“Cycle of Poverty” Is Just Another Way of Saying “Idiot’s Limbo”

Case in point: This article (“Caught in the cycle of poverty”, Anna Gorman) from the LAT, which is a microcosm of everything that is wrong in US demographic and social policy. It is a story about the “challenges” facing a poverty-stricken African American woman clearly intended to evoke sympathy for her. That didn’t go over well in the readers’ comments section even though the LAT is basically the West Coast equivalent of the liberal/lefty NYT.

Indeed, at first glance, it is difficult to find sympathy for her. Our heroine, Natalie Cole, is a high school dropout who’d popped out two kids by the age of 17 (!). She then popped out another two with her Latino boyfriend. She was asked to write a resume for her job application but never did so. She does not take her medications or turn up for appointed check-ups despite already by the age of 27 being “heavyset” (read: Obese) and suffering from a variety of health ailments. She shoplifts. According to the author, “She wants to provide a better life for her children but seems not to know how.”

On the other hand however we have to bear in mind that LAT readers are fairly intelligent, whereas there is cause to doubt Ms. Cole is even functionally literate. She has most of the correlates of a dull person: Single motherhood; inability to follow simple instructions; obesity; etc. Despite wanting to, she seems unable to get a GED certificate. From the portrait given by the LAT it is hard to imagine her having an IQ of more than 75. No amount of further education or counseling can bestow her with the tools to escape idiot’s limbo. As such, it is obviously unfair to judge Ms. Cole so harshly for her welfare dependency.

Nonetheless, it is also easy to understand the frustration of LAT commentators, many of whom as taxpayers indirectly fund Ms. Cole and her fecund lifestyle. A lifestyle which social services bizarrely, inexplicably encourage. When Ms. Cole thought she had become pregnant with a fifth child (!), she seemed completely nonchalant about it even though she clearly cannot support her present four in decent conditions even after welfare payouts. In China she’d have long since been sterilized. In the US, her counselor told her, “Children are a blessing. You are just gonna have to be stable.” Idiocracy here were come.

Yet as I stressed above, angrily condemning Ms. Cole and others like her is both pointless and arguably even unethical. Why should she be subjected to such spleen just for doing so badly in life’s genetic lottery (born 1 S.D. below the Black IQ average)? From the LAT article, while she may be dull, she does not seem to be a bad person or an uncaring mother. On the other hand, it’s also unfair to ask of productive members of society to subsidize her reproductive successes.

What’s more not only is it unfair but it is also socially ruinous due to its pro-dysgenics nature, given that IQ is about 75% heritable. In this respect her children are the rule, not the exception: “But Peter, sullen and quiet, has already been kicked out of several schools for fighting and was arrested for shooting a BB gun at passing cars. And Destiny, outgoing and affectionate, has trouble keeping up with her classmates.”

(Dysgenics isn’t just an American problem but a problem of the Black community in particular. Most research on the matter seems to indicate that dysgenic trends are stronger among Blacks than Whites, first because low-IQ blacks tend to have more children relative to high-IQ blacks than low-IQ whites to high-IQ whites, second, because the average age of childbirth is lower among blacks so generational change accrues more quickly.)

That said, this isn’t of course a call to cut off all welfare and throw Ms. Cole and Co. onto the streets, as many Republicans would like to do. Nor is it necessary to adopt Chinese policies of coercive sterilization. Equitable solutions follow naturally from a honest appraisal of reality. Namely, Ms. Cole can be granted very generous welfare, for as long as she wishes – on condition that she get sterilized. Everyone should be eligible for this offer but of course it will almost invariably be the right people, like Ms. Cole, who will be taking advantage of it. Essentially, they can be bribed out of the gene pool. Otherwise, idiot’s limbo – or whatever euphemism it will go under – will encompass an ever greater share of the population until we arrive we really are living in a world of Idiocracy.

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