Is Richard Spencer controlled opposition?

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Some conspiratorial accusations have been going around about Richard Spencer, founder of the national policy institute and Radix journal. The claim is that he is “controlled opposition.” The idea being that he is a government shill who is tricking people into exposing their real identity and/or trying to radicalize the “alt-right” to discredit the overall movement. Evidenced by giving “Nazi Salutes” and more seriously, allowing the mainstream media to attend his conference. These claims were voiced most loudly by Mike Cernovich, a journalist who made a name for himself during gamergate and the trump campaign. Paul Joseph Watson of Alex Jones’ Infowars comes in at a close second in spreading this.

Notably, infowars made a substantial pivot during the trump campaign to somewhat distance themselves from previous conspiratorial material to a greater sympathy with alt-right (alt-lite?). After the pivot, they seem to have in general as much credibility as the mainstream media. I never thought I would say that, but it has only a little to do with changes at infowars and a lot more to do with the suicidal “reporting” in the MSM. When almost everything the MSM says is a lie, it isn’t hard to make a name for yourself telling the truth, even selectively.

Vox Day and some other prominent figures also seemed at least sympathetic to this view. Vox seemingly made his journey to the right through gamergate and the rabid/sad puppies campaigns. In Vox’s case, support for conspiracies seems to be a result of naked financial interest. He is named as editor on Cernovich’s book and likely stands to lose money, perhaps a substantial amount, if the broader community turns on Cernovich. I like Vox’s writing, but this naked self-interest in turning on a fellow traveler doesn’t help his credibility. The only ones deserving of a harsher fate than leftists are traitors. And just to be clear, disagreements between like-minded individuals is entirely different from the treachery of siding with leftists against fellow travelers.

I have been a participant in the Dark Enlightenment and Neoreaction for a fairly long time now. Not as long as some of the veterans, but definitely longer than most of those who now call themselves alt-right. It is hard to remember exact dates, but I started reading Moldbug in late 2013 (see also), I took over the darkenlightenment subreddit shortly thereafter, and started this blog in late May of 2014. Now I know that that isn’t quite the same thing as the alt-right as currently configured, which really didn’t exist to any substantial degree at the time, but there was and is a lot of overlap and you get to know the various publications involved. NPI, Radix, and Spencer were all well known to us back then and their work was respected and well-liked. So much so that he was easily included in an old radish post called “The heroes of the Dark Enlightenment.” The page has been taken down due to copyright complaints based on the images used, but I helpfully saved a [PDF] copy. The image at the top of this post was taken from there. The heroes of the Dark Enlightenment post was made before Spencer or NPI had gotten all that much fame. In addition, his publications have been a part of my endorsed site system ever since I created it about a year and a half ago. Well before the rise of the alt-right to its current prominence.

This presence shows Spencer et al have been around for a very long time producing content with a very consistent and respectable tone. Spencer has, in my opinion, proven his sincerity and genuineness through this long and appreciated work. His group talks about real issues and never resort to unnecessary racial epithets when discussing the biological reality of race (and sometimes gender) issues. I have a series of rules on my sub which lays out that any race or gender issue can be discussed (yes, even about jews), but it should be discussed in a rational and respectable manner. Basically, you can talk about Jewish influence in campaign finance and media, but avoid saying “gas the kikes.” You can also talk about black violence, but “lynch the niggers” isn’t necessary and doesn’t help your argument with respect to fellow travelers and curious, potential enlistments. Never once has anything produced by Spencer, NPI, or Radix ever violated these very strictly enforced rules (ask my subscribers) and that includes the transcript of the NPI speech at the heart of this controversy. Moreover, even though Spencer did say “Hail Trump” mostly ironically and to be funny, that is quite obvious, he did not himself even do the salute. To quote Steve Sailer “Here we have giving a Roman salute a Vietnamese minor league Kardashian, Tila Tequilia, and an alienated half Jew. Is this a sizable demo?” These two who don’t fit the alt-right demographic undoubtedly did it for the lolz as well, anyway, but that is besides the point. In what sane world would Spencer be blamed for their actions? Why should we be upset when leftists are triggered? Also, have we already forgotten this is no different from what half of the internet has been doing for the last year?

Now, there may be a genuine complaint about inviting the MSM. They are vile, lying cockroaches and their presence puts well-meaning attendees at risk of doxxing. A reporter from vice apparently had to be kicked out because he was trying to take pictures of attendees for this purpose. Unsurprisingly, they also lied about the content of Spencer’s speech saying that he was calling Jews soulless, when in reality he was referring to the media as a whole because of how much they lie. I don’t know which is more ironic, that they immediately proved his point by highlighting the very sentence he used to call them out or their implicit admission that Jews are heavily over-represented in the media and do the bulk of the soulless lying. It is so stupid that it almost seems like a divine influence intervened to cause the seemingly unforced error, at least for those with the eyes to see. The whole of the last year has seemed like that actually.

Now note that I say there MAY be a genuine complaint, not that there definitely is one. After the last year, I can’t deny how effective such crude terminology and iconography has been when used in the context of triggering brainwashed leftists. Every time something like this blows up, it inevitably gets proven that the media is full of shit and that many more people stop listening to them. Whatever differences Neoreaction and the Alt-right may have ( The highlights being distrust of crudeness, naive clinging to democracy by some on the alt-right, and abhorrence of mob populism), the end result in this particular case is equally lauded as good by both parties. Every time trust in the cathedral is lowered, we get that much closer to a true restoration. Spencer’s strategy of dealing with the media may work in this context and towards this aim (and this is in addition to getting more eyes reading about alternatives to progressivism). However, my opinion is that it is potentially a very dangerous gambit. The media has and will stir up a mob of proles who could physically attack and/or kill Spencer or his attendees. That is Spencer’s risk to take if he wants to personally, but I think it would be a good idea for him to avoid putting his supporters in such a risky position in the future. However, this is a mild concern and in no way warrants any sort of condemnation of Spencer.

This entire controversy was a lie manufactured by the media, and the likes of Cernovich, Vox Day, and Paul Watson, among others, jumped right on the band-wagon uncritically. They sided with lying leftists and attacked to the right. That is treachery, plain and simple. All of these people could be classified, more or less, as Johnny-come-latelys. We more commonly call this phenomenon “entryism” in neoreaction, and the only good reaction is expulsion. This is especially true of Cernovich and Watson. I had never heard of them until the trump campaign, and think it is more than a little likely that they just attached to the phenomenon of the reactionary right to further their own personal self interests. That is, increasing prominence to enhance sales of media and/or books (or bogus vitamin supplements in the case of infowars). They weren’t around when the reactionary right was much less famous and had much, much less glory. Richard Spencer was. He has seniority and has proven himself. If anyone needs to be disavowed and exiled, it is Spencer’s critics. The cause being treason.

I am going to be charitable though, because these folks, who have been misguided by the lugenpresse with respect to Spencer, have done some decent work exposing SJWs, the lying media, etc. I suspect this whole thing started as an impulsive and uncritical rant by Cernovich, who now is sticking to his guns despite his mistake being more than a little obvious. Why is he and others sticking to their guns? Ego. So many people feel the need to inject their own personality into the content and topics they discuss. They are their positions and vice versa. Cernovich, Watson, Vox, Milo, and a number of others at least partially generate a personality cult to help sell their brand and content. While I am quite sure that helps their bottom line, it doesn’t help ensure impartial appraisal of their own actions. And certainly won’t help them acknowledge a mistake like this. My suggestion is that Pride is a sin, and that egos should be swallowed, mistakes acknowledged, and we should all move on. The left is the real enemy.

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The Neoreactionary Inquisition

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(Image Source, T-shirt available)

Writing under my alternative username Nemester, the head moderator over at /r/darkenlightenment, I made a post and a comment in which I discussed entryists and how they might be effectively dealt with. I have gained lots of direct experience with actually dealing with entryists which should be valuable to everyone. The comment thread in question can be found here. To paraphrase, someone asked “Why don’t we just make our own SJW free communities?” Well, we all know the answer to that. Entryists will not follow “live and let live.” If you have a community which does not have sjw values, prig progs will move in and ruin it if given the opportunity. Many may do so unconsciously and unintentionally, but at least some are quite conscious of what they are attempting to do. Enough that they constitute a real threat to any genuine and healthy community. Here is my original comment on the question of how to deal with entryists:

Its not that easy, trust me. Leftists will come in and will try to change the nature of the sub. Generally, we refer to it as “entryism” when they pretend to be moderate or “reasonable” or whatever and slowly shift the overton window. The SJW manual (before sjw was a coined term) is “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky. It specifically tells these busy bodies to invade other organizations discretely, even ostensibly apolitical ones, so they can be transformed to push for sjw causes. There really are people out there who consciously invade communities like parasites to change it to fit their utopian ideals, which of course ruins the community in the process and often causes it to dissolve because it no longer represents what it is supposed to represent .

Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

-John Derbyshire, Conquest’s Laws

Over in /r/darkenlightenment and in neoreaction generally, huge amounts of effort has been spent trying to analyze this problem and how best to handle it. We make a great deal of effort to signal in such a way as to be repugnant to sjws. This keeps some of them away, but not all. I also try to make sure that entryists are banned when I find them. Sometimes easy, sometimes not based on comment history. Even today, there were three SJW transexuals in the sub commenting, presumably subscribed, and trying to change the overton window. I don’t think neoreaction could have done anything more to signal that we aren’t fond of sjws, or the treating of a mental illness as if it were normal. If /r/darkenlightenment has a problem with sjws persisting there, then everyone has a problem. Yet there they were. 3 of them. These people are crazy and apparently masochistic. Crazy enough that instead of sticking to their corner of the internet they will invade yours and try to force you to think like them even if they know the established community strongly dislikes them. And they will use deceit in order to do it, per their own instruction manual. Normal people don’t do that.

What is needed for virtually every single community no matter how apolitical is something akin to an inquisition. The inquisition gets a bad rap, thanks to old protestant propaganda. But the catholic church never actually killed anyone, or even stated that anyone should be killed even if found guilty. It was the king of the country that did that. In almost all cases accused witches or whatever were found to be innocent. Moreover, the inquisition prevented a lot of revolutionary mob behavior that killed way more people in protestant countries than ever died as a result of the inquisition. Especially witch burnings. Effectively, the inquisition was a way responsible men could prevent the mob from going crazy and doing stupid shit. To make sure cooler heads prevailed. Think of all the twitter witch hunt campaigns, that didn’t start with twitter. In the case of communities, established and trusted non-sjws (i.e., inquisitors) have to be put in charge with the mission of firmly clamping down on them and ejecting sjws as soon as they are seen. These inquisitors have to be both smart and informed enough to know an sjw when they see them, which can be hard because many are crafty and/or sincere “moderates” who aren’t aware of what they are doing in shifting the discourse leftward. Essentially creating an easier entry point for more radical sjws to follow. There absolutely is no other way. At least no other way that doesn’t require an extreme and directed dedication to preventing entryism. I can tell you right now, that isn’t easy. You really have to be informed on how these people operate, because they will dress up their language to try to appear like they are part of the community and some of them are extremely good at that. It really requires the most competent of the anti-sjws to do something like that effectively, and getting people dedicated and competent enough to start running all of these communities is not easy. Not only that, but unfortunately you have to reject libertarian ideals with regards to freedom of speech. I love freedom of speech generally, but specific communities have to be strict to maintain their culture because there are lots of people out there who will ruin it if given a chance. A community has to formulate their values effectively and clearly and actively enforce those values. If not, they will drift left and eventually become an sjw organization. To me it is clear what the lesser of two evils is.

My answer to the problem of entryism is a strict and authoritative inquisition with reliable and trustworthy inquisitors who have the intellectual capability and necessary knowledge to pick out even well camouflaged entryists and promptly eject them from the community. Easier said than done, but it is a practical plan on effective community governance.

There is just one problem. Wasn’t the inquisition that evil and oppressive church using their power against the poor, oppressed masses? Didn’t they just go out and murder a bunch of people willy nilly just because they were a bunch of fascist pricks? Surely such an institution should not be a source of inspiration. Surely.

Fortunately, I also provided was a link  which elaborates on why the commonly held views on the inquisition, its purpose, and the results of its actions are little more than myth. Myth originating from old protestant propaganda. The original progressives. The propaganda was passed down the generations in the west and eventually was assumed to be truth.

As it turns out, the inquisition was originally formed mainly because uneducated, illiterate mobs regularly found people they considered to be heretics against god and promptly wanted to execute them with some gusto. Or maybe that was just an excuse for a community to kill someone they didn’t like. In any event, one of the main purposes of the inquisition was to give such accused people a fair hearing, with due process and all those inconveniences, to see if they actually were heretics before they were burned to death. Specifically, the inquisition was set up so the accused were judged by someone who was actually able to read. You know, the ones who might actually have some idea about what the bible says god likes or doesn’t like.

As the inquisition took on more complexity from more humble beginnings, this was how it was structured:

Following the most progressive law codes of the day, the Church in the 13th century formed inquisitorial tribunals answerable to Rome rather than local bishops. To ensure fairness and uniformity, manuals were written for inquisitorial officials.

By the 14th century, the Inquisition represented the best legal practices available. Inquisition officials were university-trained specialists in law and theology. The procedures were similar to those used in secular inquisitions (we call them “inquests” today, but it’s the same word).

Sounds really oppressive. Let’s gather a mob and burn them at the stake.

Seriously though, maybe it is just me, but I think I would rather be judged by an inquisitor than an angry mob. Probably just me.

Moreover, unlike non-church authorities and the unruly mobs who saw heretics as evil traitors deserving of a quickly administered slow and painful death, the church felt that true heretics were in fact just lost sheep and deserved compassion. In other words, they should be lead back to the church if at all possible rather than be killed. True to their intentions, most of the people seen by the inquisition were acquitted or given a suspended sentence. Those who were truly guilty were made to confess sin, do penance, and eventually released back to the community. Only those few truly belligerent souls were ever found guilty, and it was the non-church authorities that decided the proper punishment was death. In reality, the inquisition saved many, many people from unruly mobs; far more than ever died from being found guilty. And that doesn’t even consider lynch mobs that didn’t bother getting started because they knew the inquisition would put a stop to it. Chances are that without the inquisition many more than just that minority would have been found guilty by the local yokels and would have gotten their own front row seat at the barbeque.

Considering how often leftist mobs go out of their way to ruin people, can there be any doubt that if they had the authority they would eagerly call for the same people to be killed? I don’t think so. Its a scary thought considering there is an example of mob social media attacks against typically innocent people almost every week. The last few weeks seemed to have even more than usual.

Well, the medieval inquisition seems relatively fair, but that doesn’t seem to have much to do with entryism. The Spanish inquisition specifically turns out to be the actual role-model to consider; at least the last stage.

A good place to start seems to be a summary of the entire life of the Spanish inquisition before picking the part that is best suited to being a guide in combating entryism. It seems that medieval Spain was quite the diverse place owing to various conquests by Christians and Muslims in the area. Muslims, Christians and Jews all lived side by side in the same area and attempted to get along (tongue in cheek). However, in 1391 an angry Christian mob in Barcelona and other towns went to the Jewish quarter, rounded up all the Jews, and gave them a choice between baptism and death for the exact same reasons given every other time in history something like this has ever happened. Most accepted baptism. Later the King of the area, who had made a failed attempt to stop the mob, reminded everyone that forced baptisms don’t count and allowed all Jews to return to their religion. However, most of the new converts decided to remain Catholic. These Jews for Jesus, or conversos, created an initial population which subsequently received a steady stream of additional voluntary converts (3000 alone after one debate between a rabbi and a Christian). However, most retained many of their old customs and the new Christians never fully integrated with the old Christians. Therefore, a new culture of religiously Christian, yet ethnically and culturally Jewish, people was born. Some even had arrogance enough to claim they were better Christians because they were related by blood to Jesus and Mary.

In any event, the new converso class managed to gain a fair amount of wealth and success (probably as a result of IQ differentials which are still present today). This led to old Christian nobles to become jealous and start accusing the conversos of not really being Christian; they believed the conversos were in fact still secretly Jewish and were working to infiltrate and take over the society as part of a conspiracy to destroy it from within. Though I doubt any such conspiracy actually existed, modern scholars, including Jewish ones, have embraced the conspiracy theory as part of a narrative where Jews oppressed by the Catholic church struggled to maintain their faith. Sigh. Who would have thought that Nazis and progressives would find something other than socialism to share in common (Nazi is short for National socialist), and that it would be a Jewish conspiracy theory of all things? Progressives really need to learn some basic logic, if only to maintain some consistency. The reality was most of the conversos were in fact faithful Catholics.

All these agitations and accusations by the mob, and advanced by nobles, is what led to the formation of the Spanish inquisition, which was under the authority of the Spanish government rather than the church. What ended up happening is that old Christians, not under investigation since they weren’t new converts, and practicing Jews, not bound by the Catholic church in any way, used the inquisition to try to settle scores against conversos they had personal issues with. Jews were not subject to the inquisition because the purpose of the institution was to find wayward Christians and set them back on the right path. It never did anything to actual Jews. There were certainly some abuses in the early years of the institution, but that was probably because it was under local authority rather than the church. The pope did in fact try to stop the mob’s undue influence on the determination of guilt, and to make it a policy to throw out questionable testimony. The pope specifically condemned burning people at the stake. This did not initially work because of the secular king’s control, and more substantial abuses (i.e., deaths) were had that were primarily fueled by mob agitation and hysteria.

Eventually, however, the institution was reformed and proper legal practices were implemented. Any potential secret Jews were given due process and most were found to be innocent; those guilty were treated humanely and given an opportunity to do better. These reforms ended up working out pretty well, and the Spanish inquisition eventually assumed its proper role of stopping mob violence.

Staffed by well-educated legal professionals, [the spanish inquisition] was one of the most efficient and compassionate judicial bodies in Europe. No major court in Europe executed fewer people than the Spanish Inquisition. This was a time, after all, when damaging shrubs in a public garden in London carried the death penalty. Across Europe, executions were everyday events. But not so with the Spanish Inquisition. In its 350-year lifespan only about 4,000 people were put to the stake. Compare that with the witch-hunts that raged across the rest of Catholic and Protestant Europe, in which 60,000 people, mostly women, were roasted. Spain was spared this hysteria precisely because the Spanish Inquisition stopped it at the border. When the first accusations of witchcraft surfaced in northern Spain, the Inquisition sent its people to investigate. These trained legal scholars found no believable evidence for witches’ Sabbaths, black magic, or baby roasting. It was also noted that those confessing to witchcraft had a curious inability to fly through keyholes. While Europeans were throwing women onto bonfires with abandon, the Spanish Inquisition slammed the door shut on this insanity. (For the record, the Roman Inquisition also kept the witch craze from infecting Italy.)

The Spanish inquisition got its bad name not from the early episode with conversos, however. Nor from its obviously reasonable response to the witch hysteria. Rather, it got its bad name as a result of the protestant reformation and the propaganda spewing from northern European printing presses. The Spanish decided early on that they were defenders of the Catholic church and that they were in no way going to allow the earliest iteration of the progressive memeplex to infect their country.

Innumerable books and pamphlets poured from northern presses accusing the Spanish Empire of inhuman depravity and horrible atrocities in the New World. Opulent Spain was cast as a place of darkness, ignorance, and evil. Although modern scholars have long ago discarded the Black Legend, it still remains very much alive today. Quick: Think of a good conquistador.

Sound familiar? Na, just a coincidence obviously.

In any event, this last episode is where the Spanish inquisition really shines. They were in fact combating the ancestors of the very same cathedral we still face today and did so quite effectively in the face of their main weapon of propaganda; propaganda remarkably similar to that still used today. Reasonable, informed men worked within the institution of the inquisition to make sure protestant entryists did not succeed in their culture. Even though they were firm, they did not engage excessively in executions or torture relative to their contemporaries. They merely identified entryists and gave them the option to stop trying to destroy the culture from within or face imprisonment. Ceasing to attempt to destroy the culture usually got them a slap on the wrist and they were free to go. It worked pretty well too it would seem. They also did not concern themselves with people who did not claim to be a part of the christian community. If you were part of an out-group, and you maintained your separation, you had absolutely nothing to worry about. Sounds like a good policy. Understanding the exact processes and procedures implemented by this late stage of the Spanish inquisition thus seems like an extremely valuable area of study. They took on the progressives and within their territory they won. At least they won until the protestant countries, and specifically the US, achieved much greater financial and cultural success later and were able to exert enough soft power to disrupt other cultures.

Though clearly neoreactionary communities don’t have the level of authority that the Spanish inquisition possessed, valuable lessons could be learned regardless. Every neoreactionary community requires trusted, intelligent, and knowledgeable inquisitors who can properly, fairly, and compassionately govern them. Inquisitors who nonetheless can be firm when necessary.

EDIT:

Here is another article on the Spanish inquisition.

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Stereotype threat and pseudo-scientists

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The politically acceptable explanation for gender differences in intelligence studies and tests is that discrimination accounts for all current disparities between men and women in intellectual Fields, starting first and foremost with the standardized tests themselves. The question is: does the data support this? The most fashionable (possibly faddish) explanation for test differences between gender (and race) come from social psychology and is termed ‘stereotype threat’. Stereotype threat is a type of implicit discrimination that is supposed to result from traditional stereotypes based on the gender of test takers. It is supposedly all pervasive throughout society, and constantly present everywhere you are. This obscure and unfalsifiable ether is supposed to depress the scores of females in tests. Society has historically held that women were not as intelligent as men. Stereotype threat proponents argue that knowledge of this history combined with the manner in which questions are designed and phrased leads to lower test scores for women in a sort of self fulfilling prophecy.

It is important to consider who should be affected by stereotype threat and other types of discrimination and what kind of pattern in the distribution of scores should result if it was having a widespread impact. Discrimination of this type is assumed to be universal and omnipresent. It is supposed to be present in both the society at large as well as in the test that all students are taking. If it is universally present then it should have a universal effect. It should affect women equally at all levels of test taking proficiency and should result in a uniform downward shift of the score distribution compared to men. In the graph below, hypothetical male and female test score distributions are super-imposed and the expected influence of stereotype threat is shown. The male distribution does not have as high a peak and extends out farther in either direction to reflect the greater male variability in scores found in virtually all IQ tests. I am not the best artist so you will have to forgive me if it isn’t as pretty as it could be.

Hypothetical male and female IQ distributions before and after stereotype threat

Stereotype threat voodoo action from the ether

If it does not fit this pattern, explanations for why women at different test taking levels react differently to stereotype threat must be invented. The more disagreements from this trend, the more explanations that must contrived, and the more parsimony is lost (which generally means a theory is weaker). The difference between average IQ at least suggests that this might be happening, but the 3-5 iq points generally reported is a relatively small difference and mainly suggests that whatever universal influences do exist, their importance must be relatively minor. (However, there is reason to suspect that male IQ advantage is severely underestimated)

The discrimination theory is not the only possible explanation for this overall shift. The difference could just as easily, in fact probably much more easily, be explained by biological differences in brain development. Especially the fact that males in general grow to be larger, which translates into larger brain sizes on average, which for reasons that should be obvious correlates with higher IQ.

The discrimination and biological differences above have one thing in common: they are universal and thus are not good explanations for greater male variance which is the root source of most male/female disparity in the highest levels of achievement. A consistent universal factor should have a consistent universal effect for all levels of ability as shown in the figure above, and the only consistent universal difference in mean IQ scores between gender are small. Assuming stereotype threat is real, which is doubtful, it is not impossible that of the small difference that does exist, stereotype threat only makes a small contribution in addition to other factors like biological development. In such a case, the individual contribution of stereotype threat would be vanishingly small and would approximate complete irrelevance.

In the case of gender, stereotype threat is pretty much ruled out for the above reason. However, racial gaps do take a form that would be consistent with the idea of Stereotype threat. However, there are other reasons why it is also doubtful in the case of race. For more exploration on why conclusions drawn from stereotype threat studies are doubtful for methodological reasons, I recommend this paper by law professor Amy Wax: Stereotype Threat: A case of overclaim syndrome? (I have a special love for this paper because insisting on using it in the sex and intelligence wikipedia page years ago is what brought down a flock of feminist harpies who eventually got not only the paper, but also my user account banned from wikipedia.) Seems like Wax really likes sticking her neck out and fighting the good fight.

At best, stereotype threat is something that exists and has only a very small effect and at worst it is an example of publication bias amongst journals where positive results that support politically progressive ideas (like discrimination against women) are overwhelmingly published relative to studies that don’t confirm progressive beliefs or which might positively refute progressive beliefs.

Diederick Stapel was previously a highly regarded and influential Dutch social psychologist who did a lot of work on stereotype threat, among other things, until it came to light that he “routinely falsified data and made up entire experiments.” Another example of his politically biased work was a “scientific” article which sanctimoniously claimed to find that meat eaters were more selfish and less agreeable than vegans. Unfortunately, it is impossible to be surprised by outspoken priggishness from vegans. Thanks to this media attention, Stapel is now the most notorious charlatan in the field of social psychology, which is saying a lot for what appears to be a regularly fraudulent and pseudo-scientific discipline. Social Psychologists as a group do not make the data they collect available for outside review 2/3rds of the time. This stinginess with data is actually against the ethical rules established by Social psychologists themselves and suggests that there are likely many more Stapels out their who simply haven’t been caught. A survey by the Harvard business school found that 70% of social psychologists admitted to cutting corners in reporting data, 30% reporting unexpected findings as if they were expected from the start, and 1% admitted to falsifying data. Another meta-analysis of papers published in high-tier psychology journals found that 50% of papers surveyed contained at least one statistical error and 15% contained an error so severe that the conclusion drawn would have had to have been reversed. Yet another meta-analysis which looked at whether or not positive results from stereotype threat studies could be replicated found that almost half could not, and that a further 25% were confounded by methodological issues. A substantial majority of the findings were unreliable.1,2,3

Bias is rampant in the humanities, but especially in social psychology, both among individual researchers and among the journals publishing papers. Beyond the objective critical evaluation of papers, the field itself is essentially an ideological and political echo-chamber that is considerably more left-wing politically than the general population. 80% of social psychologists identify as liberal, while only 3 out of 1000 identify as conservative. Contrast this with the general population which is 40% conservative and only 20% liberal. Were these sorts of numbers occurring with a protected class, these same people wouldn’t hesitate to use it as incontrovertible proof of discrimination. Considering what is now known about the biological origins of cognition and intelligence, it is generally difficult to take claims of discrimination seriously when groups also display a relatively lower intelligence profile. However, in this case there is no reason to think that conservatives as a group have an intellectual profile below the general population. Social conservatives tend to be a little lower in intelligence relative to liberals, but free-market conservatives (libertarians) tend to be smarter. Being very partisan, either liberal or conservative, tended to be associated with high IQ as well. Increased income levels, which are a proxy for IQ, also moves people right ideologically. In other words, there is nothing that differentials in biologically determined intelligence can do to explain the lack of conservatives, and even moderates, in the humanities.4,5,6,7 Presumably academia wasn’t always so partisan, and thus its current state is a classic case of successful entryism.

In a survey of social psychologists, it was found that conservative responders feared negative consequences from revealing their political affiliation and that they were right to do so as liberal responders expressed willingness to discriminate against conservatives in approving papers, grant proposals, and hiring decisions. The more liberal a social psychologist is or the more consequential the decision would be for the conservative, the more willing liberal social psychologists are to discriminate. That willingness to discriminate against (or for) articles and proposals for ideological reasons has been empirically confirmed in several instances. In one study, reviewers were sent a manuscript which purported to show the mental health of a group of leftist political activists compared to a control group. Reviewers who were sent a version which showed that the activists had better mental health consistently felt that the paper was more publishable and even felt that the statistics were more adequate than reviewers sent a version that showed the activists had lower mental health. In another case, a research proposal which either wanted to study discrimination or reverse-discrimination was sent to 150 review boards. The proposal on discrimination was approved twice as often as the proposal on reverse-discrimination. In college admissions, it was found that reviewers would attach greater value to the criteria (grades vs. test scores) which would allow them to pick the candidates with similar partisan politics. Lastly, controlling for research productivity and academic achievement, another study found that conservative researchers were working at lower quality institutions relative to equivalent liberal colleagues than would be expected. The irony that a group which commonly publishes on the asserted negative consequences of discrimination would prove to itself be extraordinarily discriminatory is stunning.8,9,10,11

The pattern of ideologically driven academics significantly undermines the ability of an objective outsider to trust the conclusions coming out of certain fields, especially when it is related to such a politically charged subject as gender (and race) differences in test scores. It is quite clear that the overwhelming majority of researchers working on this topic possess a politically desired outcome of these studies. The great potential for this systemic Lysenkoism to motivate the production of inaccurate results which are contrary to reality can’t be overestimated. The objectivity of the field concluding stereotype threat is a real and large effect phenomenon is highly questionable. Calling this cynical skepticism “anti-intellectual,” a common criticism of conservative thinkers, is only so in the sense that these “scientists” have mis-defined the word “intellectual” to describe their political ideology and therefore themselves. Like most things on the right the “anti-science” feeling exposed by some is just a reaction to leftist entryism in academia and the dominance of pseudo-scientific articles surrounding politically partisan topics.

  1. Can stereotype threat explain the gender gap in mathematics performance and achievement? Stoet, Gijsbert; Geary, David C. Review of General Psychology, Vol 16(1), Mar 2012, 93-102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0026617
  2. The (mis)reporting of statistical results in psychology journals. Marjan Bakker and Jelte Wicherts. 2011. Behavior Research methods.
  3. Psychology rife with inaccurate research findings. Psychology today. 2011
  4. Jonathon Haidt’s post-partisan psychology page.
  5. Social scientist sees bias within. New York Times. 2011
  6. Is there a relationship between political orientation and cognitive ability? A test of three hypotheses in two studies. Markus Kemmelmeier. 2008
  7. Income and Ideology: How personality traits, cognitive abilities, and education shape political attitudes. Rebecca Morton. Jean-Robet Tyran. Erik Wengstrom.
  8. Political Diversity in social and personality psychology. Yoel Inbar, Joris Lammers. 2012
  9. Publish or politic: Referee bias in Manuscript review. Stephen Abramowitz, Beverly Gomes, Christine Abramowitz. 1975
  10. Human subjects review, personal values, and the regulation of social science research. Ceci, Peters, Plotkin 1985.
  11. Political Partisan Prejeduce: Selective Distortion and weighting of Evaluative categories in college admission applications. Munro, Lasane, Leary.
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