Social Justice: An Analysis
by Richard Cocks
Differences in achievement by sex and ethnic groups
Black players make up 70% of the NFL despite black males being just 6.5% of the population. Similarly, blacks are the majority of NBA players, 74%, and are routinely the top stars. The best Olympic sprinters and marathon runners are usually black. These are gross differences of achievement with social and genetic causes.
The idea that racial disparities are inherently a problem does not seem to apply when blacks outperform whites. Likewise, when it comes to the sexes, areas where women far outnumber men or do better are ignored. Sometimes the mathematics simply does not work. 75% of psychology majors are women; not a problem. 33.7% of philosophy majors are women; a problem. Since women are only 50.5% of the population, there are not enough of them to equal men in every field and also to be a large majority in other disciplines. However, to rectify this situation, numerically women would have to stop choosing psychology and other majors where they dominate simply to produce numbers more pleasing to those obsessed with “equality.” This would mean restricting freedom and choice to the detriment of women. This kind of social engineering pressure can be seen when stay-at-home mothers are frowned upon by their feminist peers.
There is evidence that the more egalitarian a society is the more the sexes make different occupational and educational choices. Being able to freely choose exacerbates differences and thus “inequalities.” Women as a group gravitate more towards socially-oriented jobs if they are given the opportunity. This is why women who do well in STEM subjects frequently choose non-STEM careers.
Consider that Finland excels in gender equality, its adolescent girls outperform boys in science, and it ranks near the top in European educational performance. With these high levels of educational performance and overall gender equality, Finland is poised to close the sex differences gap in STEM. Yet, Finland has one of the world’s largest sex differences in college degrees in STEM fields. Norway and Sweden, also leading in gender equality rankings, are not far behind. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as this general pattern of increasing sex differences with national increases in gender equality is found throughout the world.
Three factors probably contribute to male ascendency in STEM areas. One is that men tend to be more “thing” and abstract-concept oriented, e.g., scientific theory, than women. Young girls are likely to draw social scenes, young boys an action scene. When women are interested in science, they tend to be more interested in living things — fields such as biology, or veterinary science. Another is that sexual selection pressures from women favor men who earn more money with the associated high social status which STEM careers provide. Women who earn large salaries, on the contrary, find it harder to marry, especially given their proclivity to marry across and up the social strata. Finally, many males who have high math skills have a correspondingly low emotional intelligence. There is no such correlation with women. Women who are good at math are good readers more often than men. So, men gifted in STEM subjects tend to have fewer career options than math-savvy women with their superior social, linguistic and verbal skills.
When [women] first gained the opportunity to enter the workforce there were far more women in engineering [and computer science] than there is now. Numbers grew and then dropped steadily. Countries like India and Iran have higher numbers of women in engineering, even though they are far less equal. The reason [appears to be that] women wanted an education, regardless of what it was. In Scandinavia as women saw that they can choose what they’re interested in, as opposed to just choosing a college course for the sake of going college; we see that women choose socially oriented subjects.
Less egalitarian areas of the world have numbers like Central Asia (47.2%), Latin American and the Caribbean (44.7%), Central and Eastern Europe (39.6%), and the Arab States (39.9%) while the USA has (29%).
The so-called wage gap between men and women is often presented as a problematic inequality. Sexual selection pressures account for some of this; women choosing high-earning men disproportionately. This forces men into different occupational choices — male-dominated jobs tending to have highly unattractive features like exposure to the elements, hard physical labor, poor chances of reaching retirement in that career and high chances for injury and death. These include firemen, policemen, loggers, roofers, contractors, miners, truckers, linesmen and so on. Consequently, supply and demand push up men’s wages.
Sexism seems to have little bearing on the topic. Never-married women make far more than never-married men, while married men with children make the most money. Men work more hours a week than women and commute, on average, twice as far. Factors like this mean that even when men and women do jobs with a similar description, men are likely to sacrifice more for their employment. See “Why Men Earn More, and What Women Can Do About It” based on the book of the same name by Warren Farrell.
A major factor is women interrupting their careers to look after children and also working part-time for the same reason. Given women’s superior interest in living things, social relations and generally more nurturing tendencies, this kind of division of labor makes sense.
When it comes to race, in education and employment, the top achievers are Asians, followed by Jews, then whites, then blacks. Asians with an IQ of 100 perform at a level of a white with an IQ of 120, 100 IQ Jews at the rate of 110 IQ whites and 100 IQ blacks at the level of 85 IQ whites.
Thus “white privilege” is a misguided notion; a label that must be particularly galling for so-called “white trash.” The white child of a dirt farmer finds herself to be ineligible for affirmative action or perhaps the same degree of federal subsidies, despite having similar economic disadvantages to minorities. Any apparent plausibility in the notion of white privilege probably stems from the fact that the majority of Americans are white, and so it seems in principle that they might be in a position to somehow prevent black achievement. But in fact, as previously mentioned, Asians are by far the most successful ethnic group, and as a fairly small minority they have no ability to discriminate in a way that could change the economic performance of much larger groups.
Due to their superior economic performance, Asians are more likely to get bank loans and less likely to be fired than whites. Their educational success is so notable that top schools routinely discriminate against them to minimize “racial disparities.” Harvard, for instance, invented the admissions category of “leadership” qualities which can mean anything they want it to mean and cannot be objectively assessed in order to cut down on the number of Jews and Asians admitted.
It is relevant that only 2 in 10 Asians are born out of wedlock, 3 in 10 whites, 5 in 10 Hispanics, 6.6 in 10 Native Americans, and 7.7 in 10 blacks. When black children have two married parents, their chances of economic success increase enormously and the likelihood of poverty decreases nearly to single digits.
It seems that between 70% and 90% of violent crime is committed by fatherless men, and partly for this reason blacks are a slight majority of offenders, despite being a small proportion of the general population. As such, a black man is far more likely to interact with the police than a white man. The more interactions, the greater chance things might go badly. Blacks are also more likely to get suspended from school due to behavioral problems. A future criminal is unlikely to have been a model student.
The notion of “disparate impact” has been invented to try to claim that rules against disruptive behavior at school are racist if they “impact” members of one racial group more than another. Asian students are the least likely to be disruptive, followed by whites, then Hispanics, then blacks. That is also the order of academic achievement and the reverse order of likelihood to be criminals. Rules affect those most who are most likely to break them. This is not unjust. When students are disruptive, all learning is negatively impacted by all racial groups — and it is the poorest students who are the most dependent on receiving education from schools rather than their home environments. So, well-behaved black students are likely to suffer the most from badly behaved students, a disproportionate number of whom will be black. Nevertheless, the Obama administration sent what is called a “Dear Colleague” letter backed by the Department of Justice suggesting that black and Hispanic students’ civil rights were being contravened by their heavier involvement in disciplinary actions.
The Obama administration in another Dear Colleague letter,  went so far as to complain that there were racial disparities in special education classes and suggested that more white students should be admitted. Forced attendance of students who do not need special education would be a very strange waste of time and money just to satisfy an elite’s taste in equal numbers.
Resentment is endemic to the human condition and can never be eliminated. In The Discourse on Inequality, Jean-Jacques Rousseau commented that when social life consisted of sitting around a bonfire telling stories, singing or dancing, the less popular storyteller would resent the better. The inferior singer would wish he had the talents of the superior and feel resentful at the extra attention and praise the other received. The worse dancer admires the better, wishes to change places with him, and resents his rival.
Rousseau correctly postulated that as societies develop, these differences between people tend to produce more and more divergent results. In an “information” or “post-industrial” society, differences in IQ are likely to lead to relatively big differences in income, whereas in an agrarian situation, it might make far less difference.
Rousseau commented that comparisons generate hatred in the human heart. This led to his fantasy concerning a state of nature where individuals lived in total isolation punctuated by brief and random matings. Since humans are born and raised in human company, resentment is here to stay and no gross inequality of income is necessary to generate it.
Jordan Peterson comments that to exist is to be limited. Limitations are a source of suffering. No matter how powerful an individual is, there will be limits to his abilities and these will generate frustration. This means that some individuals will decide that they want to reject existence itself. They might also resent God as the infinite out of which their puny finite existence is carved. Thus resentment is something endemic to the human condition. Only by consciously affirming the value of existence can this be overcome. Each person must be careful not to take out his resentment on his neighbor, who will in some ways be his superior and thus symbolize the annihilation of limitation. For instance, a tenured professor might come to wish he had the status of an adjunct with no committee work or necessity to publish. The mighty can come to resent even the lowly.
In Gnosticism, Sophia — the next step down the metaphysical ladder from The One — is depicted as resenting the creative abilities of The One. In response she creates the Demiurge in imitation of The One and the fruits of her resentment are evil. Gnosticism recognizes that anything short of absolute infinitude can generate resentment, and the Gnostics imagined that the proper goal of all individual souls was to be annihilated by being reabsorbed into the One, their divine sparks merging with The Divine itself. By desiring the infinite, Gnostics desire nonexistence, and thus reject Life and Creation.
Resentment is an almighty “No!” directed at Life and God. This seems to account for the behavior of those horrible individuals who insist on murdering others before committing suicide themselves.
Resentment is not something to be cultivated and nourished. The social justice advocate, in order to garner support in a democracy for his cause, must actually foster resentment in himself and others. If the aim is to reduce resentment, then the SJW is the problem, not the solution.
Unjustified resentment is a strange combination of love and hate. One person wants someone else’s social status, wealth, looks, intelligence, way with the opposite sex, musicality or taste in clothes. In that regard, he loves the person’s qualities and wishes to possess them. However, he cannot be that person, since that position is occupied. Thus, the admired person is viewed as an obstacle to the admirer’s happiness and hated. A desire forms to destroy the obstacle and to take his status and possessions as his own.
This is the story of Cain and Abel. Abel is blessed by God and his sacrifices — the denial of current pleasures for future gains — are well-received. Cain’s efforts pale by comparison. A murderous rage and resentment overtakes him, leading him to kill his brother.
No huge disparity of wealth or power is necessary to have these feelings. At one point in English history the “Lord” had the right to take and wear the shirt of a low-born peasant when he died. The shirt had been worn for years and probably never washed.
The living conditions of Cain and Abel or the Lord and his peasant, the singers, dancers and storytellers of Rousseau would have had the most minor of differences by other standards and yet resentment believably arises. One professor looks with jaundiced eye on some minor award or promotion received by another professor of the same rank; the beauty show runner-up resents the winner — though both are far prettier than nearly everyone else. An Olympic champion might envy the two-time Olympic champion.
Even where humility is the aim, there can be competition. In an old joke, a bishop stands up and says he is humbled to be in the presence of so many worthy gentlemen. The Archdeacon takes to his feet and repeats that he too is humbled to be addressing such an estimable audience. This goes on down the ranks until finally the lowliest, least prestigious priest announces how humble he feels. The Dean turns to the Archdeacon and says “Who is HE to feel humble?”
Under communism, the State itself and elite party leaders would be resented, this time with some justification, since the state becomes a tyranny. The pathological fantasy of communist equality eviscerated the general standard of living; everyone had to endure a police state driven by fear and mutual suspicion and still the dread beast of resentment lived on.
Trying to reduce economic-based resentment in this way is comparable to throwing acid in the faces of beautiful people when their beauty is resented, or cutting the tendons of top athletes; in short, of creating the world of Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron.
Sowell points out the unstoppable nature of resentment. Each person can potentially find one reason or another to resent another. A rich sibling might resent the happy marriage of another; a beautiful person might resent an intelligent one; an intellectual the satisfactions of manual employment with its tangible results; a wealthy person the job satisfaction of someone who actually enjoys his job; a successful person might envy parents who do not have a handicapped child, the stay-at-home parent envies going to work, the worker, staying at home. Eliminating all differences of wealth would not eliminate resentment.
It is possible even to envy those who feel less resentful. Resentment is a painful affliction, and to feel less of it is desirable. In a related fashion, on a meditation retreat it is possible to envy the apparent equanimity of fellow meditators and wish to possess their state of mind and self-control.
Any talent, natural or cultivated, can arouse admiration and thus resentment. The solution is not to ban talents. Any circumstance might appear enviable in some other circumstance. Do we ban circumstances?
Inculcating a feeling of gratitude might be more productive than dwelling on such differences. In other instances, envy can be used productively as an inspiration to copy the behavior of the envied person and try to learn from them.
With regard to resenting the success of companies: it is no skin off anyone’s nose if Apple makes an obscene profit. It is not as though the money Apple earns would otherwise find its way into the pockets of the average American citizen. Admittedly, there is something annoying about their high prices and their cash mountain with which they purportedly do not know what to do. But if their customers like their products and are willing to pay their prices, it is not up to anyone else to second-guess the transactions involved.
Coming up in Part 4: Who gets to be a student?
Richard Cocks is a commentator whose work has been published by Orthosphere, Sydney Traditionalist Forum, and University Bookman.