Spectator columnist Toby Young’s brief waltz into the public consciousness in 2018 – before being sacked by the Conservative Party for commenting on Danny Boyle’s underage daughter’s ‘massive knockers’ – may have been largely comical. It did, however, shed light on something more worrying: an axis of eugenics enthusiasts that have crept towards the mainstream of British politics, media and academia.
Journalists quickly uncovered that Young is an advocate of ‘progressive eugenics’ who attended the shady London Conference on Intelligence hosted, but not formally approved by University College London. Joining him there was Cambridge’s recent high-profile research appointment Noah Carl.
Carl is a serious academic. He achieved his PhD from the University of Oxford and his work has been published in the British Journal of Sociology and the Journal of Biosocial Science. The 600 academics and 900 students that signed a petition condemning him being made the Toby Jackman Newton Trust Research Fellow at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge in 2018 were not concerned so much with his mainstream work on the disappearance of London pubs as his ‘ethically suspect and methodologically flawed’ side-activities with an alt-right entourage.
Carl has co-authored a number of papers with Emil Kirkegaard, a white supremacist who views himself as the ‘heir to the führer’, and lands about as far from a respected academic as it’s possible to be. In order to publish his anti-scientific articles away from what Kirkegaard views as ‘politically motivated article rejections’, he founded a pseudo-journal called OpenPsych where Kirkegaard, Carl and the alt-right ‘defender of white identity’ Kevin MacDonald exercise total creative freedom away from the unnecessary constraints of scientific rigour and editorial responsibility.
Of all the referees listed under OpenPsych articles, no-one has a degree in a discipline related to genetics. Carl is a sociologist and a man named Kenya Kura has a degree in Economics – aside from these, they have a man called Davide Piffer who purports to have psychic powers and Kirkegaard, who possesses a BA in linguistics that is hardly relevant to his theories explaining how race-mixing can cause infant defects and that paedophilia can be cured by allowing the culprit to rape a sleeping child (honestly).
Whereas Carl’s contributions to Sociology may be sound, he lends credence to a group of Neo-nazis outside of his field, and by allowing him to continue his tenure the University of Cambridge are just as complicit in feeding the alt-right as UCL are for hosting the London Conference on Intelligence that brings these characters together. These two Universities regularly rank in the world’s top 5; a third British institution, Ulster University, completes the eugenics trinity.
Ulster University finally removed Richard Lynn as Professor Emeritus in 2018 after 25 years of his Ulster Institute for Social Research excreting extremely widely-discredited research into race and intelligence. Lynn is a white nationalist first and a scientist second. He believes in using eugenics in order to preserve the white race, and in an interview with Right NOW! – a magazine with close connections to the hard-right of the Conservative party through Norman Tebbit and John Redwood – suggested that ‘white states should declare independence and secede from the [US]. They would then enforce strict border controls and provide minimum welfare’.
Lynn’s research formed the bulk of The Bell Curve, which was immediately panned by psychologists on its 1994 release (without peer review) for ‘scandalous disregard for scientific objectivity’, but still remains the centrepiece of every basement-dwelling alt-right Youtuber’s argument against mixed-race relationships – dishearteningly a conversation still taking place in 2019.
So Noah Carl, Richard Lynn, Emil Kirkegaard and the melon-headed Spectator columnist and then-Office for Students director Toby Young came together in Bloomsbury, Central London for a chin-wag about how we can ethically purge the undesirables. If that agitates you, I can promise you the shock factor will soon fade as the intellectual fruits of Josef Mengele once again enter our intellectual orbit.
The Intellectual Dork Web
Stephen Pinker, arguably the man who started the 21st century race science revival with his 2005 New Republic article Groups and Genes, topped the non-fiction chart in the UK in 2018 with his social philosophy hit Enlightenment Now. His ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ associate David Rubin several years ago abandoned progressive channel The Young Turks to pursue the more prosperous career path of interviewing white nationalist Stefan Molyneux to talk about the brain size of non-whites and garner view counts in the millions.
Molyneux is now impossible to escape from, in no small part thanks to Rubin’s dark intellectual curiosity (not overt support, he is quick to add) which graciously handed him a massive platform. His video essays on white genocide stalk the Youtube suggestion sidebar on Cardi B videos or bike maintenance tutorials. His Twitter presence is influential on the British right, with Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage included in his 300,000 followers who eagerly anticipate his next tweet falsely claiming that people of different skin colours cannot transfer organs medically, or that ‘Biracial kids have a LOT more psych problems’.
So, this mutilation of science and assault on human solidarity revs up once again. It was Karl Popper who said that ‘whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve’. As much as the far-right want to flaunt commitment to ‘freedom of speech’ they in reality possess an answer in search of a question – instead of censoring the speech of others they censor their own critical internal monologue. How else could they ignore the overwhelming tide of scientific consensus that refutes every sentence they string together?
The 20th century was blighted by political pseudoscience; if we have any sense we should nip it in the bud in the 21st.