Matthew Yglesias has finally gotten around to reading the 1994 bestseller The Bell Curve and he has some things he wants to say about it. From Vox:
Charles Murray is an incredibly successful — and pernicious — policy entrepreneur.
By Matthew [email protected]@vox.com Apr 10, 2018, 8:00am EDT
… The Bell Curve set the stage for Trumpist immigration policy
You can tell that Trump undoubtedly keeps his dog-eared copy of The Bell Curve on his bedside table from all the times he suddenly starts talking about standard deviations.
Unlike on social welfare policy, Murray does not outline a specific immigration policy agenda. But in chapter 15, he writes that “the rules that currently govern immigration provide the other major source of dysgenic pressure” and remarks enigmatically that while earlier waves of immigrants may have been beneficial, “the self-selection process that used to attract the classic American immigrant — brave, hard working, imaginative, self-starting, and often of high IQ — has been changing and with it the nature of some of the immigrant population.”
He complains that “the nation’s political ground rules have yet to accept that the intelligence of immigrants is a legitimate topic for policymakers to think about” and eventually concludes “the kernel of evidence that must also be acknowledged is that Latin and black immigrants are, at least in the short run, putting some downward pressure on the distribution of intelligence.”
Murray’s intellectual influence on the current trajectory of American immigration policy is obvious. His warning about the dysgenic impact of Latin American and African immigration is echoed by President Trump, who recently remarked that there are too many arrivals from “shithole” countries, and in the Republican Party’s ongoing conversion to the cause of sharp cuts in legal immigration. Trump’s immigration proposals do not specifically reference IQ, but his drive for a switch to what he terms a “merit-based” immigration system is clearly animated by a Murray-esque concern that the wrong kind of people are moving to the US.
I’d say to be less wrong, Matt should say:
The Bell Curve set the stage for Justin Trudeauvian immigration policy
Of course, Trumpist immigration policy is a lot like Canadian immigration policy in that both explicitly try to benefit the current citizens. But, for some reason, it’s fine for Canada to do that, but WRONG for America to do that because of the Zeroth Amendment carved on the Statue of Liberty.