Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I'm being repressed!

A previous post touched fleetingly on that episode of popular nescience in the 1990s when a small band of disinterested, evidence-driven, 100%-agenda-free maverick thinkers had the temerity to challenge the orthodoxy of equality in intellectual endowment. Of special interest to your hard-working Riddled staff is the backlash when the cowled monks of the Equality Inquisition stormed the laboratories and the groves of academe, all “You can’t handle the truth!”, shutting down the inquiries to the point that “The Bell Curve” never rose above the obscurity of the cover page of Time. David Brooks and Andrew Sullivan and Linda Gottfredson and the collected editorial board of Intelligence were inspired to champion the right of the book’s authors to ask questions however inconvenient, and we can all see how their own careers suffered in the subsequent Stalinist reprisals.

Fast-forward two decades, and a new generation of brave maverick researchers are broaching the possibility of inhomogeneities in the geographic distribution of the genes of supremacy, undeterred by the orthodoxy of geneticists and anthropologists and palaeontologists. You probably haven’t heard of these human-biodiversity heretics, for the cowled monks of the Inquisition were swift to mobilise (they may have been spent the intervening years slumbering in the crypt of a cathedral somewhere) and they went all “Some questions are NOT TO BE ASKED” again, suppressing this new just-asking-questions crowd to the point that they have to hire a hall at UCL for their conferences.
Rare portrayal of Smut not ranting
Now here at the Riddled Department of Traditions and Old Charters or Something, I am always available to rant about cycles in intellectual / contrarian thinking, as long as the frostygirls are buying the vasopressin. Especially if it is a 20-year generational cycle, where the delightful prospect beckons of shoehorning it into the 22-year rhythm of sunspots and solar magnetism reversals.

So in the case of this recurring oppression of independent thought white-supremacist bafflegab, we go back twenty years to a previous ideologue / heretic clash in 1976, and harken to Sprague de Camp, as he introduces the ‘cowled inquisitors’ trope. They embody the Spectre of Political Correctness, or something.

The geographical taxonomy of human variation presented in "Breeds of Man" was already dated then (Cavalli-Sforza had published The Genetics of Human Populations in 1971) and it has not aged well. De Camp set out expecting to conclude that the mavericks were right and "equality" is a sentimental shibboleth of liberalism; that heredity is paramount and intelligence is determined by the geographical location of one's ancestors. But then he encountered the greater claims of environment, and ended up accepting that the Equality doctrinaires were right all along (though probably for the wrong reasons), so he gets many cookies for intellectual integrity.

I hang onto a copy of the April 1976 Analog as it continued the serialisation of 'Children of Dune', with the Schoenherr illustrations, and I am a sucker for nostalgia.

Must credit Emma and B^4 for contributions in an earlier comment thread.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Ya know, I have found a lot of old pulp magazines at Archive.org, and the Rosicrucian society had a shitton of ads in the them- I bet these are what DeCamp is referencing.

DeCamp was largely rejected by latter-day nerds because of his unflattering portrayal of Robert E. Howard, and his substandard Conan pastiches. If the Sad/Rabid Puppies brigade knew that he was into EvoPsych bafflegab, he might earn their love.

Smut Clyde said...

I need a link!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

This is a good place to start:


I will hunt down other links as well.

Smut Clyde said...

RIP Cavalli-Sforza.