Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Bell Curve 16 - The End

(This has been a long series of posts. I never dreamed it would be this long, and I bet nobody else did either.)

This book has covered far more territory than I have explored, but I've chosen to limit my comments to the phenomenon of cognitive stratification, which Herrnstein and Murray suggest has changed American society so much (perhaps more than any other phenomenon).

You'll recall the authors argued that in past ages, social position was governed far more by social position or wealth ("lineage and money") than by intelligence. Also that a large majority of the smart people in past ages were engaged in ordinary pursuits, living, working, and mixing with everyone else. "Social and economic stratification were extreme, but cognitive stratification was minor." (p. 27)

It's a commonplace in circles anthropological that technological changes produce social changes (at least that's what I was taught in Cultural Anthropology in 1970). Technology has grown by leaps and bounds in the last century or so; one excellent example is the progression from the first powered heavier-than-air flight in 1903, to the placing of astronauts on the moon in 1969. (I had relatives whose lifetimes included both dates.)

My last two posts demonstrated the phenomenon.

Early in the book, Herrnstein and Murray say: "Cognitive partitioning through education and occupations will continue, and there is not much that the government or anyone else can do about it."
"Another force for cognitive partitioning is the increasing physical segregation of the cognitive elite from the rest of society."
"The isolation of the cognitive elite is compounded by its choices of where to live, shop, play, worship, and send its children to school."
"Add to this the phenomenon known as assortative mating. Likes attract when it comes to marriage, and intelligence is one of the most important of those likes. When this propensity to mate by IQ is combined with increasingly efficient educational and occupational stratification, assortative mating has more powerful effects on the next generation than it did on the previous one. This process too seems to be getting stronger, part of the brew creating an American class system." (pp. 91-92)

Later, they reiterate:
". . . the funneling system is already [1994] functioning at a highy level of efficiency, thereby promoting three interlocking phenomena:
1. The cognitive elite is getting richer, in an era where everyone else is having to struggle to stay even.
2. The cognitive elite is increasingly separated physically from everyone else, in both the workplace and the neighborhood.
3. The cognitive elite is increasingly likely to intermarry." (p. 114)

It is my opinion that these three phenomena were occurring then and are still occurring now, and there are obvious consequences, most of which, in my opinion, are highly undesirable, related to the authors' observation at the end of Part I of the book:

"What if the cognitive elite were to become not only richer than everyone else, increasingly segregated, and more genetically distinct as time goes on but were also to acquire common political interests? What might those interest be, and how congruent might they be with a free society? How decisively could the cognitive elite affect policy if it were to acquire such a common political interest? (p. 115; emphasis mine)

They give us this gloomy picture: "As of the end of the twentieth century, the United States is run by rules that are congenial to people with high IQs and that make life more difficult for everyone else." (p. 541)

Now, if I had my way, I would make the last two chapters required reading. They are:
21, "The Way We Are Headed," (which includes a discussion "The Coming of the Custodial State")[1]
22, "A Place for Everyone," in which the authors discuss political philosophy, including that of the Founders. "The Founders saw that making a stable and just government was difficult precisely because men were unequal in every respect except their right to advance their own interests." (p. 531, emphasis in original)

Those who have read my blog see that I am a firm believer in the founding principles of this our country, as laid down in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and an ardent opponent of anything and anyone who tries to subvert or pervert those principles because, as the authors say near the end of the book, "Inequality of endowments, including intelligence, is a reality. Trying to pretend that inequality does not really exist has led to disaster." (p. 551)

What can we do? Pray, pray, and pray some more! -- especially for the youngsters who are going to inherit this someday. Pray for them and educate them.

My sincere thanks to all who read this, and to people and sites like The Old Jarhead, The Catholic Caveman, Pajamas Media, The American Thinker, Jihad Watch, TH2, Anita Moore, Mary Ann Kreitzer, Thomas Sowell, Michelle Malkin, Alan Keyes, Tom Roeser, and all the others whose names slip my mind right now. God bless you all.

* * *

[1] Being an intellectual as well as a physical packrat, I have saved several hundred blog and website posts just in the last few years. One of my folders is labeled "Culture War" and has 1880 files in 67 subfolders; one of which is labeled "Nanny-Servile State and Thought Police" with 63 files collected in the last 5-1/2 years. I have, in my national public affairs folder, 1842 files in 42 subfolders, one of which is called "Obamagrad" and has 464 files collected since January 2009. You get the idea: I think Herrnstein and Murray were on the right track because I have found out for myself that what they said has come to pass.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Quick Education about Islam

This was posted today on The Old Jarhead's blog, and I recommend it highly:

and he cites:

(I hope the links work.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Bell Curve 15 - Closer to the End

"The story of higher education in the United States during the twentieth century is generally taken to be one of the great American success stories, and with good reason. The record was not without blemishes, but the United States led the rest of the world in opening college to a mass population of young people of ability, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, and financial resources.

"But this success story has a paradoxically shadowy side, for education is a powerful divider and classifier. Education affects income, and income divides. Education affects occupation, and occupations divide. Education affects tastes and interests, grammar and accents, all of which divide. When access to higher education is restricted by class, race, or religion, these divisions cut across cognitive levels. But school is in itself, more immediately and directly than any other institution, the place where people of high cognitive ability excel and people of low cognitive ability fail. As America opened access to higher education, it opened up as well a revolution in the way that the American population sorted itself and divided itself. Three successively more efficient sorting processes were at work: the college population grew, it was recruited by cognitive ability more efficiently, and then it was further sorted among the colleges." (pp. 30-31)

These two bell curves illustrate in more detail the trendline shown in the last post: as time has passed, the number and percentage of Americans with a college degree has risen dramatically.

And as the graph at left shows, "For white youths, being smart is more important than being privileged in getting a college degree." As IQ goes from -2SD to +2SD, (Standard Deviations) the probability of getting a degree rises from about 2% to about 80%, but as parental SES (Socio-Economic Status) goes from -2SD to +2SD, the probability of getting a degree goes from about 2% to only about 40%.

(I hope it's now obvious why I threw in so much statistical information into these posts: you can see the data at a glance and interpret them faster than you could a table of figures.)

Herrnstein and Murray assert further that about 1950, America became more efficient at getting bright students into college; that between the 1920's and the 1960's, college attendance became even more closely associated with IQ, and that "cognitive sorting" continues from the time students enter college to the time they get a degree. These are shown in the next three graphs.

I think what this all means is that college sorts out and isolates the smartest kids from the rest, and buries their noses in books for four years; unless the kids have a "grunt" job that gets their hands dirty and shows them how "the other half" lives, they're going to live more and more in a basically unreal world.
Part of that unreal world, as many of us have seen in following the news from colleges, even Catholic colleges (or should I say CINO colleges?) is the absurd notion that either God does not exist or doesn't matter. There are plenty of data out there that show the "elite" in a number of professions are non-religious or irreligious people.
Another part of that unreal world is the indoctrination the kids get in leftist ideas. (Personal note: I think "from each . . . to each. . ." would work just fine if people were perfect, but we aren't. (As G. K. C. said somewhere, the Antichrist can fool people not because he is unlike Christ, but because he is so like Christ.) I suspect that it takes some experience of the world to read Rousseau's The Social Contract and come to the conclusion that he was a dewy-eyed optimist.
Also -- while in school or just out of it, kids are going to have so much debt piled up that they will go for the jobs that pay the best, and likely choose a curriculum that can lead to a high-paying "career" after graduation. This hints very strongly to me that the smartest people will be clustered in a relatively small number of jobs or professions.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Political Snarkies

Q: What is a Communist?
A: Someone who reads Marx, Engels, and Lenin.
Q: What is an anti-Communist?
A: Someone who understands Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

Q: What is the difference between a Capitalist and a Communist?
A: A Capitalist takes from the poor, keeps it, and makes slaves of them. A Communist takes from the rich, gives to the poor, and makes slaves of them.

Q: What is the difference between a Democrat and a Tea-Partier?
A: A Democrat listens to what Obama says. A Tea-Partier observes what Obama does.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Bell Curve 14 - getting close to the end

Intelligence, education, and more sorting

I would suggest that as America has become more technologically advanced in the last century, higher levels of education became the new basic minimum. In a (comparatively) low-tech society, say a Minnesota farm 100 years ago, a grade-school education was enough, and maybe more than enough, for a youngster to be a successful farmer or farmwife. Almost all the skills needed could be learned on the farm, at Dad's or Mom's knee -- or Grandpa's or Grandma's, for that matter. I would be willing to bet that family and community ties were in general closer than they are now, and that rural people were generally more conservative and more religious than today. This for the simple reason that people had to cooperate to survive, and had to depend on God to keep sane. There were no other alternatives.

The graph here shows that "in the first half of the century, the high-school diploma became the norm," but also shows that in 1910, for instance, less than 10% of Americans had a high-school diploma.

Here is a bit of my family's history that illustrates this very well. My Grandpop Gosslin (born 1887) never finished high school; Grandmom did, in 1905, but she was the only one of her siblings to do so. My parents both graduated from high school in 1931, and they were both college material, but for them college was out of the question because of the Great Depression.

All six of their children (born 1942, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1951, and 1964) finished high school and went to college. Five of us have BA's, four have master's degrees. My three sisters all have master's degrees, and made professional use of them. My older brother's two daughters (born 1969 and 1977) both have doctorates, are successful professional women, and likely will go far, because they're still young and have a lot of time in front of them.

I think this family history illustrates another point too, shown in the top diagram. There are four steps on the ladder. Being on one rung is necessary to get to the next one (and some professions like medicine, law, and engineering have "glass ceilings"), but no guarantee that a person will. A person also needs perseverance, lots of hard work (or cheating), and lots of luck. (In the spring of 1970, Frank "Doc" Whiting, practically the founder of the University of Minnesota Theatre, told us new BA's and MA's that very likely only about 5% of us would ever make a full-time living in the professional or academic theater.)

Last note for this post: to get to "the top," a person sometimes has to step on the faces of others. Doing that -- or even being willing to do that -- requires a lack of conscience, a lack of sense of responsibility to or for others, and a talent for shmoozing, lying, cheating, and being an outright phony. And, I suggest, that's what can (in general) be expected of a generation that hit the college campuses in 1964 and were taught "if it feels good do it," "you can do whatever you want as long as you don't hurt anyone else" (the second part easily forgotten), and "this generation has nothing to learn from the past" (attributed to Margaret Mead).

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Bell Curve 13 - @ # $ % ^ & * !

I had a lovely article written (and rewritten) in Microsoft Word, with the hope that I could copy and paste it to here . . . and it won't. In the meantime,
and @#$%^&*
and @#$%^&*!!!