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Idiotically Like A Martyr

Dumb and Dumber (Screengrab)

Longtime friend of the blog Amy Wax sat down for a Chotiner, and the results are even more amazing than I expected:

One possibility is that people really do differ in their care for the public space. Adam Garfinkle said that if you go, for example, to Muslim countries or Arab countries, the indoor spaces are impeccable. People’s homes are pristine, but the outdoor space is a mess. These are hoary generalizations. I had a relative who went up to North Dakota, to a very poor part, and said, “My God, it’s so clean there you can eat off the street. There’s order. There’s care.”

We can make observations about this, and, frankly, every summer I do the grand tour of the upper-middle-class, cognitive élite watering holes to visit all my friends, and I notice that these are places that people love to go. They love to go and hang out with other people from the quote-unquote “same ethnicity” in nice, quasi-European, decorous, neat, clean, quiet, litter-free, beautifully maintained, orderly places. That’s where they like to go.

People like to hang out with people of the same ethnicity. Is that what you said?

Yes. Yes, they do. I mean, I was recently in the Berkshires. If you look around, it’s ninety-eight-per-cent white. Why do people go there? It’s not very vibrant. It’s not very diverse.

You think they go there to be with other white people, you mean?

Well, I don’t think they think about it that way, but that’s the result.

Is that why you go there, or that’s why you think other people go there, or both?

I go there because it’s nice.


So, women, on average, are more agreeable than men. Women, on average, are less knowledgeable than men. They’re less intellectual than men. Now, I can actually back up all those statements with social-science research.

You can send me links for women are “less intellectual than men.” I’m happy to include that in the piece if you have a good link for that.

O.K., well, there’s a literature in Britain, a series of papers that were done, and I need to look them up, that show that women are less knowledgeable than men. They know less about every single subject, except fashion. There is a literature out of Vanderbilt University that looks at women of very high ability—so, controlling for ability—and, starting in adolescence, women are less interested in the single-minded pursuit of abstract intellectual goals than men. They want more balance in their life. They want more time with family, friends, and people. They’re less interested in working hard on abstract ideas. You can put together a database that shows that. The person who has the literature is a man named David Lubinski, and he shows that intelligence isn’t what’s driving it. It is interest, orientation, what people want to spend their time doing.

Now, is that sexist? We can argue all day about whether it is sexist. We can argue from morning till night. And it is sterile. It is pointless. Let’s talk about the actual findings and what implications they have for policy, for expectations.

[Wax sent links to two studies whose lead author is Richard Lynn, a British psychologist who is known for believing in racial differences in intelligence, supporting eugenics, and associating with white supremacists. (She also shared the Wikipedia page for “general knowledge,” which cites several of Lynn’s studies.) David Lubinski, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt, clarified that his research was about the life choices of men and women and did not address claims such as women being less intellectual than men.]

It’s pretty much all like this. I especially enjoyed this part:

Yeah. It’s a dumb word. I mean, the President is impulsive, crude, boorish. He’s indecorous. That whole indictment is absolutely right. But, on the other hand, there are many things he says and does that I think are completely consistent with our core values. He engages in locker-room boasting about grabbing women, but, the fact is, he’s a serial monogamist but at least he’s gotten married. He’s never fathered a child out of wedlock.

Is that something you have research on?

Not that I know of. Maybe he has. I don’t know. But, anyway, he does believe in freedoms. He does believe in free speech. He does believe in democracy.

Did you say he was or wasn’t a serial monogamist? I just didn’t hear you.

He’s a serial monogamist. He’s been married several times.

You know he slept with a porn star during his current marriage?

Yes. That’s true, but he does at least get married. We have to give him that. I mean, everybody exemplifies some ideals and not others.

The fact that Wax was able to get herself made into one of the handful to stock anecdotes of the CAMPUS PC IS OUT OF CONTROL crowd is [chef’s kiss.]

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