Not the cognitive elite

Theoretically elite colleges select people with very high scores on the college entrance exam, thus select very smart people, thus our ruling elite is composed of very smart people.

There are two problems with this story.  One is that they do not in fact select people with very high scores on the college entrance exam, and the other is that during the 1990s, high scores on the college entrance exam frequently ceased to correlate with being very smart.

LSAT is pretty much an IQ test, and if colleges aim for a high LSAT score, they are aiming for a high IQ student body, but during the 1990s SAT and PSAT ceased to correlate strongly with IQ, suggesting a loss of enthusiasm for dangerously smart students.

From the 1900s to the 1990s, college entrance exams in the US have been in large part test of IQ. Now, not so much.

At the same time as the change in testing, we see elite institutions taking in large numbers of students that seem to be pretty dumb: Thus, for example, Claremont McKenna College was admitting people that could not read, and faking up their test scores.  The elite magnet school Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria lowered the questions on its entrance exam so that they were two years below grade, which is to say, suitable for people of well below average IQ.

The reaction of the various elite institutions to the Claremont scandal suggests that they are all guilty of faking up their intake test scores, and are more alarmed by the prospect that their own misconduct might come to light, than the prospect that the Claremont scandal might cast doubt on their own eliteness.

From 1928 to 1970, there was concern that affluent white males tended to do rather better on the tests than most, and there were innumerable efforts to fix this problem, but in the end, the only solution that proved satisfactory was taking race and sex explicitly into account, which solution was implemented. For some reason, in the US they lost interest in fixing the problem that affluent white males tended to do well, and were content to merely fix the problem that white males tended to do well.

Having fixed the problem that they cared about, they had no reason to move away from selecting for IQ, but manifestly they are. There must be a new problem that they care about.

The Thomas Jefferson scandal gives us a hint. They lowered their exam questions to make them suitable for applicants of below average IQ at the same time as they adjusted their recruitment procedures to recruit primarily for political correctness.

When academies first started recruiting on political correctness, they asked the candidate to submit an essay describing himself. Naturally, students took a look at what essays worked, and what essays did not, and swiftly discovered that what was required was an essay explaining how left wing one was. So pretty soon all the smart kids were submitting plausible and convincing essays that they were the second coming of Karl Marx. So the essay ceased to be a useful indicator of leftism, though it was reasonably well correlated with IQ.

So academies then started emphasizing extracurricular activities. Naturally, students took a look at what extracurricular activities worked, and what extracurricular activities did not, and swiftly discovered that what was required was extracurricular activities demonstrating how left wing one was. So pretty soon all the smart kids had manufactured organizations that generated the appearance of pursuit of various supposedly noble causes, without requiring much actual work for these supposedly noble causes. So the extracurricular activity ceased to be a useful indicator of leftism, though it was reasonably well correlated with IQ.

So the academies asked for “student information sheets” and these cannot be reverse engineered as the essays and extracurricular activities were, because the students do not get to see them, so cannot discover what constitutes a report that is useful for getting into an elite institution, nor how to manipulate teachers into generating such reports.

When an academy switches to heavily weighting “student information sheets”, it tends to recruit stupid students, as in the Thomas Jefferson scandal, indicating that the desired characteristic in the reports does not merely fail to correlate with intelligence, but correlates negatively with intelligence. From this I conclude that the report that gets you into an elite institution says, in effect, that the student swallows the political propaganda he is taught mindlessly and unthinkingly.

Islamic theocracies have a similar problem with adverse selection, in that the holiest tend to be the most stupid.

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36 Responses to “Not the cognitive elite”

  1. spandrell says:

    So when are the discriminated smarts going to gang up and unleash the unmanned bomber drone army on Harvard?

    • jim says:

      Historically, ganging up has been done on the basis of blood and religion, or quasi religion, rather than shared rational self interest.

  2. Alrenous says:

    Well shit, that’s why Murray’s data disagrees with your perceptions. He used data only for 39-year-olds and older, who were long out of college by the time the 90′s decline set in. (39? 36? Anyway, point stands.)

    That said, competition for power should keep the highest echelons of the elite pretty smart. Again, my hypothesis is that these guys are smart enough to stay out of the media and not to show up in studies.

  3. Bill says:

    Time moves in one direction; thus, the fact that we are currently evolving away from IQ-selecting our elite says, if anything, that our current elite is highly IQ-selected.

    Our current IQ-selected elite wants to pass its elite status down to its children. Regression to the mean means that its children are not so hot. Thus the movement away from IQ-selection towards all manner of things that mom and dad can rig for junior.

    The SAT was an IQ test and was used very heavily in college admissions from the 40s through the 80s. The past hand-wringing about blacks didn’t mean anything. As Sailer said recently “It’s actually rather amusing to see the newer generation of True Blue dopes turning on the aging cynics who taught them too well.” Whites living in a bubble free of non-oreo blacks is a very recent phenomenon. Whites who do not even remember people who talked sense on race are a very recent phenomenon. Nobody under 35 is old enough to have been told, face-to-face by an elder, the joke about skipping rocks whose punchline was “chim-pan-zee.” The guys doing the hand-wringing back then knew what was up.

    In your discussion of the constantly changing emphasis in admissions decisions, you are taking the words of admissions shitheads at face value. This is silly. The admissions office is a branch of the development office (euphemism for fundraising). They want kids whose parents will donate or who will donate themselves later on. That means white leftists, Jews especially. And definitely not Chinese. At t+20, you want your admits to have money and to feel warm and snuggly about the elite and its institutions. At t, you want their parents to be like this. The constantly changing strategy is the strategy. It takes the Chinese and the West Virginians a while to figure out the system, whereas the coastal elites know it instantly since they suggest and write it.

    Of course, it’s all a matter of degree, as Alrenous points out. The student body at the Ivies is still very smart. The delta between them and the student body at State U is probably smaller now than it was, though. At least excluding NAMs—the Ivies get a much smarter group of NAMs than does State U.

    Spandrell alludes to a very good question. Where are the white guys with high IQ but lowish conscientiousness who are uninterested in PC ending up these days? Guys like that born 1940-1970 were selected into good schools and then good careers by the SAT. Not so much any more. But they were still being born, presumably. Are they running businesses? Are they plumbers? Are they living in their parents’ basement? Do they just go to State U and work as civil engineers for the county?

    • spandrell says:

      If I were an uber-smart engineer excluded by the Ivy League,
      and I found John Robb’s blog…
      I’d make the Unabomber look like Mary Fisher.

    • jim says:

      Our current IQ-selected elite wants to pass its elite status down to its children. Regression to the mean means that its children are not so hot. Thus the movement away from IQ-selection towards all manner of things that mom and dad can rig for junior.

      I disagree that this is a problem: Parental wealth correlates with intelligence, and IQ test score correlates with intelligence, and I doubt that the one correlation is markedly better than the other. Thus to the extent that the selection process is corrupt, it selects for intelligence.

      Garnet Wolseley believed that the Ashantee aristocracy was about as smart as English gentlemen, and Ashantee commoners were like violent evil children, which would make the Ashantee aristocracy several standard deviations smarter than those they ruled, though just as violent, perhaps more violent. I doubt if they used standardized tests to accomplish this.

      The problem, I think, is a selection process that selects for characteristics that correlate poorly with intelligence.

      • Bill says:

        I disagree that this is a problem: Parental wealth correlates with intelligence, and IQ test score correlates with intelligence, and I doubt that the one correlation is markedly better than the other.

        You doubt that own IQ score is more correlated with intelligence than parents’ wealth? I don’t really have an argument to hand, but we can mark that as an important disagreement about a fact. If you gave me two dudes, one randomly selected from people scoring at least +2 standard deviations on the (old) SAT and one randomly selected from people whose parents had at least +2 standard deviations wealth, I’d bet on guy #1 being more intelligent.

        • jim says:

          If you gave me two dudes, one randomly selected from people scoring at least +2 standard deviations on the (old) SAT and one randomly selected from people whose parents had at least +2 standard deviations wealth, I’d bet on guy #1 being more intelligent.

          Perhaps, but not everyone at a Mensa meeting is all that intelligent, and they all score +2 standard deviations on an IQ test or the old SAT.

          Every venture capitalist I have encountered has been really really smart, though I have not encountered a large sample. Not everyone at a Mensa meeting is really really smart.

          An IQ test is pretty reliable. The LSAT and the old SAT is less reliable, because people study hard to find ways to game the test, taking advantage of various forms of predictability by the test givers.

    • jim says:

      Are they running businesses? Are they plumbers? Are they living in their parents’ basement? Do they just go to State U and work as civil engineers for the county?

      Go to state U and work for google. I predict that as elite universities select less for IQ, both the apparent and real return on attending elite universities will diminish.

  4. Euro says:

    How does an SAT score of 1100 round about the year 1985 measure up? Where did that put you then and where does that put you now?

  5. The Ivy League has tried this before. The result was to temporarily raise the prestige of formerly second-rate schools. As a result, for a few decades CUNY produced Nobel-prize winners.

    • jim says:

      Interesting: I though I was the guy that read old books, but I missed this. Could you give me some clues on where to read up on this? (Though of course it is unlikely to be discussed plainly anywhere.)

      I knew that CUNY had a pile of Nobels, but was not aware that this reflected a previous episode of Ivies dropping the ball. What led them to drop the ball (not that anyone would discuss it in plain English)?

      On looking it up, I find that CUNY’s glory days were students who graduated from 1937 to 1954, reflecting the intake of a few years earlier, but I am not aware that Harvard had a lacuna in this period.

  6. Bruce G Charlton says:

    Good post, and some good insights – especially the dog that didn’t bark about corruption at C-M.

    A few quibbles:

    Ernest Gellner analyzed Islam on the basis that its clerical elite are also the intellectual elite, and he was in a position to know. I’m pretty sure that this must be correct. Indeed, until a few decades ago it was broadly true almost everywhere for all state religions.

    In this 1923 study of IQ in Northern England, the children of Church of England Priests were the most intelligent of any occupational category

    http://medicalhypotheses.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/pioneering-studies-of-iq.html

    @Bill – Our current IQ-selected elite wants to pass its elite status down to its children.

    Not any more, and not for about the last couple of generations. That is why political correctness qualifies as a form of insanity – the elite are now *actively* destroying the future prosperity, peace, security and comfort of their own offspring (in so far as they have any offspring).

    Persistently to analyze the elite on the *assumption* that they are primarily motivated my economic/ power self-interest, against the vast mass of daily evidence to the contrary, is oneself to be captive to cultural Marxism – it is to deny common sense and personal experience.

    @Jim – the glory days of CUNY was due to the (public, explicit) Jewish quota at the Ivy League. I think that all the CUNY geniuses (and those in similar NY public colleges such as Brooklyn) were Jews. When they Ivies stopped putting a ceiling on Jewish admissions from the 1950s, academic standards at the cheap NY colleges collapsed.

    Feynman was excluded from Columbia on the Jewish quota, according to biographies; but he went to MIT rather than a de factor-Jewish NY college. The Jewish quota at the Ivies seems to have been a mid-twentieth century phenomenon.

    • jim says:

      the glory days of CUNY was due to the (public, explicit) Jewish quota at the Ivy League.

      Aha!

      Which was itself a reflection of the fact that back then progressivism was nominally Christian, and Jews, though frequently commie, were not progressive. Thus limiting Jews was a way of limiting non progressives. The civil rights movement was Jews entering progressivism and promptly being lefter than thou over the ex Christian progressives, thus the glory days of CUNY ended as the civil rights movement began.

    • jim says:

      Ernest Gellner analyzed Islam on the basis that its clerical elite are also the intellectual elite, and he was in a position to know. I’m pretty sure that this must be correct. Indeed, until a few decades ago it was broadly true almost everywhere for all state religions.

      In this 1923 study of IQ in Northern England, the children of Church of England Priests were the most intelligent of any occupational category

      My conjecture is that when a theocracy is firmly under the hand of its king, theocrats are selected primarily on intelligence, and are not allowed to get too much holier than the king. When, however, the theocracy gets out of control, theocrats struggle for power by each being holier than each other. Holiness, or at least the kind of holiness that advances one in power struggles, is unlikely to be well correlated with intelligence – observe, for example, racefail09, where the intelligent, able, and articulate grovelled before the stupid, incompetent, and inarticulate.

      As I said in my post Racefail 09

      A long predicted consequence of political correctness is finally coming to pass. Forbid thought, and soon your movement will be governed by those unable to think.

      The Khmer Rouge, a party of very smart people, proceeded to execute all the smart people. America’s left cannot execute all the smart people – yet. But it can cast them out of its ranks.

      • Bruce G Charlton says:

        “My conjecture is that when a theocracy is firmly under the hand of its king, theocrats are selected primarily on intelligence, and are not allowed to get too much holier than the king.”

        This only applies if religion is assumed to be false and if the rulers are assumed to be manipulative hypocrites.

        Whereas sometimes holiness really is valued, even by Kings!

        Why else choose Saint Cuthbert (of Lindisfarne) as a Bishop?

        • jim says:

          This only applies if religion is assumed to be false and if the rulers are assumed to be manipulative hypocrites.

          Whereas sometimes holiness really is valued, even by Kings!

          Why else choose Saint Cuthbert (of Lindisfarne) as a Bishop?

          Perhaps because Cuthbert’s genuine Christian holiness facilitated unity and peace between those of his subjects that were Danes and those of his subjects that were Angles. Saint Cuthbert was a noble before he was a saint. Normally nobles rule by their steel, but steel alone is ineffective, hence theocracy.

          • Bruce G Charlton says:

            OK but if that is your view of reality, then why bother with evaluating elaborate and (pseudo-) objective political philosophies – just do what kids do and say ‘I want to be king so I can do whatever I want’?

          • jim says:

            if that is your view of reality, then why bother with evaluating elaborate and (pseudo-) objective political philosophies – just do what kids do and say ‘I want to be king so I can do whatever I want’?

            You are making the classic Christian argument that without God, there is no morality. I don’t think so.

            I am impressed by the virtues of Xenophon’s ten thousand, among others, and they did not get their virtues from their larcenous gods. Maybe they got their vices from their gods.

            You are also arguing that the good King is virtuous. Rather, I think the good King is one whose power base is such that his interests do not gravely conflict with those of his subjects. Since the primary duty of a King, and the major thing that makes Kings useful, is preventing political power struggles by preventing anyone else from hoping to gain political power, a good King is apt to be a bad person, a ruthless son of a bitch.

            In the case of Cuthbert being made both religious and secular ruler over a good chunk of England, one plausible explanation could be that the King wanted his Danish subjects united with his English subjects, something that could only accomplished by persuasion, which is what religious leaders do. Thus, it was a sound idea, and good kingship, to make Cuthbert bishop and yield to him a great deal of secular power, regardless of how seriously the King took Cuthbert’s holiness. The King was being a good King in making Cuthbert bishop and yielding a lot of secular power to that bishopric, irrespective of whether what makes a King good is holiness or being a ruthless cynical and manipulative son of a bitch.

            That Cuthbert was a noble, and that his bishopric was conceded a great deal of secular power, suggests that the King made him bishop for reasons of Kingship, rather than faith, assuming of course that it was the King that made him bishop, which seems to be the case.

    • Bruce G Charlton says:

      One difference between quotas then and now was that in the past they were honest about the quotas, and told people when they were excluded for that reason; and in the past honestly acknowledged that quotas led to lower academic standards (they argued that these were not the number one priority, but a well rounded ‘gentleman’ was the sought after goal)

      • Bruce G Charlton says:

        Sorry – my comment was a bit broad brush!

        To be exact, without God/ gods there *is* morality – what is termed ‘natural law’, built in to all *normal* humans – but there is no reason to abide by it if you don’t want to.

        And no way to deal with conflicts between instincts.

        And no way to deal with conflicts between short- and long-termism.

        And no way to distinguish between a psychopath and a legitimate member of the community.

        You are using a Machiavellian framework for analyzing politics – but carried to its logical conclusion there is no reason why a Machiavellian ruler should favour stability, prosperity, comfort or anything else if he doesn’t want to.

        Indeed, it will usually be expedient to make the most of what you have while you have it – accepting you may be deposed and killed quite soon (any why take the risk of deferring what could pleasurably be done today?)

        – i.e. adopting something like an post-colonial African Big Man strategy taking as much as you can now of the good things in life – and thereby obliterating all worries about the future in a riot of self-gratification.

        I should have picked-up before, but I think you may have your dates or your Saints a bit mixed – St Cuthbert lived about a century before the Vikings first invaded Lindisfarne.

        Also – I didn’t want to publish your last comment at my blog because the langauge was way too crude. I don’t want to be like Mencius Moldbug in that respect!

        • jim says:

          You are using a Machiavellian framework for analyzing politics – but carried to its logical conclusion there is no reason why a Machiavellian ruler should favour stability, prosperity, comfort or anything else if he doesn’t want to.

          – i.e. adopting something like an post-colonial African Big Man strategy taking as much as you can now of the good things in life – and thereby obliterating all worries about the future in a riot of self-gratification.

          In Africa there is low paternal certainty, thus though male dominated, is not patriarchy – rule by males, but not rule by fathers.

          In an environment of high paternal certainty and substantial social transmission of status, the big man will favor stability and prosperity for the sake of posterity.

          But in our current environment, as Roissy explain’s, Roissy’s strategy (“Après moi, le déluge”) is the correct one, even though, as he frequently explains, that is terribly wrong.

          Also – I didn’t want to publish your last comment at my blog because the langauge was way too crude. I don’t want to be like Mencius Moldbug in that respect!

          My apologies: What words were apt to offend you or your audience. A society where all the women get raped and many of the men sold into slavery without much violence is lacking in traditional masculinity – but an alternate form of masculinity widely celebrated in rap videos was very likely present.

          • Bruce G Charlton says:

            ” Roissy’s strategy (“Après moi, le déluge”) is the correct one”

            From a perspective in which morality is merely a contiingent product of ancestral selection – when is “apres moi, le deluge” NOT the correct strategy?

            Or, at least, when could anyone be criticized for it.

            If morality is due to selection, morality is not binding since selection is of genes not organism, contingent and historical.

            *

            After all, selection merely tends to optimize reproductive success in ancestral conditions – but we are not genes, we are organisms, so why should we care about reproductive success?

            Why not just try and be happy, and if so then why not choose happiness NOW rather than merely hope for it sometime in the future.

            Why not? You could say it was inefficient, or short termist – but if somebody didn’t care about all that, then how could they be criticized?

            If they were made happy by extreme cruelty to other humans, then what grounds are there for preventing them inflicting cruelty – excpet that what they do makes us unhappy, but why should anyone else care about our happiness?

            And since we do not any more live under ancestral conditions, what relevance do our evolved instincts have anyway?

            *

            In that paraphrase of Dostoievsky – without God anything is permissable. It really is as simple as that!

            (Irony alert: The above is intended as a reductio ad absurdum – not a recommendation!)

          • jim says:

            From a perspective in which morality is merely a contiingent product of ancestral selection – when is “apres moi, le deluge” NOT the correct strategy?

            Since “apres moi, le deluge” means you are reconciled to the likelihood that you will likely have no descendents, and your kin will likely also have no descendents, and your entire race may well cease to be, it is seldom the correct strategy except under dreadful circumstances.

            If morality is due to selection, morality is not binding since selection is of genes not organism, contingent and historical.

            After all, selection merely tends to optimize reproductive success in ancestral conditions – but we are not genes, we are organisms, so why should we care about reproductive success?

            We may not care about reproductive success, yet we cannot help caring about the things our genes make us care about, such as our children. Morality is a commitment strategy for escaping the prisoners dilemma – which dilemma is still a problem that hurts us.

            If you look at successful species, they love doing the stuff they need to survive as individuals and as a species. A cat has fun hunting, and takes as much pride in its catch as any human hunter. Successful species enjoy sex, enjoy food, and love their children. “Apres moi, le deluge” means we are in an environment where we cannot give effect to our love of our children. If we lack morality, prisoner’s dilemma limits our ability to gain advantage by cooperation, and makes us easy to manipulate by superior violence, the paradigmatic example of prisoner’s dilemma being such manipulation. Moral behavior, therefore, is to look after your kin and your friends, and to avenge yourself upon your enemies. Thus, that the Christian Romans pimped their women when Rome fell to the Vandals and that many of them wound up in slavery without killing any Vandals in the process shows lack of morality. Conversely, that Xenophon’s ten thousand readily volunteered for a plan which involved sending a few heroic volunteers to very probable death shows superior morality.

    • Bill says:

      Maybe this US a US/UK distinction. Elites in the US are deeply concerned with passing their status along. It is not surprising that PC is more insane outside the US. It is a US ideology exported, and at the point of a gun where necessary.

      • jim says:

        Today’s US elite makes an unprecedentedly low effort to pass on their status to their kids, or has unprecedentedly low success. If anything, they deliberately handicap them out of guilt, imposing on their children the sacrifices their ideology says they should have themselves made, but in fact did not.

        I recommend Bruce Sacerdote’s “What Happens When We Randomly Assign Children to Families?” Adoptees were randomly assigned to families, ensuring that poor families got on average the same genetic quality adoptees as rich families. Entirely unsurprisingly, or at least unsurprisingly to me, there was zero or near zero social transmission of status. Children adopted by low socioeconomic status parents wound up on average with the same socioeconomic adult status as children adopted by high socioeconomic status parents.

        This of course was in the 1950s, which viewed from the standpoint of most of human history, was the triumph of the far left, and since then, we have only gone further left.

        • Bill says:

          The kids in the study were adopted from 1970-1980. That puts them at the tail end of the period of maximum IQ selection in college admissions, which ran from the 40s through the 80s. In the 1990s, the elite started to reduce the level of IQ-selection, but the movement has been gradual. Still, today, there is a lot of IQ-selection in college admissions, just markedly less than before.

          Also, the study did not find no effect of parent’s status on kids’. The probability of kid graduating from college went up by 7 percentage points (i.e. 35%) if mom had a college degree. So, this study is not about “today’s elite,” it is about the elite of the 1970s. The elite of the 1970s was transitional between the old WASP elite and the new elite. The elite of the 1970s was still in favor of IQ-meritocracy and these preferences prevailed into the 1990s.

          The elite we have now is highly IQ-selected. This is because the WASPs bought into distributing tickets to the elite on the basis of IQ sometime around the turn of the 20th C. The system peaked from the 40s to the 80s. Then, the new elite decided it did not like such intense IQ-selection. It has been steadily disassembling the IQ-selection system since the 1990s. The elite we will have in 30 years will be markedly less IQ-selected.

          Today’s elite puts significant effort into passing on its status. This effort takes the form of careful resume building beginning (depending on how elite we are talking about) in preschool and careful instruction in the bizarre, Byzantine rules of PC conduct. Just watch how flipped out they get when they grasp that little Aiden can’t get straight As even after they get him addicted to speed.

          It’s an interesting question what will emerge from all this. The new elite can’t really define itself ethnically since there is too much (and also not enough) intermarriage. What ethnicity are Amy Chua’s children? Is their self-definition going to be just their goofy PC culture, what you and MM call “the Cathedral?”

          • jim says:

            The probability of kid graduating from college went up by 7 percentage points (i.e. 35%) if mom had a college degree.

            That the paternal degree had less effect suggests a home schooling effect, direct transmission of knowledge and skills from the mother to child, which is not what people have in mind by social transmission of status.

            the WASPs bought into distributing tickets to the elite on the basis of IQ sometime around the turn of the 20th C.

            . Indeed they did. I am inclined to doubt that this resulted in the elite being more intelligent. The status benefit of indicators of intelligence, the effort upwardly mobile people put into appearing intelligent and scientific, seems to have maxed in the early nineteenth century. In the late nineteenth, we see more effort to maintain the appearance of politically correct views, and corresponding less effort to maintain the appearance of intellectual interests and abilities.

            Today’s elite puts significant effort into passing on its status. This effort takes the form of careful resume building beginning (depending on how elite we are talking about) in preschool and careful instruction in the bizarre, Byzantine rules of PC conduct.

            Those of them that reproduce. They also put significant effort into preventing each other from passing on their status, something that set in with the emphasis on testing in the early twentieth century, and has only gotten more extreme as our elite has become ever more self destructively left wing. As parents and offspring find ways to game the rules, the rules get changed – observe the switch to student informations sheets – ungameable, and poorly correlated to IQ.

            Is their self-definition going to be just their goofy PC culture, what you and MM call “the Cathedral?”

            Of course it is, and so it has been since the nineteenth century. Theocracy is normal, and groups cohesively seeking power almost always have their religious identity primary. Lately I have been reading up on the bloodshed of the French revolution. Most of those killed were not killed for aristocratic ancestry, but for affiliation to the wrong kind of Roman Catholicism.

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  8. Zac says:

    How would you fix this problem? What do you think is the best solution? Is it really a “problem”?

    Do schools have to have the most highly intelligent people in them or is it better to make sure everyone even less smart people get a quality education?

    Do you actually think that white males have a higher IQ or do you think that it is possible in some ways these tests were geared more towards showcasing the high IQ’s of white males?

    • jim says:

      How would you fix this problem? What do you think is the best solution? Is it really a “problem”?

      Almost any system is apt to wind up selecting for intelligence if the operators are not trying very hard to select for something else. Aristocratic systems, strangely, tend to produce smart aristocrats. Trouble is the operators are trying hard, very hard, to select for something else. The problem is that they are trying very hard to select for race, sex, and political correctness. We have a problem only because people have been trying very hard to create a problem, for ideological reasons.

      Do schools have to have the most highly intelligent people in them

      If you look at what universities used to teach, it is clear that not one person in ten could understand or benefit from what was taught. And, if you look at most people’s jobs, they are not doing anything that is helped by anything they were taught in university. So most people should not need to go to university, and universities should teach stuff that is actually valuable, which is to say, stuff that most people are incapable of learning or understanding.

      People go to university not to learn anything, but to get accredited. We should accredit people as able and industrious, or not able and industrious, without making them spend years learning useless moronic trivia and tedious banal political propaganda.

      Do you actually think that white males have a higher IQ

      I have met a few smart blacks, but most typical blacks are just not very smart compared to a typical white. It is just obvious. You don’t need a test to tell.

      Females are closer than blacks, but you can still tell the difference between an elite male and an elite female. The more highly selected the group, the more obvious the difference. A random male is not significantly smarter than a random female, but a male engineer is quite noticeably smarter than a female engineer.

      However, the major difference between men and women is not intelligence, that difference not being slight, but trustworthiness and reliability. Females have slightly lower intelligence than males, not enough to reliably notice except in highly selected groups, but a significantly shorter time horizon than males, hence are more apt to behave badly in a work situation, apt to engage corruption, misuse of authority, and so on and so forth. The big difference is not in intelligence, but in the propensity to succumb to temptation.

      Obvious men are more likely to behave badly in the sense of punching someone out, but females are more likely to behave badly by taking kickbacks in their role as purchasing officer. Females in authority are notorious for favoritism and manufacturing drama, not for stupidity.

    • Bill says:

      How would you fix this problem? What do you think is the best solution?

      The best solution is a self-conscious, largely but not exclusively hereditary aristocracy. In the US, we used to call them the East Coast Establishment or the WASPs. An aristocracy has good reasons to care about the health of their nation since their grandchildren are very likely to inhabit its high positions. Ideally, the aristocracy should have the same ethnicity as the population so that they also have hard-wired, genetic reasons to give a crap about their countrymen. This is no longer an option in the US, of course. But, it is not absolutely necessary either.

      Aristocracy is still significantly meritocratic because there is some upward mobility into it and a lot of downward mobility out of it (here, I am assuming lots of kids for aristocrats). As important, the aristocracy learns to train its children to be aristocratic—a culture of aristocracy arises. So we get smart, trained-from-birth rulers who are motivated both culturally and genetically for the common good. Partially, of course. They are also going to care primarily about themselves and some of them are going to be scumbags.

      This is better than what we have now which is a bunch of really smart people with minimal care for the common future. Smart, powerful people who don’t give a shit about the common good spend their time ripping everybody off. This is what our current elite is and does. For me, the fact that they are trying to become hereditary is a good thing. But destroying education, scholarship, and science is too high a cost.

      Ideally, schools should not be the primary way into the elite. It’s very useful to give very smart people lots of education, at least some of them. But they don’t need to be in charge. So, we should have schools teaching people both difficult useful skills and abstract, seemingly useless skills. Then, they should be employed by the people who are really in charge.

      The Medieval system was quite nice in this respect since the useful smarties became priests and monks who could not have legitimate heirs. From a purely materialistic point of view, they were sort of like eunuchs—very useful to the ruling class but not very threatening since they had no legitimate children. Like eunuchs, they had nieces and nephews, of course, and this was sometimes a problem. When the Church got too much temporal power, they could force their illegitimate children into powerful roles as well (and this is different from eunuchs).

      • asdf says:

        Yup.

        The problem with hereditary elites usually isn’t the average kid. There was a study done one time that showed that in 80% of cases children that inherited businesses from their parents did as good or better a job then an outside “expert” manager. It was only in 20% of cases, where the kid was a total screwup (they had metrics for this) that it was a disaster.

        One trait I like from the Japanese culture is the idea of disownment and adoption. The average adoption age in Japan is 25! That’s because if a powerful Japanese family has a screwup son they will disown him and adopt a new adult heir based on merit. So the line continues and is renewed now and again.

  9. las artes says:

    In Boston, the process starts when second-graders take a standardized test that entitles qualified students to enroll in “advanced work” classes. Those classes prepare students to compete for admission to Boston’s elite “exam schools,” where about 80 percent of students go on to college, compared with 20 percent for other Boston public schools.

  10. College Football Scoreboard…

    [...]Not the cognitive elite « Jim’s Blog[...]…

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