A couple of people have asked me whether I’ll be reviewing Shelby Steele’s new book about race: Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country. I reply that I won’t, and explain why.
Because science, that's why; the science of human nature, now firm enough to tell us without reasonable doubt that there are innate statistical race differences. Behavior, intelligence, personality: everything we have been able to measure about these classes of human traits tells us they are all highly heritable. It follows that localized mostly-inbreeding populations, under selection pressures of different environments, will develop distinctive group profiles on these traits.That may be a little harsh on Steele, who seems like a decent chap and who I’m sure means well.
Black and Hispanic populations aren’t ever going to exhibit the same behavioral profiles as European whites and East Asians, though of course there’ll be lots of individual exceptions and outliers. It’s a fantasy. It would actually violate the laws of biology.
Conservatives educated in literature and the humanities cling to the fantasy because they can’t understand the science. That’s too bad, but I’m tired of trying to educate them. I no longer want to engage in any way with race denialism. It’s just ignorant.
So no, I won’t be reading Shelby Steele’s book for review, unless someone offers me a large sum of money for the trouble. (I can be reached via Taki’s Magazine.)
In future I won’t be reading or listening to any material on race topics that denies the simple reality of group differences. It’s like listening to creationists or flat-earthers. People are free to believe in dumb things. I don’t mind them doing so, and wish no offense to anyone, certainly not to my friends. I’m getting older, though, and more and more sensitive about wasting my time.
A listener emailed the following, after conceding the point on race differences:
Can’t you argue though that liberal social policy has worsened things for blacks by rewarding irresponsible behavior and by letting blacks think that they will never succeed given white racism, and that their fate is beyond their control? Thomas Sowell says that black families were far more intact and that blacks economically were slowly improving until the 1960’s.Yes, you can argue that, and Steele apparently (I haven’t read his book for the aforementioned reasons, only the promotional material and two reviews) does. It’s worth saying.
It gets said a lot, though, by the likes of Steele and Sowell. It is dogma over at Conservatism, Inc. I know it is: I spent fifteen years among those people.
Someone has to stand up and say the other things.