11 December 2013

journalism – the lazy, biased kind

● People are sometimes critical of Islam for being hysterically intolerant and demanding that anyone who offends it be punished. But is our own current mass religion, pseudo-egalitarianism, very different? Look what happens when someone tries to question that, even in the mildest way. Frenzied backlash, fuelled by distorted reporting – as much among the ‘right-wing’ press as the rest.
No one exactly called for a fatwa against Boris Johnson for suggesting that equality of outcome might be restricted by innate differences, but clearly a lot of people felt they had a right to be offended, either on their own behalf or on someone else’s.

● The comments quoted from Mr Johnson’s speech, some of them seemingly quite shocking by the standards of the prevailing ideology, were mostly taken out of context. According to the Mail, Johnson claimed “that tackling economic inequality is futile because some people’s IQ is too low for them to compete” (my italics). This seems to be a distorted amalgamation of three quotes (again, my italics):
16 per cent of our species have an IQ below 85

[it would be] futile to try to stamp out inequality

[we should] help those who genuinely cannot compete
If Mr Johnson meant to imply, as the Mail assumes, that some people’s IQ is so low that they are unable to “compete”, then of course he is wrong. People who lack the ability to be (say) lawyers, computer technicians or insurance salesmen are perfectly able to compete, provided they’re willing to do jobs which require little in the way of training, and nothing at all in the way of higher ‘education’. The problem may be rather that they are unwilling to compete, as Romania’s labour minister recently suggested.

● Regarding Johnson’s supposed “IQ test”, what a joke. Reported as such by every news outfit from Mail to Telegraph to Guardian to Huffington Post (were they all copying the same ur-report from some press agency, without bothering to check?), it turned out to be a couple of trick questions of the type that no one gets unless he or she is either very unusual, or tipped off in advance.