By David Futrelle
Stephan Molyneux, the gabby YouTube “philosopher” whose racism is as overinflated as his ego, has been spouting nonsense about race and IQ for a long time. But over the last month or so he’s become so utterly obsessed with the subject he can barely go a day without posting some absurd new pronouncement on Twitter.
Molyneux is convinced that IQ differences between races are rooted in genetics and are more or less immutable. And that the refusal to acknowledge this truth — which is not in fact true, as I’ll get to in a minute — is causing incalculable damage to all of us, high IQ whities and low IQ non-whities alike, although Molyneux is most exercised about what he sees as the terrible bigotry faced by high IQ people (like, presumably, himself) for being the genetically superior people they can’t help but be.
Oh, and did I mention that he thinks “high IQ populations” — ie, white people in Western nations — are in danger of being swamped by brown and black dummies coming over the borders, or just staying home and causing troubles in their own low IQ countries? Because he thinks that, too.
But let’s start with his most basic assertion:
Molyneux speaks with the confidence of a true expert, but he is not an expert on the subject, nor are his pronouncements true. Most of the actual scientists who study these issues think that views like the ones he holds are dangerous nonsense.
As noted by three psychologists who recently offered a detailed rebuttal to contemporary “scientific racism” in Vox,
the racial groups used in the US — white, black, Hispanic, Asian — are such a poor proxy for underlying genetic ancestry that no self-respecting statistical geneticist would undertake a study based only on self-identified racial category as a proxy for genetic ancestry measured from DNA. …
There is currently no reason at all to think that any significant portion of the IQ differences among socially defined racial groups is genetic in origin. …
Asserting that the relatively poorer intellectual performance of racial groups is based on their genes is mistaken theoretically and unfounded empirically; and given the consequences of promulgating the policies that follow from such assertions, it is egregiously wrong morally.
Moreover, the three scientists note, numerous studies have shown that IQ is not fixed. Overall intelligence in the United States, at least insofar as it can be measured on IQ tests, increased by 18 points from 1948-2002. (There is some concern that this increase, seen broadly around the world, may have begun to decline or reverse in recent years.) The gap between average white and black IQ in the US has narrowed dramatically. And programs like Head Start have helped to dramatically raise the reading levels and later educational success of poor children.
Molyneux handwaves away such objections. Like most modern “scientific racists” he’s not only convinced he’s not actually racist; he insists that he’s somehow fighting against racism. As he sees it, it’s those who don’t want to talk about race and IQ as if they’ve just walked out of a Klan meeting who are the real racists.
On more than one occasion, he’s self-righteously declared that he spreads what he sees as The Truth about race and IQ in order to … protect his daughter from accusations of racism?
Piggybacking on the Trump administration’s demonization of Mexican and Muslim migrants, as well as on the alt-right’s racist hysteria about the alleged danger of “white genocide,” Molyneux claims that “high IQ” countries like the US and Canada and other mostly white countries in Europe are in danger of being overwhelmed by “low IQ” immigrants with darker skin.
He also claims that the US is in danger of being undermined from within by our own brown-skinned “low IQ” citizens — some of whom even voted for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the last elections!
Even letting in relatively high-IQ people from low-IQ countries can come back to bite countries like the US, in Molyneux’s view.
Molyneux has managed to convince himself that this racist garbage isn’t actually racist; he’s just using REASON and LOGIC to defeat the COMMUNIST MENACE.
Ironically, while Molyneux thinks it’s terrible for “low-IQ populations” to come to “high-IQ countries,” he also thinks it’s pretty bad for them to remain in their own, because, he contends,”low IQ populations” can’t sustain democracy.
Indeed, at one point he declared that hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved in Iraq if those in the US who got us into the Iraq war had been willing to recognize that Iraq was full of stupid people.
For what it’s worth, he also thinks that the housing crash was caused by a refusal to acknowledge that black and brown people are dumber than white people.
He’s also convinced, weirdly, that “fiat currency” is going to somehow make us dumber — never mind that IQ in the US is up considerably since Nixon’s decision to take us off the gold standard in 1971. You’ll have to ask him to explain this one.
Molyneux still claims, incredibly, that he’s not a white supremacist — noting that he acknowledges that the IQ scores of Jews and East Asians tend to be higher than (non-Jewish) white people. (Though the claims about Jewish IQ are now looking somewhat shaky.) But he certainly walks and quacks like a white supremacist.
While Molyneux thinks that acknowledging the very real violence that racism inflicts, both figuratively and literally, upon people of color is itself racist, and just serves to make people of color get mad about problems that are really the result (and not the cause) of their lower average IQ scores, Molyneux does agree that one form of prejudice is very real and very damaging.
And that is the terrible prejudice against smarties.
Let’s pour one out for our high-IQ homies!
For more on the issue of race and IQ — and more specific rebuttals of the claims made by Molyneux and other “scientific racists” — see the Vox article I quoted from above, as well as this piece in the Guardian, which puts the recent revival of “race science” in broader perspective (and also handily rebuts Molyneux assertions about Jewish IQ). For an even more detailed history, see this long piece in the International Socialist Review.
And if you’re interested in some of the issues with IQ tests themselves, the eccentric statistician and randomness guru Nassim Nicholas Taleb was annoyed enough by some of Molyneux’s recent tweets on the subject that he wrote up a brief polemic on the subject. Here’s a less-technical look at some recent research suggesting that IQ tests are “fundamentally flawed” as a measure of actual intelligence.
UPDATE: I made a few small changes and removed a few tweets that were largely redundant.
We Hunted the Mammoth is independent and ad-free, and relies entirely on readers like you for its survival. If you appreciate our work, please send a few bucks our way! Thanks!