Why Have Asians Not Dominated?

chin-kee china man sterotype

Here is a long excerpt from an even longer article that explains why IQ is not enough to push the Asian to world dominance. It amounts to a striking scientific argument for keeping Asians out of the West.

Excerpt from Amren

Why did China never make the jump from trial-and-error technology to true science? Why did it show so little interest in analytical philosophy? Why did it never develop a political system more sophisticated than that of the god-Emperor? Why was the idea of political participation, so widespread in Europe in both the ancient and the late mediaeval world, absent in China? Why was there no civil society?

Could it be that sufficiently propitious circumstances never arose to drive Asians beyond a certain point, that Europe surged ahead by luck rather than any innate difference? This is improbable because China has been a sophisticated society for several thousand years.

The above critique of the myth of Chinese cultural superiority may carry within it suggestions of why Asians have not achieved cultural supremacy. IQ may be a necessary but not sufficient condition for that advance. First, however, it is important to note that IQ is not of a piece. Although the average Asian IQ is higher than the white IQ overall, it is not higher in all respects. Asians score substantially higher than whites on non-verbal tests but lower than whites on verbal tests. They score particularly well on spatial tests.

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This IQ profile may be associated with the Asian adherence to an ideographic form of writing. If one set a genius and a dullard the task of developing a writing system, the genius would come up with an alphabet and the dullard some form of pictorial representation. The genius would see that an alphabet was a more economical and powerful means of representation because it required only a small number of symbols. The dullard would merely keep adding to the number of pictures. Of course the Chinese went far beyond crude pictograms, but by retaining a pictorial system they ended up with a form of writing that requires several thousand characters.

In the 15th century, the Koreans invented an alphabet called Hangul, but this was in imitation of alphabets invented by others. It may be that East Asians failed to develop an alphabet on their own because of their leaning towards the visual and the spatial.

The greater Asian aptitude on non-verbal tests and lower ability on verbal tests can also be interpreted as meaning that Asians are adapted to solving what I would call bounded problems. These are problems that have clear boundaries, such as how to build a canal or how to care for silkworms, rather than problems without boundaries, such as inquiring about the nature of the good, the purpose of life, or what constitutes art.

At the same time, IQ is hardly the only measure by which the races differ, and both J. Philippe Rushton and Richard Lynn have written about racial differences in personality. Although intelligence is the best studied and most accurately measured mental trait, there are also reasonably well developed measures of many other traits. Compared to whites, Asians are more cautious, less impulsive, less aggressive, less sociable, less psychopathic, and have lower self-regard (the same can be said about whites compared to blacks). Though they have not been studied as extensively as intelligence, racial differences on these scales are so consistent that it makes almost as much sense to speak of a race or group’s “average personality” as it does to speak of its average IQ.

Asians also have lower levels of testosterone compared to whites (who have less testosterone than blacks), and testosterone is closely associated with aggressiveness, risk-taking, and criminality.

These differences support the conclusion that the Asian personality is less enquiring or adventurous than that of the Caucasian, less verbal or sociable, and more conformist and submissive. This is not the type of personality that — despite an advantage in average IQ — pushes a society towards the achievements that characterize the West: developing an industrial revolution from scratch, creating modern science, giving birth to analytical philosophy, and evolving many varied forms of political life that value the contribution of the individual.

When they are a minority in high-IQ, Western societies, Asians tend to fill technical posts that favor higher IQs, or engage in business, much of which is conducted within their own group. They make relatively little headway in areas that require the highest level of “people skills,” such as politics or advocacy groups. They are excellent accountants, computer technicians, and engineers — these are professions in which their natural abilities blossom — but they do not distinguish themselves in professions that require verbal gifts and gregariousness: politician, comedian, lawyer.

Asians also tend to show very little antisocial behavior. Their crime rates are low, and they rarely portray themselves as victims of racism or demand race-based privileges (though see last month’s cover story, “Asian Race Consciousness”). This tendency to follow the rules and not to call attention to themselves either as a group or as individuals seems to fit the Asian personality.

What has been the Asian record since industrialization? Asians have had the invaluable example of European industry, science, and general cultural heritage, and have made much better use of it than any other non-Western racial group. However, their record is patchy. Japan has been able to duplicate the technology of the West but has not been able to surpass it. In the 1970s, many Americans feared Japan would dominate it economically and financially, but just as it seemed to pull abreast of the West, it began to stagnate and has shown little growth since the 1980s.

China has not been able to bridge the oceanic gulf in wealth and sophistication between its coastal cities and the vast Chinese interior. No Asian society has achieved much success in fundamental scientific discovery or technological innovation that goes beyond the adaptation of what has been invented or discovered elsewhere. Nor, despite the large populations of Asians living in advanced European societies, can we find front-rank scientists in proportion to their numbers. In the social sciences their contributions are practically invisible. This lack of top-level achievement is particularly striking given that Asians have higher incomes than whites, go farther in school, and start more businesses.

Asians have adopted Western culture as well as Western technology. The Japanese, in particular, are famous for imitating both high and low white culture, from Beethoven to the Beatles. Asian Harry Potter fans are among the most frenzied in the world. The sites on Prince Edward Island associated with the children’s book series about Anne of Green Gables attract as many Japanese as they do Americans or Canadians. Asians have enthusiastically copied the architecture of the West and have even been willing to tear down many fine examples of indigenous architecture.

There is no equivalent of Asian mass culture entering white societies. The most that can be found are periodic outbreaks of the use of oriental art and motifs by European designers.

This willingness to imitate might seem odd in view of the traditionally static nature of Asian societies. Perhaps it could be ascribed to the feelings of inferiority that arose when Asians faced the power of the industrialized West. In China’s case it might arise from a sense of humiliation because of European quasi-colonialism in the 19th century. Many Chinese would say they are modernizing only now because they were held back by white control and manipulation, but this does not fit with the facts. China had centuries during which it could have pulled ahead of the West, and European meddling effectively ended in 1949.

In any case, to copy culture as well as technology shows a strange lack of ambition. Why not do something whites have never done?

One could argue that imitation comes more naturally in conformist, less individualistic societies. Or rather, it may be natural to imitate certain aspects of life but not others. Asians do not show an appetite for imitating social structures. The Japanese and South Koreans may have formally adopted systems of elective government from European examples, but traditional social relations remain strong. Those countries accept practices that in the West would be considered straightforward bribery, and voters are greatly influenced by collective loyalties. As for China, the Communist elite have managed to retain control while allowing some economic freedom. They have certainly avoided democratization, and the government continues openly to manipulate the law.

Japan’s imitation of the West is especially striking, given its earlier suspicions. After some 16th and 17th century experience with European merchants and priests, in the 1630s it took the dramatic step of sealing the country off from all but the most limited European contact. This self-imposed isolation lasted more than two centuries until Commodore Matthew Perry forced trade on the Japanese in 1853.

A new elite ideology then emerged that saw imitation of certain aspects of Western countries as the best way to compete with them. This new ideology was accepted by the people with astonishing readiness despite the earlier policy of isolation. Why did this transition take place so easily? Most probably because of an average personality that is unusually susceptible to authority.

One of the most striking examples of both the remarkable ability and remarkable limitedness of Asians is the history of the Chinese admiral Zheng He. From 1405 to 1433 he commanded a series of seven extraordinary voyages throughout South East Asia and to such places as India, Ceylon, the Arabian peninsula, and even East Africa. The admiral’s largest ships were enormous, six-masted junks estimated to have been 100 yards or more long, and he travelled with tens of thousands of men and hundreds of vessels. His ships were many times larger than anything afloat in the West, and if the Chinese had devoted themselves to sea power, they would certainly have dominated trade and could have discovered and colonized the Americas.

However, there was a change of emperor, and the new regime had no interest in exploration. Zheng He died on the last voyage, and the emperor ordered the fleet burned. That was the end of China as a maritime power.

In the hands of the West, sea power dramatically changed history. In the hands of the Chinese, it was a means to satisfy a fleeting curiosity about foreigners. China had unsurpassed technology, but did not have the spirit to turn that technology into world or even regional dominance.

Despite their higher average IQ, Asians have failed to become the culturally dominant race probably because innate personality traits work against them. Compared to Europeans, they are passive, unquestioning, and lacking in initiative. The next 50 years will probably see a continuing rise in the economic and military power of China, but if history is any guide, this rise in power will not be matched by innovation, and China’s cultural contributions will remain insignificant.

4 thoughts on “Why Have Asians Not Dominated?

  1. Pingback: 20161113-2041-Link | FlynnsPaws Blogs

  2. highest mongoloid (not Asian, since they are not) IQ is a very high negative number, since Integrity & Quality (IQ) are detested by all mongoloids. This is why they have the highest pollution, and poorest diet, very often.

    underlying philosophy of mongoloids (as their “god” con-fucius said) : to deceive is a virtue, and to get away with your deceptions (crimes) is divine”.

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