Peter Saunders: The Working Classes are Thick

I agree. Clever people tend to have clever children. Stupid people tend to have stupid children. In a society where birth counts for everything, there will be a gradual tendency towards an even distribution of intelligence among the classes. In any reasonably open society, however, clever people will rise from the bottom. Over time, there will be a decline in the average intellectual quality – among much else, perhaps – of the lower classes. Welfare policies that subsidise the proliferation of the unfit will make things worse.

I am willing to accept a system in which those who are able to pass certain rather stiff examinations can go to university, and receive financial assistance if their own family means are insufficient. Indeed, though my own interest is not necessarily a guide to what is right, I am a beneficiary of this system. But I see nothing but national harm and individual shame in the system we now have. SIG

“In an open society, people will be recruited to jobs largely on the basis of their ability. This means the brightest people will tend to be found in the higher occupational classes. These people will tend to produce relatively bright children so, in the next generation, middle-class children will be over-represented in the higher positions. In a meritocracy, therefore, we should not expect equal success rates among children from different class origins.”

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2 responses to “Peter Saunders: The Working Classes are Thick

  1. Arthur Schopenhauer

    Plato had something of the kind in mind when, in the fifth book of his Republic, he explained his plan for increasing and improving his warrior caste. If we could castrate all scoundrels and stick all stupid geese in a convent, and give men of noble character a whole harem, and procure men, and indeed thorough men, for all girls of intellect and understanding, then a generation would soon arise which would produce a better age than that of Pericles.

  2. I rather doubt this in practice. We are talking about a state system that has proved utterly incompetent at planning economies. How can we know that it will have any better success with planning population? The most likely outcome of a state eugenics programme would be a race of numerate sheep.