THE ROAD TO EQUALITY: Evolution and Social Reality by Seymour W. Itzkoff

THE ROAD TO EQUALITY: Evolution and Social Reality

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Contentious plea for boosting intelligence as the key to a classless society. Although he rejects the Marxist model, Itzkoff (Education and Child Study/Smith College; Human Intelligence and National Power, 1991, etc.--not reviewed) believes in a classless society, which he defines as one with no hereditary castes, no poverty, no long-held family wealth. How to attain this utopia? Through a ""social policy aimed at raising intelligence levels in all populations."" And how to produce that bit of magic? By encouraging the brainy to have large families and the, ahem, ""educationally and socially less competent"" to go childless. This, of course, is eugenics--and as Itzkoff says, the word raises all sorts of red flags. Nonetheless, he makes a strong case (as does Daniel Seligman in A Question of Intelligence, p. 1048) that intelligence is biologically based, largely hereditary, and crucial to individual success as well as to the rise and fall of civilizations. Such a view is dicey these days, as almost all government programs share the premise (which Itzkoff calls ""demonology"") that poverty, crime, and even low I.Q. scores are the spawn of environmental evils. In an analysis ranging from the evolution of Cro-Magnon man to the dogmas of radical feminism, Itzkoff argues that raw intelligence can overcome all obstacles; that not all cultural developments are equal; and that America's social decline stems from a drop in ""on-average intelligence levels."" Perhaps because his views are unfashionable, Itzkoff writes like a man with his back against the wall, ridiculing liberals, populists, socialists, and feminists at every turn, and spiking his logic with taunts and sneers (""social psychologists, please explain....""; ""Do not ask members of the media that question...."")--a posture somewhat compensated for by his moral passion and abundant cleverness (one chapter is cast as a speech by Plato, another as a letter to the President-elect, 1996). The road to equality, paved with good intentions--and reams of barbed wire.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Praeger/Greenwood