Thursday, January 02, 2020

Alternate theory of Jewish intelligence

Since I posted NY Times opinions on Jewish intelligence and political attitudes, I post a contrary view from a Quillette article:
Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, and Henry Harpending argue that high Ashkenazi IQ evolved during the Middle Ages in Europe due to gene-culture co-evolution. Prohibited from entering many blue-collar occupations like farming, Jews turned to finance, particularly money lending, to survive. Records from around the year 1270, for example, report that almost 80 percent of adult male Jews in Roussillon (what is today southern France) made their living as money lenders. ...

There is some evidence in political psychology for a correlation between high IQ and liberal political beliefs. So we might suspect that Ashkenazi Jews, with the highest average IQ in the world, would lean liberal. Interestingly, though, IQ correlates positively with classical liberalism, which emphasizes both social and economic liberty. This seems to be because those with higher intelligence tend to exhibit personality traits like openness to experience and tolerance for different ways of living. But those with higher IQ are more likely to support free-market economic policies (“liberalism” in the old sense of the word). Intelligence is required to understand how trade can be a positive sum game, and how order can emerge from individuals freely interacting with one another.
So Ashkenazi Jews got smart by being money lenders centuries ago, and that is why they are classical liberals like others with high IQ?

The trouble with this theory is that most Jews are not classical liberals. Republicans are more likely to support free-market economic policies, free speech, rules of law, rational discussion, etc. American secular Jews have mostly signed onto the Democrat platform, and that is all identity politics all the times.

I guess I am supposed to believe that Jews were persecuted in 1270 by being forced to be money-lenders instead of farmers. How is that even possible? Have there ever been any Jews who prefer to be farmers, rather than money-lenders?
But MacDonald seems to be right that Jews were disproportionately involved in radical leftist political movements in the twentieth century, and in the US Jews tend to vote Democrat. We think this can be explained by the high average IQ of Jews in combination with their being a persecuted minority, which has tended to push them toward political views that emphasize social toleration and the free movement of people. In other words, MacDonald reverses the correct order of causation: rather than Jews inviting persecution by advocating cosmopolitan policies that thwart the interests of Europeans, Jews advocated cosmopolitanism as a predictable response to persecution.

Persecution of Jews began for religious reasons in the Middle Ages and morphed into political persecution as Jews began to climb the social ladder, and political leaders saw them as a useful out-group to use as a scapegoat for people’s economic and social woes. For example, when Italian traders inadvertently brought the Black Plague from Asia to Europe, thousands of Jews were murdered in retaliation when Christian peasants decided that the Jews had deliberately infected them.
I don't see how these persecution stories could have anything to do with Jewish political attitudes today. Jews are the most privileged ethnic group, and nobody can give any examples of Jews being persecuted. You have to go back to the Middle Ages to dig up examples.

Even in the above example, the Jews were not being persecuted for being Jews. They were being killed to stop them from spreading Black Plague.

The articles do raise a nature-nurture issue. How much of these Jewish traits are attributable to genes, and how much to cultural factors, such as telling persecution myths?

I do not know. It is possible that twin studies could give some quantitative evidence. I am just posting this to balance the NY Times views.

Anti-Semitism is in the news, along with Jewish efforts to blame it on White supremacists. But nearly all the stories are either Jewish hoaxes or perpetrated by blacks or Moslems.

The Jewish ADL head was on all the TV channels arguing that social media should ban negative messages about Zionism, dual loyalty, Soros, and Adelson. They would have to censor the Jewish papers for this to be effective. On CNN, they were lamenting that some marchers in Charlottesville several years ago argued against Jewish policies to replace White Americans with non-whites. It is amazing how Jewish complaints of anti-Semitism are so often coupled with Jewish arguments to exterminate White Christians.

If Jewish leftism really had something to do with persecution, then we would expect to see a correlation. Jewish would be more leftist in countries where they are more persecuted. But the orthodox Jews are the only ones the ADL is claiming are persecuted, and they are right-wingers compared to the secular Jews.

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