there’s no conflict between leftism and a belief in the heritability of ability. In this respect at least, the left has nothing to fear from science.
Suppose that one believes that intelligence is heritable and that intelligence affects economic status. To the extent that you believe those two things, you have to maintain a somewhat lower belief in the importance of effort in determining economic status. Accordingly, in scoring a policy of pure income redistribution, as Dillow points out, you have to give it additional philosophical points because the well-off are the beneficiaries of lucky inheritance. In addition, such a policy loses fewer economic-efficiency points, because taxes that discourage effort will not diminish total wealth as much as they would if wealth were entirely determined by effort.
So Dillow would appear to be correct. And in fact Gregory Clark, who is well known for his findings supporting heritability of economic status, says that his findings support income redistribution.
Why, then, is heritability of intelligence a problem for the left? I believe that the three-axes model can help provide the answer.
In the three-axes model, progressives want to squeeze every issue into an oppressor-oppressed narrative. To suggest that ethnic groups differ in average income for reasons other than oppression would be to weaken that narrative. So even if from a policy perspective a belief in heritability is tolerable, from a narrative perspective a book like The Bell Curve represents a huge threat.
My sense is that this produces a great deal of cognitive dissonance on the left. I have many friends on the left, and I do not know a single one who would instinctively deny the heritability of intelligence. On the other hand, they have been instructed to regard Murray and Herrnstein as vile racists.
Evidence that runs counter to the oppressor-oppressed axis narrative is difficult for people on the left to process. I think that, notwithstanding Dillow’s reasoning, the left is going to continue to be uncomfortable with the science of heritability of intelligence.