Hans Eysenck defends his right his right to speak.
Hitler banned IQ testing, "becauseit was Jewish", Stalin banned it "because it was bourgeois". Now Wiley have reneged on a contract to publish Chris Brand's new book, having previously stated that "Christopher Brand has provided a concise, accessible and critical review of the scientific evidence and addressed these fundamental questions in a challenging book which will both inform and provoke continuing discussion of intelligence and psychometric testing."If anything the blurb is conservative; this is a brilliant book, showing great historical insight, considerable grasp of essentials, great critical power and creative awareness of daunting complexities. In addition,it is written in excellent English, an art that seems to have deserted most psychologists. So what went wrong?
According to some newspaper reports, John Wiley took exception to some interviews Brand is alleged to have given, voicing his opinion that blacks have lower intelligence than whites and that single mothers should be encouraged to breed with intelligent males.I do not wish to be associated witheither view, as stated; I suspect thatthe "single mothers" comment was anill-advised joke.
But this is completely irrelevant tothe main issue - the right of free speech. However wrong-headed an opinion,the speaker has a right to put it forward. Rational discourse, argument and criticism will soon show that it is justthat - wrong-headed. This is the fundamental democratic way that political correctness seeks to undermine and abandon - what is not politically correct must be exterminated.
I well recall my early days in Hitler's Germany, when heretical books by socialists and Jews were exorcised and burned. Many were banned. Nothing and nobody was allowed to criticise the almighty Reich, or its rightto decide what was true and what was false. Free speech was a liberal illusion, fostered by Jews to destroy true Aryans.
I pointed out many years ago in The Psychology of Politics that therewas a left-wing fascism as well as aright-wing one, just as bigoted, intolerant and illiberal.
Brand has fallen prey to this new bigotry of political correctness -Thou shalt not say anything of which Big Brother does not approve. I have seen no protests in the papers, no sign of revulsion in the journals. Have we forgotten Voltaire's famous saying: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!" Fine words, but where are the deeds?
Hans Eysenck is professor emeritus of psychology, University of London