On this blog you may have noticed that I often bring up the topic of IQ. The politically-correct Western world generally avoids mention of IQs because it tends to raise questions of IQ differences between races and between countries. Discussing IQ differences is so charged politically that journalists, academics, and politicians carefully avoid the whole subject of IQ. Otherwise, you may get vilified, like Charles Murray did when he wrote The Bell Curve.
But the subject of IQ is extremely important. In fact, the problems associated with low IQs are some of the most urgent issues confronting the world. For that reason, discussions of lower IQs, and what to do about them, should be much more out in the open - especially when talking about how to help the poor around he world.
Occasionally we get surprised and IQ does get discussed. Some reporting in the NYT’s today serves as a perfect example of why IQ should be more widely discussed:
Kazakhstan has become an example of how even a vast and still-developing nation like this Central Asian country can achieve a remarkable public health success. In 1999, only 29 percent of its households were using iodized salt. Now, 94 percent are. Next year, the United Nations is expected to certify it officially free of iodine deficiency disorders.
… putting iodine in salt, public health experts say, may be the simplest and most cost-effective health measure in the world. Each ton of salt needs about two ounces of potassium iodate, which costs about $1.15.
… Studies show that iodine deficiency is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation. Even moderate deficiency, especially in pregnant women and infants, lowers intelligence by 10 to 15 I.Q. points, shaving incalculable potential off a nation’s development.
Much of the developing world is held back by low national IQs. And what can be done to deal with this problem should be a fundamental matter under discussion when trying to devise remedies for the awful poverty facing so many people in these countries.
Surprisingly, this issue of low national IQs even matters regarding Islamic terrorism. If countries in the Middle East have lower average IQs than the developed countries (which they do), they will lag behind economically which causes citizens of these countries to look for someone to blame. And blaming the US, the world’s lone superpower, for their backwardness is an easy step.
Poor nutrition, iron deficiencies, a lack of iodine in salt, lead pollution, magnesium pollution, and so on should be top world issues because they all hurt national IQs in many countries. One can only hope that the paranoia surrounding discussions that touch on IQ differences will begin to subside soon.