Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Other Left

You may remember that 4 years ago I put up a simple bell curve chart of IQ distribution. Little did I know how right I was -- that this simple chart would become such a touchstone for my thoughts about America.

This chart still sits on my desktop. I've used it time after time as a graphic reminder of the issue at hand: There are good, worthy human beings unlucky enough to be born on the left side of that chart. Half of America is on the left side of that chart. Where do they fit into America's society?

I'm not interested in splitting mathematical or scientific hairs with anyone about the subject of IQ. What I'm interested in is public policy -- how does this issue affect the real world we live in? Wikipedia has an appropriate section under the IQ entry entitled "Real-life accomplishments". A quick view of it shows exactly what you would expect -- a person with an IQ above 100 continues to college. A person below 100 doesn't. And -- as you hear over and over again in the media -- tomorrow's jobs require a college education. So what does the left side of America do? Not the political left -- The Other Left -- the half of America on the left side of the IQ chart.

As I've said before, you can view this in an altruistic way but even if you don't have an ounce of empathy, you still have a problem. Without meaningful jobs for The Other Left -- jobs that pay enough so that they can support themselves -- you (those on the right side of the IQ chart) will wind up supporting them. Unless you think the United States of America will tolerate widespread starvation. I don't believe it will. Not and remain the America we all know and love. That is always an option you know -- the collapse of civilization.

Speaking of which, this one little blurb in the Wikipedia entry on IQ grabbed my attention.

"The US military has minimum enlistment standards at about the IQ 85 level. There have been two experiments with lowering this to 80 but in both cases these men could not master soldiering well enough to justify their costs."

How's that for a cold calculation? I bet the Lord's Resistance Army nor the Taliban make such calculations. As I said, civilization is optional.

So, let me leave you with just one thought to chew on. Do you think "market forces" will take care of this problem? Do you think "the invisible hand" will shove us all in the right direction -- before a revolution? Do you think America Inc. will address the situation or do you think it will just keep hoarding wealth within the hands of the 1% (who just happen to be on the far right of said IQ chart) ?

Or do you think government will have to step in and do that thing that governments do -- maintain order and organize society into a civilization?

Do you think our government is up to that task? You know, the government that is currently in gridlock and jumped off the fiscal cliff of the sequester? Do you think that government is up to the task? I hope it crosses your mind that the 1% -- The Other Right -- controls the media that tells The Other Left that government is the problem -- not the solution.

Sleep tight America.

Don Brown
April 16, 2013


Frank Van Haste said...


Philip Jose Farmer explored that in 1967. (It's a little dense and Joycean.)



Steve Burns said...

There's an even larger problem here, which is how automation and industrialization is making large portions of the population superfluous (and not just the left side of the bell curve.) In the U.S. we can produce enough food to feed the whole population (and then some) with only 1% of the population working as farmers. What happens when only 1% of the population is needed to produce all the goods we consume? Some portion of the population will still be employed in some services that can't be easily automated, but even that portion will shrink, as the robots - mechanical and virtual - get smarter.
Capitalism simply has no place for people who don't fit into two roles: producer and consumer. But what if most of the population isn't needed for production, and consequently can't earn the money needed to be consumers?

Vannevar said...

Barney Frank said years ago that the legacy of (Frederick) Taylorism is to diminish employment and that Corporations will flourish but Labor/MiddleClass will wither. His proposition was: the Corporations need consumers or their existence will become a popped-bubble; therefore, it was in the Corporation's best interest to have a funded middle class. He proposed that for a Corporation to do business in the United States, it would need to generate employment and salaries for common people, funded by some percentage of their US corporate revenue.

In other words, GE Capital would need to spend $5Billion employing non-executive, non-managerial staff. They could hire artists, writers, thespians; a corporate-funded WPA.

It's has some merit. In some ways, it's "guaranteed income" funded by Corporations with a work requirement.