My thoughts on race and IQ

I’ve been hesitating a bit to get into this topic, not so much because I’m afraid of sharing my views, but because I don’t want to use this blog too much for discussions that are not directly relevant to open borders. However, given that the topic of “race” seems to have come up in Nathan’s recent post, and in BK’s comments, and since I’ve already commented sharing some of my views, I think it’s best that I go on the record with my views. Note that these are just my personal views. I won’t say that they are completely irrelevant to my case for open borders, but what I would say is that the case for open borders is, to my mind, sufficiently robust under changes to my views on this matter. The goal of this post is merely as a reference I can point to so that I can write in the future about these issues without having to provide long justifications and caveats.

To keep this post short, I will not discuss either the moral issues or the relevance to open borders.

I already signed on to the overall IQ consensus (ignoring the racial issues) at the beginning of this post, so I won’t repeat that here. But you might want to take a look at these two consensus statements, this journalistic survey, and this PDF summary by Linda Gottfredson. So here goes.

My understanding of the genetics-focused human biodiversity/race realist position

The genetics-focused human biodiversity/race realist position can be summed up thus. There are, roughly speaking, three sub-races of the human race: Whites, Blacks, and East Asians. Although most population geneticists don’t use the term “race” in their discussions, this tri-racial scheme is reasonably consistent with genetic distance classifications such as the Cavalli-Sforza tree, which identifies 42 subpopulations of the human species.

The race realist position goes on to argue that the mean “genetic IQs” of the three groups are 100, 85, and 105 respectively (some people use different numbers; I’m just using approximate numbers here). Genetic IQ is an ill-defined term, but roughly, you could think of it as meaning what the average IQ would be if they lived in a well-to-do country such as the US with a middle-class lifestyle. The standard deviations within each group is 15 or lower. Thus, blacks are one standard deviation below whites in average IQ.

Caveat 1: Lynn estimates African IQ as about 67, but says that the “genetic IQ” of Africans is probably 80. But I’m rounding that up to 85 since Lynn is relatively extreme. In the comments, BK has pointed out to the work of Jelte Wicherts which casts some doubt on Lynn’s pessimistic estimates, and suggests that current IQ in South Africa is about 80, which suggests that the “genetic IQ” may be around 85 (see also here).

Caveat 2: Some people, such as Lynn, consider genetic attribution of IQ differences even within sub-races and between ethnically similar populations in different regions of the same country. For instance, Lynn applies genetics to considering differences between Northern and Southern Italy. In a critical piece, Ron Unz writes of Lynn:

Although Lynn attributed this large deficit in Southern Italian IQ to substantial North African or Near Eastern genetic admixture, poverty and cultural deprivation seem more likely explanations.

Still, I think Lynn is a bit of an outlier in the fineness with which he makes genetic distinctions and uses admixture to explain differences between nearby regions. Continue reading My thoughts on race and IQ

Universalist defenses of citizenism bleg

We here at Open Borders have been putting in quite a bit of effort into addressing citizenism. But I think there are some defenses of citizenism that people have in their minds which haven’t been quite clearly articulated. Specifically, these are defenses of citizenism from a universalist perspective. In other words, these are defenses that go along the lines of: if everybody behaved citizenistically, the world would be a better place from a universalistic perspective. [UPDATE: As BK points out in the comments, such a defense can argue from “realism” by saying that citizenism is the only practical ethics that lies at the intersection of the feasible and the universally good, so pure rational universalist-utilitarianism, even if better in theory, is not a realistic option to consider]

A good analogy is Adam Smith’s invisible hand metaphor, something that economists over the last two centuries have worked on elaborating. The metaphor explains how, when each individual acts in his/her self-interest (subject to moral side constraints) the world is benefited more than if each individual were to act as if the interests of all individuals mattered equally. Here are a couple of Adam Smith’s quotes:

By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

To take another example, a utilitarian may argue that if everybody believed in libertarian natural rights, the world would be a better place, so it is okay to preach a normative ethics of respect for natural rights, even though the utilitarian may not believe in natural rights per se. Might the universalist similarly argue that even though citizenism is false in a meta-ethical sense, it still makes sense as a practical ethics for people to follow, if it yields the best universalist fruit?

I can sort of see how to make this argument, but since I’m not a citizenist, I may not actually be able to do justice to this case. Obviously, one possible universalist justification of citizenism is that it helps maintain closed borders, which you may consider good from a universalist perspective. I’m interested in whether there are other justifications that come to your mind.

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

PS: Here’s a relevant quote from Sailer:

Personally, I am a citizenist. That is not a word you see often (here are all twelve uses of the word known to Google) which is not surprising because few pundits seem to think like this.

My starting point in analyzing policies is: “What is in the best overall interests of the current citizens of the United States?”

In contrast, so many others think in terms of: “What is in the best interest of my: identity group / race / ethnicity / religion / bank account / class / ideology / clique / gender / sexual orientation / party / and/or personal feelings of moral superiority?”

Precisely because basing loyalties upon a legal category defined by our elected representatives is so unnatural, it’s the least destructive and most uplifting form of allegiance humanly possible on an effective scale.

Note: I’d really appreciate if you use the comments to address citizenism and its universalistic defenses, rather than general issues you have with open borders. For general issues with open borders, please consider commenting on the open borders open thread for November.

Open borders open thread: November

This is an open thread for people to comment on any issue about the Open Borders website, open borders as a topic, or anything else of relevance to open borders that is not directly relevant to our other blog posts. We’ll have one such thread every month. Please use this thread for comments of a generic nature. This will help keep discussions of specific posts focused on the points made in those posts.

Thank you very much!

Open borders and the economic frontier, part 1

This will be the first of three posts on the topic of “open borders and the economic frontier.” 

I am indebted to commenter BK for making the major subject of my academic research, on the basis of which I hope to make my name as an academic economist, relevant to this blog. In a long series of comments at my post “The American polity can endure and flourish under open borders,” and previously at “Garett Jones responds…” BK digs up some numbers and makes a sort of loose empirical case, based on the experience of what Amy Chua calls “market-dominant minorities” in many countries around the world, that segregation of humanity based on cognitive ability, with race as a proxy, actually makes the world economy as a whole more productive:

Chinese-Singaporeans generate income almost twice as great in mostly Chinese Singapore as the large Chinese-Malaysian minority does in Malaysia (about $70,000 per annum vs about $38,000), even though there are less than 3 million Chinese in Singapore but almost 7 million in Malaysia. But the Chinese make up 75% of Singapore vs 25% of Malaysia…

There is a Chinese elite, but this isn’t enough to fix the institutions, which have to represent the general population. All this occurred in the context of strong legal discrimination in favor of Malay majority, racialized anti-business sentiment, and big gaps in political views between Chinese and non-Chinese Malaysians. Using the above statistics, if the Chinese-Malaysians could have done as well as Singapore by also seceding from Malaysia into Chinese-dominated countries, total GDP of the region would rise substantially just from letting the Chinese-Malaysians free of the Malaysian electorate, even if incomes back in Malaysia plummeted. But it gets even better: Singapore lets in millions of guest workers from non-Chinese Malaysia, among other places, who send back huge quantities of remittances. Singapore generates more innovations in science and technology with positive spillovers for the rest of the world.

Basically, patterns like this seem to suggest that total GDP and welfare are much increased by international segregation by IQ and other characteristics contributing to productivity and performance, and that giving every country in the world demographics representative of the world would be devastating…

I’ll try the analysis again for a different region, randomly selected to be Africa.

The obvious data are the economic evolution of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and South Africa after universal suffrage and the end of apartheid. This is complicated by the fact that both countries were suffering economically from crippling sanctions before majority rule, as well as internal racial conflict which were then lifted and replaced with foreign aid as part of an intentional effort to make post-suffrage conditions better than pre-suffrage conditions. Continue reading Open borders and the economic frontier, part 1

The Constitution, Citizenism, and the Natural Right of Migration

The moral case for open borders is universal. Most of the practical arguments can also be made in a country-independent fashion. If our case for open borders stands, it applies to all countries, not just the US. However, when arguing for open borders against restrictionists who use American documents for the purpose of arguing for restrictions in the United States, their arguments must be met, inherently, in an US context. These documents can be mistaken in their moral prescriptions and thus talking about them should not be considered as a definitive case for or against open borders. But what this discussion does do is help shed light on the context and history of immigration debates. In so far as an individual believes these documents to hold moral truths, a discussion of what they truly argue for is appropriate. If American history and legal theory are not your cup of tea you may want to just skip this post. Otherwise, let’s have it!

Steve Sailer in discussions of citizenism has pointed to the preamble of the Constitution to help justify a citizenist philosophy in regard to the United States.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

(emphasis mine)

The key being those five words. So does the preamble, and perhaps the Constitution in general, support a citizenist philosophy and allow anti-immigration policies? Fellow blogger Nathan Smith has touched on this issue before. I intend to tackle the issue from a somewhat different angle, specifically whether the Constitution, and indeed other founding documents of this country, justify a citizenist restriction of immigration. But enough prologue, let’s dive into this question.

The Constitution was set up so as to try to compel the government to follow the will of the people within certain limitations. Thus one might legitimately argue that a limited citizenism is somewhat evident within the document, though of a limited sort that also takes into account individual rights. Other portions of the Constitution strongly suggest that individual rights do no stop with American citizens. Take for example the Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

(emphasis mine)

This amendment’s terminology would indicate that this right is not restricted to citizens or else the Constitution would say “citizen” as it does elsewhere (see page 370). So the Constitution does provide that non-citizens have rights that must be respected by the government. But does this include the right to migrate? In the powers granted to Congress there is only mention of the obligation to establish a “uniform Rule of Naturalization.” This is not, and was not seen at the time, as debates over naturalization rules in the 1790s show, as the same as establishing a rule on who can live in this country. Yet, in the very next section there is this statement:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The fact that there was a limitation on Congress would seem to indicate that after that twenty years Congress does have a right to limit migration. However, there are other ways to interpret the constitution. Lysander Spooner, a nineteenth century abolitionist and legal theorist offers this rule for interpreting the Constitution:

Where rights are infringed, where fundamental principles are overthrown, where the general system of the laws is departed from, the legislative intention must be expressed with irresistible clearness, to induce a court of justice to suppose a design to effect such objects.

Continue reading The Constitution, Citizenism, and the Natural Right of Migration