UPDATE VII: I Was A Chinese Mother (Amy’s A-OK; So Says The Research)

Africa,America,China,Education,Family,Human Accomplishment,Intelligence,Pop-Culture,Pop-Psychology,The Zeitgeist

Homeschooling parents, in particular, will want to read what Amy Chua has to say about parenting Chinese style, in a new book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” excerpted on the WSJ Online. Chua is the author of “Day of Empire” and “World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability.” In the lashing she gives Western-style parenting, Chua echoes the gist of my case against The “Meghaan [McCain] Millennials,” and their parents and pedagogues, only I called the malady “the progressive, child-centered worldview”:

From “Shafting Boys” (http://www.ilanamercer.com/phprunner/public_article_list_view.php?editid1=158):

“For decades now, America’s educators have insisted that learning be made as natural and as easy as possible, when it is neither. To this end, content-based, top-down teaching was replaced with pop-culture friendly, non-hierarchically delivered flimflam. But as classicists such as E. D. Hirsch Jr. have pointed out, effective, analytical and explicit instruction is very definitely not a natural but a highly artificial, often-unintuitive process.”

From: “Your Kids: Dumb, Difficult And Dispensable”: “Millennials are a generation of youngsters that reveres only itself for no good reason. They have been unleashed on America by progressive families and educators (Democrat and Republican alike) who’ve deified their off-putting offspring and charges, and instilled in them a sense of self-worth disproportionate to their actual worth.”

Chua is kinder. I love the way she rolls her eyes at the idiotic insistence among parents she knows that learning be made fun. Nothing that is worth learning is fun. I began to have fun once I mastered logarithms (yeah, I did not go to school in North American, but in Israel), for example. Before that, I worked like hell and nothing was much fun.

At getting my daughter to conform I was less successful than Chua, for some reason. I believe that her Canadian peer group, raised in such an opposite atmosphere, contributed to my uphill battle. Still, quite a bit did rub-off, such as a devotion to high standards, quality literature, art, etc. My daughter read Voltaire before I did.

Do read Chua’s daughters’ funny response to the condemnation their mother has received. Humor is not something that abounds among parents these days; they take themselves and their sullen offspring so very seriously.

UPDATE I (Jan. 20): I agree entirely with the thoughtful comments made in the Comments Section to the effect that the genetic variable (IQ) has been conveniently omitted in the Chua equation. Calling a child “garbage” in a pique of rage is indeed horrible, although even uglier is the way children in this country regularly mouth-off to the their parents, and the way parents cower in awe of their deified brats.

The parenting pop-instructors would say that old grandpa ought to have, rather, framed the child’s behavior as garbage. Also crap. If a child swears at his mother, and a father puts the child in his place—even being spontaneously angry—this serves as a very good lesson. It teaches the child something (on the meta-level) about dad vis-a-vis mom (dad will not tolerate the berating of mom; dad cares deeply about mom; dad is devoted to mom). There was nothing a child feared more, back in the days, than, “I will tell your father.”

I think the point in all this is that discipline (very firm, never violent), hierarchy, (rather than friendship), boundaries, and parental authority have to be maintained. Pop-psychology must go. Leave aside the academic drilling that Chua has done with her obviously talented girls—her style of parenting is simply natural in traditional (if advanced) societies.

With my daughter, my efforts entailed a lot of deprogramming of the ideas implanted in the progressive schools. Once she returned from school and ceremoniously informed me that, because she’d be 16 soon, the teacher said her mother would not be able to tell her what to do.

Me: “Who pays for the roof above your head?”
Daughter: “You do.”
Me: “Who pays for the food you eat, and everything else in this home?”
Daughter: “You do.”
Me: “When you grow up and make a home and have children of your own, will you think it right that they do as they please while living under your roof?”

What followed was a very libertarian discussion about property, all the while emphasizing/demonstrating love and devotion. Never again did I hear the argument advanced in the school that a child could do as she pleased on property paid for by others, even if they loved her dearly.

I like to believe that reason triumphed over the progressive ethos inculcated at school.

I do agree with Chua that this kind of (natural, old-fashioned) parenting results in more independent kids.

UPDATE II: The scientific research is behind H. Schmidt: Like it or not, intelligence correlates significantly with socio-economic achievements. So what if you are called a racist, Robert, for pointing out that the aggregate IQ on the African Continent is rather low, and that this fact correlates with the state of the continent? Aggregates do not rule out a huge variety in the human condition. That’s why we are here individualists.

UPDATE III: The fact that Hugo has not “seen” evidence of aggregate IQ values in Africa does not mean such date is not readily available and quite conventional. One would imagine that if by dint of a miracle Hugo was able to locate this evidence, he would find it compelling. After all, has he not just asserted for biological determinism? Until then, Hugo is happy to advance the left’s blame-the West voodoo science vis-a-vis Africa. Or advance circular arguments, as if multiple regression analysis does not allow an analysis of underlying variables. Sowell tried to rule out the significance of group variations in intelligence with the inter-individual variance angle. But why would inter-individual variations in intelligence and group variations in intelligence be mutually exclusive concepts? They are not.

“IQ and the Wealth of Nations — Lynn and Vanhanen — data table of national mean IQ studies”

Of course, when you try as hard as possible to do PC science and eliminate “measurement bias of western IQ tests for Africans,” you can get better numbers, as a study by Conor V. Dolana and Han L.J. van der Maasa did.

Perhaps we should switch to talking about “emotional intelligence.” Give me a break!

UPDATE IV: Myron, the social sciences are only as good as the scientist doing them. This is the exact discussion I had with John Derbyshire a few weeks back. I was dismissive as you are here; he rightly corrected me, pointing out that these sciences are now infested with affirmative action, agenda-driven sorts—feminists, minority activists, etc.

Rather than reflect/describe reality, many of the new crop of approved scientists are more concerned with raping reality with the aid of political constructs. These people, published in “peer-reviewed journals,” are intellectually incapable of thinking on any level of abstraction. (I’ll give you an example a little later.) Whatever you think of Steve Sailer’s opinions, always expressed in a calm, rational manner—the man’s intellectual faculties are impressive. When the social sciences are practiced a-la Charles Murray, they deserve the utmost respect.

Good, civil debate, y’all.

UPDATE V: I obviously disagree with Jay about Amy Chua. To appeal to the alleged motivation of a person in judging his or her output is tantamount to an ad hominem argument. In other words, invalid. Let’s stick to arguing the substance of Chua’s case.

Consider: minus the academic emphasis, most men and women who grew up in the US during the 1930s through the 1950, for example—only a couple of decades back—were treated by their parents the “Asian” way.

This generation consists of the nicest, stablest, sweetest people ever, for the most. The older the American, the lovelier he or she is. You who protest Amy Chua, and raise your kids to believe they are so precious and priceless (“Our Children”) have the most horrible kids, usually. Rude, self-centered, hubristic millennials who behave as if the world orbits around them. I’ve watched your brats carry on in stores, inconsiderate and oblivious to all but themselves. No one wants to be around them (and that’s the mildest sentiment they elicit). I watch your kids as they move into entry level jobs at my fitness club and in other places: They are lazy losers, who look down at their superiors, and are doomed to live-off their delusions and off YOU, their parents.

I am sure Amy C. has the most delightful girls. Look at how they’ve responded to the attack on their mom: with such verve, intelligence and humor. They shall inherit the earth.

The nicest young woman I have had the pleasure of interacting with of late is the young South Korean lady who fronts the desk at the dry-cleaners I patronize. What a gem. Clearly, she has received the upbringing you all shun. She’s deeply religious, industrious, a math college student (having admitted that there are no American girls in her class), and because she has not been brought up to possess the kind of pathologically voracious self-esteem researches now link to anti-social behavior—she is a wonderful conversationalist. Yes, imagine: a young person who can converse with ease and intelligence about issues other than himself!

Not having been brought up within the American PC strictures, she delightfully blurted out the other day: “You from Israel? You Jews are also super smart, right?”

Yes, this young lady, so manifestly a product of the Chua maternal guidance, has inquired about my origins, accent, work, and is genuinely curious about The Other. The dull, American rude youngsters who’re employed at my fitness club (and elsewhere), look right through patrons, are discourteous, act as if the work is below them, and are usually fat and slow.

This is a general impression; not a scientific one, by far. However, I’ve been saying this for a long time now: American youth have been severely compromised by progressive parenting and pedagogy.

UPDATE VI: Schmidt’s “philosophy” reminds me of Angelina Jolie’s, encapsulated in her reply to an Anderson Cooper interview question. Why do Africans butcher, mutilate, and rape their compatriots with clockwork predictability?, the host wanted to know. Why do grown, Sierra Leonenean men hack off the arms of little Sierra Leonenean girls and rape them to shreds? Why is this repeated en masse in Uganda, Sudan, the Congo, Rwanda, Somalia—you name them?

Jolie offered a tautology: It’s “‘from the violence’—’they had their limbs cut off from the violence.’ Or if you find this redundancy meaningless, she whipped another bunny from her hat: blame ‘drugs, perhaps.’”

An Objectivist should cleave to reality. Human action is the ultimate adjudicator of moral and intellectual worth. Societies are only as good as the individuals who comprise them, individuals only as good as their actions. Call it intelligence or, if you are a liberal, call it something else; but the fact remains that societies in which individuals are more likely to spend their time destroying stuff and killing one another are “less intelligent” than societies in which individuals are less likely to pillage and plunder.

Schmidt prefers to levitate in someplace other than reality, pretending that it is a matter of chance that some people (most on the African continent) still plan life in accordance with “ancestral” wishes, practice animism, voodoo and superstition, while others gave rise to the ideas of Confucius and the Enlightenment. “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be).”

Back to Chua. Joy Behar interviewed Amy Chua in a most hostile manner. This is a partial clip. I watched most of the interview. Chua should not back down (she did quite a bit). Behar has her own TV show and she’s slow, borderline retarded. That’s what Chua’s up against. At one stage, Behar scolded Chua for scolding her daughters for presenting her with an excuse for a birthday card. I had done a similar thing to my daughter. Apparently, that’s a sin. You are not supposed to instill in a kid a sense of obligation and duty toward a parent. This could only damage that budding, all-consuming ego. That’s the apparent (American) consensus against which Chua is up.

Again, call me a Chinese mother. On one occasion when my birthday card had been scribbled at the last minute, I made my hurt and disapproval known. Behar said to Chua “You make it sound like this was all about you.” Amy got defensive and fudged the answer. She ought to have said, “Yes, a mother’s birthday is all about her. This is a lesson for a child that his mother is important and also needs a show of appreciation. If a child can learn to do this, he has learned a lesson in altruism.”

What did old-fashioned Jewish women used to say? Watch how your suitor treats his mother. It’ll tell you a lot about him.

UPDATE VII: Via TIME Magazine:

Most surprising of all to Chua’s detractors may be the fact that many elements of her approach are supported by research in psychology and cognitive science. Take, for example, her assertion that American parents go too far in insulating their children from discomfort and distress. Chinese parents, by contrast, she writes, “assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.” In the 2008 book A Nation of Wimps, author Hara Estroff Marano, editor-at-large of Psychology Today magazine, marshals evidence that shows Chua is correct. “Research demonstrates that children who are protected from grappling with difficult tasks don’t develop what psychologists call ‘mastery experiences,’ ” Marano explains. “Kids who have this well-earned sense of mastery are more optimistic and decisive; they’ve learned that they’re capable of overcoming adversity and achieving goals.” Children who have never had to test their abilities, says Marano, grow into “emotionally brittle” young adults who are more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

Another parenting practice with which Chua takes issue is Americans’ habit, as she puts it, of “slathering praise on their kids for the lowest of tasks — drawing a squiggle or waving a stick.” Westerners often laud their children as “talented” or “gifted,” she says, while Asian parents highlight the importance of hard work. And in fact, research performed by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has found that the way parents offer approval affects the way children perform, even the way they feel about themselves.

One more way in which the tiger mother’s approach differs from that of her Western counterparts: her willingness to drill, baby, drill. When Sophia came in second on a multiplication speed test at school, Chua made her do 20 practice tests every night for a week, clocking her with a stopwatch. “Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America,” she writes. In this, Chua is right, says Daniel Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. “It’s virtually impossible to become proficient at a mental task without extensive practice,” he notes.

What’s more, Willingham says, “if you repeat the same task again and again, it will eventually become automatic. Your brain will literally change so that you can complete the task without thinking about it.” Once this happens, the brain has made mental space for higher-order operations: for interpreting literary works, say, and not simply decoding their words; for exploring the emotional content of a piece of music, and not just playing the notes. Brain scans of experimental subjects who are asked to execute a sequence of movements, for example, show that as the sequence is repeated, the parts of the brain associated with motor skills become less active, allowing brain activity to shift to the areas associated with higher-level thinking and reflection.

[SNIP]

We used to be made to memorize poetry and entire bible tracts in my secular Israeli school. How easy it is for kid to so do. The brain at that age is wonderfully plastic. For my math matriculation, I practices tests going back 20 years at least. All manner of problems became almost routine. You recognized the type of problem because you’d drilled so well. You didn’t panic when you saw it in a test situation. You solved it, partly because you recognized it. These days the retarded teachers shun any rote practice for their protegés.

This honest, fabulous article admits that “Cognitive neuroscience … confirms the wisdom of what the tiger mother knew all along.”


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29 thoughts on “UPDATE VII: I Was A Chinese Mother (Amy’s A-OK; So Says The Research)

  1. The CronoLink

    I prefer a Jewish mother if you ask me. And I personally would never call garbage or any such thing to my children.

  2. Myron Bad-Dad Pauli

    There are certainly some things she wrote that are admirable. But the “success” of the children of a Chinese Yale Law Professor and a Jewish Yale Law Professor (Dad appears entirely superfluous when it comes to raising kids) is not shocking. But chiding kids is no guarantee – I don’t think that if my dad was Michael Jordan’s basketball coach and my mom was Babe Didrikson that I would have turned into an athletic superstar. All some ghetto kid needs is to have a Chinese mom yelling at him and he will turn into some combination of Yo Yo Ma and Albert Einstein!

    My wife took 14 years of piano lessons and I never heard her play piano. The (Chinese) girl next door is doing Oboe, Piano, and Flute and plays in the band but probably will not become a professional.

    Well, my Korean co-worker says I should not talk negatively about Anna’s “baseball coach” who pretends to “teach” history (he just shows movies in class) while I read an article that incompetent teachers in China are assigned to teach gym (INSTEAD of real subjects) where they can do less harm.

    P.S. Your MLK blog hasn’t been accepting inputs for 3 days.

  3. Hugo Schmidt

    Well, it’s certainly true that modern day standards have gone down the tubes amongst the modern day west, in a way that is really quite appalling. Theodore Dalrymple, writing about the difference in rigor between his father’s and his own textbooks is a good example.

    On the other hand, reading over this article, I cannot help thinking of the chinese students who, thanks to the above program, turned out completely useless for science because they were so terrified of admitting to a mistake that they never learned. They scored really well on tests and when it came down to the knuckle, they couldn’t get the work done. Meanwhile the United States continues to produce six times more science than the runner up, and more scientific nobel prizes than any other nation, and the record of inventions speaks for itself.

    Of course, that’s just the opinion of a practicing scientist…

  4. Robert Glisson

    Amy Chua and you have a good point, people rise to their expectations and no further. I don’t know if I would use the word ‘garbage’ but I might if the situation fit. There is a Japanese drama called in English, “The queen of the Classroom’ In it the teacher would make to lower students do the scut work in school. Clean the restroom, take out the trash, wash the blackboard. When confronted, she explained. If you excel, the best jobs are available, poor students grow up to be janitors and trash collectors. Your initiative is what makes the difference. More young parents should take her advice.

  5. Hugo Schmidt

    And speaking of science, drawing serious conclusions from one self-flattering account and a corroboration by people who have an interest in it, is complete junk.

    I dread to think what might happen if this stuff collides with the hard rocks of genetic fact. Biology is destiny, and that is that. The thought of someone whose biology just isn’t up to those demands being subjected to this sort of thing.

    I’m already reading stories from asians of similar backgrounds who talk of depression and suicide being the result. Not to mention that it appears one of her daughters is an eighteen year old mother.

  6. The CronoLink

    “I think the point in all this is that disciple (very firm, never violent), hierarchy (rather than friendship) and parental authority have to be maintained.”

    Sounds like the Bible to me (specifically the book of Proverbs). Which sounds about right such foundational pearls are lost in post-Christian America.

  7. Hugo Schmidt

    I think the point in all this is that discipline (very firm, never violent), hierarchy, (rather than friendship), boundaries, and parental authority have to be maintained.

    That’s certainly true – but what Chua describes is way beyond that. To put it simply, if what I’m reading from her is harsher than what I know about Sandhurst officer training, then there is something deeply, seriously wrong.

    In fact, thinking over the human beings I admire above all, I cannot think of one that had this sort of spartan upbringing: Charles Darwin (double drop out), Einstein (progressive education), John Sperling (no proper schooling to speak of), Ibn Warraq (who knows?), Ayaan Hirsi Ali (worked her way through), James Watson… I could go on.

  8. "Bottom Line" Dad Pauli

    A slight variant on the parenting issue: Anna has some (twin) friends whose mom said it didn’t matter if they did well or not as long as they worked really hard. I said that it didn’t matter to me if she worked hard as long as she did well. [Classic, Pauli.] I said “Suppose I have someone working for me and they provide the right answer in 1 minute or I have someone working for me and they provide the wrong answer in 100 hours – who do I want working for me? Why do I care how hard the person worked who came up with the wrong answer – I’m not asking for work, I am asking for the answer to some question” I’ve told her that she needs to get her work done – whether it takes her 5 minutes or all night long. Then she gets to goof off – “Mission Accomplished”. That is how I try to do things – either come up with the right answer OR come up with the person who knows the right answer OR come up with the right question (which is essential in science because often people ask the wrong question!).

    [Great stuff.]

  9. Hugo Schmidt

    It is also this that bother me:

    Unlike in the U.S., higher education in China is considered a highly precious resource, available to a minority and accessed for most by means of an intensely competitive national exam.

    This is why China gave us the term Mandarin, the ultimate term for a cast of intellectual bullies who see nothing wrong with shoving everyone else around. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the Chinese lead in PISA is precisely because they only test the elites of the elite.

    I know several people who could never hack those demands academically, but they are amongst the most competent, tough minded people I know. I also know many, many people who have done well academically with minds so narrow I have trouble believing they could balance a hat on them.

    You are certainly pushing at an open door with me when you deplore some of the behaviours encouraged by the “self esteem” movement, but this isn’t the answer.

  10. Robert Glisson

    “Biology is destiny” you must think that one over again. I’d get called a racist if I applied that statement to Africa. People are a mixture of biology, environment and probably most importantly, self determination. Stonehenge is an example of self determination. To haul stone that size that far with primitive tools is a testament to self determination. I’ve known numerous people who were very talented that never amounted to a hill of beans. I’ve also noticed scores of people that have made lemonade from lemons not because they were smart; but, it was the only thing available and they weren’t going to quit. The key was the willingness to get up and try, and try again, and again. The people you list are the exceptions that were willing to keep trying and maybe had some luck along the way. As a probation and parole officer, I saw thousands of examples of people who failed because they didn’t have self-discipline or the willingness to try again. Chua describes one path, Ilana another, and I’m sure there are good ‘self esteem’ methods to build self determination. One has to pick one or the kid loses.

  11. Stephen W. Browne

    Back before WWII academic child-rearing theory was divided between the opposite, but equally insane camps of Permissive and Behaviorist.

    The Permissives saw children as naturally good and civilized, and all that was neccessary to bring this out was unlimited, unconditional love.

    Sound familiar? Behaviorism never caught on to the same extent, because though weirdly wrong-headed, it required a lot of effort on the part of parents.

    Around this time a Polish Jew from Bialystok (if you know Poland, you’d know how “traditional” that is,) Abraham Maslow pointed out that yes, children do need love.

    But they also need discipline – and if they do not get it they will perceive themselves as unloved.

    Children misbehave to test what the limits are – and a world without limits is terrifying to them.

  12. irongalt

    It seems to me that far too much attention is devoted to educational institutions. Home schooling, in my experience, gives far more practical knowledge and correct thinking patterns than any institution ever could.

    Furthermore, self-education driven by a genuine interest in the given subject will give you knowledge that will “stick” far better than getting mentally bloated on canned curriculum.

    If the United States’ educational thrust was narrowed down to the useful curriculum, like English, mathematics, mechanics, electronics, chemistry, biology, and libertarianism, the result would be the strongest society the earth has ever seen. (And eliminate useless subjects like social studies, paleontology, sports teams, and sex education)

  13. Myron Pauli

    One of the more bizarre things in Amy Chua’s article is how the “Chinese mother method” demanded that her child be # 1 in every (important) subject in school. Hard to do if there are 2 or more Chinese mothers in the same school – hence home schooling is essential so that every child can be # 1 (in the one person school). Or am I the only person who saw that absurdity in the WSJ article?

    Hugo and Robert make valid points. That the self-indulgent ego messaging of modern methods are wrong does not make the “Chinese” rote-until-you-drop method some guarantee of success for EVERY child regardless of IQ, ability, whatever.

  14. Hugo Schmidt

    “Biology is destiny” you must think that one over again. I’d get called a racist if I applied that statement to Africa.

    I’d like to make myself clear in the strongest possible way here. Even taking the strongest reasonable case for inter-racial intelligence differences, they are completely swamped by the variation between individuals; and furthermore, that difference is hardly a cut-and-dried issue. Any argument that pits Gould against Watson is clearely still live.

    What I am talking about is the biology of individuals, where we are making some significant progress. For instance, Aspeger’s corrolates with high mathematical and scientific achievement. Biology really is destiny there, and it’s as foolish and as cruel to expect a child to excel who doesn’t have the genetic oomf for maths, as to expect one to run a marathon who similarly lacks the biological basis.

  15. Hugo Schmidt

    I also want to state for the record that the state of the African continent is explained perfectly satisfactorally by war, corruption, dictatorship, religious insanity, and aslo by the west exporting some of its nuttier ideas, such as socialism.

    aggregate IQ on the African Continent is rather low,

    I have not seen any serious evidence to substantiate that.

  16. Hugo Schmidt

    No, excuse me. I said “serious evidence”. When I see something published in a serious, peer-reviewed, top-notch journal (preferably Nature or Science) I’ll take note. However, everything I have been reading in these journals on that subject come to the same conclusion: that in terms of widespread groups, it is the culture and the environment that is the principle determinant factor, the the same reason that Europe was people by superstitious, stupid troglodytes four hundred years ago.

  17. Van Wijk

    I also want to state for the record that the state of the African continent is explained perfectly satisfactorally by war, corruption, dictatorship, religious insanity, and aslo by the west exporting some of its nuttier ideas, such as socialism.

    In other words, it’s Whitey’s fault. I’ve heard that one before.

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that a people with a mean IQ of around 80 are the most prone to endless war, corruption, dictatorship, cannibalism, and “countries” that are little more than post-apocalyptic wastelands.

    Or perhaps these horrors are simply parceled out at random by the Fates, and we won the spiritual lottery by being born palefaces.

  18. irongalt

    @ Hugo Schmidt on 01.20.11 11:36 PM: how many * indigenous * Africans could you name that made any significant scientific discoveries / inventions? There are plenty of Europeans, Jews, Canadians, Australians, Asians, Indians, and even South Americans from a decidedly agricultural environment.

    There are certainly strong differences between individuals, but also between groups. Mental capacities will atrophy when not used just like musculature…and consistent disuse will be passed on to offspring, slowly but surely. In nature you see Adaptation, where various permutations of the genetic potential will be activated to suit a consistent environmental situation.

    Socialism, even in the form of international aid, favors the slothful, the stupid, and the senseless. In such a culture, the few people that do possess (or exercise) superior intelligence are stifled as misfits and shunned from society, and eventually the individual either conforms to stupidity or breaks down into suicide.

  19. irongalt

    And Socialism does not need to be “exported”…it seems to be a primal drive in humanity. Haiti is an excellent example of natural-born socialists: both hands out ready to pick your pockets, but unable to pick up the rubble at their own feet.

  20. Myron Pauli

    I would treat that IQ table with a lot of skepticism – for example, fluctuations among the same nation at different times indicates large systematic uncertainties. The Central African IQ mean is well into the sub-retarded level of 80. The average Israeli would be in the bottom 5% in Japan.

    This does not mean I claim that there is not such a thing as innate ability. However, I have always found social “science” to be far more social than science – these tables may be somewhat indicative of some trends but the “IQ numbers” are hardly the same as thermometers indicating temperature.

  21. Robert Glisson

    Hugo: IQ is a rabbit trail, the article about “The Tiger Mom” deals with, “HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILD TO BE SELF SUFFICIENT?” I made the statement about biology and Africa only as an example that Biology alone is not the complete answer. You proved me right in your statement “the state of the African continent is explained perfectly satisfactorily by war, corruption, dictatorship, religious insanity…” ie, environment plays a factor. Myron got the point the first time. The subject, Tiger Mom, is about child rearing; written by a college professor who is also a professional writer. Both professions are known to drive home points by inflating their examples. Her daughter’s comment states that her mom exaggerates her stories in the book to make a point. The references to IQ and countries and race can be found on Steve Sailer’s blog, address to the right, references the subject if you’re interested in that stuff. I’m not. Fame and fortune are not important, raising children that grow up to be stable, self productive individuals is, whether it be in a cosmopolitan city or a mud and waddle bush; child rearing is much too important to ignore or explain away.

  22. Jay Banks

    I am convinced that the whole issue is not about parenting but Amy’s only goal is to boost the sales of her book. She can thus call herself not only a strict mother but also a rich mother. Even though she has decided to share her views with the rest of the world I hope the majority of parents will never use any of these oppressive practices in the process of bringing their children up.

  23. Eruviluion

    @Jay. Seriously? Just as a Turbo increases the performance of a engine, so does a little bit of extra pressure (what you would call “oppression”) increase the performance of your child. Now, if you live in Jamaica, where ambition and competition are dirty words, you may have a point, but if you live in a country where people have to compete for work, wouldn’t it be better for your child to have all he advantages they can? Or do you think the comic book store your son works at will provide him with a sizeable retirement fund?

  24. Van Wijk

    Consider: minus the academic emphasis, most men and women who grew up in the US during the 1930s through the 1950, for example—only a couple of decades back—were treated by their parents the “Asian” way.

    But in this context the academic is primary. Many Asians have an obsession with what Laura Wood calls “educational regimentation” that borders on pathology. I grew up with a few Asian kids whose parents viewed 98 out of 100 as abject failure. Second place was not only not good enough, it was cause for great shame. Such children often buckle under the pressure.

    Sorry, but good old fashioned discipline and humility is not “Asian,” and my grandparents did not raise their children the “Asian” way. They would have found the very notion abhorrent. Does Chua love the West and its history? Is she preparing her children to do so? Does she feel some gratitude at being able to live in this country (since her folks obviously left China for a good reason)? You’ve rightly gone on record against Sinophobia, but here you seem to have swung to the other end of the pendulum into Sinophilia. Neither is warranted.

  25. Hugo Schmidt

    Robert, I’m sorry, but you miss a fundamental point – I was talking about biology being destiny for individuals. It is no contradiction to say it isn’t so for groups. Why do all experiments strive for large groups to compare? To cancel out individual variation. This is science one-oh-one.

    Now, I see – surprise me – that Charles Murray has been mentioned. I once listened to a very interesting debate he was having on black-white IQ differences in America where he mentioned that he did not see these differences in – wait for it – the children of black and white Americans growing up in Germany. [Citation?]

    What Van Wyk is peddling is ahistoric, unscientific, deterministic bullshit.

  26. Van Wijk

    What Van Wyk is peddling is ahistoric, unscientific, deterministic bullshit.

    Awwww, and we were getting along so splendidly.

    Anyway, I wish you the best of luck in lifting black Africa up to peaceful, productive, 1st world nations. I have no doubt that you will succeed.

  27. Robert Glisson

    Hugo:
    I did not miss a fundamental point. You said “Biology is destiny, and that is that.” Complete sentence, no reference to individuals. Nothing in the paragraph that would lead me to think that you were ignoring humanity for the individual. My reading comprehension is fairly good, my mind reading requires work. Inductive instruction is difficult for me to follow.

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