Why Conservatives Can’t Win Non-White Votes, Heritage Foundation Edition

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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302 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Stamped at the bottom:

    Update: Mike Gonzalez, VP for Communications at Heritage, emails: “This is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation. Its findings in no way reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation. Nor do the findings affect the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to the U.S. taxpayer.”Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Jaybird says:

      Heritage Foundation merely hired the guy as an analyst, whose major career work product was this dissertation. Other than that, they don’t even know the guy.

      DeMint is certainly not wasting time putting his stamp on Heritage.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Barry says:

        Barry, read what they said,

        “This is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation. Its findings in no way reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation. Nor do the findings affect the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to the U.S. taxpayer.”

        You have three statements here. Which of them is false?Report

        • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Art Deco says:

          The point is that it’s problematic for Heritage to hire someone whose major selling point is this thesis.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Dan Miller says:

            Where else should he be working with a recently completed dissertation and a history of miscellaneous wage employment, temporary fellowships, and such? Should he seek a civil service job, a position in a corporation economists’ office, a teaching position at a small college? Or is it your contention he should have to register as a sex offender and never work again?Report

            • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Art Deco says:

              I hear they’re hiring at IKEA.Report

            • Avatar Barry in reply to Art Deco says:

              /troll plonkReport

            • Avatar Barry in reply to Art Deco says:

              “Where else should he be working with a recently completed dissertation and a history of miscellaneous wage employment, temporary fellowships, and such? Should he seek a civil service job, a position in a corporation economists’ office, a teaching position at a small college? Or is it your contention he should have to register as a sex offender and never work again?”

              WTF? Heritage does not owe the guy a job. Let him peddle his garbage elsewhere.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Barry says:

                Barry, my question is what is the appropriate sort of employment for this man. You are not answering that question.

                While we are at it, if others are small, you had better be big (or at least somewhere in the gray area between lilliputian and average). If you cannot say what is wrong with his model specifications or his data, you could at least attempt an argument about social ethics.Report

        • Avatar Scott Fields in reply to Art Deco says:

          Since the Heritage study’s estimation of the costs of amnesty is premised on the idea that even the children of illegal immigrants won’t be able to attain the education levels required to become net tax contributors, my vote’s going for the third statement of the three.Report

          • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Scott Fields says:

            I think it’s worth noting along with this statement that several of the papers they use in their justification of that statement were written by Richwine’s faculty advisor, George Borjas. While that could be a coincidence the probability is exceedingly low.Report

      • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Barry says:

        Pleading not guilty of racism by reason of incompetence isn’t a great idea, but it may be the best spin Heritage can come up with at the moment.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Barry says:

        Tod: “That the dissertation was not a work product of THF is obviously true. I am less sure about the claim that it in no way influenced the THF’s recent report; and since I can’t say for sure, I’m willing to take Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. McIntyre at their word.

        Also, kudos to them for publicly disassociating themselves from the dissertation (even if they did initially hire the guy). Because of this, I have also removed the snarky picture caption that initially was published with this post.”

        They hired the guy as an analyst; he had a dissertation like this published in 2009. How the heck could/would they have hired him without (a) having a clue as to its content and (b) that being the overwhelming fact about him? (unless he did something else to outweigh that dissertation in a few years)Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Barry says:

          We get back to the point here: is he a competent social researcher? If he is, they had reason to hire him. Another question: does he have a portfolio of social views that making him a satisfactory fit for the Heritage Foundation? If so, they had reason to hire him. ‘Satisfactory fit’ does not mean that his social views accord with some stereotype that everyone at Heritage shares. It just means his views are within certain ranges. Your real complaint is that Heritage did not consider the thesis he was advancing to be disqualifying, even though it is not the institutional line.Report

        • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Barry says:

          I can’t imagine how they missed his CSPAN panel appearances.Report

          • I do not want to sound condescending, but there are likely primary resources of the man’s stated views including the dissertation you have not read. You really do not need to go through the conduit of tacky advocacy groups.Report

              • His remarks begin around the 35 minute mark and run on for about 10 minutes. He may offer some secondary remarks. His theses are as follows:

                1. Contemporary immigration streams differ from earlier ones because they encompass racial distinctions as well as ethnic ones. It is his contention that these inhibit the development of a common identity (though he says ‘race is not insurmountable’).

                2. There are between group IQ differences (that’s in the abstract) that are fairly abiding (he does not say fixed).

                3. A prediction that the effect of this will be to create parallel cultures within a multi-cultural society. He offers the domestic black population and reservation indians as examples of roughly what that looks like.

                4. That immigrant streams are not interchangeable. The home country culture influences how immigrant and host interact and what the results are.

                He prefaced this with some remarks about Krikorian’s contentions in the book, particularly his conception of the ‘post-American’.

                Again, little or nothing in this 10 minute segment you could not have divined from the abstract.Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Art Deco says:

                I thought you were saying “but there are likely primary resources of the man’s stated views” and requesting I go to those rather than go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a well-regarded institution with an impeccable record for fact-checking.

                If video of the man speaking his views does not qualify, pray tell what does.Report

              • I go to those rather than go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a well-regarded institution with an impeccable record for fact-checking.

                The Southern Poverty Law Center is a sleazy direct mail mill and was exposed as such 15 years ago. It is ‘well-regarded’ only among reporters who do not update their rolodex.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Art Deco says:

                Finally, somebody with the courage to disparage a group fundamentally opposed to the worst of our nation’s racists and nationalists!Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Art Deco says:

                Having no idea what you were talking about I tried googling “southern poverty law center” and “direct mail.” Nothing there. I tried again without the quotes, still nothing. I tried SPLC in place of “southern poverty law center”, and still nothing. So I’ve no choice but to ask you to back up your blatant and obvious slander with something linkable.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco says:

                Rogue Economist, the admission against interest was published in Harper’s 13 years ago.

                http://www.americanpatrol.com/SPLC/ChurchofMorrisDees001100.html

                You need to stop contributing to these characters unless your idea of philanthropy is helping in the aggrandizement of Mrs. Dees’ collection of knick-knacks.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Art Deco says:

                The number of websites in love with that particular article is fascinating.Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Art Deco says:

                That article does not seem to suggest that their data is wrong, which I believe was your objection up thread. Instead, it seems to say that it’s inefficient and perhaps unnecessary, and fund raises to perpetuate itself.

                Which seems both entirely possible and worthy of criticism, but not a reason to assume they don’t fact check. (Which they may not; I honestly have no idea. But it’s akin to saying a tax reduction bill is dishonest because a guy that voted for it once cheated on his wife.)Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Art Deco says:

                Contemporary immigration streams differ from earlier ones because they encompass racial distinctions as well as ethnic ones.

                This is dubious, first is there really a hard distinction between ethnic and racial, if so what is it? Second what is the evidence recent immigrants to the US have more ‘racial distinctions’ than past groups? I’m pretty sure there have been Chinese and Japanese communities in America long enough to be included in earlier immigration streams and if we include involuntary immigration there was a fairly large number of African slaves brought over even before independence.

                In the context of the main post as well how can Hispanic, meaning speaking Spanish as a first language be a race?Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Matty says:

                Upon further reading of the source material and references it’s pretty clear the authors use the word “Hispanic” as a euphemism when they really mean the word “Mexican.”Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Rogue Economist says:

                Ok then is Mexican a race? A nationality sure but would an immigrant from the US who took Mexican citizenship transmogrify and if so why doesn’t the process work the other way?Report

              • ‘Mestizo’ would qualify as a racial category. So would ‘Indio’. About 90% of the population of Mexico is one or the other phenotype, though if I understand correctly the social boundary between them is determined by cultural affinities and not color. Big issue in Guatemala, where Amerindian dialects are still spoken.Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Rogue Economist says:

                Good point. Incidentally Amerindian languages are not uncommon in Mexico either though speakers are a minority, whereas in Guatemala I believe something like 60% of the population speak a variant of Mayan.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Matty says:

                This is dubious, first is there really a hard distinction between ethnic and racial, if so what is it?

                Yes, that’s a weird argument to make. Especially with the statement that’s what caused the ‘parallel culture’ of the black population.

                Because that just happened randomly, don’t you know. It wasn’t the result of centuries of deliberate behavior.

                Likewise, could the ‘parallel culture’ of Hispanics in the US have anything to do with part of society that seems to believe they are all here illegally and constantly demands they be deported and locked up have to show papers? Why on earth would Hispanics be hesitant to interacting more with society?

                It’s rather hilarious how people pushing racist policies will turn around and argue for those racist policies on the grounds that people of that race might not integrate as Americans because of…the…racism…those people…are pushing?

                <blindingly obvious statement>The more a race is treated as different, the more any group is treated as ‘other’, the slower the integration will be.</blindingly obvious statement>Report

  2. It takes a lot of nerve for an institution that makes a mistake this dumb to criticize the innate lack of intelligence of anyone.Report

  3. Avatar Sam says:

    It’s almost as if researchers routinely find the things that they want to find, whether or not they’re actually there.Report

  4. Avatar Art Deco says:

    This is supposedly the actual abstract of the dissertation in question.

    The statistical construct known as IQ can reliably estimate general mental ability, or intelligence. The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations. The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low-IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust, and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market. Selecting high-IQ immigrants would ameliorate these problems in the U.S., while at the same time benefiting smart potential immigrants who lack educational access in their home countries.

    That would be a controversial proposition, certainly on normative grounds and there are likely complaints about the specification of his models and so forth (investigation into which would be in part motivated by objection to his normative assumptions).

    If conservatives cannot begin the process of disassociating themselves from people who make serious public policy arguments based the genetic superiority of white people, they’re not going to find their chances of taking the White House in 2016 any better than they were in 2012. They need to clean house. They need to do so soon, and they need to do so mercilessly.

    1. Is he a competent social researcher?
    2. Who in Brownsville or East LA peruses Dissertation Abstracts International or would care what is in this young man’s dissertation?
    3. He is a product of the public policy program at Harvard University. That is to say, he is a social researcher, not a biologist. How do you come by the idea he is making an argument about ‘genetics’?
    4. Are there between group differences in scores on psychometric tests? Over what time scale do these scores regress toward a mean if they are present? What should be the implications for public policy of the answers to this question?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Art Deco says:

      4. Yes. The causes for that are complex and almost certainly associated with SES, culture, quality of test, who administered the test, access to programs that improve scores on standardized tests among other factors. An even better question is how much do group scores on psychometric mean in general? Are they predictive or merely describe the SES of a group? Are whatever the underlying causes of the group differences a cause or an outcome?Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Art Deco says:

      Who in Brownsville or East LA peruses Dissertation Abstracts International or would care what is in this young man’s dissertation?

      That is, it’s perfectly safe to call people stupid when they’re too stupid to realize it?Report

      • He did not call anyone ‘stupid’, and neither did I.

        The abstract says that among his factual contentions is that the median scores on psychometric tests administered to a Mexican immigrant stream are lower than the median scores of a native caucasian sample. Sorry to break it to you, but there are observable between-group differences in median scores on these tests. This has been known since the 1st World War. James Flynn has made something of a name for himself with empirical research on how abiding these score differences are.

        Dissertation Abstracts International is a specialty product and I can give you the names of academic libraries who have cancelled their subscriptions, so, no, you are not likely to find it in branch libraries in East LA or Brownsville. Conscientious librarians collect for their constituency, and the constituency for Dissertation Abstracts International are the libraries of research universities like UCLA or the CUNY Graduate Center.Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Art Deco says:

          Naah, “low-IQ” and “unable to read” are totally different from “stupid”.Report

          • Mike Schilling:

            When two groups have a different median IQ, it means the percentile ranking of a given score in one group differs from that in another. That means the balance of the population between low, middling, and high scores differs some. The big differences are usually in the tails.

            Literacy is fairly universal in societies which have a certain measure of prosperity. People can be a standard deviation (or two) below the median and still be literate. Their vocabulary would be less sophisticated, but they would still be literate.

            You generally do not call someone ‘stupid’ unless they habitually conjoin errors of judgment to intellectual shortcomings. In public life, it is commonly applied to people who do not really have raw intellectual shortcomings. You can probably find quite recent dismissals of Marco Rubio as ‘stupid’, not because he is unintelligent (he passed the Florida bar exam) but because they figure he got played by Charles Schumer and should have known better.Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Art Deco says:

          /troll plonkReport

  5. This whole story is irritating to me on several fronts.

    First, it’s irritating because the usual conservative impulse will be to point at IQ data and say — maybe even with some accuracy — “See? We told you so! Anyone who denies it is just being politically correct.”

    The liberal response will be to talk about racism. In a sense that’s certainly called for, but to conservatives it will sound like changing the subject. No progress will be made, and sometime soon we will meet here again, alas.

    Two other points do a lot more to settle the matter.

    (1) IQ is a very contested notion. The thing the tests measure is vastly less important than conventional wisdom makes it out to be, it’s probably not actually general intelligence all by itself, and anyway, tiny IQ differences across the population are not something to base public policy on.

    (2) It just isn’t necessarily true that an economy will perform worse if the average IQ score is a few points lower. Economic performance is the product of many different things, but mostly it seems to be based on having sound public policies including stable property and contractual rights conventions, a good legal system, access to education, and a few other closely related matters.

    The easiest way to imagine this is to think of natural resources: Plenty of countries are resource-rich while their populations stay poor. IQ is at best a resource, and resources don’t make countries rich.Report

    • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      I think that last statement is kinda weird. Certainly, resources do make countries rich. Tin for England, Oil for Saudi Arabia. It’s not implausible that a high IQ country could become rich by leveraging that.

      Amusingly enough, people who divide IQ by race have entirely missed the confounding variable.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Kimsie says:

        Saudi Arabia has an ultra-rich upper crust, but they are by no means a wealthy nation if we consider median income.

        England was the beneficiary of adopting a relatively good legal system very early on.

        The “resource curse” is a very real phenomenon in development economics – where easily extracted resources exist, countries are prone to develop kleptocratic governments that do little more than siphon off the proceeds while keeping a lid on dissent.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Kimsie says:

        Saudi Arabia versus England is historically interesting. Adam Smith wrote about economics because he observed the English becoming very rich, which was a historical anomaly. Normally a country that had an increase in wealth had a subsequent increase in population, so that the population gain canceled out the wealth increase, leaving per-capita wealth virtually unchanged after one or two generations. That didn’t happen in England, and the theory is that the English had a social custom that a man wouldn’t get married and start a family until he could afford his own house. Perhaps there were other elements as well, such as not starting a family until you’re independent and established.

        In any event, Saudi Arabia had a very large per capita wealth back in the 1960’s or 1970’s, but then they doubled their population while oil revenues stayed pretty flat. So their per-capita income dropped about in half.Report

    • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      Aren’t you going to say something about Tu Quoque though? Aren’t we supposed to take this argument seriously as if it was written by a racist individual on a stone tablet, dropped in the desert, and then found by people who had no idea that the author was racist?Report

      • Dude, if the best argument you can give against this report is that someone bad made it, you should probably check your mask a bit… because it’s slipping.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

          Jay,

          But the relevant question is if is background matters. If the report sucks (and everybody but immigration’s most virulent opponents seem to think it is), then the fact that this guy is also a casual racist shouldn’t matter right? I, of course, think it does matter, and in fact think it tells us how his research seems to have ended up so…skewed, shall we say. But for example’s sake, wouldn’t this count as precisely the sort of thing which invokers of the tu quoque forbid?Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Sam says:

            It seems to me that there are two ways to approach research: first, evaluate its methods, its results, and the conclusions its authors draw from those results. In the first two cases, one can do just fine without knowing who the researchers are. In the third case, who is doing the interpreting can be important, as any scientist will tell you. This is where theoretical biases come into play. So, if we’re only interested in the methods and data, who cares who did it? If we want to talk about the authors’ conclusions, then who did it can matter.

            The second way is to consider whether we trust the source to have conducted the research in the ways that he or she says it was conducted. In this case, the source matters too. Do we have reason to believe that some of the data might have been falsified, for example? Marc Hauser is a good example of a case when this became a relevant question.

            In the case of a dissertation, things get trickier. The researcher won’t have as much of a publication history, of course, and there are other people involved in whom we have to place our trust, the dissertation adviser and the committee. In most cases of data driven dissertation research that I know of, someone on the committee is going to want to see the raw data, which makes falsified data less of an issue. In this particular case, it seems to me that we should start at step one, evaluate the methods and the results, ignoring who the author was, and then evaluate their conclusions considering that data and, potentially, any theoretical biases of the author. But the methods and data shouldn’t require considering the author at all.Report

            • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Chris says:

              Under the circumstances the dissertation was produced under, including the fact that the head of the committee assembled and presumably the candidate’s adviser has, shall we say somewhat retrograde views, the fact that the author in question was working as an American Enterprise Institute dissertation fellow, and that his publication history does in fact predate his dissertation and points to some…uh interesting op-eds and argument pieces, well…

              I dunno, I do kind of think it’s relevant.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                ‘Retrograde views’? All three committee members – George Borjas, Richard Zeckhauser, and Christopher Jencks are long-established social researchers, Borjas with an extensive history of publication on the economics of immigration. There is nothing wrong with the committee. What’s wrong here is your insistence that no one gets a degree unless they genuflect to your smelly little orthodoxies.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Rogue Economist says:

        Jason did exactly that. So, no Tu Quoque for you!Report

    • First, it’s irritating because the usual conservative impulse will be to point at IQ data and say — maybe even with some accuracy — “See? We told you so! Anyone who denies it is just being politically correct.”

      Not unless ‘conservative’ is defined as ‘someone inhabiting a coterie organized around Arthur Jensen, Steven Sailer, Charles Murray, and Richard Lynn’. This sort of thing is a niche interest.

      Mr. Kelly’s argument is that the Heritage Foundation needs to fire Jason Richwine or the Republican Party will be turned into a pillar of salt. Never mind if Mr. Kelly could offer an accurate precis of just what Dr. Richwine’s argument actually is.

      While we are at it, is Robert Rector’s work invalid because his co-author has entertained theses that Tod Kelly finds uncongenial?Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      My understanding is that IQ tests are a very good predictor of intelligence and of future success. In the social sciences, you’re usually stuck using some proxy for what you’d want to measure, so I’m not going to say that the tests are perfect, but they have been reliable (from what I’ve seen).

      Historically, the US has always done a good job of attracting intelligent immigrants. That’s kind of an untold story of the settlement of the West, where every third cowhand was an accountant, musician, or typesetter who had fled to the US.Report

      • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Pinky says:

        You’d think that, wouldn’t you? That’s not the story of the west, though… Its the story of the east, where people put down towns.

        IQ tests aren’t a very good predictor of intelligence. I mention I know a guy with under 30 IQ? He’s gone to college for physics… Learning Disabilities, and all that, true…but that’s part of the argument against using IQ…Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kimsie says:

          In individual cases, IQ tests are occasionally going to underestimate the test-taker. As a broader tool for social science, they seem to work well.Report

          • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Pinky says:

            Not really, learning disabilities play havoc with the “absolute number” (and while my friend’s LD is rather extreme… I wouldn’t trust the IQ number if folks are labeled LD).Report

        • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Kimsie says:

          If he has a 30 IQ, by definition, he qualifies as “severely mentally retarded” (a very rare form of mental retardation). He might be able to take care of some of his own hygiene, but he very likely cannot live on his own. He almost certainly couldn’t read and write more than a few words.

          “Individuals in this group are sometimes referred to as “dependent retarded”. Among these individuals, motor and speech development is severely retarded and sensory defects and motor handicaps are common. These mental retardates can develop limited levels of personal hygiene and self-help skills, which somewhat lessen their dependence, but all their lives they will be dependent on others for care. However, many profit to some extent from training and can perform simple occupational tasks under supervision.”

          http://www.dialforhealth.net/healthchannel/mental/levelmental.asp#SevereReport

          • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Shazbot5 says:

            Shaz,
            The guy who does calculus also qualifies as an idiot?
            Somehow I think it’s the test’s fault.
            (Yeah, this is probably due to some edge-effects.
            getting a zero in a few scales might be enough to drop you down a LOT)Report

            • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Kimsie says:

              No, the fault is that either:

              a.) The test was not administered correctly, which anyone seriously doing these tests would realize if someone who could speak reasonably well, lived on their own, and came in for a test alone scored a 30.

              or

              b.) Your friend is making stuff up.

              c.) You misheard your friend’s IQ score.

              d.) You are making stuff up.

              Given that you once told me that you have a friend who uses poison knives, I’m going to say d.) is a possibility.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Kimsie says:

          If your friend can communicate in English with more than a few words, he does not have an IQ under 30, and no tester would have scored him that low. If your friend told you that was his score, your friend is lying (and in doing so, has demonstrated that he not only has an IQ well over 30, but that no tester would have given him a score that low).Report

          • Avatar Sam in reply to Chris says:

            I’ll just hop into the chorus here, having spent part of my life working with clients who had sub-70 IQs. Although functional in most ways, these were people who often needed assistance with various tasks throughout the day. The idea that somebody scores a sub-30 and functions in the way that you describe is ludicrous.Report

            • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Sam says:

              It’s just severe learning disabilities (motor coordination’s an issue, among other things…there’s also issues with abstraction in general — which actually makes writing by hand extremely difficult). Also: I’m not saying every single IQ test he’s taken has said that (I rather doubt it, in fact).Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Kimsie says:

                Any competent psychologist would be able to detect performance mismatch and administer an IQ test verbally.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Murali says:

                You do understand that part of an IQ test is to measure performance discrepancies? That it is a relevant and significant performance deficit for someone to be unable to complete a written task in the specified period of time?Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Kimsie says:

                I’m dyspraxic so I have that performance deficit. But, in principle if the IQ test is to aim at measuring General Intelligence, then a deficit in fine motor skills is irrelevant. We hardly write much nowadays. Having moved on to where I can type everything I need out, I have fewer problems. If a person cannot cmplete a written task in a specified period of time because of a deficit of fine motor skills, then unless that person is looking at a job which requires lots of writing by hand, it is an irrellevant performance deficit. For school children who have the problem, extra time during examinations should be fine.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Murali says:

                Murali,
                And you could say the same with arithmetic and half the other things that the test measures…
                (by the way: fine motor control is key in tons of different things, from art to tying shoelaces to playing instruments to cooking).

                If you were to test my friend on a level higher than most IQ tests, I’m certain he could ace it. The more complicated the problem, the easier it is to solve…Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Murali says:

                Dammnit comment was swallowed.

                Intelligence is about cognitive capacity. Fine motor skills while important are not essential for everything. You don’t need to be able to tie your laces (many shoes come without). Laking fine motorskills often just means you have more cleaning up to do later after you cook, not that you cannot cook. Because seriously, most cooking can be done with gross motor skills. Chopping vegetables is not hard. Prep work may take longer, but there are often pre prepared vegetables you can buy. Lots of practice can also help as it does with musical instruments. Building muscle memory can compensate for lack of fine motor control. (Correct me if I’m wrong Doc) There are lots of gross motor skills that are also important for functioning such that lack of those skills can impair functioning in important ways. Yet, intelligence tests shouldn’t test them because those are not cognitive capacities or skillsReport

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Murali says:

                devil’s advocate:
                Being good at fine motor skills is also a cognitive thing, a different sort of intelligence than being good at words, sure… but it’s still an intelligence, even if in the modern world we tend to depricate it.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Murali says:

                Kim, I beg to differ, we worship motor-skill intelligence; particularly if the person so endowed plays pro sports.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Murali says:

                ah, but zic, we don’t consider it intelligence…
                It is not smarts, but brawn, toughness..
                (aside: without the use of steroids, one of the primary skills of a pro athlete is pain management)Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Murali says:

                There is an element of conventionalism here, but language is all about conventions. The word intelligence refers to something. Fine motor skills is not that thing. Whether we should valorise intelligence or some other general competence is a different matter than what intelligence refers to.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Murali says:

                Murali,
                I think the general idea of intelligence may itself be flawed.
                At least, the thought that one can measure it, and have it remain consistent over time.Report

          • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Chris says:

            He wasn’t lying (which isn’t to say that another test wouldn’t give radically different results) — it’s just called severe learning disabilities (I believe IQ tests often score on arithmetic, which he’s abominable at, “remembering number sequences” — again, horrid, and a few other scales that tend to hit multiple severe weaknesses — and I haven’t even touched on basic dyslexia).Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Kimsie says:

              Argh, I forgot that a.) you’re Kim, and b.) we’ve actually had this conversation before.

              I had a friend in high school, one of my best friends actually, who was smart but… let’s say he was not particularly intellectually curious. His relatives, all country bumpkins from East Tennessee, would tell him outrageous things as facts, and he would not only believe them, but tell all of us, his friends, each new piece of information that he’d acquired. We’d laugh upon learning that the Civil War was actually fought over a woman named Susan, or that there was a guy in Gatlinburg who’d been in a coma for 70+ years and woke up thinking World War I was still being fought, or that the saying “dead as a doornail” came from medieval times when they used human finger bones as doornails, but he was quite serious when he told us such things. I suspect that once his redneck cousins realized that he would believe and repeat anything they said, they started ramping up the outrageousness of what they must have known was bullshit.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Chris says:

                ehh… you’ve never seen someone flunk a field sobriety test while sober, have you?

                things that I know he’d fail:
                finger-to-nose (tip head back, eyes closed, touch the tip of nose with tip of index finger).
                recite part of the alphabet
                count backwards from a number ending in a number other than 5 or 0 and stopping at a number ending other than 5 or 0. The series of numbers should be more than 15.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Pinky says:

        IQ tests are lousy. They measure, at best, a single or pair of facets of what we’d consider ‘intelligence’ and are often culturally biased.

        If you want one that’ll give you interesting, useful data — you’re looking at a test that takes hours to give — expensive hours, to boot. Not something that can be run through a scantron.

        I mean, just figuring out the right tests to give for what you want to know? You need at least the base skillset of a trained diagnostician — and not a new one. Oddly enough, you generally find them employed by school districts (generally with Master’s degrees) or contracted to them, and their job is to suss out learning disabilities and therapies for them.

        Since that’s expensive and nuanced, what you actually get most of the time are spatial awareness problems and algebra based word problems that test a small subset of problem solving. Not terribly great.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Pinky says:

        “…where every third cowhand was an accountant, musician, or typesetter who had fled to the US.”

        The way that I heard it was that every third cowhand was black, the second third were hispanic, and the last third white. It was a low-status job.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Pinky says:

        There’s an enormous amount of endogeniety involved with comparing IQ statistics with SES.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      Jason, I’d suggest having somebody a few years older than you discuss the early/mid 1990’s, in particular a book called ‘The Bell Curve’, and the controversies around that.

      This is not new, it’s not a tablet found in the desert. It’s the same old same old, dressed up in a new cover.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Barry says:

        The Bell Curve was a trade book which purported to be derived from earlier academic research. Different animal. The analogue to this fellow Richwine’s work would be the academic literature previously published by Richard Herrnstein and some others (I think they made use of Arthur Jensen and Philippe Rushton, among others). (btw, I think our friend Kuznicki was working on a dissertation at JHU ca. 2005 so would have been an under graduate when the Bell Curve was published).Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Art Deco says:

          /troll plonk

          Jason, this is one of the things that I mean – ‘The Bell Curve’ was billed as exciting new academic work by a guy who worked in a Real Think Tank (AEI).

          Now, of course, it’s old and tired and not really academic research, whereas this is –
          xciting new academic work by a guy who works in a Real Think Tank (AEI, Heritage).Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      IQ is a very contested notion.

      So is the theory of evolution, and for much the same reasons.

      The thing the tests measure is vastly less important than conventional wisdom makes it out to be

      Well, “conventional wisdom” means different things to different people. But I think that most people significantly underestimate the strength of IQ as a predictor of a wide variety of socioeconomic outcomes.

      Which is not to say that non-cognitive ability doesn’t matter. It does, of course, as does education, for some unknown mix of signaling and human capital reasons.

      it’s probably not actually general intelligence all by itself

      The g-loading of IQ tests is below unity, yes.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        So IQ is a contested notion because some people believe in an archaic literal reading of the bible and ignore a metric fish ton of evidence for it. Huh I never learned that in my testing classes.Report

      • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Apples =/= Oranges.

        Evolution is not contested in the scientific community. Research and experimentation at this point refine the model but are not throwing it away. IQ is contested in the scientific community where there is debate among equals with regard to the overall validity of the model and what precisely the instruments are testing. Equating the two and claiming that evolution is contested is an invalid argument.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        So is the theory of evolution, and for much the same reasons.

        To clarify, I do think that there’s legitimate room for debate about what precisely it is that IQ tests measure, much as there’s legitimate room for debate about the specifics of how evolution works. However, objections to the claim that IQ tests measure cognitive ability in some meaningful and important way seem to be driven primarily by religious dogma.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          What is your basis for the religious dogma line? In the psych community people have been trying to define and measure intelligence for decades. There are multiple competing theories about what intelligence is. As of my time in grad school the consensus was intelligence is a number of different kinds of functioning and skills. There is serious disagreement about whether intelligence is one thing or multiple things or can even be measured by one single number. Hint: the original developers of IQ didn’t think it was measured by one single number. There isn’t disagreement that IQ measures something and that something is related to cognitive functioning. But how much of IQ is genetic vs enviro, and how much of IQ is related to culture and SES are still discussed. So its easy to say it measures something, but what that is, at a theoretical level, is still a question. It’s also unclear how much IQ is actually measuring SES and a certain kind of culture more than an underlying trait.

          In short IQ has uses and measures something. It is also very easy to overstate what we know about intelligence how we define it and what exactly IQ measures.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to greginak says:

            What is your basis for the religious dogma line?

            Leave aside here discussions of what constitutes ‘religious dogma’, yours is post # 100 on the subject under discussion. And what is under discussion? An academic paper which was never published and available for four years only from whichever company now owns the UMI dissertation service, an academic paper that only a few people in this discussion appear to have subjected to a cursory inspection, an academic paper with which not many people would have much critical engagement. And what is the context? Arts and sciences faculties and teacher training faculties will happily tolerate obnoxious political sectaries, but the real problem in your mind is that some wonk contends that immigration streams have different psychometric scores than the natives and that we ought to base policy on that. You could argue against that, and argue in the idiom in which it was offered without relentlessly impugning motives and character. There is something pathological about you all having apoplectic seizures over this.Report

        • Avatar RTod in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          This is intriguing; I have never heard this or anything like it before, BB.

          Now I’m really curious… What dogma is it, and does it get applied to IQ?Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to RTod says:

            The central dogma of leftism: That the first-world poor are poor because they are oppressed, or exploited, or lack opportunity. Psychometrics provides an alternative explanation that is much less appealing—even morally repugnant—to adherents of this dogma: They’re poor because they lack the cognitive ability to do high marginal productivity work and/or because their poor noncognitive skills lead them to make bad decisions.Report

            • Avatar Murali in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              Poverty creates its own problems. It is not necessarily a matter of cognitive ability, but wrong incentives and a lack of trusts even when we try to implement correct incentives. Bhannerjee’s Poor Economics is instructive in this.

              A careful study of the behaviour of the poor shows that given their current situation they are economically rational actors (more or less)*. The problem is that they have no reason to trust any of the solutions we as outsiders provide them. At the same time they have no reason to believe that investing resources into an education that is already very scarce and therefore pricy which would, once they acquired it, correct their subjective probability estimates is a worthwile investment.

              *This is not to say that they are not subject to the same motivational disabilities as the rest of us. However, these motivational disabilities are less often pathological in us when we have good formal and informal social institutions to rely on. They operate under rule sets and cultures that transform these motivational disabilities into pathological conditions.Report

            • Avatar RTod in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              Got it. I don’t know why, it hasn’t occurred to me you were using “religious” metaphorically. I thought there was some kind of cool, obscure branch of Gnosticism or something that talked about minimum wage.Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to RTod says:

                I am not sure that “religious” is used metaphorically by Brandon Berg. Over the past few years I have encountered a number of conservatives and libertarians who seem to have seized on the notion that their pathway to insertion of religious dogma into the public sphere of schools or local governmental recognition is to equate all non-religious ideas with a form of “religion.”

                Brandon Berg’s rant on the “The central dogma of leftism” which he calls “religious dogma” is not unlike the creationists who insist that science is just another religion. This has developed through conservative propaganda channels into attacks on scientists at all levels.

                The reasoning behind this propaganda is obvious. When science is agnostic and disconnected from religion, there is not a first amendment complaint to be made about teaching firm science in the classroom. However, the dogmatic monotheistic religionists see all science as their competition just as the cult of scientology view psychiatry as direct competition. From their warped point of view, “science is a religion” and further “science is the state religion” because science is taught in public schools while their backwater theology is not.

                The claim is, of course, complete nonsense. But that won’t stop the attacks because it’s one of the few things they have left to cling to.Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Rogue Economist says:

                That’s a pretty big leap you tool there, and one I would never have seen since BB always, you know, defends and promotes science on a pretty consistent basis around here.

                This isn’t exactly “liar!” ocourse, but may I suggest this pattern you have of telling people what they really think and feel is holding you and your argumemts back?Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to RTod says:

                If he wishes to denounce the “religion of science” argument he is free to do so. What I question is his assertion that arguments against the validity of the IQ model are based in religion and his subsequent assertion that the religion in question was “the central dogma of leftism.”Report

            • Avatar Sam in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              Run free Just World Theory, RUN FREE!Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              As Nob says somewhere else in this thread (I think it was this one), the problem with the dichotomy you’ve created is that it ignores the endogeneity in any analysis of the relationship between SES and IQ.Report

        • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          “However, objections to the claim that IQ tests measure cognitive ability in some meaningful and important way seem to be driven primarily by religious dogma.”

          Maybe on your home planet but not here on earth.

          The objections to the claim that IQ tests measure cognitive ability in some meaningful and important way stem from real factors.

          Tests based on cultural background.
          Tests requiring a base level of language literacy.
          Tests requiring a common understanding of the primary usage of ambiguous wording.
          Tests requiring a time limit that grant higher scores to those who process writing cognitively in batch rather than sequentially.
          Tests designed to replicate common tasks of a particular geographical or cultural subgroup in which those given higher scores are merely repeating what they have been societally trained to do.

          Now tell me what ANY of these have to do with a “religious dogma” objection?Report

          • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Rogue Economist says:

            Question for the more experienced, what form of html will create acceptable bullet points when writing a comment here?Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Rogue Economist says:

              I’m not entirely sure, but let’s try the unordered list tag:

              • This is an item.
              • This is another item.

              Anyway. I share the above concerns about IQ. I also strongly suspect that the IQ number, or any similar attempt to measure g, is actually measuring several different things.

              To use an analogy, IQ score is like one’s score in a decathlon. And the world that we live and work in isn’t made of decathlons, it’s made of individual events.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                But, there is a way in which people who are reasonably good in one event are usually not too shabby in other events. If the decthlon analogy worked, Brandond Berg would still be right. How well you can do a decathlon means something about your athleticism in general even though it doesn’t necessarily predict your success at weightlifting events very well.

                IQ may not measure g, but there is something that it measures (if the analogy holds) such that a person who scores high tends to be good at certain sorts of cognitive tasks and a person who scores poorly tends to be bad at those tasks. To the extent that different cognitive tasks are such that high levels of competence in one kind of task have no correlation with high levels of competence in other tasks, then perhaps Decathlon is not a very good analogy.Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Murali says:

                IQ certainly measures something. Some IQ tests may measure different things, each test is not equivalent to all others.

                Looking to the decathlon analogy, these people would have a real problem with the decathlon but it does not mean they are not physically fit.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Rogue Economist says:

                They would be the exception to a general rule. Diagnostic relations are not logical conditionals.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Murali says:

                Yes. I know a guy who sucks at arithmetic, and took ages to learn algebra… but calculus was a breeze for him…Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Kimsie says:

                You know all sorts of weird people Kimsie, I wonder how people fare in general. One person who has different abilities with different parts of Maths doesn’t count.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to Murali says:

                I tend to think most people have different abilities with different parts of math. Some people are better at the symbology of proofs, algebra, etc. Other people are better at the more pictoral reasoning that gets used in geometry and calculus.

                And much of arithmetic is simple memorization (know your times tables), and that can hit weaknesses that the rest of math really doesn’t.Report

  6. Avatar Pinky says:

    I haven’t read the dissertation, but the abstract says something different than this article does. It says that the immigrant population has a lower IQ than the average US white population, and that is likely to persist over several generations. That’s different from saying that the Hispanic population has a lower IQ than the average US white population.Report

    • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Pinky says:

      From the linked article, quoting his dissertation.

      “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against”Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Gaelen says:

        Good catch. I missed that.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Gaelen says:

        “…is difficult to argue against”

        It’s hilariously easy to argue against. I’d start with Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe (IIRC, the grandchildren of the original ‘low-IQ’ Menace To WASPS were a higher IQ group being discussed as genetically superior by the likes of Charles Murray). Then I’d go to black-white scores, and point out that (again, IIRC) 30% of the gap was closed in 30 years, a period which coincided with a substantial reduction in what I’ll call the ‘opportunity gap’ between blacks and whites.

        This is just one more data point in favor the closure of the The Kennedy School at Harvard (these days, the thesis that ‘Harvard is a net negative to the human race’ would indeed be hard to argue credibly against).

        BTW, the guy has some stuff up on the AEI website – you know, where you go when you’ve flunked Heritage’s intellectual standards 🙂Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Barry says:

          “…is difficult to argue against”

          In short, I’d set my Wayback machine to 1994, when ‘The Bell Curve’ was published, and pull out the materials written for/gathered for arguing against that book.

          It’d be an easy job.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Barry says:

            Or you might do a literature review, starting with the academic articles in The Bell Curve‘s bibliography. PsychINFOL and Sociological Abstracts would be the databases to use.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Barry says:

            I remember that Thomas Sowell did a review of The Bell Curve. He’s probably the only guy I’d trust to give the book a fair reading. He agreed with a lot of it, but soundly demonstrated that interracial IQ differences don’t persist over generations.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Pinky says:

              IIRC, Dr. Sowell pointed out a number of anomalies that the book’s argument did not address. I do not recall the review went much beyond that. The review was in a general interest magazine and not an academic journal, but I have forgotten which one.Report

              • I happen to have Marshall McLuhan — err, Thomas Sowell — right here:

                http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Thomas-Sowell-on-IQ-and-Race

                [Herrnstein and Murray] seem to conclude… that… biological inheritance of IQ… among members of the general society may also explain IQ differences between different racial and ethnic groups…. Such a conclusion goes… much beyond what the facts will support….

                I think he’s basically right. I admire quite a few things that Charles Murray has done, but not The Bell Curve. That one was a serious misstep in my view.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Barry says:

          If I am not mistaken, the staff at AEI are generally more academic in their background than Heritage, though less so than Hoover or Brookings.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    One of the things that fascinates me is that there are things worth talking about without getting into the whole race/IQ thing. Here’s a particularly risible sentence:

    The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low-IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust, and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market.

    Now get rid of the IQ/race stuff and talk about something else. The patriarchy! Why not.

    The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among Patriarchical immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust, and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market.

    Suddenly, you have a topic about which you can argue. Tie stuff to race? You can’t argue about it. Tie it to culture? Suddenly, it’s something that we can, seriously, sit down and discuss.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

      Economists and sociologists have observed that traditionally Catholic countries have lower levels of social trust than protestant countries, and that it affects economic performance. Another factor is that traditionally Catholic countries often modeled their government and civil institutions in accordance with the way the Catholic church is structured, resulting in a top-down hierarchical command system, which is much less flexible, less responsive to the population, and just doesn’t perform as well. France, though traditionally Catholic, shook off many of the relics of the traditional top-down aristocratic command economy, while Spain, southern Italy, and most of Latin America still struggle with it.

      But trust is something that is quickly built. For example, Hispanic immigrants quickly learn to trust American patrons with free nachos and salsa, even though a customer could just eat the chips and leave. Already there’s an unwritten agreement that we won’t nom the freebies, say “gracias,” and walk out, and in return they will keep coming back with free refills. Both cultures benefit – except during the World Cup when you’re better off hitting the McDonald’s drive-thru, even though the level of trust there is nil and you have to beg for ketchup packets.Report

  8. Avatar Rogue Economist says:

    It decreases my respect for Harvard that they would let a paper like that qualify someone for a doctorate.

    Someone else has done the work going further back in his history. He’s also been part of the American Enterprise Institute, which is even more closely tied to the Birchers than Heritage is. And his connection to dubious scholarship predates the doctoral thesis that somehow slipped past Harvard’s lack of quality control.Report

  9. Avatar Sam says:

    Why on God’s Green Earth are you taking them at their word? This study found EXACTLY what The Heritage Foundation wanted to find – that letting certain people into the country was a bad idea. That research was done by somebody who clearly believes that letting certain into the country is a bad idea. It isn’t hard to imagine that one influenced the other.

    It’s in THF’s best interest to take its word on this, something that it blatantly doesn’t deserve given how obviously self-serving the outcome was.

    Gah.Report

  10. Avatar NewDealer says:

    The problem with racists is that they exist and they will always look for evidence to prove their point.

    The horrible story in Ohio has brought out a lot of anti-Hispanic and anti-Immigrant sentiment on the internet because the suspect-captors have the last name “Castro”. Though I think one of the victims was Hispanic as well.Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to NewDealer says:

      One problem with racism is that it is a bigger problem than the simple matter of racists existing in the wild.

      It has huge systemic impacts like the ones we can see in the NYPDs stop and frisk program.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to NewDealer says:

      One of the problem with racists and anti-racists is that they think “Hispanic” is a race, which is a whole other discussion – but always a fun one because you can go anywhere with it, from getting in the middle of the Jessica Alba/Cameron Diaz spat (woohoo!) to scratching your head about why Spaniards aren’t Hispanic but Brazilians are.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to George Turner says:

        Brazilians aren’t Hispanic, are they? Isn’t the more accurate term Lusophone?Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

        They have been declared as officially Hispanic. Our tax dollars at work.

        Different government departments also maintain completely different definitions of “Hispanic.” In some departments anyone from south of the border is Hispanic, I suppose even English-speaking Englishmen from Belize. In some departments anyone who speaks Spanish as their first language is Hispanic. In some anyone who speaks Spanish as their first language, except people from Spain, are Hispanic. How bizarre is that? Then it morphs into ethnicity, so the descendants of people who used to be Hispanic are still Hispanic, even if they only speak Canadian.

        So Cameron Diaz, whose Spanish parents came to the US via Cuba (I think), is not Hispanic (she’s a blonde). Jessica Alba is Hispanic, even though nobody in her family of Californians has spoken Spanish for generations. Jessica Alba disputes that classification. I think they should Jell-O wrestle over it.

        Such sloppy classifications create no end of questions. Can a black Hispanic ever become African American, even though they came from Africa and have lived in the Americas for the past four hundred years? If Obama’s father had been born on vacation in Mexico instead of in Kenya, would Obama be African American or would he be Hispanic? Can a deaf person be Hispanic if all they use is international sign language? Is a Spanish orphan raised in an Italian household Hispanic or Italian, and how does Italian blood make somebody white while Spanish blood doesn’t (under some usages), even if the Spaniard’s ancestry comes purely from Roman soldiers? Could DNA analysis even find a consistent difference between Spaniards and Italians?

        It’s a mess.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to George Turner says:

        “One of the problem with racists and anti-racists is that they think “Hispanic” is a race…”

        If hispanic status is treated as ‘race’, then it’s race. Just because some people would be able to ‘pass’ doesn’t make it any less real than the fact that some blacks can ‘pass’.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to George Turner says:

        Actually, I think that Spaniards count as Hispanic under the census. You just need to be at least 1/4th Spanish or Latin American in origins to be Hispanic.Report

  11. Avatar Lyle says:

    It is interesting that almost the same line about intellegence was used in the early part of the 20th century against southern european immigrants. Italians were regarded as low in intelligence etc. And to boot both groups tend towards being catholic, which was what the KKK in the 1920s was really complaining about. The Pope was plotting to take over the country! I suspect the same was said of the Irish earlier in the 19th century (again a largely catholic group). So in one sense its part of the common xenophobia that results when the country is changing (when the ethnic mix changes the over all culture changes). I believe the 1850 American party (Know Nothings) felt the same way about immigrants.

    To give a personal example growing up in the 1960s in the Detroit area there were no Mexican restaurants. I moved to Ca in 1972 and first experienced Mexican food. Today it is very different. This of course is a minor indication of cultural change due to immigration.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Lyle says:

      And don’t forget that East European Jewish immigration was limited because they had low IQ’s, too.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to George Turner says:

        No, quite the opposite. The modern method of college admission in the United State and our standarized test regume has its origins in an attempt to keep the colleges from having too many Jewish students. Many accusations were levied against us but stupidity wasn’t one of them.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

        Actually, we limited Jewish school admissions here while simultaneously limited Jewish immigration because East European Jews were claimed to have low IQ’s, based on Army IQ testing for WW-I. The scientist who did the tests later recanted, saying he’d condemned untold numbers to death in the Holocaust, and that what he was measuring was actually just familiarity with Western culture, pencils, and intelligence tests. Part of the earlier claim was that Eastern European Jews were stupid while Western European Jews were smart.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to George Turner says:

          Quotas were placed on Jewish students at elite colleges because too many were getting in on the prior system and we were reviewed as de classe and ruining the scene. The elite colleges were basically elaborate finishing schools for young people. Jews were perceived as taking academics too seriously and not treating college as a country club.Report

  12. I think you are being entirely too generous in your update, Tod. If a medical journal printed a study with such an egregious case of observer bias on the part of its author, it would be roundly (and rightly) criticized for standing by the findings. I find the last line of its statement flagrant question-begging, and am wholly unconvinced.Report

  13. Avatar Barry says:

    Tod: “After each national election since I can remember, conservatives have wondered aloud why more minorities don’t back them. After all, African American neighborhoods might especially benefit from the strong, self-sufficient economies conservatives promise to deliver. Hispanics often trace their origins back to countries steeped in Catholic culture, and as such might be natural allies for a socially conservative message. The same could be said (and often was, prior to 2001) for citizens whose families came from Muslim countries. These things are all true, as far as they go. So why can’t conservatives make any significant and sustainable headway into non-white voting blocks?”

    In the end, the GOP is the Party of White People. There’s some looseness about who is white (see books like ‘How the Irish Became White’, and others about Jews, Italians, etc), but right now hispanics and muslims are Not White in the eyes of the GOP.

    The driving factions might be a small proportion (although the recent anti-hispanic backlash seems to be a GOP majority faction), but almost all of the rest of the GOP is not willing to STFU the drivers (and I mean STFU as a transitive verb).Report

  14. One thing I’m kind of curious about, is why Jason Richwine’s CV isn’t publicly available…. It’s rather unusual (at least in my experience) to not be able to pull up a PhD’s CV within seconds of googling their name + cv. I haven’t been able to find the guy’s vitae, other than a list of Heritage approved publications.

    Can someone help me out here? I’m curious who his advisers and dissertation committee were.Report

    • Oh, I see.

      George Borjas.

      That explains everything.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Dr. Borjas is known for producing econometric studies which seek to enumerate what the benefits of immigration are and how they are distributed among population segments. That would seem on point for writing a quantitative study on immigration.Report

      • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Setting aside Art deco’s level of fanboy glee, can you point to something substantive about George Borjas? I’m interested in the meaning of “that explains everything.”

        Thanks!Report

        • Dr. Borjas is known for producing econometric studies which seek to enumerate what the benefits of immigration are and how they are distributed among population segments. That would seem on point for writing a quantitative study on immigration.

          Is a descriptive statement.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Art Deco says:

            Another Descriptive Statement is that Dr. Borjas has used his published studies to advocate for ending ALL immigration to the U.S. from any source for any reason. I am sure, however, that you will be able to describe how that is NOT observer bias relating to any of his publications, or the mentoring he provides to any of his students (since academics hold no policy opinions; said no conservative pundit ever).Report

            • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Philip H says:

              It has been some years since I have read his work (material up to 1996/97), but it was on the order of enumerating gains from immigration. As far as I can recall, in subsequent years he was an advocate for changes in immigration policy – e.g. replacing chain-migration with a skills-driven system. I have never heard of any economist promoting a comprehensive moratorium on immigration.

              Again, ‘observer bias’ is a phenomenon in experimental studies. It does not make much sense to claim ‘observer bias’ in a statistical study. Neither Dr. Richwine nor any of the members of the committee are psychometricians and as far as I am aware Dr. Jencks does not do participant-observation research. There is a subfield of ‘experimental economics’, but I do not think Dr. Borjas has ever done work like that. Of course, if you are using ‘observer bias’ to mean ‘has published multiple studies which have consistent results’ or ‘publishes studies inconvenient to my worldview’ then I suppose there is observer bias.Report

  15. Avatar Roger Ferguson says:

    “Without a heritage…every generation starts over.”

    Why then are Heritage Foundation members not among the forefront of those who recognize that many Americans, by virtue of the circumstances in which they were brought to this country, were disadvantaged by having been deprived of one?Report

  16. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    The basic argument here is that we should favor high-IQ immigrants, right? And not based on racial averages, but on individual testing. Why is this even controversial?Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      The only legitimate objection I can think of is that we should have open borders and not favor anybody because everybody’s welcome. But if we’re going to limit immigration, why would we not select on the basis of IQ, education, or marketable skills?Report

      • There are certainly countries that do need based qualifications for industries and education backgrounds, but I’m unaware of any who use such a loaded metric with such severe endogeniety problems like IQ for that purpose. IQ’s correlation with social economic metrics exists, but there’s a raft of literature of how culture is a more important determinant of IQ than any other factor.

        The problematic aspect of Richwine’s argument is that he’s making an explicitly ethnicity based argument on IQ metrics between ethnic groups. I’ve skimmed over his dissertation and it feels pretty faulty to me from a social science point of view and downright immoral as a public policy analyst’s question given the inherent problems with the metric he’s using and the subjectivity of his definitions. Perhaps I’ll think differently once I go through his numbers and models in more detail, but I have to admit, disgust is still foremost on my mind here.Report

      • Because IQ is a very contested thing, and because it has no clear relationship to the economic productivity of a nation.

        Also because even allowing in lower-IQ people would appear to represent very nearly a Pareto improvement — it makes their lives much better, and it does not appear to make other lives worse. Or, if it does, studies haven’t shown much in that way at all. Immigration is a net good, regardless of IQ.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        If immigrants of all sorts didn’t have marketable skills, they wouldn’t come here, as they wouldn’t be hired here. But they ARE hired here. What more evidence do you need of their marketability.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      We’ve set a higher priority on uniting families and on taking in refugees than on bringing in high-IQ immigrants.Report

  17. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    I’m stunned by this development.

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/heritage-immigration-study-co-author-penned-articles-nationalist-174301703.html

    Heritage Foundation analyst Jason Richwine, the co-author of a study claiming the immigration reform bill pending in the Senate would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion, wrote two articles in 2010 for a website founded by Richard Spencer, a self-described “nationalist” who writes frequently about race and against “the abstract notion of human equality.”

    Richwine’s two stories for Spencer’s website, AlternativeRight.com, dealt with crime rates among Hispanics in the United States. AlternativeRight.com describes itself as “dedicated to heretical perspectives on society and culture—popular, high, and otherwise—particularly those informed by radical, traditionalist, and nationalist outlooks.”

    Richwine’s articles on AlternativeRight.com were posted within the first few weeks of the site’s launch and were the last he wrote for the site.

    The website has published several controversial pieces about nationalism and race since Spencer founded it three years ago. Spencer is now the chairman of the Montana-based National Policy Institute, an organization that describes itself as a think tank for “White Americans.”

    Richwine’s articles for AlternativeRight.com, “Model Minority?,” published on March 3, 2010, and “More on Hispanics and Crime,” published the next day, push back on an American Conservative essay that argued that some conservatives have over-hyped the crime rate among Hispanics. (Richwine’s article was cross-posted on the website of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington where Richwine was previously a fellow.)

    “A proper analysis of the data indicates that Hispanics have a substantially higher crime rate than whites,” Richwine wrote in the first piece, which he backed up with federal prison data showing the incarceration rates of whites and Hispanics.

    Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported on Richwine’s 2009 Harvard University dissertation, which examined whether the United States should exclude immigrants with low IQs and argued that “the average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population.”

    The Heritage Foundation Thursday distanced itself from Richwine’s dissertation in response to the Washington Post story.

    “The Harvard paper is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation. Its findings do not reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation or the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to U.S. taxpayers, as race and ethnicity are not part of Heritage immigration policy recommendations,” Heritage spokesman Mike Gonzalez said in a statement.
    Emails and phone calls to the Heritage Foundation from Yahoo News were not immediately returned Thursday.

    Richwine’s study on the cost of the immigration bill, co-written with Heritage Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector, was lauded by some who oppose the ongoing effort in Congress to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. But it was also criticized by economists on both the left and right.

    In an interview Thursday with Yahoo News, Spencer defended Richwine’s work and outlined his own philosophy of “nationalism.”

    Spencer said he does not believe in the “superiority” of whites over other races, but he takes no issue with conducting data-based research about whether certain races, in general, have higher IQs or stronger economies.

    “I would, without question, characterize myself and most things I do as nationalism—and I think that word is misused,” Spencer said “People might think of that as simply xenophobia or irrational cheerleading for your country or something. But nationalism is a much more serious thing.

    “It’s a belief that you are part of an extended family,” he said. “You believe that you are part of something bigger than yourself, it’s an extended family, and you want to pursue the future health of this extended family. That is nationalism properly defined.”

    He added: “Race is real. Race has consequences in the real world. Loving your race is healthy and normal. So if that is the definition of racism—which I would think of as nationalism, or you could say racialism—then yes, that is what I believe,” he said. “I think white people should love their history and love their ancestors. Operating on some kind of infantile, abstract notion of human equality is actually a very unusual and unhealthy way to view the world.”

    Spencer pointed out that Richwine’s article was one of the first published for the site when it launched three years ago, before some of the publication’s more controversial articles were written.

    “That was very early on in AltRight, and maybe we became a little too out there,” Spencer said. “He does more mainstream stuff, so whether he supports other things that have been published in AltRight, I don’t know the answer to that.”Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      I think if you rummage through the posts on that site between its foundation (late February 2010) and Richwine’s two submissions (3 and 4 March 2010), the content is about what you would expect from a palaeo group blog. Cannot say where they took it after that.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Gee, it’s too bad that the Evul LiberalMonsters blocked Heritage from the intertubes, or they could have found out about his positions before they hired him.

      Think of it – with an hour or so of work, they’d have had a great idea of what he stood for, and the level of intellectual argument he was at.Report

  18. Avatar Barry says:

    “There is nothing there at a variance with his dissertation or panel discussions.”

    Boy, you don’t get the point, do you?

    Let me put it in simple, easy to understand terms:

    The Heritage Foundation knew exactly what they were hiring when they hired him to do what he had been doing already for other intellectual br*thels. The Heritage Foundation is at fault and is guilty of fraud and racist lying.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Barry says:

      I get your point, but your point is misconceived. The man had a completed dissertation, a skill set, and likely some references as well. That is what made him worth hiring. He also posted brief commentaries at a novel site run by people who say disagreeable things (and said them at times subsequent to his posting not prior to his posting). In other words, he had a slim association with people who can be stuck in the ‘white nationalist’ box. Well, Heritage is not you. They not only got through high school, they got over it.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Barry says:

      What fraud? What lies? The only thing I’ve seen about this study is that the person who wrote it has a questionable background. It’s a fallacy to use that to argue against his output, although I can understand being suspicious of it.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Pinky says:

        It is not his ‘background’ but his stated views that bother this crew. His background (schooling, employment, &c.) is unremarkable for a professional policy wonk.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to Art Deco says:

          Art,

          So to briefly extrapolate: somebody who has flirted with white nationalism doesn’t at least briefly sound the tiniest of warning bells in your mind?Report

          • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Sam says:

            I am confused by the new term “white nationalism.” Shouldn’t we be automatically suspicious of an attempt to rebrand what was formerly known as the white supremacy movement?Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Sam says:

            Not a whole lot. Dr. Richwine is not responsible for what this fellow Spencer says on his own time, or for what Spencer’s board of contributors say, most particularly in time periods subsequent to his contributions to their site. What Richwine has to say can be examined in and of itself.

            And you would not hold others to your standard. I had a close and long friendship with a man who was on the staff of Vito Marcantonio. I had another friend who spent his adult life as a dope dealer. What was I ‘flirting with’ there? There are all kinds of people in academic life who do not ‘flirt’ with dubious characters. They are dubious characters. In a cultural and academic world where a Stalinoid upper-middlebrow like Howard Zinn can hawk his hackwork all over the landscape, it seems rather contrived to complain about Jason Richwine’s unpublished research projects.Report

            • Avatar Sam in reply to Art Deco says:

              Art,

              I would hold people responsible for their chosen associations. That Dr. Richwine voluntarily submitted materials to a website that seems to routinely forward the “American whites are superior…” argument is something to be held against Dr. Richwine. He is an adult after all.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Sam says:

                Do you hold James Farmer and Andre Schiffrin responsible for the Weather Underground? Why or why not?Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Art Deco says:

                Shorter Art Deco: Richwine isn’t wrong, and even if he is wrong, hey — two wrongs make a right!Report

              • Um, no.

                I do not pass judgment on Richwine’s thesis. I am very rusty on this sort of thing and do not understand quite why he set up his model the way he did or ran the tests he did. The theoretical angle of labor economics is also something I never learned. (As far as I can tell, it is more counter-intuitive than other departments of economics). My policy preferences and my concerns are different. None of that is really at issue here.

                Sam’s thesis is that the man is dirty because he had some correspondence with Robert Spencer (and that therefore Heritage is dirty and therefore any immigration skepticism is dirty). Tod Kelly’s thesis is that Richwine’s history and advocacy explains the balance of support the political parties have between racial groups (which is silly).

                And I do point out that you seem capable in other circumstances of reading what people write and evaluating it without evaluating tangential associations people have with others (which can be interesting, to be sure). Andre Schiffrin and Todd Gitlin are about one degree of separation from the Town House explosion crew. That is interesting, but Sam only finds this sort of thing interesting to avoid thinking about the writings in question.Report

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to Art Deco says:

                Tod Kelly’s thesis is that Richwine’s history and advocacy explains the balance of support the political parties have between racial groups (which is silly).

                That’s not how I read this post, myself. In fact, I think that you’re reading it that way actually reinforces the point of the piece.

                It’s totally irrelevant if Richwine is a bigot. It’s largely irrelevant whether or not his thesis is actually correct, or not, for the purposes of the post.

                Because the question is, “Why Conservatives Can’t Win Non-White Votes, Heritage Foundation Edition”.

                Not, “Why the poopy GOP is a bunch of racists”.

                And the answer is, “Because they hire and promote people who say things that are going to be very, very unattractive to Non-White Voters.”

                Look at it this way, if the question is, “Why can’t the GOP make more inroads with public school teachers?” are we terribly surprised if the answer is, “Because they routinely, as a party, talk about the alleged terrible abuses of unions, which might be off-putting to teachers?”

                Man, Richwine could be *right* and it wouldn’t detract from the point. IQ is a limited measure, and *that* doesn’t detract from the point.

                The person the Heritage Foundation hired as a senior policy analyst for immigration issues wrote, as his dissertation, a research study that could be interpreted by the average Joe on the street as, “This guy is saying that Hispanic immigrants are stupid.”Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco says:

                Passable point.

                The thing is, social cleavages of one sort or another are unremarkable and some of them have a political dimension. They do not necessarily result from explicit public discourse and they are often insensitive to it. By way of example, in Ulster a large bloc of the Catholic population have long been skeptical of a United Ireland, but almost none would cast a ballot for any of the Unionist parties. Political parties can be and are identity blocs.

                While we are at it, the Republican Party gets large blocs of the immigrant vote. They fail with California chicanos and with Puerto Ricans (who are sociological but not juridical immigrants). There are likely some smaller segments with which they fail.

                They also fail with the domestic black population. The black population is likely not irritated with talk of immigration restriction; liberal immigration laws are not in the economic interests of blacks-in-general and it is not hard to think of prominent blacks who have been quite skeptical of the liberal immigration regime (Thomas Sowell, Barbara Jordan, and Coretta Scott King to name three). The GOP as an institution has not been hostile to blacks-in-general, however much it pleases partisan Democrats to fancy it is.Report

              • Avatar Patrick in reply to Art Deco says:

                The GOP as an institution has not been hostile to blacks-in-general

                There’s a bunch of speeches at CPAC that include the phrase “welfare queen”… okay, wait.

                Not that *I* think the term is inherently racist (because there’s probably more white welfare queens than anything else), but in my personal experience, if you really want to piss off your average urban African-American, start talking about “welfare queens”, because *they* think the term is as racist as all get-out.

                Look, one of the dumbfoundingly stupid things about the modern conservative movement is that they continue to insist that the terms they use need to be interpreted as the way they intend them to be heard, as opposed to the way the audience – not just their intended audience, but everybody – hears them.

                Do I need to provide examples? “That’s not racist”. “It was a term back when I was growing up on the ranch”. “I’m not talking about black/Jewish/Hispanic/Asian people, generally”

                It doesn’t matter what you were trying to say. It matters what people heard. This is, you know, like, the first rule of freakin’ advertising.

                It doesn’t matter what your message is, half as much as it matters what people think it is. (It doesn’t help if your underlying message is *also* unpalatable to people, but that’s a secondary problem and the GOP can’t even get to that point).

                If you want to get standing with a community, you have to show them that you’re righteous by their standards, not yours. And right now, for every careful, well thought out speech by a public figure on the national stage who is a member of the GOP, there’s a couple hundred speeches by other members of the GOP – not even necessarily national, because regional ones make the national news, too – that undermine that.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Art Deco says:

                “That’s not how I read this post, myself. In fact, I think that you’re reading it that way actually reinforces the point of the piece. It’s totally irrelevant if Richwine is a bigot. It’s largely irrelevant whether or not his thesis is actually correct, or not, for the purposes of the post. Because the question is, “Why Conservatives Can’t Win Non-White Votes, Heritage Foundation Edition”.”

                This. Basically everything that Patrick said.

                If you go back and read the OP, you’ll see a complete absence of any word like “racist,” “bigot” or “immoral.” I even discussed the fact that THF is not a fringe group of wackos, they’re actually really mainstream.

                I feel like I’ve said this so many times on so many posts I’ve lost track, but I’ll say it again here: By and large I do not find conservatives or Republicans to be racist or sexist. I *do* think that in an effort to be anti-PC and piss off liberals they’re willing to say all kinds of things and give passive support to all kinds of people in their mix that make them look like they are to women and minorities.

                Art, you’ve mentioned a few times up thread that THF should have the freedom to hire whatever public faces they want, regardless of what those people have written what they’ve said on record, or who they choose to associate themselves with. You are 100% correct in this, of course.

                What THF does not have, however, is the freedom to be a highly visible political player and hire whoever they want and never have any consequences of how those decisions appear to the public – specifically in this case, to non-white voters.

                You want to hire a guy who just wrote a dissertation that talks about Hispanic IQs being less than whites, be my guest. But you shouldn’t be overly surprised when, after you put his name up in big lights with a highly publicized report on immigration, people actually find out about it and make negative judgments. You really shouldn’t be surprised when your rivals go out of their way to point it out to Hispanics and accuse you of racism. If you’re so clueless about politics on the big stage that you didn’t see that coming, then you probably shouldn’t be in charge of hiring for a nationally known, well-respected think tank.

                Shorter Tod: If you own a company that is suffering from serious PR problems because your factories are widely rumored to be flammable and unsafe, you probably shouldn’t post facebook pictures of yourself lighting Roman Candles on the factory floor during working hours – regardless of how true the rumors are.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Art Deco says:

                Outstanding, Patrick.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Art Deco says:

                Art,

                I’m really not sure if you get to be the one who decides about the GOP’s hostility to the African-American community.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco says:

                <i<There’s a bunch of speeches at CPAC that include the phrase “welfare queen”… okay, wait. Not that *I* think the term is inherently racist (because there’s probably more white welfare queens than anything else), but in my personal experience, if you really want to piss off your average urban African-American, start talking about “welfare queens”, because *they* think the term is as racist as all get-out.

                ‘Rhetoric’ is the art of effective reasoning. There are ways of putting something that get your point across better than others. There are prudent and imprudent ways of putting something. It is rather de trop to say that Ronald Reagan (30 years ago) or some random local Republican attending CPAC (today) are bearers of some sort of delict because of someone else’s emotional neuralgia. (And the use of the term is not that common).

                While we are expanding on ‘personal experience’, I have to say I have never heard a rank and file black utter a complaint about political rhetoric (and I am a man of a certain age). You see that sort of thing in print, and the perpetrators are modally bourgeois leftoids (humbug about ‘dog whistles’ and ‘racial cues’ and such).

                Look, one of the dumbfoundingly stupid things about the modern conservative movement is that they continue to insist that the terms they use need to be interpreted as the way they intend them to be heard, as opposed to the way the audience – not just their intended audience, but everybody – hears them.

                The hearers you are referring to are not ordinary people but political enemies in and amongst politicians and the chattering classes. They have an interest in hearing what is useful for their own sleazy agitprop. You really should not be composing lawyer’s briefs for them.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco says:

                I’m really not sure if you get to be the one who decides about the GOP’s hostility to the African-American community.

                Sam, I have lived in my own time and understand the schema of its history. If people wish to traffick in asinine fictions, that’s their nasty little hobby. I am under no obligation to treat it as something other than what it is.Report

              • ‘Rhetoric’ is the art of effective reasoning.

                Wrong. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, regardless of reasoning. Logic is the art of valid reasoning.

                Ordinarily I might not complain about using a word incorrectly, but the fact that Republicans often confuse one for the other is a much bigger problem than just you.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco says:

                But I made no reference to ‘valid’ reasoning and he was not referring to content but expression. From Merriam-Webster

                : the art of speaking or writing effectively: as
                a : the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times
                b : the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion

                Call it a draw.Report

            • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Art Deco says:

              Howard Zinn?

              “Let’s talk about socialism. I think it’s very important to bring back the idea of socialism into the national discussion to where it was at the turn of the [last] century before the Soviet Union gave it a bad name. Socialism had a good name in this country. Socialism had Eugene Debs. It had Clarence Darrow. It had Mother Jones. It had Emma Goldman. It had several million people reading socialist newspapers around the country. Socialism basically said, hey, let’s have a kinder, gentler society. Let’s share things. Let’s have an economic system that produces things not because they’re profitable for some corporation, but produces things that people need. People should not be retreating from the word socialism because you have to go beyond capitalism.”

              [sarcasm] Oh my god he was trying to destroy the world. [/sarcasm]Report

              • Actually, utopian projects can be very destructive.

                The man was an unrepentant Communist Party hack whose published work was a long libel against the country which succored him. It cost him nothing professionally, quite the contrary.Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Art Deco says:

                “Utopian projects”? You don’t say?

                You’re very long on the ad hominem and incredibly short on any resources to back up your claims.

                The man was an unrepentant Communist Party hack

                He was a World War II airman who volunteered to fight against fascism.
                A People’s History of the United States is considered one of the best examples of critical pedagogy and is a necessary book in almost any political theory educational sequence.
                He was a tireless proponent of the civil rights movement, which doubtless endeared him to none of the racists who equated the movement with “communism.”
                He was consistently against the Vietnam War AND put his body where his mouth was, traveling to secure the release of US soldiers hold as POW’s.
                And he held no respect for the “Communist Party” of the USSR.

                Since the man is dead, he can’t speak in his defence. I will say this as gentlemanly as possible: your characterization of him as “an unrepentant communist party hack” smacks of the worst sort of dishonesty that in bygone decades could only have been answered by a challenge to pistols at paces.Report

              • Military service was bog-standard for people in that age group. I certainly commend those cohorts and think as a rule they compare favorably to all succeeding cohorts. The ones I knew well did not seem to think they merited any Mulligans for having served during the war. That includes George McGovern, who never made much of a public point of his combat service.

                That he was a Communist Party member is a matter of historical record. That he was an employee of the American Labor Party during its terminal phases (when it was shot-through with crypto-communists) is a matter of historical record. What the Communist Party advocated is a matter of historical record.

                His dissertation – a biography of Fiorello LaGuardia – was published, which was unusual at the time. After that he published two or three minor labor histories over a period of fifty years, the last with the aid of collaborators. He did no other original scholarly work, acquired no foreign-language skills, new nothing of cliometrics, and could not even be bothered to set up a proper architecture of footnotes and bibliography in his published work. He published many books over the years. Have a look at them. They were extended opinion pieces. They were not original histories making use of archives and they were not synthetic works using extant secondary literature as a point of departure. I do not think he published anything in academic journals, but we can check.

                There are lots of rank-and-file academics working at state colleges and such. They publish original histories with the same frequency that Howard Zinn did. I have known serious historians who practiced a more demanding craft than Howard Zinn ever did who were run out of academe due to the vagaries of academic politics.

                And, no, sorry, his historiography is puerile, but just what one would expect from a Communist Party hack.Report

              • He was consistently against the Vietnam War AND put his body where his mouth was, traveling to secure the release of US soldiers hold as POW’s.

                So what? Not exactly unfashionable in 1966 (and to be expected for a Communist Party hack). Given what happened after 1975, a non-obtuse individual would regard such public stances with a good deal of ambivalence in later years.Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Art Deco says:

                Again with the ad hominems. Wake me when you have something of substance to add to the discussion please.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco says:

                Again with the ad hominems.

                That term does not mean what you think it means.Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist in reply to Art Deco says:

                Your entire argument against Howard Zinn is “he was a commie.” Joe McCarthy must have loved you like a brother.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco says:

                1. That is not my entire argument, and if you read it again you will see that.

                2. His Communist Party affiliation is an indicator of what made him tick and is consistent with his writings. His commitment was quite time consuming and involved several evenings a week in attending meetings and such. He was an avocational promoter of a great deal of what was gross and stupid and vicious in political life ca. 1947 and he never broke faith with that. Next to this guy, Jason Richwine is Howdy Doody.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to Pinky says:

        Pinky,

        There has been plenty of outcry about the way in which the study itself was formulated: http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2013/05/06/1968111/heritage-immigration-study/ That it then turns out that its author has flirted with nationalism only further brings the point of the study into question.

        Sidenote: let’s assume for a minute that these researchers did their research, and discovered that immigration was going to be AWESOME. Any chance those researchers then even write up their findings? Any chance Heritage publishes, and then trumpets, those findings?Report

  19. Avatar Wardsmith says:

    Wonder how long it will take the Obama bureaucracy to go after Heritage. Perhaps on their tax status?Report

  20. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    Richwine has resigned from the Heritage Foundation. So, while there’s still a bunch of fishholes, it’s no longer strictly accurate to call them shameless fishholes.Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to MikeSchilling says:

      Oh, and while Richwine’s dissertation wasn’t a work product of Heritage, it was funded by the AEI and he was advised by Charles Murray, who tweets:


      Thank God I was working for Chris DeMuth and AEI, not Jim DeMint and Heritage, when The Bell Curve was published. Integrity. Loyalty. Balls.

      Wotta bunch of fishholes.Report

      • Um, no. His dissertation committee consisted of George Borjas, Richard Zeckhauser, and Christopher Jencks. His fellowship at AEI post-dated the award of his doctoral degree.

        And sticking by your employees is a virtue, Mike. The man did not have any manifest performance deficits. DeMint is a poltroon.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Art Deco says:

          You are mistaken. Richwine had the AEI fellowship (not Heritage, AEI) while he was writing the dissertation. In Richwine’s own words:

          “I am indebted to the American Enterprise Institute for its generous support, without which this dissertation could not have been completed. In particular, I must thank Henry Olsen, vice president of AEI’s National Research Initiative, for bringing me to AEI and supporting my research.”
          Richwine also thanked AEI scholar Charles Murray for his input, writing that “I could not have asked for a better primary advisor.”

          AEI is now running away from this too:

          “AEI doesn’t have official positions on issues—our institutional position is that we don’t take institutional positions—so there’s no statement from the organization.”

          Also, given that a think tank’s biggest asset is its reputation, I’d think that making your employer a laughingstock is a significant performance deficit.Report

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