Fascism, Racism, and Reading Lots of Books

I was reading a pretty controversial book called The Bell Curve. 👨‍💻

It’s controversial, because the authors argue that:

  1. You can generally measure intelligence (IQ) using standardized testing.
  2. Intelligence varies among different groups.

Point #1 is kind of problematic to a lot of people, but not so much to me…

And you can probably see how #2 can be really problematic…🤔

Since if this argument was true, could be used to justify racism, classicism, genderism, etc. 

So it’s Point #2 that has led to a lot of controversy of the book…📖

And probably with good reason…

However, I’m too early into the book (like 60 pages) to make any major value judgments. 

Still, if this book could be used to support oppressive or racist policies, why am I reading it?  

Well, amongst other things, I’m curious about the arguments.

This book was: 

Written by two Harvard professors in the mid-90s…

Endorsed by Milton Friedman (considered one of the great economists of the 21st century)…

And a New York Times bestseller. 

Plus, I’m always I’m interested in taboo. 

And before you get too freaked out…

Let me share something else: 

At the same time, I was also about 145 pages into a book called How Fascism Works…

Which is by a Yale Professor of Philosophy who, as far as I can tell, is pretty radically liberal.

In this book…

The author derides books like The Bell Curve, and the research methods employed by the authors, as supporting racist, ultimately fascist policies. 

And on top of that…

At that point of time, I just finished the first book in a three-part history of The Third Reich…

Which is all about the regime’s rise to power. 

So why am I spending time studying all of these things?

The simple answer is I find this stuff interesting. 

Today, in 2020, we see the charges of “fascism” being thrown out pretty regularly…

Some on the left are convinced Trump is a fascist maniac with dictatorial aspirations…

Some on the right are convinced that BLM, COVID-19 Policy, and other societal shifts are paving the way for a Marxist-fascist “end of America”…

And in general, a lot of people are spending a lot of time being scared of things that they only half-understand. 

So my solution: try to understand things better. 

I think history can be instructive in this mission…

And I think it’s also important to study opposing viewpoints around controversial but salient issues…

Because critical thinking is how we grow intellectually…

But in order to think critically…

One tends to need a holistic view of any issue…

Which means studying both sides.  

That’s one concern I have with the state of society today: 

We typically seek out confirmation bias. 

AKA, the echo chambers that social media often helps to support…

And that’s scary…

Because if the members of a society only consider viewpoints that match their existing beliefs…

And never take the time to authentically listen to others…

That’s what leads to homogeny of thoughts and ideas…

And it can be what truly helps to accelerate us on a path towards fascism (as compared to faux fascism, the label that groups tend to throw on others who disagree with them). 

For me personally…

I see this happening on both sides of the political spectrum…

Not all the time – there are plenty on the left who are reasonable, and plenty on the right who are reasonable…

But there also seems to be a lot of all-or-nothing declarations happening today…

And I want to escape that “Zero Sum Thinking”…

While giving myself a robust filter with which to view the events in the world today. 

Now I know, this is technically a copywriter’s blog…

And he’s talking about politics, philosophy, and facism…

So WTF?

Here’s the one speculation I’ll leave you with: 

People have often asked me how I come up with unique or big ideas…

Whether that’s in copy, or in business in general.

I don’t have a concrete answer…

But I do think that reading voraciously plays a large part. 

And not just any type of reading…

Reading a wide range of books on a multitude of subjects. 

A long time ago, my friend Cameron said something about reading that’s always stuck with me: 

“When I’m reading, I can literally feel my brain growing smarter.” 

Sounds silly, but I got what he meant…

And even if you look at the way this post was written, compared to the past several…

I think you’ll notice a difference in the vocabulary I used, and even the sentence structure.

This wasn’t intentional…

But after reading intellectually challenging books…

My brain is firing on a much different level than it would have been if I’d just spent that time watching Netflix. 

So yeah – I’m a big advocate for reading more…

And hopefully, this post inspires you in some way. 

 

 

– SPG 

P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link. 

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