Friday, May 23, 2008

Eugenics by any other name...

Have you ever taken an IQ test?

It consists of a variety of questions. There's usually at least one anagram in there. You can either do these or you can't. I know some very intelligent people who have dyslexia, so could never work out an anagram. That's one question they'd never get right.

For myself, if I don't get it in the first few seconds, chances are I won't get it at all.

There are a lot of 'which of these things is out of place', 'what's the next in sequence', and spatial organisation questions. Plus some general knowledge.

General knowledge, like the anagram, is a matter of either you know it or you don't. The other questions test thinking skills rather more directly. Even so, you can improve your score on this type of test if you practice that kind of thinking.

If you're taught to think logically. If you're taught well, in other words.

No, this is not a rant against teachers. They do the best they can under the mountains of ridiculous restrictions and beurocratic paperwork that are set up with the sole purpose of making their job impossible.

Yet there are, as in all careers, very good teachers and not-so-good teachers. And, naturally, some utterly worthless oafs.

These are not evenly distributed among schools and colleges. Oh, no. The best teachers get the best jobs with the highest pay. The worst get stuck in cesspits, where they'd be better off with an animal handling degree than a teaching one. Again, that's the same as any other profession.

So where a school can offer higher salaries, there will be many applicants for any vacant post. Many to choose from. That school can be very selective. Where salaries are low, the best people don't apply. It's not complicated but this simple equation seems to have eluded the school system. Also many colleges and a few universities.

It has certainly eluded this man.

Bruce Charlton, reader in evolutionary psychiatry at Newcastle University, suggested that the low numbers of working-class students at elite universities was the "natural outcome" of IQ differences between classes.

The man is an idiot. Low numbers of working class students reflects a simpler fact. The best teachers are in well-paid jobs in the public schools. The schools where the chinless wonders, the monocled morons and the pampered pansies of the rich spend their time bullying each other and (if rumour is to be believed) indulging in unsavoury practices involving fruit. Nonetheless, they have access to better teachers and some, certainly not all, will derive considerable benefit from this.

The working class have access only to the PC-riddled, micromanaged and overlegislated state schools. It's not that their IQ's are lower. They rarely get a chance to develop the talents in their heads.

Before all this pandering to the lowest common denominator in schools, before teachers were forced to restrict the thinking of anyone who showed signs of rising above the ranks of the retarded lest they embarrass those to whom evolution is a distant future dream, I went to school.

If you were an idiot, you were told so. In those words. If your destiny involved nothing more taxing than collecting trolleys in a supermarket car park, you were told so. Teachers used sarcasm like a rapier, to great effect. Faced with an adult sigh, accompanied by 'Well, I suppose the world needs road sweepers too', some would shrug and practice with a brush. Others, incensed by the remark, would turn away from spending their weekends with illicit beer and force knowledge into their heads. Some I, and others, thought were doomed to a wastrel life in the early years surprised everyone by changing their ways and passing their exams.

Why? Because they were told they were useless and they fought back.

When I lectured, I saw exactly the opposite of what Bruce Charlton suggested. The rich kids were mostly lazy, worthless individuals who intended to rely on Daddy's money, and had no real need to work. Not all, by any means, but certainly most.

Those from less advantaged backgrounds were prepared to put in the time and do the work. They'd already had to work hard to get as far as they had. They knew how to work. Again, not all. Some saw University as a way to avoid getting a job for three years. Overall though, those who fought their way up from the looming dole queue were motivated. They were intelligent. They would work.

They worked because they had been told by teachers, in their early years, that they could never amount to anything and they were determined to prove those teachers wrong.

Nowadays it's all the wrong way round. Teachers (and lecturers) are not allowed to write 'fail' on papers in case we bruise their fragile little egos. I was continually in trouble for this, and more so when I asked a student if he was in possession of a brain. He said yes. I asked if he'd read the manual. He complained. I said he was a weak-minded oaf whose brain, at his death, would be eligible for reassignment since all it contained was his name and even that wasn't spelled correctly. There were red faces and wagging fingers. Once more, I was nearly fired but some core of reason remained within the ageing custodians of university life. I suspect they longed for the old days. I also suspect most of them have been replaced by now.

I would have resigned, but I knew the department was to close so I waited for the redundancy payout so I could set up on my own. I'm happier not teaching. Writing 'not achieved' instead of 'fail' or 'give it up and practice lifting bins' just wasn't me. Apparently even 'not achieved and not likely to' was unacceptable to the deadly vipers of the PC crowd.

Teaching now panders to the weak and the stupid. Those who show signs of intelligence are held back, forced to play dumb and fit in. Oh, sure, 'swots' have always been a target. There used to be a lot of us, and we were organised, smart, and not all of us were small and feeble. The teachers generally supported the intelligent against the stupid - not least beause the intelligent knew how to manipulate a situation. The 'swots' could look after themselves.

No more. The 'swots' are split, underground, hiding in shadows. The drooling thugs now rule the schools, and the intelligent are stamped on not only by our ancestral forms in school uniform, but by teachers too.

Schools claim a zero tolerance approach to bullying, but bullies must not be punished. They must be understood. Well, I'd like these thugs to understand me and I have some heavy and sharp objects I'd like to use to help explain. Teachers can't do that. They can't even threaten to do that. The teachers of my day had the option of using a cane on a miscreant's tender parts. I was lucky in that the headmaster at my school rarely resorted to that - but we all knew he could, if we pushed too far. If all headmasters had been so controlled then we might not have had the tweed-clad hand-wringers stopping any form of punishment. Instead of controlling the few headmasters who overindulged, they banned everything. Well, surprise.

If I had gone home and complained that I'd been caned, my father would have been furious. He would likely have punished me again, on the grounds that I must have been extremely naughty in order to have deserved such punishment. Nowadays, parents sue the school. They are less concerned with the temporary red marks on Little Wayne's backside than they are with the chance of free cash.

This is where the disparity between rich and poor in the big universities comes from. Not from IQ, because that's not determined by how wealthy your family is. It's partially genetics and partially teaching. No, it comes from the difference in teaching quality in the schools these kids attend.

Our state schools are turning out weak minds in weak bodies. Overconfident thugs with a belief in their own invincibility and certain that the world owes them a living. They have gone through a school system where the adults capitulate to their every whim. Zero tolerance for bullies? The schools produce little else. Fortunately all that's needed is bared teeth and a snarl to shock them into silence.

If any of those future benefit scroungers get this far - which I doubt because there are more than two syllables in some of the words - consider this. You do not have a 'right to life'. That right doesn't exist.

Count yourselves lucky that the rest of us don't have the right to kill you. Yet.

(What the hell is an 'evolutionary psychiatrist'? How many more stupid jobs are we going to make up just to get 'evolution' in the title? What's next - 'evolutionary fireman'? It's really not helping.)

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