A Reader Comments on the National Question and the Left Half of the Bell Curve...
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From:  Ronald Kyser

"Our political discourse is dominated not by a concern for the needs of the American people as a whole, but by the self-interest and unexamined assumptions of the verbally facile."

"...empathetic identification with the left half of the Bell Curve... is sorely lacking among the IQ overclass today."

If Steve Sailer's America and the Left Half of the Bell Curve catches your fancy, then you might like to check out a prophetic 1981 book-length treatment of this very dilemma by the Djilas-of-the-prairies, David Lebedoff. The New Elite, which grew out of an August 1978 article in Esquire, divides the landscape into the title class and "Left Behinds" as follows:

"The deciding point in every case is how individuals see themselves... Those who, when they say 'ourselves', mean those with the highest measurable intelligence, are members of the New Elite.  Those who when they say 'ourselves' mean anything else - other businessmen or scientists or artists or women or Catholics or liberals or conservatives or Texans or Frenchmen or laborers or Mayflower descendants or farmers or dukes or millionaires or We the People - are members of the Left Behinds.  Rejection of roots is a prerequisite to membership in the New Elite; adherence to roots... is the primary barrier to such membership."

Lebedoff, long a foot soldier in the Humphreyan Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party,  hints in his chapter titles at the totalitarianism latent in the new mindset: "The Death of Politics"; "An End to Issues"; "What They Want"; "Rule by the Courts"; "The Last Elite?"  He uses Governors Pat Brown and son Jerry to epitomize the two classes, and explores the psychology of voters attracted - often emotionally - to rebel candidates like Eugene McCarthy and John Anderson.  (Those fellows, and later incarnations Gary Hart and John McCain, ran best in the high-IQ belt stretching from Portland to Portland.) 

There's a nice circle here:  Lebedoff is now a director of the neo-con (yet open-minded) Center of the American Experiment - which is friendly with and recently hosted Charles Murray - who in The Bell Curve and later work often echoed the social analysis of Lebedoff - who himself has been cold to the concept of IQ!  And if that isn't confusing enough, The New Elite's jacket blurb is courtesy of the universal Ben Wattenberg

February 22, 2001

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