I steal comments

At Econlog, rajeev writes:

I think the question about heritability is a red herring. I am a software engineer in India. In 1991, the Indian economy opened up to the wider world. By the mid-1990s, the Internet had become a major force in commerce. By the late 1990s, there we were, "outsourcing" away like crazy. I was an ignorant young man (as all young men are) and made my career choices for entirely unrelated reasons. Smarter, better people than me went off in other directions, and today earn much less than I do.

Think of Sergey Brin, born in the Soviet Union. If his father had fallen under a tram before they could emigrate, how different all our lives would have been.

Think of the pudgy, nerdy boy (like the one I used to be), who today can expect to inherit the world and whose counterpart, barely 500 years ago, would have been the butt of everybody's jokes all his life. The muscular workmen and fierce warriors of the day would have despised the clumsy, uncoordinated fumbling of the men like us. Well into the early/mid 20th century, we were an underclass of sorts.

The world is a large, highly distributed computation(an order, you say?), and it is childish to whine about what we deserve or do not deserve. We "deserve" nothing but are given everything.

At Sailer, ililioioikikd writes:

I thinketh Sailer underappreciates Americans Foster and Joplin. Maybe their music was 'less august' but it would serve as the basis of the dominant music of the 20th century. Even classical music had humble beginnings in church music and folk melodies. For there to be Beethovens, Berliozes, Wagners, and etc, there had to have been a rich folk tradition in Europe.

Most of the high-minded or 'serious' musical culture in America in the 19th century slavishly looked to and copied Europe and produced little of lasting value. When Dvorak came to America and was amazed by INDIGENOUS American musical traditions, few 'serious' Americans took him seriously--just as it took awhile for Poe and Twain to be taken seriously by Americans. Yet, Dvorak really saw the future as the indigenous folk traditions of American music--negro, hillbilly, folk, etc--would serve as the basis of the worldwide dominant music of the next century. Jazz grew to new heights of sophistication. Country and blues fused to create Rock music. So, Foster and Joplin were geniuses in their own way. In a way, their genius was all the more amazing because they had limited access to musical training. One could say Joplin achieved more in his 'cultural poverty' than many conservatory-trained musicians of 'august' backgrounds. A genius isn't only proficient; he is original. Joplin was that.

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Brains didn't get you

Brains didn't get you anywhere before the 21st century, and blacks are musically talented. I think the first point is myth, and the second point is nothing new and actually is a commonplace among racists.