IQ ("Intelligence Quotient") is a hotly debated topic. Some (usually of left-wing/progressive ideology) maintain it's a chimera, a meaningless assessment. Others (including myself) regard it as a valid predictor of academic capability and likely future prosperity.
I've written about IQ and the developing world (specifically Africa) in years past, including these two articles:
In the first of those articles, I reproduced this graphic. Click the image for a larger view.
I ended it by saying:
There are many who decry such statistics as meaningless, racist, discriminatory, and all the rest. Trouble is, for those of us who've been "on the ground" all over the world, in many of those countries, the IQ statistics are a very accurate predictor of how much we'll be able to do in a given location, and how well the locals will be able to assimilate what we do with them, and take control of their own destinies once we're no longer there to hold their hands. The correlation, in my experience, is as close to 100% as makes no difference.
Last week we looked at an article from HMS Defiant, in which he posed the question:
What do you do in a modern society with an entire underclass of useless people that can't read, won't work, aren't qualified temperamentally to behave like civilized beings and actively harm/destroy civilization wherever they run into it?
We talked about that in the context of education, and agreed that "public schools are the breeding-ground, and their "graduates" are the cannon fodder, for the "underclass of useless people" identified by HMS Defiant . . . yet we, the taxpayers of America, continue to sit back and accept the situation. That applies to all taxpayers everywhere, by the way; left-wing and right-wing taxpayers are equally deficient in not acting to correct matters. It's not a political thing, it's a complacency thing (particularly because most of us wouldn't even dream of sending our children to such schools - we'd ensure they had better options)."
IQ definitely plays into that conclusion. If one examines the academic record of success of every school in America, and correlates that with the average IQ of the students in each of those schools, the correlation appears to be very high indeed. High average IQ = good record of success. Low average IQ = poor record of success. Of course, it's politically incorrect to conduct such studies these days, more's the pity. Truth appears to be less important than "woke" ideology to the powers that be.
In his most recent article, John Wilder examines "IQ, Lies, and National Wealth". Among other things, he points out:
On a societal level ... we’re busy sending people off to college that have no real business being there. The result is a large number of people in society today who think that they have all the tools necessary to be exceptionally successful at intellectual pursuits and it’s just not so. This creates a society-wide level of bitterness. It’s especially bad when those college kids with no intellectual prospects get worthless degrees (if it ends in “studies” it’s a worthless degree) and are then saddled with huge amounts of student loan debt.
. . .
Society has a very, very particular relationship with the concept of the heritability of intelligence so much so that this is a huge hot button issue. Certain incentives in our current system encourage mothers of lesser intelligence to have even more not-so-bright babies. This is, of course, as featured in the documentary movie Idiocracy. Since this idea has such significant implications, not the least of which is the fate of nations: smart nations do better than, um, less bright ones. Here’s the data:
The data is from the book IQ and the Wealth of Nations, so it dates back to before the year 2000, as far as I can tell. That really shouldn’t matter much, since the relationship is so strong. Smarter countries are richer – a lot richer.
We’re entering a period of time where resources will be far more constrained than at any point in my lifetime. We’re entering a time where we will have no choice but to stop lying to ourselves about IQ and its impact.
There's more at the link. It's worth reading his entire article in full. Recommended.
It bears saying again, and repeating, that our typical inner-city society is screwed up to the point of absurdity. As a pastor and chaplain, I soon lost count of the number of kids (both "on the street" and in our prisons) who aspired to be basketball stars or rap "musicians". They didn't have the athletic ability to be the first, and completely lacked the talent to be the second (not that much "talent" is involved in that field), but they didn't stop to consider that at all. If they wanted it, it's what they were going to get - practicality be damned. Any failure to do so wasn't their fault, but because "the system" or "the Man" or "racism" or whatever was against them. That was the compass of their world view, and nothing and nobody would shake them out of it. Reality was irrelevant.
Yet, as John Wilder points out, people like that are doomed to disappointment:
If anyone told Zeke he was five inches taller than he was, he would have laughed. But people told him he was smart, and he believed that.
I can understand how that might seem to the compassionate thing to do – to tell someone that they’re smart. The downside of that is simple – if Zeke feels like he’s smart because everyone told him he was just as smart as anyone else, what happens when he doesn’t have the success that other people have?
He becomes resentful. He sees others succeeding because of things he can’t fathom happening around him. What, then, must be the reason that other people are successful? They must have some sort of system that is rigged against Zeke.
That's the problem, right there. People like that can't accept the fact that each and every one of us has a certain potential. Some few of us work so hard, and are so motivated, as to exceed that potential, but most of us don't. We should aspire to succeed to the fullest extent of our potential, but we shouldn't be surprised to find that we have limits. Unfortunately, nobody is telling our kids that they have limits. Instead, they're encouraging them to believe they can achieve anything they want to. When life stops them dead in their tracks, they don't learn from that - instead, they grow resentful and angry, because they know they can do anything. They've been told that almost from birth. How can we expect them believe anything else?
That's the problem with our country right now, too. Too many people like that are running things. They believe that because this is the USA, with its track record of success, this country can do anything it wants. Government has only to decree something, and it will happen. That's how they see our society, and the world as a whole. They ignore the fact that our economy is vastly less capable and flexible than it was even a generation ago, and our workers are on average a lot less smart and less capable than they were then. Therefore, they're pushing our nation into an untenable situation, where they're gleefully seeking to remake everything without the resources and skills needed to make that work.
We're all going to pay the price for that insouciance.