2005 December 19 Monday
Indigenous Candidate Wins Presidency Of Bolivia

Bolivia follows in the footsteps of Venezuela. The decline of the power of the white Spanish upper class continues.

A leftist candidate from one of Bolivia's Indian peoples who wants to legalise coca-growing has claimed victory in the presidential election.

"We have won," Evo Morales told thousands of cheering supporters as some exit polls suggested he had passed the 50% barrier for outright victory.

Earlier exit polls gave him 42% to 45% of the vote - still far ahead of former President Jorge Quiroga.

I predict lower prices for cocaine and more brain damage from coke use.

In democracies the biggest ethnic groups inevitably rule. This is a really good reason why members of the biggest ethnic group in a country should oppose immigration policies that will turn them into a minority. When a majority group does less well in school and business then more talented and successful minorities become targets of Robin Hood policies. Less successful groups end up blaming more successful groups for the disparity in outcomes.

Not coincidentally Bolivia is one of two Latin American countries with an indigenous majority (Guatemala being the second one with Peru coming in close) and Bolivia is also very poor.

Bolivia is among the poorest of Latin American republics, and recently the most unstable. To Mr Montesinos and many like him, the election of the first self-proclaimed indigenous president would portend the overthrow of 180 years of oppression of poor, dark Bolivians by richer, whiter ones, and of Bolivia itself by foreign powers. Long feared by the elite, Mr Morales has won over part of the middle class, which is disgusted with corruption and hopeful that he will be less disruptive in office than he has been on the street.

The middle class is going to get shafted by socialism and redistribution from whites to Amerinds.

The socialist publications just dig the of idea of poorer darker people coming to power to lord it over upper class whites.

For societies long synonymous with rigid stratification and the bleakly condescending looks of the Hispano-Creole ruling class, the intrusion of leaders who are darker, and once desperately poor, is a genuine novelty. Similarly, in the predominantly white European societies of the south – Argentina, Chile and Uruguay – the reins of government are now in the hands of those who were arrested, tortured or exiled under their respective military dictatorships of the 1970s. The rise of the left may be the main (acclaimed or lamented) political dynamic of the time, but it has been driven and framed by an even wider trajectory: the ascent of the underdog.

Some dreamers think Amerind leaders will improve the quality of Latin American governents.

MEXICO CITY, Dec 19 (IPS) - The election of indigenous leader Evo Morales as president of Bolivia is being hailed by native leaders from throughout the region as a "sign of hope" for all impoverished and discriminated indigenous peoples in Latin America.

Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberto Menchú said that Morales has brought "a refreshing wind" for all aboriginal peoples.

Morales is as likely to damage the Bolivian economy as to improve it any. The Morales election is not a real hope for poor people. If poor people wanted to look in some direction for hope I would suggest looking at genetic engineering for cognitive enhancement.

The irony of the leftist trumpet for "diversity" is that diversity of ethnics just about always means differences in average incomes and status between groups and large scale resentment. A "diverse" society is not a happier society. In fact, such a society has far more bitterness and envy than a highly homogeneous society. So then do leftists want societies that are full of bitterness and resentment?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 December 19 09:45 PM  Civilizations Decay

Kenelm Digby said at December 20, 2005 5:23 AM:

In all honesty, I have to say that the indigenous population of Bolivia have just as much right to re-take the posession of their native land as White Europeans have in resisting the ethnic takeover of their native lands by third-World immigrants - a process that is on-going.

Robert Speirs said at December 20, 2005 10:17 AM:

Honesty has nothing to do with it. Judgment and rationality show that the presence of a particular people in a particular land does not mean they can forever stay there no matter what happens in the rest of the world. A people that cannot defend its culture - which I agree is what's going on in Europe today - deserves nothing but oblivion. Anyone who does not agree must be against all immigration, eh?!

kurt said at December 20, 2005 3:12 PM:

There is another way at looking at the Bolivian election. The white European upper classes that dominate in Latin America are often monopolistic and corrupt. They are more like a parasitical feudal over class than like the successful entreprenueral/business class that dominates the U.S. Hernando Desoto has written much about this in his books arguing for economic reform, particularly in "The Other Path". These white European over classes generally make up and support right-wing parties that, in turn, protect their monopolistic interests.

There is a saying on Vulcan that "Only Nixon can go to China".

Likewise, is it not possible that, in Latin America, meaningful reform can can come only from the left? You see, even though the rightwing promise reform and talk the talk of free market economics, they are still associated with maintaining the corrupt, state-sanctioned monopolistic companies of the white, European elites. Hense, they cannot be trusted. Cases include both Argentina and Mexico, which had quasi-rightwing presidents that promised reform, but delivered only corruption. The playboy Menden in Argentina and the double-talking Salinas in Mexico. Brazil elected a leftist president several years ago, Lula, who promised all kinds of socialist policies during his campaign. Since becoming president, he has done a somewhat reasonable job of pushing meaningful political and economic reform in Brazil.

Might Morales do the same in Bolivia? Only time will tell.

Bob Badour said at December 20, 2005 3:56 PM:


Whether right or left, we are still talking about tribal collectivist governments. The point is democracy as we have known it for the past century or two cannot succeed in the region.

Those who have the intellectual resources to create wealth are very much in the minority. Either the minority must use extreme force to prevent the majority from stealing their wealth, or the majority will destroy the source of wealth.

At this time and in our recent past, those with the intellectual resources to create wealth have been the majority around here. Thus, democracy has worked. Unfortunately, we are on a trajectory toward the situation in south and central america. If this trend continues, the underclass will eventually destroy us.

Alexei said at December 21, 2005 2:09 AM:

But by this logic, Bob, the lighter-skinned upper classes of Latin America should have long been investing into education for the darker masses so that a broader entrepreneurial middle class would emerge. With the political power they used to have under various dictators, they could even force education on the nation. Have they tried?

Bob Badour said at December 21, 2005 6:35 AM:


Just as antibiotics can treat bacterial infection but do nothing for viral infection, education can treat ignorance but does nothing for stupidity.

Mark said at December 21, 2005 11:21 AM:

Here's my zwei Pfennig: we simply tell Morales, "If you want to screw up your own country, then that's your business. But don't expect us to bail you out or serve as a safety valve. If you go forward with the nationalizations, then there will be no more visas and no more aid."

Marvin said at December 21, 2005 3:50 PM:

Another Cuba-in-the-making. The failures of extreme leftism, doomed to be repeated again and again. Indigenous peoples with their low average IQ are perfect suckers for that old pitch. The idiots haven't realized one big difference between South America countries and Cuba. South American countries are not surrounded by water! It's harder to create a giant concentration camp like Cuba, when the people can just walk out.

mik said at December 21, 2005 6:55 PM:

Randall Parker wrote:

"If poor people wanted to look in some direction for hope I would suggest looking at genetic engineering for cognitive enhancement."

This is cold, man. Not that enhancement would not be welcome.

I'm not sure that excessive attention paid to population IQ (Sailer, Charles Murray of Bell Curve fame, etc) is very helpful. It offends a lot of mush-heads and nations wealth doesn't track their IQ in many cases. Accordingly to Sailer, some East Indian tribe/cast has highest IQ among all nations. Do they have a little Switzerland over there?

Speaking of Switzerland, a truly great nation (or rather 3 nations in one state). I bet IQ of italian swiss is way below that of Israelis or russian jews or estonians. Yet they probably do much better than those smarter folks.

How Hong Kong and Taiwanese IQ compares with mainland China's? I bet it is very close, but wealth is quite different.

Randall Parker said at December 21, 2005 9:33 PM:


Only IQ differences can explain the poverty that still charaqterizes much of the world. There are a few exceptions such as North Korea. But most poor places are poor because their populations are not too bright.

What is cold is to pretend to these people that they really have the capacity to succeed on our scale. We can't help them as long as policies toward them are based on a bright shining lie.

Yes, the truth is really really helpful. The denial of the truth is really really damaging.

Mainland China suffers from the legacy of bad ideas. One can have good hardware and still screw things up with bad software. China's problem is very different than Africa's problem. Hence China is now growing like mad.

Alexei said at December 22, 2005 12:04 AM:

Bob, stupidity and ignorance are closely related. Besides, we don't have good grounds to assume that natives of South America are hereditarily low-IQ. If they studied in great numbers in good schools and colleges alongside their European counterparts, at least we could have a point of reference. Also, it's not intelligence in general that's important for success but certain facets of intelligence responsible for social interaction, long-term planning etc.

Bob Badour said at December 22, 2005 7:39 PM:


I disagree regarding the grounds for acknowledging a difference in g between the indigenous populations of south america and the european elites there.

While I agree that a high verbal who is otherwise a moron will do quite well on an individual level, it is in fact g that matters when it comes to the smart fraction and the success of a society or group. I tend to agree though that the indigenous peoples of the Americas have an even greater deficit verbally than in terms of g.

I don't see any reason to change any of the positions I have express here.

Randall Parker said at December 22, 2005 7:43 PM:


But we do have strong indications much lower average IQs among Amerinds. We have that from tests in the US and on tests done in many Latin American countries.

See this table and note that the items with asterisks are interpolated from neighboring countries where more extensive testing has been doing.

As for the importance of general intelligence: You are wrong. The evidence is overwhelming for the importance of "g". If you wants to read empirical and unideological treatments of psychometric research into intelligence, IQ, and "g" then a good place to start is Linda Gottfredson's research papers. For example, see her paper Why g matters: The complexity of everyday life (PDF file).

If you are up for reading books then start with The Bell Curve. Also read Intelligence,Race, and Genetics: Conversations with Arthur R. Jensen by Jensen and Frank Miele and The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability by Arthur Jensen. If you want a free book on IQ then check out the free download of Chris Brand's IQ book g Factor (same title, different book). I haven't read Brand's book.

Alexei said at December 23, 2005 12:42 AM:

Randall, I am familiar with Prof. Gottfredson's papers and the g concept but I must admit I cannot give a precise definition of the g-factor. My problem with it is that, while there are people with an obviously low or high g, there are also lots of cases where people display outstanding capabilities in certain fields but severely underperform in others. Consider a country populated with autistic scientists -- how well are they going to get along? I don't see how the g hypothesis is relevant here. Also, I'm not sure IQ tests are good indicators of general intelligence.

Finally, and this is the most important in this debate, common sense protests against intelligence being exclusively hereditary. Let me draw a parallel with musical capability: people with an imperfect ear can be trained to understand and play music very well (especially if they are well educated overall), while people with a perfect pitch do not necessarily become good musicians. The average white American has an IQ of about 100 but American college students have difficulty grasping simple calculus, something lots of kids can grasp at 12 with proper math education. It shows that habits of abstract thinking, if not developed early enough, may be impossible to impart later.

Bob Badour said at December 23, 2005 10:03 AM:


You compare high "g" 12-year olds with moderate "g" young adults. I fail to see any reason to draw a conclusion from the comparison.

You have not in any way established that it is possible to teach every 12 year old calculus, and from my own experience, I can assure you it is not possible.

Randall Parker said at December 24, 2005 10:15 AM:


Not sure how technical your background is but think of IQ as analogous to benchmarks for microprocessor speed. The benchmarks are very useful even though different benchmarks do not give the same relative results across a variety of processors. Do benchmarks measure something real? Yes. Is what they measure simple? No. They take something really complicated and reduce it to a single scalar.

Is this reasonable to do with human intelligence? Yes. Why? Because the resulting scalar is highly predictive in a large assortment of ways and it is more powerful than any SES (Social Economic Status) indicator or gruop of SES indicators. The correlations between IQ and car accident rates, imprisonment rates, educational attainment, individual income, national income (and see Smart Fraction Theory II as well), longevity, and a whole host of other measures are quite high.

Psychometricians are not claiming that IQ has a correlation of 1 with various measurable outcomes. They are claiming that the correlation between IQ and many outcomes is higher than the correlation between SES factors and many outcomes. They have the evidence to back up their claims. They are right.

As for common sense: Quantum mechanics contradicts common sense. But it works. Reality really is that weird.

As for the idea of intelligence being exclusively hereditary: You are attacking a strawman. Realists about human differences do not believe it is strictly hereditary. Make someone malnourished during development or expose them to neurotoxins (e.g. lead paint dust or high levels of mercury in certain fish) and of course they will not achieve their genetic potential.

The big mistake the social environment proponents make is to set up this dichotomy between heredity and social environment. They ignore physical environment influences such as nutrition because they don't want to admit malnourished Africans are dumber in part because of malnutrition. To admit that would require admitting the Africans are dumber. They have to maintain the Big Lie and so efforts to improve nutrition do not get the priority such efforts deserve.

But there's another reason why IQ isn't exactly determined by genes: Genetic regulatory systems are noisy. There's random chance involved in determining epigenetic methylation patterns and other epigenetic factors in gene expression. Genetic regulatory systems have what are really equivalent to control laws in systems engineered by humans and those control laws are far from perfect. Hence twins differ. But full twins differ less than half twins (which get the same genes from mom but not from dad) and half twins differ more than two babies born from the same womb at the same time who are genetically not twins.

The problem with the advocates of the ability of social environment to trump genetics is that many of the non-genetic causes of intelligence differences are not social environment factors. So their dichotomy is retarded.

As for the 12 year olds who can grasp calculus: They are smarter than the average 12 year old and smarter than the average college student. Look, the average college student has only a 115 IQ. That makes them mental giants in Africa. But that's not high enough to grasp higher math.

Bob Badour said at December 24, 2005 3:51 PM:


I was at first a little confused by your use of the term 'twins'. I understood what you wrote a lot better when I substituted the word "clones", because to me fraternal twins are still twins even though they do not have identical genes.

Thus full clones are identical twins. Half-clones have the same genes from the mother but not the father. And fraternal twins are not clones at all.

Alexei said at December 28, 2005 4:06 AM:

Randall, I was trained as a mathematician (though I never became one) so I can understand that much. While I would prefer a multidimensional matrix to a scalar, I agree that evidence that links measured IQ to various other indicators cannot be disregarded. I have no problem admitting some people are dumber than other, although with some caveats. I do have a problem with the hypothesis that the Amerindians of Latin America are genetically "dumber." Should we disregard important environmental factors such as high altitudes and alcohol/drug abuse?

Bob Badour said at December 28, 2005 8:06 AM:

High altitudes like in Switzerland or Austria? Drug and alcohol abuse like in the Netherlands or Germany?

I fail to see any reason to think these are any factor at all. Surely you realise that the simplest explanation available to explain all the observable phenomena is: Genes affect intelligence. All of the psychometric references Randall already gave support this hypothesis.

Randall Parker said at December 28, 2005 9:56 PM:


You are reaching.

High altitudes? That reduces the IQs and school peformance of Mexicans in the US how exactly? That reduces IQ in the non-Andes Latin American countries how?

Oh, and the Andes people have genetic mutations to acclimate them to higher alititudes. Though out of the three human groups that have high altitude adaptations they have the lousiest adaptations. The Himalayan and the group somewhere around Ethiopia have different sets of evolved adaptations and theirs are more advanced due to the longer time they've been accumulating mutations. But I digress.

As for alcohol: Why are the Irish smarter than the Amerinds? Or the Germans? Or the Italians? Also, where's your alcohol usage data on Amerind women? Do you really think their rate of alcohol consumption is all that high? They'd have to be damaging their babies in utero. How else could alcohol work to lower IQ? Fluid IQ flattens at age 16, right? So the damage has to occur before most start major drinking.

Yes, genetically dumber on average. Why is that so hard for you to accept? The evidence for regionally evolved adaptations by humans is overwhelming. See my FuturePundit post Brain Gene Allele Frequences Show Brain Still Evolving. Also see On The Evolution Of Ashkenazi Jewish Intelligence.

But the most amazing report about human evolution since we came out of Africa just came out a week ago and I've been too busy working very long hours to write about it. Someo researchers have used the HapMap data to identify 1800 genes that have been under active selective pressure in some regions of the world since humans left Africa. See Steve Sailer's posts with relevant links: Human evolution and genetic diversification has been speeding up since we came Out of Africa and More revelations about the genetics of race.

The handwriting is on the wall when it comes to human biodiversity. The genetic data is starting to come fast and furious to confirm the race realist position that substantial differences exist between the races.

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