A weird thing has happened online over the past couple of days. British conservatives, along with members and followers of the “Intellectual Dark Web”, have either gone completely mad, or revealed malevolent intentions, or both.
It begins with Tory key aide Dominic Cummings appointing a guy called Andrew Sabisky to do something or other in government. But it turns out that Sabisky is a weirdo. I say turns out, but in fact Cummings had advertised for “misfits and weirdos” in the job description. Sabisky, however, was a full-blown sinister fruitcake, as revealed to the public when journalists dug up some of his old online posts.
The worst of it was his interest in bullshit racial IQ science. I can’t be bothered looking up the exact quote, but he was of the opinion that black people are intellectually inferior to white people. He also proposed the idea that compulsory contraception should be forced on women in order to… actually I don’t remember why he thought this should be done, and it doesn’t really matter, because, obviously, it’s unhinged.
Now, you would think this would be a no-brainer for Conservatives and right-wingers. For years they’ve endured being called Nazis and far-right for simply disagreeing with the left. And here is someone working for their government, expressing genuine alt-right beliefs.
Logic would dictate that you condemn this, right? That you get shot, quickly? One would hope that you do this not simply to preserve the reputation—such as it is—of your party, but because you genuinely find such thinking to be beyond the pale, and totally unsuitable in a respectable government.
But, strangely, Twitter was awash with right-wingers—the kind who are shocked and appalled at being called Nazis and such—defending Sabisky’s appointment and calling for him to stay put.
I just hope they enjoy it the next time someone yells Nazi at them, since it no longer seems as unreasonable.
Then along comes elitist shitposter Richard Dawkins. Our Dickie has a habit of revealing his utter contempt for democracy and anyone who doesn’t agree with him, having previously implied, post-referendum, that not everyone should be allowed to vote. That’s because he’s a committed liberal, you see.
Anyway, he logged on to tell us that eugenics is bad. But decided to preface that by telling us that it works. I paraphrase, but it went along the lines of,
Eugenics works on cows and stuff and on human too! But listen guys, we totally shouldn’t use it because it’s like so so bad.
Not his exact words. You can look it up. But that was the gist: eugenics works, but we shouldn’t use it.
A problem with this, is that it doesn’t fucking work.
That word work could be interpreted on two levels, either that it works technically, or that it works in practise, so lets be clear, it doesn’t fucking work in either way.
There were responses from scientists and academics—real life experts in relevant fields, the kind that people like Dawkins insist we should always listen to—explaining precisely this, that it does not work.
But still, that didn’t stop what happened next, happening next.
And that was legions of IDW members, IDW fans, and Quillette readers, coming out to say that–yep, you guessed it–Dawkins was actually right.
As mentioned, there were already science people explaining that, in an entirely technical sense, he wasn’t, but that didn’t matter. What we got were endless snotty literalists repeating variations of the following line:
“I’m not advocating eugenics, but it works”.
Again, leaving aside the fact that this is inaccurate, you would think that, with alt-right and Nazi being regularly hurled in their direction, it might be prudent to, I don’t know, not go round yelling about how debunked racist pseudoscience is actually correct.
And maybe, you might acknowledge that even if Dawkins were, in a very narrow, badly worded way, correct, he still would be, in a broader, deeper, real world sense, wrong, since it wouldn’t work in the sense of being either applicable or moral.
But then, to make matters even more intolerable, in jumped Unherd, a right-wing commentary site, to inform us that actually, the people backing Dawkins’ views were operating on a loftier plane to the rest of us plebs, since they are high decouplers and we are run-of-the-mill low decouplers.
That is, they can detach the technical argument from the moral or emotional one, and we can’t. Which of course means that the eugenics defenders are, in yet another way, superior to everyone else.
They really should breed together.
Except that there’s something they neglect to imagine, due perhaps to being so clever. Namely, that many of us pitiable low decouplers are choosing not to decouple, because there are times when it is more appropriate not to do so.
So when someone says to me,
Here’s a really bad, wrong idea that has led throughout history to mass scale human atrocities, why don’t you decouple it from moral considerations?
I might think it best to reply,
No, I’d rather not, thanks.
And hurry away.
One more thing that came to my attention was high-profile left-wing activist Ash Sarkar taking Twitter abuse from anonymous racists while putting forward the perfectly respectable view, with which I happen to agree, that IQ tests are not an accurate or worthwhile measure of intellect.
But when a couple of Quillette editors got wind of this, they each chose to quote tweet her, making fun of her views. Did they, for a second, think to check her feed and see that she was receiving abuse from racists? Did they factor in that she was a person of colour responding to a sudden burst sewage pipe of interest in eugenics, racial IQ measures, and far-right thinking?
If they did, they showed no sign of it, and decided instead to barge in, exuding puffed up smugness as they brayed jokes about lost IQ points and not being smart enough.
All fairly repugnant, I’d say. But then, what do I know? I don’t place any worth in eugenics or IQ tests, and I wouldn’t want a government that does.
I guess I must be one of those knuckle-dragging low-decouplers.
Hell, I even think Brexit is a good idea.