James D. Watson, perhaps the most distinguished
living American scientist, has now been
kicked to the curb by the Cold Spring Harbor
genetics laboratory he
rescued and rebuilt over the last 40 years for making
politically (but not
scientifically) incorrect statements about
Watson`s crimethink was to say he
elementary DNA of Dr Watson, By Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe,
TimesOnLine. October 14, 2007]
A few lessons from this shameful
We live in an age that
worships conformity and fears and loathes
As we can see by the enormous number
bloggers who couldn`t wait to put the boot in when
the great man was down, and by the negligible number who
came forward to defend the co-discoverer of the
structure of DNA, the chattering classes of the 21st
Century are composed, by and large, of
Why did so many so enthusiastically
sign up as auxiliaries of the
Because it`s fun.
The psychology of those who rushed
to attack Watson was memorably outlined in Orwell`s
1984, when the
interrogator O`Brien explains to his prisoner
Winston Smith the exciting future envisaged by the
"Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of
victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is
helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a
boot stamping on a human face—for ever. …The heretic,
the enemy of society, will always be there, so that he
can be defeated and humiliated over again. … The more
the Party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant: the
weaker the opposition, the tighter the despotism.
Goldstein and his heresies will live for ever. … Always
we shall have the heretic here at our mercy, screaming
with pain, broken up, contemptible—and in the end
utterly penitent, saved from himself, crawling to our
feet of his own accord."
Watson`s putative defenders betrayed him.
Out of the vast pile of ephemera
published on, say,
National Review Online during the week and a
half that this disgraceful brouhaha has been going on,
Google shows Watson`s plight being
mentioned once, by
John Derbyshire—and not at all by anybody else.
The level of intellectual integrity
on the Right—let alone courage—is catastrophically lower
today than just 13 years ago, when the
John O`Sullivan-edited National Review
responded to the
publication of The Bell Curve by devoting
most of its
December 5, 1994 issue to an
on race and IQ.
In it, Richard Herrnstein and
Charles Murray`s bestseller was attacked by some, but
also stoutly defended by
James Q. Wilson,
Arthur Jensen, and
Ernest Van den Haag.
Another example: As of October 27, a
revealed that not one of the myriad
columnists and bloggers at TownHall.com had even
mentioned the Watson scandal.
noted at the time of the Trent Lott Lynching, a “Righteous
Right“ has emerged, especially in Washington,
which has in effect internalized the left`s hysterical
race denial. The betrayal of Watson is further
evidence of the profound cost of this development to
American public discourse.
When you beg forgiveness, the
hate-filled jackals just smell your fear and
weakness. It excites them, so they pile on. Further, the
watching crowd can`t tell who`s right, so they respect
whoever seems the master of the situation at the moment.
In his October 19 response in the
U.K. Independent, "To
question genetic intelligence is not racism,"
Watson seemingly tried to be subtle, arguing that there
was a difference between inferiority and diversity, then
pointing out the Darwinian implausibility that everyone
could have evolved to be identical.
Well, swell. But the politically
correct don`t engage in rational argument. They
just hound and bludgeon. So you have to stand your
There is so much
agitprop in the media about IQ and race that only
aggressive, confident responses can cut through the
lies. For example, Watson could have hit back like
Is there really such a thing as "intelligence" and
can IQ tests measure it?
A. Don`t be
U.S. military has spent a fortune from WWII onward
giving an IQ test to
everyone who tries to enlist. The Armed Services
have turned away millions of
would-be volunteers and draftees because their
IQs were too low. How come? Because the
Pentagon has done numerous studies showing that on
average higher IQ people outperform lower IQ people.
In contrast, as soon as
Larry Summers, president of Harvard, started
telling the truth and offering
$50 million in other people`s money as payoffs to
Sensitivity Stasi, he was doomed.
noted last week, in the epilogue of his new memoir, Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science,
Watson makes clear his contempt for Summers` cowardice.
Not the least of this tragedy is that, when it came to
the point, his own nerve broke too.
Go on the
offensive against your critics.
They`re vulnerable. Thus perhaps the
widely quoted smear-artist attacking James Watson
Steven Rose. Rose is a professor emeritus of
neurobiology at the
Open University, a sort of British 1960s lefty
version of the
University of Phoenix. Rose is a
Marxist and the co-founder of the
boycott Israel movement among British academics.
He was also the co-author, with
Leon Kamin and
Richard Lewontin, of the 1984 manifesto with the
amusingly unprophetic title Not In Our Genes.
(Here`s Richard Dawkins` scathing
review—which led to Rose
threatening to sue Dawkins for libel!)
During the attack on Watson, Rose
wrote in The Guardian:
"As for freedom of speech, these freedoms are and must
be constrained. We don`t have the right to casually cry
fire in a crowded theatre, or to use
hate speech—at least in
Europe, as opposed to the US. Watson`s now retracted
remarks came into these
unacceptable categories. So the repercussions are to
be welcomed." [Watson`s
bad science, October 21, 2007]
Not surprisingly, Steven Rose has
been accused of practicing what he preaches: having the
government silence scientists whose ideas he dislikes.
According to social scientist
Volkmar Weiss, a dissident under the East German
Communist dictatorship, Rose ratted him out to the
East Berlin regime, setting in motion the crushing
in East Germany of IQ research and human behavioral
Weiss explains this in a 1983
essay entitled The Suppression of Human
Behavioral Genetics by the Radical Left—unpublished,
for obvious reasons, until 1991. He wrote:
"In 1980, the manuscript of the monograph
Psychogenetik (Weiss 1982a) was complete. Now some
fierce dogmatists were discovering that a cuckoo`s egg
had been laid in the nest of socialism. One example: S.
Rose asked his East German colleague, the professor of
neurochemistry D. Biesold at the Karl-Marx-University of
Leipzig (personal communication by Biesold), whether
there was no means of stopping further publications by
Weiss, because such publications printed in a socialist
country were particularly disadvantageous to the
propaganda of the Radical Left in the Western world. …”
Rose`s wish appears to have been the
East German Communists` command:
the end of the year 1982 [Walter] Friedrich [director
of the Central Institute of Youth Research in Leipzig]
sought and obtained the backing of high-ranking
officials of the Communist Party and all further
research in psychogenetics in East Germany came to an
goes on to describe the aftermath he endured, which
would be familiar to anyone who saw the tremendous 2006
film about life in East Germany under the thumb of the
The Lives of Others:
“… the cited author was under the threat of arrest and
had already lost all possibility of doing further
empirical work of defending his field of research. After
1984, Weiss was forced to work in a quite different
field … What follows is the usual story of life and
resistance under totalitarian conditions. In order to be
published abroad, any new theoretical contributions had
to be smuggled out of the GDR."
I asked Weiss about the incident. He
"What I have written and published is completely true.
"However, in 1993 a journalist of a leading English
daily (which I do not remember) visited me in Leipzig
and tried to confirm my publication by independent
sources. At this time
already died, his widow did not know anything.
Biesold, who had done research together with Rose, had
told me about Rose under
four eyes [in secret], and there was no
witness. Evaluating this, the English daily, afraid to
be sued for libeling by Rose, did not publish anything.
"After my publication, Rose had published in the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung a note in which he
declared that he never was involved in activities
against East German scientists. My name and my
publication was not explicitly mentioned, and I had
never personal contact with Rose. He tried never to be
active in any direct way against me and never mentioned
or cited me.”
notoriously litigious (recently threatening to
sue for libel the
author of a comic book). But the US, no doubt to
still has a First Amendment. If Rose wants to
dispute the Weiss`s account, he is free to write us a
But the bottom line is the same:
Watson has been suppressed by brute political force. The
Righteous Right ran away.
features his daily blog.]