July 6, 2011
Cutting the Rope that Supports You
by Fred Reed
(Editor’s Note: Perhaps a newly seceded state will eschew affirmative action and throw wide open the door of opportunity for the best available talent. That would allow WEMs to stay in North America instead of relocating overseas to find gainful employment. It would also re-create the hotbed of innovation and creativity that once was the USA.)
One constantly hears tedious squalling by the affirmative-action classes—chiefly blacks, women, and to a limited extent Hispanics—about evil white males, whom they want to evict from practically everywhere. The crusade is always described as moral. The pattern is to discover that, say, an engineering department consists almost entirely of white European males (WEMs). This is taken by everyone, including those who don’t believe it but want to save their political hides, as prima facie evidence of discrimination.
Head-hunting lawyers pile on. The federal government threatens to cut off contracts. The firm hires whoever is thought to be suffering discrimination, and regards them as an operating cost.
The Chinese, Japanese, and Airbus hire the best available talent. Hmmm….
Now, while bashing WEMs is doubtless orgasmic for the vengeance-deficient, I suggest that it will be disastrous for the country. The bitter truth, obvious to Americans who read history—perhaps three Americans—is that WEMs have been responsible for practically everything that keeps us out of the Third World. Yes, I know. Those in the affirmative-action classes reading this will think I am engaging in obnoxious crowing, racism, male chauvinism, or something involving the word “deconstruction.” No. I am engaging in economic prediction.
Reflect on the sciences and technology, where they arose, and who arose them (I say it’s English, dammit). From sub-Saharan Africa: nothing. Latin America: almost nothing. India, China, Southeast Asia: very little. Women: almost nothing. Science and technology have been, and largely still are, a game of white European males.
Perhaps this will change. Many peoples—Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese among others—have the intelligence to play. Women may flower. India and China rise. Many Asians work in American labs. If one day they equal or surpass WEMs, the world will be a better place for it. To date, however, Japan is the only non-European nation to amount to anything technologically.
The magnitude of the disparity between WEMs and the rest is easy to overlook in a country ignorant both of history and, usually, technology. Go to Peru, Mexico, or the high cold altiplano of Bolivia. You will find late-model technology well used: cell phones, internet, computers. But all of it came from elsewhere, and from WEMs. It still does.
Consider mathematics, the basis of physics and therefore of chemistry, electronics, and, most importantly in the US, video games. The Greeks invented geometry: real, serious, theoretically aware math. They didn’t discover hyperbolic or elliptic geometry, which would have to await Lobachevsky and Riemann, but they smelled problems with Euclid’s Fifth.
Males, sort of Greek-Arab-Indian, invented algebra, a monumental achievement but pretty much their last, and Indian males apparently came up with 0, neither obvious nor trivial (try long division in Roman numerals).
After that, it was a WEM racket. Newton and Leibniz more or less simultaneously invented calculus, with different notations but the same idea. Afterwards dozens of scintillating WEMs followed, only a few of them well-known: Galois (group theory), Gauss (practically everything), Fermat (of the famous and mysterious theorem), Laplace, Lagrange, Hamilton, Cantor, Boole, on and on. Without them, there would be no cell phones to cause death on the highways.
Pick your field: Engineering, aerodynamics, abstruse theory for computers (von Neumann, Minsky), even wacko stuff (Rupert Sheldrake). The atomic bomb and nuclear power were all invented by WEMs, largely Jewish. (The staff list at Los Alamos read like a Yeshiva yearbook.)
White European males probably are no smarter than all manner of Indians, Asians, Brazilians. Yet they somehow produce the science. American WEMs are biologically indistinguishable from those in Europe, yet until recently at any rate have produced more in the sciences.
Why? The best answer I can give is “culture.” WEMs, certainly the American variety, have lived (this is changing fast) in a society that has allowed and cherished freedom, merit, adventurousness, merit, independence, merit, and competition. And merit. This sounds like ray-rah senior-civics propaganda, but is actually true.
It shows. The internet is an invention of American WEMs. The transistor, of William Shockley and his group. Microsoft, of Bill Gates. Intel, of Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce. Apple, of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Dell Computer, of Michael Dell. Public-key encryption, of James Ellis, Clifford Cookis, and Malcom Williamson at GCHQ in England and later of Rivest, Shamir, and Adelman of RSA Security. The World Wide Web, of Tim Berners-Lee, a Brit at CERN. Google, of Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Yahoo, of Jerry Yang and David Filo. The list could go on for another yard or so. Can the US afford to discourage such men in the name of low-IQ, eighth-grade, Koom Bah Yah politics?
No. Yet a lot of choleric billingsgate goes into denouncing WEMs and trying, fairly successfully, to root them out of the universities. The public schools are hostile to boys, attend to the dull at the expense of the bright, view high intelligence as pregnant with elitism, and prefer form to substance. Science is said to be inherently racist. This does not augur well for the country’s future. The Chinese, I promise, do not strive for ever greater mediocrity.
I recently read an official of Siemens in America saying that it is hard to find American employees with the technical background to work in his company. In the United States? In like fashion, a woman who teaches in a major department of petro-geology complains that Nigerian—yes, Nigerian—students are better prepared mathematically than American.
This suggests, does it not, that America is living off the ghost of Christmas Past, and will shortly be using goods not just made in China, but designed in China, and then invented in China.
Things stir beyond the frontiers. If we are not to swirl down history’s drain while singing We Shall Overcome, perhaps we should begin again to pay attention to ability. It is one thing, and a good thing, to insist on equality of opportunity. Them as can cut the mustard should have access to mustard. But affirmative action, meaning the hiring of those who would not be hired on their merit, lowers competitiveness in a world that is not going to cut the US any slack. White European males have been far away and gone the world’s most bounteous fountains of the sciences. Maybe we should keep them, even encourage them. The deliberate enstupidation of the schools to favor the unable, to make those who can’t or won’t look as if they could or have, is auto-Kervorkian governance.
If those who detest white European males can do better, they should. Show me. I am waiting. Meanwhile, let them eat goose who do not like golden eggs.