3rd annual meeting of
H.L. Mencken Club just concluded in Baltimore. I
addressed the first, in 2008, and spoke again this year.
But unfortunately VDARE.COM
readers will just have to wait for the transcript because
I`m not as well as well-organized as Steve Sailer, who this
year addressed the subject
“Can HBD Trump PC?”
and actually wrote his speech in advance.
The incredibly energetic Spencer tells me that videos and
speeches will soon be posted on his
website. We`ll link.
I`m glad to be
back addressing the H.L. Mencken Club.
Richard Spencer has asked me to speak on
the topic “Can HBD
Trump PC?” So let me begin by explaining what those
stands for “Political
Correctness”. HBD is short for
intellectually healthy world, of course, the study of
wouldn`t be imperiled by the reign of Political Correctness.
Instead, HBD would be recognized as a necessary complement
to the study of human cultural diversity. To a student of
the social world, human biodiversity and human cultural
diversity ought to be complementary tools, like a
straight right and a left jab are to a
or like words and
numbers are to a thinker.
In 21st Century America, however, noticing
reality is often, by unfortunate necessity, a political act.
As George Orwell
pointed out, “To
see what is in front of one`s nose needs a constant struggle“.
HBD be a field of study … or a political movement … or both?
Let`s consider the term
“Political Correctness” first. This is an old New Left phrase. I
first recall hearing it about 30 years ago in an interview
with Joe Strummer of
Clash, in which the punk rock star lamented how
stultifying the demands of Political Correctness were even
for a lifelong leftist like himself. (Despite Joe`s Old Left
Strummer`s father, a British diplomat and secret agent,
had been a close friend of
We`re often told that Political
Correctness is a trivial matter of using the latest name for
minority groups, but I always do that. That`s less Political Correctness than politeness.
is vastly more far-reaching. It enervates American
intellectual discourse on many levels.
means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct,
at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the
power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive
logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments
…, and of being bored or
repelled by any train of thought which is capable of
leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in
short, means protective stupidity.”
Orwell got wrong, though, is that inculcating crimestop
doesn`t require an army of men watching you from your TV.
you watch your TV—and learn from it what kind of thoughts
raise your status and what kind lower your status.
system of Status Climbing through Stupidity.
Every so often, a celebrity is fired to
encourage the others:
Juan Williams this week for
admitting that passengers in Muslim garb on airplanes
Earlier this month blowhard
Rick Sanchez was sacked by CNN for
responding sarcastically to his interviewer`s suggestion
that Jews are an oppressed minority in the media. (As one
wag commented, Sanchez got fired for the first story he ever
America`s leading man of science,
James D. Watson, co-discoverer
of the structure of DNA, was
forced to resign for
admitting he was
“inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because
policies are based on the fact that their intelligence
is the same as ours-–whereas all the testing says not
Christian Andersen`s 1837 story
Emperor`s New Clothes, two conmen claim their fabric
has “the wonderful
quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his
office or unpardonably stupid”.
The tale`s famous ending, however, is
naïve. As anthropologists Robin Fox and Lionel Tiger
point out, just because one little brat exclaims,
“The emperor has no clothes!” the mob isn`t going to suddenly
concede the truth. Instead, they are going to get very angry
at this unpardonably stupid child who, clearly, is unfit for
his office of street urchin.
The costs of PC are sprawling. All truths
are interconnected, so the unmentionability of certain
Joe Guzzardi memorably dubbed
are like a black hole, sucking in enlightenment from across
The Bolsheviks used to talk about
he who says A must say B. We live in an intellectual
world where he who says A is under immediate suspicion of
believing B, which would of course imply C, from which D
could be inferred. So nobody better mention A.
Political Correctness so impoverishes our conceptual
vocabulary that we lack a public way of even discussing the
consider how George W. Bush unleashed subprime lenders. He
signaled to federal regulators at his October 15, 2002 White
House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership that
old-fashioned mortgage regulations requiring a down payment
were discriminatory because minorities were less often able
to come up with the cash. So, let Countrywide run wild.
Now, what about “human biodiversity”?
up with that phrase around 1996 and immediately plugged the
term into an early Internet search engine. I found that
anthropologist Jonathan Marks had beaten me to it, with his
1995 book “Human
So this phrase was ready to be invented in
the 1990s, almost certainly due to the efforts of the great
entomologist Edward O. Wilson to popularize the neologism
“diversity”. Wilson, the author of
liked the word
“biodiversity” because it embodied both his favorite
field of study—the rich variety of insect life—and his
favorite political cause: conserving the rainforests where
so many insect species live.
Wilson likes to say that every boy goes
through a bug phase, but he never outgrew his. Personally,
when it comes to bugs, my feelings are more like those of
biologist J.B.S. Haldane, who complained of the Creator`s
for beetles”. In contrast, rather than having a bug
phase, I`ve always been interested in why humans vary in
size, age, sex, clothes, athletic ability, accents, looks,
descent, wealth, sense of humor, personality, religion,
intelligence, and so forth.
not to be
interested in the subject of human diversity.
today is thinking systematically, rigorously, and honestly
about the causes of human diversity.
causes can largely be lumped into biological diversity and
cultural diversity. Those two are roughly similar to the
famous conceptual duality of nature and nurture devised by
Francis Galton in the 19th Century.
Let`s examine one
“hatestat” from the study of human diversity. Back in 1996, we saw
the fourth consecutive Olympics in which all eight finalists
in the men`s 100 meter sprint, the race that determines the
World`s Fastest Man, were of primarily black African
descent: 32 out of 32 finalists.
Razor suggested that cultural diversity couldn`t explain a
discrepancy that large: this isn`t polo or yachting, it`s
running, something almost every child on earth tries. The
simplest explanation for this extraordinary statistic is
hereditary advantages in sprinting ability.
(Cultural diversity, however, could help
oddities from the history of sprinting, such as why East
used to win all the time: the long German history of
performance enhancing chemicals.)
study of human biodiversity tends to uncover relatively
about the future, which are thus of broad interest in
improving our scientific understanding of the human race.
For instance, in the subsequent
Olympics of 2000, 2004, and 2008, all the finalists were
black, so we`re now up to
56 out of 56.
social sciences, you seldom see a statistic like 56 out of
You can therefore use that finding to
engage in what the philosopher of science
falsification. With one number, we can falsify quite a
bit of the conventional wisdom about humanity.
doesn`t exist? Well, properly understood, with a racial
group being defined as a partly inbred extended family, then
race seems to exist in the 100-meter dash, all right.
There hasn`t been enough time for human
races to evolve different tendencies? Well, Henry
Harpending, who speaks next, is
expert on fast evolution. But I can at least say that
there evidently has been enough time when it comes to
often asked: Why are you so obsessed with human
biodiversity? Well, human biodiversity is my market niche.
When I started writing in the 1990s, this was an obviously
underexploited topic that would allow me to quickly make
some contribution to helping explain how the world works.
I`m also asked:
“Why can`t you just notice how everybody is the same?”
let`s try that.
Everybody has one head. Everybody breathes air. Everybody …
well this list is getting kind of boring fast.
a reason for that: because knowledge consists of similarity
and difference, of contrast. You can turn information into a
binary digital stream of 1s and 0s, but you can`t turn it
into all 1s. That way lies non-knowledge.
My moral motto is that of Faber College,
the fictional setting for the movie
“Knowledge is good“.
I suspect that truth is better for us on the whole than
lies, ignorance, wishful thinking or spin.
question: Who would win in a fight: Human biodiversity or
human cultural diversity?
they are not Batman and Superman struggling for superhero
dominance. They are, or ought to be, complementary tools for
improving our understanding, just as numbers and words are.
There will be different answers for different specific
the political implications of noticing human biodiversity?
That`s up to you. Consider the
100 meter dash again. The reality of
biodiversity between the sexes—the fact that women would
never win in open competition—is why
women get their own 100-meter race. On that precedent,
we could have separate races for separate races. Or we could
have affirmative action, with whites and Asians getting a
could we just let the best man win?
Whatever your opinion is, at least it`s
now an informed opinion. The
political implications of
not noticing human
biodiversity is that we get lousier policies than we
Everybody is entitled to propose their own
aren`t entitled to their own realities.
Can HBD trump PC by getting the facts out?
A young friend of mine who was a grad student in genomics
used to call me up a few times per year to alert me of a new
study coming out that would, in his words,
Correctness”. I admired his youthful optimism, although
I didn`t share it.
Sure enough, each new study would come out
in an academic journal. Moreover,
Nicholas Wade, the
New York Times` genetics reporter, would give it a
lucid write up in the
NYT explaining how it
subverts conventional wisdom about the unimportance of
race and heredity.
Was Political Correctness shattered? Nah.
It just got smugger, angrier, and more bigoted—as
James Watson found out.
So the answer to the title question
“Can HBD Trump PC?”
is: don`t get your hopes up. A more realistic political goal
for HBD is
survival as a field of study.
conclusion, is Human Biodiversity a political movement or a
field of study?
present, it has to be both. It has to struggle politically
to not be exterminated as a subject for intellectual
goal as a political movement is to someday not have to be a
political movement—to help liberate the American mind enough
that it will just be an ordinary way to help us understand
how the world works.