Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A critique of Charlton's "clever sillies"

In this paper, Michael Woodley critiques Bruce Charlton's hypothesis that "clever-sillies" use their high IQs and openness to experience to construct social and political views that are farther from the truth than views generated be common sense and social intelligence. According to Woodley: 1) smart people are not necessarily less socially intelligent; 2) smart people might tend to be politically correct only in cultures where liberalism is the dominant view; 3) high-IQ individuals who score high on conscientiousness (and conformity) will adopt PC views in a liberal environment and conservative views in a conservative environment; 4) traditional cultures value dominance, while the modern West values counter-dominance (or egalitarianism); and 5) adopting politically correct views is a way to signal to others that you are altruistic and support egalitarianism, which is then rewarded with enhanced social status and greater access to resources.

Woodley draws on Inglehart's work that has found that, as Western societies have become wealthy, a focus on material concerns (e.g., wealth, security) gives way to an emphasis on post-materialist values, which include self-expression, autonomy, and equality. Social status come less from wealth and more from "higher" pursuits like altruism. This is an evolutionarily novel state of affairs. While men have traditionally been admired for dominant behaviors, now they are rewarded for self-effacement. Believing, for example, in a natural hierarchy among men might have at one time been seen as the mark of a dominant and thus admired man. Now it seems arrogant and ungenerous, and is consequently penalized. High-IQ folks understand this more clearly than others and thus adopt politically correct views.       


  1. The most important thing is getting laid. It is noticeable that women generally screw assholes, and assholes are usually politically incorrect and far from self effacing. Observe the propensity of feminists to sleep with men who mistreat them.

    Observe that men who share the housework equally find themselves divorced, and suffer loss of all their assets.

    Alternate theory: Political correctness is a theocratic religion. The theocracy uses the backing of state power to systematically recruit high IQ people, who tend to be inculcated with a variety of clever rationales for ignoring reality.

    High IQ people believe in political correctness not because it is the smart thing to do, but because it is state policy to persuade high IQ people of the truth of political correctness.

    Which has the effect that high IQ males do not get laid.

    The smart thing to do is to memorize the rationales for PC views as clever lies, and hypocritically pretend to PC views in one's work environment, without, however, genuinely internalizing them, for while the politically correct have greater career success, they have markedly worse success at family and sex.

  2. dearieme3:17 AM

    Charlton may have formed his view by observing the antics of academics.

  3. Charlton's view, here echoed by Mr Donald and dearieme, is that our PC elite actually believe the rubbish they spew. I have not seen him justify this belief particularly convincingly, and I find it a very strange belief indeed. Why is Amy Biehl an exception rather than the rule?

    I know a very PC guy, so PC that he sends his children to urban government schools. Curious about this, I (privately, discreetly, after being on good terms with him for more than a decade) asked him un-PC questions, whereupon I was informed that as long as you get your children into gifted programs, the schools his kids go to are OK. The gifted program is a little segregated school-within-a-school (not his words, of course). Furthermore, there are psychologists who will provide gifted certification (IQ>130) without, you know, the kid actually scoring higher than 130 on an actual IQ test.

    I have been around academics from birth forward (both parents were, and I am), and there is no doubt in my mind that they are lying, with the uninteresting exceptions of some of the morons who populate Ed Schools, English Departments, and similar cesspools.

    This phenomenon of leftists forcing everybody to line up and chant an obviously false party line is not exactly unknown in history. There is nothing implausible about people telling status-climbing lies. It's a universal of human behavior. The claim that PC lies are required for status climbing is just indisputably true. And, because of the operation of employment law in the US, the incentives have become progressively more powerful and ubiquitous over time. The fear in middle class whites' eyes when a discussion of race comes up is unmistakable, as is the urge to punish dissidents for bringing the danger close.

    I think Charlton is a clever silly here. He is seeking a complicated explanation where simplicity will suffice. It's worth noting, I guess, that the UK experience may be different from the US experience, so that this may explain things.

    What Mr Donald recommends in his last paragraph is what people do. What Mr Donald claims in his first paragraph is false, though: most assholes are very PC. Going around saying "blacks are dumb and violent" does not get you laid. PC is about saying and about doing in the political sphere, not about doing in the private sphere. Beating women is PC as long as you are good on "women's issues:" just ask Bill Clinton.

  4. You can see the whole of my paper on 'clever sillies' here:


    Bruce G Charlton

  5. Have any of you been reading Robin Hanson's farmer/forager theory?

  6. Another one relevant to Woodley's theory is two kinds of status.

  7. Ray Manta3:09 AM

    dearieme wrote:
    Charlton may have formed his view by observing the antics of academics.

    Good point. Academics could have formed their bizarre viewpoints simply because the reality check isn't there for them to cash. If so, clever silliness is an effect, not a cause.


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