Posted on May 13, 2013

Mary Sanchez: Conservatism Needs to Purge Eugenics Obsession

Mary Sanchez, The Kansas City Star, May 10, 2013

Jason Richwine is a type in American politics.

He holds a doctorate from Harvard. He writes studies, appears at conservative conferences in suit and tie, and expounds the same old nonsense about immigrants that we’ve been hearing since the Know Nothings had their last hurrah.

Sure, his work is perfumed with the air of scholarly respectability, but his eugenics-based beliefs bear more than a whiff of white supremacism.

Remarkably–or maybe not so remarkably–that was no bar to getting a perch as a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, one of the nation’s most influential think tanks.

One of his learned opinions is that Hispanics are genetically inferior intellectually and will never fully assimilate into U.S. society.


{snip} Heritage must have been familiar with Richwine’s dissertation when it hired him. In any case, his toxic views fit right in with a vein of sentiment–I hesitate to call it thought–that has informed much of the conservative movement since “The Bell Curve,” by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein.

In his dissertation, Richwine dredged up the old pseudo-science of eugenics. That’s the same baseless theories about racial and ethnic superiority that have caused nations to embrace selective sterilization, slavery, apartheid and worse.

It’s dangerous stuff, and Richwine knows it.

He counseled using euphemisms like “skill-based” when proposing which immigrants should be welcomed via IQ tests, to “blunt the negative reaction.”

Negative reaction, Jason? To the proposals of a guy who feels permitted to warn that more Latinos – sorry, low-I.Q. immigrants – will lead to “more underclass behavior, less social trust.” That’s code for criminals and degenerates. For some reason, I’m thinking of those old Thomas Nast cartoons of apelike Irish immigrants.

Richwine is offensive, but he’s also wrong.

Hispanics are assimilating at the same rates as previous immigrant groups, in some ways even faster due to technology. (Note: This column is written in English, by the daughter of an immigrant from Mexico.)

Immigrants have lower rates of criminal conduct than native-born people. And a new study shows that Hispanic high school graduates have now overtaken white students in rates of enrollment into college.

And it’s long been noted that immigrants have exceptionally high rates of entrepreneurship in starting small businesses.