The New Lexicon of Hate

image

One reason why ‘cosmopolitan’ is an unnerving term is that it was the key to an attempt by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to purge the culture of dissident voices. In a 1946 speech, he deplored works in which ‘the positive Soviet hero is derided and inferior before all things foreign and cosmopolitanism that we all fought against from the time of Lenin, characteristic of the political leftovers, is many times applauded.’ It was part of a yearslong [sic] campaigned aimed at writers, theater critics, scientists and others who were connected with ‘bourgeois Western influences.’ Not so incidentally, many of these ‘cosmopolitans’ were Jewish, and official Soviet propaganda for a time devoted significant energy into ‘unmasking’ the Jewish identities of writers who published under pseudonyms.

Something is rotten with liberalism’s reigning manifestation, its stench discernible to everyone but itself. A sterile managerialism – signposted as what Oscar Wilde decried as “the monstrous worship of facts” – distilled in the form of policy wonkery and modish Vox explainers, had the rug yanked from under it on Nov. 8. It was an unexpected stumble across the Rubicon – one in which the ruling consensus was forsaken, crestfallen, and discombobulated within a ruptured sociopolitical milieu that was no longer recognizable.

Donald Trump is the expression of the id, animated by libidinal whims, repressed desires, and resentments; the liberal establishment was the moralizing superego, directing commands toward appropriate conduct and policing discourse. Upon losing control of the id, the compulsion to fact-check and bellow “This is not normal!” into the post-truth abyss turned liberals, Rensin proclaims, into “the blathering superego at the end of history.”

In this political order, transgression and libertinism appeared as cathartic outlets. Irony was weaponized, and guileful wordplay camouflaged bigotry. Such was the transgressive thrill of Trumpism: the enjoyment of publicly stating what is not said openly, which tapped into what Jacques Lacan termed jouissance – the desire to go beyond the limits of publicly accepted discourse. Unsurprisingly, the shift toward social sadism is echoed in online culture, especially with trolling. The so-called alt-right embraced trolling, shrugging off accusations of racism and sexism by adopting a sardonic dispensation to wring its hands clean from charges of prejudice. “You just don’t get it,” went the customary rebuke. They know their liberal opponents well, homing in on their conscience and sanctimonious virtue-signaling. Witch-hunting and online harassment is employed as a popular strategy to hound feminists, social justice warriors, and other moralists. Equivalent disdain is reserved for establishment conservatives, branded “cuckservatives” for having stood as the positional gains of minorities emasculated White America.

There is an inclination to reduce the alt-right’s pranksterism to a pop-cultural spectacle, as opposed to a crucible of virulent ethno-nationalism that needs to be confronted and refuted. While the profusion of irony, memes, and in-jokes does not a movement make, it is important to eschew the revulsion that characterizes much of the response to this nebulous amalgam.

Conservatism, after all, can summon a radical undercurrent when necessary. Fundamentally reactionary as opposed to rigidly traditionalist, it is willing to absorb and redirect the potency of new revolutionary actors toward counter-revolution and new relations of domination. Political scientist Corey Robin identifies this tendency in “The Reactionary Mind_ Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin” where he points out that the right is more than happy to violently upend an anemic ruling class to install a more dynamic one in its place, even if it means using the tactics and rhetoric of their ideological rivals. As Robin notes, “While conservatives are hostile to the goals of the left . . . they often are the left’s best students.”

Some content on this page was disabled on April 24, 2018 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Oxford University Press. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/copyright-and-the-dmca/

Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence

1.9_GDPvsIQ

There are a number of genetic diseases that are unusually common among the Ashkenazim. We also know a fair amount about genetic disease among the Sephardic and Asian Jews: How can we categorize these diseases and the associated mutations?

Most fall into a few categories, as noted by Ostrer: sphingolipid storage diseases, glycogen storage diseases, clotting disorders, disorders of adrenal steroid biosynthesis, and disorders of DNA repair. It is interesting that although several Jewish disorders fall into each of these categories, sometimes several in the same population, none of the Finnish genetic diseases, for example, fall into any of these categories (Norio), while only one of the genetic disorders common in Quebec does, Tay-Sachs (Scriver). But that is as expected: genetic diseases made common by drift would be very unlikely to cluster in only a few metabolic paths, as if on a few pages of a biochemistry text. The existence of these categories or disease clusters among the Jews suggests selective forces at work, just as the many different genetic disorders affecting hemoglobin and the red cell in the Old World tropics suggest selection, which we know is for malaria resistance.

The two most important genetic disease clusters among the Ashkenazim are the sphingolipid storage disorders (Tay-Sachs, Gaucher, Niemann-Pick, and mucolipidosis type IV) and the disorders of DNA repair (BRCA1, BRCA2, Fanconi’s anemia type C, and Bloom syndrome) but there are several others that are at quite elevated frequency in Ashkenazim. Using published allele frequencies we can calculate that the probability at conception of having at least one allele of the sphingolipid or DNA repair complex is 15%. If we add Canavan disease, familial dysautonomia, Factor XI deficiency (Peretz et al.), and the I1307K allele of the APC locus (Gryfe et al.) this figure grows to 32%, and if we further include non-classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia the probability of having at least one allele from these disorders is 59%.

The sphingolipid storage mutations were probably favored and became common because of natural selection, yet we don’t see them in adjacent populations. We suggest that this is because the social niche favoring intelligence was key, rather than geographic location. It is unlikely that these mutations led to disease resistance in heterozygotes for two reasons. First, there is no real evidence for any disease resistance in heterozygotes (claims of TB resistance are unsupported) and most of the candidate serious diseases (smallpox, TB, bubonic plague, diarrheal diseases) affected the neighboring populations, that is people living literally across the street, as well as the Ashkenazim. Second and most important, the sphingolipid mutations look like IQ boosters. The key datum is the effect of increased levels of the storage compounds. Glucosylceramide, the Gaucher storage compound, promotes axonal growth and branching (Schwartz et al.). In vitro, decreased glucosylceramide results in stunted neurons with short axons while an increase over normal levels (caused by chemically inhibiting glucocerebrosidase) increases axon length and branching. There is a similar effect in Tay-Sachs decreased levels of GM2 ganglioside inhibit dendrite growth, while an increase over normal levels causes a marked increase in dendritogenesis. This increased dendritogenesis also occurs in Niemann-Pick type A cells, and in animal models of Tay- Sachs and Niemann-Pick.

Dendritogenesis appears to be a necessary step in learning. Associative learning in mice significantly increases hippocampal dendritic spine density, while enriched environments are also known to increase dendrite density. It is likely that a tendency to increased dendritogenesis (in Tay-Sachs and Niemann-Pick heterozygotes) or to increased axonal growth and branching (in Gaucher heterozygotes) facilitates learning. Heterozygotes have half the normal amount of the lysosomal hydrolases and should show modest elevations of the sphingolipid storage compounds. A prediction is that Gaucher, Tay-Sachs, and Niemann-Pick heterozygotes will have higher tested IQ than control groups, probably on the order of 5 points.

 

Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence