January Diary
Tabloids, snooty waiters, and the offside rule.

From the cover of Dinner with Churchill


John Derbyshire

Were VDH’s remarks about “veritable racists” meant sarcastically? my readers wondered to me. Was he drifting towards race realism? (Definition: The belief that the different group outcomes in multiracial societies are due to slight and statistical, but intractable, probably biological, differences between human races.) Was conservatism in general doing so?

Heck, I don’t know. If Professor Hanson feels the urge to clarify his observations, I’m sure he will do so with his usual forthrightness and eloquence.

I guess readers aren’t mistaken in taking me for a dissident on these matters, though. It’s an unpopular thing to be. As the Standard Social Science Model fights an ever more ferocious rear-guard action against the advances of actual science, SSSM-dissidents are taking a lot of casualties.

That’s war for you. In any case, dissidents are always unpopular. The herd instinct is very strong in humans. Hans Christian Andersen prettied up that story about the emperor’s new clothes. In the actual event on which the story was based, the kid got lynched by the emperor’s loyal citizens.

The biology of politics. So much for the politics of biology. How about the biology of politics?

Are you left? Are you right? Whatever you are, it’s hard-wired, at least in the general tendency, just as W. S. Gilbert told us.

It has, for example, now been experimentally established that conservatives stare more at wounds while liberals stare more at fluffy bunnies.

In a series of experiments, researchers closely monitored physiological reactions and eye movements of study participants when shown combinations of both pleasant and unpleasant images. . . . While liberals’ gazes tended to fall upon the pleasant images, such as a beach ball or a bunny rabbit, conservatives clearly focused on the negative images — of an open wound, a crashed car or a dirty toilet, for example.


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