I just realized the connection between two independent ideas, neither completely original, that have been bouncing around in my head for a while.

The first time I really thought about possible racial differences in intelligence was when I picked up my parents’ Newsweek and read the feature on “The Bell Curve,” which had just been released. My thoughts were 1) I wouldn’t really be too surprised if there were IQ differences between races, and 2) why rub it in? What could possibly be the benefit of pointing out such differences?

I would probably still feel that way, but for years of subsequent observation of the way demagogues use statistics showing racial disparities (or sexual disparities, you know the laundry list) wherever they exist. The concept of “disparate impact,” whether in the legal realm or not, is to find people guilty of discrimination without any proof whatsoever. The “proof,” such as it is, could be stated as follows:

  • There are no natural differences in aptitude of any kind between any groups of people, and
  • Your selection criteria, for jobs, education, housing, etc., though facially neutral and really common-sensical, select for people who do not belong to aggrieved group X, therefore
  • You must prove you’re not racist/sexist/etc. No, we did not need any evidence of actual discrimination in order to slander you in this way.

Now, if racial discrimination claims required any actual proof of discrimination, such lawsuits would be about as common as “Alienation of Affections” suits are nowadays. No honest observer who has given the matter serious thought can believe that it is systematic discrimination that holds back official minority groups. While in this large country there are no doubt lots of racists, they are socially marginal. The largest and most prestigious institutions of this country fall over themselves to welcome minorities and women into their ranks. Note that when asked for specific examples of racial discrimination, our Harvard/Columbia/Princeton-educated First Couple could only come up with the most hilariously trivial nanoaggressions. Considering how much thought Obama has given to racial issues over the years, if that’s the best (er, worst) he can come up with, it’s safe to say he has faced absolutely no meaningful discrimination at all.

Likewise, young women who are capable of high level math can write their own ticket. This is not speculative. Women who get into MIT have noticeably lower SAT scores than the male admittees.

In the absence of any evidence of discrimination, the only way that the grievance industry can survive on a large scale is to presume guilt, by excluding the possibility that differences in success between groups could arise naturally. There is, of course, no logical or scientific reason why such differences are impossible. Instead, the lack of differences must be assumed; it is an article of faith.

The particularly astute members of the Clerisy will even try to smoke you out as an enemy by daring you to deny their dogma. “Unless someone wants to posit that intelligence is not evenly distributed across genders and race, there has to be some systemic explanation for what these numbers look like.” I have to give credit to the woman who said that. Unlike most members of the ruling class, she knows exactly what she’s doing.

Therein lies the moral imperative to publicly acknowledge the likelihood, or at least the possibility, of group differences in ability and aptitude. If you assume away the differences as a matter of first principles, every disparity justifies a witch hunt.*

So that’s the first idea. Here’s the second:

I haven’t had any serious challenges to my belief in God’s existence since before my mission. Trials of faith, yes, but no serious doubt that God exists, and that He is my Father. Nonetheless, I retained for a long time some unease over the matter of theodicy. If God is omnipotent, why does he permit such unspeakable suffering? Oh, sure, some suffering, maybe even most of it, serves a good purpose, but at some point we all witness or learn of some horrifying event that can’t bear any serious cost-benefit analysis for a loving Father. I’ll let my kids skin their knees and have their hearts broken. But there’s no lesson I could teach them that would justify letting them die in a terrifying and horrifically painful manner, as countless innocent children do.

So I decided some time ago that God is not really “omnipotent,” in the sense of being literally capable of altering any aspect of the universe and reality at whim. I’m not sure if I decided that before or after reading Eugene England’s “The Weeping God of Mormonism,” although that essay certainly aided my movement in that direction. It just makes sense to me that God does everything he can for us, but cannot stop literally every evil thing in existence.

How to get around those few scriptures specifically calling God “omnipotent”? Ever since I read Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language,” I can’t help but translate words of Latin and Greek derivation into plain old-fashioned English while I’m reading. So when the scriptures say that God is “omnipotent,” I simply read that as “all-powerful.” What does it mean to have “all power?” To be able to alter every particle of the universe at whim? Or simply to have each and every power that a being may possess under the laws of the universe?

A better latinate word for my concept of God’s power is “plenipotent,” or “fully-powerful.” I’ve written a little about this before elsewhere (some good follow-up comments by others at that link).

What I like about this idea of “plenipotence” is that it’s an answer to the atheists’ great slander against God, that He is indifferent to our suffering. Oh sure, the atheists will say that you can’t slander someone who doesn’t exist. Salman Rushdie told Christopher Hitchens that the title of his book, “God is Not Great,” was exactly one word too long. Clever, but untrue. Hitchens never seriously tried to convince people that God doesn’t exist. His arguments were clearly intended to show that God is a tyrant with blood on his hands, and needs to be brought down a few pegs. An atheist argument that relies on the lack of evidence for God’s existence can always be answered by the witness of countless believers who have received a manifestation. Whereas the theodicy argument relies on mainstream Christian dogma itself: your church says God can do anything; why didn’t he save those little children in Sandy Hook?

That’s the second idea.

What these two ideas have in common is that, without a tragic sense that some problems are beyond anyone’s power to solve, people will find someone to blame. Pale Stale Males take the heat for all racial and sexual disparities, because it is axiomatic that those disparities cannot have come about naturally. God takes the blame for everything and anything bad, because dogma says that He could stop it if He wanted to. No amount of empirical observation can disprove these accusations, because they were not based on evidence in the first place, but rather on metaphysical assumptions.

It would be better to act on what we can observe rather than what we merely assume. If we observe that minorities are not widely discriminated against, but rather the opposite, then we need to look elsewhere to find the reasons for any disparities (certainly they are not all embedded in DNA).

If we receive a witness that God lives and loves us, then the logical thing is to build an eternal relationship with Him on that basis. With that knowledge in hand, we need not speculate about His culpability for crimes that a loving father would never, ever commit.

*After so many politically correct myths have fallen by the wayside, wouldn’t the most ironic and hilarious revelation be that colonial Salem, Mass. really was RIFE with witches?

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