The Pig Men Cometh

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“I wish there were pig-men. You get a few of those pig-men walking around, suddenly I’m looking a lot better.”

-George Constanza of Seinfeld

Of course, a world with pig men would be a less beauteous thing. Kind of what I thought when I read Steve’s most recent column on the rise of academic inequaliy, and ascendency of sub-mediocrity, in the Los Angeles school system.


  1. steve’s post gives me the same sickening feeling i experienced the first time i read the bell curve. not disgust at the messenger as most people felt, but properly aimed sadness at the cruelty of reality.

  2. High schools where 1% of the seniors break the 1000 mark on the SAT. That’s insane. It seems like you could just shut those places down, put the money spent on their ‘education’ in some sort of trust fund / annuity for the students, and they’d be better off.

  3. There are a couple of LA-area universities mentioned in the article, Cal State Long Beach and Cal State Northridge. I recently found out in another forum that the use of the word “State” in a California public university’s name is not a particularly desirable thing. It signifies that the university’s standards are generally lower than the public universities whose names do not include the “S” word.

  4. I just read Steve’s post this morning and yes, it has made me feel profoundly depressed just as I felt when I first read the “Bell Curve” back in 1995.  
    Even though I have always been a libertarian/republican kind of person, I am somewhat of a reluctant ex-liberal on the issue of kids and education. If you’re good natured, naturally you want the best for everyone. The realities of human biodiversity have not come easy to me and, I suspect, many others who “cautiously” accept them now. Intellectually, I accept these realities even though I still have problems with them emotionally. 
    I think a key issue is to accept the realities of human biodiversity while not falling into the ugly trap of racism and ostracism.

  5. One thing that hasn’t helped is that our educational and economic system operates under a rule best described as College or Bust. In other words, a young person who isn’t college material, for whatever reason, is pretty much cast onto the dust heap when it comes to finding work. What we need is better vocationally oriented training, rather than this monomania regarding college.

  6. Alright….well, it’s up to me to be the Devil’s Advocate here. So I’ll jump in. 
    My mother taught public school in Harlem in the late 1930s. At that time the schools there were still racially mixed, a reflection of the diverse (sorry, I mean that in a pre-PC way) neighborhood: blacks from the South, Irish, Italians, Greeks, Jews, you name it. 
    What is interesting is what she did *not* remember about her black students: no particular behavior problems and average academic ability. Maybe they weren’t baby Einsteins but they learned to read & write along w/the white kids. And remember that standards were higher then (way higher, much higher) and the reading materials for grade school kids was pretty advanced by todays horrible standards. 
    In the 1970s my mother taught in all-black schools and the behavior of the kids convinced her to retire. 
    Now I know all you GNXP geniuses will dismiss my ramblings as the anecdotal evidence of a soft-headed liberal. Go ahead. It’s what my mom saw.

  7. Diana, 
    I’m an immigrant to this country, but I remember reading Thomas Sowell’s work on stuff like this, and IIRC he mentions that 5.5 million very poor Blacks, former share-croppers and grandchildren of slaves, migrated to a few Northern urban centers in the 1950′s and all but destroyed the communities therein. 
    So, your Mom’s experience tallies with this completely.

  8. Ad vocationally oriented training:  
    In my country (Czechia) we have sort of more vocationally-oriented high/middle schools whose students should emerge as plumbers, painters, electricians, mechanics, hair stylists, shop assistants or cooks/waiters. Of course, these kids don’t have much practice after finishing the school, but for the prospective employer they aren’t completely useless – at least they learn the metier basics. 
    From the more demanding vocational schools it is even possible to continue on technical universities, as they have fully compatible final exams. But the “progressive forces” (read fans of the educational fads) are against it, arguing that the vocational training somehow limits the kid’s possibilities in the future.  
    However, the alternative concept of those noble souls is just dragging those kids through more years of useless and unsuccessful education, which would leave them with no practical skills, therefore of no value whatsoever for the employers. The example of this is the Heuptschule in Germany, where the untalented are channeled, with no possibility to continue later their education, and no teaching of practical skills. No wonder that those schools are rather rough and depressive places, producing future unemployment candidates. 
    At the same time, Germany accepts qualified workers in the above professions from abroad…

  9. Peter
    Agree completely re: more vocational training for many high school students.  
    We need to reset the meaning of ?racist? to what it formerly was. It?s never going to stop being a slur or smear.  
    The term used to be restricted to bigotry and ignorance, and never to what could be proven. That is ?racism? as used in educated society before the middle sixties (in other than Marxist or far left circles) that abhorred bigotry meant false generalizations, such as considering everyone or nearly everyone of a particular race to share some particular characteristic. ?Racists? were those who refused to even consider the possibility or be open to scientific evidence (which was supposed to be strongly one way with much more on the way) that many of the observable mental differences between racial groups were due to artificially imposed legal and other barriers and conditions, and would disappear once civil rights laws and attitudes had changed and time was allowed for things to equalize. 
    Now the terms ?racist? is applied to anyone who even considers the possibility or adds up the evidence that at least some of those differences might be due to both innate genetics and largely heritable cultural patterns (which are usually difficult to change quickly for large groups of people).  
    A term like “scientific racism” would have formerly been considered absurd — a perfect tautology. Instead something like “pseudo-scientific racism” would have had to be employed — with the attendant (and unfortunate for the Frankfurt School descended New Left and then Post Modern ideologues) implicit restrictions on it’s application.  
    No longer. In the PoMo worldview “scientific racism” makes perfect sense, and is automatically odious. The object is clearly to try to scare people away from doing the science, or reading about it. In this view not only right and wrong is entirely relative, but even scientific truth. Everything depends upon point of view, and only the Marxist view that every group is axiomatically innately equal (an made unequal in result due only to “structural racism”) can possibly be acceptable. The gulag for any unbelievers, or if lefty academics and journalists can’t swing that, at least denial of tenure or job, social shunning, and so on. 
    The current expansive, virtually totalitarian (based on the unquestionable dogma of ‘zero innate group mental differences’) definition of ?racism? is the principal club of political correctness. It?s wielded to try to control thought on ideological grounds, scientific findings be damned. 
    However, I share your desire to avoid a return to widespread acceptance of bigotry, much less worse things. I have absolutely no desire to demean any group, and find such things highly distasteful – and always have. Was brought up that way. We also cannot forget that the bell curves heavily overlap. There are lots of not so smart whites and NE Asians too. (Not all that many dumb Ashkenazi Jews, but lots of merely average ones.)

  10. Erm….my mother’s recollections were that the actual “share-croppers and grandchildren of slaves,” weren’t so bad at all. 
    But never mind. I’m not gonna change anyone’s mind.

  11. diana: 
    This also tracks with Sowell’s discussions of successful black grade and high schools, and of his own grade and high school educations.  
    The interesting question is, what happened? Was there some sort of selection effect at work, getting only the smartest black kids to go to school? That doesn’t seem plausible–there were truancy laws in big cities, right?  
    Perhaps selective migration played a role? When it became possible for middle-class blacks to move away from the all-black neighborhood, they largely did so, and took their smarter and better-raised kids with them? How would you check this?

  12. Why did blacks do OK before? I think it was because there was discipline in the schools.  
    Even a 15 point difference in average IQ can still enable a high percentage to be mediocre students if they apply themselves and there are good teachers. 
    But whether it is because of a genetic difference in personality which takes over when there are few naturally disciplined students, or …? the loss of schoolroom discipline makes learning impossible except for the most brilliant self-learning student. 
    Was there discipline in the South? If so, I suspect it was because the parents and teachers cracked the whip, because they were so used to obeying the racist/paternalistic whites. And the children may have been afraid of the whites also. 
    This could be tested at those black schools (are there any?) where discipline is good and where students do not transfer in and out so that they experience good discipline for their entire school experience.

  13. It seems like you could just shut those places down, put the money spent on their ‘education’ in some sort of trust fund / annuity for the students, and they’d be better off. 
    Somewhat ironically (since people are citing The Bell Curve)this is pretty much what Charles Murray advocates in his latest book.

  14. Diana,  
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t 1930′s Harlem the time of the Harlem Renaissance, where the native Black population – many of them Freemen for generations and quite mixed racially – experienced a cultural flowering… 
    Then the 1950′s brought a very different sort of Black person to the ghettos of New York, Detroit, Buffalo, Chicago etc… and swamped the native Black population numerically, and washed away much of the cultural achievement?!

  15. Diana, 
    I’ve known people who lived in New Orleans, had been mugged several times, had burglaries, etc, and still had fond memories of the people. This is why society has gone from human recollection to careful measurement. 
    On the other hand, a public school curiculum could probably be mastered by anybody better-than-idiotic. And so, with the liberal use of the school paddle, I’m sure any race can learn/behave.

  16. pconery– 
    Then the 1950′s brought a very different sort of Black person to the ghettos of New York, Detroit, Buffalo, Chicago etc… and swamped the native Black population numerically, and washed away much of the cultural achievement?! 
    There were two periods of massive black migration north. The first began during WWI and continued through the roaring twenties. It was brought to a screaching halt, for the most part, by the great depression. 
    The second began during WWII and continued through the 50s and into the 60s. Both were caused by massive industrial booms in the north, coupled by relative immigration restrictiveness compared to other periods. 
    There were many good changes brought about by the sixties. Civil rights laws and changing attitudes regarding both blacks and women. Loosening up of sexual rigidities and censorship. Greater personal freedom. A sense of trying new things. 
    But there also were many bad things.  
    Permissiveness and lower standards of discipline and self discipline rapidly prevailed, especially on tracks other than the very most elite, in all sorts of realms, but especially in public schools. 
    Crime rates shot up, in fact SKYROCKETED in the black community in the sixties, at the very time that the most rapid beneficial legal and social changes were occurring for their benefit.

  17. Robert Hume– 
    the loss of schoolroom discipline makes learning impossible except for the most brilliant self-learning student.  
    Bingo. Spot on. 
    Sowell has written about that. So has Steve Sailer.  
    To the extent the loosening of discipline standards was good for anyone, it was good for the highest achievers and most internally motivated ? and most damaging for the below average. (The very worst special ed type cases might do better now ? they certainly get vastly more attention and resources. But they are hardly the fulcrum of society.) 
    A lot of the educational ‘reform’ of the last 40 years seems to be predicated on the assumption by the nearly always left liberal high IQ elites who cooked it up that the ‘disadvantaged’ they were seeking to help (to the exclusion of most other organized pre college educational improvement efforts, i.e. for the above average) were really just like them, only undiscovered and unencouraged and in their environmental setting. Thus the same innate eagerness to learn abstract concepts that they had experienced were common to everyone. Drilling and repetition would only further dull their natural brilliance. 
    A totally failed mindset.

  18. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t 1930′s Harlem the time of the Harlem Renaissance, where the native Black population – many of them Freemen for generations and quite mixed racially – experienced a cultural flowering…” 
    People always bring up the “Harlem renaissance during the 30s” asserting that it was the “place to be” culturally. And there is always someone who points out that Harlem was not very black in the 1930s. It was a fairly posh, mostly white place with “exotic” black nightclubs. Had its seedy side–according to one biography, President Kennedy lost his virginity at the age of 17, circa 1935, in Harlem, to a white prositiute. Harlem became almost entirely black during the during the 1940s.  
    During the 1960s, in the school I went to, the black kids were maybe 10% of the total and were unremarkable in behavior–until we hit the 8th grade. Then 2-3 of the 4 or 5 males became behavior problems and one of them became a sexual harraser. Of course he’d failed once, so he was older than the rest of us. From my observations of schools, when the black percentage goes over the 10-15% points, there is always a change in the chemistry of the classroom.

  19. The Harlem Renaissance took place in the 20s.  
    The kids my mom taught were the children of the poor — as were the white kids.  
    Behavior was totally different then. Things that are considered normative now (Britney…) would have gotten you locked up in the past. Look at any photo of folks, back in the day.

  20. “It was a fairly posh, mostly white place with “exotic” black nightclubs.” 
    Most of Harlem was not posh. Where are you getting this from? Mostly of Harlem was seedy tenements.

  21. Most of the black migration from the South to northern cities was complete by the early 1950′s. In some places such as New York, Caribbean immigration began around the same time and continues today.

  22. the whole thread about blacks is kind of off topic. after all, the % of black americans isn’t rising that fast.

  23. Well, it seems that the black population in the US will increase by about 70% over the next 50 years, but it seems hispanics will increate by about 190% and asians by about 290% …

  24. “It was a fairly posh, mostly white place with “exotic” black nightclubs.” 
    Most of Harlem was not posh. Where are you getting this from? Mostly of Harlem was seedy tenements.” 
    The Harlem Renaissance did take place during the 1920s, but it didn’t suddenly die in the 1930s. There were still black writers and artists representative of it living in Harlem in the 1930s. The poshness may have been limited but it had its nicer areas, and I have read more than one article on the demographics of the area at that time. Like many neighborhoods, it varied. But sure, it was on its way down by 1930. Most neighborhoods don’t suddenly turn into slums, it takes a while. I have also known a couple people who lived there at the time, but they’re pretty old now. Since it was some 75 years ago, memories could be off. A survey of the census material should clear the mists.

  25. Diana, 
    For what is worth, Jerry Pournelle ( often talks about a software program for teaching kids to read that his wife developed. He has always said that it can teach 90% how to read by the second grade, regardless of their race. 
    I agree with you that, regardless of the relative mean IQs of the various races, that our schools could do a far better job, for everyone, in the lower grades in teaching them reading and basic mathematics.

  26. Here is a video of how arithmetic is being taught today in primary school: 
    I also have heard that reading is no longer taught by the “phonics” method, but rather by something called the “whole word” method (similiar to how Japanese and Chinese kids learn kanji). People “taught” to read by the whole word method usually do not read as well as thoughs by the phonics methods. 
    I also understand that grammer is not taught until 7th grade. Thus, “grammer” school is no longer grammer school. 
    Perhaps these are the reasons why kids are not learning in school. Because what they are being taught and how they are being taught it are rubbish. 
    Diana, perhaps your mother was successful at teaching kids from all kinds of backgrounds because she was using teaching methods that actually worked rather than this “new” stuff ,which is obviously complete rubbish. 
    Rather than classifying people based on their supposed IQ based on race, perhaps teaching methods need to be returned to the methods that worked when Diana’s mother taught these classes.

  27. Kurt,  
    “Diana, perhaps your mother was successful at teaching kids from all kinds of backgrounds because she was using teaching methods that actually worked rather than this “new” stuff ,which is obviously complete rubbish.” 
    Absolutely. YOu have hit on something very important. Most modern education methods are shit, pure and simple. 
    The “look-say” (whole word) method was Stalinistically imposed in the 60s and resulted in a generation of bad readers. My mother continued using phonics until the 70s, in fact, she wrote her own text, painstakingly classifying one-syllable words into a method that was literally idiot-proof.  
    She became a special reading teacher, got the kids that failed everywhere else, and turned most of them into adequate readers. Because of tenure, which I imagine most GNXP readers are adamantly opposed to, and because of the fact that she taught the bottom of the barrel kids that everyone had , she was able to get away with it. (In fact, she even smacked an obstreperous kid once, resulting in an immediate and permanent improvement in the kid’s behavior. Try that nowadays. She’d have been charged with a hate crime.) 
    I should check out that Pournell arithmetic method. 
    Previous comments mentioned the Bell Curve. I thought I would bring in some real-world in-the-trenches experience which direct addresses the issues in the BC. I’m not arguing with the Hernstein-Murray findings. I *am* saying that the current mayhem we see in heavily black schools wasn’t always the case. Perhaps there are some environmental issues going on here. Maybe our “diverse” (sneer) schools aren’t brimming w/Baby Einsteins. I do think they could (a) learn how to read and (b) cover their butt cracks and (c) there is a relationship between the two. 
    There are too many GNXP comment lines that can be boiled down to, “it’s all in the haplotypes.” I beg to differ. 
    That’s all.

  28. Diana, 
    Pournelle’s software is a reading program, not a mathematics one. In any case, Jerry talks about it often on his website. 
    In any case, before we start “writing kids off” based on genetics and other such stuff (I really don’t like this stuff at all), I think the school system and teaching methods need to be dealt with first. Also, Jerry has pointed out that the military has always had first-rate instructors at teaching math proficiency to young men who have been “written off” by the school system.

  29. A lot of other measurable things (most notably illegitimacy) have changed a *lot* for blacks in the last 30 years. It’s entirely plausible that blacks are getting clobbered by environmental factors that may or may not affect IQ, but that definitely affect school performance, staying out of trouble with the law, not getting pregnant at 16, etc. Indeed, that was pretty much Murray’s working hypothesis in _Losing Ground_.  
    There’s this ugly tradeoff in discussing IQ differences and education. If you don’t acknowledge them, you end up making demands that the class with an average IQ of 80 perform as well as the one with an average IQ of 120, and the only way that can work is to keep the smart kids from learning anywhere close to their potential. If you do acknowledge IQ differences, you provide an excuse for not even bothering to fix the broken bits of the education system for that class with an average IQ of 80, which probably isn’t going to get algebra, but which ought to be capable of learning to read and write and balance a checkbook and such.

  30. It’s about fathers, dammit! And broken families! 
    Black families began breaking up like crazy in the ’60s, which is exactly when black crime stats and such started becoming overwhelming. Black boys have been growing up with fathers for decades now. No traditional authority figure to look up to and keep ‘em in line.  
    I usually laugh at the whole “role model” obsession some people have, but I think it’s important in cases like this. Many black boys grow up these days without a senior honorable male figure in their life. It seems to leave them 1) without a clue that an honorable and rewarding (non-gangsta, non-athletic) life might be possible, 2) very impulse-addled and determined to act out, and 3) yearning to “be male” anyway. Clueless about what it is to “be a man”, (ie., bite the bullet, stand up for your family, forsake easy temptations, do the difficult thing, use your power and drive and gifts in honorable and decent ways even if it doesn’t bring you instant rewards, etc), a lot of kids imitate what they see among dealers and pimps and on TV, and they wind up being dangerous, cartoonish buffoons, clueless about how to operate in mainstream society.  
    I often think they’d be well-served in school by (among other things, such as basic reading, writing, and arithmatic) field trips to grocery stores, offices, and banks. Introduce ‘em to checking accounts, explain savings, show them how to shop and interact with bosses and colleagues. They don’t know how respectable society works. Why not show ‘em?  
    But the most important thing, it seems to me, is for them to grow up in the presence of (and respecting) senior, honorable black male authority figures. If they literally don’t even have the conception that it’s possible to operate semi-successfully in mainstream society, then what else (but clueless bad behavior) can we expect of ‘em?

  31. So steve is saying that the SAT score matters, but not the college culture.  
    I dont doubt hes more right than wrong in the sense that even somewhat honest MSM people like sowell miss the mark because they refuse to look at the genetic evidence. 
    But at the same time arent there cultural differences between colleges with the same SAT score that are important, especially at the High end range?[1]  
    From the Sowell article he links to-  
    1) among numerous differences, it is easier to get cocaine at Reed College than it is to get Coca-Cola at BYU). Every significant feature of a college can differ enormously from one institution to another. 
    2)At some colleges, one of the painful situations a girl can experience is having her roommate’s boyfriend spend the night in their room. (Added Note: Ditto for men, though less so). 
    Those seem like important differences to me. 
    [1] I take it for granted that culture makes a noticable difference to the lower iq group – in the sense that one culture that deals with sex outside of marriage or drug dealing/usage in a low iq group laxly will suffer many more ills than one that enforces morality by, say, whipping offenders.  
    And these differences in an attenuated form would make a big difference in lower IQ colleges as well

  32. “But at the same time arent there cultural differences between colleges with the same SAT score that are important, especially at the High end range?[1] “ 
    I thought his article was mainly about high schools?

  33. “I thought his article was mainly about high schools?” 
    Refering to the second link in the article…  
    Steve puts it under the rubic of fib, but I was just wondering if it had a bit of truth in it.

  34. What Michael B. said; raising an entire class of kids without fathers is insane.  
    With what results, we have seen.

    Interesting article…and in turn it links to 
    a quote from abouve msnbc article –  
    “It?s known that elite schools have generally higher graduation rates than non-elite schools. But what?s less clear is why the graduation rates at seemingly similar colleges vary so much. For instance, the main campuses of Penn State and the University of Minnesota have comparable price tags, student SAT scores, and percentage of students from poor backgrounds. Yet Penn State graduates more than 80 percent of its students, and Minnesota barely half.” 
    SAT scores are IQ scores imo. So culture has an important effect.

  36. Yes fatherless boys (and girls) in the black community are a major contributing factor to the continued relative misery (which also degrades other ethnicities lives to a lesser extent) of the black lower half. Virtually everyone agrees with that. What they usually don?t, or rather won?t, do is to ask how that happened. Because most don?t like the more plausible answer. 
    Relatively high out of wedlock birth rates has always been characteristic of black families ? but before the 1960s is was in the neighborhood of 30% as opposed to the 68% it?s currently at (!). What changed. 
    Stigma, that?s what. 
    In the sixties feminists, the left and liberals generally worked mightily to dissolve the cultural stigma against unmarried mothers. The used to either go live with relatives somewhere else to have their babies which they were then almost always successfully pressured to give up for adoption, or have a more or less shotgun wedding with the father. The higher status usually the former. More rarely there were a lot more abortions than was generally appreciated, because they were almost always more or less clandestine. There were the ?back ally? abortions of yore. (Always more dangerous than proper hospital ones but not always nearly so dangerous as is popularly portrayed ? if the practioner was knowledgeable enough to use the right techniques. Soap vaginal enemas etc.) But there were also doctors who?d pretend it was necessary for the health of the mother or that it was a complication or some such. Anyway not many unmarried pregnant girls became long term unmarried mothers. The few that did faced always great and often enormous stigma, as to a less extend did their ?bastard? offspring. Actually, usually a much lesser extent. It was long considered a stigma that could be overcome. 
    Pressure against these attitudes rose enormously during the sixties, especially after feminists too up the cause. Everyone focused on the poor unfortunate unwed mothers and started demanding they be given a pass and the cad father the exclusively demonized instead. The result was an EXPLOSION in both unwed pregnancies and ESPECIALLY unwed mothers keeping their babies. After a lag of about a decade as abortions also exploded but nonetheless not enough to keep pace with the increase in unwed pregnancies, many right to life conservatives going the chorus of those encouraging, no DEMANDING that Hollywood and the media generally make the unwed mother who oh so bravely DECIDES SHE?S GOING TO KEEP HER BABY, rather than given into horrid retrograde pressure to give him/her up for adoption, or SHUDDER, that other unmentionable. (And it generally isn?t even considered in these oh so frequent B movies of the seventies and after storylines.)  
    That this would affect behavior rather than only lifting the terribly unjust burden of stigma from the brave young mother who so little deserves it, was either dismissed as silly or more often simply regarded as unthinkably retrograde to even consider. 
    All of this affected the parts of the population with the least impulse control and foresight. The lower income groups generally, and most blacks in particular.  
    That?s the primary reason there?s so much fatherlessness in the black community. Just because you don?t like the truth doesn?t mean it isn?t the truth. 
    We need to RESTIGMATIZE unwed motherhood. Suck it in and admit the truth. It?s fine and dandy that we burden and stigmatize the caddishness of fathering a child out of wedlock and especially trying to avoid the rightful responsibilies as well, but face the fact. It?s always been women who are expected to be choosiest about when and under what conditions they?ll mate ? in our own and virtually every other mammalian species. It?s basic and largely (not entirely) immutable sociobiology. 
    Again, WE NEED TO RESTIGMATIZE UNWED MOTHERHOOD. Yeah some more suffering will result in the short term. Tough. It will over time head off a whole lot more suffering in the long term ? if we can pull it off. Hollywood could do it (starting gradually, like it did in the other direction) if it wanted to.

  37. So true.  
    Women get a free ride in the west. And just like long term welfare recipients, they’ve come to consider it a “right”.