“In a Closed System, Stupidity Tends to Increase Until It Reaches a Maximum”

  Long-time readers, if there is one, will notice that I have written of much of this before. I thought it worth another take              

In  something called Upshot,   apparently the love child of the New York Times, I find a piece by a  negligible robot happily chronicling the failures of boys in school. This has become  a ritual for feminists and pussy-whipped male Sonderkommandos.  If smugness and condescension  were oil, these tali-wagging unmen would be gushers, maybe a gas fielñd.      

This  particular dropping rattles on (if droppings rattle) about the superior “social  skills” of girls, which in fact they have. (“Social skills” is illiterate  sociobabble. It is plural, so I ask, what are these skills? Bright smile?  Curtsey? Subtle flattery? “Sally has a really good bright smile, but her subtle  flattery needs work.”)     

After  running on about the superior social skills of girls (meaning that they are docile,  obedient, easily managed, and seek approval from teachers), the author, David  Leonhardt, points out that girls are getting far more four-year college  degrees, etc. All true.      

He  does not point out is that schools at all levels have been made (deliberately,  I think) so hostile to males (the endless sexual-harassment propaganda), with  so heavy an emphasis on procedure complied with instead of material mastered  (neat homework, pretty pictures pasted into projects), and so much emphasis on socialization  to feminine norms and on inculcation of Appropriate Values, that boys are asphyxiated.  It is intellectual water-boarding. And has produced the desired result.     

There  is in all of this much schadenfreude from women who enjoy seeing boys fail, and  a great deal of passive aggression: “Bobby, we are making your life miserable  and doing our best to turn you into an involuntary lesbian for your own good. Now keep quiet, take your Ritalin, and don’t  move an inch, you little bastard.”
          A  thread running through it all is the notion that boys are just, well, to put it  frankly, not very smart, good perhaps for carrying heavy objects but not suited  to a modern world founded on intelligence.  A couple of quotes catch this:      

“As  the economy continues to shift away from brawn and toward brains, many men have  struggled with the transition.” And “’Boys are getting the wrong message about  what you need to do to be successful,’ Ms. Buchmann says. ‘Traditional gender  roles are misguiding boys. In today’s economy, being tough and being strong are  not what leads to success.’”      

Women  of feminist stripe have always resented the physical strength of men and have  argued that either it doesn’t really exist or that it doesn’t matter (women in  the infantry), and that anyway women are more intelligent if not held back by oppressive  etc.  It may well be true that women are  more suited to a bureaucratic society in which order, procedure, following  rules, and placidity are paramount. However, in the matter of brains and their  importance for the economy, it is interesting to check the facts.      

Boys  are not less intelligent than girls. In post-pubertal IQ, males have only a  small advantage in mean IQ, perhaps because of their slightly larger brains or  perhaps because it is an artifact of testing. What is not debatable is that men  have higher variance in  intelligence, meaning a broader range of scores—i.e., there are more very smart  men than women, and very stupid men than women. The math predicts that at two  standard deviations from the mean, IQ 130, there should be two men per woman.  Checking Mensa  membership by sex (Mensa requiring 130 for membership, the top two percent)  we find—who would have guessed it—that the membership is 66% male. Two to one.     

The  Graduate Record Examination is a high-end test given to college graduates,  usually because they want to go to grad school. The scores are broken down by career  field (the chart is worth a glance) and by verbal and mathematical ability.  The eight highest-scoring fields—physics, mathematics, computer science,   economics, chemical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, and  electrical engineering—have blistering math scores, and are all…all…dominated  by men.       

The  two lowest-scoring careers are education, overwhelmingly female, and public  administration. Thus we have morons, administered by slightly worse morons,  trying to teach boys who, at the high end, are so much smarter than the teachers  as to constitute another species.     

I  suspect that the psychologists, ed majors, therapists and suchlike clutter who  hold forth on schooling on boys simply have no idea of what high intelligence is  or why it matters. In the foregoing I mentioned standard deviation:   

\sigma = \sqrt{\frac{1}{N} \sum_{i=1}^N (x_i - \mu)^2}, {\rm \ \ where\ \ } \mu = \frac{1}{N} \sum_{i=1}^N x_i.            

For  the little boy who one day will pop 710 on the math GREs, such things are  neither frightening nor off-putting. They are fascinating. Such kids could  certainly grasp the notation above while taking eighth-grade algebra. From these  boys—they are almost always boys—come the things that make for international competiveness.  We would be very wise to keep this in mind. We will not.     

For  decades and decades, America has made pandering to political groups—teachers’  unions, racial lobbies, feminists—more important than quality in schooling. In  1980, in a piece  for Harper’s, I wrote, “Evidence of this appears  periodically, as, for example, in the results of a competency test given to  applicants for teaching positions in Pinellas County, Florida, cited in Time, June 16, 1980. To pass  this grueling examination, an applicant had to be able to read at the  tenth-grade level and do arithmetic at the eighth-grade level. Though they all  held B.A.’s, 25 percent of the whites and 79 percent of the blacks failed.  Similar statistics exist for other places.” Morons to the left, morons to the  right, and not a drop to drink.     

 Thus did we, and thus do we. We have dumbed  down tests, simplified curricula, and debased grading to make various groups  look better than they are.     

Boys  flourish, as do men, when they are allowed to compete, preferably in the  company of other males, in fields of their choosing, without strangling social  rules. Silicon Valley is the wild west of such endeavor. Consider the following  start-ups, and who started them:     

Google (Sergei Bryn, Larry Page), Intel (Gordon Moore, Robert   Noyce), Apple (Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak), Microsoft (Bill Gates), Dell  Computer (Michael Dell), Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), YouTube (Chad Hurley,  Steve Chen, Jawed Karim), Netscape (Mark Andreesen), Yahoo (Jerry Yang, David  Filo), AMD (long list of guys from Fairchild Semiconductor), Twitter (Jack  Dorsey), Wikipedia (Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger), PayPal (Peter Thiel), Ebay  (Pierre Omidyar). Et very cetera.     

Forgive me for laboring the point, but I think it important for  the country’s future to understand who we need to encourage. Who invented the  following?      

Euclidean geometry. Parabolic geometry.  Hyperbolic geometry. Projective geometry. Differential geometry. Algebra.  Limits, continuity, differentiation, integration. Physical chemistry. Organic  chemistry. Biochemistry. Classical mechanics. The indeterminacy principle. The  wave equation. The Parthenon. The Anabasis. Air conditioning. Number theory.  Romanesque architecture. Gothic architecture. Information theory. Entropy.  Enthalpy. Almost every symphony ever written. Pierre Auguste Renoir. The  twelve-tone scale. The mathematics behind it, twelfth root of two and all that.  S-p hybrid bonding orbitals. The Bohr-Sommerfeld atom. The purine-pyrimidine  structure of the DNA ladder. Single-sideband radio. All other radio. Dentistry.  The internal-combustion engine. Turbojets. Turbofans. Doppler beam-sharpening.  Penicillin. Airplanes. Surgery. The mammogram. The Pill. The condom. Polio  vaccine. The integrated circuit. The computer. Football. Computational fluid  dynamics. Tensors. The Constitution. Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes,  Aeschylus, Homer, Hesiod. Glass. Rubber. Nylon. Roads. Buildings. Elvis.  Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. (OK, those are nerve agents, and maybe we  didn’t really need them.) Silicone. The automobile. Really weird stuff, like  clathrates, Buckyballs, and rotaxanes. The Bible. Bug spray. Diffie-Hellman,  public-key cryptography, and RSA. Et cetera.      

Enough. Leonhardt ends on a note of almost  kinky submissiveness:
  “The problem doesn’t simply involve men  trying to overcome the demise of a local factory or teenage boys getting into  trouble. It involves children so young that most haven’t even learned the word  “gender.” Yet their gender is already starting to cast a long shadow over their  lives.”     

Just so. But it is not their own gender casting the  shadow.