Jason Richwine on IQ and Immigration

The Jason Richwine saga is a critical barometer of the political climate of our times. As everyone knows by now, he resigned from his position at the Heritage Foundation after his involvement in a report on the economic costs of immigration (since strongly endorsed by Steve Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, writing in National Review Online). As Richwine said in his interview with the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, his Ph.D. research on how IQ affects the social and economic costs of immigration had nothing to do with the Heritage Foundation report.

This is nothing more than a guilt by association smear campaign aimed at putting yet another nail in the coffin of White America. It is an index of the power of the left that they need not dispute the economic effects of the Schumer-Rubio bill; nor do they need to rebut the data and conclusions of Richwine’s Ph.D. thesis. They simply need to make the linkage between Richwine and taboo findings—that IQ predicts economic success, underclass behavior, and use of government services so that importing low-IQ immigrants is a very bad idea. Having made these associations, they can indulge in smug sociopathic satisfaction because a young man with a wife and two young children is suddenly out of work and with much diminished prospects in life.

Richwine’s Ph.D. thesis was approved by a Harvard committee, but it’s clear that the real force behind it was Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve. In the Acknowledgements section of his thesis, Richwine describes Murray as a “childhood hero”; Murray seems to have been his de facto thesis advisor at  Harvard:

The substance of my work was positively influenced by many people, but no one was more influential than Charles Murray, whose detailed editing and relentless constructive criticism have made the final draft vastly superior to the first. I could not have asked for a better primary advisor.

So it’s not surprising that Richwine’s thesis takes seriously the work of Arthur Jensen, J. Philippe Rushton, Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen—the main figures in academic research on race and IQ. Although he also considers criticisms that have been leveled against them, it’s clear that Richwine sees this body of  work as basically correct.

For example, in discussing whether genetics plays a role in the low IQ of Mexicans, Richwine writes:

The hereditarian case is buttressed by a large amount of data showing physiological differences across races—in brain size, rate of maturation, rate of twinning, sex ratio at birth, and many others (Rushton 2000, 9). The racial rank order of these differences is almost always the same, with whites intermediate and Asians and blacks at the extremes. For example, magnetic resonance imaging has shown that Asians have larger brains than whites, who have larger brains than blacks. As discussed in chapter 1, brain size is well correlated with g. On other measures, the same physiological rank order emerges. Blacks mature faster than whites, who mature faster than Asians. Blacks also have more twins than Asians, again with whites in the middle. Far from being fringe science, these findings have been replicated by numerous researchers (Gottfredson 2005). They indicate that race is more than “skin deep,” meaning genetic differences in intelligence are not at all implausible.

Richwine also has a section on Lynn and Vanhanen’s The Global Bell Curve. After noting some criticisms, he writes:

But while their exact numbers can be questioned, Lynn and Vanhanen (LV) have drawn attention to real cognitive differences that exist worldwide. They used “culture fair” IQ tests—tests shown to exhibit the same predictive and internal validity for different ethnic and cultural groups—whenever possible, and they adjusted older test scores upward to account for the Flynn effect. They also showed that multiple tests within one country correlate at over 0.9, countering criticism that single tests in some countries are too unreliable.

Furthermore, the high correlation between national IQ and economic success supports the validity of LV’s data. Dickerson (2006) has found that IQ can account for 70% of the variance in GDP across nations, assuming an exponential relationship between the two variables. This IQ-wealth relationship is not due to very low IQ scores from the world’s poorest countries. In fact, the IQ-wealth correlation is essentially unchanged—it is stronger, if anything—when low IQ countries are discarded (Whetzel and McDaniel 2006). The predictive value of LV’s dataset, not only in terms of national wealth and economic growth, but also as a positive correlate of educational success, nonagricultural ways of life (Barber 2005), and even suicide rates across countries (Voracek 2004), is strikingly robust.

Are LV’s IQ numbers just proxies for some other factor, such as education, nutrition, or free markets? Initially, results were mixed when researchers attempted to answer this question. Weede and Kampf (2002) found a consistently significant and independent effect of IQ on economic growth, while Volken (2003) made the effect disappear by adding certain educational variables. The debate was resolved with the publication of Jones and Schneider (2006), which used the most technically sophisticated methodology on the subject. Jones and Schneider employed a version of the “I just ran two million regressions” method of Sala-I-Martin (1997), in which the significance of a particular variable is tested in thousands of potential growth models. Jones and Schneider found that IQ is a statistically significant predictor of growth in 99.8% of those models.

In the rest of his thesis, Richwine essentially corroborates LV using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth which also formed the basis for The Bell Curve, but focusing on immigrants and their children. An example of his rather chilling findings are the results of a backward digit span test (a culture-fair test) where second-generation Mexican immigrants had an average full-scale IQ of 82.1 and immigrants from Central and South America an average IQ of 89.8 (Table 2.13, p. 57).

It is noteworthy that Richwine used LV’s data from IQ and Global Inequality because this book was published in 2006 by Washington Summit Press. WSP is a project of the National Policy Institute (NPI) which is headed by Richard Spencer (whose speech at the recent American Renaissance conference was TOO‘s previously featured article). A large part of the indictment of Richwine is that he authored two articles on Alternative Right when it was edited  by Spencer. AltRight is described by Byron York in his interview with Richwine cited above as “a strong white nationalist site”—which I guess it is (for one thing, they posted me [here and here]).

It’s  good news that Richwine has been defended in some mainstream quarters, notably by Rush Limbaugh (see here and here); Limbaugh posted a link to Richwine’s thesis on his website.  Although he backs away from endorsing any policy implications of Richwine’s research, Charles Murray has a ringing defense based on First Amendment/academic freedom grounds and on traditional American culture. Regarding the latter, Murray notes:

The celebration of freedom of expression was still in full flower in the 1950s, when a play based on the Scopes trial, Inherit the Wind, was a Broadway hit. The American Civil Liberties Union of that era was passionately absolutist about freedom of expression, defending the right of free expression for even odious groups such as neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. The lonely individual saying what he believed in the face of pressure to keep silent was a staple of American films and television drama.

Right. But that was at a time when the culture of the left — already well entrenched in the media and elite universities — was  mainly concerned to protect communist  professors and other leftist dissidents targeted by McCarthyism. Inherit the Wind (by Jerome Lawrence Schwartz and Robert Edwin Lee) was written to oppose McCarthyism. Another famous example of anti-McCarthyism from the 1950s is Arthur Miller’s The Crucible which implicitly condemned the  House Un-American Activities  Committee by comparing it to the Salem witch trials.

Although quite powerful, the culture  of  the left was not yet the dominant elite  that it has become since the 1960s; it had powerful enemies in McCarthy and his allies, and these forces had strong popular support. The rise of this new elite has coincided with the power of organizations like the Southern Poverty Law  Center and the ADL that  specialize in getting people fired for  thought crimes and care nothing  for  free speech. There is clearly an  ethnic aspect to this transformation. While there are endless tears (see here and here, pp. 39-40) for Hollywood screenwriters blacklisted during the anti-communist fervor of the 1950s and since promoted to cultural sainthood, don’t  expect our new elite to condemn witch hunts like the one that destroyed Jason Richwine. And don’t expect a hit Broadway play based on an allegory in which the SPLC is implicitly condemned for its persecution of race realists and White advocates.

Richard  Spencer is quite correct on the lesson for White advocates:

Our take-away from this incident is that nationalists must fund institutions, such as NPI, that can employ talented researchers like Richwine. The “conservative movement” has never been—nor will it ever be—a home for our ideas and our people.

Exactly. There must be positions for talented, honest researchers like Richwine. The secret of the success of movements like neoconservatism is that they have a well-funded infrastructure of organizations that make a career possible—organizations like the American Enterprise Institute that  formerly employed Richwine and continues to employ his mentor, Charles Murray. We desperately need organizations like that.

But lest we get carried away in praise of Richwine’s courage in the area of race-realism, basing immigration on IQ rather than race is not going to save White America. The implication of this  research is that  race is  important only as a way of predicting who will add the most value to the society. It’s an individualist/capitalist/libertarian way of thinking where the only metric is the financial and social benefit to be obtained from immigration.

Even the costs of immigration in terms of political alienation can be seen in this way. Richwine discusses Robert Putnam’s research showing that multiculturalism leads to lower social capital, and hypothesizes that, although diversity itself leads to lower social capital, higher IQ non-Whites would have less of a negative effect on social capital than low-IQ non-Whites. Again, the basic argument is to manage the effects of diversity in a way that maximizes individual self-interest of Whites and the economic interests of the society as a whole.

My hypothesis is that higher-IQ non-whites will have substantially less negative impact on social capital. People with higher IQs are more likely to build trusting communities themselves, and they could also find it easier to integrate into established high-trust neighborhoods. If this is true, then a major benefit of immigrant IQ selection is that it could make non-white immigration more tolerable in terms of maintaining social capital.

He then supports his hypothesis by findings that there is less of a decline in social trust by Whites when they are in neighborhoods with Asians than in neighborhoods with Latinos or Blacks. Importantly, he does not find this effect when the data are controlled for income and education: importing Asians results in the same decline of social trust as would occur with Latinos or Blacks, all else equal. Higher IQ ameliorates the lack of social trust resulting from ethnically mixed neighborhoods, but it certainly doesn’t erase it.

In any case, the problem here is that the racial interests of Whites are not part of the equation.  Basing immigration on IQ would make immigration less expensive and prevent a huge increase in underclass behavior; and it would lead to less angst about dysfunctional families and underperforming sch0ols (where performance must be blamed on anything but the academic ability of the students). But importing millions of high-IQ Asians would have the same effect in terms of the decline of White America and indeed might be worse because it would intensify ethnic competition for high-IQ jobs.

IQ is indeed an important part of the big picture. But having IQ at the center of the analysis is a far cry from an analysis in terms of ethnic interests. We need to internalize the ideas of Frank Salter’s On Genetic Interests (the most recent discussion in TOO of Salter’s work is Ted Sallis’s “The Pareto Principle,” but there have been quite a few others).

Making White interests and identity acceptable and legitimate among mainstream Whites (beginning with the intellectuals) is a sine qua non for a mass movement that will begin to push back against the anti-White onslaught.

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