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This is a good anti-immigration argument that you see nowadays in those gray areas of online commentary that attempt to straddle that fine line that delineates barely acceptable from unacceptable discourse in respectable society.

Of course, very conveniently, very few Syrians – let alone Sub-Saharan Africans – would qualify, as pointed out by Steve Sailer and psychometricians like James Thompson and Heiner Rindermann.

It’s an argument I bought into myself for quite a few years. But I’m not really sure I do so nowadays. Here are a few reasons.

(1) Regression to the mean. This is the least important reason. It only happens once, and if the immigrants in question are at >125 IQs, their progeny are virtually guaranteed to continue to be well above average in the future (if not to as great an extent).

(2) Cognitive colonialism. Scouring the Third World of its already very limited stock of high IQ people will very seriously hamper their already dim development prospects. Sure, this will not have any discernible effect if you’re talking about China. 7% of the Chinese population, or ~100 million people of its 1350 million people, has a >125 IQ assuming a 103 average and S.D. = 15. But the equivalent figure for Syria, with its 81 average IQ, is 0.2%, or a mere 40,000 or so of its 20 million population. These tail effects will be all the more extreme for ~70 IQ Sub-Saharan Africans, of whom only 0.1% would qualify. Strip those societies of the cognitive elites they need to institute good policies that would make those countries more prosperous and habitable – and incidentally, less likely to generate massive refugee waves in the first place – and you end up creating only fairly marginal additional benefits to the already cognitively gifted First World. One could call this cognitive colonialism.

(3) Cultural bell curves. Societies can also differ cardinally from each other in terms of cultural values even if they have otherwise equal IQ levels. For instance, translated onto an IQ-like scale, there is possibly a greater than 1 S.D. difference between the Greeks and the Germans in terms of their future time orientation. Even though they have achieved similar levels of economic output per capita (since that depends very largely just on IQ), these differences in national time orientations arguably underlie much of the Eurozone’s economic dysfunction. The differences between Europeans and Arabs, or Europeans and Africans, will likely be all the more profound and not just in terms of time horizons but also in propensities towards violent crime, ethnocentrism, and other cultural factors too subtle to measure or potentially even define.

(4) Ethnic capture. This is at the very border between edgy and taboo, between the academese of Amy Chua’s “market dominant minorities,” the quasi-academese of Kevin MacDonald’s (and W.D. Hamilton’s) “ethnic genetic interests,” and the decidedly non-academese of “Zionist Occupation Government” propounded by members of a certain weather related forum. But it’s worth mentioning at least in passing. The theory goes that certain ethnic groups, because of their above average levels of guile, intelligence, ethnic solidarity, and/or some combination thereof, can in effect “seize” or at least substantially influence their host country’s policies – and not always to the benefit of the indigenous population. Even if they are not successful at that they can still, by virtue of their cognitive elite status – and in the US, at least, policy always hews to the preferences of the cognitive elites, while the proles have to follow along – conceivably shift society’s mores and values in a direction deeply at odds with the wishes and desires of the indigenous population. In short, why risk even testing this theory out, if you don’t absolutely have to?

So overall that’s a pretty solid case if I do say so myself. More importantly, it covers pretty much all ideological bases. The first argument is just elementary biology. The second is progressive and anti-imperialist. The third is primarily cultural and should appeal somewhat to mainstream conservatives. The fourth I suspect is for people who let’s just say probably don’t need much convincing in the first place.

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In response to Razib’s post.

Economically, Communist regimes are far from monolithic. You had:

  1. State capitalist/”market socialist” countries like today’s China and Belarus, the NEPist USSR, tradionally Communist-ruled Kerala for that matter. Note that even Western countries, e.g. dirigiste France, have flirted with this.
  2. Central planning as practiced from the late 1920s in the USSR, in which markets are near totally repressed but workers and enterprises still have some incentives to improve productivity.
  3. The complete lunacy that is Maoist economics, with no markets or incentives. You had a statistically bigger chance of dying on your job than getting a transfer.

Likewise these systems differ quite cardinally in the sorts of economic outcomes/per capita output levels they can achieve relative to a free market theoretical maximum.

  1. Probably 80%+. Any differences/problems will only emerge once you start moving into the highest tiers.
  2. Likely no more than 50%, at least beyond the heavy industrialization stage of development. With some help from high oil prices, the USSR reached ~40% of US GDP per capita in the 1970s (or 50% of that of the advanced West European economies), then remained at basically that same relative level until it collapsed. North Korea maintained GDP per capita (PPP) parity with South Korea until the 1970s, then flatlined, and is today no more prosperous than it was 40 years ago. East Germany was at 50% of Western Germany. Hungary did untypically well, but then again, its “goulash communism” was closer to (1); this I suspect is the main reason its post-Communist performance has been fairly unimpressive compared to Poland or Czechia, it having less of a “gap” to close relative to what it “should have been” in the first place.
  3. Maybe 20%.

In regards to India’s underdevelopment:

The Licence Raj didn’t help – according to the above schema, India would have been somewhere between (1) and (2) – but that couldn’t have been the main source of India’s development problems. Note that the USSR, North Korea, to some extent even Maoist China, they all managed to achieve basic heavy industrialization under systems far more market suppressive than the License Raj. Surely the main thing holding India back would have been its low level of social, especially human capital (low literacy rates, ~low 80s average IQ), development. Human capital >> institutions so far as economic growth is concerned in almost all cases.

Finally: I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.

Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.