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Nathaniel Weyl

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"Nathaniel Weyl"

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Jeet Heer suggests apropos of the latest flareups of the “are blacks inferior?” debate is that “One way to address this tiresome topic from an unexplored angle is to look at a now largely forgotten figure who is cited as an authority in The Bell Curve, Nathaniel Weyl (1910-2005)” and here it goes:

The flavor of Weyl’s thought can be captured in an article he wrote in 1967 for the journal Intelligence, arguing for the superiority of white Rhodesians with evidence from his own visit to Salisbury, the capital of Rhodesia [i.e., Zimbabwe when it was under white supremacist rule]. “Thus, white Rhodesians are an elite element within the English-speaking world in terms of psychometric intelligence,” Weyl argued. “This finding is reinforced by visual impressions. Salisbury whites appear larger, healthier, more vigorous, alert and bright than London whites. Beatniks, transvestites and obvious homosexuals are conspicuously absent.” [...]

Weyl’s writings were once very popular: many issues of National Review in the 1960s carry ads for his books, available through the Conservative Book Club. But he’s disappeared from the memory of even conservatives in recent decades (The Bell Curve is surely one of the very few places where he’s cited with respect). Most people reading his comments about beatniks can spot the obvious political bias that shaped his work. I don’t think Weyl’s successors are going to enjoy a happier fate.

And no doubt back then there were people condemning Weyl as a racist, and others hailing him as a brave hero eager to speak the truth no matter how politically incorrect it may have been. Meanwhile, I’m shocked to find racists associated with race science! Or racists associated with the origins of the conservative movement! I don’t know where liberals get these crazy ideas.

‹ Politics is Not a Dirty Word

Tom Toles ›

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