The Roots of Civilization, by Dr. William Pierce

The unabridged classic 1979 article from Dr. William Pierce.

The Roots of Civilization
(from Attack! magazine, Issue No. 59, 1979)

Human intelligence has more than one facet. The relative degree of development of the different facets varies from person to person, and, much more markedly, from race to race. White Americans must learn to distinguish between these facets – which is equivalent to distinguishing between style and substance – and they must understand that it is the substantive facet only which nourishes the roots of their civilization.

Turn on a local television news program in just about any large city in this country, and the chances are excellent that you’ll see and hear at least one Black announcer telling what’s happening. He’ll be dressed and groomed just like the White announcers, and, in most cases, his enunciation will be so similar that you can close your eyes for a moment and almost convince yourself that you are listening to a White person.

In smoothly modulated tones the Black announcer will tell you about the intricacies of the latest financial scandal at city hall, give you a crisp rundown on coming cultural events, and perhaps even offer a sage comment or two on the state of public morality. Never once will he stumble over the polysyllabic words in his script or lapse into Kingfisher-style malapropisms. At the end of the program he will engage in the customary few seconds of light banter with the other news announcers, and you can hardly help being overwhelmed by the conviction that, really, the only difference between the Black and his White colleagues is a matter of pigmentation.

That, of course, is exactly the conviction the producers and directors of the program intend for you to be overwhelmed by. It is a conviction vastly different from that held by most White Americans only a generation ago. Then the prevalent image was one of Blacks who could hardly be taught to tie their shoes or ride a bicycle, much less read a news script; of Blacks who, if hired as newscasters, would as likely as not come shuffling into the newsroom late and drunk, dressed in orange, pink, and chartreuse finery, and proudly announce to the world in slurred accents, “Ain’t I jes’ about de uppities’ nigger you is ever see’d?”

That is a simplistic image – but so is the one created by today’s media managers. Blacks can be taught to read news scripts, to get to work on time (and sober), and to dress and talk like Whites. But the differences between Blacks and Whites remain far deeper than their skins, and those concerned with the survival of Western civilization need to understand the differences fully.

The difference which has been most widely discussed is a quantitative difference in the average IQ’s of Blacks and Whites: the Black population of the United States consistently scores 15 per cent lower on standard IQ tests than does the White population. So, while Blacks can be taught to read, they cannot be taught to do so as easily as Whites.

But there is also a qualitative difference in the intelligence of Blacks and Whites, and this difference is even more significant than the quantitative difference in IQ’s. Blacks, in other words, are not just slower to learn, on the average, than Whites, but Blacks – all Blacks – have mental processes which are qualitatively different from those of Whites.

In this regard, it is interesting to note that liberal apologists for Blacks who have tried to explain away low Black IQ scores with the claim that the tests are biased against Blacks are partly correct. But they are mistaken in asserting that the bias is essentially cultural in nature; Blacks whose cultural environment is not significantly different from that of Whites still score lower than Whites.

IQ tests are biased against Blacks to the extent that they require abstraction. At learning tasks which require nothing more than memory – e.g., simple arithmetical operations and spelling – properly motivated Blacks can do nearly as well as Whites. But at tasks which require inference – and this includes virtually all problem-solving operations – Black performance falls so far below that of Whites that the two can hardly be compared on the same scale.

Standard IQ tests mask rather than reveal the true mental gulf which exists between Blacks and Whites, in that they do not measure solely the ability to reason abstractly. Reading comprehension tests, for example, which make up a large part of most IQ tests, measure both memory and inferential ability. If they measured inferential ability only, the difference between the average scores for Blacks and Whites would be far greater than 15 per cent.

This Black inability to reason inferentially and to deal with abstract concepts is reflected in the almost total absence of Blacks in those professions requiring abstract reasoning ability of a high order: physics and mathematics, for example. Government quotas have brought a sharp increase in the number of Blacks in American colleges and universities in the last two decades, and Black college graduates have flooded into the non-scientific professions, but the sciences have remained virtually all White. You may see Black nuclear physicists in TV movies, but in real life the only Blacks one finds in physics laboratories are janitors and technicians – and not many have qualified as technicians.

It is unfortunate that this Black shortcoming is overlooked by many people, but it is easy to see why this is so: most of us have a simplistic notion of human intelligence. We think of some people as being “dull” or “slow” and others as being “bright.” If a person is “dull,” he is slack jawed and unkempt, his speech is slow, and his vocabulary is limited; our vision of him is modeled on that of the classic village idiot. And we think of a “bright” person as one with a quick tongue and a neat appearance.

We have been taught by TV that our former classification of Blacks as a race of village idiots was in error. So now we make the opposite error of assuming that, since many of them have a quick tongue and a neat appearance, they are approximately as “bright” as White people.

“The essential quality, or value, of civilization is its utility in advancing the biological level of the race which has created it.”

Human intelligence is many-faceted. It cannot be adequately characterized by such terms as “dullness” or “brightness.” A good memory and a facile tongue – i.e., what modern educators loosely refer to as “verbal skills” – do not imply an ability to deal with abstract concepts and solve problems.

The former and the latter are separate – and independent – facets of intelligence. The former is what we more easily notice, but it is the latter on which our civilization is based. And the latter is sharply race-dependent.

The racial dependence of abstract reasoning ability is no secret. Anatomists have been aware for many years of the morphological differences between the brains of Blacks and Whites, and neurologists and psychologists today understand that it is in precisely those portions of the brain which in Blacks are less developed than in Whites that abstract reasoning takes place.

But because Blacks do not suffer a corresponding deficiency in their ability to develop verbal skills, we allow ourselves to assume equality where there is none, and we try to explain away troublesome facts such as low IQ scores with nonsense about “cultural bias.”

This error in assuming Black intellectual equality on the basis of the skills displayed by Black news announcers is just one aspect of a general tendency today to confuse style for substance, and the confusion is not limited to our estimate of Black intellect but also warps our understanding of ourselves and our concept of progress. A large degree of responsibility for the problem lies with our system of higher education.

We live in an era of mass education, in which the prevailing opinion seems to be that everyone, including the village idiot, is entitled to and should have four years of university training. That opinion is born of the same lunatic mania for equality which has fathered some of the peculiar racial policies of the day.

The proper function of a university is the training of scholars, and no society needs or can tolerate more than a small percentage of them – not to mention the fact that the natural abundance of satisfactory raw material for the production of scholars is rather low in any normal society. In addition to this function, there is also a need for advanced training in a number of professions: engineering and medicine, for example.

Every citizen, of course, should have a working knowledge of the basic skills of civilized life: of reading, grammar, composition, arithmetic, and elementary science. Beyond this, he should have a sufficient familiarity with the history, the culture, and the social and political institutions of his people that he feels a strong sense of identity. This necessarily means a study of history, literature, and that subject matter generally designated “civics.”

But it is neither necessary nor healthy to send the bulk of a nation’s young people to a university for four years, simply postponing for that length of time their coming to grips with their lives and beginning useful activity of one sort or another. And it is extraordinarily mischievous to take millions of young men and women whose natural endowments suit them best for lives of simple, manual activity; to make them sit in university lecture rooms for four years engaging in meaningless work culminating in meaningless diplomas; and to convince them thereby that manual work is “beneath” them.

Twelve years of elementary and secondary schooling, properly organized, is sufficient for all but a small percentage of a nation’s youth. The fact that our high schools do not now produce with satisfactory efficiency graduates with either the requisite grounding in the basic skills of civilized life or a strong sense of national and racial identity is not a good reason for compounding the inefficiency for another four years. Instead, it is a reason for reorganizing our whole system of elementary and secondary education.

A great deal more could be said on this extraordinary important topic, but the one essential point we want to bring out here is that the unnatural and unrealistic development which has taken place in our educational system in recent years gives us an unrealistic view of the world. In order to make universal higher education possible – in order to make it possible for virtually anyone, Black or White, to have a university degree – we have had to change, subtly but drastically, the whole meaning of higher education. We have had to accept style in the place of substance. Worse, we have come to prefer style over substance.

Nowadays there is a prejudice against cluttering up one’s mind with all the pesky, troublesome details of a subject, whether history or mathematics. That is too much like manual labor. Instead, one learns “concepts”; one looks at “the big picture.”

We give A’s to students who can run off at the mouth for half an hour about the history of Western civilization or the integral calculus, but who cannot tell you with any degree of certainty in what century it was that the Goths smashed the power of the Huns in Western Europe (or, more importantly, what the racial characteristics of these two peoples were) and who cannot actually produce a correct numerical answer to a word problem requiring the setting up and evaluation of a definite integral.

We have shifted the emphasis, in other words, from the training of analytical ability to the development of the modern educators’ beloved “verbal skills.” We have shifted from problem solving to rhetoric, from substance to style.

And most of us do not realize it – least of all those who are most intimately involved in it. A man or woman who has spent four years learning to talk a good line about a lot of things he doesn’t really understand is the last person ready to accept the fact of his own ignorance – or the fact of the race-based inferiority of the smooth-talking Black news announcer.

This emphasis of style over substance leads, as I mentioned, to a warped notion of progress. It leads to the conceit that we are much cleverer people than our ancestors were. After all, we have space ships and lasers and computers, and our ancestors didn’t. Furthermore, we can talk for hours about these marvels – we can tell you all about them – whereas a Spartan or Goth would have been struck dumb with awe over any one of them.

This notion is, of course, an illusion – a very dangerous one. Actually it is virtually certain that the average IQ of the Spartans and the Goths, if there were some way we could test them, would prove to be somewhat higher than that the average White American of today – and substantially higher than that of our Black news announcers. This is a simple consequence of the dysgenic effects of civilized life (not that civilization must necessarily be dysgenic, but that Western civilization has, as a matter of fact, been so).

“The level of civilization which a people can develop and maintain is a function of the biological quality, the racial quality, of that people – in particular, of its problem-solving ability.”

Civilization is, despite its many faults, a wonderful thing. It is even, in a sense, a necessary thing – although it is not an end in itself (despite what conservatives may think).

The essential quality, or value, of civilization is its utility in advancing the biological level of the race which has created it. The fact that civilization has not, in general, been used in this way until now does not make this definition of its essence invalid. This, like education, is a big topic in itself, and much can be said about it. But let us restrict ourselves here to a narrower topic, namely, the qualities of a race which endow it with civilization-building ability.

“Verbal skills” may have a high survival value for the individual who possesses them, but they are not civilization-building skills. A smooth line of patter may help in selling rugs or insurance; the faster talker may more often land the good job or the pretty girl; the person with a large vocabulary and an easy, self-confident more of expression usually makes a good impression on others – a “bright” impression. But it is the analytical thinker, the problem-solver, who, glib or not, is the founder and sustainer of civilizations.

The clever office-seeker, the successful rug merchant, the adaptable mimic, the fluent news announcer – all have more-or-less useful roles to play in civilized life – but the very existence of that civilized life depends upon men with an altogether different set of skills. That is true of Western civilization today, and it will also be true of the new civilization which we must build if our race is to fulfill its ordained mission and achieve its ordained destiny.

Today Western liberals are working very hard to help the Third World become “developed” – i.e., civilized. They want to prove that the Blacks and Browns of the world have just as much capacity for civilization as Whites do. And if one visits Kenya or Nigeria, one sees what does seem like a Black civilization: Blacks driving automobiles, operating elevators, using typewriters and calculators and telephones, even flying airplanes.

But it is an illusion. It is the style of civilization rather than its substance. And to the extent that even this style is maintained, there is a White minority present to keep the wheels turning. In those African countries which became so uppity that the White technicians and administrators were forced to leave, civilization has ground rapidly to a halt and the jungle vines have begun taking over again.

When a diesel tractor or an electrical generator or a telephone switching system breaks down in Africa, it stays broken down until a White man fixes it – despite all the Black graduates African universities have been turning out recently. And it is not a cultural problem or an educational problem.

In this country half a century ago few farmers had ever seen a university. Many had not even been to high school. Yet, when a tractor broke down they got it running again, one way or another. They pulled it into the barn, took it apart, puzzled out the difficulty, figured a way to fix it – and then did it, often using extremely primitive facilities.

It wasn’t a matter of culture. It’s what was called “Yankee ingenuity.” It’s a racial trait.

Today civilization is more complex than it was 50 years ago. A considerably higher degree of “Yankee ingenuity” is required to keep it running. Very few of us who glibly talk about space ships and lasers and computers realize that we owe the existence of these things to an extraordinarily tiny minority of our people. The technology as well as the science involved in producing something like a pocket calculator is quite complex. A lot of people can talk about it, but very, very few are capable of actually solving the problems – involved in designing and building such a gadget so that it does what it’s supposed to.

Another thing many of us do not realize is what a thin thread it is which supports civilizations in general and our present technological civilization in particular. We are holding onto this thread only by the skin of our teeth, only by exerting ourselves to the utmost of our creative abilities.

I am afraid the average American today would assume – if he bothered to think about it – that if the average IQ of the American population were to decline by, say, five per cent as a result of racial interbreeding or a continuation of other dysgenic practices, it would perhaps cause a corresponding decline of five per cent in the level of our civilization. That is not so; it would cause our civilization to collapse. That is exactly what has happened to many other civilizations in the past, far less technologically advanced. Our situation, because of the complexity of our civilization and its dependence on high technology, is much more precarious.

The level of civilization which a people can develop and maintain is a function of the biological quality, the racial quality, of that people – in particular, of its problem-solving ability. That is why Blacks and certain other races have never developed even a rudimentary civilization and are incapable of sustaining a civilization built for them by Whites – despite the apparent “brightness” of many Blacks. And it is why the race which built Western civilization not only must eliminate the racially alien elements from its midst but also change those social, political, and economic institutions which continue to result in an increasing proportion of Whites who are problem-makers rather than problem-solvers.

The reason for this necessity is not, as I have already mentioned, that our civilization is an end in itself, but that it provides us with the potential means for increasing our own racial quality. The tools of a civilization, once it has reached a sufficiently high level – and we have reached that level – allow us not only to weed out the problem-makers from our midst, but to insure that we will produce even more capable problem-solvers than we have produced in the past. That, in turn, allows the achievement and maintenance of a still higher level of civilization – which still further enhances our capability for producing better problem-solvers.

We stand today at a threshold. If we cross it successfully, we will be on the upward path toward Godhood. But to cross it requires a realization of what it is that lies at the roots of civilization; it requires the ability to distinguish between style and substance; and it requires that we value substance above style.