Posted By Jon Ray @ Dissecting Leftism
I would have thought it obvious that people who TRUST
troublesome minorities are wrong in the head -- but I am just a cautious old
conservative so I guess my views don't count in the fairytale world of
The New York Times does push the view that
people who distrust troublesome minorities are wrong in the head. But they do
so amid such a flood of words that is difficult to pin down any clear claims. I
am referring to the article "The
Brain’s Empathy Gap" of March 19, 2015. It was so difficult to pin down any
clear assertions in it that I initially gave up any attempt to write some sort
of critique of it. Answering it seemed like doing battle with a giant
marshmallow. So, initially, I simply referred readers to what the excellent Steve
Sailer had to say about it. I do think however that I have a few things to
add to Steve's comments so I am going to tackle the challenge after
The article moves from stories about gypsies in Romania to a
disquisition on brain scanning and then back to stories about gypsies in
Romania. Romania is a poor country and Romanian gypsies are apparently the
poorest of the poor. And it's all caused by "discrimination", of course. The
jump between brain scans and Romanian gypsies is rather startling -- but
whatever floats your boat, I guess.
What the brain scans showed were some
clear patterns but the article itself admits that interpreting such patterns is
still speculative. Here is a typical sentence from the article:
both groups, a small region of the brain, the medial precuneus, which may be associated
with the theory-of-mind network, responded more strongly"
And it also may
be associated with airborne pork, I guess. I have been writing about such scans
for some time and, at least among Leftist writers, they seem to be little more
that a Rorschach Ink Blot test: What you see in the thing before you tells us
more about you than it tells about the display before you. The NYT writer,
Jeneen Interlandi, who is said to be a frequent contributor to the NYT magazine,
soldiers on anyhow and proceeds to interpret the brain scans. She relies on some
work by Emile Bruneau of MIT. It was he who found the enigmatic patterns in
It was however an anomaly in the brain scans that caused the
excitement. Three Israeli peace activists showed scans similar to Arabs. I
can't imagine any Israeli being surprised by that but surprise it apparently
did. The article goes on quite rightly to concede that the non-random and tiny
sample precludes any generalizations from the findings but then goes on to make
some mushy generalizations anyhow
When we get back to the gypsies there
is a reasonably fair account of how the gypsies are in part the authors of their
own problems. Their high level of petty crime and their unsavoury lifestyle are
repellent to other Romanians. And the article admits that government programs
designed to uplift the Gypsies have failed. We also read however that "racial
prejudice was thwarting efforts to assimilate the Roma" -- where "Roma" is the
politically correct word for Gypsy.
And, despite all its admissions, the
article ends with a claim that by studying people's brain scans we might somehow
be able to see where all that nasty prejudice is coming from and stop it --
presumanbly by sending the people with "bad" brain scans to Siberia or some
such. That the main problem with gypsies is their known very low IQ is not of
course mentioned. Leftists often give me cause to point out pachyderms in
And a final point I would like to make is that in elite thinking
both inside and outside traditional gypsy lands, gypsies have long been
appreciated. Despite their general intellectual limitations, many gypsies are
brilliant musicians and their music is a substantial source of income for them.
It is undoubtedly a rather eerie talent. There have been accounts of gypsies
graduating from high-level music schools without being able to read a note of
staff notation. They just memorize everything.
And in classical music
circles, there have been many expressions of admiration for gypsies by reason of
their musical talent. In the most famous opera of all time -- "Carmen" -- the
leading lady is a gypsy, and she is certainly portrayed with overall admiration.
And the gypsy lifestyle is also portrayed as admirable. And another well-known
opera is "La Boheme", where "Boheme" is a French term for a gypsy. And the
"Bohemian" lady is treated sympathetically there too. And in Lehar's operetta
Zigeunerliebe, the gypsy lifestyle is again admired. And Kalman's
operetta Graefin Maritza is one extended hymn of praise for gypsy music.
And Kalman was a Hungarian -- and Hungary has a substantial population of
Gypsies -- so it is unlikely that he had any illusions about them.
can see the Moerbisch performance of Graefin Maritza online here. It's infinitely
more entertaining than the NYT and the expressive Dagmar Schellenberger in the
title role is a pleasure to watch and hear. She is both a most accomplished
soprano and a superb actress.
So I would argue that in elite European
opinion at least there has been much favourable disposition towards gypsies.
That gypsies have been unable to parlay the favourable disposition towards them
into any general uplift at all suggests that their own limitations are the
problem -- rather than something bad in the heads of others.