Great Emancipations

Emancipation is any effort to procure economic and social rightspolitical rights or equality, often for a specifically disenfranchised group__ Emancipation in Wikipedia

Over the past two centuries, there have been at least four “great emancipations” in the western world.

  1. The Emancipation Edict of 1861 in Russia

  2. The Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 in the US

  3. The Emancipation of Jews in Europe and the Anglosphere in the 19th century

  4. The Emancipation of women also known as Women’s Sufferage

Emancipation can be viewed as a type of “unleashing,” as in letting an animal off of a leash. One can expect different results from an unleashing, depending upon what animal is being released from restraint.

For most of the centuries of Russian history, the majority of people were serfs. The emancipation of Russian serfs in the 1860s was a first step toward making Russia a more modern nation.

The US had only allowed slaves for roughly the first 80 years of its existence until Lincoln’s proclamation in 1862. The end of the US civil war in 1865 allowed the full enforcement of slave emancipation.

Jewish emancipation allowed Jews entry into universities and into most professions for the first time.

Women’s suffrage and women’s rights eventually allowed women full rights of voting, vocational choice, and legal ownership, etc.

Which Emancipation Yielded the Greatest Result?

In France and the Netherlands, Jews were permitted to enter universities in the 1790s, but it was not until 1848 that this was allowed in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and some of the German and Italian states; and it was not until 1871 that Jews were allowed to attend universities in England. In the United States, Jews were not given full civil rights at the state level until 1868…

In numerous countries throughout the world, Jews have become
massively overrepresented in the professions, the universities, among
business leaders, and the very rich. At the highest levels of intellectual
achievement, Jews have won 27 percent of the A. M. Turing Awards that
have been given annually from 1966 to 2009 for contributions of lasting
and major technical importance to computer science. Jews have been
about half of the world’s chess grandmasters and champions: between
1851 and 1986 there were 15 world chess champions, and seven of
these were Jewish—Steinitz, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Spassky, Fischer,
and Kasparov (Cranberg & Albert, 1988; Rubinstein, 2004). Another
cognitively demanding game is bridge. It has been estimated that more
than half of the outstanding American bridge players and theoreticians
have been Jewish (Storfer, 1990). The pinnacle of intellectual
achievement in science and literature is the Nobel Prize. Jews have been
hugely overrepresented among Nobel Prize winners. In the period from
1901-1962, 16 percent of Nobel Prize winners for science were Jewish
(Weyl & Possony, 1963, p. 143). Estimating the world population of Jews
in 1938 at 18 million and the world population of European Gentiles at
718 million, Jews were overrepresented by a factor of approximately 6.6.

From: The Chosen People by Richard Lynn

One would be hard pressed to make similar claims for the former serfs of Russia, the former slaves of the US, or for women.

We are living in an age where exceptional people — and groups of people — have never been more neglected or despised, from before birth to their death. In the west, most political capital is devoted to the welfare of persons who tend to underachieve — members of so-called oppressed groups.

When one merely points out the fact that some groups achieve higher accomplisments than some other groups, one is frequently accused of racism — a charge that can result in loss of job, loss of reputation, and loss of future prospects.

RaceMedian Income
White $60,256
Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians$60,133

Judging by the US comparison of income by race above, Jews have used their emancipations very well.

Asian Americans have also been “emancipated” in the US from positions of great disadvantage over the past two centuries. Note that Asian income is second only to Jewish income in the above comparisons.

Consider the following comparison of group average IQs, and consider how average income and average IQ might possibly be related:

Ashkenazi Jews  110

East Asians (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore) 105

Europeans (Northern and Western Europe is 100; Eastern and Southeastern Europe is 95) 97

American Indians (North and South America) 90

Hispanic-Americans 89

Southeast Asians (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Borneo) 87

Pacific Islanders (Natives of New Zealand, Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Hawaii) 85

African-Americans 85

South Asians (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, the Gulf states, the Near East, and Turkey) 84

North Africans 84

Sub-Saharan Africans 70

Australian Aborigines 62


The US government once declared war on poverty and called it The Great Society. But poverty won that war.

If it is not in a people to transcend the forces (often themselves) that have placed them in poverty, the government may spend as much as it wishes, it will make little difference. It will likely make things worse.

Having sown the wind, however, the Great Society now began to reap the whirlwind. Fanning protest, empowering gang bangers and radicals, belittling local authorities: all this was playing with fire. And fire broke out. Over six days in mid-August, some 34,000 rioters destroyed Los Angeles’s Watts ghetto, leaving 34 dead, over 1,000 injured, and 1,000 destroyed and looted buildings worth $40 million. “When you keep telling people they are unfairly treated and teach them disrespect for the law,” said L.A.’s police chief, “you must expect this kind of thing sooner or later.” Nor was it just the community organizers who were telling this to the minority poor. So was all of elite culture at the time, while the elites also celebrated sexual promiscuity, recreational drugs, dropping out, and questioning all authority. It was this cultural shift, more than anything else, that accounts for the skyrocketing rates of underclass social pathology—out-of-wedlock pregnancy, drug abuse, crime, school dropout, non-work—that began in 1964.

You may emancipate anyone by government decree. But the subsequent results of that emancipation can never be guaranteed. When government does try to guarantee a “golden emancipation,” the results are apt to be abysmal.

Wise persons understand that governments should never try to go beyond “equality of opportunity under the law.” Of those groups above who prosper most in the US, equality of opportunity is all that most of their members truly need. And of those who prosper less than the US average — but still prosper more than most of the rest of the world — any attempt by government to force a different outcome than results naturally, will almost certainly lead to catastrophe.

The greatest emancipations are those that provide for equality of opportunity. If a group of people expects or demands more than that, they immediately become a serious problem for the rest of society.

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3 Responses to Great Emancipations

  1. david dorian says:

    YOu fail to ask a basic question.

    Emancipated from what??

    And to do what?? To whom??

    Admin: Please see the short definition at the top of the post.

    • Craig says:

      Emancipate us all from the do-gooders and their good intentions (and their towering intellects).

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