In a recent article for Intellectual Takeout, I looked at possible explanations for an apparent decline in IQ averages in Europe and America. Since then, I have begun to wonder whether this drop in intelligence might play a part in some of the goofy programs coming out of Washington D.C. of late, and in our inability to exchange sensible ideas with one another in a civil manner.
After little more than a month with Joe Biden as president, his executive orders and many of the proposals from the Democratic Congress have left me baffled. The idiocy of these orders and propositions and the staggering debt that will follow in their wake bewilders me. Many Americans outside of D.C. who favor these proposals also seem unable to bring reason or logic to the table.
A good number of them, for example, support proposals like the Green New Deal, which would severely restrict fossil fuel usage while encouraging energy sources like wind and solar power. Such programs would cost Americans trillions of dollars and likely be ineffective, yet these folks believe we should make such sacrifices for the good of the planet.
But why do we so rarely hear about the pollution emitted by China? The BBC reports that in 2019 China “accounted for about one-third of global CO2 emissions while the United States produced 13%.” It’s true the Chinese have four times the number of citizens as the U.S., but it’s also the case that the Chinese are continuing to build many coal-powered energy plants both at home and abroad.
How could we possibly save the world from pollution and climate change by enacting ever-more restrictive law in the United States while countries like China keep pumping more gunk into the atmosphere?
It doesn’t make sense.
The Equality Act has now passed the House of Representatives. Purportedly designed to protect lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and women from discrimination, this bill is essentially dictatorial, demanding that Americans think, speak, and behave in certain ways. Among its other drawbacks, the Equality Act will damage or ruin women’s sports, force religious organizations to deny certain fundamental tenets of their faith, and compel doctors and other medical personnel to engage in practices they might otherwise avoid.
At the New York Post, Ryan Anderson offers an excellent summary of this bill’s flaws and terrible consequences, concluding that “To heal and unify the nation on LGBT issues, we must reject unjust discrimination without treating reasonable judgments as discriminatory.”
The Equality Act protects some people from discrimination while stripping others of their fundamental rights.
It doesn’t make any sense.
And how is it that we’re almost 60 years past Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, yet we’ve become so embittered about race? Why do we keep emphasizing division instead of King’s dream that we would base our judgments of others on their character? Why do we hear so much about “systemic racism” without any real definition of that term?
In his February 2021 article, “Unspeakable Truths about Racial Inequality in America,” Glenn Loury, who describes himself as a “black American intellectual,” courageously addresses issues of race in America today. Among other points, Loury discusses the threat of “cancel culture” to any rational discussion of race, takes a hard look at “black fragility,” and probes the narratives on police killings of black Americans.
Near the end of this fine piece, Loury writes, “Here, then, is my final unspeakable truth, which I utter now in defiance of ‘cancel culture’: If we blacks want to walk with dignity—if we want to be truly equal—then we must realize that white people cannot give us equality. We actually have to actually earn equal status.”
How do so many not see that all of us—blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians—have to earn our place in life? Can we no longer comprehend that honor, dignity, hard work, and excellence boost our chances for personal success and contribute to the advancement not of “race,” but of the human race?
It’s disgusting. Politics and polemics have conquered reason and rational debate. It’s impossible to argue with people who beat their fists on the table, resort to ad hominem attacks, and throw tantrums that make two-year-olds look civilized.
Is our declining IQ responsible for our current divide? Are we afraid of argumentation? Or have we simply gone round the bend, driven mad by the political rage of the past twenty years? Or is it a combination of all three?
I don’t have the answer, but I do know we are in desperate need of levelheaded individuals of all races and creeds, people like Glenn Loury who can think and reason, who understand the parameters of reality, and who can cogently make a case for change.
That I do understand.
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.