Commentary: "Elites throughout the West are living a lie, basing the futures of their societies on the assumption that all groups of people are equal in all respects. Lie is a strong word, but justified. It is a lie because so many elite politicians who profess to believe it in public do not believe it in private. It is a lie because so many elite scholars choose to ignore what is already known and choose not to inquire into what they suspect. We enable ourselves to continue to live the lie by establishing a taboo against discussion of group differences.
The taboo is not perfect—otherwise, I would not have been able to document this essay—but it is powerful. Witness how few of Harvard’s faculty who understood the state of knowledge about sex differences were willing to speak out during the Summers affair. In the public-policy debate, witness the contorted ways in which even the opponents of policies like affirmative action frame their arguments so that no one can accuse them of saying that women are different from men or blacks from whites. Witness the unwillingness of the mainstream media to discuss group differences without assuring readers that the differences will disappear when the world becomes a better place.
The taboo arises from an admirable idealism about human equality. If it did no harm, or if the harm it did were minor, there would be no need to write about it. But taboos have consequences.
The nature of many of the consequences must be a matter of conjecture because people are so fearful of exploring them."