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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SQ's Instead of IQ's

Just recently Andrew Sullivan, the guiding force over at the Dish or the Daily Beast, was going on and on about the relative intelligence of the world's various ethnic groups, also known as "races," before he finally seemed to sense that something was not quite right about what he was doing, and he resolved to drop the whole thing. Maybe he got too many unquoted emails that accused him of bigotry. I don't know.

He may even have vowed never to return to that subject again. I don't recall. But if he did, I strongly suspect that, given the kind of guy that he presents himself as being, he won't be able to stick to it. He struck me as being much too deeply in love with what he had to say about the comparative intelligences of groups. But I guess one can feel comfortable with such a discourse if he is secure about his own place in the findings, and Sullivan is definitely certain about the top placement of himself and his European group when it comes to IQ's. Otherwise, for one thing, he wouldn't be so fond of using so much abstract language and delving into so many metaphysical matters, to the point of obvious showoffishness, when he isn't expounding on the joys of the gay lifestyle, which he does so often and in such detail that soon one suspects that actually he is only trying to convince himself of something.

Maybe that same matter of group membership is why I, on the other hand, never relished even thinking about IQ's, even in that brief period, at around the age of 20, when circumstances caused me to have to take several intelligence tests, and even though I always scored high in them. In fact I think that one test placed me in the top 2 percentile, and also I was unexpectedly made a member of Phi Beta Kappa, that high prestige college scholarly society, though as far as I know, I never got any benefit from being eligible for Mensa or from having that Phi Beta key.

Invariably in explorations such as Sullivan's into relative intelligence, the native populations of Europe place highest, while those of Africa, from whence most of my ancestors came, are ranked at the very bottom, just as in Israel, the Jews from Europe are seen to be superior in brain power to those who had been living elsewhere in the Middle East, and the Japanese see themselves as being smarter than the Chinese and everybody else in Asia and the world, and the Chinese see themselves as being more endowed with native intelligence than the Japanese and everybody else on the planet, and so forth and so on.

Instead I could look around when I was 20, and now today, too, and see that what I take to be intelligence doesn't play much of a part in the controlling factors in Europe, in the U.S., in the Middle East, in Asia, or anywhere else. Instead all the normal decencies are relegated to second place or worse, in deference to blind passions of many sorts. If this were not so, then, why are so many Americans so eager to attack Iran, and why are the Japanese still killing whales, and why are the Chinese and the Russians backing the Assad mass murderer in Syria, and why are the Israeli settlers on the West Bank moving so much in the spirit of the German guards on the numerous prison trains that headed for Theresienstadt (what a beautiful place name for such dreadful events), Sobibor, and Auschwitz in the 1940's? And above all, to cite the biggest issue of today's time, why is it that economics, which should be easy to fathom, has been made so complicated that now even the best minds of any hue are unable to untangle the stupendous financial mess that has been hanging over the whole world's head for close to a decade now and still threatens to strangle, or at least starve, everybody where they stand, except, naturally, for the affluents?

Though they rate highly as a form of video game, it's been clear for a long while that IQ tests actually don't measure anything worth measuring, and instead it has always seemed to me that SQ's -- slob quotients -- matter much more in the long run.

In the late 1940's a Democratic President, Harry S. Truman, made a fatal mistake when it came to upholding a concept that even he may have once believed in deeply, and that was "white supremacy." He integrated the U.S. Armed Forces, and a few years later I was inducted into one of those arms, the Air Force. And in there, after having spent the first two decades of my life living and being educated in almost entirely so-called "black" and therefore widely considered to be inferior settings, I got a good look at what turned out to be merely the first in a series of massively so-called "white" and therefore supposedly superior settings. And limited though those observations may still have been, I feel that I can still truthfully report one thing.

The slob quotients of those two groups are exactly the same. Not "close to" or "approximately," but exactly the same, and that likewise goes for the several representatives of all the other groups that I also have had chances to observe, fewer though they might have been -- and that is where the likes of A. Sullivan should be looking, though I doubt that they will be nearly as enamored -- if they are not too far gone -- of what they will see.


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