Wade and Piketty: the hypocrisy of the leftist mind

The unprecedented animus against Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance has a simple cause: leftist ideology. Many leftist reviewers like Agustin Fuentes, Jennifer Raff, Jon Marks, pretend that their disagreement with the book is scientific and that “science” simply does not accept the concept of biological human races.

Another book, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century has been warmly accepted by leftists because it makes the argument that whenever the rate of return on capital R exceeds economic growth G, then wealth becomes concentrated in the hands of the rich. Wealth begets wealth; capital begets a greater share of capital.

Leftists who support Piketty disregard the fact that his argument is basically identical to that of Wade. Where Piketty emphasizes material wealth, Wade emphasizes genetic wealth. A rich capitalist will see his capital grow by R>G just because he has a lot of capital. A smart or otherwise socially advantageous person will see his capital grow by R>G just because he is smarter. Ceteris paribus, a rich person will enjoy a greater return on his capital than a poor one, and a smart one will enjoy a greater return on his capital than a dumb one.

It is completely non-controversial that behavioral traits like intelligence or time preference are partially genetically controlled. It is also non-controversial that traits that are genetically controlled and important for survival and reproduction (as behavioral traits doubtlessly are) will be exposed to natural selection. Even if natural selection is weak, populations that experience limited gene flow between them will reach different levels of propensity for various traits just by chance. Spooky action at a distance may happen in quantum mechanics but does not, generally, happen in biology.

From these observations it naturally proceeds that human populations may have differences in genetic propensities. These differences will then be seeds in a process of ever-greater social differentiation. If a race is only 1% more intelligent than another, this does not mean that it will be only 1% more accomplished. In one generation, perhaps its members (assuming equal population sizes) will achieve on average 1% more, but human productivity depends on both the ability of the human actor in one generation, but also of the accumulated capital (both economic and intellectual) on which his future achievement is based. Over many generations, a 1% genetic advantage in individuals will translate into a great social advantage as success breeds success.

If you wanted to invest your money in stocks, you’d pick the stocks which might do ~1% better each year, because over many years they would give you a higher return. In the same way, if you want to bet on people, you might want to invest in people that are ~1% smarter or capable, because over many generations they will be able to accomplish much more, than the (slightly less) capable.

The logic of the argument is inescapable: small genetic differences are all it takes for grand social differences to arise. But, while the leftist mind is willing to accept this argument for economics and to acknowledge the fact that capital accumulates more capital for itself, it is unwilling to accept it for genetics and to acknowledge that the slightly more intelligent and capable will end up building a much greater civilization than the more disadvantaged ones.

This is why the leftist mind has to resort to either of two claims: that races aren’t real, they’re skin deep, etc. which is then used to deny racial differences (because how can differences exist between entities (“races”) that have no reality?). Or, to claim that races or at least “populations” are real, but they are exactly the same in all genetic predispositions, an incredible argument for any biologist to make, as it denies the fact that evolution that proceeds randomly or under different selection pressures will invariably lead to statistically different outcomes, and that neural-behavioral traits are not a special “kind” immune to from the forces that shape all other traits shaped by evolution.


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