Mannesplaining Family Annihilators

Readers may be interested in this HuffPo gem by Kate Manne, which was sent to us. Who is Kate Manne, you ask? A quick Google search tells us everything we need to know: she’s another over-paid leftist political activist—and feminist, of course—at an elite university. In that sense, HuffPo is a suitable venue for her musings. But we live in strange times—times when Internet op-ed quality material by a misandronist gets contracted with Oxford University Press. Her forthcoming book is titled Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny.

Manne’s piece gives us little to chew on. Our guess is that she had three aims in writing it: the first was to shame white men by labeling them “family annihilators,” the second was to shame and slander Trump supporters by implying, not so subtly, that Trump resembles a family annihilator, and the third was simply to call Trump—in original fashion—orange. The rest of the article is padded with armchair psychology about family annihilators to make dubious parallels to Trump (and possibly his supporters).

What there is to chew on is the concept of a family annihilator. Manne (and apparently others) characterize a family annihilator as a mass murderer whose victims are one’s own family. And, as already noted, Manne claims that they are “generally white men,” and discusses one example at length (does she have more evidence of this claim? If so, why didn’t she cite it?). She summarizes the work of other “researchers” on family annihilators:

Wilson and other researchers have come to distinguish family annihilators of four main types: self-righteous, anomic, disappointed, and paranoid. The self-righteous type blames others, often their wives or estranged wives, for their downfall. The anomic type feels humiliated by external events like bankruptcy. The disappointed type feels let down by his family, as if the social order is crumbling. The paranoid type feels his kin is under threat from outsiders. So, to stave off the threat, he takes it upon himself to murder them.

Notice the pronouns and gender assumptions? It’s almost as if the very concept of a family annihilator excludes women. Real research, such as the U. S. Department of Justice report on women offenders, tells a different story. According to that and other data, “By nearly every measure, women are far less violent than men, except in one chilling category—killing their own children,” as one article summarizes. The article continues with a list of motives common among female family annihilators:

Criminologists have broken down the reasons that mothers kill into a few general (if somewhat broad) categories: mental illness (including postpartum depression or psychosis), retaliation against a spouse or other parent, abuse/neglect, mercy, and the effort to get rid of an unwanted child.

Interestingly, this last category is especially important, because if we count mothers who murder their unwanted children in utero as family annihilators—and I see no reason why we shouldn’t—male family annihilators become almost statistically invisible by comparison. In fact, women who annihilate their children in utero are much more plausibly motivated by shame than are men who annihilate theirs. What otherwise explains the over-compensatory braggadocious tone of “#shoutyourabortion”?

If Manne wants to expand the concept of family annihilators so as to include more men, she might find support from those who argue that black men destroy their prospective families by abandoning, in disproportionately high numbers, the women they impregnate. A 2011 U. S. Census Bureau put the single motherhood rate in the black community at 68%, and more recent estimates put the figure as high as 75%. And, of course, in abandoning their children’s mothers, they abandon their children—assuming that the children survive getting annihilated in utero. Black mothers, with the moral imprimatur of feminists, murder their children in utero at disproportionately higher rates than whites and Hispanics. They account for 36.7% of all abortions in the U.S., despite being just 14% of the female population.

But if Manne wants to expand the concept of a family annihilator to include those who don’t murder their own family but annihilate the family in other ways, she shouldn’t forget about same-sex couples. As Richard Swinburne recently reminded us, homosexual couples have the disability of not being able to bring children into the world. For every same-sex couple that gets married, two potential families get annihilated. And the “but they can adopt!” reply is a farce. True, they can “create” a “family” by adopting children, but those “families” turn out to be unhappy ones for the children.

What the above shows is that there is something most family annihilators have in common, all right—family annihilators tend to be leftists, or at least enabled by leftist policies. But this isn’t news. The left’s attempt to annihilate the family has been well-documented. You won’t find any mention of that, however, in HuffPo’s Mannesplaining of family annihilators.

Federal Philosopher

Federal Philosopher is a philosophy graduate student in New Jersey. She was awakened from her political slumbers after reading biographies of Margaret Thatcher—one of her heroes. She loves philosophy, but thinks the profession has been hijacked by a bunch of leftist bullies who are little more than partisan journalists that happen to know philosophical jargon. She carries a recurve bow and quiver full of arrows at all times, so as not to trigger leftists by saying she packs a .380 in her purse.

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Touchstone

Former feminist turned conservative. PhD. Proud helpmeet. Teaches at a liberal arts school somewhere in the Midwest. Enjoys hunting and eating animals. Favorite musician: Hank Williams Jr.

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33 Comments

  1. My new goal in life is to use ‘braggadocious’ in an utterance.

    I’m not a fan of the word ‘family annihilator’. It’s just too loaded for me, though I appreciate the angle used to provoke thought on abortion and families.

    • Catholic Hulk,

      Given the claim that abortion is murder (and the use of the word “murder”), I don’t think that’s more likely to provoke thought than, say, an article using the term “bigot” when talking about people who promote the view that same-sex relations are immoral.
      Both seem to be effective ways of showing one’s moral condemnation of someone, get other people who already are on one’s side to get also outraged, etc., but probably neither is effective at provoking thoughts – other than further exchanges of condemnations and the like, but I don’t think that’s what you meant by provoking thought.

      • Hi.

        Abortion is a grave evil. That much I don’t shy away from stating.

        What I appreciate is the angle that gets women to think about what abortion can do to a family. I also appreciate that it provokes the question of whether abortion does, in fact, kill a part of the family. I think it does. Whether *each* case a qualifies as murder is something I’ll leave for God to decide.

  2. Fascinating that Manne will frankly state — though without citing any evidence, as you note — that family annihilators are “generally white men,” but hasn’t mentioned that black men rape and brutalize women, not to mention commit violent crime on the whole, at rates far higher than white men. These are facts that one would think feminists should care about. Having that expectation would, sadly, require one to wrongly assume that feminists are actually principled, and that their goal isn’t what it in fact is: to emasculate and vituperate white men behind a veneer of interest in “fairness.”

    Unlike Manne, I will now go on to provide evidence supporting the claims about violent crime made above. The following two passages are from criminologist John P. Wright’s essay, “Inconvenient Truths: Science, Race, and Crime,” which appeared in a volume entitled, Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research (Routledge, 2009):

    “The relationship between race and crime has been consistent over time and place. Virtually all studies find that blacks have the highest crime rates, especially rates of murder and violence, followed by Caucasians and then Asians. Of course, criminal behavior is not restricted to one race and there is tremendous variation within races, yet the undeniable fact is that blacks commit more crime than any other group; and they commit more violent crime than any other group. The data on this fact could not be any clearer. Using highly restrictive criteria to establish a ‘universal correlate of crime,’ Ellis (1988) found that over 60 studies on race and crime ‘indicate that blacks are more prone toward criminal behavior than whites, and that whites are more so than Orientals, the more serious and clearly victimful the offenses being considered, the stronger the racial differences (p.531).’ Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation converge on this point. For example, blacks commit 85 percent of all interracial crimes. Over 45 percent of violent crimes involve blacks on whites while 43 percent involve blacks on blacks. Whites, by contrast, select black victims only 3 percent of the time. Blacks are thus 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white, and they are 136 times more likely to commit a robbery against a white. Blacks are seven times more likely to commit murder than are whites and they are almost three times more likely to use a gun in the commission of a violent felony. Black youth, while 15 percent of the population, account for 26 percent of all juvenile arrests and 45 percent of all detention cases. Black youth are also overrepresented in arrest statistics for every violent crime recorded, such as murder, rape, and armed robbery.”

    “The pattern of black overrepresentation in criminal involvement is well documented. What is also interesting is how crime data also follow racial categories. INTERPOL statistics on homicide, rape, and serious assault consistently show that Orientals have the lowest involvement in serious crime, followed by Caucasians, and then blacks. In 1984 the corresponding rates per 100,000 were 48.8 (Orientals), 72.4 (Caucasians), and 132.3 (blacks). . . . Clearly, the universal pattern of black over involvement in crime and disrepute casts doubt on the notion that racism and America’s history with slavery are solely responsible.”

    The typical leftist will be tempted to chalk such findings up to police racism. But this is simply wrong. Police spend more time around blacks because blacks are more criminal and require more monitoring, not because the police are racist. See the following: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256079484_No_evidence_of_racial_discrimination_in_criminal_justice_processing_Results_from_the_National_Longitudinal_Study_of_Adolescent_Health .

  3. Nice post. My one qualm would be the ascription of responsibility to the black community. I think the primary responsibility is borne by white liberal elites, who have deliberately promoted the welfare-state dependency characteristic of so many black communities today, and have left black men in a crushing state of unemployment. Not to mention the general libertine zeitgeist that does away with God, the Church, and the family, in favor of a materialistic moral free-for-all.

    (See here: http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/walter-e-williams/true-black-tragedy-illegitimacy-rate-nearly-75)

    Also, in general, I do not think women bear most of the responsibility for abortion. I think most women who do have an abortion are misguided and think that their choice is truly the best option, but are ignorant of the facts. So, in particular, I would refrain from any language that implies women who have abortions, in general, are murderers. (Some are; most, I think, are victims of exploitation.) In particular, I would not imply that black women who obtain abortions are murderers. The primary culpability falls upon liberal elites who should (and often do) know better, but for whom personal profit and gain trump any moral sensibility they might have had.

    • Wherever blacks are found, they are more violent, more prone to family abandonment, and less intelligent than whites and, even more so, East Asians. It’s ad hoc to blame welfare for black dysfunction when blacks are dysfunctional in all societies in which they’re found, whether they have access to welfare or not. They are most dysfunctional in the African societies that they have constructed, which is especially revealing. Also note that whatever damage welfare has done to blacks, it has done far less to whites, and even less to Asians and Jews. This is exactly what the findings of human behavioral science would lead one to expect.

      The right would do well to stop this respectability charade, trying to beat leftists at their own sententious anti-racist game. It is farcical to ascribe black failure to liberal whites. A great deal of the blame for Western decay can be laid at the feet of leftists. One of the worst things they do is invite hordes of violent, low-IQ, and consequently incorrigible and unemployable Third Worlders into countries with which they are fundamentally, indeed biologically, incompatible. When the easily foreseeable problems of untenable leftist immigration schemes emerge, leftists then berate reasonable people for trusting their senses and identifying the actual source of these problems rather than remaining in the fog of egalitarian whimsy and intensifying the white guilt self-flagellation. Leftists deserve the strongest opprobrium for this disgusting behavior and their even more disgusting political debacles. But they do not make those of Third World stock what they usually are.

      • I think it’s pretty clear that the Left is to blame for many of the problems facing blacks in the U.S. For example, illegitimacy was much less prevalent among blacks at the height of Southern racism and oppression. It has, since the welfare state, skyrocketed. Why was illegitimacy significantly lower before?

        Thomas Sowell is very good on this subject.

      • Right, Conservatrarian. Even granting that there are hereditary IQ differences that would lead to some disparities (conservatives have always granted this, in fact — witness Sowell), there is no reason whatever to expect that it should be as bad as it is in terms of absolute measures; blacks would be much better off if it weren’t for the social policies of liberal whites. As the article I linked to demonstrates, the current state of blacks is not “biologically necessary.”

        More generally, I think the alt-right is a load of pseudo-scientific nonsense. This isn’t a matter of conceding to leftists; the problem is that it is essentially godless, pagan, and materialistic. They get a few things right and then draw outlandish conclusions that are not supported by the evidence at all.

      • “Wherever blacks are found, they are more violent, more prone to family abandonment, and less intelligent than whites and, even more so, East Asians.”
        That’s some extreme hyperbole.

        Also, it’s not at all ad hoc to place part of the blame for black *American* dysfunction on the welfare state. Your statement, “blacks are dysfunctional in all societies in which they are found…”, assumes that black dysfunction is the same everywhere, which surely is false. Your statement is also another example of extreme hyperbole.

      • Quite sad to see just how awful all three of these replies are. And they are from blog authors, no less. I thought this site might have potential.

        Conservatrarian: Why do you think it is that black violence and family abandonment is worse in Africa than in the US?

        Sowell has simply conveniently chosen the nice, relatively PC explanation of the phenomenon in the US, even though many other variables had in fact shifted by the 1960s, when black illegitimacy started to rapidly expand. Moreover, my comment didn’t rule out the possibility that the welfare state has done some damage to blacks. But none of the replies here has managed to explain why the harm to blacks was so much greater than that done to whites. It seems that black sociosexuality simply isn’t repressed to the same degree that it was prior to the civil rights era, hence the change in behavior. In other words, the cultural controls on them are weaker. They are also weaker on whites. But again, whites continue to behave for the most part like civilized people, whereas civility is for blacks rare. The average IQ score of American blacks would put them at the 15th percentile on the white IQ distribution. I’m not sure what anyone expects in the absence of repressive controls.

        Sowell’s effort to account for black dysfunction purely in terms of environmental factors has failed utterly. He expected that the Flynn effect would lift blacks up to the level of whites. This hasn’t happened because the white-black IQ gap is on g, which is the most heritable component of intelligence. The Flynn effect in environmental and thus doesn’t increase heritable intelligence.

        Ideal Observer: First off, I’m a Catholic. Catholicism is traditionally hierarchical, not egalitarian; I see no contradiction between my religion and what I have written here. Why you think taking seriously human behavioral science entails my being “essentially godless, pagan, and materialistic,” while your apparent approval of Thomas Sowell’s economic scholarship doesn’t, is a mystery. Is economics somehow less “godless, pagan, and materialistic” than human behavioral science more broadly (of which economics is a subset)? Behavioral genetics, behavioral endocrinology, and psychometrics are far more successful and mature sciences than economics. Psychometric measures, especially IQ, have better explained the differential development of nations than all other “human capital” measures with which economists are so besotted put together. That you dismiss the findings I have put forward as pseudoscience is just laughable. Contrary to popular, leftist-distorted understanding, which you are seemingly under the yoke of, psychometrics has become more, not less, hereditarian since Jensen, Rushton, Eysenck, etc. had their say. Consider the output over the last few years of some of the leading psychometrics journals, like Intelligence and Personality and Individual Differences, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

        Sadly for you, the differences between blacks and whites go far beyond IQ. There are also significant endocrinal differences between the races, which must be taken into account to explain black aggression. More generally, the races follow different evolutionary life strategies. The basic explanation for the fact that blacks reach puberty well before whites or East Asians, have shorter lifespans, are more promiscuous, etc. is that they have evolved to have as many children as possible, rather than have a small number that are then strongly invested in. This is why low black promiscuity and illegitimacy are anomalous. Again, consider African blacks.

        Walter Montgomery: I don’t think anything I’ve written is hyperbolic. The problem is that most people are entirely ignorant of the scientific work from which my claims are derived. Having been stewed in PC mores their whole lives, such claims are preposterous to most Western people of the day.

        The universal black disparities that I have identified are plain empirical facts. I defy you to find a single germane society in which that racial pattern doesn’t hold. The only cases where one might get close are countries like Japan, which are extremely selective about the immigrants they accept and thus have black populations that are significantly more intelligent, peaceful, and so on than blacks as a whole.

        Nothing about the second statement of mine that you highlight implies the claim that black dysfunction is the same everywhere. And note that I state in the very next sentence that blacks are “most dysfunctional” in Africa, a claim that indicates awareness of variation in dysfunction.

      • BioRealist,

        “Why do you think it is that black violence and family abandonment is worse in Africa than in the US?”

        Where did I assert that “black violence and family abandonment is worse in Africa than in the US?” I asserted the manifestly true proposition that illegitimacy was much less a problem in the first half of the last century than it is now. Your biological deterministic mumbo jumbo can’t explain a drastic change in a few decades, so obviously environmental factors are part of the explanation. The welfare state is an *obvious* cause of illegitimacy and single motherhood in the black community. To deny this is conspiracy theory-level nonsense.

        “They are also weaker on whites. But again, whites continue to behave for the most part like civilized people, whereas civility is for blacks rare”

        You’ve produced not even a shred of evidence that “civility is for blacks rare.” To get that claim, you’d need not only show that a majority of blacks are uncivil, but that the *overwhelming* majority are. Where’s the evidence?

        “The average IQ score of American blacks would put them at the 15th percentile on the white IQ distribution. I’m not sure what anyone expects in the absence of repressive controls.”

        This can’t explain other groups whose IQ scores are comparable but which are significantly less likely to be involved in violent crimes. My point had nothing to do with whether IQ is primarily genetically determined; for all I know, it is. I was questioning the dubious assumption that IQ is the primary explanation for the lot of the ordinary black man in this country; it isn’t.

      • BioRealist,

        Your circuitous digression about psychometrics and the fate of Africa aside, you’ve completely failed to respond to anything I’ve said.

        I simply said that, in absolute terms, the present state of blacks in this country is not biologically determined, and that liberal whites are primarily to blame for it. This is clear, because in the past blacks in this country did, in absolute terms, relatively fine (even if there was, and may always be, some residual inequality in outcomes).

        But this is common among alt-right ramblers; they make some good points, but then do not possess the self-inhibition to prevent their inferring to the most wild conclusions. (And some, I assume, are good people.)

        If you were hoping that RC was going to be another host for such ramblings, I am sorry you were disappointed. There are plenty of other corners of the internet to do that on. (I am sure you can find ammunitions for the coming race war there too.)

      • To my two, of three, detractors: if you aren’t going to read my comments in full, why bother responding at all? I’m being charitable here and assuming you all simply didn’t read my comments through, because had you read them entirely and still managed to conjure up these abysmal replies, I’d have to infer that you all have outstandingly poor reading comprehension, are flatly dishonest, or both.

        One of Conservatrarian’s responses is mercifully short, though still stupid. He and Ideal Observer have both wrongly associated me with the “alt-right.” For all they know, I could be a state socialist who simply recognizes the fact that Third World populations differ behaviorally from First World ones for biological reasons. It doesn’t obviously follow from anything I’ve written that I am “alt-right.”

        Rejoinder to Conservatrarian’s other, much longer and even dumber, reply:

        “Where did I assert that ‘black violence and family abandonment is worse in Africa than in the US?'”

        You didn’t assert this and I didn’t suggest that you did. The point is that invoking welfare to explain black violence and family abandonment is ad hoc when precisely the same problems, though in much more severe form, are present in Africa where there is no welfare state. It is quite sad that this has to be spelled out for you. Note also that neither you nor Ideal Observer has managed to explain why blacks, but not whites, Jews, or East Asians, respond so differently to the same welfare opportunities.

        “I asserted the manifestly true proposition that illegitimacy was much less a problem in the first half of the last century than it is now. Your biological deterministic mumbo jumbo can’t explain a drastic change in a few decades, so obviously environmental factors are part of the explanation. The welfare state is an *obvious* cause of illegitimacy and single motherhood in the black community. To deny this is conspiracy theory-level nonsense.”

        Yes, illegitimacy was a bigger problem in the past than now. You have done nothing to establish that welfare has the lion’s share of responsibility for increasing the problem of dependency. I have pointed out that black sociosexuality was under very strong cultural controls prior to the 1960s, after which those controls weakened. This, I suspect, is what explains most of the change. It is not unreasonable to think this since the black illegitimacy and violence we now see is in keeping with the illegitimacy and violence of black Africans. The pre- not post-welfare US was anomalous as far as black behavior is concerned. This, among many other things, you seem unable to grasp.

        The phrase “biological deterministic mumbo jumbo” is invective that a clown like Rush Limbaugh would confect. It does not help the intellectual respectability of the right to stoop to such brainless sloganeering. I have at no point suggested or stated that environmental factors have no effects on human behavior. Hence why I wrote of “cultural controls.” I do recognize, however, that biological factors are the primary determinants of certain human behavioral traits. Intelligence is about 70-80% heritable by adulthood, for instance. Various sociological factors explain only about 15% of the variance in life history traits. What’s more, behavior genetic studies tend to overcontrol for genetic factors, in that, one, random error is simply rolled into the percentage of variance attributed to environment in behavior genetic studies and, two, genes predispose individuals to end up in certain environments, a fact which introduces great risk of confounding environmental and genetic factors.

        “You’ve produced not even a shred of evidence that ‘civility is for blacks rare.’ To get that claim, you’d need not only show that a majority of blacks are uncivil, but that the *overwhelming* majority are. Where’s the evidence?”

        Read Michael Levin’s book, Why Race Matters. Your charge of lack of evidence is quite rich, since you go on to baldy assert that “obviously” welfare is the real problem, despite having adduced no evidence for this claim at any point.

        “This can’t explain other groups whose IQ scores are comparable but which are significantly less likely to be involved in violent crimes. My point had nothing to do with whether IQ is primarily genetically determined; for all I know, it is. I was questioning the dubious assumption that IQ is the primary explanation for the lot of the ordinary black man in this country; it isn’t.”

        Perhaps you missed where I wrote also of life history and endocrinal differences between blacks and whites? Do try to read what you comment on.

        Ideal Observer:

        “I simply said that, in absolute terms, the present state of blacks in this country is not biologically determined, and that liberal whites are primarily to blame for it. This is clear, because in the past blacks in this country did, in absolute terms, relatively fine (even if there was, and may always be, some residual inequality in outcomes).”

        This is the only passage in your counter that has any substance. The rest is more baseless mudslinging and effort to smear me as “alt-right;” once again, my views on race are compatible with many different larger political outlooks.

        Given their genetics, you can reduce black dysfunction via the intense repression that they were subject to prior to the 1960s, as indicated in my last comment. I imagine neither you nor Conservatrarian are on board with that approach, thinking all we need little more than the end of welfare. Well, good luck getting anything else to work. Pull their welfare, in this non-repressive culture, and enjoy the riots.

      • BioRealist,

        I never said that “all we need [is] little more than the end of welfare.” It is certainly one problem. Among other things, there also need to be strong cultural, moral and religious norms, as it was prior to the destruction of these within the black community by liberal whites.

        It is obviously silly to argue that the only thing that kept the black family and black cultural mores in place was “intense repression” (whatever that is supposed to mean). (I guess when crosses burn in some peoples’ yards, or you have to ride on the back of the bus, you can somehow achieve a low 1-in-5 out-of-wedlock birthrate? Is that the thought? I suppose if those things started happening again, black families would somehow start to stabilize?)

        The embarrassing fact for your view is that blacks, prior to the 1960s, were generally productive and well-functioning members of society. Whatever else you might say about the fate of Africa or about average testerone levels or whatever else doesn’t change the fact that blacks could be much better off than they are now if it were not for white liberal social policy.

        Once again, the move from “lower average IQ” to “Gotta’ send em back to Africa!!!” is a signature mark of alt-right (or, if you prefer, “race realist”) disinhibition and impulsivity.

        (For what it’s worth, I have read Michael Levin’s book, and I have found nothing in it, aside from his own armchair sociological musings, that contradicts any of this.)

      • BioRealist,

        ‘One of Conservatrarian’s responses is mercifully short, though still stupid. He and Ideal Observer have both wrongly associated me with the “alt-right.”’

        For someone who’s quick to accuse his opponents of misrepresentation and (perhaps) dishonesty or poor comprehension, you’re very good at misrepresenting what your opponents say! I never once wrote that you’re associated with the alt-right. I only wrote, without mentioning you, that I will eviscerate the alt-right in a future post.

        “For all they know, I could be a state socialist who simply recognizes the fact that Third World populations differ behaviorally from First World ones for biological reasons.”

        Y’know, that you’re a socialist lefty is actually a plausible hypothesis given the ease with which we can get you to moan about being oppressed. Haha…

        “The point is that invoking welfare to explain black violence and family abandonment is ad hoc when precisely the same problems, though in much more severe form, are present in Africa where there is no welfare state.”

        Cross-country comparisons without controlling for any confounders are worth very little. Gun grabbers make the same mistake. Comparisons *between* very different countries with very different cultures are not as reliable as comparisons *within* countries at different times and before and after the implementation of the relevant policies. It is sad that this has to be spelled out for you.

        “Note also that neither you nor Ideal Observer has managed to explain why blacks, but not whites, Jews, or East Asians, respond so differently to the same welfare opportunities.”

        A big part of the explanation involves cultural differences.

        “Yes, illegitimacy was a bigger problem in the past than now.”

        Nope. You’ve got it backwards. Please read properly! Illegitimacy was *not as big a problem* in the past, at the height of white racism against blacks, before the enormous intervention of the state, which has removed the incentive to work and has created an incentive to procreate with limited means. Since the welfare state, black illegitimacy has *skyrocketed.* So too has white illegitimacy, by the way.

        Your points about the heritability of IQ are completely irrelevant to this discussion since I haven’t denied them. They are consistent with IQ not being even a minor part of the explanation of criminality in various groups.

        I wrote, “You’ve produced not even a shred of evidence that ‘civility is for blacks rare.’ To get that claim, you’d need not only show that a majority of blacks are uncivil, but that the *overwhelming* majority are. Where’s the evidence?” You responded by telling me to go read a book. If you’ve got evidence that civility among blacks is *rare,* please share it. I won’t hold my breath…

        You also dismissed, without even the hint of an argument, the following:

        “This can’t explain other groups whose IQ scores are comparable but which are significantly less likely to be involved in violent crimes. My point had nothing to do with whether IQ is primarily genetically determined; for all I know, it is. I was questioning the dubious assumption that IQ is the primary explanation for the lot of the ordinary black man in this country; it isn’t.”

        This is an important point for readers to grasp. In 1972, the average Irish IQ was 87, only two points higher than the average IQ among American blacks. If we’re making simple comparisons (and BioRealist has been doing so, as is evidenced by his silly cross-country comparisons), we’d expect the Irish to be about as violent as American blacks if the hypothesis that IQ is a significant cause of violent criminal behaviour. We see something similar among American Latinos, whose average IQ is 89. Despite this, they are significantly less likely than blacks to engage in violent criminal behaviour. This is pretty good evidence that cultural and economic differences, rather than differences in intelligence, explain differences between groups with respect to criminal behaviour. BioRealist hasn’t produced a shred of evidence concerning the criminogenic effects of (relatively low) intelligence on rates of violent crime within groups…

      • “This is pretty good evidence that cultural and economic differences, rather than differences in intelligence, explain differences between groups with respect to criminal behaviour.”

        So, this whole venomous exchange started when Ideal Observer claimed:

        “My one qualm would be the ascription of responsibility to the black community. I think the primary responsibility is borne by white liberal elites, who have deliberately promoted the welfare-state dependency characteristic of so many black communities today, and have left black men in a crushing state of unemployment. ”

        BioRealist than responded that it was ridiculous to attribute black violence, illegitimacy rates, etc. to liberal welfare policies and that underlying genetic factors are a much better explanation. The objection to this seems to be mainly to say that you can’t compare different societies because there are too many unfixed variables and that black people used to do better in the US before liberal welfare policies. (If you want to nit pick my interpretation, please spare me the condescending insults that have characterized this entire exchange.)

        If you want to use the second objection, though, you can’t really appeal to the first one, can you? Because obviously there are lots of unfixed variables between the period before liberal welfare and the period since.

        But, more importantly, I am just wondering if this is a fundamental fork in the road for certain people on he right. People like BioRealist and myself look around, read some literature on this stuff, factor in personal experience and common sense, and think: the best explanation of these patterns of differences is something deeper than contingent political policies or social trends. That seems fairly _obvious_ to us, just as it seems _obvious_ that the differences between men and women aren’t determined by political policies and social trends.

        People like Ideal Observer and Conservatrarian seem to find it _obvious_ that this is _not_ obvious. I wonder if there is any way to reach agreement on this issue. I suspect the answer is “no” and that the right will fully fracture over this issue, as it probably should.

      • BioRealist,
        I’m not sure what is so awful about my reply. I disagree with some of what you said. Regarding the blog and its potential, it is a big tent, with something like 20 contributors. Some of the contributors didn’t respond to you, and some did. Maybe some are more sympathetic with what you say than the three who did. At any rate, you are getting serious, substantive (even if, sometimes mistaken, I’ll admit my fallibility) responses from our writers. That is something that you wouldn’t get on a lot of other blogs.

        Okay, so you aren’t saying hyperbolic things. Shall I interpret your words literally then? You said, “Wherever blacks are found, they are more violent, more prone to family abandonment, and less intelligent than whites and, even more so, East Asians.” What does this statement mean? If I read this in a very wooden, literal way, it’s OBVIOUSLY false. For, today I when I went to class, I “found” a black student in my class, who is probably the nicest and most Christian member of my class. We could also find neighborhoods full of wonderful black people, who contribute to society in meaningful ways. So, there are places where blacks are found where your statement is just false. I don’t think that’s what you meant, but I’ll let you say what you meant, rather than try to fill it in myself.

        Thanks for your explanation that your second statement does not mean that black dysfunction is the same everywhere, and I see your point about the statement that follows. Surely you see how that statement could have been interpreted as I interpreted it without this explanation.

        BioRealist, I’ll be honest with you. I’m skeptical that the “universal black disparities” that you identified really “plain empirical facts”. This might be because of my background epistemology and philosophy of religion, but I am initially skeptical of nearly all claims made in the soft sciences. There are just too many variables to control for. I do have some familiarity with the scientific work from which your claims derive. I saw the criminology study that you posted above, and I’m pretty sympathetic to its conclusion that racism is not a problem in police departments. You’ve also mentioned some findings you put forward to the other blog contributors. I saw you make some empirical claims, but I didn’t see you put forward any scientific support for those claims. I saw you mention Jenson and others above to Ideal Observer, with the comment that psychometrics has become more hereditary since then. I don’t doubt that, though I am skeptical of these fields for the same reasons I mentioned above. Also I’ve read criticisms of Jenson’s work that seemed very thorough to me, which makes me skeptical of those who follow in his footsteps. If you want to say more about why I should believe these particular studies, fine with me. I’ll listen. You seem to be more embedded in this literature than me. If you don’t want to continue this conversation, that’s fine too.

        Another note. I’m not sure what you and I are disagreeing on this point. I’m of the opinion that a significant portion of the blame for black dysfunction in our society goes to leftist policies. It was never my position that genetics plays no role, but I’m skeptical that it is the primary explanation. It would be incredibly hard for social scientists to determine which causes are the most significant. Based on your comment above, I thought you thought that leftist policies don’t play much of a role at all, but I thought I saw elsewhere that you do acknowledge it plays a role (though I’m having trouble finding it at the moment). So, maybe we are disagreeing about how much of a role that leftist policies play in causing the current black population’s state.

        I’m also skeptical of your evolutionary explanation for the earlier black puberty rate. That sounds like a “just so” story. It has been very tempting for evolutionary biologists to give an adaptive story for any old trait, but as Gould and Lewontin argue, this is a mistake. Such evolutionary stories might be plausible, but they are pretty speculative.

        Keep reading the blog, Bio!

      • Hi Criticus,

        I think your interpretation is roughly on-point. However, after the passage you quoted, in the next sentence I also said this:

        “Not to mention the general libertine zeitgeist that does away with God, the Church, and the family, in favor of a materialistic moral free-for-all.”

        BioRealist seemed to miss that, and so I said this too:

        “I never said that “all we need [is] little more than the end of welfare.” It is certainly one problem. Among other things, there also need to be strong cultural, moral and religious norms, as it was prior to the destruction of these within the black community by liberal whites.”

        As for your points, I think Conservatrarian is right here:

        “Cross-country comparisons without controlling for any confounders are worth very little. Gun grabbers make the same mistake. Comparisons *between* very different countries with very different cultures are not as reliable as comparisons *within* countries at different times and before and after the implementation of the relevant policies.”

        As for our differing intuitions, I too try to read literature and factor in personal experience and common sense. And in fact, I have read “race realist” literature and am willing to grant that there are genetically based differences of average IQ among different groups. (This should have been obvious — the opposite conclusion being that average IQ among different groups happens to turn out *exactly the same*, which is just mathematically improbable.) But unlike “race realists” I don’t think this is as explanatory as they make it out to be. I’m even willing to grant that, controlling for other factors, there will probably be some residual inequalities in outcome left between different racial groups. What does *not* seem obvious to me are the extravagant “race realist” conclusions about American race relations that are drawn from this relatively unimportant conclusion: For instance, it *obviously* does not imply that a 75% black illegitimacy rate is long-term biologically inevitable.

      • Criticus,

        This exchange turned ‘venemous’ when BioRealist decided to write the following drivel:

        “Quite sad to see just how awful all three of these replies are. And they are from blog authors, no less. I thought this site might have potential.”

        You wrote,

        “The objection to this seems to be mainly to say that you can’t compare different societies because there are too many unfixed variables and that black people used to do better in the US before liberal welfare policies. (If you want to nit pick my interpretation, please spare me the condescending insults that have characterized this entire exchange.)”

        No, that isn’t the objection. The objection was that simple cross-country comparisons without controlling for any confounding variables whatever are very unreliable. It’s the same as the standard leftist argument against gun ownership: “The UK and other European countries have lower crime than the U.S., which has a lot of guns. QED!” I then pointed out that if we’re going to make simple comparisons, a more reliable comparison would be what happens *within* a country before and after some period. So, using the gun control analogy, a more reliable comparison might be what happened to crime rates *in the UK* before and after their gun ban (incidentally, their rates were lower than the US rate before their ban and rose significantly after their ban). That’s a much more reliable way of testing the effects of the relevant policies than comparing two very different countries (including comparisons between the US and third-world, war-ravaged and impoverished ones). Similarly, comparing the situation in the US to Africa whilst controlling for nothing is even more laughable, not least because the US and UK are much more similar than the US and Africa, and yet are also very different in very relevant ways.

        “If you want to use the second objection, though, you can’t really appeal to the first one, can you? Because obviously there are lots of unfixed variables between the period before liberal welfare and the period since.”

        Yes, I can. As I wrote, these are *simple* comparisons. But not all simple comparisons are equally (un)reliable. A much more reliable way of testing the relevant hypotheses is looking at data from before and after some policy or time or cultural change *within the same country.* Since black illegitimacy was *significantly* lower than it is now, when blacks were much more disadvantaged, the genetic explanation is simply not going to do much work. There are no significant genetic differences between blacks in the first half of the 20th century and extant blacks. So the more likely explanation of the shift involves a mixture of cultural changes (which have undeniably happened since the 1960s) and government policies (which have created a powerful incentive to work less).

      • I’ll open with acknowledgement of a botched sentence on my part that Conservatrarian has pointed out and uncharitably taken to express my actual view on the pertinent matter; in light of the larger context of my post, his spin on the erroneous sentence is unreasonable. Where I wrote, “Yes, illegitimacy was a bigger problem in the past than now,” it should read as follows: “Yes, illegitimacy is a bigger problem now than in the past.” The sentence begins with “Yes” because, clearly, it was intended to express agreement with the claims about the difference between black illegitimacy in pre- and post-1960s America that you and Ideal Observer have offered. Consider also, for instance, the sentence immediately following the botched one, along with the broader discussion I offer on this issue: “You have done nothing to establish that welfare has the lion’s share of responsibility for increasing the problem of dependency.” With that out of the way I’ll proceed.

        Ideal Observer:

        “I never said that ‘all we need [is] little more than the end of welfare.’ It is certainly one problem. Among other things, there also need to be strong cultural, moral and religious norms, as it was prior to the destruction of these within the black community by liberal whites.”

        I’m glad that you at least acknowledge this. What I don’t understand is your certainty that welfare is mostly responsible for the problems at issue. You are also now downplaying the degree of responsibility that you attributed to the welfare state for post-1960s black social problems.

        “It is obviously silly to argue that the only thing that kept the black family and black cultural mores in place was “intense repression” (whatever that is supposed to mean). (I guess when crosses burn in some peoples’ yards, or you have to ride on the back of the bus, you can somehow achieve a low 1-in-5 out-of-wedlock birthrate? Is that the thought? I suppose if those things started happening again, black families would somehow start to stabilize?)”

        I would in fact expect the threat of violence for failure to conform to white norms to be quite an effective constraint on black behavior — though, to be clear, do not think such threats should be reinstated. I’m making a descriptive, not normative, claim. See Michael Levin’s book — which I now doubt, contra your claim, you’ve read — for more on this.

        “The embarrassing fact for your view is that blacks, prior to the 1960s, were generally productive and well-functioning members of society. Whatever else you might say about the fate of Africa or about average testerone levels or whatever else doesn’t change the fact that blacks could be much better off than they are now if it were not for white liberal social policy.”

        Once again, and as Levin has indicated too, it is bizarre to blame welfare when whites, East Asians, and Jews, exposed to the same welfare opportunities, haven’t experienced these problems. There is more than welfare going on to which you’re simply blind. Something that may give you a sense of how off base you are, from Gerhard Meisenberg’s 2007 book, In God’s Image: “In the United States, many behavioral problems among African Americans were blamed on low self-esteem. Based on this theory, efforts at boosting ‘black pride’ were undertaken since the 1960s. By and large these efforts were successful. During the past quarter of a century surveys have consistently shown that the self-esteem of blacks is about the same or somewhat higher than that of whites. This did indeed coincide with behavioral changes. Until at least the 1920s, killings of blacks by whites were more common than killings of whites by blacks. Sometime during the twentieth century the pattern reversed, and recent murder statistics show that blacks kill whites five to ten times more often than whites kill blacks. Until 1950, rapes of black women by white men were more common than rapes of white women by black men. The numbers were balanced during the 1950s, and every survey after the 1960s showed that black-on-white rape was more common than white-on-black rape: ten times more common according to the latest counts.”

        In short, it may be that when blacks aren’t having their self-esteem depressed, via, for example, the repressive cultural controls of pre-1960s America, they return to biologically typical levels of violence and dysfunction.

        Conservatrarian:

        “I never once wrote that you’re associated with the alt-right. I only wrote, without mentioning you, that I will eviscerate the alt-right in a future post.”

        Given context, my inference was reasonable.

        “Y’know, that you’re a socialist lefty is actually a plausible hypothesis given the ease with which we can get you to moan about being oppressed. Haha…”

        I take it you’re being facetious. In case you aren’t, note that I was merely stating that my view on race is compatible with having state socialist politics, not that I actually have that political stance.

        “Cross-country comparisons without controlling for any confounders are worth very little. Gun grabbers make the same mistake. Comparisons *between* very different countries with very different cultures are not as reliable as comparisons *within* countries at different times and before and after the implementation of the relevant policies. It is sad that this has to be spelled out for you.”

        Cross-national comparisons have done an excellent job of establishing that environmental factors alone fail to explain the poor state of African development, crime, and other measures of societal success. The necessary controls are there in many high-quality studies, which find that genetic factors best explain cross-national differences in these indicators of success. See the following two papers; with respect to Christainsen’s, pay attention to the Discussion section — where he mentions the, likely futile, as far as I gather, search for some non-genetic “X factor” that might partially explain national differences in IQ — and do not rely on the abstract alone: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016028961300113X http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289609000592

        “A big part of the explanation involves cultural differences.”

        Baseless assertion. Who says it is “big”? One must keep in mind that culture doesn’t fall out of the sky. The genetics of a population, acting through individual traits, largely determine culture at any given time in whatever society is under consideration. The cultural differences, to whatever extent they matter, don’t mean what you think they do.

        “Since the welfare state, black illegitimacy has *skyrocketed.* So too has white illegitimacy, by the way.”

        I addressed what immediately precedes the above sentence in your post through the first paragraph of my response here. On the above sentence itself, you are simply failing to consider the many other factors that have also changed. White illegitimacy has gone up, but not to the same degree, and not anywhere near as high, as black illegitimacy.

        “Your points about the heritability of IQ are completely irrelevant to this discussion since I haven’t denied them. They are consistent with IQ not being even a minor part of the explanation of criminality in various groups.”

        You’re simply ignorant of the relevant research if you’re unaware of the connection between IQ and criminality. Low IQ does indeed have a substantial role in explaining black criminal behavior: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256079484_No_evidence_of_racial_discrimination_in_criminal_justice_processing_Results_from_the_National_Longitudinal_Study_of_Adolescent_Health. See also John P. Wright’s contribution to the volume entitled, Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research (Routledge, 2009).

        “You responded by telling me to go read a book. If you’ve got evidence that civility among blacks is *rare,* please share it. I won’t hold my breath…”

        And what’s wrong with that? You could also just read some of the behavior genetics/psychometrics/biologically informed work on blacks before continuing to descant on things you know nothing about.

        “You also dismissed, without even the hint of an argument, the following”

        In fact, I responded with evidence. Again, life history speed, endocrinal differences, etc. make quite the difference. You have, by the way, provided barely any evidence, certainly no good evidence, justifying your insistence on the great importance of welfare in explaining these changes. Saying “illegitimacy went up after the welfare state” is post hoc ergo propter hoc garbage and hardly counts as evidence at all. My claims are actually consistent with the larger state of blacks the world over, while yours are not.

        “This is an important point for readers to grasp. In 1972, the average Irish IQ was 87, only two points higher than the average IQ among American blacks. If we’re making simple comparisons (and BioRealist has been doing so, as is evidenced by his silly cross-country comparisons), we’d expect the Irish to be about as violent as American blacks if the hypothesis that IQ is a significant cause of violent criminal behaviour. We see something similar among American Latinos, whose average IQ is 89. Despite this, they are significantly less likely than blacks to engage in violent criminal behaviour. This is pretty good evidence that cultural and economic differences, rather than differences in intelligence, explain differences between groups with respect to criminal behaviour. BioRealist hasn’t produced a shred of evidence concerning the criminogenic effects of (relatively low) intelligence on rates of violent crime within groups…”

        See the papers I linked above and my comments on life history speed and endocrinal differences. The former address the important roles of low intelligence and other biological factors in violent crime and human development. The latter make your invocation of the Irish and Latinos silly — blacks have a special combination of traits that make them unusually violent and criminal on average in the larger context of human racial and ethnic groups. But there are deeper problems regarding your argument that calls on the Irish specifically. First off, I’m skeptical about the 87 IQ claim; I imagine that they were at 87 in 1972 on contemporary IQ test norms. If that’s right, keep in mind the problem that many IQ subtests don’t measure the same factors over time. They’re not as good at measuring general intelligence, what they’re supposed to be tapping, as they used to be. That’s partly because people have learned, through education and the like, how to game the tests, artificially boosting scores. This has a significant role in explaining why IQ scores have increased in the 20th and 21st centuries, though there is now evidence that they’re falling in the West. Just about every good study makes clear that historical gains in IQ test scores aren’t results of increasing general intelligence: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289613000226. Note also that the Irish are, in fact, more violent on average than other white Europeans, a difference that the lower-than-European-average IQ and faster-than-European-average life history speed of the Irish account for.

        Walter Montgomery:

        I appreciate the decency of your reply here, and apologize for what I now think was an overly disparaging response to your, but not the others’, commentary. I don’t have a lot of time and just saw your latest, so I hope the following is alright.

        I don’t trust Gould or Leowontin. Gould was a data fabricator: http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1001071. Leowontin has a fallacy named after him for good reason: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12879450. Their dishonesty was probably a result of their being self-proclaimed Marxists who saw biosocial science as a threat to the realization of their social and political ideals. The “just-so story” thing is a vacuous canard: http://www.human-nature.com/nibbs/02/apd.html. Where I write of racial disparities, I’m focusing on the national level. Behavior genetics has, in my estimation and that of many others, done much to distinguish the contribution of genes and environment to behavioral outcomes. The kind of broad skepticism you mention doesn’t concern me since, to the extent it matters, it bedevils all proposed explanations of racial differences.

      • BioRealist,

        “I’m glad that you at least acknowledge this. What I don’t understand is your certainty that welfare is mostly responsible for the problems at issue. You are also now downplaying the degree of responsibility that you attributed to the welfare state for post-1960s black social problems.”

        No, I never once attributed the present black dysfunction solely to the welfare state (though it plays an important part). For some reason every time I mention the destruction of familial, cultural, religious, and moral norms within the black community this goes unnoticed.

        What I do deny is that the present ills of the black community — social outcomes measured in absolute terms — are primarily and inevitably determined by genetically inherited factors; that seems to me a ludicrous explanation, given the fact that blacks did *just fine* in absolute terms before the white liberal cultural degeneracy of the 60s. Again, this is consistent with my accepting that there exist some heritable differences in IQ that might lead to residual inequalities if we could control for all other variables. But there is no reason based on “genetics” to expect that the present situation is inevitable, or that the only solution is either segregation, deportation, or “severe repression.”

        “I would in fact expect the threat of violence for failure to conform to white norms to be quite an effective constraint on black behavior.”

        It is my experience that race realists retreat into ambiguous and vague claims like this.

        The question was whether the flourishing of black family life in absolute terms — for instance, the 14% out-of-wedlock birthrate — could be accounted for via the mechanism of “the threat of violence for failure to conform to white norms” (again, whatever that means). Were black families in Brooklyn 85% two-parent families because someone was burning a cross in Alabama? Did fathers reason “I’m ‘under the threat of violence for failure to conform to white norms’; therefore, I better get married and have kids”? It’s not even clear what this means.

        Once again, please see the unwelcome evidence here: http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/walter-e-williams/true-black-tragedy-illegitimacy-rate-nearly-75

        As for your quote, I never claimed that the problem was that blacks suffered from low self-esteem. (I am familiar with Levin’s discussion of black self-esteem from his book.) This is irrelevant.

        “In short, it may be that when blacks aren’t having their self-esteem depressed, via, for example, the repressive cultural controls of pre-1960s America, they return to biologically typical levels of violence and dysfunction.”

        There are all sorts of things it “may” be. And then there are the sorts of things it is likely to be. And it is not likely that, say, the switch from a 14% out-of-wedlock birthrate to a 75% out-of-wedlock birthrate is simply the fact that “genetics” finally showed up after blacks were no longer “severely repressed.”

      • BioRealist,

        You’ve asserted several times that dysfunction is worse among black Africans than African-Americans. Care to operationalize that claim and provide some statistical evidence for it?

      • Ideal Observer:

        “No, I never once attributed the present black dysfunction solely to the welfare state (though it plays an important part). For some reason every time I mention the destruction of familial, cultural, religious, and moral norms within the black community this goes unnoticed.”

        You’re downplaying insofar as you originally wrote the following and are now trying to upgrade, post hoc, the significance of cultural factors, relative to welfare, in your case: “I think the primary responsibility is borne by white liberal elites, who have deliberately promoted the welfare-state dependency characteristic of so many black communities today, and have left black men in a crushing state of unemployment.” You go on to note the “libertine zeitgeist” as an afterthought, with welfare clearly taking pride of place in your account of black dysfunction.

        “What I do deny is that the present ills of the black community — social outcomes measured in absolute terms — are primarily and inevitably determined by genetically inherited factors; that seems to me a ludicrous explanation, given the fact that blacks did *just fine* in absolute terms before the white liberal cultural degeneracy of the 60s.”

        You simply aren’t reading what I’ve written. At no point have I stated anything about inevitable genetic determination. In my first reply to you that kicked this all off, I wrote the following: “Also note that whatever damage welfare has done to blacks, it has done far less to whites, and even less to Asians and Jews. This is exactly what the findings of human behavioral science would lead one to expect.”

        Blaming welfare primarily is ad hoc because welfare opportunities are absent in countries where blacks are most dysfunctional. Low black marital dissolution and promiscuity prior to the 1960s in the US was an anomaly for blacks in global and historical context. To explain an anomaly chiefly through a factor present in many of the relevant non-anomalous cases is transparently idiotic. You assume that because black dysfunction can be curtailed through environmental intervention, your pseudo-conservative, wholesome interventions will do the trick — a complete non-sequitur. Show me one nation in history wherein blacks have come close to behaving on average like white European Christians without intensely repressive cultural controls placed on them. You can’t do it, because it’s never happened.

        “It is my experience that race realists retreat into ambiguous and vague claims like this.”

        You have offered nothing but vague, underdetermined claims in every one of your posts, with no empirical weight behind any of your arguments.

        “As for your quote, I never claimed that the problem was that blacks suffered from low self-esteem. (I am familiar with Levin’s discussion of black self-esteem from his book.) This is irrelevant.”

        How you missed that the point of that quote was to give a sense of an alternative explanation of black dysfunction from the 1960s on is beyond me.

        “And it is not likely that, say, the switch from a 14% out-of-wedlock birthrate to a 75% out-of-wedlock birthrate is simply the fact that ‘genetics’ finally showed up after blacks were no longer ‘severely repressed.'”

        This talk of genetics “finally showing up” demonstrates that you haven’t the first clue about what you’re trying to engage here. An excellent behavior genetics study from 1997 showed that the heritability of age at first intercourse significantly increased after the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Why? Because once cultural controls on sociosexuality were substantially relaxed, strongly biologically influenced traits like self-control became much more important in determining age at first intercourse: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/8/3/211.short.

        Finally, an observation. You don’t think women “in general” “bear most of the responsibility” for getting abortions: “Also, in general, I do not think women bear most of the responsibility for abortion. I think most women who do have an abortion are misguided and think that their choice is truly the best option, but are ignorant of the facts.” The blame should mostly be with liberal elites, you say, because they “know better.” But how were elites supposed to know how badly welfare would affect blacks? When the world is full of ignoramuses like you who, at best, merely pay lip service to the possibility that biological factors have some responsibility for racial differences, while vociferously opposing biological explanations whenever they’re proffered — by, for example, writing profoundly stupid things about their “pseudoscientific” and “pagan” quality — how could these elites have been expected to know better? How can you blame them for what’s happened to blacks, especially when the damage to whites has been comparatively minor? They would have to have known about racial differences to have foreseen that the likely effects of welfare on whites couldn’t be generalized to blacks. Your argument isn’t even internally consistent.

        Troy:

        I’d hope that all persons with even very limited knowledge of the world are aware of that fact. Amazing that no one in this thread has provided anything approximating a good defense of the proposition that welfare is mostly to blame for black dysfunction in post-1960s America, but my indicating plain facts is met with demands for evidence. Why do you think it is that there’s so much hand-wringing over and charitable effort directed at African blacks? Why do you think it is that Africa is more or less unanimously understood as the most troubled, in terms of human welfare, continent on earth? Why are the following sentence and variations of it culturally common in the US and, I imagine, other developed countries? “Finish your dinner, [insert name] — there are children starving in Africa!” I’m not interested in hunting down and transcribing bits of text because obvious truths are beyond your ken. Some of the scholarly material that’s come up in my other comments details the severity of African black relative to American black dysfunction. I will offer one other piece on this score, which is right on estimated black African IQ but overly optimistic about the causes: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886912003741. If you understand the importance of IQ for national development, crime, and so on — see other works I’ve linked and discussed — you will hopefully see the light after reading that.

      • Hello BioRealist,

        Alas, in spite of my five years living among black Africans and five years living among African-Americans, I do not see the light. My anecdotal experience living in several different African cultures is that these cultures are much healthier than African-American culture (e.g., in their attitudes towards women and family, their valuing of work, their respect for authority, their religiosity, etc.).

        Vague generalities about the plight of Africa will not do by your own principles, because I doubt you are inclined to credit African-Americans with the positive political and economic environment in which they find themselves. And, holding that liberal, peaceful, democratic environment fixed, it is hardly fair to compare African-Americans to black Africans living in failed states, countries embroiled in civil war, or oppressive dictatorships (e.g., DRC, CAR, Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe). It would be more instructive to look at comparatively liberal, stable, democratic African countries (e.g., South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia) and compare blacks in those countries to African-Americans according to various metrics of social dysfunction. Then we are at least coming *closer* to holding relevant background factors fixed, and only varying culture (though obviously there will still be many other differences that we are unable to eliminate).

        You point to the lower average IQ of Africans than African-Americans (which persists in the better-off countries I mention). But low IQ is not an operationalization of social dysfunction, it is a factor causally relevant to it. Several kinds of social dysfunction have come up in the discussion previously: family abandonment, single-parent families, and violent crime, for instance. It would be more instructive to compare Africans to African-Americans on these metrics. And indeed, if we find that African-Americans do not come out ahead on these metrics, in spite of their higher IQ, this is evidence *against* IQ being the primary determinant of these social outcomes.

        I suspect that if we compare Africans in the more stable, liberal, democratic African countries and African-Americans on the above or similar metrics, we will find that African-Americans do not come out ahead, and are probably slightly below average. If you are able to prove me wrong about this, please do so. I would try to find the relevant data online myself, but I am afraid that my Internet connection here in Africa is rather intermittent, and I suspect that you will be able to compile relevant statistics more effectively than I.

        Cheers,
        Troy

    • “But, more importantly, I am just wondering if this is a fundamental fork in the road for certain people on he right.”

      It’s an empirical question, right? Unless a side has some magical insight into the answer, why would (or should) this be a fork in the road for anyone on the right? Perhaps it is, but I can’t see why it should be. I for one am on the fence until I see what the science bears out.

  4. So, in particular, I would refrain from any language that implies women who have abortions, in general, are murderers

    Wouldn’t this imply that in general women are not moral agents? It appears to treat them more like children than anything.

    • I don’t think so. Two things:

      First, it is not as if for any category of woman that there is, there is a proportional number of them among the abortion-procurers. Just to take one example, and as the post points out: Black women account for 37% of all abortions, even though they are only 13% of the female population. So any claim about women who have abortions need not imply a similar claim about women in general.

      Second, even if, say, 60% of women who have abortions are culpable, it is probably not fair to label all women who have abortions as murderers (especially the large number of poor people who have abortions). It is not enough that a bare majority are murderers to use the language. It would be like labeling whites as “in general” Republicans, even though 40% are Democrats.

      I think what I am saying implies, at most, that many women who have abortions are ignorant and bear less-than-full culpability. That is a thoroughly distinct claim from the denial of their moral agency. (I’m happy to say that many moral agents in our society have been effectively duped in certain matters, largely by cultural currents outside of their control.)

      I certainly think the “moral pie” of responsibility divides more largely among liberal elites and lucrative abortion-providers than, say, the poor women they court into getting them.

  5. I think what I am saying implies, at most, that many women who have abortions are ignorant and bear less-than-full culpability.

    This certainly could be true, however, I do not think it changes the fact that women who choose to have an abortion are murderers. The object of the act (choosing to kill your unborn child) is murder. Now I agree with you that many women may not be fully culpable. Culpability would be determined in each individual case. The facts and circumstances of each case is beyond my knowledge, so I would refrain from blanket condemnation, but the actual act being chosen is still objectively murder. I also can agree that the “moral pie of responsibility divides more largely among liberal elites and lucrative abortion-providers”. The most effective strategy might be to focus on that point.

    • I agree that, qua act, any intentional killing of innocent persons is murder. If by “murderer” all that is meant is one who has done this, then women who intentionally kill their children via abortion are murderers.

      But the pragmatics doesn’t necessarily track the grammar so nicely; “murderer” has many connotations in addition to the focal meaning of “one who has intentionally killed an innocent person.” For instance, it often implicates a strong charge of culpability, as well as a character vice.

      • But surely, my comrade in arms, Ideal Observer, a woman who seeks abortion realizes she’s seeking assisted termination of the life of her baby. The decision to consult her doctor and go to a clinic that specialize in the practice is clear evidence of premeditation. Surely there is reason to ascribe a “strong charge of culpability” to a woman who does get an abortion, no matter how fearful or distraught she is. Emotional distress is not an excuse to diminish a grave moral evil, and from those who willfully engage in one like abortion, it is reasonable to infer “a character vice.”

        If the conservative position in regard to abortion is that it is murder, then shouldn’t our rhetoric and arguments match? The left has no qualms about decrying what it perceives as evil and condemn those who they believe guilty of it, e.g. “racist,” “xenophobe,” “homophobe,” “bigot,” “transphobe,” “sexist,” “misogynist,” etc. They often unleash the epithets on much more spurious grounds than we have for indicting all parties responsible in the termination unborn life as murderers.

        The Left wins because it operates on the pretense that it has the moral high ground. We actually have the moral high ground and should act accordingly. If conservatives would comprehensively treat a grave moral evil like abortion as a grave moral evil and not fret about alienating women, then perhaps these women, when forced to confront their murderous choice as murder, would less likely go through with it. Imagine if the abolitionists couched their language when it came to slavery as not being the depraved institution out of fear it would anger those slave owners who treated their “property” nicely. That would be foolish. To heed “pragmatics” is effectively to concede the issue at the expense of millions of lives, conservatism full stop, the dignity of Western culture and any semblance we’re a moral people.

      • If by “murderer” all that is meant is one who has done this, then women who intentionally kill their children via abortion are murderers.

        That is precisely what I was getting at, but I understand your point that “murderer” has many connotations beyond this. Thanks for the intelligent discussion.

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