“political politeness”

great piece by ed west in the spectator yesterday about how political correctness is suppressing scientific inquiry nowadays. (yeah, i know we all know that, and have known it for quite some time now, but it’s good to keep repeating it to the pc-brigade!)

go read it on the spectator website!: Untold truths – how the spirit of inquiry is being suppressed in the West. (read this one, too, while you’re at it: Intelligence is just another privilege you inherited from mummy and daddy.)

here’s a little teaser…

“After the Second World War a new faith, the radical Left, conquered all and academics who proposed vaguely controversial ideas, such as Richard Herrnstein or E.O. Wilson, became the victims of vicious student-led campaigns (Hernstein was talking about IQ and class in a meritocratic society, which is what BoJo was arguing). By the early 1980s British biologist Bill Hamilton wrote in his diaries of a wish to return home because the academic atmosphere in the US was becoming stifling.

“And although America became less radical in the Nixon-Reagan era, academia became more so, especially when the students of 1968 returned as professors, and this political correctness, as it became known, fanned out into the wider culture of media and politics of the 1980s and 1990s. And it hasn’t gone away, you know.

“Soon after Harvard alumni Jason Richwine stated that Hispanic school scores in the US had not improved in four generations, he was sacked by his think-tank and publicly disgraced. 1,200 Harvard students signed a petition calling for Richwine to have his doctorate taken away, and many of them wrote that even if his research was academically sound, and accurate, he should still be punished for studying things that might promote ‘discrimination and exclusion’. These are America’s future leaders….

yeah. great. =/

(this was pretty good, too – from tom chivers in the telegraph: On Boris Johnson and intelligence: it’s not clever to pretend IQ doesn’t matter)

(note: comments do not require an email. more giant sloths!)


  1. @ihtg – “Whoa, I didn’t know Boris Johnson was an IQ realist.”

    there’s been some sort-of weird — and unexpected (at least to me, but what do i know?) — shift in the u.k. wrt intelligence in the last year or so. suddenly everyone seems to be talking about it — and a lot of what they’re saying is that it’s OK to talk about intelligence, iq, etc.

    i hope the momentum keeps up, wherever it’s come from.


  2. There’s an irony you may not appreciate in the piece about “Mummy and Daddy”. It is illustrated by a photo of Polly Toynbee who famously spent her young life failing exams and eventually got on in life by, some allege, using family connections rather than familial intelligence. You can bet that Ed West had it in mind.


  3. I saw Boris Johnson once as a guest on “”Top Gear” – the biggest TV reality show in the world. He seemed quite bright, although like many guests there, his accent made him a little hard to follow.

    Reading this piece I’m tempted to look up his Top Gear episode on Netflix but that facility doesn’t seem to exist quite yet.

    The main thing I’ve learned from watching that show – and I thought I knew England – was just how awful their weather is. Traffic too.


  4. “just how awful their weather is”: my dear sir, where I live the annual rainfall averages 22.5″. What’s yours? And we can take a walk for pleasure virtually every day of the year. Outside patches of your west coast, isn’t that untrue of the US?


  5. @dearieme, don’t those monotonously sunny days get to you? :) i laugh b/c i live in a semi-arid mixed/tallgrass prairie area – we get 28 inches of rain a year – it’s not enough – monotonously sunny days, i tell ya! but you’re right, it makes it easy to walk every day :) but it’s dry & rarely green here :(


  6. @dearieme – “And we can take a walk for pleasure virtually every day of the year. Outside patches of your west coast, isn’t that untrue of the US?”

    i’ve got one word for ya: FLORIDA! (^_^)

    (actually, pretty much the whole stretch from southern california to georgia is very walkable virtually every day of the year. unless there are tornadoes or hurricanes…or plagues of locusts….)


  7. @hbd chick: loved your locust link! (KS grangers vs. hoppers memento:) there’s still a grasshopper or 2 alive here now (i just walked:) & a few “blister beetles” – marvelous creatures – http://bugguide.net/node/view/181 sadly, bug season is pretty much over :(
    the scenery ain’t so great here, but we have cool bugs to learn about:)


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