EDITORIAL: Equality and envy

IQ gaffe says more about the opponents of the London mayor

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London’s outspoken mayor stepped into controversy last week by daring to acknowledge that some people are more gifted than others. Labor Party leaders and even a few weak-kneed Conservatives rushed to distance themselves from Boris Johnson over this not-particularly revealing admission.

The controversial statement came in the context of an eloquent, 45-minute tribute to the memory of Margaret Thatcher. Mr. Johnson painted a vivid portrait of the state of decay into which the nation that once “ruled the world” had fallen in the late 1970s and how the conservative prime minister reinvigorated the British spirit of enterprise through the 1980s. By celebrating success and promoting economic opportunity, Mrs. Thatcher’s policies restored the “great” in Great Britain. Meanwhile, the experiment in forced egalitarianism in the Soviet Union collapsed.

Despite its success, capitalism gets a bad rap for accentuating inequality. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’s part of our nature as humans. “Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests,” said the mayor, “it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 percent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 percent have an IQ above 130.”

Cue the outrage machine. “He spoke about those who are less able as if they were some kind of sub-species,” fumed Len Duvall, the London Assembly’s Labor leader. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a Liberal Democrat, called the remarks “unpleasant, careless elitism.”

Mr. Johnson, or Boris as he’s affectionately known, is as an intellectual conservative who has won over the electorate of a liberal world capital — and leftists will never forgive him for that. The scandal mongers hang on his every utterance seeking to twist an innocuous remark into the vehicle for their revenge.

Mr. Johnson points out the obvious, that in a free society, someone working a 9 to 5 job sees a Rolls-Royce driving by and works harder for the chance to share in a better life. Liberals, by contrast, would rather nobody own a luxury car. All must drive a Prius or, better yet, take the bus.

By insisting they know what’s better for everyone else, liberals are the true elitists. As Mr. Johnson noted in a recent column, he doesn’t think the wealthy are better people. “There is no point in wasting any more moral or mental energy in being jealous of the very rich,” says the mayor. “They are no happier than anyone else. They just have more money.”

When liberals feign outrage at being told that 50 percent of the population have below-average or average intelligence, it’s because their worldview isn’t rooted in reality. That’s why socialism, wherever it is tried, fails and conservatives such as Lady Thatcher provoke so much envy with their success.

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