The Two Missing Letters in the Brown Debate: IQ

On the 50th anniversary of the
Supreme Court`s Brown v. Board of Education
school desegregation decision, the press is

full
of

articles
on the surprising

frustrations
in the quest for equal education.

Whites (and, although unmentioned
in the press, Asians) still

flee
public schools once the percentage of black
(and, to a slightly lesser extent, Hispanic) students
reaches a critical mass. And even

integrated middle class black students
still lag

far behind
white and Asian test scores on average.

What you won`t find in the media is
any mention of the simplest explanation for these vexing
phenomena: IQ.

On Saturday morning, I searched
Google News for press coverage of

"Brown v. Board of Education"
and turned up 1,610
recent articles.

Yet, when I added the dread letters

"IQ"
to the search, all Google News could come up
with is

one column
by that national resource

Thomas Sowell.

As the 10th anniversary of Richard
Herrnstein`s and

Charles Murray`s
bestseller

The Bell Curve
approaches, the entire concept of
IQ has become the great unmentionable in writing about
education.  

On the other hand, secretly IQ
remains a vital subject in nice liberal neighborhoods,
where upper middle class parents strive desperately to
get their kids into public school

gifted programs
that have extremely exclusive IQ
requirements (and thus few black or Hispanic students).

Four years ago, I wrote a five-part
VDARE.COM series on how to help the left half of the IQ
bell curve. In my first article, "IQ
and Why We`re Afraid to Talk About It
," I noted:

"Honest
talk about IQ would expose some deeply personal
inconsistencies among our most influential thinkers.
Although the typical white intellectual claims he wants
to censor discussion of IQ to shield

black self-esteem,
his
sometimes-berserk reactions reveal that he finds it
a peril to his own self-image. The typical white
intellectual considers himself superior to ordinary
white people for two contradictory reasons: First, he
constantly proclaims his belief in human equality, but
they don`t. Second, he has a high IQ, but they don`t."

So, which is it, liberals?


A. IQ tests are
meaningless, racist, and the spawn of the devil.


B. IQ tests prove that
liberals are superior to conservatives.

Because IQ remains wildly popular
among Democrats for the purpose of asserting mental
superiority over Republicans. Look at this table headed
"So Democrats really are smarter." The
prestigious magazine The Economist (with which
we`ve had to criticize

before
) picked it up from one of the

hundreds
of liberal blogs that gleefully circulated
it earlier this month.

The Economist, May 15, 2004,
p. 26

Among many ironies, The
Economist
falsely attributed this table to
"


IQ and the Wealth of Nations
by
Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen (2002)."
That

landmark book
, with its

fascinating table
of average IQs for 81 countries,
is about nations, not states.

In March,

J. Philippe Rushton,
the Canadian social
psychologist,

wrote
in VDARE.com:

"The
book`s thesis—that a country`s prosperity is closely
related to the average IQ of its population—should have
made the cover of The Economist because of its
devastatingly important implications. But, although some
academics took notice, it was ignored by the mainstream
media."

As far as I can tell, this phony
table is the first time The Economist has deigned
to mention Lynn and Vanhanen`s two-year-old book.

But the table printed in The
Economist
is a HOAX. (Click

here
for all the evidence of its bogosity on my

www.iSteve.blogspot.com
blog.) The counterfeit IQ numbers are
self-evidently spurious. That mostly white states like
Montana and South Dakota would score 23 points below
Connecticut is ridiculous. You`d expect to see a
15-point gap only between an all-white state and an
all-black state.

Which party is smarter: Republican
or Democrats?

I don`t know of any legitimate IQ
data by state, although they may well exist. As a rough
proxy, however, we can use the 2003

National Assessment of Educational Progress

achievement test scores for public school eighth
graders.

Combining the Math and Reading
scores, we get the following table. (You`ll note that
rock-ribbed Republican Montana and South Dakota, which
The Economist claims are over 1.5 standard
deviations stupider than liberal Connecticut, actually
outscored that New England state on the NAEP!)


Rank


Top States


2000


M+R NAEP

 


Rank


Bottom States


2000


M+R NAEP

1


Massachusetts

Gore

560

 

41

Arizona

Bush

526

2

Minnesota

Gore

559

 

41

Tennessee

Bush

526

3

New
Hampshire

Bush

557

 

43

Arkansas

Bush

524

3

North
Dakota

Bush

557

 

44

Nevada

Bush

520

3

Vermont

Gore

557

 

45

Louisiana

Bush

519

6

Montana

Bush

556

 

46

California

Gore

518

7

South
Dakota

Bush

555

 

47

Hawaii

Gore

517

8

Iowa

Gore

552

 

48

Mississippi

Bush

516

9

Colorado

Bush

551

 

49

Alabama

Bush

515

9


Connecticut

Gore

551

 

49

New Mexico

Gore

515

9

Wyoming

Bush

551

 

51

D.C.

Gore

477

Overall, the averages (not weighted
by population): Gore States 539.6; Bush States 538.7.
That`s less than a single point difference on a scale
that ranges 83 points from liberal Massachusetts down to
the ultra-liberal District of Columbia.

A simpler
and perhaps better approach is to look at the
educational attainments of Gore and Bush voters
according to the

2000 VNS exit poll
:

Vote by Education

% of All Voters

Gore

Bush

No H.S. Degree

5%

59%

39%

High School Graduate

21%

48%

49%

Some College

32%

45%

51%

College Graduate

24%

45%

51%

Post-Graduate Degree

18%

52%

44%

If you
weight this data on a 1 to 5 scale, with the high school
dropouts as 1, then the two candidates are almost
exactly equal once again. Bush edges out Gore by the
meaninglessly tiny margin of 3.29 to 3.28. This means
the average Bush and Gore voters both fall between
"Some College"
(3.0) and "College Graduate”
(4.0).

Gore did
better among those claiming post-grad degrees, but many
of the Democrat voters were schoolteachers holding
degrees in Education. Also, in the 2002 House races,
according to the long-delayed VNS exit poll data that
was finally released in 2003, "Republicans
won for the first time in decades
among those
claiming to have post-graduate degrees. They even
captured a majority of women with college or
post-graduate degrees."

So I`d call
this dispute over which party is smarter a dead-even
toss-up. And silly.

It`s a
tragedy that the issue of IQ is thus alternately taboo
and trivialized. On this 50th anniversary of Brown,
it`s very much worth thinking about what can be
done to improve the lot of lower IQ Americans.

My

concluding article
back in 2000 still makes a lot of
sense. The first requirement is that we publicly admit
that we don`t live in Lake Wobegon, where all the
children are above average. We need to discuss seriously
what is in the best interest of our fellow citizens with
two-digit IQs.

For example,
let`s stop admitting

unskilled immigrants to
compete with our own

unskilled Americans.

Another
promising approach: try to raise the IQs of

future Americans.
David J. Armor, a professor at
George Mason U., has written

Maximizing Intelligence
, which offers

sensible advice
to future parents on how to help
their offspring get the maximum out of their
intellectual potential.

For example,
promoting breastfeeding looks highly promising.
The Associated Press reported:


"The survey by University of
Kentucky nutritionist James Anderson

[which appeared in the
October, 1999 edition of the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition] looked at 20 different studies
comparing the brain development of infants who had been
breast-fed with that of infants who had been given
formula." Our study confirms that breast-feeding is
accompanied by about a five-points higher IQ than in
bottle-fed infants," Anderson said."—
Tim Whitmire,
AP, 9/22/99.

Only
about 30% of African American children are breast-fed
versus about 60% of white children. Thus raising black
breastfeeding rates to the white level could—if the
effect doesn`t fade— increase black average IQ by about
1.5 points, or a full 10% of the

white-black IQ gap
.

Unfortunately, on this somber
anniversary, you`ll only read about this exciting idea
for helping black Americans on VDARE.com.


[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and


movie critic
for


The American Conservative
.
His website


www.iSteve.blogspot.com
features his daily
blog.]