Once we recognize that large differences in achievement among races, nations and civilizations have been the rule, not the exception, throughout recorded history, there is at least some hope of rational thought – and perhaps even some constructive efforts to help everyone advance.
The desire of intellectuals for some grand theory that will explain complex patterns with some solitary and simple factor has produced many ideas that do not stand up under scrutiny, but which have nevertheless had widespread acceptance – and sometimes catastrophic consequences – in countries around the world.
Intellectuals, whom we might expect to counter mass hysteria with rational analysis, have all too often been in the vanguard of those promoting envy and resentment of the successful.
The false dichotomy that it must be one or the other leaves more successful groups with a choice between arrogance and guilt. It leaves less successful groups with the choice of believing that they are inherently inferior for all time or else that they are victims of the unconscionable malice of others.
George Orwell once said that some ideas are so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them. Multiculturalism is one of those ideas. The intelligentsia burst into indignation or outrage at "gaps" or "disparities" in educational, economic or other outcomes – and denounce any cultural explanation of these group differences as "blaming the victim."
The biggest losers in all this are those members of racial minorities who allow themselves to be led into the blind alley of resentment and rage, even when there are broad avenues of opportunity available. And we all lose when society is polarized.