Nederlog

 

 September 15, 2010

 

ME + me : Updates on ME and intelligence 

 

As for me, it is as yesterday and the day before: I continue being not well, for which reason I still have not yet written more on the DSM-5TM  and there also was no Nederlog yesterday. I also wanted to write a bit more about psychiatry and about Cargo Cult Science and pseudoscience, but these things also have to be queued awaiting somewhat better times.

Meanwhile, for this reason there is today only a survey of recent events relating to ME/CFS and a little more having to do with intelligence, also having seen that the previous Nederlog was downloaded many times, and being myself rather concerned with the chances for persons with very high intelligence to be able to develop their intellectual talents and put them to good use (which is mostly making science, technology or art - of course, for that is what human civilization is about or depends on).

Sections

1. ME

1.1. Mindy Kitei reports on 1st XMRV-Conference
1.2. NIH video
1.3. Dundee report
1.4. New video on ME/CFS
1.5. Dr Myhill again before CFS
1.6. Dr Nicholson on HGR/XMRV and ME/CFS
1.7. Sampson refutes White - cohorts and ME/CFS
1.8. ME Activists side
1.9. Etiamsi omnes - ego non!

2. Intelligence

2.1. IQ distributions
2.2. Having a high intelligence
2.3. Very good site for betas
2.4. Genetics and intelligence

1. ME

1.1. Mindy Kitei reports on 1st XMRV-Conference

Mindy Kitei is a real investigative journalist who writes about ME/CFS and does it well (with her name linking to the opening of her site, that's well worth reading if you're interested in the subject).

She also appears briefly in the Q&A video I earlier mentioned, and I have mentioned and quoted her repeatedly in Nederlog. She visited the 1st XMRV-Conference and now has published a fine summary of the lectures there:

I have a little more on it in 1.2 and 1.10 below.

1.2. NIH video of the Q&A session on the 1st XMRV-Conference

I earlier mentioned the Q&A session on the 1st XMRV-Conference with a video-link, but also said that, apparently because it is subtitled, the speakers are rather badly out of synch with their speech in that video.

Meanwhile, the NIH has also (or again) uploaded a video-link for that session, which seems to have better audio and video-quality; which does have subtitles; and which also has the speakers far better in synch with their speech. Here it is:

Incidentally, I didn't see all of this, having seen it before, but I did see the beginning, and the subtitles are an improvement over the earlier ones, but are not flawless. Thus, Dr. Mikovits was saying "isolates" rather than "islets" in the subtitles - but then I agree nothing human is perfect (except young love in the spring, which is mostly delusion-derived and hormone-inspired).

1.3. Dundee report

There is a quite interesting report of bio-medical research into children diagnosed with ME/CFS (as I do prefer to write, rather than CFS/ME, and even my writing ME/CFS rather than ME is a concession to search-machines rather than a personal preference [1]).

The link is to the BBC and the report, that includes some video, is by Eleanor Bradford, with a title and first paragraph thus:

A study on children has found further evidence that ME, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, could be caused by a virus.

Scientists at the University of Dundee study found abnormalities in the white blood cells of children with ME/CFS, suggesting they had been fighting off infection.

And further down why this is important:

Professor Jill Belch, an expert in vascular medicine at Ninewells hospital in Dundee who led the latest research project, said: "What we've found are blood changes that suggest chronic inflammation.

"This is important because it's showing an abnormality that we might be able to devise a treatment for, but it's also important because some people do suggest that ME is a disease of the mind and here we are showing that it is a disease of the body."

Actually, to my own way of thinking "diseases of the mind" are also diseases of the body, but then the psychological and psychiatric terminology is confusing and misleading in the best of hands, let alone in the hands of pseudoscientific psychiatrists, who have many other diseases of the body for decades or more wrongly diagnosed as states of mental illness, at least in part, it would seem (cui bono?, the grammar school graduates may ask here) because this benefitted them financially, in consequence, since it moved paying patients their way.

1.4. New video on ME/CFS

There is a new video about ME/CFS of almost 10 minutes:

This is by Rachel Hall, who improved but did not got better with ME/CFS since 8 years, went on a film course, and made this video, with interviews with quite a few patients with ME and also a quite sensible down to earth medical doctor.

I liked it and the only two minor criticisms I have is that the people interviewed all do not have severe ME (when interviewed), while the existence of severe ME is not mentioned, and that the people interviewed are all American. (But the first is a minor point and the second hardly avoidable.) 

1.5. Dr Myhill again before CFS

Dr. Sarah Myhill had to appear before the British GMC - General Medical Council, as it turns out, at least in Dr. Myhill's case, a bit like a Star Chamber - in the spring of this year, when I also wrote about it: The danger Dr. Myhill is in, essentially because she is a medical doctor who tries to help her patients as a medical doctor should, which - among other things - may not be compatible with British government-supported NICE guidelines and such, as if British medical doctors can - or may - not be capable of a conscience and the power of independent rational thought themselves.

She must appear again before them, as reported in this item on PR-F, that quotes from a Newsletter by her:

Newsletter 14 September 2010
Dear All,

I have just received a further summons from the General Medical Council for a further Interim Orders Panel Hearing to be held at the GMC, 350 Euston Road, London on Thursday 7th October at 9.30a.m. The GMC have sent me 3,718 pages most of which are your wonderful letters and a full print out of the on-line petition.

The case does not appear to be as serious as in the spring of this year, proceedings for which the GMC have meanwhile tendered some apology for, even if they have not undone or repaired their decision.

There is more here:

1.6 Dr Nicholson on HGR/XMRV and ME/CFS

Then there is this, that was first published on the ProHealth board about ME/CFS and  reposted on PR-F, and is an answer by Dr. Gareth Nicholson to Rick van Konynenburg, who is a US-scientist with ME and an interesting theory about and an experimental treatment for it.

I quote from the link to the item on PR-F, because it is interesting in respect of terminology and in respect of what XMRV may (not) cause or contribute to - and I have added my boldings on the relevant places:

Hi Rich,
The newly evolving field of human gamma retroviruses (HGV), also called XMRV, and chronic illnesses like CFS/FMS is fascinating. This type of virus has now been found at high incidence in some but not all studies on CFS patients. There may be technical reasons why some groups have not found these infections, but the field is new and in constant flux.

My guess is that similar to other related retroviruses the HGV may cause changes in our immune systems rather than directly causing the most obvious signs and symptoms associated with CFS. Their effect may thus be indirect, just like the HIV-1 retrovirus causing immune suppression in AIDS rather than directly causing the symptoms of AIDS. Thus HGV may set up patients for other opportunistic infections, such as Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Borrelia, CMV, HHV6 and other bacteria and viruses that actually cause most CFS symptoms. This is why patients who have these other infections, such as bacterial infections, benefit from their specific treatment in the absence of anti-viral treatment. This would not occur if the symptoms were entirely caused by a retrovirus. Thus I predict that anti-retrovirus treatment will not eliminate most symptoms in CFS patients, because they are more likely caused by other infections. However, modulating immune responses by suppressing viruses that could affect immune systems could have some positive effects. Eventually this will all be worked out, and we will find out what role retroviruses, along with other bacteria and viruses, play in chronic illnesses like CFS and FMS.

Note that this is - correctly - listed as a guess, but it is one that has the merit of explaining some facts about - at least - ME/CFS.

1.7. Sampson refutes White - cohorts and ME/CFS

Professor Peter "Pinokkio" White, who together with professor Simon Wessely and professor Michael Sharpe forms the group of the pseudoscientific British psychiatrists who are mostly responsible for the moral and medical mess that has been made of the research into and treatment of persons with ME in England.

They have crafted this moral and medical mess in large part by two means, namely by (1) writing large amounts of pseudoscience, that I have criticized e.g. in Studies in MEdical Sadism - 0, Studies in MEdical Sadism - 3: "The evidence & the techniques", Studies in MEdical Sadism - 4: Intermezzo - Lucian, ME: On the postmodern falsifications in Wessely & McClures BMJ-editorial, ME: Back to the Middle Ages with professor Simon Wessely, Scientific Realism versus Postmodernism and lately in Aussie quashes Wessely + forums-blues (with a good link) and in Williams vs White + Feynman vs Wessely, and next by (2) intrigueing, lieing and manipulating themselves, their friends, and some of their spouses (Mrs. Wessely = Dr. Clare Gerada: See Herr Professor & Frau Doctor Wessely for metaphorical absolutely true likenesses of their learned persons) into all manner of health-bureaucratic and medical-institutional top jobs, with lots of power and influence, namely because they were, as they themselves willingly explained, also by reference to the large amounts of pseudoscience they produced, as the very "international experts on chronic fatigue".

The last quotes Margaret Williams against professor Peter White and Richard Feynman against professor Simon Wessely (by implication), and now there is a fine refutation of some of professor Peter "Pinokkio" White's pseudoscience by D.P. Sampson, BSc (Hons), MSc, MBPsychS :

This is interesting and well done, with some nice findings. I quote from the abstract:

Examination of the data shows that the highest risk factor for developing a non-psychiatrically defined Fatigue Syndrome (i.e. Empirical Fatigue Syndrome), even 6 months later, is documented clinical evidence of viral infection (infectious mononucleosis) not previous psychiatric morbidity. Furthermore under the Empirical definition, no significant correlation exists between bed rest at onset and subsequent development of a fatigue syndrome; this suggests that deconditioning is not an important perpetuating factor under this definition.

Conversely, wider definitions of ME/CFS that do not exclude individuals with psychological/psychiatric reasons for their fatigue (such as the Oxford and CDC criteria) reduce the importance of clinical factors (infectious mononucleosis) and increase the importance of  factors such as G.P. attendance in year before onset, mood disorder at 2 months and past psychiatric illness, which are consistent predictors of subsequent mood disorder quite independently of the existence or otherwise of a fatigue syndrome.

This analysis and the original data in the White et al. paper strongly calls into question the validity of broad based definitions of ME/CFS, such as the Oxford (and to lesser extent CDC) criteria. This is in large part due to the clear inclusion within such criteria of significant numbers of patients with primarily mood disorder/psychiatric illness in addition to those with ME/CFS.

The only caveat I have is that it is what it purports to be: real science, hence not the easiest of reading matters.

1.8. ME Activists side

I have the last months repeatedly argued that ME-forums are not the place to organize actions from, though they are the place to learn about ME, make friends, and learn what actions are going on, and furthermore that best way to do activism for patients ill with ME is to make a smart use of the internet.

There is now a recently created site for activism around ME:

They have more than 1000 members, as far as I could see in a quick overview many from both the PR-F and ME-F forums. (And in case you ask: No, I am not one of them, also not by another name.)

1.9. Etiamsi omnes - ego non!

In the Q&A video and in Mindy Kitei's report of it dr. Frank Ruscetti is seen and summarized as saying that

there are 17 million people in the world with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and all of them have contacted Judy Mikovits.

Well... having ME for 32 years and being myself of the Etiamsi omnes - ego non! (<- Dutch text that explains why fairly well [2]) I can say I must be the exception to the rule: I never mailed Dr. Judy Mikovits. Indeed, I rarely e-mail - nor mail(ed) - persons I don't know (who haven't e-mailed me first), and don't bother people hard at work with something I much appreciate and know and understand to be difficult and demanding, and to which I have little or nothing original of any value to add.

In fact, the only internationally well-known doctor in ME-land I did write a letter to - quite clear, quite well-written - namely ca. 1989 is prof.dr. Jos van der Meer, who in his opinion must have had far better things to do than even acknowledge receipt of my letter, to the likes of "the undeserving sick" like me. If I find my copy of that letter, I may put it online, also with reference to Feynman vs Wessely, and maybe with a little hymn or yodelling about discrimination, indifference, neglect, dishonesty - and here is the Dean of St. Paul ca. 1800, explaining the doctors Wessely, White, Sharpe, Chalder and Gerada, without knowing them specifically, but from his excellent understanding of men and women especially in high places:

Profligacy in taking office is so extreme, that we have no doubt public men may be found who, for half a century, would postpone all remedies for a pestilence, if the preservation of their places depended upon a propagation of the virus. (The Reverend Sidney Smith.)  

The mild and the long-suffering may suffer forever in this world. As long as the patient will suffer, the cruel will kick. (The same Smith of Smiths)

Incidentally, it seems that the Reverend Sydney Smith was one of the funniest or wittiest men who ever lived, and was capable of reducing all manner leaders of offices and institutions in his day to such laughter that they were lying on the floor convulsed by laughter, for which reason it's a pity he had no Boswell.

And having mentioned Boswell, and passing to my second theme, here is another great English wit on a very interesting question concerning relativity, happiness, intelligence and knowledge:

I mentioned Hume's notion, that all who are happy are equally happy; a little Miss with a new gown at a dancing-school ball, a General at the head of a victorious army, and an orator, after having made an eloquent speech in a great assembly. JOHNSON. "Sir, that all who are happy, are equally happy, is not true. A peasant and a philosopher may be equally satisfied, but not equally happy. Happiness consists in the multiplicity of agreeable consciousness. A peasant has not capacity for having equal happiness with a philosopher." I remember this very question very happily illustrated in opposition to Hume, by the Reverend Mr. Robert Brown, at Utrecht. "A small drinking glass and a large one, (said he), may be equally full; but the large one holds more than the small."

(Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., vol I, Everyman Library, p. 315)

2. Intelligence

Interestingly, the two Nederlogs I wrote about having a very high intelligence (and IQ) were downloaded a lot. Here they are, by the way:

Having a very high intelligence certainly influenced my life very much, and also made me stand out for it and for things relating to it, such as becoming the leader of a Sleep-In [3] when 20, a student-leader while ill with ME when 30, a leader of a very large soft-drugs coffeeshop with ME when 35, being removed the third time for my "publicly outspoken ideas" from university when 38, graduating with ME with the best possible marks with an M.A. in psychology largely on logic, physics, mathematics and programming, and making  and maintaining a large site about philosophy, logic, computing and ME, and being able to think fast, grasp complicated subjects of many kinds well, being able to write and speak well, with great ease, and doing well in subjects of various kinds, relating to language, mathematics and art.

2.1. IQ distributions

When speaking of IQ, intelligence, and high IQs and intelligence, it is well to have some fair ideas what is involved. Here are four relevant Wikipedia links with some quotes, followed by a comment. The links in the following four dotted points are all to Wikipedia-materials:

As you will see from IQ reference chart Terman, an American psychologist who studied the subjects of intelligence, IQ and giftedness seriously and for a long time, made the following terminological distinctions:

Terman Classification

Lewis Terman, developer of the Stanford-Binet intelligence test, chose the category names for score levels on that test.

Terman's Stanford-Binet Second Revision classification
IQ Range ("ratio IQ") Intelligence Classification
164 and over Genius or near genius
148 - 164 Very superior intelligence
132 - 148 Superior intelligence
113 - 132 Above average intelligence
84 - 113 Normal or average intelligence
68 - 84 Dullness
52 - 68 Borderline deficiency
Below 52 Definite feeble-mindedness

These do not have terms like the highly, extremely, prodigiously etc. gifted, although these two can be defined by reference to IQ-scores and although there are societies for people with high and very high IQs of various kinds.

And as I indicated before, my own take is more or less to the following effect:

There is a strong positive correlation between height of IQ and height of intelligence, but the latter is a more complex and multi-dimensional thing than the former can do justice to, in just one number. Besides, it is likely that what the IQ measures is only part of what is involved in being intelligent (in a rational way - I am not concerned here with things like emotional or social intelligence, that I also like not to confuse with rational intelligence).

And four main problems are (1) that the neurological basis of intelligence and much that this involves is mostly unknown and (2) that there are but few good systematic empirical studies of intellectually highly gifted people and (3) that the characterization of someone as "a genius" in terms of IQ-scores is rather misleading about genius in terms of intelligence: One's idea of what takes intellectual genius - works of Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, Lucretius, Aquinas, Ockham, Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Galileo, Newton, Leibniz, Euler, Galois, Faraday, Boole, Maxwell, Peirce say - have little to do with IQ (an anachronism, in all mentioned cases, at best) but has lots to do with what one knows others were (not) capable of doing or at least didn't do, regardless how their intelligence was (not) measured and regardless of how well they did in schools or universities or ordinary life. And finally (4) that one of the things high IQs do not predict well is creativity or originality.

But in general terms, there clearly are the highly gifted, and if high IQ does neither coincide with it nor represents it really well, at least it has the merit of being positively correlated with it and being distributed like it, that is, along a normally distributed Gaussian bell-shaped curve, as indeed many (but not all) kinds of things do.

And it is very important for human civilization that the gifted do get the chances to use and develop their talents, for in the end it are intelligence and good will, namely to resolve conflicts peacefully and by rational argument, if this is at all possible, that are the basis of human civilization [4].

In any case, the human animal is the one that defines itself as the thinking animal: It is intelligence that is markedly human, and it is human intelligence that is the basis and sine qua non for human civilization, science, art and technology.

2.2. Having a high intelligence

Unlike my normal way of writing Nederlogs, I have not written this one in one go in one sitting, linearly from the top - and this, together with not feeling very well is the reason that I have to postpone what I wanted to say here - but see the beginning of 2. Intelligence.

In any case, the gist is that it makes a considerable difference in my personal life, at least since I was 4, perhaps rather in the way like someone at that age finding a definite and clear and large talent for playing the violin (a talent I clearly lack, by the way), that I was mostly not allowed to exercise in school, because that was unfair to others, and was  anyway regarded as pretty useless and peculiar, and good for nothing in a boy with my disreputable background: stemming from a family from communist resistance-heroes in The Netherlands of the nineteenfifties was a certain-sure guarantee for being discriminated.

Besides, another point I should make, albeit in passing, is that relatively speaking, in spite of my background and disease, I have been comparatively well off compared to the highly gifted of my day and age who had the ill luck the be born in the Soviet Union, communist China, as a lower caste Indian, somewhere in the middle of Africa, or as woman somewhere among backward fanatic Muslims in a backward fanatic state.

It's a great pity that so far, through all of history, only a small part of those with great talents have had the opportunity to educate and use it properly.

2.3. Very good site for betas

Having mentioned Peteris Krumins in the previous Nederlog, in the context of JavaScript, I should add that meanwhile I found out that he has an excellent site for betas aka mathematics & physics types.

Here is a small part of it, that I like a lot, and that would have meant extra-ordinarily much for me if I had been in my early twenties, when I read my eyes almost out of their sockets, but was limited to whatever books I could find and afford:

I make a few selections thence, to show what I mean:

Escher and Droste Effect

Lecture description:
A lecture by professor Hendrik Lenstra. He explains the Escher famous works and Droste Effect in them. This is more mathematical lecture than physical but physicists will love it.

And this

Feynman on Magnets

Video summary:
Richard Feynman answers a simple question of why two magnets interacts.

 

Richard Feynman Video Lectures

(Many various Richard P. Feynman physics video lectures. They include Feynman's lectures on QED at University of Auckland. An interview with Faynman called "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out". Another interview with Feynmann titled "The Last Journey Of A Genius". A mind skewing Feynmen talk "Take The World From Another Point Of View", and a few others - "Remembering Richard Feynman", "Murry Gell-Mann Talks About Feynman", Feynman Playing Bongos and Singing About Orange Juice)

Have fun! I certainly will - MUCH better than TV! - and there is much more on the page Free Science and Video Lectures Online! and on the site.

2.4. Genetics and intelligence

It seems to me intelligence is mostly genetic, and indeed this does hold for IQ, although there also is a social and educational component involved. When I studied psychology in the University of Amsterdam, and the average IQ of the student - most of whom graduated, and are today practicing clinical psychologists, psychotherapists etc. - was 115 (the best of the averagely gifted, in Terman's terms, and see my Mandarins with an IQ of 115) [5] ), this was vehemently denied: Most students and many professors of psychology at the time insisted that "being intelligent is a choice" (like being tall and pretty, no doubt) and that people who said intelligence had a genetical component differed little from fascists.

Meanwhile, the fashions changed, but the present Dutch professors and lecturers of psychology and related subjects (psychotherapy, pedagogy, sociology) cannot have a much better IQ on average than 115, and the Dutch universities have been mostly ruined as real universities for generations, mostly by my own generation of Revolutionary Marxist Students, who in vast majority were no such things, but phonies conforming to fashion and trying to get soft academical jobs for life, even though they knew that personally they were not intellectually fit for it at all.

There is considerably more to be said around this topic, especially with respect to education that I will not discuss here and now but there are two points I do want to make:

First, if intelligence - like length and very much more about any human being - is genetical, it should not be a reason to blame or praise somebody for having as much or little as someone has of it, since none of it was within their discretionary powers: What one can fairly blame or praise a person for, is what the person does or fails to do with such talents as he or she has.

Second, it is very important for the future and indeed the preservation of human civilization that the intellectually highly gifted get the sort of chances those otherwise highly gifted who in the postmodern West do get most of: sports' stars, media personalities, political conmen, crooks and loonies, and popular artists. [6]


P.S. I will have to leave this today as is to upload it in time, and because I lack the energy to do more. There will have to be come corrections and some more links, bit that will have to wait till tomorrow.

--- Sep 16, 2010: Indeed, I have made quite a few corrections and supplied some more links.
--- Sep 18, 2010: Removed previous item 1.5 and renumbered.

P.P.S. It may be I have to stop Nederlog for a while. The reason is that I am physically not well at all. I don't know yet, but if there is no Nederlog, now you know the reason.

 

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
     insufficient evidence
".
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
 


    "Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
"
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 


    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)

 


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources


P.P.S. ME - Resources needs is a Work In Progress that hasn't progressed today.


[1] It is true "ME" aka "me" is a very common term in English. And it is true the psychiatric pseudo-scientists have succeeded in confusing ME and CFS, both in fact and in terminology, whence the need for "ME/CFS" as a term for the disease that still best is called as the World Health Organization does: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

[2] "Etiamsi omnes - ego non!" is a classical answer to many type Catch 22 double binds (<- quite interesting Wikipedia-links) and means "Even if everybody would do it, I won't!". As my ME in Amsterdam shows, I am such a kind of nay-sayer, as were my father and grandfather (non-Wikipedia-links in this note are to mostly or only Dutch texts of mine).

[3] This was in fact a sort of minimalistic hotel the Amsterdam Municipality had minimalistically subsidized to deal with the problems of the hippies who came from allover the world to Amsterdam around 1970 because it was such a great place and because it was tolerant to soft drugs - with the results of thousands of them sleeping in streets and parks, a practice shopkeepers and traditional folks frowned much upon. The one I led housed between 500 and 1200 persons each night, quite a few with severe problems relating to drugs or disease.

[4] There is a problem here that has been noted by e.g. Aristotle, Livy, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Burckhardt and Nietzsche (to varying effects), illustrated very well by Thucydides' "The Pelopponesian War": Times of high civilization, as in Greece between -600 and -500 and in Italy between 1300 and 1400, were times of war, where leaders of states, instead of deciding cooperate, often decided to exterminate each other.

The Romans - with a population consisting mostly of slaves, and the poor free proletarians kept mostly peaceful and mollified by bread and circuses involving scenic mass murder - referred to this in terms of "homo homini lupus".

Part of an answer lies in noticing firstly that these often highly gifted leaders (aka princes = first men) of classical Greek cities and Renaissance princes had their wars fought just like the war-leaders of World Wars I and II had their wars fought: by ordinary men, and noticing secondly that, at least in the present times, the means start being discovered to raise the average intelligence genetically, which may solve the problem, possibly, or help solve it, although the issue is complicated. My take is here:
On a fundamental problem in ethics and morals

[5] In justification of my expression "the best of the averagely gifted, in Terman's terms" see the Terman classification and for the seriousness of this see my Mandarins with an IQ of 115 from 1988, including many of the publicly outspoken opinions of mine that led three times to my being removed by hook, by crook and by the Board of Directors as a student from the University of Amsterdam, explicitly for what I had said and written in public, which is an honor no Dutchmen was honored with since the end of WWII. What's more, 20 years after my third removal, a Parliamentary Investigation Committee investigated and published a report to the effect that I had been right all the time. Meanwhile, no Dutch bureaucrat or politician answers my mails, or if they do it is by some anonymous minion who tells me I will not be answered "because your language is offensive/grievous", of course without specifying anything, for the institutional powers in Holland is in the hands of the moral scum and intellectual tenth- or hundredth-raters of society, mostly because they are populist conmen by genetical right and inheritance, without any other talents or interests.

But indeed, this is What The People Want In Democratic Majority: To have the type of political and religious conmen and -women who fondle their prejudices while flattering their egos and enflaming their xenophobia and chauvinism.

[6] This is a very important point, namely that in effect my generation has, in the name of democracy and equal chances for all, totally demolished the university and the level and quality of the education that is provided there, at least in the majority of faculties, that is, those that require no real intellectual abilities or interests whatsoever, but nevertheless make one a Ph.D. (aka "doctor of philosophy"). This has had many very serious consequences, and may still ruin the West totally, for its formal elite, for the first time in many centuries, is without any special talents and mostly without a clue that they are nth-raters, since they were educated by n-th rated "professional academics" in some pseudoscience, like the vast majority of the nominally academically qualified, and most around them are just like them, or worse.

More of this later, and in my Mandarins with an IQ of 115 from 1988, when I foresaw, predicted and described the present postmodern intellectual and moral utter mess of universities that are mostly cargocult parodies of real universities and academics who are not academics but a kind of pretentious and titled journalists - and who moreover insist that this postmodern way is the democratic and fair way for all, since all are equal and equivalent. See my Having ME in Holland, Paradise of Homo Soccer Sapiens for how enjoyable it is, and Why my family was in The Dutch Resistance  in WW II for an answer to the question in the title.

Maarten Maartensz

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