Friday, November 03, 2006

Military men, women really not dunces

I cringe whenever someone is raked over the coals for saying something provocative. It's nearly impossible to offend me, but tight lips owing to concerns over the reaction of the thought/expression police comes closest. So the predictable reaction to John Kerry's latest gaffe has been disappointing. I wish his words would be used as a starting point for widespread discussion of the intelligence of our military personnel. But as Steve Sailer points out, that'd inevitably lead us down the road to the DoD categorical system based on batteries that are basically IQ tests (which is exactly why we need the discussion).

Instead, Republican partisans will blather on about how this illustrates the Dems' innate disdain for the military, erstwhile Democratic cheerleaders expediently called for an apology and can now smugly and quietly have reinforced the view that the military is comprised of dunces due to the lack of solid argument refuting the assumption.

But the data does not support the stereotypical ignorant, destitute military person. If the DoDEA schools were aggregated and counted as an individual state, they'd have the eighth highest estimated average IQ (100.6) in the country, just behind Minnesota and ahead of Wisconsin.

More impressive still is that the DoDEA manages to get said results from a demographic pool that is only 58.1% white, 22% black, and 9.9% Hispanic, and 9.0% Asian. If estimates are broken up by race and by state, the DoDEA schools fare astoundingly well. For Hispanics, as its own state the DoDEA would rank first, with an estimated IQ of 100.2. Ditto for blacks, at 95.8. For whites, it'd come in third, at 102.8. For Asians, it'd be a middling 11th of 23, at 101.3 (hardly a score to be ashamed of).

Far from being the last resort for desperate minorities, the US military is a bastion of our intellectually above-average compatriots of all races. Let's stop sacrificing them for the putative benefit of Iraqis who are glad to see them die.

Also see Steve's post on estimated military IQ from the late nineties. Those in uniform look even better. Keep in mind the children of military personnel will experience some regression to the mean and that DoDEA schools are for servicemen mostly stationed outside the US whereas enlistment scores are taken from all military personnel (the finance branch and other professional tasks done disproportionately in-country?).

(Human biodiversity2)


JSBolton said...

It probably would be that Kerry was extemporizing unselfconsciously, away from his prepared speech, and let his true attitude show.
Here's what I said elsewhere: It certainly fits with the overall liberal tendency to believe anything bad about U.S. soldiers, such as Kerry's
saying widespread atrocities were committed by Americans in Vietnam.
How else is he to play to the left, and tell them what they want to hear?
There are no rational arguments for moves towards socialism, so they have to smear anyone to their right as demented
oppressors on a slippery slope to atrocities.
That sort of attitude is what is being responded to.
Another minefield that would get traversed when the subject of average IQ's for military recruitment is brought out, is the question of how much affirmative action is being used in promotions there.

JSBolton said...

Using Sailer's numbers for officers' average IQ, and assuming that there is no racial difference in IQ between black and white officers; the black officers would be in the top 1% approximately, considering the divergent racial means and bell-curve distribution.
This is unbelievable, and the implication would also be that most black men in their top percentile of IQ, between 20 and 45, are officers in the military!
Therefore one can deduce that some considerable quota filling is going on. That they can do this in the military in wartime, and it is not spoken of, is alarming.
Shouldn't patriots be concerned that randomizing the information provided by the merit system, just to fill quotas on a racial basis, is harmful to national security?

JSBolton said...

What's to stop China for example, from having an officer corps 30 points higher in IQ than ours?

JSBolton said...

Here's something I found on the internet, from the WaPo, Bruce Fleming's 'Not Affirmative, Sir':"In the fall, we were told that if a student checked the Native American box, we could ask for confirmation of tribal affiliation. Yet by mid-year we were being told that we could not. Early in the year, one applicant told an admissions officer she was one-eighth Hispanic.

But one-eighth was enough, and in any case we later learned we couldn't even ask about the percentage. This led to apparent howlers like the student with an un-Hispanic last name attending the flossiest private school in his part of Texas, who identified himself as Hispanic and received preferential treatment. There have also been cases of "minority" students being identified as "white" by their schools.

(We debated whether we could nail these applicants for lying, but finally decided that a school's visual impression could not be taken as fact, either.) In a year on the USNA Admissions Board, I never got a sense of the underlying philosophical justification..."

Anonymous said...

It's always interesting to me to see otherwise intelligent commentators like Sailer refer to the Iraq war as if it was some kind of "meat grinder" for US troops. I guess he never looked at casualty figures for other wars.

Once a person has looked intensely at World War I, World War II, the US Civil War, or any actual meat grinder wars, they won't use that metaphor lightly again for brush fire insurgencies like Iraq.

Cut and run politicians are easy to understand, since they're trolling for votes. Emotive types who "feel the pain" of the dead and dying and their families are easy to understand, being one dimensional and unable to see the many factors in the real world that come in play.

It's much harder to understand people who are intelligent on many topics, then behave one dimensionally on select topics.

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered what will happen when most white folks decide that organizations asking for their racial information have no moral legitimacy and hence no right to be told the 'truth'. What would happen, if say 20% of white college applicants checked 'African American' (since, after all, it gets the most plusses :->)?

Fat Knowledge said...

You might want to leave a comment over at Greg Mankiw's Blog on this post. It is on this Washington Post article.

crush41 said...


I'm sure the self-identified racial classification is far from foolproof, but in the case of Texas whites do well compared to whites in neighboring states, as do blacks and Hispanics. Unless Texas is managing to categorize its moderately intelligent whites as Hispanic and its brightest as white, the fibbing should show up somewhere or the percentage of white test takers should be noticeably smaller than the state's population would suggest, but the proportions are about the same as in California. And that still leaves the question of relatively strong black performance in the state as well.

Regarding China's sharper officer corp--I'd thought the PRC's military was conscription, which would tend to dull it down, but apparently the officer core is all volunteer.

My solution is to encourage Japan to go nuclear and continue to increase military spending (it's already the fifth highest in the world in spite of the pacificist constitution).


Has Steve made the Iraq war analagous to a meat-grinder before?

Steve accurately perceives the Iraq operation as a debacle that we're stuck in without many satisfying options. "Staying the course" is the worst thing we can possibly do--either facilitate quasi-partition and help setup a lean central government to distribute oil revenues in some acceptable proportion or get out of the miasma and let the Iraqis partiton themselves in a more chaotic way. The expectation that the central government is ever going to be able to control the militias (as if al-Maliki even wants to) is illustrative of the quixotic thinking that got us in the mess in the first place.

crush41 said...


Thanks. I did.

JSBolton said...

The NYT Sun, Nov 5-06,p.14 of section 4 'week in review' has an article on how U.S. military are more educated than the general public in terms of high school graduation rates. It also mentions that the Army has 19% HS dropouts this year among new enlistees, up from 6% in 03.