Whilst this is an excellent essay about race - and race realism - I think it is important to be clear that for many (perhaps most) white Progressives, the real psychological driver of their stance is not primarily even about race. Being anti-racism is really about signalling that you are a nicer (and more sophisticated) person than your fellow 'deplorable' white peers. It is a war of white on white and Race is just a proxy. Western middle class liberalism has long been on a headlong pathological self-destructiveness that will mystify future historians when they survey the wreckage. https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/invasion-of-the-virtue-signallers

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And this is being used as a wedge issue by the elite to break down our society, thereby affording control.

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This is such a weird psychological cope for knowing that being a racist means most reasonable people think you’re a huge asshole.

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Dec 27, 2023·edited Dec 27, 2023Liked by Aporia

So, from reading this article and other sources on the topic, it seems like the following statements are true:

1. There has never been any direct evidence that human population groups have the same average cognitive abilities. In fact, all experiments have shown otherwise.

2. The theory that all groups have the same average cognitive ability was based on ideas that seemed plausible at the time, but have become difficult to believe with current genetics data.

3. Cognitive equality was originally a fringe theory, but became popular due to ideological pressure after the second world war.

4. Many of our failed social policies were based on the assumption this theory was true.

The worst part of this, besides all the millions of people who have been hurt by our failed social policies, is what this says about human beings. Our best and brightest believed an incredibly dangerous lie, that in retrospect seems pretty silly, but vanishingly few people ever went against the grain and opposed it.

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Its a lie that I myself wish was true. I think (religious plug incoming) that the nation of God’s children, the citizens of the Kingdom of Light is the perfect (and true) way to grapple with this reality of racial differences. First of all God loves all humans equally, not smarter ones, and He desires faithfulness and obedience more than complexity or philosophical contrivance from His people. He made humans have such differences and yet calls out and chooses people from each nation on earth. I have more in common (on the deepest level) with my spiritual brothers of another race than I do people of my own family, because the Holy Spirit of the Living God is more impactful and definitive than genes.

If one were, tragically, given over to fully secular thinking, then there would be no solution or reconciliation of the fact of human genetic difference. Hence where the modernist notions of racial supremacy come from, so highly popular in the era directly following the “Death of God” amongst Western elites. Currently Western elites are choosing suicide and unreality rather than “logical” caste systems, but there is no happy equality that can exist without recognizing the Truth of God’s Word and the wonderful, intentional creation of all humans. God prefers simple cheerful folk more than complex but cynical folk.

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Another great article from Bo, brave and necessary.

There is one thing that bothers me, Bo: it is a commonplace to say that “human variation is greater within groups than between them”; Humbly, I think there is a mistake there. At first glance it seems counterintuitive. To give an example, it would be like saying that there is more difference between dolphins than between dolphins and whales. What is the logic in that idea? Let's consider the variation within dolphins in relation to their weight: it varies between 400 and 600 kilos. The difference between blue whales is between 130,000 and 150,000 kilos. Indeed, there is more weight variation among dolphins (up to 50 percent) than among whales (15 percent). But the difference in weight between dolphins and whales is abysmal! Following the same reasoning, perhaps greater variation can be found within the groups (races) than between them, but the differences are… “weighty”; that is, meaningful, or perhaps it is more precise to say, “qualitative”; Small differences maybe but they make ALL the difference.

It seems to me that, at the very least, that repeated statement is empty of content, looks in the wrong place, and explains nothing.

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The strongest case for race realism is simply the outcomes of the children of blacks in America, whose parents received a massive affirmative action boost catapulting them into elite white society; only for their children to match the poorest cohort of whites in their standardized exam performance.

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Who exactly got big boosts? Almost every time I read the bio of a high SES black American, I find they went to obscenely expensive boarding schools, and they aren’t really “african american” in the sense that their families moved here in the mid to late 20th century rather than the 18th or 19th century. Obama and the current Harvard president come to mind.

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SES is heavily correlated with IQ (even in an affirmative action system). If u have the kids of the highest IQ blacks, and they still do as poorly as the kids of low iq whites —- blacks must have dramatically lower IQ. Culture cannot be the deciding factor as a large percentage of wealthy blacks live in white neighborhoods, and if it is, it would only mean that black parents were terrible people.

That the gap at the highest level is only 5% smaller than that between whites and blacks making 20-40k, tells u all the rest that u need to know.

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“The most strong case that validates my existing priors is some weak evidence I’m selectively interpreting at the expense of every variable that explains it better”.

This is why nobody likes you guys.

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Thanks for the reminder, see new reply above.

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The thing that I find frustrating about this stuff is that the conversation never progresses. I was first introduced to this debate 5(?) years ago when Sam Harris had Charles Murray on his podcast. The conversation is still stuck at “do biological markers of race exist.”

For the sake of argument, lets grant the claims in this article -- low African American is a consequence of low IQ and biologically rooted cultural practices. What do you do about the problem of millions of American blacks living in the ghetto? Just say, “enjoy living in filth you morons.”? Not only does that seem immoral to me, its a perfect set of circumstances to form a violent revolutionary movement -- we saw this in 2020. If you grant the premises of race realism, it seems that would necessitate more, not less government intervention in favor of these supposedly “inferior” races.

For the record, while I don’t deny the existence of meaningful biological differences between races, I believe the problems of America are primarily based on culture which is not based in biology.

100 years ago, black marriage rates were higher than those of whites. What happened? If African Americans put the emphasis on education, respect for authority, church attendance, and good behavior that west Indian blacks, or Nigerian immigrants do, you would see barely a fraction of the issues that currently exist. How do you explain that in a way that doesn’t involve culture as the key element?

Lastly, i see people discussing affirmative action etc in the comments here. the reason this and welfare didn’t help the black Americans as a whole is that it debased the small amount of social stability (church, family) that they had to build on leading into the 60s.

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While I find race-realism to be fairly convincing, the rapid deterioration of social structures in the black community in the latter half of the 20th century is worth pondering over. For one, there was the cultural divide between blacks in the north and south (cf. Sowell's "Black Rednecks and White Liberals"). There is a revisionist account of black culture during and not long after slavery to be found within Thaddeus Russell's "A Renegade History of the United State" which somewhat lines up with Sowell but with a different perspective. Libertarians like myself would also point out that the drug war and LBJ's "great society" programs both attacked the black family (primarily fathers) and dis-incentivized the formation of further black marriages.

So while there can be genetic influences on the culture of nations predominantly of a certain race, within the context of America where they were a minority, they inherited their culture from that which they were surrounded by. Those in the south picked up the "redneckish" ways of the south while those in the north picked up the more industrious ways of the north. To that someone might ask why they don't assimilate now, but there was the issue of suburbanization during cold war times, and that had a strong effect of racially segregating living areas which we've more or less been living with since. Obviously it's getting slowly better with gradual social mobility of some blacks, but the racial segregation of living areas and consequently school situations is still relatively salient. If only we could abolish compulsory schooling...

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Yes, I think there is a lot of truth to Sowell's assessment of the American situation, but there are other cultural variables as well such as the Neo-Marxist turn of teaching colleges and Marcuse's desire to "proletarianize the ghetto populations" (pictures of Angela Davis, his star student, are often hung or painted directly on the walls of public schools).

I don't think social mobility is getting better, I think it is getting worse. When I teach kids in American ghettoes, their families are two to four generations deep in the cycle of poverty. Very sad situation.

Also, I think these cultural issues that plague American ghettoes are already starting to spill out into lower-class white communities. Single parenthood, drug use, lack of church attendance, etc. 'Race Realists' who think the pigment of their skin will be some kind of firewall for these cultural trends will be in for a rude awakening.

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I didn't mean to insinuate that social mobility is getting better. I'm just saying that some middle class and above neighborhoods which used to be predominantly white are now seeing more blacks (and other minorities) who "made it" for one reason or another, but this is still not the norm by any means.

James Lindsay has done an excellent job exposing the turn in education, but to my mind the susceptibility of people to these ideas is itself indication of a lack of confidence that the vision of the "good life" we held up until the dominance of the boomers was in fact good. It is in part understandable since America was/is reckoning with its failure to live up to some of its founding values, but ultimately the founding virtues (cf. Murray "Coming Apart") are instrumental to the "good life."

I'm hoping that some of the younger generations (of which I am arguably a part) will come to realize this as they see the decay around them and find more heterodox sources to help them make sense of the world. I don't think any serious race realist thinks that being white makes you impervious to social ills, keen as they would be to reject the notion of white privilege via examples of poor-off whites in contrast to well-off minorities.

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I don’t have hard numbers, but anecdotally, America is having more minorities “make it” by importing college students from 3rd world countries. Off the top of my head, this applies to Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, and the pres of Harvard.

Re: “good life” i agree. American elites today don’t even know the country’s history, and what little they get from ken burns and 1619 project they spit on. One of Murray’s great observations in “coming apart” is that high SES Americans preach atheism and moral relativism while living lives of devotion and virtue effectively pulling the ladder to success up behind them. Again, this is primarily a cultural phenomenon.

Re: your 3rd paragraph, i think they are (me included) but just to escape this, you need a .5 mil house to get away from the riff raff, and a one income home or a ton of disposable income for good private school. This tells me that without a massive cultural shift, most Americans are NGMI.

I might have been a little uncharitable, but RW spaces have a magnifying glass on black crime, but i scarcely see discussion around the basic fact that fatherless homes in white families are far beyond what they were in black families in the late 60’s when Moynihan declared it a crisis.

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"...I believe the problems of America are primarily based on culture which is not based in biology."

What do you believe culture is based on?

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Religion, geography, historical events and other factors.

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"Religion, geography, historical events and other factors."

Yes, but is not some of that collective of the population's genetics?

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I didn’t say it wasn’t, but If you think race shapes a culture more than religion, geography, or historical events, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

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Historical events and geography are essentially environmental pressures that will select for certain inheritable traits that will present themselves in a given ethnicity or race, i.e. race shapes cultures.

As for religion, that other poster succinctly addressed the relationship between religion and culture.

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Europeans had horses because of genetics or geography? Arabs today build wealth from petroleum reserves based on genetics or geography? The black death spread from China to Europe, but only jumped to the Americas in the 15th century because of race or geography? Come on now.

Anyone that reduces human history to one variable is a moron. I don’t care if it’s Marxists and economics or whatever you two buy into.

Is it really too much to say that races exist, without dogmatically asserting that it is THE defining element of all human relationships across all human history?

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Genetics shapes culture, religion, and, to some extent, geography and historical events.

Religion is part of a population's culture.

Shove the bridge.

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This is an excellent essay. I think that it thoroughly demolishes the claims that race does not exist and that racial differences do not lead to different outcomes for individuals or groups. The problem is that it is unclear where that leaves us if we are trying to understand human history and outcomes today.

It is unclear what you call "Race Realism" really gives us a full understanding of human material progress (which is my primary interest). I think my theory, which focuses on Society Type and geography, is a much more compelling explanation for global inequality and inequality within nations.


The reality is that there have been HUGE variations in outcomes for societies within Europe, within Africa, and within Asia. That cannot be explained by race. But they can be explained by geography and Society Type. And there are very similar societies with people from different races. That also cannot be explained by race.

Darwin's theory of Sexual Selection can explain why different societies within the same race diverged substantially, and why similar societies on different continents converged. Genetic likely played an important role, but other factors did as well.

In the future, I will write another essay as to why race cannot explain the variation between societies.

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Fifty years ago the clear majority of adults in the West understood the truth of Race Realism even if they were reluctant to talk about it publicly. Now, we've had two generations coming of age in an environment where the truth has been suppressed and effectively driven underground. As a result, today not only do most adults not want to talk about RR, they won't even entertain it in the privacy of their own thoughts. The brainwashing has been thorough and effective.

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"The brainwashing has been thorough and effective."

As I said in a previous post, the elites want to make race a wedge issue.

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As usual, a terrific post by Bo. However, two small things made comprehension a bit harder for the lay reader (i.e. me). One:

'...a very common strategy among race skeptics is to demolish a caricatured version of “race,” insisting that since that version doesn’t exist, social constructionism is the only viable alternative. But this would be like refuting a platonic conception of species and then claiming that species therefore don’t exist.

I don't actually know what a platonic conception of species is and I can't help thinking an easier analogy could have been found.


[Some claim that] People who have more European ancestry are, on average, lighter skinned; therefore, they face less intense racism than those with less European ancestry (who are darker skinned, on average). In Jordan Lasker and colleagues’ study, for example, they imputed skin color from genetic data and found that “Skin color was not significantly related to cognitive ability in any of our models which included genetic ancestry.”

If I have understood that correctly (which is by no means certain), the second sentence refutes the previous one. In that case, what is 'for example' doing there?

But these are just two tiny criticisms about an otherwise brilliant general survey of what race realists are up against. 10/10.

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We need to start thinking, and talking, about how to get past this controversial issue: about the kind of society we need irrespective of the the realities of human biodiversity. Here is an example: https://lukelea.substack.com/p/a-place-for-everyone

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If you think like an English major you can say race isn't real. If you think like a computer or even a math major you can't.

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This is a useful essay and articulates my thoughts with useful examples.

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Mr. Winegard has provided an excellent, rather deep dive into Race Realism.

I consider myself to be a race realist.

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