Immigration, Morality & IQ

Internet poster “Gary M.” wrote in 2008:

[Dennis] Prager interviewed Michelle Malkin a number of years ago on his radio show about her book, Invasion. At one point, Malkin became so distressed by what she was hearing from him, that she stopped and asked, “Mr. Prager, do you even believe we should have a southern border?”
…Prager seldom, if ever, has anything but gushing praise for immigrants of the Mexican variety. He says he favors a border fence, but… he is one of these people who also supports a huge increase in legal immigration to go along with any reductions a fence might provide in illegal immigration.

On Nov. 12, 2013, Dennis Prager said: “Why is the [American] latino population so left of center? Because they left countries whose culture is big government. We have not taught them. We haven’t taught anglos, or the people who have been here the longest — blacks. We haven’t taught anybody what American values are, so why would we expect a latino to be in favor of a small government United States?

“They have not asked the question — why is America prosperous and Mexico not? And El Salvador not? Guatemala not? Nicaragua not? Colombia not? Why?”

On Nov. 14, 2013, Dennis said: “Importing people, large numbers of whom don’t share your values, is not a good answer for these [European] countries.”

If big government is the problem, how come big government societies like the Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Norway are so prosperous? And when Scandinavians move to the United States, how come they prosper while fourth–generation Mexican-Americans do not? How come 65% of American Jewish adults over 25 graduate from college and 50% of Asians, 30% of non-Hispanic whites, 18% of blacks and only six percent of fourth-generation Mexican-Americans (with similar statistics for all good things in life like wealth, health, credit worthiness, which fall in accord with IQ scores)? Perhaps big government has less to do with it than human capital.

Dennis spends more time on his radio show talking about adultery than about immigration even though the social capital of a country will have more effect on its welfare than 99% of political legislation. You won’t find many prosperous countries, for instance, where the average IQ is under 90.

On Dec. 2, 2013, Dennis said: “I would like more black African immigration to the United States to bring those family values here.”

What family values? Africa is a disaster with sky-high rates of HIV and violent crime. Africa has 18% of the world’s land, 13% of the world’s population and 1% of the world’s GNP. Who wants to import that low level of accomplishment?

Dennis Prager is all about racial integration. He wrote a July 17, 2002 column entitled, “Why My Son’s Best Friend Is Black.”

…[B]lack Americans have been choosing segregation. You can see it at lunch tables in many schools, in the separate black graduation ceremonies and dorms at colleges, in the proliferating number of race-based professional organizations, and in choosing to live in racially segregated neighborhoods. …I still believe in the racial ideal I was raised with — integration.

…Second, it is most relevant that my son is a religious Jew and that his friend is a religious Christian.
…Steven is a wonderful boy who happens to be black. My son is a wonderful boy who happens to be white. Race is a non-issue to them, as it always should be among good people. For both boys, their religious identity is more important than their racial identity. Because Steven and my son are both religious, they have, often unwittingly to be sure, many values in common. When we explain to Aaron that Steven cannot play on Sunday mornings because he is at church, Aaron entirely understands; he was at synagogue the day before and couldn’t play with Steven at that time. Both boys know the importance of watching their language, making blessings before eating, and much more. Steven and his little brother usually join my family at our Friday night Sabbath dinner, and almost always wear a yarmulke at the table. In fact, Steven expresses more interest in the religious rituals than the average secular Jewish guest — once again illustrating that values, especially transcendent ones, are far more humanly unifying than race or ethnicity. Any member of my family is more likely to bond with an African-American Christian than with an irreligious Jew.

It is difficult to overstate my pleasure at seeing these two boys becoming close friends. All credit must go to Steven’s mother. She has chosen to live among non-blacks and to raise a son with Christian, human and American identities that are at least as strong as his African-American identity (which, for the record, she hardly ignores — Steven speaks fluent French in order to keep alive the language of his Haitian grandparents).

At our Sabbath table I see the real American dream unfold, and only wish more Americans of all colors and ethnicities would share this dream. Why is my son’s best friend black? Because they share values that transcend race, and because they live near each other.

But what will happen as these children grow up? As pointed out: “The older children get, the more likely they are not to socialize closely with peers of a different race.” Aaron is now in his 20s. I suspect his closest friends are not black.

According to Dennis, race should be a non-issue to all good people. Good thing that doctors don’t follow his approach as different medicines often work differently for different races. As Dr. Sally Satel wrote in the New York Times in 2002 (with assistance from Steve Sailer): “In practicing medicine, I am not colorblind. I always take note of my patient’s race. So do many of my colleagues. We do it because certain diseases and treatment responses cluster by ethnicity. Recognizing these patterns can help us diagnose disease more efficiently and prescribe medications more effectively. When it comes to practicing medicine, stereotyping often works.”

Some thinkers such as Sally Satel and Steve Sailer see the world more clearly than does Dennis because they take race seriously. As Sailer wrote in 2007: “We realize that race is an inextricable part of human nature. Why? Because ‘race’ is the inevitable outgrowth of ‘family.’ A racial group is an extremely extended family that is inbred to some degree. When you start from this simple but profound definition, you can begin to answer all those questions that baffle and irritate…about why humans continue to act as if blood relations were important to them. (Quick answer: because they are.)”
Why bother to talk about the realities of race when it will only hurt your career? Sailer answered: “I believe truth is more beneficial to humanity than lies, obfuscation, ignorance, wishful thinking – and even hipness.”


Like all of the Western world’s public intellectuals who are more interested in making money, accumulating prestige, and developing a happy life than in pursuing truth (see Jason Richwine’s 2013 dismissal from the Heritage Foundation for an example of what obvious truths one should not say publicly if you want to get ahead), Dennis Prager says he cares little about IQ. By being deliberately obtuse, he gets to have a nice life, make millions of dollars, enjoy vast popularity and go on television regularly. On the other hand, he sacrifices truth for cant.

Steve Sailer wrote: “Jewish intellectuals have a tendency that on any topic related to Jews, they tend to think baroquely many steps down the line. Thus, the full panoply of the subjects that have been assumed to be bad-for-the-Jews and therefore ruled out of discussion in polite society is breathtakingly broad — for example, IQ has been driven out of the media in large part because it is feared that mentioning that Jews have higher average IQs would lead, many steps down the line, to pogroms.”

Experts in IQ such as Richwine note: “IQ scores can be thought of as individual probabilities that aggregate into certainties in large groups.” In the words of NYU’s Steven Goldberg, IQ is to achievement in people what weight is to achievement in offensive tackles in the NFL.

“IQ is a raw material to which you add all sorts of other things [such as ethics and industriousness] which we don’t know how to measure well,” said Charles Murray.

“Half of the children are below average, which by the way, I have gotten hissed for saying on college campuses… The limits on the ability to learn are quite strict… There are sharp constraints on what anybody who is average to below can learn.”

Dennis refuses to read the 1994 book by Charles Murray and Richard Hernstein, The Bell Curve. It could lead him to inadvertently say something that hurts his career. Best not to know.

Dennis has math skills below that of the average crack dealer. In that respect, he’s the opposite of Charles Murray, who has an MIT PhD in quantitative analysis.

In a 2009 interview at the International Society for Intelligence Research, Dr. Murray, who’s more interested in truth than in his social status, said: “Intelligence is absolutely essential in economics and political science except it is always called ‘educational attainment.’ It is the construct that dare not speak its name because people will not confront that educational attainment is statistically highly correlated with cognitive ability and it just might be the cognitive ability that is responsible for social outcomes.”

“People who deal with public policy on the right are every bit as scared of IQ as people on the left. I keep thinking this is bound to end real soon, within the next decade, as neuro-scientists and geneticists unravel this story.”

“The ability of social scientists to not look at things they don’t want to look at is stunning.”

“You do not have to make a choice between writing about these topics and sacrificing your devotion to the truth. You can write about almost anything as long you write it obscurely enough. The great example of that was David C. Rowe. He wrote a piece for one of the major psychological magazines about the architecture of the black-white difference and it was an incredibly powerful argument that what you were looking at was not the result of environmental differences. It was an elegant piece of work but it was also very difficult. David did not go out of his way to make it obvious what he was saying and it got no flack.”

“If you decide you are going to write for a general audience and you are on some of these taboo topics, you better be the right personality type. Arthur Jensen has such great equanimity that it never touched him. Phil Rushton just has a great time with the whole thing and thoroughly enjoys the fight. I was clinically depressed for about six months after The Bell Curve came out. I hated it. It was no fun.”

“I’ve got a book in the works, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. I have now figured out a way to avoid being called a racist. I’m just going to talk about non-Hispanic whites… It just makes the whole interpretative process easier.”

“If you want to compare the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa with Singapore, Japan and China, I think the differences in IQ explain a significant part of that difference. If you want to compare Italy and Germany and Sweden, I don’t think that’s going to buy you a lot. IQ is a fairly blunt instrument.”

If IQ shapes how people turn out more than preaching does, than Dennis Prager is less important, but if what America most needs is moral instruction, then Prager is the man.

Dennis said on his radio show (circa 1995) that anyone who believes that blacks have on average a lower intelligence is a racist. He was embarrassed to have had a guest on his show (Charles Murray? circa 1994) who said that different races have different statistical IQ (accepted by virtually all psychometricians).

On Oct. 23, 2013, Dennis said to his guest, John Alford, associate professor of political science at Rice University, is one of three authors of this new book, Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences: “Isn’t that a risky thing that you undertook to argue that there biological bases for political positions?”

Because Dennis refuses to learn about IQ, much of reality befuddles him. For instance, he doesn’t know why many employers require a college degree as a substitute for banned IQ testing of potential workers.

On Oct. 31, 2013, a caller asked: “Why I agree with everything you said about the educational system in the United States and how you could much more wisely spend $50,000 a year on education, the bottom line still in this country is that you cannot get a substantial job in this country without a degree. How do you get around that?”

Dennis: “There is an answer — social pressure on companies to drop that awful that awful policy that you have to have a college degree when it is irrelevant to 99% of the jobs that people do with a college degree. I would like to know why you need a college degree for almost any job in this country?”

As James Taranto doesn’t stick his head in the sand on this issue, he can describe in the Wall Street Journal “the historic origins of the higher-ed industry’s credential cartel. As we’ve explained before, it goes back to Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that companies could not administer IQ tests because they had a racially “disparate impact”–that is, it discriminates against blacks because they score more poorly on average than whites do.

“The disparate-impact test in Griggs, written into law in the Civil Rights Act of 1991, applies only to employers. Educational institutions are free to administer IQ tests, which is essentially what the SAT and other entrance exams are. To assure that their degrees pass muster as a condition of employment, colleges and universities go to extreme lengths to ensure a “diverse” student body, including discriminating in favor of blacks (and selected other minorities) in admissions.”

Prager’s reaction to IQ and race mirrors that of Oxford economist Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion and Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places, who had the following interaction on the Freakanomics blog:

Q. What do you think of Richard Lynn’s findings about race differences in intelligence and their relatedness to Africa’s continuing state of underdevelopment? In his work, Mr. Lynn compiled the results of numerous studies which appear to show fairly unambiguously that average I.Q.’s in sub-Saharan Africa are below 70. Studies furthermore show that this disadvantage is almost certainly inherited genetically. — Denis Bider
A. I don’t know this stuff and don’t want to. But I am just about prepared to believe that the average Chinese person is smarter than the average Englishman. Despite this, the average Englishman is more than 10 times richer than the average Chinese person — so intelligence is manifestly not closely related to the performance of an economy.

As journalist Steve Sailer commented: “In other words, ‘Please don’t Watson me! I’ll be however stupid I have to be in order to keep my nice job at Oxford.'”

On Dec. 2, 2013, Dennis said: “We have in the United States a certain percentage of conscienceless people. When I think about this knockout game and the laughter that accompanies it, we have a certain percentage of young people, disproportionately among blacks, that are conscienceless. At some point are we going to drop this notion that racism causes this and just confront this terrible fact?”

Former Heritage Foundation policy analyst Jason Richwine points how IQ affects morality:

IQ, a construct that psychologists use to estimate general intelligence, has been separately linked to elements of social capital, such as sophisticated ethical thinking, altruism, planning for the future, political awareness, adherence to informal community standards of behavior, and cooperation for the greater good.
The social attitudes of citizens are the building blocks of social capital, and IQ plays a role in shaping many of them. For example, psychologists have developed measures of moral reasoning that overlap substantially with IQ. When confronted with a moral dilemma, a person operating at the lowest level of moral reasoning would consider only his own self-interest. As moral reasoning becomes more sophisticated, people tend to give more consideration to community welfare, and to apply abstract principles to resolve moral dilemmas. Because of the cognitive demands of such reasoning, smarter people are much more likely to transcend simple self-interest in their ethical thinking. People who do so are likely to be better neighbors and better citizens.

Intelligent people are also likely to be more altruistic, which could help form tighter bonds within communities…

It makes intuitive sense that smarter people should be able to internalize future rewards more easily. They are probably more future-oriented because they can better manipulate their surroundings, whereas incompetent people exert less control on their future, making it murky and unknown. Whatever the cause, the impulsivity of low-IQ people has serious implications for social capital. People in less intelligent populations will be less willing to set up networks for potential long-term payoffs, make personal investments in the community, and follow basic norms of behavior with the expectation of future reciprocity.

Because Prager refuses to learn about the implications of IQ, he’s mystified by much of reality. It would be easy to become clear about the world around him, but that would be dangerous to his career.

On Dec. 6, 2013, Dennis said: “In the car crash of the Fast & Furious star [Paul Walker], there were kids who went by and stole from the crash afterward and I always think this, what happens to the conscience in such persons? You’re a living vulture? There’s a car crash and two dead people and you go and steal from it? I admit this is silly, but it is always my initial reaction that I want to interview them.”

An interview with such criminals would likely show they have an IQ in the retarded category and don’t think about consequences.

“I think America is deterioriating… When there are bunches of kids walking around playing the knockout game…and then videoing it and putting it on the Youtube… The number of children born from mothers who are not married.”

Where are these problems at their worst in America? In black and latino life. As America allows in more immigrants with low IQs, the country gets more problems as it heads towards Idiocracy.

As Jason Richwine wrote for Politico:

The American Psychological Association (APA) tried to set the record straight in 1996 with a report written by a committee of experts. Among the specific conclusions drawn by the APA were that IQ tests reliably measure a real human trait, that ethnic differences in average IQ exist, that good tests of IQ are not culturally biased against minority groups, and that IQ is a product of both genetic inheritance and early childhood environment. Another report signed by 52 experts, entitled “Mainstream Science on Intelligence,” stated similar facts and was printed in the Wall Street Journal.

So when Larry Summers, then the president of Harvard University, speculated in 2005 that women might be naturally less gifted in math and science, the intense backlash contributed to his ouster.

Two years later, when famed scientist James Watson noted the low average IQ scores of sub-Saharan Africans, he was forced to resign from his lab, taking his Nobel Prize with him.

When a Harvard law student was discovered in 2010 to have suggested in a private email that the black-white IQ gap might have a genetic component, the dean publicly condemned her amid a campus-wide outcry. Only profuse apologies seem to have saved her career.

In none of these cases did an appeal to science tamp down the controversy or help to prevent future ones. My own time in the media crosshairs would be no different.

So what did I write that created such a fuss? In brief, my dissertation shows that recent immigrants score lower than U.S.-born whites on a variety of cognitive tests. Using statistical analysis, it suggests that the test-score differential is due primarily to a real cognitive deficit rather than to culture or language bias. It analyzes how that deficit could affect socioeconomic assimilation, and concludes by exploring how IQ selection might be incorporated, as one factor among many, into immigration policy.

Because a large number of recent immigrants are from Latin America, I reviewed the literature showing that Hispanic IQ scores fall between white and black scores in the United States. This fact isn’t controversial among experts, but citing it seems to have fueled much of the media backlash.

Dennis Prager is squarely among those denouncing the above experts in IQ while freely admitting he knows nothing about IQ. He showed his obliviousness in this June 7, 2011 column:

While dining out last week, I periodically looked up at one of the television monitors to see the score of the first game of the NBA finals. As there was no sound on to interrupt diners’ conversations, the monitor was in caption mode: One could read rather than hear the words spoken. At the conclusion of the game, an announcer was interviewing a member of the victorious Miami Heat players. I saw from the captions the player saying the words “they isn’t.”
Closed captions display the words spoken. They don’t correct for poor grammar.

All I could think was: How can a grown man in America today say “they isn’t” rather than “they aren’t”?

First, how is it possible for anyone to graduate an American elementary school, not to mention a high school or, most incredibly, attend college, and leave with an inability to conjugate the verb “to be”?

Second, has anyone — a parent or another relative, a teacher, a friend, a coach — in that player’s life ever corrected his grammar?

I assume that the answer to the second question is “No.”

And I assume that the answers to both questions are related: The left, which dominates our culture and educational institutions, has too often lowered standards for black Americans. Even worse, it has declared that if you are black, “they isn’t” is not only not to be corrected, but many in academia have declared it an acceptable form of English, i.e., Ebonics, or Black English.

It doesn’t end. I saw “they isn’t” the same week the Democrats and others on the left virtually unanimously condemned all Republican attempts in state legislatures to pass legislation requiring voters to show a photo ID. The Democrats labeled it a means of “disenfranchising” blacks. Many Democrats compared it to Jim Crow laws.

“Jim Crow, move over — the Wisconsin Republicans have taken your place,” charged Wisconsin Democratic State Sen. Bob Jauch, referring to his state’s new voter ID law.

It is hard to imagine a more demeaning statement about black America than labeling demands that all voters show a photo ID anti-black.

Reality reveals, however, that neither leftism nor America’s education system is failing blacks (or whites or Asians or Latinos), because, according to the 2013 PISA test results (with life results to match), “Asian Americans outscored all large Asian countries (with the exception of three rich cities); white Americans outperformed most, but not all, traditionally white countries; and Latino Americans did better than all Latin American countries. African Americans almost certainly scored higher than any black majority country would have performed.”

People with low IQs of any race are going to have more difficulty with grammar and getting photo identification and other tasks of life, whatever the education and political system.
Fifty two of the leading thinkers on intelligence published this essay in the Wall Street Journal Dec. 13, 1994 in support of The Bell Curve:

Intelligence tests are not culturally biased against American blacks or other native-born, English-speaking peoples in the U.S.. Rather, IQ scores predict equally accurately for all such Americans, regardless of race and social class. Individuals who do not understand English well can be given either a nonverbal test or one in their native language…

The bell curves for some groups (Jews and East Asians) are centered somewhat higher than for whites in general. Other groups (blacks and Hispanics) are centered somewhat lower than non-Hispanic whites…

The bell curve for whites is centered roughly around IQ 100; the bell curve for American blacks roughly around 85; and those for different subgroups of Hispanics roughly midway between those for whites and blacks…

IQ is strongly related, probably more so than any other single measurable human trait, to many important educational, occupational, economic, and social outcomes. Its relation to the welfare and performance of individuals is very strong in some arenas in life (education, military training), moderate but robust in others (social competence), and modest but consistent in others (law-abidingness). Whatever IQ tests measure, it is of great practical and social importance.
A high IQ is an advantage in life because virtually all activities require some reareasoning and decision-making. Conversely, a low IQ is often a disadvantage, especially in disorganized environments. Of course, a high IQ no more guarantees success than a low IQ guarantees failure in life. There are many exceptions, but the odds for success in our society greatly favor individuals with higher IQs.

The practical advantages of having a higher IQ increase as life settings become more complex (novel, ambiguous, changing, unpredictable, or multifaceted). For example, a high IQ is generally necessary to perform well in highly complex or fluid jobs (the professions, management); it is a considerable advantage in moderately complex jobs (crafts, clerical and police work); but it provides less advantage in settings that require only routine decision making or simple problem solving (unskilled work).

There is no persuasive evidence that the IQ bell curves for different racial-ethnic groups are converging.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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