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Hanania is Wrong About Immigration
Hanania has been posting good takes lately: facing the truth about interracial crime, the case against reading books, and answering the obesity question. This is a welcome upgrade over what he was posting earlier: contrarian nonsense that fans flames on the internet. He has not given up on defending immigration though, as he has posted a recent article titled ‘Diversity Really is Our Strength’, arguing in favor of high levels of immigration from an (implicitly) hereditarian position.
He skips over the weak arguments against immigration (e.g. that they lower wages, bring bad cultures, cause budget deficits) and instead tackles the strongest argument for restricting it, which is that national IQ is associated with GDP per capita. National IQ is clearly the causal variable behind this association, though Hanania seems to take this as a given.
Instead, he makes the case that this is not a slight against immigration, as this doesn't take into consideration benefits within individuals:
To see what I mean, imagine you have two countries. Country A has a GDP per capita of $40K, while Country B has a GDP per capita of $10K. An engineer making $15K a year moves from Country B to Country A. What happens? The average GDP in both countries goes down. Someone might look at that and say that the engineer should stay in Country B. But you haven’t actually shown that anyone in either country is worse off by him moving.
The problem with this argument is that a low national IQ can have effects on the general population independent of the within-individual effects. For example, national IQs are correlated with a variety of measures of social development:
More intelligent countries are not just wealthier - they also have more property rights, less homicides, better sanitation, more freedom, and less deaths due to car accidents.
On an individual level, more intelligent individuals get into less accidents across the board, even when you adjust for multiple confounders such as parental SES and adult SES. Because of this, a causal explanation is warranted.
In addition, he questions whether immigration would lower America’s IQ substantially:
Many restrictionists seem to be operating under the assumption that the US has the same demographics it did in the 1960s. But today, only around 52% of births are white, 23% are Hispanic, 15% are black, and 7% are Asian. Let’s peg white IQ at 100, Hispanics at 92, blacks at 85, and Asians at 105. We still have 3% for other, and let’s just give them an IQ of 95.
This alone means that the average IQ of newborns in the US is already around 95. It’s actually probably lower than that due to dysgenic fertility, which seems to be knocking at least 1 IQ point off each generation. We can therefore estimate the IQ of American newborns to be 94.
The dysgenic change within Americans is irrelevant here - invoking it rests on the assumption that these dysgenic fertility patterns do not occur in the rest of the world. This is probably not true, as fertility and education correlate negatively in Mexico as well. Based on census records, individuals who don’t attend school have 4 children on average, while individuals who went to high school (or more) had 2 children on average.
Arguing that immigration to the USA would only reduce IQ by a small amount is a very defeatist mindset as well. Why settle for a genotypic IQ of 92-94, when large amounts of highly skilled immigrants could increase it to 101-103? This difference of 0.6 standard deviations in national IQ between the worst case and best case scenario translates to an improvement in general social development of ~0.45 standard deviations, which is not trivial - it’s roughly equivalent to the degree to which SSRIs reduce depression or ibuprofen help arthritis.
To summarize, I don’t think there is a good case against highly skilled or powerful immigrants who contribute resources and good genes to their destination. What I do think there is a good case against, is the policy of importing hordes of unskilled and poor immigrants who do not contribute to their destination’s gene pool. This is because an individual’s characteristics contributes to not only their own lives, but the lives of their countrymen as well.