26 June 2013

an individual is not an average

● Assuming group differences exist in terms of average levels (of height, emotionality, cognitive style, etc) it would of course be nice if people did not pre-judge a person on the basis of the average characteristics of his or her group. Whether legislation to enforce such niceness is beneficial, on balance, is open to question.
However, when a potential thoughtcrime becomes so loaded that people’s careers can be instantly ruined by one stray remark, analysis of the topic surely needs to be a good deal more intelligent than the typical level of debate in a modern democracy.
Insulting someone on the basis of averages is one thing, though it isn’t always made clear why such insults are more deserving of intervention than other insults. Discussing whether such averages exist is – or should be – quite another.