book by Professor Cattell is always an exciting occasion, for
his is certainly one of the most brilliant of contemporary psychologists.
Before he was thirty he had devised the culture-free intelligence
test and worked out a statistical technique for measuring the
decline of the British national intelligence. Later he formulated
the double g theory of fluid and crystallised intelligence and
designed the world famous 16PF. And now we have his latest work:
Whatever is it? It is a new system of ethics designed to bring
about the improvement of the human species. We need a new system
of ethics, Cattell begins by telling us, because the old ethics
based on religion is so clearly breaking down throughout the world.
The new ethics of Beyondism is based not on religion but on science.
Its objective is the improvement of the human beings and society:
a better world. The means of brining about this lie in the application
of Darwin's law of evolution. (206)
who considered the problem of how the world can be improved fall
into one or other of two camps. On the one hand, there are those
who believe it is possible to draw up a blueprint of the ideal
society. Everything is to be planned. This is the vision of socialism.
The alternative approach is that of conservatism. To the conservative,
we are not able to tell what an improved society of the future
would be like, any more than our primate ancestors could imagine
human society, or mediaeval man the advances societies of today.
In the fact of our limited powers of foresight and understanding,
and the unknown discoveries which will be made in the fullness
of time, the best course is to let a better society evolve gradually
of its own accord.
these two approaches, Cattell places himself squarely in the conservative
camp The problem, posed from he viewpoint of the conservation
tradition, is not to sit down and plan a specification for Utopia,
but to set up the conditions under which further evolutionary
progress will occur. For this we need to go back to Darwin, for
he gave us the master theory of the principles of evolution, applicable
not only to the development of different species in the past but
also to the future progress of mankind.
evolution takes place where there is a variety of different types
who compete against one another, and in this competition the fittest
survive and the unfit become extinct. This, therefore, should
be the first principle in the design of human society. The requirement
of diverse competing types applies both to societies and to individuals.
Among societies the unit should be the nation and there should
be the widest variety of different cultures. Some will be capitalist,
some socialist, and some mixed economies. Some will be democracies,
others oligarchies, and yet other dictatorships. They will have
different religions, or none; and they will have different kinds
and distributions of intelligence and personality qualities. The
nations will compete, and in the competitive struggle the fittest
will survive. (207)
the evolutionary process is to bring its benefits, it has to be
allowed to operate effectively. This means that incompetent societies
have to be allowed to go to the wall. This is something we in
advanced societies do not at present face up to and the reason
for this, according to Cattell, is that we have become too soft-hearted.
For instance, the foreign aid which we give to the under-developed
world is a mistake, akin to keeping going incompetent species
like the dinosaurs which are not fit for the competitive struggle
for existence. What is called for here is not genocide, the killing
off of the populations of incompetent cultures. But we do need
to think realistically in terms of "phasing out" of such peoples.
If the world is to evolve more better humans, then obviously someone
has to make way for them otherwise we shall all be overcrowded.
After all, ninety-eight per cent of the of the species known to
zoologists are extinct. Evolutionary progress means the extinction
of the less competent. To think otherwise is mere sentimentality.
a general rule it would be best for national cultures to keep
themselves to themselves and not to admit immigrants. There are
several reasons for this. Isolation would give rise to societies
with greater diversity and individuality, both culturally and
genetically. Indeed, it would be desirable if the human race could
evolve several different non-interbreeding species, since this
would increase the options for evolution to work on. Another reason
for discouraging migration is that migrants are often people of
low genetic quality who reduce the efficiency of the population
first principle for evolutionary progress is therefore competition
between diverse cultures. but we have to think also of the principles
conducive to the efficiency of individual nations especially that
of our own if we wish to be among the survivors.
is of course necessary to improve the society by better education,
health and so forth. Everyone agrees with that. But it is equally
important to improve the genetic quality of society. Cattell maintains
that in order to do this we need to encourage the intelligent
people to have more children and the unintelligent to have fewer.
And here, as in international relationships, the altruistic impulses
have become unhealthily strong in advanced western societies.
For just as in certain people the aggressive impulses, or the
sexual impulses, can get out of hand, the same thing can occur
with the altruistic impulses and has in fact occurred in advanced
western societies. For example, we are too altruistic towards
the poor. People are poor largely because they are incompetent
and unintelligent. Such people should not be encouraged to breed.
Conversely, we are too harsh to the rich. Progressive taxation,
for example, is hard to justify. Why should the rich have to contribute
more than anyone else through taxation to the maintenance of state
services, since they do not benefit more from them? Morally, this
cannot be justified. Eugenically, it is equally undesirable. For
the rich are rich, broadly speaking, because they are intelligent
and competent and we should encourage them to have more children.
Let them keep their money and they may be persuaded to do so.
We should allow the effects of competition full reign within societies
as well as between societies. For it is through competition that
evolutionary progress will take place.
speaking, you man say. No doubt, but then Cattell is saying that
this is a tough world. It is the law of evolution which is tough,
and you cannot fight against the laws of nature. You have instead
to work with them, working with the grain and not against it.
Ignoring the laws of nature brings its own nemesis. Thus a society
which has grown too soft towards its incompetents, encouraging
them to multiply unduly, and places too great handicaps on its
more efficient and enterprising, will itself become an incompetent
society and will in time fall victim to a more vigorous nation.
Moral defects within societies are thereby corrected in the competitive
struggle between societies. The law of evolution cannot be fought
or circumvented. We can ignore it, at our peril, or we can recognize
it and work with it. But if all this -- nature red in tooth and
claw -- seems harsh, we have to remember that this is the mechanism
through which evolutionary progress takes place, through which
man himself has evolved from more primitive forms of life, and
through which future progress will occur.
so for Cattell the basic principles for a scientific ethics are
these: diverse societies and types; competition between societies
and between individuals; survival of the fittest, extinction of
the unfit. This is the way to a better world. How different from
most prescriptions for Utopia, with their socialistic world states
in which competition is extinguished and all men work together
in a spirit of co-operation, brotherly love and, no doubt, boredom.
And how different is Raymond Cattell today from the young Raymond
Cattell who in the nineteen thirties, in his Fight for the National
Intelligence, described himself as a Socialist. Over the last
forty years Cattell has evidently travelled (sic!) the long road
from radical Socialist to high Tory. He is not the first to have
done so. Those who share this latter viewpoint will welcome a
recruit of such undoubted brilliance as Raymond Cattell.