IS EUGENICS POSSIBLE?
WEALTH, INCOME AND UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE US
HISTORY: The Dark History of China, Part II
BOOK REVIEWS: Hollywood Wants to Kill You
IS IT POSSIBLE TO IMPROVE AUSTRALIA’S POPULATION BY EUGENICS?
Until no so many years ago the general intelligence in Australia and other Western nations was increasing in what became known as the Flynn Effect. IQ tests had to be made harder to allow for this. More recently intelligence levels have not been increasing
and are actually falling. (1)
We have a dysgenic situation. The lower IQ half of society is outbreeding the smarter half. We bring in migrants from high IQ and low IQ nations but it
is the latter that have the highest fertility rates. (2)
Is it possible to stop the dysgenic tendency and even make it eugenic, without coercion or human rights violations? There are
probably many things that could be done starting with immigration.
We take in migrants from countries where the national IQ is lower, sometimes much lower than Australia. Seriously reducing
the number of migrants should have an impact. Our intake of refugees is high by international standards, at least relative to our population, and this should be reduced considerably. (3)
Our welfare system could hardly be better designed to produce a dysgenic situation. The Youth Allowance which unemployed young people can receive is currently from $253.20 to $462.50 a fortnight for those under 18 and from $304.60 to $462.50 for those under
22 years of age. It must be a temptation for young women who are not real bright and unlikely to get a good job to become single mothers. Then they can get the much more generous Parenting Payment, currently at $790.10 a fortnight, Family Tax Benefits A and
B and a number of other benefits. (4) These benefits are means tested so that the smarter and more conscientious women who put off having children until they are educated and get a job are likely to miss out on these benefits or receive them at a lower rate.
Admittedly there is Parental Leave Pay for those women in the workforce. This currently pays working women who have a baby $753.90 a week but only for 18 weeks, and is only for those who
earned under $150,000 a year. It’s hardly an inducement for high IQ women to have children. (5)
Tinkering with the welfare system would probably have only a small effect on discouraging
the less bright to have children at a young age but it would at least send a message. For instance the New Born Allowance could be axed as could Family Tax Benefit B. Both Youth Allowance and Jobseeker Allowance could be raised substantially so that there
is less difference with the Parenting Payment hence less inducement to have children on welfare.
Easing, or better still abolishing, the means test on Family Tax Benefit A would result
in more educated and smarter women getting it hence there may be some inducement for them to have more children. In fact there are probably numerous ways to encourage brighter people to have more children using the welfare or tax system. Allowing some of the
cost of supporting dependent children to be tax deductable should help.
Then there is the problem of education, more specifically spending many years in the education system, a sort
of education by endurance, means that many are putting off having children until they have academic qualifications and can start a career. By this time they are in their early or even mid-twenties while their not so bright cousins have started to have
children while teenagers. A solution may be for the brightest five or ten per cent of young people to get an accelerated education starting in early high school and continuing in tertiary levels thus allowing them to enter the workforce sooner and hopefully
have children at an earlier age.
Then there is the problem of housing, the high cost of which can put people off marriage, or at least having large families. The government should be
able to offer subsidised housing, not just social housing which tends to help the less capable. In fact it should be possible to build developments, even whole suburbs or new towns, where low cost housing could be sold to those who, due to being young, do
not have substantial incomes but in future should be able to rise to higher incomes. Meanwhile they have a place to call their own and to raise a family.
None of these measures in itself
would make a great deal of difference but if a number of attempts were made at non-coercive eugenics, or reversing dysgenics, the effects should add up. And no doubt there are many other things that could be done. Most of the obstacles would be political.
Just mentioning the words dysgenic or eugenic can cause controversy. (6) There is the problem of some minorities who would probably see a drop in their birth rate, although at the same time they should also see a drop in infant mortality and a rise in life
Mention should be made of abortion. Some research indicates that low intelligence women and those with psychopathic tendencies are more likely to have an abortion. In fact
it has been suggested that in some areas increased abortions led to less crime. (7)
Abortion is used to terminate pregnancies for congenital anomalies and hence can be a type of negative
eugenics. It would appear however than only a small proportion of abortions in Australia are for congenital anomaly. In 2017 for example only 4.1% of abortions performed in South Australia were for this reason compared to 95.3% for the “mental health
of woman”. (8)
Relying on abortion as a form of eugenics is hardly likely to make up for the dysgenic problems inherent in immigration, tax and welfare policies, education by endurance,
and housing problems. If things go on as they are now dysgenics will ensure poorer economic growth, lower living standards, more crime and more unemployable people that the rest of society has to support. We can only hope that a future government has the courage
to introduce non-coercive eugenics.
(1) Edward Dutton and Michael Woodley of Menie, “At Our Wit’s End”, Imprint Academic, 2018, Chapter 9
(2) Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, “Intelligence”, Ulster Institute
for Social Research, London, 2014; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 33010DO006 Births, Australia, 2018, table 6.1, Country of birth of mother – 2018
(4) Australian Government, Centrelink, https://www.serviceaustralia.gov.au
(7) Richard Lynn, “Eugenics A Reassessment”, Praeger, Westport, 2001, p. 183
(8) “Pregnancy Outcome in South Australia”, 2017, Wellbeing SA, October 2019, Downloaded 11 July 2020
Following the death of George Floyd, a black man, while being arrested by police in the US city of Minneapolis on 25 May,
demonstrations and riots broke out in that city and later across the United States. Floyd, who already had a criminal record, had tried to pass a counterfeit $20 note. The four police officers that arrested Floyd, including Derek Chauvin who placed his knee
on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes were fired and later charged. Chauvin was charged with murder. (1) Two of the police officers, Chauvin and Thomas Lane, were white, one Asian, Tou Than, and the other, Alexander Kueng, of mixed race – his
father apparently is African.
While Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide by a local medical examiner, he did suffer medical problems including heart disease and hypertension. He
was apparently intoxicated by fentanyl and had recent methamphetamine use. (2)
Less than a month later another black man, Rayshard Brooks, 27, was killed by a white policeman, Devin
Brosnan in Atlanta. Brooks was found drunk in a car outside a Wendy’s restaurant but he struggled with police, grabbed a Taser off of them and pointed it at Brosnan. He then attempted to run away but was fatally shot in the back by Brosnan. Brosnan lost
his job, the Atlanta police chief resigned, and the Wendy’s restaurant was burned down by protestors. Brosnan, who allegedly kicked Brooks while he was dying, was later charged with felony murder. (3)
Demonstrations and rioting continued with Black Lives Matter and Anti-Fa involved. The damage and theft ran into hundreds of millions of dollars. At least 22 people were killed, including a retired black police officer and an eight-year-old girl. (4) Statues
of Confederate officers, statues of past American presidents who are said to have kept slaves and statues of Christopher Columbus were vandalised or torn down.
There was an element of
supremacy. A white woman, 24-year-old Jessica Doly Whitaker was killed after saying that “all lives matter”. Her killers were described as ‘multiple black assailants’. (5)
Demonstrations and riots also occurred in Europe with statues again vandalised and torn down. Even a statue of Winston Churchill was not safe – until “right-wing” activists
turned up to protect it. (6)
This all seems to be a bit crazy considering it all started due to two black men who were silly enough to commit crime then resist arrest. It’s noticeable
that no suck ruckus occurred when a white woman, Australian-born Janine Damone was killed by a black police officer in Minneapolis back in 2017, although the police officer was charged and convicted of murder.
Police in the United States kill about 1,000 people a year but only a minority are black and most of those killed are armed. The number of unarmed victims of police shootings has tended to fall, from 94 in 2015, to 51 in 2016 and 68 in 2017. In 2017, there
were 223 blacks killed by police in the US compared to 457 whites, in 2018 it was 209 blacks and 399 whites, and in 2019 it was 235 blacks and 370 whites. There still seems to be a lot of blacks killed considering they make up around 13% of the US population
but this is more likely to be due to black over-representation in crime than police bias. (7)
The imprisonment rates for black Americans indicate higher levels of criminality. In 2018
black males accounted for 34% of the total male prison population while whites were 29% and Hispanics 24%. The imprisonment rate for black males is 5.8 times that of white males. The imprisonment rate for black females was 1.8 times that of white females.
In 2018 homicide statistics show 4,884 offenders were white, 6,318 black, 312 other, and 4,821 unknown. (9) This indicates that at least 54% of killers are black.
If we look at homicides of police there again is a disproportionate rate of offending by blacks. In 2019 there were 48 law enforcement officers feloniously killed on the job and 49 alleged offenders, 28 of whom were white, 15 black, one Pacific Islander or
Native Hawaiian, and five race not reported. (10)
One wonders why so many, black and white, demonstrated when the deaths of Floyd and Brooks are a drop in the ocean compared to the number
of illegal killings in the US. It is nearly six decades since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and affirmative action began. Homicide rates have tended to fall although some have warned of a new “Ferguson” effect whereby police become less officious
and crime rates, including homicides, rise. It looks like this has already started to happen. (11)
There have been suggestions of more affirmative action and forced integration. (12)
No doubt we will see more positive images and more coloureds in the media even though we seem to be saturated with non-white faces already. (13) This in fact could be a large part of the problem – blacks see themselves positively portrayed in the media
but in fact the most crime infested areas of the US are black dominated areas and the income and wealth gaps between black and white have not improved since 1964. This no doubt fuels the sense of grievance and entitlement of blacks, and their propensity to
riots and other violence. Added to this are the fairly constant reminders of slavery, discrimination, and oppression, along with propaganda about ‘white privilege’, which hardwires America’s blacks to see racism everywhere – and use
whites as scapegoats for all their problems. And ignoring the fact that people in black run nations have shorter and poorer lives than blacks in the US.
(1) “Fatal Face of Cop Brutality”, Daily Telegraph, 28 May 2020
(3) “Dashcam Shows Struggle over Taser”, Daily Telegraph, 16 June 2020
(4) Tyler O’Neill,
“Say Their Names: 22 People Killed in the George Floyd Riots”, pjmedia.com 5 July 2020
(5) Cassandra Fairbanks, “Young White Mother Killed by Black Lives Matter Mob for Allegedly Saying ‘All Lives Matter’, National
Media Ignores”, www.thegatewaypundit.com 11 July 2020
(6) Michael Holden, “Anti-racists, Far-Right in City Clashes”, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 2020
(7) J. Sullivan, J.
Tate & J. Jenkins, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/fatal-polics-shoot... 8 May 2018; https://www.statista.com/statistics/585152/people-shot-to-death-by...
Downloaded 30 May 2020
(9) FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, Murder Offenders by Age, Sex,
Race, and Ethnicity, 2018
(11) Robert L. Woodson, “Beware the Ferguson
Effect”, Wall Street Journal
(12) “Staying Apart”, The Economist, 11 July 2020, pp. 13-15
(13) Jack Antonio, “Fade to Black”, https://nationalvanguard.org/2020/06/fade-to-black/
16 June 2020
WEALTH, INCOME AND UNEMPLOYMENT – Blacks versus Whites in the United States
There are considerable gaps in wealth
and income between America’s black and white populations. In 2016 white net wealth averaged $171,000. Black net wealth was $17,500, or about one tenth that of whites. The position of blacks has deteriorated comparatively. (1)
In 1983 white wealth was eight times that of blacks who seem to have lost much more in the recession of 2007-2010. In 2005, 73% of whites in the US owned their own home but by 2016 this had fallen to 68%. Blacks fared worse, during the same period their home
ownership fell from 49% to 42%. Blacks have much higher average student loan debt on average. In 2018 only 4% of whites were living in high-poverty neighbourhoods but 16 % of Hispanics and 23% of blacks were living in these neighbourhoods. (2)
Black Americans have lower average wages than their white countrymen. In 2000 the gap in black and white wages was 21.8%, this rose to 23.5% in 2007 and 27.5% in 2018. The gap is highest at the top of the wage distribution. (3)
Black unemployment rates are higher than for whites despite a fall in the rate in June 2020 compared with the previous month. For whites the rate fell from 12.4% to 10.1%, while for blacks the rate fell from 16.8% to 15.4%. The 5.3% difference between black
and whites is the highest since May 2015. (4)
(2) Kiersten Schmidt, https://grow.acorns.com/racial-wealth-inequality 4 June 2020
(3) Elise Gould, https://www.epi.org/blog/stark-black-white-divide-in-wages-is-widening-further/
27 February 2019
(4) Jonnelle Marte, https://ik.reuters.com/artilce/us-usa-economy-unemployment-race/gap-in-us-black-and-white-unemplyment
2 July 2020
COVID-19: As of 19 July 2020 Australia had recorded 11,802 cases of coronavirus and 122 people had died. Worldwide there had been 14,290,546 confirmed cases and 603,138 deaths. The US has
had the highest number of deaths at 140,119, followed by Brazil at 78,772, United Kingdom at 43,358 and Mexico at 38,888.
“Pandemic State of Play”, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2020
SIBERIAN NEANDERTHALS: Artefacts left by Neanderthals
in the Chagyrskaya cave in the Altai Mountains in Russia differ from those found in the Denisova cave which is also in the Altais. The Chagyrskaya artefacts are similar to some found in Europe and DNA analyses shows that there was migration via Croatia and
the North Caucasus, over several generations, to the Altai.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200304141523.htm 4 March 2020
ANCIENT CHINESE GENOMES: Studies using DNA from 55 genomes dating 1,700 to 7,500 years ago, and
from the Yellow River, West Liao River and Amur River regions in northern China found genetic changes accompanied changes in subsistence. For instance the introduction of rice farming in the Yellow River from the Yangtze River basin in the middle Neolithic
is concordant with genetic affinity with people from southern China.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200601072959.htm 1 June 2020
Dairy foods provide about 50% of the calorie intake for the population of Mongolia. Dairying originated in southwest Asia but dairy consumption occurred in East Asia from about 3000 BC and appears to have been important in Early Bronze Age Mongolia. The earliest
evidence for dairy consumption in East Asia is from the remains of an individual with non-local genetic markers consistent with an origin in Western Steppe Herder populations indicating migration via the Russian Altai introduced dairy and domestic livestock
into the East.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200302113351.htm 2 March 2020
STONE AGE SWEDES: Archaeological evidence indicates there were at least
three different but partially contemporary cultures in Stone Age Sweden. These were the Funnel Beaker culture associated with Scandinavia’s first farmers, Pitted Ware culture associated with fishing and hunting, and Battle Axe culture representing a
mix of herding and farming. All groups differed genetically.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200605132436.htm 5 June 2020
DARK HISTORY OF CHINA (Part II)
The period of the nationalist republic that began in China in 1911 was not always a happy one. The country was not united, much of it under the
control of warlords or the Communists. Campaigns by the nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek against the warlords were generally met with little opposition but the Communists were to prove much more difficult.
Famines struck and in 1920-21 as much as 500,000 people died of hunger. Again in 1928-30 another famine saw between 2 and 3 million dying.
In 1927 government forces of Chiang Kai-shek
tried to take the city of Shanghai but were faced with a strike by 600,000 workers. The city’s industrialists, aided by gangsters put together an army of hired muscle to attack unionists and leftist militia. In the Shanghai Massacre, 300 Communists were
executed and another 5,000 disappeared, their fate unknown. Chiang’s “White Terror” continued, and not just against the Communists, claiming 150,000 lives.
not controlled by the government, gangs of brigands roamed the countryside, pillaging, looting and kidnapping. They killed those who resisted or whose ransom was not received in time. However if a brigand was captured whole villages would join in the execution.
Soldiers could be as bad as bandits and in Fujian province in 1931, peasants annihilated 2,500 soldiers who had carried out pillage and rape against the local people. West of Hunan, in 1926,
a group of peasants killed as many as 50,000 “soldier-bandits” serving a local warlord. Violence often broke out between one group of peasants and another. In 1928 the “Little Swords” in Jiangsu Province killed 200 “Big Swords”
and burned six villages. In another area people were hunted down and killed just for having the wrong name. Lepers could be burned alive as were many Christians.
In areas controlled
by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mass terror was initiated even before the time of Josef Stalin’s Great Terror of 1936-1938 in the Soviet Union. The Chinese soviets claimed as many as 186,000 victims in Jiangxi in 1927 to 1931. In 1932 the soviets
in Jiangxi established “corrective” labour camps not unlike concentration camps.
The Communists tended to tax the peasants more heavily than did the Nationalists (Kuomintang)
taking up to four times as much of their harvests. In fact during the war with the Japanese many peasants fled to Japanese occupied zones for fear they would be forced into the Communist’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The Communists tried agrarian reform well before the revolution of 1949 and this involved the persecution of landowners and the better-off peasants, except of course those who had joined the PLA. At least a million, and possibly up to 5 million were killed.
Between four and six million Chinese “kulaks” were sent to “laogai” – i.e. work camps. The families of victims could be tortured and outright massacres occurred.
Any counterrevolutionaries put on trial were almost always condemned to death. The victims could be cut to pieces by the Red Guards, parts of their flesh cooked and the victim’s family forced to eat it. The liver and heart of the victim would be shared
out at a banquet in an act of vengeful cannibalism.
In 1937 the Japanese started the invasion of China. After three months of furious fighting and a quarter of a million deaths the Japanese
took Shanghai. During the fighting Chinese planes mistakenly bombed the Shanghai International Settlement killing thousands of civilians. The Japanese then took Nanjing where they embarked on an orgy of rape and slaughter.
In Henan, still partly held by the Chinese Nationalist in 1942-1943, between two and three million people died of hunger. Cases of cannibalism were recorded. While the area had experienced a bad harvest the government refused to reduce the tax levy and even
seized goods produced by the peasants. Many peasants were drafted as labour to build an anti-tank ditch which in practice proved useless.
The Japanese were finally defeated in 1945 but
peace did not come to China. In 1949 the Communists under Chairman Mao Zedong came to power.
Repression under the Communists was severe and between 1949 and 1952, two million “bandits”
were liquidated and many more imprisoned. The number of police and police stations rapidly increased as did the troops in the security services (secret police) which came to number 2.2 million. The prisons multiplied along with the increasing number of prisoners
who were subject to torture and other physical violence, starvation-level rations, overwork and inhumane discipline. Death rates were high and generally over 5% although in a six-month period in Guangxi it reached 50%. Those not submissive enough were often
killed and hundreds were buried alive.
The Communists liquidated many considered to be counterrevolutionaries. Executions probably totalled a million. Those harried by the authorities
often committed suicide with as many as 50 taking their own lives in one day.
Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward from 1959 to 1961 was supposed to raise living standards but actually
had the opposite effect. It had been hoped to raise production of grain and steel and initially there were some successes. Soon it was obvious that many figures on increased production were being faked and in most areas things were going backwards. Mistakes
such as planting seeds at five to 10 times normal density led to plants dying and the soil drying out. A campaign to exterminate the sparrows that ate grain wiped out many of the birds but led to a massive increase in parasites. Hydraulic equipment, hurriedly
and carelessly built, proved to be useless or dangerous.
The decline in grain production led to famine and up to 30 million people died of starvation. Unbelievably the government turned
on the peasants who they blamed for the disaster. At least 10,000 were imprisoned and many died of hunger behind bars. Detainees were systematically tortured and children were killed and even boiled down and used as fertiliser. In Anhui, Communists cadres
buried people alive and tortured others with red hot irons. In desperation some peasants resorted to cannibalism and children were eaten.
The Cultural Revolution that began in the middle
of 1966 and lasted for about a decade was not as deadly as the Great Leap Forward but nevertheless many still died. Total deaths have been estimated to have been between 400,000 and a million although some historians claim 3 million died. Many of the victims
suffered horrendous tortures. The Red Guards who carried out the Cultural Revolution even resorted to cannibalism and at least 137 people in Guangxi were eaten. In another case Red Guards asked to be served human flesh in the canteen. In 1976 a man who had
scribbled “Down with Chairman Mao” on a wall was executed and his brain eaten by a member of the security forces.
The Red Guards were initially protected by the army and
given free transport. Under Red Guard pressure universities were proclaimed to be for teaching Reds not experts. Intellectuals were humiliated and physically attacked, some committing suicide. Xenophobia was taken to extremes, “imperialist” tombs
in some cemeteries were looted and Christian practices banned.
In Beijing the Red Terror led to 17,000 deaths, over 33,000 houses being raided and 84,000 “blacks” being chased
out of the city. In Wuhan, 32 people were beaten to death and 62 suicided. In the Daxing district 325 blacks and their families were killed, the oldest victim being 80-years-old and the youngest 38-days-old. In a purge of the Ministry of Security by police
disguised as Red Guards 1,200 were executed. By 1978, 10,000 people in Shanghai, mainly intellectuals had died violently.
Violence occurred in China’s frontier provinces including
Tibet. Massacres were carried out in Mongolia and copies of the Moslem Quran were destroyed in Xinjiang. A group of Muslims from the Hui minority tried to break away from China in 1975 leading to 1,500 men, women and children being massacred.
The Cultural Revolution came to an end with the death of Chairman Mao. One of his successors, Deng Xiaoping, carried out much of the economic modernisation that led to China’s current prosperity. Nevertheless China did not become democratic. In 2008
protests in Tibet were put down with excessive violence and peaceful protestors were imprisoned. As late as 2018 there were still 300 Tibetan political prisoners.
In Xinjiang there has
been repression against the Uighurs, a Turkish people who follow the Islamic religion. Many Uighurs wanted to separate from China and set up an independent nation. The Chinese government responded with repression, Mosques were demolished and many Uighurs were
forced into re-education camps. These camps have been likened to Nazi concentration camps and stories of torture are common. Metal detectors, biometric data collection and facial-recognition systems are used to control the people of Xinjiang and other areas
of China. Rather than progressing towards a Western style democracy China is becoming more totalitarian.
Kerrigan, Michael, “China: A Dark History, Amber Books Ltd, London, 2019 (ISBN 978-1-78274-922-6)
Jean-Louis, “The Black Book of Communism”, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1999 (ISBN 0-674-07608-7) Chapter 21
“HOLLYWOOD WANTS TO KILL YOU: The Peculiar Science of Death
in the Movies” by Rick Edwards and Dr Michael Brooks, Atlantic Books, London, 2019 (ISBN: 978 1 78649 692 8)
There is no shortage of ways
we see people die in the movies, including from disease, being eaten by sharks, nuclear Armageddon, climate change and robots. Edwards and Brooks, both of whom have qualifications in science, describe many of these ways of death and the validity of what we
see on the movie screen.
Research, according to Edwards and Brooks, shows that a reminder of death makes us get things done, provides a motivator for medical advances and the technologies
that started as military innovations. Reminders about death may even make us behave better towards our fellow humans, be more favourable to charities, and become better people.
chapter on plants the authors begin by discussing the “The Day of the Triffids” made in 1962. The idea of plants that walk, talk and kill people, as occurs in the movie, seems ridiculous to the average person but what scientists have discovered
about plants makes these things plausible. The roots of some plants are connected by a fungal network that carries signals between plants that appear to warn of water shortages or an attack by insects. Some plants have poisonous sap or fruit while others like
the pitcher plants catch and eat small animals.
Considering the current coronavirus pandemic the most relevant chapter of the book is one dealing with death by virus as featured in movies
like “Contagion”, “Outbreak” and “Pandemic”. Some of the movies are heavy on science and some are a bit light while one is basically a zombie movie.
In the real world the development of vaccines has helped us fight virus diseases. Unfortunately viruses mutate and new vaccines need to be developed. And fomites – objects or surfaces that host viruses or bacteria – are everywhere in the modern
world. Researchers have found coronavirus on phones, doorknobs, toilet handles and computer mice (or is that mouses).
Hollywood also wants to kill us with infertility and a number of
movies are mentioned including “Private Life” and “Children of Men”, the latter being set in a future time when the human race has become almost entirely infertile.
Scientists have in fact detected a decline in the sperm counts
of men in the developed counties of the West.
A Danish study of the quality of semen found a decline from 113 million sperm per millilitre in the 1940s down to 66 sperm per millilitre in 1992. Other studies confirmed a similar decline, in fact the sperm
count for the average Western male dropped by 59.3% in half a century. It’s no wonder that the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in most Western nations, including Australia, is well below the replacement level. Most countries in Asia and Africa don’t
appear to suffer the same decline in sperm counts, possibly due to lower levels of plastic pollution.
Edwards and Brooks, despite the book being about death, and at times pretty grisly death at that, have written in a light hearted, at times humorous
way. It’s actually a fun read.
RESTORING HOPE: Practical Policies to Revitalise the Australian Economy” by Andrew Stone, Quadrant Books, Sydney, 2019 (ISBN: 978-0-9953683-2-3)
Andrew Stone, son of former politician and federal treasurer, John Stone, looks at Australia’s economic problems and offers advice on how to overcome them. The matters he covers include immigration, housing, productivity, energy markets and
federal state relations.
For instance he thinks there is a good argument for reducing our immigration intake from 160,000 to 110,000. Our refugee intake should be reduced from 18,750
to 13,750 as it was about six years ago. Relative to Australia’s population this would still be a generous intake by world standards. He also thinks that taking in refugees is an inefficient and costly way of helping needy people compared to sending
assistance to help displaced people overseas.
Reducing immigration would mitigate congestion in our large cities and make housing more affordable. High Levels of immigration is seen
as slowing down wage increases and raising youth unemployment which in 2015 reached 20%. The impact on the aging of the country’s population is limited.
In discussing productivity
and the higher education sector Stone notes the politicisation of tertiary institutions and a left leaning bias, especially in arts, humanities and social science departments. This is worsened by students taking courses that are of doubtful value either educationally
or as training for a job.
The tax and welfare system is also a problem, especially for families who, when their earned income rises they not only pay more income tax but lose some or
all of the government support they receive such as Family Tax Benefit A. It simply doesn’t pay for some people to work more.
Stone discusses many other factors bearing on productivity
and the economy. He, as may be expected, does not go into to racial questions or the wisdom of bringing people from failed nations. Nevertheless he does provide some good ideas. The book was written before the covid-19 crisis which of course Stone could not
have predicted but most of what he says is still relevant.
“HUMAN DIVERSITY: The biology of Gender, Race and Class” by Charles Murray. Twelve/Hachette Book Group, New York, 2020 (ISBN 978-1-5387-4401-7)
Charles Murray has authored a number of controversial books including “Losing Ground”, “Human Accomplishment” and, in collaboration
with Richard Herrnstein, “The Bell Curve”. In his latest book Murray challenges ideas that have become orthodox in the social sciences such as the premise that if a society is run properly then all human groupings will have similar life outcomes.
He focuses on grouping by gender, race and socioeconomic class. This leads him to look at three tenets of the orthodoxy: Gender is a social construct, race is a social construct, and class is a function of privilege.
Murray puts forward ten propositions which he says are based on findings that have broad acceptance. The first is: Sex differences in personality are consistent worldwide and tend to widen in more gender-egalitarian cultures.
Evidence for this is that personality disorders show a substantial difference between the sexes in their occurrence. About 80 to 90% of those with autism spectrum disorder are males, as are 75% of those with oppositional defiance disorder and 66 to 75% of
those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Females are more likely to suffer depression and anxiety, and are about 75% of those with anorexia nervosa and 75 to 80% of those with bulimia.
With more normal traits the differences seem to emanate from males being oriented to things and females to people. Studies indicate that females are more sensitive, aesthetic and sentimental while males are more reserved, utilitarian, unsentimental, dispassionate
Murray also proposes that on average females have advantages in verbal ability and social cognition while males have advantages in visuospatial abilities and the extremes
of mathematical ability. International tests such as PISA tend to show females do better in verbal skills while males do better in science and mathematics on average. Educated women gravitate to the life sciences rather than the physical sciences. This would
appear to have more to do with biology than discrimination.
In discussing the claim that “race is a social construct” Murray prefers to use terms like ancestral population
or simply population rather than the word race. Some of the research he mentions at studied 642,690 genetic variations (single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) from 938 people. It was found that most of the individuals belonged to a cluster indicating ancestry
from Africa, Europe and the Americas. The Middle East segment differed in that these seemed to be a mix of Middle Eastern, European and Central or South Asian ancestry.
of the genomes of the 938 people, members of 51 subpopulations, shows seven groupings based on origins: Europe, Middle Eastern, Central and South Asia, East Asia, the Americas, Oceania and Africa. When the information is graphed we get a good idea of the genetic
distance between the different populations.
Research with clusters of genetic markers gives results which classify people into the same populations that these people self-identified
with in the overwhelming majority of cases.
Murray contends that evolutionary selection pressure since humans left Africa, where Homo sapiens is said to have evolved, has been extensive
and mostly local. A study he cites looked at the regions of the genome likely to under selection pressure for three different populations, (drawn from Africa, Europe and East Asia) and found that of 579 regions, 76% were unique to one of the three populations,
22% were shared by two of the three, and only 2% were shared by all three populations.
Murray also contends that population differences in variants associated with personality, abilities,
and social behaviour are common. Factors like cognitive ability, neuroticism, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and brain volumes are determined to some degree by DNA and they vary among different populations with the greatest variations being between geographically
different populations. In other words these factors vary between different races.
A significant fraction of population differences in response to infection are a direct consequence of
local adaption. People in the San Antonio de los Cobres area in Argentina have even adapted to high levels of arsenic in the groundwater.
The third tenet that Murray looks at is that
class is a function of privilege. The system is said to be rigged in favour of heterosexual white males, especially if they come from a wealthy background.
Murray goes back to his earlier
books like “Coming Apart” where he puts forward evidence that social class has become based on cognitive abilities as the legal system and the economy has become more complex. Entry to prestigious colleges is now based on IQ rather than socioeconomic
background. Abilities other than cognitive also contribute to success and genes could determine these to some extent.
He points out that blacks have higher levels of education than whites
of the same IQ and regardless of IQ Asians in America have more years of education and are more likely to have a degree. Nevertheless there has been a relative fall in the income of blacks over the years. In 1993 earned income for blacks were virtually the
same as whites of the same IQ and Latinos were a little behind. However in 2014 black incomes were only 84% those of whites of the same IQ, Latinos marginally higher. At the same time Asian Americans made 57% more than whites of equal IQ.
Twin studies indicate that the shared environment such as parental income, parenting practices and family structure plays very little in determining IQ in adulthood or even adolescence. Attempts to raise IQ by interventions such as the Head Start program saw
some improvements in young children but these tended to fade out by the end of elementary school.
With genes passing on the qualities that make people affluent, social class is “stickier”
and those who have intelligent and successful parents will likely maintain their socio-economic status.
With Murray asserting that differences in personality, abilities, and social behaviour
that we observe between the sexes, ancestral populations and social classes have a biological component, he is likely to upset many people, especially those who think problems can be solved with anti-discrimination laws and affirmative action.