Saturday, October 7, 2017


     My esteemed colleague Colonel Bunny’s recent article on scarcity has me thinking about an old subject – for me, at any rate – and how it bears on the current pressures against the borders of all the First World nations.

     In Thomas Malthus’s famous, if sadly mistaken, Essay on the Principle of Population, he viewed the world economy statically: i.e., as a set of conditions from which there was no escape. In particular, he omitted to consider the possibility of advances in agricultural methods and technology. By neglecting that consideration, he produced one of Mankind’s most famous examples of DoomSpeak: the proclamation that if we continued to procreate as we’d been doing, our progeny, near or distant, would starve themselves by their numbers.

     To be maximally gentle about it, that hasn’t happened yet. But Malthus was not entirely wrong. The key lies in his premises:

  • “Arithmetic” advancements in food production;
  • “Geometric” increase in population;
  • All other conditions kept constant.

     None of those three premises proved to be accurate. However, if they had, Malthus’s prognostication might have come to pass. As it happens, this is of direct application to contemporary migrations.

     A group confined to a static set of resources – space, raw materials, tools, etc. – can only increase its numbers by the application of intelligence. It must study and innovate its productive methods if it wishes to grow beyond what those original resources would support. That mandates the use of existing tools to make better ones, and the exploitation of space and raw materials at increased levels of efficiency.

     Any geographically compact city provides an illustration. Take Manhattan Island. The tools and techniques of 1800 could not support Manhattan’s population in 1900, much less that of 2000. That required the increasingly efficient use of space: building up rather than across. As materials science and the arts of engineering advanced, it became possible to heap ever higher structures on Manhattan, and thus to support more and more people and commerce.

     Yet there are limits. Were we to extend that trend naively for a few millennia, Manhattan would be covered by towers several miles high, housing the lives and commerce of hundreds of millions of people. That’s not terribly likely for several reasons, not just because there are other places to work and live.

     One of the limits we tend to obscure in our extrapolations is the limit on human intelligence. Granted that given opportunity, time, and a sufficiently free society, a handful of geniuses can produce innovations that many millions of less gifted persons can exploit. But that handful of geniuses must exist, must have adequate opportunities and time, and must function within a sufficiently free society. All three of those conditions are required for progress of any sort.

     Which brings us to the distribution of intelligence among the peoples of the world.

     In their hotly debated studies IQ and the Wealth of Nations and IQ and Global Inequality, Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen attempted to explore the correlation between the two title characteristics. Their thesis has been contested, of course – mainly by persons determined to suppress all serious scholarship on intelligence, its nature, its distribution, and its consequences – yet over time it has held water. (For those who can’t afford his very expensive books, Dr. Lynn has provided PDFs of the articles on which they’re based.) Another correlation, which has become more significant as the years have passed, is between national average IQ and migration flows.

     Without going too deeply into detail, let it suffice to say that nations with low average IQs exhibit strong out-migration — and the migrant flow tends to be toward nations with high average IQs. The migrant wants a better life, so he heads for a place where (he hears) others live better than he and his countrymen. Isn’t that the usual reason for migration?

     Not all nations that exhibit high mean IQs are open to immigration. Japan, for example, is hostile to it and limits it sharply. But those nations which are open to immigrants, de jure or de facto, have accepted increasing number of them in recent years – not because those nations are hungry for more population, but because the migration flows have become thicker and have exerted ever greater pressure on the borders of the wealthier, higher-IQ nations. Some nations have strained to accommodate those flows; others are making efforts to resist them. But the salient fact is that persons from low-wealth, low-IQ states are heading en masse to high-wealth, high-IQ states.

     If the correlation between national IQ and national wealth points to a causative relation, high-IQ nations with relatively open borders are in for some retrenchment.

     Today’s migrant flows would not have been possible a century ago. For one thing, the transportation networks that existed then would not have permitted them. For another, First World statesmen were much wiser and more public-minded. Their subjects were much warier about the admission of strangers who share few or no points of cultural commonality with them. Those factors served to limit the interpenetration of immiscible, unassimilable populations.

     In the world of today, a few hundred dollars permits anyone to go anywhere, often without being detected. Where there were once statesmen who served the public out of a sense of duty, there are now demagogues and villains concerned only with their own power, prestige, and perquisites. And where there was once a nearly uniform appreciation of national cultures and a sense of pride about them, there’s a rapidly creeping, potentially fatal disease called multiculturalism.

     Multiculturalism, also called cultural relativism, isn’t just about what sort of food, art, and music persons of varying heritages prefer. It’s also about moral and ethical standards, and standards of public conduct. For those things also correlate with average intelligence, and migration has proved incapable of changing them.

     To return briefly to subject of intelligence distribution among the nations, even a nation with a low mean IQ can, and probably will possess a few very high intellects: i.e., persons of IQ 3 or more standard deviations above the human mean. However, the mean remains important. In the U.S., 3 standard deviations above the mean would put the test subject at IQ 143 or higher (U.S. mean IQ: 98; standard deviation: 15 points). In Zimbabwe – mean IQ 70, standard deviation 10 points – 3 standard deviations above the mean would put the test subject at IQ 100.

     The normal distribution tells us that 99.7% of all persons will fall within 3 standard deviations of the mean. Therefore, only 0.3% will fall outside it. Therefore, in a nation such as Zimbabwe – population approximately 16 million – even if all 0.3% are 3 standard deviations above the mean, a highly unlikely proposition, only 48,000 persons would have intellects equal or better than the average American. A vanishing number of Zimbabweans would score higher.

     But there’s an even more important influence at work. The culture, institutions, and political soundness of a nation also correlate with its mean IQ. Nations with high mean IQs tend to have high moral and ethical standards, greater freedom, especially freer markets; nations with low mean IQs tend to have lower moral standards, much less freedom, and are usually socialist or “crony capitalist” commercially. That will limit the latitude and effectiveness of whatever high-intellect, high-capability individuals it will possess. Moreover, those high-intellect, high-capability individuals are the ones most likely to want to escape such a nation.

     In light of those easily grasped factors, the chaos that afflicts First World nations that permit high rates of immigration becomes utterly understandable...and inevitable.

     These days, “colonialism” gets a bad rap. Yet whatever the excesses of the European colonial powers were – and there definitely were excesses; see the Congo under Belgium during the reign of King Leopold II – European colonialism was an inversion of contemporary migration. High-intellect, high-capability First World persons, steeped in a culture that valued freedom and high standards, went forth to savage lands and set to work on them. As far as I can determine, that was a net gain for every African country that received the attention of a European power. That the great majority of those nations have reverted to savagery since since their “liberation” merely confirms the power of national intelligence distributions.

     This is not a brief for a return to colonialism. No First World nation has the time or inclination for such undertakings these days. However, it does argue for another alteration of First World attitudes: one the multiculturalists and open-borders advocates will decry in the strongest of terms.


     The hardening of the borders of First World nations has become imperative for the survival of some and necessary to the social, economic, and political well-being of all. No First World nation could maintain its economy or its important institutions, were it to permit itself to be deluged by low-IQ, low-capability immigrants from places that know nothing of morals, freedom, or civilized commercial and esthetic standards. Savages import savagery; they most assuredly do not magically acquire the civilizations and standards of the places they invade. They must be confined to their own lands, possibly in perpetuity.

     In this regard, the essays and talks of John Derbyshire touching on the lunacy of faith in “magic dirt” are among the most important documents of our time. They’re mostly available at VDare. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

     (See also this earlier essay on intelligence.)


Joseph said...

The fact that European Americans have far more sensible opinions (e.g., on gun control) is clear evidence that the US really is made of Magic Dirt.

Bill said...

Charlie Hebdo