Aporia gets a hit piece in the Guardian
A response from the Editors
Written by Noah Carl, Bo Winegard and Matthew Archer.
The Guardian, a newspaper linked to slavery, has published a hit piece on Aporia. The piece is framed as an exposé on the anti-woke activist Chris Rufo, who – among other unforgivable sins – lists Aporia in the “recommended” section of his Substack. It was written by one Jason Wilson1, who just a few weeks ago penned a very similar piece attacking Rufo.
Wilson appears to be covering the Rufo beat for the Guardian – no doubt a pressing issue for the paper’s readers. In his earlier piece, he attempted to besmirch Rufo’s reputation by pointing out that he is “linked” to someone who is “linked” to Emil Kirkegaard. And in his latest piece, he attempts to besmirch Rufo’s reputation further by pointing out that he’s “linked” to Aporia. The general slant of Wilson’s reporting could be summarised as “Rufo bad”.
What’s so bad about being “linked” to Aporia? Well, according to Wilson, “experts” have characterised the magazine as an outlet for something called “scientific racism”. One such “expert” is a lady named Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Orwellian-sounding Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. She told Wilson that Rufo is “hanging around with some seriously nasty people”. Did you get that? We’re not just nasty; we’re seriously nasty.
This exemplifies one of the main tactics employed in the article and in activist journalism more broadly. To make what is essentially a playground insult sound more authoritative, the author doesn’t hurl it himself but rather gets a putative “expert” to do so. “Experts say: those guys over there are nasty!”
When referring to Charles Murray, Wilson casually slips in that he is a “white nationalist according to the SPLC”, even though Murray literally wrote a book titled What It Means to Be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation. In case you weren’t aware, the SPLC or Southern Poverty Law Center are a scandal-plagued “civil rights organisation” that dismiss anyone they don’t like who’s vaguely right-wing as a “white nationalist”.2
The charge of “scientific racism” is equally meaningless. This is a term that has emerged over the last few decades to describe any scientific claim that threatens the left’s sacred value of equalitarianism (the belief that demographic groups are equal on all socially valued traits). If you’re interested in whether genes contribute to racial differences in height or skin colour, that’s science (just about). But if you’re interested in whether genes contribute to racial differences in intelligence, that’s scientific racism.
As a matter of fact, most experts do not regard the latter question as tantamount to “racism”. The chart below shows results from six surveys that asked experts in different fields whether genes contribute to psychological group differences. (See here for exact question wordings and details about the samples.) As you can see, percentage agreement ranged from 14% to 84%, with an average of 45%.
The people who throw around terms like “scientific racism” face another problem: many of the geniuses who built the fields of evolutionary biology and psychometrics would qualify as “scientific racists” under their definition. I’m referring to men like Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton and Sir Ronald Fisher. As Bo asked rhetorically in response to the bad-faith questions Wilson sent him: is The Descent of Man scientific racism?
Of course, the fact that Darwin described the “mental characteristics” of different races as “very distinct” doesn’t mean hereditarianism is right. But it does suggest the label “scientific racism” is rather meaningless. After all, Darwin founded the very discipline of evolutionary biology and was an abolitionist to boot. We reject the label, but if forced to choose sides, we’ll take Charles Darwin over Jason Wilson.
Another tactic employed in the Guardian’s hit piece is one Steve Sailer has dubbed the “point-and-sputter”. This is where you quote someone out of context and then fume in outrage without bothering to actually refute their claim.
For example, Bo is quoted as saying that “in the United States (and elsewhere in the world), different races have different average levels of intelligence as measured by IQ tests”. Err yes, this statement is completely true. As Sailer noted in a recent article, racial differences in cognitive test scores might be “the most exhaustively documented finding in the history of the social sciences”.
Likewise, Noah is quoted as saying that racial stereotypes are “reasonably accurate”. Which, again, is completely true. The psychologist Lee Jussim and his colleagues have described stereotype accuracy as “one of the largest and most replicable findings in social psychology”.
The hit piece concludes with another quote from “extremism expert” Heidi Beirich. By linking to Aporia, she notes, “Rufo is helping to bring back this despicable material.” (Despicable, I tell you.) This seems like a strange point for Wilson to emphasise, given that his article does the exact same thing. For the sake of a few clicks, and perhaps to bolster his “anti-racist” street cred, he’s given us a bunch of free publicity. So thanks Jason – we appreciate it.
It would be an awful shame if the Guardian piece led to more of you becoming paid subscribers…