The Corner

Re: Orientation of The State

Jonah: On your sentence: “I think it [i.e. the science about group differences] is interesting, but I can’t imagine a scenario that would cause me to change my mind about the proper orientation of the state.”

So far as the state’s attitude to its citizens is concerned, I’m with you.

That is not all of public policy, though. Consider immigration, for example. If–I am am hypothesizing, let’s suppose–if group differences could be shown to be sufficiently intractable that some human groups would be a net burden to a liberal, European-style nation, would it be good policy to permit large-scale immigration of those groups?

I don’t know that group differences have that character; but I don’t know that they don’t, and neither do you. Nothing in our current understandings rules it out; and some recent results suggest that our current consensus & national policy may be on the wrong side of this.

Like you, I can’t imagine a scenario that would change my mind about equality of citizens under the law. In issues beyond our borders, though (foreign policy, immigration, development aid), I find it rather easy to imagine results out of some human-sciences lab somewhere that would radically change America’s mind about some particular matters of policy.

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