National Review, the same Conservatism Inc. publication that fired John Derbyshire for writing on paper what every white person thinks, has amazingly allowed Jason Richwine a venue to publish “About That Dissertation”.
I’m telling this story not because I want or expect pity for my personal situation. Rather, it’s important for people to understand how hostile the political class can be toward scientific facts that make them uncomfortable. That discomfort is what caused a mainstream policy analyst to be rebranded overnight as a bigoted extremist.
Of his dissertation findings that recent generation immigrants score lower than U.S. born whites on IQ tests, Richwine notes:
Nothing in it suggests that any groups are “inferior” to any others, nor is there any call to base immigration policy on ethnicity. In fact, I argue for individual IQ selection as a way to identify bright people who do not have access to a university education in their home countries.
I realize that IQ selection rubs some people the wrong way, but it can hardly be called “extremist.” Canada and Australia intentionally favor highly educated immigrants. My proposal is based on the same principle they use (pick skilled immigrants), but it offers a much better chance for disadvantaged people to be selected.
If the dissertation were taken seriously, its real contribution would be to open a forthright debate about the assimilation challenge posed by the post-1965 immigration wave. Because regardless of what one believes IQ scores really measure, or what determines them, they are undeniably predictive of a wide variety of socioeconomic outcomes that people care about.
This following section of Richwine’s column is most illustrative of the Cultural Marxism that still dominates our culture-producers:
I am not aware of a single major news outlet that acted as if my results merited real discussion. The reporters scanned the text for damning pull-quotes, giddily pasted them into stories about “extremism” on the right, and presented my statements as self-evidently wrong. Liberal bloggers piled on with ignorant condemnations. Even some conservative supporters of the Schumer-Rubio amnesty eagerly joined the hatefest. At no time did the critics seem to wonder whether what I was saying might be true.
The reason for that is simple. The media were never interested in me or in the substance of my dissertation. They wanted only to use my work to embarrass the Heritage Foundation and, by extension, all opponents of amnesty. It’s a familiar formula for “gotcha” journalism: Uncover an “extremist” associated with a mainstream organization, then demand to know how the organization could possibly associate itself with him. Keep turning up the pressure, hour after hour, with “shocking” new revelations.
To see how the furor over my dissertation is so inextricably linked to today’s heated debate over immigration, consider that no less a mainstream-media institution than the New York Times reported on some of my dissertation’s ideas in 2009. The newspaper’s Idea of the Day blog discussed my proposal for IQ selection in neutral terms. No moral panic ensued. What’s different now is that immigration reform is at stake, and the whole conversation is hopelessly politicized.
Richwine notes the Orwellian dimensions of ongoing ethnic warfare in the form of socially-acceptable campus activism:
Some students at Harvard are now using the same strategy to denounce my dissertation findings. An open letter signed by 23 ethnic student groups contains this gem: “Even if such claims had merit, the Kennedy School cannot ethically stand by this dissertation whose end result can only be furthering discrimination under the guise of academic discourse.” It would be difficult to find a more explicit embrace of censorship.
A student petition is currently circulating that calls on the Harvard administration to reject all scholarship based on “doctrines” that the signers don’t like. The petition, which at last count had nearly 1,000 signatures, isn’t just shameful, it’s worrisome. Many of these students will come to positions of national leadership, yet they openly oppose intellectual freedom. Going forward, I wonder what other thoughts they will seek to ban.
The furor will soon pass. Mercifully, the media are starting to forget about me. But a certain amount of long-term damage to political discourse has been done. Every researcher who writes on public policy over the next few years will have a fresh and vivid memory of how easy it is to get in trouble with the media’s thought police, and how easy it is to become an instant pariah. Researchers will feel even more compelled to suppress unpopular evidence and arguments that should be part of an open discussion. This is certainly not the way science should be conducted, and it’s not the way our politics should be either.
As has been the case with countless other scholars who dared to look into correlations of race and IQ (and who subsequently lost their jobs), the Richwine episode is just the latest, and won’t be the last, chapter in the Chilling Effect instituted by the Cultural Marxists running the show.
The Obama administration’s selective IRS persecutions? This to chill the growth of the Tea Party and chill tax-free contributions to such groups.
The Obama administration’s snooping into private communications of AP/CBS/FNC reporters? This to chill potential future whistleblowers, and reporters, who will now never be sure they aren’t being monitored.
More than ever, the unbridled and unaccountable growth of governmental power must be resisted.