THE ROAD TO EQUALITY by Seymour W. Itzkoff


Evolution and Social Reality
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 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
ISBN: 0-275-94400-X
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Praeger
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1992