Of all the factors affecting the decline of the “West”, surely the largest and yet often ignored is the invention of effective birth control, and the impact of its use on birth rates. Once people had the choice to have smaller families, they began to do so but well below replacement level. The middle classes were particularly badly hit as women began to focus more on careers than raising children. Postponing children till her career was established often meant that the professional woman found she was too old to conceive, once she got around to trying to get pregnant. Of course this trend is going to lead to a decline in the average intelligence of a population. In the future there will not be enough doctors etc.. I think we can also see evidence of this decline in declining educational standards and the increasing banality of popular culture. The level of political debate also seems to be declining.
At the same time as effective birth control had become widely available, the cultures of women’s “liberation” and “political correctness” became the prevailing ideas in society. These ideologies have been stifling any debate about the possible longer term consequences of the late parenthood and childlessness of the better educated. Dysgenics has for many decades now been almost a taboo subject, associated in a great many people’s minds with the Nazi holocaust and other 20th century attempts at eugenics. The methods used by these eugenics programmes were brutal and inhumane. However if average intelligence really is in decline, as seems certain, then we need to examine the causes and look for humane solutions in for example, welfare policy. I will be examining the subject of dysgenics and welfare specifically in the next article.
The little dysgenics research that has been done to date, by Professor Emeritus Richard Lynn for example, has also included studies of differences between races. This has led to those of the “politically correct” mainstream view dismissing the very science as somehow inherently racist. The subject of racial differences in average intelligence is important, particularly for deciding whether positive discrimination is really a good idea. However, undue focus on this aspect of dysgenics research has unfortunately distracted attention from the larger question, i.e. has average intelligence in the whole population been declining, and by how much.
For a long time the research of Professor Emeritus James Flynn seemed to suggest that intelligence was actually increasing, leading to the phrase the “Flynn Effect”. This may however have been occurring due to improvements in diet and improvements in the environment, such as the removal of lead from petrol. Its also worth considering that more recent generations might be benefiting from reduced anxiety stemming from economic prosperity, enabling them to concentrate better during IQ tests. Thus an underlying fall in genetic intelligence may have been disguised by environmental factors.
More recent studies however seem to point towards declining average scores in IQ tests in any case:
I explained my reservations with IQ testing in a previous article “Intelligence, Concentration and IQ Tests”. I believe IQ tests do have some value however, as they are the only real measure of intelligence we have, but I think other approaches to dysgenics research should be used in addition to IQ testing. Birth rates in different professions (for both men and women) should be studied. It is probable that if the birth rates in occupations that require higher levels of intelligence to perform them are lower than for less skilled occupations, then a decline in average intelligence is very probably taking place. I put it to the social sciences academics in our universities that they have a responsibility to study this. I am not aware of many such studies having taken place so far, I would be very grateful to my readers who know of any if they could provide information.
An example of such a study from the 2006 New Zealand census showed that women who had completed higher education were having substantially fewer babies (1.85) than those who had no higher education (2.57):
This should be a great concern. We need more studies like this.
To summarize this article I am not attempting to prove here that average intelligence is in decline, although I believe it is. Rather I am saying there are a lot of trends that suggest that there is such a decline taking place, and I am calling for the subject to no longer be off limits. Academics in public institutions particularly have a responsibility to study dysgenics which they are by and large neglecting. Studying social trends is what the taxpayer is paying them to do. Ignoring these trends could have very bad consequences in the long run. For example, the human race has terrible weapons of mass destruction at its disposal. If people are becoming less intelligent, the likelihood of these weapons being used grows larger. Brutal, oppressive regimes are also more likely to seize power in nations that do not have enough intelligent people to oppose them, creating misery for those who live under them.
Of course in an era of very low rates of infant mortality, effective birth control is essential for a harmonious and peaceful world. Without it the population of the human race would continue increasing until there simply was not enough food and water to go around. Then a vicious fight for survival would take place. We should therefore be aiming for sustainability in birth rates to achieve a peaceful world.