Idiot Wind

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You'd think the new film by the creator of Office Space, Beavis and Butthead, and King of the Hill would get the kind of promotional push accorded to powerhouses like John Tucker Must Die or Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector. But thanks to Fox, Mike Judge's Idiocracy lies a-moulderin' in the grave. The hard-hitting satire about a future America where generation after generation of white trash have degraded the gene pool (they do this, somehow, without being outbred by Mexicans. Pat Buchanan take note!), where Gatorade has supplanted water, and where the most popular movie of the summer is a 90-minute loop of a man farting. The movie isn't being released in New York; it doesn't even have a trailer. Quint at Ain't it Cool News wonders why this is.

With the success of TALLADEGA NIGHTS, one would think Fox would jump at the chance to release this film wide. They both exist to poke fun at the ignorant and TALLADEGA is doing damn well for itself. You'd think Fox would want to grab ahold of them coat-tails, cut some trailers in a similar vain, but sell it as an R-rated comedy that isn't afraid to go past the line where Will Ferrell stopped, and let loose the movie. Instead, they're hiding it in this invisible, minor release and dumping it to video.

Indeed; why do movies that exploit dumbed-down American culture get wide releases while a comedy making light of that, by the creator of Beavis and Butthead, is getting canned? Ilkka Kokkarinen thinks (via Steve Sailer) it's because it broaches the topic of Social Darwinism.

Normally such advertising and publicity tour would have indeed been in proper order, but even though this movie is nowhere as satirically biting as it very easily could have been, consisting mostly of fart jokes instead of, say, just casually pointing out the well-known negative correlations between intelligence and future time orientation and certain lifestyle choices that are known to have highly negative social effects, even the few worms that escape by creaking open this particular can of worms are so immensely serious that it is simply unimaginable that any studio boss would take the slightest chance of becoming the next Mel Gibson over the idea that society of stupid people is worse than a society of smart people.

At least deep down, leftists know perfectly well that they don't have any real arguments against soccer mom eugenics, and they also know that IQ is strongly correlated to most good things in life. Therefore they have no choice but to hysterically shout down and crucify anybody who even dares to approach this forbidden territory as a "Nazi", instead of engaging them in a honest debate. And at least nobody who wants to have a future career in the movie industry would want that for himself. As fun as it is to be right, it is way more fun to be successful.

Yes, I know this argument went from zero to creepy in about 20 seconds. Still, explain: Why can't we see a movie that can inspire an argument like that?

To watch the devolution of America in the form of one comedian, check out this classic H&R post on the health inspector mentioned previously,

NEXT: One Thing To Cheer About When it Comes To Politics This Fall: Inaction on Immigration

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  1. “At least deep down, leftists know perfectly well that they don’t have any real arguments against soccer mom eugenics”

    Oh really? I can think of a few. First, the best eugenics can do is generalities. IQ of parents may be a general predictor of the intelligence of children, but it is not a total predictor. Killing off the stupid or not allowing them to have children will kill off a lot of smart and creative people who would have been born. Granted, there won?t be as high a percentage as the high IQ people as those born to the smart group but it only takes one true genius to change the world.

    More importantly, intelligence doesn’t correspond to a better world. Joseph Stalin and Ezra Pound both no doubt had high IQs. Even you could create a world of geniuses, that doesn’t in anyway mean you will create a better world. In fact, it might be a lot worse. A world of bored, conceited genius’s born with knowledge that they were bread to improve the species sounds pretty awful to me.

    Lastly and most importantly, to endorse eugenics is to look at man as nothing special and just an over bred ape. The point of the human endeavor is not to evolve a better species. Human beings are an end in themselves and should be celebrated and appreciated as such. To use human beings in selective breeding programs like so many thoroughbred horses is to dehumanize man to his lowest level. Once you look at man like that, there is little reason not to just kill off the ones that don’t fit the criteria. If a baby is born handicapped, he can’t breed or do anything to improve the species. Why allow him to live? Indeed, the Nazi?s started out with eugenics, moved on to killing the handicapped and unfit and moved on from there to killing entire races of people. It is a short and logical trip from eugenics to genocide.

    If you can’t see the arguments against eugenics, you are either stupid or just an amoral piece of shit. I am not sure which Ikka is, but if he really believes that liberals have no real arguments against eugenics, I feel sorry for him.

  2. Therefore they have no choice but to hysterically shout down and crucify anybody who even dares to approach this forbidden territory as a “Nazi”,

    I thought we were calling them “fascists” now.

  3. For the record, I saw this movie this weekend, and spent the rest of the weekend encouraging other people to go see it. It’s probably the funniest movie I’ll see all year. It’s been a long time since I’ve driven home from a movie still cracking up about it.

    (If I had to come up with a conspiracy theory about the invisible release, I don’t think that it’s because The Leftists Can’t Handle The Truth about eugenics. I’d be more likely to suspect the movie’s treatment of Fuddruckers, Fox News, Starbucks, H&R Block, Costco, and a number of other real-life companies. Or, I’d point to the saying that satire is what closes on Saturday night.)

  4. Lastly and most importantly, to endorse eugenics is to look at man as nothing special and just an over bred ape.

    Inspired by the most logical race in the galaxy, the Vulcans, breeding will be permitted once every seven years. For many of you, this will be much less breeding. For me, much, much more.

  5. Ted – I’ve also heard that, in Judge’s dystopian future, the only source of information is Fox News. If that’s true, Judge’s urge to bite the hand that feeds probably played a role in the shoddy movie roll-out. (Although “The Simpsons” makes fun of Fox News occasionally and gets away with it.)

  6. Ted,

    Considering that Fox would like to sell commercial space to companies like Costco and Starbucks, I think your conspiracy theory is probably right on. If the movie is that funny, it will get a cult following and make a fortune on the DVD markets. Everyone can name at least 10 movies that flopped at the box office only to be discovered and appreciated later via cable TV or home video.

  7. “The point of the human endeavor is not to evolve a better species.”

    I didn’t realize there was a point. What is it again?

    “Human beings are an end in themselves and should be celebrated and appreciated as such.”

    Why should humans be celebrated?

  8. I’m not sure if this is just a case of Mike Judge running afoul of someone at FOX, but I doubt the eugenics debate was a big factor. Movies like Talladega and Larry allow us to laugh at these characters’ ignorance while identifying with the traits that help them win in the end over those we can identify as enemies. It doesn’t sound like Idiocracy allows us to do that. We can’t all be the frozen guy, and most likely we’ll be placed in the group responsible for dumbing down the world. We may have to be the french driver in Talladega nights or whatever uptight person Larry sticks it to (I haven’t seen Larry, but I think this is a safe assumption). Placing responsibility on everyone for ruining the world may be hard to sell as a comedy, despite how funny Al Gore’s movie was.

  9. Last one was a different John.

  10. … intelligence doesn’t correspond to a better world.

    True enough. A quarter of the Gestapo has PhDs. So much for the noblesse oblige argument…

  11. If the movie is that funny, it will get a cult following and make a fortune on the DVD markets.

    A la Office Space, Mike Judge’s other live action film.

  12. John:

    I agree that eugenics is indeed immoral. However, I think that one part of your argument is in direct conflict with the other. Humans are not “…an end in themselves and should be celebrated and appreciated as such.” We’re just another species and are continuing to evolve as all living things do. We’re not anything so special. As such, we require population diversity in order to increase our chances of surviving as a species – keeping the harmful recessive traits at bay and all that stuff. I suspect that some of the less intelligent, less creative members of our species are also the ones that could be more resistant to specific diseases and other things that threaten us as a species. It’s the fact that we are just another animal, IMHO, that makes that diversity so vital to our survival.

    I intend no disrespect to your or your beliefs but your “we are special” argument is kind of silly. I realize that my comments are going to raise your hackles as I believe that your only possible motivation for such an argument is faith-based – we aren’t apes but we have much in common with them, including having some common ancestor many thousands of years ago. Period. However, I think that it should suffice that you’re a decent enough person to note that eugenics is really arrogant and evil. I agree with you wholly on that point. I just think that your supporting argument isn’t really a good reason for not practicing eugenics.

  13. … intelligence doesn’t correspond to a better world.

    Really? Would the world be better if everyone were less intelligent, Less able to understand the world and the people around them?

  14. “First, the best eugenics can do is generalities.”

    The application of these “generalities” to the population of 300 million results in an impact, not just a generality. Also, the use of “eugenics” of the article refers to an unofficial eugenics, i.e., the soccer mom eugenics. I find it hard to conclude that a naturally ocurreing phenomenon could be called immoral.

    “but it only takes one true genius to change the world.”

    No, it takes a genius PLUS: an educational system and funding and networking and healthcare and just a wee bit o luck. etc.

    “to endorse eugenics is to look at man as nothing special and just an over bred ape.”

    Who knew that religion was so vain?

  15. If the movie is that funny, it will get a cult following and make a fortune on the DVD markets.

    Which is precisely what happened with Office Space. You’d think that considering the history of that movie, the geniuses would be hoping to skip the period-of-obscurity stage and go right to the word-of-mouth-hit stage, but apparently not. I haven’t been following this controversy and didn’t even know Judge had a new picture out, but I know when thing: The real idiocracies are big entertainment companies, most of which would be out of business in a week if they weren’t in a sector where the money practically grows on trees.

  16. I very much doubt the studio’s decision was based on ideology.

    But I do love the term “soccer mom eugenics”.

  17. Eugenics isn’t immoral. Forced culling of undesirables (through sterilization, euthanasia, etc.) is immoral, however, so I guess it depends on the package of policies you define as “eugenics.” I was taught that the word means only the improvement of the human species through deliberate selective breeding. The active removal of “inferior” humans was tacked on later.

    Robert Heinlein, for one, described an active and benign eugenics program in his Lazarus Long future history stories. The idea was that a shadowy foundation would track people with desirable traits (in this case, longevity) and, through grants of money and other privilege, encourage suitable men and women to marry and have children. Undesirables weren’t culled, except from the database of potential arranged marriages.

    I have to wonder whether Judge is a fan of CL Kornbluth’s story, “The Marching Morons.” From the description of his new movie, it sounds like “The Marching Morons” meets Woody Allen’s “Sleeper.” I’m looking forward to it, whether it comes to me on big screen or DVD.

  18. “”I intend no disrespect to your or your beliefs but your “we are special” argument is kind of silly.””

    It is silly to not recognize man’s accomplishments and claim we are no better than any other species. For better or worse, we are more special than others, for the existence of all other species is in our hands.

    Name another species with the ability to destroy the planet. That ability, in and of its self, is pretty special.

  19. I don’t know about destroying it, but if every cockroach in existance came out from behind their walls and walked down the middle of the street, I think the other lifeforms on this planet would die from being skeeved out.

  20. I read both the Sailer piece and the part he referenced, and got the same ick sensation from both of them. (And, although it’s deeply juvenile of me, I’m amused by the fact that the guy who wrote of one these things has a name that sounds like “icky.”) Among other problems I’ve got with their argument is that there is no definition of “soccer mom eugenics.” My best guess is that this refers to an assortive mating in which smart people pick their own mates, without clan or class input, from other smart people in college, but I have no real basis for that assumption because neither Sailer nor Ilkka provided an explanation of this phrase.

    Even passive eugenics, however, has problems. John addressed most of them, particularly the fact that being smart doesn’t necessarily equal being good, and smart, evil people are much worse for the world than stupid ones.

    As to the movie, I haven’t seen it, even though it’s playing here in Austin. My guess is that the person who pegged the lack of marketing on executives who thought Judge was being a bit too critical of the people who sign his paychecks are on the money. That, and perhaps that someone greenlighted a fart movie of his own and got offended at the implication that such a thing was bad.

  21. “Why should humans be celebrated?”

    “…your we are special” argument is kind of silly.””

    When looking at the universe as a whole, humans may not be a big deal, but we happen to be human. For us humans that in and of itself makes us special and worth celebrating (or denigrating). For a human to suggest otherwise is, well, kind of silly.

  22. Tricky Vic:

    Nope – not special. We’ve mastered our environment and sharks have mastered theirs by evolving into consumate aquatic predators and baby shark makers. We’re no better than sharks – we just do it differently. We, indeed, have accomplished much but note that the sharks are not the least bit impressed by any of that.

    But we will never – ever – destroy the Earth. We’re not nearly special enough for something that awesome. We may cut down bunches of trees, stuff landfills to the gunwhales, heat the Earth a degree or two (but I have my doubts about that one), and hunt or otherwise destroy some species that we should’ve been more careful not to have. We may contrive a situation where humans can no longer live, but many, if not most, of the 8 kabillion other species will find a way to go on without us.

    I’m all for life in all of its various forms but we’re just one of many, many examples of how it can work. We’ve got a good thing going here but the Earth and life will go on long after we’re gone.

  23. “We’re just another species and are continuing to evolve as all living things do.”

    If that is true, then please explain why killing a deformed child is any different than killing a deformed animal. Once you say humans are no longer special and are defined by a given set of characteristics rather than by simply being human, then people who don’t have those characteristics are less than human. Whether you define those characteristics as being a certain race, intelligence, physical capabilities or whatever, is irrelevant. Once you say that human beings are not special and worthy for the mere fact of being human, you are saying that everyone who doesn’t meet the test is less than human. Once you do that, the next logical step is to say that those beings for lack of a better term should have fewer rights than full humans do. The next step after that is to prevent the lesser beings from breeding so they don’t infect future generations with their defect. Lastly of course, you just cut to the chase and kill them so they are no longer a burden on society. The logic of eugenics is as inescapable as it is chilling. Once man starts playing God and deciding who is fit to breed and who isn’t, there is no stopping him from deciding who should live and who shouldn’t.

  24. stuartl:

    I have no qualm with humans nor with clebrating our humaness. It’s really quite cool to be human and I appreciate all of the many things that we’ve done. And I realize that we’re unique with respect to things like consciousness and asking really deep esistentialist questions. I certainly wouldn’t want to trade places with a mushroom or a weasel. I’m simply saying that we are not more important than any other critter. However, I believe that once we’re gone – and we will be gone one day – some other form of life will achieve consciousness and do some really swell things, too. I’m simply saying that we are not more important than any other critters.

    No, not silly. I prefer to think of it as being realistic and respectful of every member of the biosphere.

  25. Pi Guy,

    The earth very well may go on after we are no longer here and it was certainly here long before us. That said, when we are gone, it will still be a loss. A bigger loss than the dodo bird or the dinosaurs.

  26. I don’t think there’s any comparison between the release of Office Space and this release. I saw Office Space in the theater in my suburban hometown because I saw repeated commercials for it on TV. I now live in Manhattan and didn’t even know this thing was coming out. Haven’t seen so much as a poster.

  27. Pi Guy, from an unbiased non-human perspective, maybe all species are equal, but we are hard-wired to care more about humans. Look at it another way, given the choice of spending quality time with an exceeding attractive squirrel or Jennifer Alba, which do you choose? Or, how about in an emergency driving situation you have the choice between running over the squirrel or a human child. Which do you choose? Save the squirrel and you may be a moral being, but you are a despicable HUMAN being.

  28. I don’t want to be the conspiracy theory buzzkill, but is it possible it’s just not that great a movie?

  29. Brian24,

    Office Space was pushed pretty hard, but its ad campaign was terrible. No one really knew that it was that good. A good example of a movie getting no advertising and even less box office that turned into a beloved classic is “A Christmas Story”. I have yet to meet anyone who remembers that movie before they saw it on cable. Ultimately if a movie really can appeal to a large number of people it will no matter how hard the execs try to bury it.

  30. John:

    You misunderstand me. I don’t condone killing anyone for any reason.

    We’ve developed a different set of rules for living in our society. In the wild, a mother tiger will kill her own cub if it’s deformed and will not be able to survive on its own or risk the rest of the herd. And, generally, you (by that, I mean people) wouldn’t kill a deformed animal just because it’s deformed. That’s their code of life. We have ours. We aren’t so limited in our resources and one less than optimal human doesn’t endanger our race. If we get some joy out of living with our offspring and it doesn’t unduly burden our lives, than that’s just fine with me. I would never suggest that we play god. We don’t need to. Nature takes care of pretty much all of the killing all on its own. We’ve just found a pretty impressive number of ways of prolonging it. And that, I admit, is pretty special and I am much impressed by it.

    I like the basic code of ethics that we’ve created for ourselves over the millenia of having lived together. We’ve tried out a lot of different schemes and I think that the ones in most of the free societies aren’t so bad. It definitely beats being a dung beetle. I believe in human rights for all humans regardless of race, religion, height, IQ, or the fact that they plant lawn gnomes in the front yard. We can choose and we make, if you’ll excuse the word choice, humane ones in general. And I don’t see any set of human-caused circumstances leading to the slippery slope of eugenics that you suggest at all. I really think that the majority of us are too humane for that now. Those that aren’t come under scrutiny of the sort that you’ve waged here. That’s a good thing.

    What I think that you’re concerned about here – and I believe it to be evidenced by the fact that you capitalize the first letter in god and I don’t – is that you want humans to be special. You want to believe that we are the chosen species. That’s cool. I have no problem with that at all. That’s supposed to be one of the greatest things about living in this country. I, for my part, don’t need anything more than my humaness to respect humans or all other living things.

  31. Tim is right. Judge has never produced a failure, and they made this exact same mistake with Office Space. How is this possible? If *anyone* (e.g. Ted Barlow) thinks it’s “the best movie they’ve seen all year”, then surely it’s not objectively terrible. What.. the.. hell???

  32. Cyril Kornbluth wants royalties from bayond the grave.

  33. A quality establishment like Reason Magazine doesn’t need to give Steve Sailer any credibility by linking to him, and it certainly doesn’t need to take the claims of victimhood by bitter white supremacists like Sailer at face value. There are plenty of us not on the left who don’t care for Sailer or his arguments one bit, and it’s not because we dislike any discussion of IQ, ability, and race. It’s because the discussion is being driven mostly by white people who want to see racially discriminatory policies adopted on the basis of supposedly scientific data. As long as this continues, I’ll go on ignoring Sailer and his bullshit pleas for open debate, just like I ignore the intelligent design hacks.

    (In fairness, I have no idea whether the blogger quoted deserves to be grouped with Sailer, but the second paragraph was the same tired old complaint about ignoring the data, without any mention of the policies that inevitably pop into the discussion.)

  34. Two things:

    1) This movie doesn’t even have an official website.

    2) The plot description sounds a lot like the description of a sci-fi story written in the 1930’s or 1940’s, the title and author of which I can’t recall. Basically it dealt with a modern day con-man who finds himself in the distant future, and is recruited by the very tiny number of people who are still smart to do something about all the dumb people. The conclusion involved flying space ships into the sun or something.

  35. Stuart:
    I’d choose Jessica Alba and the human child in a situation where I was forced to choose between the two options. Like I said above, we can choose. However, If I had a choice between hitting a squirrel and swerving to avoid it, I’d like to think that I could choose not to kill the squirrel, too. But, if I had the choice, I’d hit the squirrel rather than hit another car or telephone pole – and not because I have any particular sort of respect for cars and poles. I’d prefer not to hit anything, actually. But, I digress…

    I understand what you’re saying about being hard-wired to care about humans. I agree and I think that that’s an imprtant quality for humans to have. Apparently I’ve been unclear in my comments and I apologize. My only intention was to say that we’re just another living thing and it is we humans that respect human life above other living things. There is no universal or natural reason that we are or should be preferred. Again, a thousand pardons for perhaps confusing and/or upsetting any who read my comments.

    John:
    To that end, no, I don’t think that it will be a loss any greater than the dodo or the dinosaurs. We’ve created and discovered many wonderful things but have also killed each other in large quantities, not merely over survival matters like food, territory, and mates, but because somebody said “Your Mother’s a slut” or “My god can beat up your god”. That’s pretty lame for such a special species, I’d say.

    It’s not good or bad that any species become extinct. It’s neutral. I appreciate very much what you’re saying about the neat things that humans have done. But I don’t think that that makes our own extinction any greater – or less – a tragedy.

  36. Mediageek,

    There is also the plot of one of the Douglas Adams books, where they divided the world into “thinkers”, “doers” and those that could do neither and convinced the third group that the planet was about to end and shot them all into space. A future dominated by stupid people is not a new idea.

  37. Please, please, you should learn to embrace eugenics as I have.

  38. I’ve always said had their been liberals a couple hundred thousand years ago Neandrathals would still be around today and Democrats would be trying to register them to vote.

    The reason we’re so smart is because nature is so heartless. We’ve become too moral for our own good.

  39. “Why should humans be celebrated?”

    “…your we are special” argument is kind of silly.””

    your right!

    May I suggest you use a gun, preferably one with a high caliber, rather then say slitting your wrists…finding half alive bloody meladramas in the bath tub is just so drool.

    Laying out some plastic before hand would also be a big help.

  40. For the record, I wouldn’t want to say it’s the best movie of the year. Funniest, though, quite possibly.

  41. Karen: Among other problems I’ve got with their argument is that there is no definition of “soccer mom eugenics.”

    My apologies, since I didn’t expect that my post would be quoted in other parts of the blogosphere where this handy term is not part of the general lingo. The term “soccer mom eugenics” simply refers to parents freely purchasing prenatal screening and genetic modification in the free market, as opposed to some totalitarian government dictating who gets to be born. I would presume that libertarians would enthusiastically support this system, since the parents could freely choose what they want, but they would also have to carry the costs of their free choices.

    With “soccer mom eugenics”, people can’t just flap their gums but actually have to put their money where their mouth is by demonstrating their moral beliefs about whether Tay-Sachs, Down syndrome or some other disability are good things that they would really want for their children. Here in the real world, consumers have already made their views about Down syndrome pretty clear. As the genetic engineering improves, I predict that we will see soon consumers similarly demonstrating by their choices whether they really want to have an intelligent child or a slow and retarded child. At least I can guess how all those parents who now try to put their kids in expensive preschools would choose.

    And if the leftists start opposing this… well, as they say, “my body, my choice”. I would be curious to see how they would even begin to oppose that. And if nobody really is in any way “worse” than anybody else, how exactly would choosing an intelligent kid be a “worse” choice than choosing to have a non-intelligent kid?

    By the way, I find it pretty funny how leftists seem to believe that stupidity is noble and intelligence is evil, especially considering the American domestic politics in the past few years, plus the fact that leftists themselves consider themselves intellectually superior, while at the same time they are morally superior for believing that intelligence differences are meaningless.

    Leftists love to whine about how intelligence and eugenics would lead to an evil dystopia, oblivious to the fact that if you want to see a bleak dystopia that already exists for real, simply go visit any area where the average IQ is something like 80, and ask yourself if that really is a place that you would want to live in. On the other hand, places where the average IQ is 120 tend to be quite pleasant, even after dark.

    … got the same ick sensation from both of them.

    It’s a good thing then that I didn’t go with my first draft, in which I whimsically wrote that leftists oppose eugenics for pretty much the same reasons why cockroaches would oppose Raid, if they could speak.

    John: I am not sure which Ikka is, but if he really believes that liberals have no real arguments against eugenics, I feel sorry for him.

    Hey, man, don’t be. Perhaps one day I will learn to understand how stupid and destructive to society I was to erroneously believe that some people are stupider than others and that way destructive to society.

  42. For those who don’t understand the term “soccer mom eugenics”:
    http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/001579.html

  43. John,

    FWIW, I also saw “A Christmas Story” in the theater. I was 12, and it was a birthday party for one of my friends. We all thought it was the funniest thing we’d ever seen.

    PC Load Letter/John,

    My point being, they did NOT make the “exact same mistake” with Office Space. Office Space may well have had a terrible media strategy, but they certainly pushed it. Whatever advertising they ran made me and my friends eager to see it–we saw it the weekend it opened. This is a totally different matter: they’re completely burying it, as if on purpose. As someone mentioned earlier, it seems odd that they’re putting it in theaters at all, if they don’t plan on running a single commercial, trailer or even poster (for those who don’t know, even tiny movies that only open on a couple of theaters tend to get a few posters put up in Manhattan subway stations. Hell, they put up posters for the straight-to-video American Pie IV. But I’ve seen NOTHING for this one.)

    Frankly, I’ve never seen anything like this. There must be more to the story.

  44. Pajiba, at least, suggests the simple explanation: the movie sucks.

    http://www.pajiba.com/idiocracy.htm

  45. Ilkka,

    “simply go visit any area where the average IQ is something like 80,”

    Could you give an example of such an area?

    I don’t know where you get your strange sense of what a “leftist” believes about the value of intelligence, but I believe you are confusing a stance that says your personal worth is not directly connected to your intelligence to one that says your intelligence is not important (or valuable).

    Intelligent people are a net positive in society.
    It is harder to argue (prove, find evidence) that “unintelligent” people are a net negative on society.

  46. The reason we’re so smart is because nature is so heartless. We’ve become too moral for our own good.

    So we need to become more animal-like, more amoral?

  47. Ilkka,

    “dysgenic breeding is currently making humanity stupider and that is somehow a bad thing.”

    I realize this is just the premise of a comedy, but, unless I read your opinions wrong on your blog, you seem to think this is a real problem…

    How would you square that with the fact that IQ test are continuously updated to deal with increased mean scores over time, making their normed values invalid. The so-called Flynn Effect…

    For more go here
    http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/flynneffect.shtml

    Maybe you don’t believe in dysgenic breeding, but your stance on Eugenics seems to see it as a real danger. It just ain’t one…

  48. Neu, after reading his blog, he would probably respond to your question by saying something like “Zimbabwe”, or what he calls “negro ghettoes”.

  49. Leftists love to whine about how intelligence and eugenics would lead to an evil dystopia, oblivious to the fact that if you want to see a bleak dystopia that already exists for real, simply go visit any area where the average IQ is something like 80, and ask yourself if that really is a place that you would want to live in. On the other hand, places where the average IQ is 120 tend to be quite pleasant, even after dark.

    Quite so, but most of the people on HnR are quite ignorant of this subject, hence their strong opinions are just trivial expressions of noble-feeling emotions, and ignoble expressions of group identity.

    http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/
    Pretending that Intelligence Doesn’t Matter

    “A 1988 survey of IQ experts, journalists and science editors revealed that the journalists and editors hold views in nearly diametric opposition to those of the IQ experts. The survey’s analysis of the major newspapers and magazines revealed, not surprisingly, that their coverage of intelligence is ‘quite inaccurate.’ News stories, for instance, usually leave the false impression that mental tests are culturally biased and that only fringe scientists think that genes have an important influence on intelligence.”

  50. Mr. FLM,

    I find it really halarious when people trained in computer science and engineering try to tell people trained in the social sciences how to run society.

  51. The funny thing about all this is that Mr. Kokkarinen is more of a leftist than he knows. Eugenics was a Progressive project and its supporters tended to be from Progresive backgrounds – not surprisingly, since it drew from leftism’s tendencies toward Utopianism and opposed the traditional morality promoted by those viewed as religious fuddy-duddies. (As late as the 1940s, regular NATION contributor Paul Blanshard’s anti-Catholic books condemned the Church in large part because of its opposition to sterilization-of-the-unfit laws.) Can anyone imagine Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, John Adams, Robert Taft, Russell Kirk, Ronald Reagan, or any Pope ever speaking nonchalantly and with evident approval about aborting Down’s Syndrome babies?

  52. I’m not convinced that prenatal testing and selective abortion of fetuses that have deadly or crippling diseases really fits the common definition of “eugenics.” Tay – Sachs is always fatal, usually before the child turns three. Cystic fibrosis is the same, although at older ages. Aborting a fetus that had one of those diseases isn’t doing anything to prohibit someone who would have had offspring from doing so, because virtually no one who has those conditions ever lives long enough to have kids.

    Down’s Syndrome is more of a problem, because it isn’t invariably fatal, and there is some variation in the severity of the condition. Still, the tests don’t tell you anything about how seriously disabled the child might be. Since even high-functioning Down’s suffers require expensive and involved therapy, and most will never be able to live independently, it doesn’t surprise me that most families take advantage of the tests and decide to abort fetuses that have the condition. I had amnio for both my pregnancies with exactly that intention; luckily both sons were perfectly fine and I wasn’t faced with actually having to do anything. Still, I don’t think individual families deciding to avoid the astronomical financial and, especially, emotion and physical costs of caring for what will most like be a severely disabled child is quite the same thing as encouraging Mensa members to breed while discouraging trailer-park residents from doing so.

    What bothers me about both the posts above, in addition to John’s excellent point that IQ isn’t everything, is the implication that what we can test for now as IQ will always be what humans need for survival. IQ tests don’t cover musical or athletic talent, to name just two lucrative and valuable traits that are pretty much entirely genetic.

    And that gets me to another point. Even though Met sopranos and Olympic pole-vaulters have much better genes for their skills than I do, that doesn’t mean I won’t benefit from musical or sports training. The ugly implication behind the IQ-is-genetic argument is that people who score below the Mensa level won’t really benefit from education and therefore shouldn’t be given much. Emphasizing the genetic component of IQ excuses us as a society from taking the necessary steps to make sure everyone has a decent education. (I don’t really care whether it’s public or private, by the way. I do, however, think that it is basic justice to ensure that as many people as possible are as educated as possible.) We do such an abominable job now of educating poor people, why should we adopt a philosophy that will only make this appalling state worse.

  53. An example of an “area where the average IQ is something like 80”? How about at a rally in support of Roy Moore?

  54. FM Lemur

    From your link:

    “But Why Does General Intelligence Predict Life Outcomes? Few scientists today would deny that IQ correlates with many important life outcomes. Their disagreement concerns why it does. The two major competing explanations are that (1) IQ is created by the privileged classes to maintain their privilege and (2) IQ represents a useful tool in performing life tasks. The two theories make opposite predictions about what would happen in a society that gave all its members equal opportunity to succeed: the first predicts that equal treatment would destroy the correlation between IQ and outcomes; the second argues that it would create such a correlation.”

    When a scientist includes a false dichotomy of this scale in representing an issue, I have a hard time taking them seriously. After reading the whole article, despite some good points about the fact that equal opportunity does not necessarily lead to equal outcome, I can say that Ms. Gottfredson seriously mischaracterizes those who she would say support some version of explanation 1 above. She attacks the fringe of her opposition, but ignores the fringe of her own camp.

  55. So, who here who thinks intelligence is at best a neutral trait would take a pill that knocked 30 points of your IQ for life?

    Any takers?

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