It's not just the Atlantic. Virtually everyone's opinions are worthless, concerning everything, because they are all based on the lie that IQ doesn't matter, or the lie that IQ isn't heritable. If you fall into either of those basic factual errors, all opinions after that just grow more and more wildly wrong, like a castle built on a foundation of sand.
When the entire mainstream media is arguing about how to make marriages and child rearing more successful while leaving out 80% of what makes people succeed or fail in life, it's like watching two blind boxers playing marco polo with each other in a ring.
Everyone needs to understand a few basic things about life. The world is actually much simpler than it seems. The reason why people have the personalities they do is because there are genes for those personality traits. The reason people behave the way they do is because there are genes that code for that type of behavior. The reason people believe the things they do is because their genes told them to believe those things. There are genes for hard work or laziness, there are genes for aggression and timidity, there are genes for morality and genes for amorality, there are genes for religiosity and genes for skepticism, there are genes for voting Republican and genes for voting Democrat. Everything is settled at birth. Endless twin studies have found out that every single belief, personality type, and behavior is at root genetic. There is no such thing as free will. Everything is predetermined at birth. Intelligence is just one of these endless things, just like health, height, and appearance, that is completely controlled by genetics.
Identical twins raised in completely different homes still end up more similar in life histories than fraternal twins raised together. This puts paid to all theories that environment has any effect on children's lives. It simply slams the door on the entire nature-nurture debate. Identical twins who have never met each other before in life, when reunited, are so eerily similar that even the scientists doing the studies can't believe what they're seeing. They'll have the same job, the same type of car, the same type of dog, their wives will have the exact same names, and so on and so forth. They live out completely parallel lives because they were destined to since birth. Nobody can escape the personality, intelligence, and behavior they were born with.
Intelligence gives you several advantages in life. One is impulse control and long time preferences. Since intelligent people can predict the far future, they realize the bad consequences of bad behavior. They will refrain from overeating because they don't want to be obese. They will refrain from unsafe sex because they don't want to get pregnant. They will refrain from crime because they don't want to go to jail. And so on. Stupid people are extremely stupid. What seems like common sense to an intelligent person, "I don't want to try heroin, I might get addicted and that would lead to an early death," is completely outside the comprehension of stupid people who just know drugs feel good so hey why not? Stupid people just do whatever feels good at the moment and never worry about what happens next. Obviously this creates many long term problems down the road. Avoiding long term consequences to bad behavior is half the battle.
If you don't gamble, drink, smoke, beget children out of wedlock, overeat, catch STD's, do drugs, engage in criminal activities, impulsively marry someone you're not actually compatible with, impulsively divorce someone you're actually compatible with, etc, half the battle is already won. It is the mark of intelligence that high class people virtually never engage in any of these obvious errors. Whereas most dumb people fall into multiple of these traps simultaneously throughout their entire lives. In fact, dumb people lead such comically tragic lives they really should just be put out of their misery. The social chaos of multiple children from multiple different lovers, all of whom you've now broken up with, suffering from diabetes and gonorrhea, losing jobs because you can't pass drug tests and never being able to pay the rent on time so constantly having to move from place to place just to stay ahead of the law makes a successful life by any metric absolutely impossible.
If dumb people simply acted like smart people and avoided all vice, even with their lower income potential, they could live like the middle or even upper class of 1950's or 1970's America. Minimum wage earners would be on level with the doctors and bankers of the past, if they would just get their acts together and stop sabotaging their own lives. But by engaging in all sorts of unhealthy activities, they end up unhealthy. By abusing their brains with alcohol and drugs, they become emotionally destabilized social misfits, which then of course leads to their high rates of divorce. By creating children too early they disrupt their career tracks and end up unable to achieve their full potential. By doing a crime they get a criminal record and thus torpedo all further chances of making a living.
Smart people simply don't make these mistakes. In fact, all the stupid things stupid people do, like getting tattoos or piercings or pregnant or fat, are well known indicators of low-class behavior. Smart people don't indulge in any sinful behavior, and as a result they have much healthier, happier, more stable and longer lives. Furthermore, this is all effortless to smart people because not only do they have higher impulse control and foresight than dumb people, they also are less attracted to bestial, hedonistic, materialistic pleasures in the first place. It wouldn't even occur to them to cheat on someone they love with someone they didn't love. The prospect isn't attractive or tempting in the least. As a result, they don't even have to 'wrestle with their inner demons.' They just never had any to begin with. Getting drunk doesn't sound nearly as fun to a smart person as a dumb person. Smart people are capable of enjoying higher pleasures, that go right over a dumb person's head. As a result, smart people engage in rewarding activities with no bad side effects, pleasures of the mind that have no adverse impact on their bodies.
Go does not make you sick. Reading doesn't lower your inhibitions such that you're willing to do crime or have sex with a random stranger. Watching anime doesn't leave you bankrupt because you bet everything on red. While smart people breeze through life enjoying completely safe activities, every single time a dumb person says "I'm bored," the world shivers in fear as to what the idiot will do next.
The other half of intelligence that gives people an infinite leg up on others is their capacity to get higher educations. Income is correlated almost exactly to your education level, and your education level is correlated almost exactly to your IQ. The higher your intelligence, the easier it is to study complex, technical fields. If you master an extremely rare or difficult field of knowledge, you become an extremely valuable employee to all the companies on Wall Street, Silicon Valley or MIT. You could easily find a job with the government, whether as an army officer, a judge, a professor, a doctor, a public defendant, or what have you. There are millions of job openings for intelligent people in virtually any field you might be interested in. Veterinarian. Engineer. Dentist. Computer programmer. Anything you want to do, you can do it, and earn $100,000 a year doing it. The world is your oyster.
Why are all these jobs so profitable? It's because salaries are determined by supply and demand. Geniuses are around 1 in 10,000 people. In today's world, virtually every job requires extreme brain power in order to gain full mastery of extremely complicated fields of knowledge. Demand vastly outstrips supply. There simply aren't enough geniuses in the world to fill up every role that requires genius in order to achieve job proficiency. For capitalists, the cost of labor is no big deal. If you build a ten billion dollar nuclear plant, paying the five employees who make sure it doesn't break $100,000 instead of $10,000 in order to make sure the ten billion dollar power plant doesn't explode is well worth the money. Expertise gets a higher and higher premium the more automation the workplace has. If you work in a hospital or college that cost tens of millions of dollars to build and maintain yearly, the pay of your employees is the least of your worries. In order to get the most out of your investments in capital, which tend to be ten times the cost of your labor, businesses will pay top dollar to make sure that workers are using their facilities correctly and efficiently. Having a reputation for excellence, whether it's an Ipod or a BMW car is the difference between a company having millions of customers and going bankrupt -- paying your engineers top dollar to design the next great product is worth it to keep that reputation that brings customers back to you year after year.
Having a higher income protects you against a variety of further problems. Since they don't have to go into debt, they end up paying less in interest than poor people do. Since they have higher savings, they can make long term investments like a washing machine rather than living hand to mouth constantly going to the laundromat. Most of all, high incomes give people peace of mind, which allows them to be gregarious and compassionate to the outside world. It also gives them self confidence, which keeps them off of emotional crutches like sex, drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Mental health problems are part and parcel of poverty. If you escape the stress and storm of low income, your mental health improves and suddenly you realize you aren't so depressed or insecure after all.
To compound the unfairness of this genetic lottery, smart people are attracted to other smart people, and high-income people are attracted to other high-income people. If a marriage is a pooling of your power, happiness, healthiness, wealth, and so on, poor people usually end up worse off than before because their partner is a straight out negative number on these tallies. However, a rich, smart person can count on bagging a rich, smart, trustworthy wife who will go on to enrich his life like a gust of wind behind his sails. So everything listed above is doubled at the time the rich marry and halved when poor people try to do the same. The inequality just widens and widens.
There is no investment society, parents, priests, coaches, or anyone can make into a child's life that can get rid of this gap in life outcomes. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Even if you drill a dumb kid in calculus, he won't get it. Even if you tell him in church every Sunday that sex outside of marriage is a sin, they'll still have sex and illegitimate children anyway. Even if you tell a kid not to do drugs and stay in school, he'll still join a gang and deal drugs for a living before getting shot or ending up in jail. Watching a dumb person's life is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You can already see where everything is going to end up, and even if you beg that person on your hands and knees to stop destroying his or her life, they won't listen and they won't stop until the bitter end.
There are two ways to improve a dumb person's life -- make all bad decisions illegal and force them to live sin-free lives -- which is the exact opposite of our current open ended society -- or give them enough money as a stipend every month that no matter how incompetent they are they'll still manage to get by with a decent, minimum standard of living. You could even combine the two policies for maximally happy results. But the worst thing you could possibly do is combine the ruthlessness of the Republican party, which wants to cut all fiscal benefits to the poor, and the mercy of liberals, who want to make all dangerous and destructive behavior available for all without any consequences or recriminations. Society today is engineered to ruin poor people's lives. The only explanation for our strange combination of policies is absolute hatred of our inferiors. We enjoy watching them spectacularly implode. We love locking them all up in jail. We laugh at their antics on reality television. We revel in how much better we are than them. This demonic impulse to feel happy by comparing yourself to others always requires a loser for every winner. The dumb poor are this scapegoat, this human sacrifice to the seventh sin of pride. We don't want to lift them out of their role as the bottom of the totem pole. We enjoy seeing them right where we've placed them, and we have no intention of changing anything about the status quo.
Telling parents to raise their kids better without any help from society is a joke. What are parents supposed to do? They can't even take care of themselves much less their kids. Telling teachers to educate ghetto children into rocket scientists is a joke. What are they supposed to do? They can't even make the children shut up and sit down in class, since spanking is banned and even suspensions must meet perfectly racially balanced quotas. The solutions are obvious non-solutions. I can't imagine anyone actually believes education or good parenting could possibly succeed in reducing inequality in America. They throw out these answers precisely because they're non-answers. They're intentionally timed to always only show results twenty years after the fact, so that no one is ever held liable for progress.
Tell parents or teachers to do X, and when we see no progress just say "it'll show up in twenty years." Then when it hasn't shown up in twenty years everyone has forgotten about what you said back then and you're proposing some new 20 year program that equally won't work. Meanwhile the status quo just keeps on entrenching itself, laughing all the way to the bank, because people continuously believe in these ridiculously long term initiatives that will never bear fruit when at any moment they could just vote in a citizen's dividend that would solve all their problems tomorrow. Just keep dangling the carrot of 'better education' in front of the donkey's faces and they'll never notice the obvious solution they've had all along. We wouldn't want our donkeys getting so uppity that they think "hey, maybe we should have as good lives as that Cherokee tribe over there." Don't mention the studies proving the citizen's dividend works. Don't talk about it. Don't put it on your political platform, and keep talking about 'better schools.' It's like a conversation with the mad hatter, a pointless conversation that never goes anywhere but just goes on and on and on decade after decade. Every single politician, every single opinion journalist, says 'all we need to do is improve the schools.' Meanwhile schools haven't improved for decades, despite all these promises. And yet still, all we hear from the next round of natterers is how we need to improve the schools again. Meanwhile real people suffer and die every day, abandoned in the pits of despair for the lack of a mere $6,000 handout that costs far less in tax dollars than the ineffectual public spending policies we have in place today. It's disgraceful. It's criminal. It's evil. And someday, just like the French aristocrats who kept telling starving peasants to 'just eat cake,' the rich are going to pay for this atrocity too.