26th January 2013
Steve Sailer asks an obvious question.
That exposure to this heavy metal can be dangerous to humans has been recognized since the days of Hippocrates and Pliny the Elder. But lead was so useful in so many ways that more than a few American municipalities proudly named themselves after their lucrative lead resources. Leadville, Colorado is America’s highest elevated incorporated city. There are several Galenas, one of which is a tourist town in Illinois. There’s a Smelterville, which sounds like a city made up for The Simpsons but is actually a real place in Idaho.
And here I thought he was talking about the music.
Known side effects of lead poisoning include lower IQ and reduced impulse control, which are in turn associated with poor decision-making, such as becoming a criminal or a single mom.
That’s the 60s, alright. Let’s check it out.
The problem is coming up with ways to test the theory. A half-dozen years ago, I blogged (”Lead Poisoning and the Great American Freakout”) about the research that Drum finds so convincing today. One reality check immediately suggested itself: Back in the late 1960s, densely populated Japan was notorious for automobile-induced air pollution. Yet crime didn’t rise in Japan. The country remained an orderly, intelligent, non-impulsive culture.
Oops. Another Jared-Diamondian theory bites the dust.