Old folk at lunch

Saturday, September 27, 2003

ACADEME, IQ and POLITICS



Leftist professors are very prone to saying that their Leftism is the outcome of their higher intelligence and ability at critical thinking. As a former successful academic myself, I reject that and say that their Leftism is an outcome of their greater egotism. They are already in positions of power, influence and prestige to some degree and that just makes them want more power, influence and prestige -- and they see Leftism as a way towards that. They think it makes them seem wise and good beyond their narrow academic expertise.

It strikes me that there is a counter-example to university professors which tests much more directly what the politics of intelligence per se are. Most people have heard of Mensa -- the social group with the sole admission requirement that your IQ has to be in the top 2%. For a few years in the 1970s I ran the Mensa group in New South Wales -- Australia's most populous State. It is years now since I have been to a meeting but John Moore, a current Mensa member in the USA, has just reminded me of an interesting fact: Libertarianism is far and away the most common political orientation among Mensans. I have also shown elsewhere that Mensans are much less likely to smoke than are other people. From my point of view as a non-smoking libertarian, I think it is obvious that both differences are the expected outcome of greater intelligence!

One of the most useful things about Mensans for the present comparison is that they are notoriously NOT highly successful members of society. They tend to be intelligent people who have missed the boat for one reason or another. So they have no reason for inflated egos -- unlike university professors. So if we take the ego away and just leave intelligence, what are the politics produced? Libertarianism, not Leftism.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

OH WHAT A LOVELY MOON!



Gareth Parker, one of my fellow conservative Australian bloggers has described me as too "lunar" for him. I wonder would he like to point out one claim I have made that is not backed up with good scientific and historical evidence? But I guess that the facts can be pretty "lunar" at times. They certainly conflict with a lot of popular notions.

The good Gareth should perhaps note that almost all of my "lunar" pronouncements have in fact been previously published in widely-circulated academic journals -- e.g. here and here -- and getting anything past the basilisk eyes of academic journal editors is no mean feat for anyone. They of course have access to the world's best expertise on the subject concerned and the fact that my conclusions are ones that they would not generally find congenial means that my evidence and reasoning has to have been exceptionally watertight.

This is not of course remotely to say that everything published in academic journals is correct -- but it is to say that anything published there would have a very hard time being "lunar".