Tim Worstall: Getting Greg Clark Wrong.
...No, I’m not going to try and prove that culture is transmitted in a Lamarckian manner. Rather, I’m going to prove that you and everyone else already believe it is.
For I think we all agree that the children of teenage mothers are more likely to themselves become teenage parents? That is the inheritance of an acquired characteristic. We note that children who grow up in a home without books do badly at school: and then go on to note that those who do badly at school tend to have few books at home to instruct their own children. We note that the middle classes tend to transmit their social success across the generations: it’s most unfashionable these days to attribute that to genes, rather, to social networks, to the privilege that a secure upbringing and a decent education provide. We note that children whose parents have a university education are more likely to get a university education themselves.
Anyone pondering the family networks that infest UK journalism, or the Law, will be observing exactly the same thing. No, we don’t believe that the ability to write leader columns has been genetically transmitted from Lord Rees Mogg to Annunziata Rees Mogg (he at The Times, she at The Telegraph: and having once read one of hers where she refers to "sclerosis of the liver", if we did I’d be expecting someone to be having a very serious and intimate chat with Lady Rees Mogg sometime soon) but we do indeed believe that a combination of education and the extended network of the family have contributed to the daughter following in the old man’s footsteps.
Indeed, this is one of the arguments forcefully put forward againt the existence of private schools in the UK: that they permit the transmission of exactly this form of cultural inheritance and thus privileged positions...