Archive for May 2013

Is immigration based on IQ a good idea?

May 26, 2013

As John Derbyshire points out at Vdare, the media hysteria over Jason Richwine’s infamous immigration paper has meant his main idea – that immigration should be based on IQ – has been left unexamined by the mainstream media.

Derbyshire points out a number of problems with IQ-based immigration, but I’ll point out a couple of other problems.

One is regression to the mean.

Canada and New Zealand have been using skill-based immigration for over a century to cherry pick workers from the British Islands and Europe. Indeed, The New Zealand Company (a private company that established settlements in Australia and New Zealand in the 19th Century) was carefully selecting immigrants based on skills, temperament, and character as early as the 1840s.

Despite this policy, and the fact that skills are stronglycorrelated with IQ, the mean IQ of whites in Canada and New Zealand is no higher than in most other majority whites, and both countries (for better or worse) have their fair share of colonial “chavs” (referred to down under as “bogans”). Hence it seems that even if most white immigrants are quite bright and enterprising, their descendants will soon return to the white mean.

Like skill-based immigration, IQ-based selection is also limited by the inevitable trend for selective immigration to be accompanied by immigration based on family ties, and just because a particular individual has a high IQ or a valuable skill, it doesn’t mean their relatives will. In fact since valuable skills are by definition, relatively rare, it’s more likely the relatives of smart or highly skilled workers will have fewer skills or lower IQs.

Following this logic, even smart immigrants from countries with a low average IQ – like most of Africa and the Middle East – could well have lots of descendants with IQs that are significantly below the white average.

Another problem with IQ-based immigration is that high IQ immigrants can undermine social cohesion if they aren’t  able to secure high status, white collar employment. Most Islamic terrorists in western countries are high IQ immigrants with degrees, and smart, frustrated immigrants have played a big part in many assassinations, communist revolutions and left-wing social movements.