Adjusting for IQ wipes out the ethnic income differential

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

In the third part of Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class Charles Murray proposes that racism and sexism are no longer decisively important in who rises to the top, in part because differences in educational attainment and income nearly disappear for people at similar IQ levels:

Even without adjusting for anything, there’s no female disadvantage to worry about when it comes to educational attainment. Women now have higher mean years of education and a higher percentage of college degrees than men and have enjoyed that advantage for many years. These advantages persist over all IQ levels.

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In terms of the raw numbers, Asians have higher educational attainment than any other ethnic group. Blacks and Latinos have substantially lower educational attainment than whites, but these discrepancies are more than eliminated after adjusting for IQ.

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Asians retain their advantage over whites after adjusting for IQ.

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A substantial female disadvantage in earned income exists, but it is almost entirely explained by marriage or children in the household. Using Current Population Survey data for 2018, earnings for women who were not married, had no children living at home, and worked full-time were 93 percent of the earnings of comparable men.

[...]

Married women with children in the house have considerably lower earned income even after adjusting for IQ, but the main source of the income discrepancy is not that married women in the labor force earn less than unmarried women, but that married men earn more than unmarried men.

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Using raw 2018 data from the CPS, Asians have higher mean earned income than whites, while Blacks and Latinos have substantially lower mean earned income than whites.

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In the earlier survey, adjusting for IQ wipes out the ethnic income differential among whites, blacks, and Latinos (Asians were not included in this survey). In the latter survey, whites and Latinos have effectively the same earned income while the fitted mean for blacks is 84 percent of the fitted mean for whites.

[...]

The fitted mean for Asians is 57 percent higher than the fitted mean for whites.

Comments

  1. Kirk says:

    No adjustment made for the “self-fulfilling prophecy effect”.

    These guys are so wedded to the their delightfully self-affirming belief system that it’s not even funny. You want to prove something to me in regards to this, let’s start doing double-blind studies where the system doesn’t get access to the f**king scores, and the individual doesn’t either. Then, let us examine the trajectory of their “life success”, and see if there is some validity to this crap.

    There is nothing so annoying as a self-preening, self-licking ice cream cone of an intellectual, prideful in their “attainments”, yet who lack an iota of self-awareness, humility, or sense.

    Judging from the world they’ve made, I think the highest and best use of the IQ test might just be to cull the highest-scoring from the general population. We certainly haven’t done well by putting their delusional ideas into practice.

  2. Graham says:

    It might be worth some differentiation here- the high IQ [both self-identifying and test scoring] elite that pushes the ideas that you seem to mostly condemn both perpetuate the tests to justify their own power, AND decry the idea that it is objective when offered by someone like Murray.

    I don’t always know how to parse that without falling into not always appropriate terms like left and right, so with that disclaimer-

    We have a left whose status and identity is based on “education” and test scores, knows it and is proud of it, and thinks this alone is a proper basis for rule, and not just rule, but to shape society itself around them and their values, all of which are reframed as being inherent manifestations of the “intelligent” position. And which then somehow turns around and disparages the validity of the mechanisms on which their ideology has evolved and is still based.

    I have no idea how this smoke and mirrors holds up so well.

    Even so, I think culling all the test takers would eliminate too many of the STEM people. A lot of them have really weird politics [I keep forgetting the name of the black female [black femme in her self-ID which has something to do with gender identity] NASA scientists who wrote that colonizing Mars would be perpetuating racism, colonialism, and sexism by raping this virgin environment, or words to that effect, but most of them seem to just do their thing.

  3. Kirk says:

    I’m a big fan of performance-based assessment. Does what you do work? Do the promised benefits of your policies and plans actually materialize?

    If the answer to those questions is “No”, then I would say that you’re not really all that intelligent.

    I’m going to call it as I see it–You can read the history of the last 150-odd years as a coup conducted on society by the autistic. They’ve managed to pull off a massive con since about 1890, and the sad fact is that the “rest of us” have nodded along with their BS and let them do it. Only now, however, the f**king wheels are about to come off, and I think it’s far past time we start ignoring the predictions based on testing, and start looking instead at actual demonstrated performance.

    “Well, he did really well on the tests…” is going to be the epitaph on the grave marker for our civilization, if we don’t start taking corrective actions.

    Someone really should have looked at what happened to the Chinese when they implemented all that Confucian study and the examination process that they did to select their mandarinate. As I remember, it didn’t do so well when it confronted reality in the form of those chaotic Europeans who showed up out of nowhere.

    I think the entire regime, from top to bottom, needs to be scrapped. There’s no salvaging it, at this point. We need to set up another system of actual performance assessment, and use that to replace the current credential-driven idiocy we have now. It’s amazing to me how much those pieces of paper mean, and it’s entirely bullshit. You have a piece of paper that says something, great–It really doesn’t mean a damn thing.

    One of the really annoying things you run into in the military is the whole hierarchy/rank bogosity that’s inherent to it all. One of the most maddening things to me was the observation I had with something I experienced about the time I made Sergeant First Class. The day before I pinned on, I was a Staff Sergeant (Promotable), day after I was a Sergeant First Class. Same guy, same level of experience, same everything–But, holy crap, the difference in reaction from people. Wearing Staff Sergeant, everything I said came under question, ‘cos “rank”. Day after I pinned on Sergeant First Class, the biggest thing I noticed? Nobody questioned me. My word was suddenly and instantaneously unquestioned.

    All because of that extra rocker on my collar.

    That is utter and complete bullshit. Total bullshit. I was no more experienced the day after, and no less the day before, and yet… “The SFC has SPOKEN! So let it be done…”. ‘Effing surreal, and it left me with an even stronger sense that all that crap is mostly bullshit. Credentials don’t mean a damn thing–I watched another Sergeant First Class do things I knew better than to try when I was a mere Corporal, and yet there he was, wearing my same rank, with my same credibility (until it blew up in his face…) with the commanders. Total insanity.

    This, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with our society. Too much reliance on credentials, too little attention paid to actual performance. It’s across the board, everywhere.

  4. Dave says:

    Imagine if c. 850 AD China had redesigned its civil service exam so that instead of rote memorization and recital, test-takers had to solve logic and math problems.

    By 1350 the Chinese would have settled the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and by 1850 they’d have evolved godlike intelligence and colonized most of the Solar System.

    Still, what they have now is better than our democratic welfare state, where natural selection has been replaced with female sexual selection, causing us to evolve into violent imbeciles obsessed with sex and bling.

    You always get what you select for.

  5. Kirk says:

    It’s a nice fantasy, Dave, but the reality is that you get the things that are in your nature, reflecting the inner man rather than the idealized one.

    If they’d have tested for logic and math, the logic and math would have turned into rote pablum just as quickly as the Confucian BS did.

    Where I think the real problem lies is in the transmission of attitude, culture, and esoteric tribal knowledge between generations. The first generation of pioneers in something, like American Constitutional Democracy, come up with a system. Then, the second generation perhaps perfects it, but then the third and fourth come along, and the inertia of it all takes over–The initial impetus just isn’t enough to carry it any much past Gen 4, and from five on, it just starts to run down. The gamesmanship starts in the beginning, but it’s kept in check by the harsh eyes of the founding population, until they’re no longer there even in memory. Once that happens, the inevitable corruption begins. You may have intermittent renewals, as the Roman Empire did, or the Chinese, but those are more like mere pumps on the pedals, serving to add a little more juice to the squeeze. They’re usually not quite enough to do a full renewal of it all, unless there’s a really big and universally agreed-upon crisis to get everyone’s minds into proper alignment again.

  6. Chandalier says:

    Kirk, something measured is something instantly commodified. Besides,

    When Boris entered the room, Prince Andrey was listening to an old general, wearing his decorations, who was reporting something to Prince Andrey, with an expression of soldierly servility on his purple face. “Alright. Please wait!” he said to the general, speaking in Russian with the French accent which he used when he spoke with contempt. The moment he noticed Boris he stopped listening to the general who trotted imploringly after him and begged to be heard, while Prince Andrey turned to Boris with a cheerful smile and a nod of the head. Boris now clearly understood—what he had already guessed—that side by side with the system of discipline and subordination which were laid down in the Army Regulations, there existed a different and more real system—the system which compelled a tightly laced general with a purple face to wait respectfully for his turn while a mere captain like Prince Andrey chatted with a mere second lieutenant like Boris. Boris decided at once that he would be guided not by the official system but by this other unwritten system.

  7. Chandalier says:

    There’s no evidence that the Chinese are capable of paradigmatic breakthroughs.

    Perhaps that will change in the future, but if you go to China right now, it looks like a shinier version of America: the buildings are bigger and better in the American style; everyone is wearing American clothes, driving American cars, and working according to the American economic system; the computers are faster versions of American computers; the omnipresent surveillance is a more pervasive version of American pervasive surveillance; the political order itself was installed by American action.

    And perhaps most flagrantly, the whole military order, material and social, transferred wholesale. Look up some comparison images; it’s truly astonishing.

    The country is, top to bottom, one colossal copy-and-paste. Biologically, the people are the same. Culturally, the only coherent remnant of China Before is the language.

  8. Kirk says:

    Lest anyone mistake what I’m getting at with all this questioning of the IQ test and all the other follow-ons from it, let me make it clear that I’m not trying to say that there isn’t a need for smart people to be running things, or that stupidity triumphs over all. The point that I’m trying to get at is that there is very obviously something wrong with our selection mechanism, or the premise that such things are even capable of being defined or selected in the first place.

    Just because you can do well on a test doesn’t mean you’re smart or wise, let alone suited to be entrusted with running things solely on the basis of those tests. Which is pretty much what we’ve done. My point isn’t that smart is bad, but that we’ve really, really f**ked up trying to figure out who is smart using these tests.

  9. Sam J. says:

    “…IQ test and all the other follow-ons from it, let me make it clear that I’m not trying to say that there isn’t a need for smart people to be running things, or that stupidity triumphs over all. The point that I’m trying to get at is that there is very obviously something wrong with our selection mechanism…”

    I’m sure Kirk is completely correct on this matter but…there is no other way to get a bang for buck reading for success as intelligence test that take a couple hours to take and grade to draw conclusions. That they are not completely right is irrelevant as they are mostly right with the least effort.

    Intelligence test are the good enough compared to the “we don’t know what” perfect selection process.

  10. Sam J. says:

    I might add the intelligence test are the gate keeper but on the job performance review is “supposed” to be the other part. That it’s not working right is not the problem of the intelligence test.

    At one time people worked their way up but Supreme Court rulings ruined this so we had to do the best as we could with what we had to work with which was college and intelligence test.

  11. Isegoria says:

    For anyone who’s curious, that passage about Boris, Prince Andrey, and the old general comes from War and Peace, as cited by C.S. Lewis, in The Inner Ring.

  12. Graham says:

    We would do well to recognize that:

    test taking skills
    intelligence as problem solving
    intelligence as adaptability
    intelligence as intellect
    book learning
    learning in general
    wisdom

    Are not synonyms but variably overlapping concepts. And start from there.

  13. Graham says:

    Although it isn’t only about the too easy conflation of those ideas.

    The elite that has formed over the past century or so has taken variable forms and has varied in the degree to which it saw itself as replacing a previous elite or refining/continuing it, but it has come to a surprisingly comprehensive set of ideas about the applications and content of “intelligence”, as well as its operating system.

    This can be seen everywhere. The better you can do on the tests, the more likely you are to get ahead, but even there it is always harder if you haven’t also pre-bought all the values, beliefs, desires, goals, and language codes you will need.

    Heck, at this point favouring classical architecture is a marker of being the wrong sort of people.

    Failure to be constantly calling things diverse and vibrant, and so on. Very bad.

    It’s not just test taking. It’s what is considered test-worthy information, and what is the correct attitude to take on it.

    Just as Kirk said, we still need smart people to run things. Tests will be part of it. We need to consider the other elements I listed.

    For my part, I make the equivalent concession to an elite — it will always have its speech codes and its insider/outside dynamics. I want to see the current one overthrown, and replaced by another, but ideally by more than one other, competing based on different goals and origins. In practice, that’s usually a good way to keep them all relatively honest, their borders fluid, and the bottom ends relatively open.

  14. Kirk says:

    Once one recognizes the impact that the IQ test and others of its ilk have had on our society, the next question that should immediately be asked is “Have they demonstrated value…?”.

    I look around at today’s society, and my conclusion is that they have not. We’ve put a “game” into place, used it to assess and select much of our elite, and nobody along the line has paused to evaluate and examine the questions of “These game-selected “smart guys and girls”… How do they actually perform? What does their work product look like?”.

    Games can be great tools for instruction and evaluation, but the problem is, the games have to have fidelity with the reality that they model if you are going to carry their results out into the real world. Do the games we play, to select the elites, actually work?

    It’s like with the service academies: Every year, you get that years crop of young second lieutenants come out to your unit, once they’ve finished their specialty-specific training. Every year, regular as clockwork, you have guys like me having to burst the young lieutenant’s bubble that, no, the Army does not actually work like that, and that everything they were taught at West Point or wherever they went was idealized and artificial.

    ‘S funny as an aneurysm, but the only service academy whose product I had experience of that didn’t produce the inevitable sadly disappointed junior officer was the Merchant Marine Academy, some few of whose products we oddly got into the Army–Further irony was that the Army did not use them on the large fleet of ships it owned, but randomly assigned them throughout. I know one who was Infantry, and another an Engineer. For whatever reason, those young men didn’t have a lot in the way of illusions about how the real world worked, which I attribute to the extensive integration that the Merchant Marine Academy has with the working merchant shipping fleet.

    If you are going to try to use the game as training and selection for real life, you’d best ensure it has fidelity to that life, or you’re going to be seriously disappointed with the results.

  15. Harry Jones says:

    Value to whom? To the rest of us? Is class like a market, with a mutually beneficial exchange?

    Or do we simply get the worst rulers we’re willing to put up with?

    The shepherd may or may not need to justify his existence to the sheep. The wolf does not need to justify his existence, he only needs to maintain it.

  16. Kirk says:

    Depends on your outlook, Harry. If you see society as being several wolves and a herd of sheep, with you in the role of “wolf”, well… Then it’s all about maintaining “wolfhood”.

    I would submit, however, that the track record for such things has not been good. Charlemagne eventually culminated in Charles II of Spain. Over the long haul, it’s not been managed very well, mostly because there were no real managers for the “wolf line” of aristos.

    I suppose it all turns on your vision of society, and who it is set up to benefit. The primitive ideals that resulted in feudal aristocracy and all that that implies are not ones which work in the industrial age, where the mass of the citizenry is well-educated and not amenable to “farming”. About the time that we developed firearms, all that ancien regime crap went out the window, whether or not anyone wants to admit it. When you can kill the noble and his steed with a rifle you learned to shoot in a couple of weeks, well all that expensive training he got is meaningless. Not to mention, the aristos are mostly useless in an industrial world in the first place, except as ready sources for financing the beginnings of it all.

    None of that crap works, under modern conditions. The problem is, we haven’t figured out something which does, really–Although, I have a fondness for Swiss small-scale cantonal democratic republics, with well-educated self-interested citizens participating in it all. Switzerland has done pretty well, and I think that model is about the best we can manage at present. The US would do a lot better as a smaller, less powerful state–Too much of the cheese is there, now, and it’s hypnotic effect on the sociopathic is readily apparent every time you turn on the news. Switzerland would likely have similar problems, were you to scale them up to superpower status.

  17. Harry Jones says:

    I’m a realist. I maintain that everything is designed for the benefit of its creators, and its effects upon others is accidental. Whenever I want to know why something is the way it is, I ask: cui bono?

    Domesticated sheep have a pleasant life, up until they get made into mutton. The business model of the shepherd depends a great deal on the sheep misconstruing their own interest. That’s how you get fleeced.

    Small scale works well because it’s easier to get all the stakeholders in on the design and implementation, there being fewer stakeholders. A small mountain republic is an oligarchy minus the helots.

    The shepherd business model scales better because sheep are plentiful. A hegemony with a republic at its head is the best we’ve yet come up with.

  18. Kirk says:

    Yeah, but what happens when the sheep look up, recognize the game, and refuse to play any more?

    Care to imagine what the Soviet Union would have looked like, had all of the mid-level people just… Opted out? Forget what Solzhenitsyn said about burning in the camps, what the hell happens when the silent majority just quit playing? If you issue orders to your vast machinery of coercion, and it just goes “Meh. Not gonna do it–We tried that crap, and lookie here–Problems are still with us, food’s still not on the shelves, and you lot aren’t contributing sh*t to anything…”.

    Which is about what actually eventuated inside the Soviet Union, per one of my friends who was there at the time. You can only pull off the Jedi mind-trick that is totalitarianism so long as the general public is credulous enough to buy into your police state BS. What do you do when they no longer kowtow in fear, but pat your secret police on the head, and say “That’s nice, Yevgeny… Now, run along and play apparatchik somewhere else, we grownups have crops to get in… You do want to eat, this winter, yes?”.

    You can only overawe so long as you are actually something that induces awe. After you don’t, well… Yeah. That’s what happened to the aristocracy in France and Britain–The Brits managed to last long enough at the game for their headsmen to be employees of the Inland Revenue, while the less-competent French aristos wound up meeting with Dr. Guillotine’s invention.

    The actual problem we’re looking at here is the underlying feature of our fascination with having someone tell us what to do–In days of yore, it was the hunter-gatherer band’s “Big Man”, then it was the priest-king, followed by the King-Emperor and his minions. In modern times, it was the state nomenklatura that overawed the little guys–For awhile. Eventually, they lost credibility as much as the former classes of “thought leaders” had, and here we are today, with our increasingly discredited mob of self-appointed idiots losing their primacy and credibility at an incredible rate. Soon, they’re going to get up on MSNBC and CBS to say that the sun will rise in the East, tomorrow; at which point, everyone will make a point of being up to actually verify said fact.

    All of these groups have been “the anointed”, who’ve we’ve put our trust in to run things. Eventually, every single one of these groups has run out of impetus, turned corrupt and incompetent, followed by then getting overwhelmed by the reality of their involuntary succession. The root of the problem, however, isn’t in “them”, it’s in us: Why do the mass of human beings keep putting their faith in these petty little”gods that fail”?

    At some point, we’re going to grow up, and stop doing that.

  19. Harry Jones says:

    They’re not anointed, they’re just in charge. They don’t have to be thought leaders to rule, they just have to have the power. The only reason they seek to control minds is it helps with gaining and maintaining power. But guns also work.

    Two problems with the idea of just walking away from the elite:

    1. They often have a monopoly on guns. If you walk away, they will quite literally shoot you in the back.

    2. If you’ve been raised as sheep, you don’t have the skills to run your own society. This is why slave rebellions end badly even when the slaves win.

    Bottom line: there’s nowhere to walk away to. The only option I see is a big, messy societal collapse and then a rebuilding by a new, emergent elite.

  20. Kirk says:

    Harry, the “elite” relies on the mid-level schnooks to do its dirty work–Always has, always will. Who do you think will be the ones pulling the triggers? Every time these classes have gone nuts, whether inside the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, or the Cambodia of Pol Pot, there’s been an intermediary group that they’ve co-opted to do the dirty work. They never got their hands dirty. Take away the mid-level, and the whole thing turns into some nutters raving on street corners in short order.

    As to the “can’t run things without them” idea? Look around–What, precisely, do the “elites” actually run? If you were to remove them, and tell the people of Seattle or San Francisco to run their own neighborhoods, what do you suppose would happen? Do you think that people would be putting up with homeless vagrants crapping on their sidewalks, or littering the parks with needles and drug paraphenalia…?

    The root problem is the elites, in all these cases. Were you to go look at the fall of either Rome, the problems were rarely rooted in the “little people” out in the countrysides of Gaul or Thrace; it was all with the idiots running things in Rome or Constantinople, who’d ceased believing in the entire enterprise. The “lower classes” were never the problem–It was the upper-class “elites” and the mid-level administrative staffs that internally self-corrupted first.

    My point is that the elites and even a goodly chunk of the mid-level mob are both where things go wrong first, for a society or a civilization, and that learning to wean ourselves away from the need for these “thought leaders” is precisely what we will need to do, as a species, in order to grow up and become entirely self-actuated and agents in our own lives. The elites are necessarily corrupt after about the second or third generation, because that’s how it always goes–They set up gatekeepers, and become self-perpetuating. Look at the CCP–How many of its leaders are first-generation farmers or factory shop floor stewards? Any? No, they’re all children of the first generation of the Party, parasites all. You see the same thing, every time we set up something. Human nature, and a sign of essential immaturity as a species.

  21. Harry Jones says:

    We may be arguing semantics.

    My experience with mid level schnooks is they regard themselves as part of the elite. I think they’re right about that.

    But if the elite of the elite bungle badly enough in the eyes of the schnooks, the schnooks can overthrow them. This is called a coup. The sheep are not involved in this process, and may not even be impacted by it.

    Recently in the US a pack of schnooks intimidated a TV new personality into recanting a certain position. This shows you where the real power lies. The people we see telling us how to think and what to believe are mere figureheads. They could be replaced with computer simulations. Some day they will be.

    A similar situation is being revealed to have existed for a very long time in the Executive Branch of the federal government. Pay no attention to the man in front of the curtain.

    The schnooks are effective parasites, or else they wouldn’t be parasites at all for very long.

  22. Kirk says:

    What I’m talking about with all this is that it’s about damn time the schnooks realize that they’re basically sheep with Stockholm Syndrome. They don’t get to partake of the same level of perks that the true elites get to, but they’re key and essential to making the whole con work. Without them, the Lenins and Stalins of this sort of world can’t pull these things off.

    Same thing is on view in China, today. The elite relies on the buy-in by the mid-level, and they’re really the ones that the “permanent floating parasite class” rely on to enforce everything and persuade the sheep into the loading chutes. It’s just like the real sheep herds of the world–The human shepherds would find it almost impossible to manage the huge flocks they do, if the dogs they use decided not to play along with it all.

  23. CVLR says:

    I don’t know how you accuse others of utopianism.

    Thou shouldst pluck the beam from thine own eye.

  24. Harry Jones says:

    In a monarchy or dictatorship, the top rank has its privileges, although that won’t stop the Praetorian Guard from offing you if you go too far.

    A republic is a form of oligarchy. The power is more spread out, and the perks follow the power. But there’s still a vast commoner class that’s out of the loop.

    In a democratic republic, the commoners don’t know they’re out of the loop. Everyone gets his say, but no one gets listened to.

  25. Kirk says:

    Harry, it’s all a bloody illusion, a feat of legerdemain pulled off by the supposed “leadership class”, who are never around during moments of crisis.

    The military is probably the single most hierarchical entity we have left in the West. Yet, even there… It’s amazing to observe just what goes on, and how things really, truly function.

    The model is “I command; you obey; we get things done…”. The reality is that the leadership cadre often does rather less than we like to think.

    Stationed in Germany during the height of the Cold War in the mid-1980s, I had this fact rubbed in my face rather effectively. The ideal was that we’d get the alert order down from higher headquarters, and then load up and be on our way out the gates to the local dispersal area within about an hour or two. This was not anything that was unachievable, but it also wasn’t as simple as it sounds, either. You had the factor of trying to get the senior leadership in from their off-post housing, and a host of minor complicating things that never seemed to go right. In the first several months I was in Germany at that unit, it went through various and sundry epic levels of f**k-uppedness. Best we ever managed was to be on our way out the gates in about three hours, from the time we started the clock running at the end of the notification phone call.

    Then came the winter morning that we got the call from higher “calling the alert” at about three in the morning on a weekday. First attempt to notify the commander and the off-post phone chain produced the realization that the phone system was down, somewhere, and we could not make off-post phone calls. Staff duty officer sends his runner off to notify all the companies “by hand”, and he runs off-post to the nearest civilian phone booth to try to initiate the phone tree from there. No joy–Evidently, the German phone system is where the problem is, and all the public pay phones he can find are out, as well. Follow-on action on his part was evidence that he wasn’t as dumb as your average LT, and he immediately sent out the Staff Duty Driver with the maps to all the leadership’s quarters spread across the community. Driver got out the gate, down the street, turned onto the street for his first notification, and promptly got the jeep wiped out by a drunk driver who T-boned him.

    Upshot? Zero “leadership” on the ground. Without them there to confuse things, we actually were lined up and ready to go out the gate to the local dispersal area when the first of the off-post cadre started filtering in to start the workday. Fastest alert response anyone ever recorded the entire time I was in that battalion, BTW… Only thing we didn’t have were the classified materials out of the S2 shop, because nobody above the grade of Private First Class from that section lived in the barracks. It was an interesting demonstration of how discipline and order actually don’t exist in the minds of the leadership, but really well up out of the ranks. If it doesn’t exist there, there’s literally nothing you can do to impose it from above.

    That’s the point I’m trying to get at–The elites aren’t really the source of what makes civilization tick over neatly when the key is turned. That undefined “thing” exists only in the minds of the lower-level participants, and when they cease to believe in it… “Poof”, and away goes your civilization with it. Happened to the Soviets, happened to the Romans, and it will happen to the CCP and the Iranian regime.

    The trick of it all is that we need to recognize this syndrome, and quit focusing on things like Harvard or the Young Pioneers. The critical thing to maintain is the feature out in the general public that gets them to awaken every morning with a feeling that they’re participating in something greater than themselves, and that those feelings motivate and inform their actions throughout the day. Lose that, turn it into “every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost…”, well… Yeah. That’s the end-times for whatever civilization there might have been.

    In the final analysis, civilization does not reside in the institutions of the state, the edifices of religion, or the shrines of academia. It resides in the hearts of the individuals participating in such a thing, and when those hearts are empty, so too is civilization. You can drive men to civilization with enough coercion, but once you withdraw that coercion, the entire enterprise collapses. When it arises from within, it’s a far more durable thing, capable of surviving a lot more damage than the other sort of thing.

  26. Harry Jones says:

    Those who command, appear to rule. Those who accomplish, rule. Those who prevent things getting accomplished are the enemy.

    Those who punish are getting something done, namely punishment. Note who and what they punish to know what side they’re on and what they actually want. Ignore what they say and pay close attention to what they do.

    When I realized this, I stopped trying to do what I was told and focused on doing what I could get away with that worked. I know it sounds disloyal, but… yeah, it’s disloyal. So what’s so all fired great about loyalty again?

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