Over the last fifty years, since the advent of IQ testing becoming the key qualification for getting into the best universities, we have been developing a new elite class. When this process began it took the brightest and most highly motivated kids out of the entire population and put them together with the other similarly talented kids. That seemed like a really good idea, at the time, because it gave them the education and social opportunities to exploit their talents. It was good for those kids and it was good for our country as a whole because it improved the productivity of our whole society. So far so good, the kids got richer than they would have done back in their widely scattered home towns, where they couldn’t find useful employment for their unusual talents. Also, lacking similarly talented friends they became social isolates, not so much outcasts, but also not exploiting their special gifts either. If all of your friends are talking cars, girls and drinking there isn’t much motivation to study physics, law or the stock market.
What has happened with the second and now third generation of these talented kids being shipped off to great schools is that they find they like being with other bright people like themselves. Now, on average as a group they have lots of opportunities and money, so quite naturally they marry people similar to themselves and they buy nice homes in fine neighborhoods where they live with other bright successful people like themselves. That too is reasonable and to be expected but there turns out to be a strange downside to this whole process. The traits such as IQ, motivation and pleasant personalities which help them to become successful have a heritable genetic component. The offspring of these brilliant people, on average, regress about half way to the common mean for these traits, but that is still well above average for the general population. What happens then is that these children grow up in communities where all of their companions are skewed well away from the average for humans. They of course self select for the superior traits and the third generation offspring of this selective process have a component of really bright people. Still one might argue this is all for the best but a problem arises because these people are the ones who will become the leaders in our new world. That’s a problem because they have had very little contact with the people whom they will soon be leading. What has happened is that we have created, and are fostering, a class of modern aristocrats. These people are not yet hereditary economic aristocrats but they soon will be.
Our President – Obama, our Chief Justice – Roberts and the Republican challenger for President – Romney, are all public figures deeply involved this process. They all went to Harvard Law school. They are unquestionably all fine people, but they are intimately involved in the process of creating a new aristocracy. Not that they would have seen that process when they themselves were in college, but now it is flagrantly obvious. Their children and grandchildren are immersed in communities which are isolated from the common people. When these kids grow to adulthood they will easily drop into the roles which their parents now occupy. Just like the younger Bushes fell into the high political office of their father, but they won’t be of the common people they will have been raised in the new aristocracy. They will be a new breed of humans such as we have never seen before – they will be very smart, very nice looking, very articulate, very well educated and very well connected to power. The old hereditary aristocracies were based on money, not on intelligence and except for their money and access to the reins of power, were just like the common people, and to maintain their control of wealth were forced to marry within their very small social circle. That led to a collapse of the group’s intellectual power to average and below. This new aristocracy is based on intelligence and that will keep on ascending as long as these current selective procedures are in play.
Perhaps it will be for the best, because these people will be very capable of doing their high level jobs, but it does pose a great risk for the common people. The common people have been and will continue to be drained of their finest intellects, which will bring on a general lowering of their communities’ IQs. In a few more generations of this practice, the common people will be so drained of the high IQ genes that foster intelligence that there will be few of them who can be admitted to the elite schools. Thus there will become a total isolation of the ruling class from the people of the common community.
Democracy will then become a negative word associated with mob rule and the common people will sink into becoming an unthinking underclass. That is why we can no longer trust our new ruling class. On the other hand the people who will be raised in these new traditions, both those at the top and at the bottom, and flooded with new ideas, which we would presently call brainwashing, will be comfortable with it. We live in the world we are born into and I personally would probably have trouble fitting into what appears to be in our new society’s future.
These ideas were stimulated by Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart, but I depart so much from what he wrote that I don’t want to call it a book review.