81. Retreat (III)
Updated: Dec 18, 2020
Superficially, IQ, the hereditary nature of intelligence, would seem to help the right, since it provides a scientifically-supported grounds to reject egalitarian claims by the left. Its scientific aspect, backed by Darwinian theory, is important because in the West the only acceptable form of evidence in public debate is that found by the scientific method—or at least dressed up to appear so. Appeals to the mystery of blood or good breeding only cut it in very select circles; especially with people, like me, who take astrology seriously.
And yet IQ research always fails when the right deploys it to counter leftist egalitarian claims. It is tempting to say that this is merely the result of propaganda, so that people reject the concept without thought as evil. I once mentioned in a job interview for an immigration control pressure group, when questioned as to the grounds for admitting people to Britain, that IQ might be a good test. The interviewer looked as if I had offered him a chalice of blood and semen and suggested he might like to join me in a Black Mass conducted on his daughter’s naked pudenda; and this was a man who ran an organisation that most leftists would describe as vile and racist—not vile enough, in my view.
Yet there is another reason why IQ never works as effective political rhetoric: it is against human nature. Humans are hierarchical by nature, but our hierarchies—being artefacts of a cooperation strategy—have a slightly opaque form. Everybody knows that there are a few outstanding performers on a football team, the critical men who gets the goals and the girls and the adulation of the fans. Yet the football team is also a cooperative body; so the star of the team, interviewed after a match, is careful to praise his other team members: “I couldn’t have done it without solid support on the wings.” The star, no matter how valuable, who told the post-match interviewer,“It was all down to my genes,” would not last very long in the game.
The left exploits the fact that human hierarchies are slightly obscured to suggest that all people are equal; and this is only possible because humans must slightly occult their hierarchies in order to cooperate successfully. Leftist intellectuals, skilled in rhetoric, use this aspect of human nature to create rhetorical strategies, such as wokeness, that exploit existing behaviours— essentially politeness and humbleness—and turn them into perverse engines. Conservatives, being polite and cooperative people, lose against the the woke because they misread a malfunction of social etiquette, an ideologised politeness, as normal politeness. Those who disagree, even mildly, are perceived as nasty or rude, so losing the rhetorical battle.
We are evolved for kings and chiefs and aristocrats and priests—along with the mystery and religious rites that accompany these groups. We are not evolved for someone to present us with a spreadsheet that enumerates and ranks our intellectual ability and personality. People who make too much of their IQ—the members of Mensa, for example—are resented and disliked for this very reason. We want the illusion that we can be more than we are and we are evolved to pull down the braggart as a non-cooperator.
When confronted with facts about IQ most people—even if they consider themselves very inegalitarian—deny that what they are seeing is true. The excuses are predictable. It is only the autistic, the deliberately mischievous, and, perhaps, the Nietzschean overman who looks at these facts and says coldly: “It is so.” And so, if IQ is used in anti-egalitarian rhetoric, the result is merely to provoke reaction formation and denial. The rightist confronted with IQ can always retreat into the spiritual aspect of right-wing thought or claim that IQ is the product of reductionist Anglo-Saxon science as a means to deny its validity. Only a few will ever be able to accept the truth of IQ; it cannot be used to defend inegalitarian ideas publicly.