I define conservatism as siding with the powerful over the powerless.  This may seem like a strange definition but it’s the single umbrella that covers the many forms conservatism takes.  For example, if you support  tax cuts for the rich, you are siding with the rich (who have power) over the poor (who lack power).  If you oppose feminism, you are siding with men (who have power) over women (who lack power).  If you oppose affirmative action, you are siding with non-blacks (who have power) over blacks (who lack power).

If you support the death penalty, you are siding with the government (who has power) over prisoners (who lack power).  If you support the Israeli occupation, you are siding with Jews (who have power) over Palestinians (who lack power).  If you support traditional values, you are siding with the establishment (who have power) over the counterculture (which lacks power).

Now studies (mostly done on whites) have found conservatives to be less intelligent than liberals.  This is perhaps because from a moral perspective, conservatism is the wrong answer because it promotes inequality, and low IQ folks, by definition, get the wrong answer to all questions that require reasoning, including those that have a moral component.

One paradox is that blacks tend to be more liberal than whites, despite having lower IQs.  This is perhaps because if you’re black, conservatism is not just wrong from a moral perspective, but also from the perspective of your self interests, and from the perspective of your ethnic genetic interests.  In other words, for a black to be a conservative, they need to be wrong in three different ways, while a white only needs to be morally wrong to be conservative.  This would explain why whites can be more conservative than blacks, despite having higher IQs.  It also predicts that those blacks who are conservative, will be especially low in IQ (on average).

However commenter Tenn begs to differ, writing:

I disagree for two reasons. 1) a black person voting conservative rejects the herd mentality of that ethnic group to vote democrat, demonstrating the ability to think independently.

The flat earth society also shows an ability to think independently, but I wouldn’t characterize them as smart.  Independent thinking may be a signing of critical objective analysis, or it could show an inability to learn from others, eccentricity, or just plain autism.

Tenn continues:

2) More importantly, liberal policies are not in fact in the genetic interest of the black community.

The liberal policies that you presume play to blacks advantage, such as welfare programs, do indeed work well in the short term. But over the long term they have crippled the black community. The best (or rather, worst) example is the aid to single mothers programs. Begun in the 50s and expanded in the 60s under LBJ, these programs systematically disincentivised marriage in the black community, which in turn led to greater rates of single motherhood. Kids raised without dads are far more likely to flunk out of school, get involved in crime, and bear fatherless kids themselves. Over the last 50 years, this has shattered the black community and is why, despite five decades of racial reconciliation, the black American is worse off today than he was at the end of Jim Crow.

It takes a sober mind to look past the short-term benefit of welfare aid and see the long-term disadvantages associated with dependency. Therefore, I’d wager that conservative blacks are some of the very smartest of their race.

At first glance, this sounds like an excellent argument, however according to blogger JayMan, shared environment has virtually zero effect on most life outcomes.  Hard to believe, I know.  So if the behavioral geneticists are right, kids raised in fatherless welfare homes should have roughly the same behavioral outcomes as kids raised in stable two-parent homes.  Of course these behavioral-genetic models may only apply within races and birth cohorts, not between them, making them a risky rebuttal to Tenn’s argument.

But Tenn’s argument is based on the assumption that LBJ’s Great Society programs of the 1960s crippled the black community, and I would argue that they have not.  While it’s true that blacks are more likely to be in poverty and jail than whites are, when you control for IQ, the black-white wage gap virtually vanishes, and the occupation gap actually reverses (see chapter 14 of The Bell Curve).  For example, a black with a high IQ has a much better chance of entering a high status occupation than a white with a high IQ.  President Obama being the most obvious example.

So although blacks are still enormously disadvantaged in American society, I would argue that they are much less disadvantaged then they would have been, had it not been for LBJ’s efforts.

 

 

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