and promised to send me an email.
He then left in his original direction, traveled 25 feet, shouted “Oops,” and turned around back the way that he came.
There’s been no email.
I still believe in the genetics of impulse control. Some people really do have problems sitting under a tree and considering options. The average “Black” IQ in America is 85 (85 used to be the cutoff for “mild mental retardation” but some acquaintances in the early ‘70s decided that 85 predicted problems in school that would vanish after graduation and entry into the labor force. Seventy-two became the new number and we still have problems helping not only black students with their impulse control and sense-of-the-future, but also helping the often-marginal teachers who are attracted to those students.
I’m still a TEA party conservative. And despite my Ukrainian and Polish heritage, I should have worn my FIDF T-shirt to the Park and put up a little sign next to my camera that said “For women only.”
And I’m still a racist . . .
REFERENCES (To get you in trouble!)
Barkley R. (1997) ADHD and the Nature of Self Control. NY: Guilford. Also,
Baron-Cohen, S. (2003) The essential difference: men, women and the extreme male brain. Penguin/Basic Books.
Bronowski, J. (1977) A Sense of the Future. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Clark, Gregory (2009) A Farewell to Alms. Princeton Economic History of the Western World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.
Plomin, Robert (1994) Genetics and Experience: The Interplay between Nature and Nurture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Rushton, J Philippe (1997) Race, Evolution, & Human Behavior. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
Steele, Shelby (2006/2007) White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. NY: Harper Collins.
Wade, Nicholas (2014) A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History. NY: Penguin.
Wilson, E.O. (1980) Sociobiology: The Abridged Edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard.
Wilson, E.O. & Hölldobler, B. (2005) Eusociality: Origin and consequences. Proceedings National Academy of Science, September 20, 102(38), 13367-13371. Published online before print September 12, 2005, 10.1073/pnas.0505858102.