What If HBD Is True?

For those who may still be new to, or still somewhat unfamiliar with, the Dark Enlightenment and Neo-Reaction, one of their hottest and most talked-about concepts is that of HBD, or Human Biological Diversity. This concept is one that is most popular among a certain subset of Dark Enlightenment thinkers – those who tend more towards the atheistic and scientifically-minded end of the spectrum. The inimitable Fred Reed has a column on it here, in which the basics are explained in his usual straightforward manner, and it is a good primer on the concept for non-scientists. In short, it has to do with evolution (it depends, in fact, on that concept), and the evolved differences between diverse groups of human beings; specifically, between the races. Most controversially, it posits that one biologically-ingrained difference between the races is a persistent, measurable, significant disparity in average intelligence between them, with East Asians and Ashkenazi Jews at the top of the chart, followed by whites, South Asians, mestizo Latinos, and, lastly, blacks. As anyone who has been paying attention to the progress of race issues in the west, and especially in the United States, over the last half-century or so can tell, this is an explosively controversial issue to say the least.

I am not here to make the case for or against HBD. I certainly have some issues with some of the assumptions that underlie it; with Darwinian evolution and the ability of IQ tests to actually measure what they are claimed to measure at the top of the list. And yet there is a lot of solid evidence behind it, much of it empirical. It isn’t just IQ tests that reflect this stratification – just about every measure of applied intelligence, from SAT and GRE scores, to Nobel Prizes in hard sciences issued by country or ethnicity, to percentages by race of people employed in intellectually-demanding fields, to GDP of nations that have a majority population of one race or another, reflect the same thing. Half a century’s worth of attempts in the United States to equalize these results through remediation, increased education funding, Affirmative Action, government-imposed equal opportunity laws, and many other schemes imposed from above have produced little by the way of tangible results. The problem seems absolutely intractable, and excuses that keep egalitarian myths intact are beginning to wear thin.

I will not, however, offer an opinion here on whether HDB is true or not. I am not a scientist, nor am I even particularly scientifically-inclined, and so I am unqualified to offer an informed opinion. I am, however, philosophically and politically inclined, which puts me in a position to answer an underexplored question regarding HBD, which is: What if it is true? What will it mean? What do we do then?

This is what Fred Reed once referred to as the “Oh God, what now?” question – the question that society cannot bring itself to face, as its implications are simply too terrible to even consider. However, this is really only true of a society wedded to an unrealistic egalitarian ideology. For a society more grounded in realism, answers are perhaps possible to arrive at. We avoid these answers, partly because of true belief in the ideology underlying them, but in some cases also for less altruistic reasons. And yet failure to consider them, I contend, in the end benefits only a select few.

Let us first consider what the implications of HBD (again, if true) really are. HBD means, essentially, that some minorities (blacks especially – here let us just be honest about who we primarily mean) are on average less capable at some kinds of thinking – particularly academic and technical thinking – than others. And yet this is not truly a grave insult. Let us remember that aptitude in academic and technical thinking were skills that, for the vast majority of the human race over the vast majority of human history, were really not all that crucial. From the caveman to the 18th century farmer, some extra skill in these areas might (or might not) have provided a moderate advantage, but it was hardly critical to survival. It is only in the last 200 years or so that these skills have become important, and only really now, in this hyper-technological age of cognitive haves and have-nots, in which it is loudly proclaimed that “Average Is Over”, that these skills seem to have become critical to success. Is being less apt in areas that have only recently become very important really such a condemnation?

As for the social problems facing blacks – the crime, the drugs, the illegitimacy – the truth is that blacks can do better than they have. We know this because they did do better – far better – than they are now doing, back in the days before the left showed up to “help” them. It has become something of a running joke among rightists that the media will run headlines along the lines of “Tornado Strikes Oklahoma: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit”, but those hardest hit by the social rot brought about by Cultural Marxism really have been women and minorities, and blacks especially. Through centuries of hardship, the three pillars that black America stood upon were family, faith, and community. These have been destroyed by leftist modernity, and the replacements that have been provided, such as welfare and Affirmative Action, have disastrously failed, not just at allowing blacks to rise, but at preventing them from falling further to the bottom of society than ever.

And here we come to the ways in which Blank Slate Theory actively hurts blacks. Blank Slate Theory, as practiced by modern egalitarians, is essentially the opposite of HBD – the idea that all people (and just as importantly, all groups of people) are born with more or less the same innate capacity to be good at any particular given task. This theory was most famously advanced by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, which put forward the idea that the most important factor in being able to master a skill is practicing it for a certain amount of time, which Gladwell estimated at 10,000 hours. Now let us consider the state of American blacks. No one has been hit harder by the destruction of the American industrial base and the slow erosion of its middle and working classes than have blacks. It is difficult to believe that it is mere coincidence that the spike in social problems among (especially urban) blacks started, not just when leftism started taking hold in their communities, but (nearly simultaneously) when the American industrial base began to decline starting in the 1970s. Over this period, a large percentage of what was once the black working class has become the back welfare class, as the working-class jobs they once held have been taken over by the tidal wave of Latino immigrants that has swamped the country in the past forty years. So bad have things become that vast numbers of blacks are leaving the big northern industrial cities to which their grandfathers and great-grandfathers came during the Great Migration of the early 20th century, looking for factory jobs and other working-class opportunities which have long since disappeared. They are largely moving back down to the south – some to large southern cities, but many to the rural south from whence their ancestors came.

And yet if Blank Slate Theory is true, then this is a problem that can be overcome. All it will take for the huge black underclass to be transformed into investment bankers, metallurgists, and software developers is for that magic elusive fix that will finally erase the academic and technical performance differences between races to be found. Add some “opportunity”, which would presumably include the opportunity to put in 10,000 hours of trying in their chosen field, and presto – the problem of inequality will be solved. If all this is indeed the case, then the displacement of blacks from the working class – by legal Latino and other immigrants, by illegal aliens, and by machines – is a fixable problem.

But what if it isn’t the case? What if HBD is true, and most blacks will never become those things because they fundamentally cannot become them, no matter how much effort is expended on trying to make it happen?

And here is an even more pointed question for our cynical age: What if some large chunk of the powers-that-be know on some level that HBD is true, and yet continue to push Blank Slate Theory in order to gain economic or political advantage? For the supposedly-egalitarian politicians of the left, a large number of people dependent on government-run social welfare schemes amounts to a virtually-guaranteed bloc of voters for themselves. For those whose business models depend on cheap labor, having an excessive pool of employees or potential employees around allows them to keep wages low – this is simple supply and demand. What if this is all, to some degree, intentional? I do not mean to offer an answer to those questions here, but they do seem to be worth asking.

But now let us turn to solutions. If HBD is true, what do we do? What happens next? First, we must be realistic about what will not happen. First, blacks are not going to disappear from American life, nor should they be required to. By right of history, it is their country as much as it is anyone else’s whose ancestry is not American Indian, and the idea that that many people are going to go… where, exactly?… is sheer fantasy. What else will not happen is that the current welfare state will not continue at anything close to its current level for all that much longer. The economic writing has been on the wall in terms of that for a long time now.

This latter truth may be a motivating reason behind the reversal of the Great Migration, which in itself may be one of the solutions for the question of what does, and ought to, happen next. Blacks, perhaps not on average technologically or academically inclined (if HBD is true) but still no fools, may be sensing which way the wind is blowing, causing them to leave the cold, atomized, and dependent life of the northern cities for places where the bonds of community are stronger, where the cost of living is cheaper, and where more self-sufficiency is possible. If – when – the welfare state collapses, blacks located in such places will be far better off than those who aren’t.

Here too is another necessary part of any possible solution – restoring the pillars of family, faith, and community that long sustained black America. Perhaps outside of the industrial megacities, this becomes more possible.

Economically, if HBD is true, a Buchananite protectionism seems to be wise. Immigration and outsourcing should, in that case, be severely restricted by law, and tariffs raised sharply to protect American-made products. Some limit to the degree of mechanization of jobs might also be worth considering. This would do much to return to America – and to Americans, black and otherwise – the sort of working-class jobs that do not require exceptional academic or technical abilities.

Socially, it seems as if some degree of voluntary separation may be advisable. Despite centuries together, right next to each other, blacks and whites remain vastly different from  one another in innumerable ways. Perhaps an acknowledgement of that reality, instead of further attempts to erase it when all previous attempts have failed, is the better course. The worst possible way to make some people genuinely like others is to try to force them to do so, and the sad reality of human nature is that good fences often really do make good neighbors. Perhaps some more space, with each group able to live more in accordance with its unique culture, attitudes, and worldview, yet still free to voluntarily associate (or not associate) with each other as they please, would do something to reduce tensions between the races. It seems to be at least worth trying – certainly nothing else that has been tried so far has proven to work very well.

In terms of criminal justice, too many blacks are imprisoned now. Certainly some – those who prey on the person or property of others – should be imprisoned, and few blacks would disagree. But many more are imprisoned for victimless drug offenses, and this should end. The War on Drugs has been a dismal failure, and should be discontinued, with drugs decriminalized. The problems associated with drug use among blacks should be handled by the black community itself.

This brings us to another idea – that black social problems require black solutions. Among whites, there is a widespread and growing feeling – far more desperate than hateful – that they have tried everything they can think of to solve the social problems of the black community, and none of it has worked. Perhaps this is because white solutions to black problems cannot truly work. And even if they could, would blacks really want them to? Would they really want to feel that they could not solve their own problems without whites there to deliver solutions? Here, again, separation may help. Much of the behavior of the black underclass is deeply self-destructive, and as anyone who has dealt with a self-destructive person knows, the worst possible thing to do with them is to allow them excuses for their self-destructive behavior. Perhaps with some separation from whites, with the ability to use the race card to get more largesse from the public fisk off the table, and forced to face its own problems head-on, the black community will begin to come up with the solutions it needs to its problems.

These are my suggestions, and I believe them at least worth considering.

Finally, I wish to reemphasize that I am taking no position on whether HBD is true or not. I again mean here simply to start a conversation about a heretofore underdiscussed aspect of the issue. Some of the possible solutions I’ve suggested strike me as ones that would be wise no matter what the truth about HBD may be. Do I actually expect any of them to happen? Not particularly. Americans are far too much idealistic and far too little realistic. This results in a strong tendency to do nothing about difficult problems in the Panglossian belief that everything will somehow work out fine in the end, until the point is reached at which a problem becomes a massive and basically insoluble crisis. Nothing in recent American history suggests that this tendency has gotten any better over time – just the opposite. But I have made it my mission to say the things that must be said, no matter who will or won’t listen.

A Traditionalist Constitution

What would the constitution of a Traditionalist state look like? A good example might be illustrated by the “Shotoku Constitution” of early-medieval Japan. Written by Prince Shotoku, who lived from 574-622AD, the seventeen-article Constitution took effect in April of 604. Many Japanese scholars believe it to be the basis of the entire Japanese worldview, even today. Here it is, in its entirety:

Article One: Harmony should be valued and quarrels should be avoided. Everyone has his biases, and few men are far-sighted. Therefore some disobey their lords and fathers and keep up feuds with their neighbors. But when the superiors are in harmony with each other and the inferiors are friendly, then affairs are discussed quietly and the right view of matters prevails.

Article Two: The three treasures, which are Buddha, the (Buddhist) Law and the (Buddhist) Priesthood; should be given sincere reverence, for they are the final refuge of all living things. Few men are so bad that they cannot be taught their truth.

Article Three: Do not fail to obey the commands of your Sovereign. He is like Heaven, which is above the Earth, and the vassal is like the Earth, which bears up Heaven. When Heaven and Earth are properly in place, the four seasons follow their course and all is well in Nature. But if the Earth attempts to take the place of Heaven, Heaven would simply fall in ruin. That is why the vassal listens when the lord speaks, and the inferior obeys when the superior acts. Consequently when you receive the commands of your Sovereign, do not fail to carry them out or ruin will be the natural result.

Article Four: The Ministers and officials of the state should make proper behavior their first principle, for if the superiors do not behave properly, the inferiors are disorderly; if inferiors behave improperly, offenses will naturally result. Therefore when lord and vassal behave with propriety, the distinctions of rank are not confused; when the people behave properly the Government will be in good order.

Article Five: Deal impartially with the legal complaints which are submitted to you. If the man who is to decide suits at law makes gain his motive, and hears cases with a view to receiving bribes, then the suits of the rich man will be like a stone flung into water, meeting no resistance, while the complaints of the poor will be like water thrown upon a stone. In these circumstances the poor man will not know where to go, nor will he behave as he should.

Article Six: Punish the evil and reward the good. This was the excellent rule of antiquity. Therefore do not hide the good qualities of others or fail to correct what is wrong when you see it. Flatterers and deceivers are a sharp weapon for the overthrow of the state, and a sharp sword for the destruction of the people. Men of this kind are never loyal to their lord, or to the people. All this is a source of serious civil disturbances.

Article Seven: Every man has his own work. Do not let the spheres of duty be confused. When wise men are entrusted with office, the sound of praise arises. If corrupt men hold office, disasters and tumult multiply. In all things, whether great or small, find the right man and they will be well managed. Therefore the wise sovereigns of antiquity sought the man to fill the office, and not the office to suit the man. If this is done the state will be lasting and the realm will be free from danger.

Article Eight: Ministers and officials should attend the Court early in the morning and retire late, for the whole day is hardly enough for the accomplishment of state business. If one is late in attending Court, emergencies cannot be met; if officials retire early, the work cannot be completed.

Article Nine: Good faith is the foundation of right. In everything let there be good faith, for if the lord and the vassal keep faith with one another, what cannot be accomplished? If the lord and the vassal do not keep faith with each other, everything will end in failure.

Article Ten: Let us control ourselves and not be resentful when others disagree with us, for all men have hearts and each heart has its own leanings. The right of others is our wrong, and our right is their wrong. We are not unquestionably sages, nor are they unquestionably fools. Both of us are simply ordinary men. How can anyone lay down a rule by which to distinguish right from wrong? For we are all wise sometimes and foolish at others. Therefore, though others give way to anger, let us on the contrary dread our own faults, and though we may think we alone are in the right, let us follow the majority and act like them.

Article Eleven: Know the difference between merit and demerit, and deal out to each its reward and punishment. In these days, reward does not always follow merit, or punishment follow crime. You high officials who have charge of public affairs, make it your business to give clear rewards and punishments.

Article Twelve: Do not let the local nobility levy taxes on the people. There cannot be two lords in a country; the people cannot have two masters. The sovereign is the sole master of the people of the whole realm, and the officials that he appoints are all his subjects. How can they presume to levy taxes on the people?

Article Thirteen: All people entrusted with office should attend equally to their duties. Their work may sometimes be interrupted due to illness or their being sent on missions. But whenever they are able to attend to business they should do so as if they knew what it was about and not obstruct public affairs on the grounds they are not personally familiar with them.

Article Fourteen: Do not be envious! For if we envy others, then they in turn will envy us. The evils of envy know no limit. If others surpass us in intelligence, we are not pleased; if they are more able, we are envious. But if we do not find wise men and sages, how shall the realm be governed?

Article Fifteen: To subordinate private interests to the public good – that is the path of a vassal. Now if a man is influenced by private motives, he will be resentful, and if he is influenced by resentment he will fail to act harmoniously with others. If he fails to act harmoniously with others, the public interest will suffer. Resentment interferes with order and is subversive of law.

Article Sixteen: Employ the people in forced labor at seasonable times. This is an ancient and excellent rule. Employ them in the winter months when they are at leisure, but not from Spring to Autumn, when they are busy with agriculture or with the mulberry trees (the leaves of which are fed to silkworms). For if they do not attend to agriculture, what will there be to eat? If they do not attend to the mulberry trees, what will there be for clothing?

Article Seventeen: Decisions on important matters should not be made by one person alone. They should be discussed with many people. Small matters are of less consequence and it is unnecessary to consult a number of people. It is only in the case of important affairs, when there is a suspicion that they may miscarry, that one should consult with others, so as to arrive at the right conclusion.

*   *   *

What are the differences between this and, say, the United States Constitution? The first obvious one is that it is wisdom-based instead of legalism-based. This makes it a “positive” constitution instead of a “negative” one. This I mean in the same way as the rhetorician Richard M. Weaver, when he once noted that the U.S. Constitution is “primarily a negative document in the sense that it consists of prohibitions and restraints imposed upon the authority of the state”. It is orderly and spiritual, both in the usual senses of those terms, and also as Evola used them – it appeals to the Mandate of Heaven, to the divine and natural order of the universe as the basis for regulating human affairs. It teaches; it attempts to instill wisdom and virtue in leaders and, by the example of these wise and virtuous leaders, also in commoners. And yet even more than that, by the very practice of trying to pass on wisdom, it provides the basis for a culture, a worldview, a national soul that can endure through the generations. It is unmistakably non-egalitarian, yet it both is sympathetic to and inclusive of the needs and interests of commoners, and also proscribes idleness and corruption among nobles. It is humane (except for the part about forced labor, which unfortunately was, humane or not, a basically universal institution in the pre-industrial world); it is understanding of human faults without being approving of them. It weaves in the traditional faith of the state and the people without being outright theocratic. And it is straightforward and easy to understand, with no tricks or doublespeak to it.

A great deal of the path I have traveled in life to gaining whatever wisdom I now have has involved learning that there were other ways to approach the issues of life than the ones I had always known. If you are a product of the modern world, then – especially if you are a westerner, and even more especially if you are an American – read this, and consider the ways in which there are other approaches to crafting the constitutions which serve as the bases of societies and their laws.

Someday – perhaps sooner than you think – this may be important.