Posted on September 10, 2018

The Elephant at the Southern Border

Robert Weissberg, American Thinker, September 8, 2018

Why do the public discussions of immigration overwhelmingly focus on our Southern border while the influx of almost equal numbers of Asians, Europeans, and Indians goes unnoticed? Why fixate on Hispanics?

The prevailing explanation, at least the one advanced publicly by Donald Trump and his supporters, is that Hispanic immigrants are disproportionately inclined toward criminality and long-term welfare dependency vis-à-vis other immigrant groups.

The elephant in the room is the low I.Q. of these would-be future Americans. Specifically, the average I.Q. in central American countries – Honduras 81, El Salvador 81, Guatemala 79, for example – would assign these migrants and their offspring to the “educable” or mildly retarded category in schools, unable to master all but the basics (Mexico might be a small exception with an average I.Q. of 88).

To be sure, the newcomers may be a tad smarter than their countrymen left behind, but even so, an average of a few points higher would not substantially alter their intellectual shortcomings. Put into context, the average I.Q. of black Americans is 85, so these Central Americans would be at the very bottom of America’s educational achievement hierarchy. This awkward reality is not totally racial – notable exceptions exist, and these “educable” Hispanic immigrants will be far outnumbered by whites with similarly low cognitive abilities.

Critically, low I.Q. is likely to persist across generations and is intractable compared to reversing criminality or welfare dependency, since criminality can be mitigated by tougher law enforcement, while welfare rolls can be trimmed. Low I.Q., by contrast, is impossible to boost. Skeptics should consider the failure of Head Start and countless similar interventions in this futile quest.

The influx of millions of low-I.Q. people will likely transform America (politics included) and conceivably even edge us closer to nations like Brazil and even Venezuela. While recent immigrants from places like El Salvador on their own lack the numbers to execute this transformation, added to those of the Bernie Sanders ilk already here, they can turn electoral minorities into majorities. California may be a harbinger. Make no mistake: Trump and his supporters have a credible case that an open southern border may well alter American quantitatively, qualitatively, irreversibly, and for the worse.

Anticipating this transformation is hardly rocket science.

First, this will be a population plagued by innumeracy in a society requiring at least some ability to comprehend numbers. How many low-I.Q. people understand what a million or billion is, let alone trillions, all commonplace terms in deliberations over the national debt and trade deficits? Keep in mind that many of those with low I.Q.s love the lottery, where one-in-a million odds seem “reasonable.” These are also people who as jurors can award damages in the hundreds of millions thanks to junk science. Imagine a judicial system where a handful of juries regularly dictates hundred-million-dollar judgments that bankrupt corporations while creating extensive unemployment and destroying pensions. Do these “generous” jurors honestly believe that their outsized kindness makes economic sense?

Meanwhile, picture the cognitively challenged following environmental disputes where, for example, a proposed regulation shifts from one part per hundred million to two parts per hundred million, a change that may be portrayed (accurately but probably deceptively) as doubling the permitted toxic waste but in fact may be environmentally meaningless, given infinitesimal quantities. What does “a part per hundred million” mean to those mystified by “million”? More importantly, can they grasp how seemingly high-sounding environmental intervention may have business-killing ramifications?

Imagine a low-I.Q. person trying to follow a public debate on, say, spending more on education, that includes such basic economic concepts as opportunity costs and trade-offs. Can he draw the connection between government mandating cheaper medical costs and fewer doctors? Probably not.

Ditto for calculating non-economic costs, especially non-obvious ones. Try explaining to those who can’t get past 6th grade that artificially high minimum wages in practice harms intended beneficiaries, since these mandates raise the cost of hiring alleged beneficiaries. Or that alluring soak-the-rich tax rates will fail, since the wealthy will escape confiscatory taxes or refuse to invest in economically productive ventures.

Can they grasp America’s foundational political principles? Try explaining that the rule of law requires only following certain detailed procedures and that it does not guarantee that those “obviously” 100% guilty will, in fact, be convicted. Or why the First Amendment protects hurtful or offensive speech. Or that the morally offensive – for example, adultery – is not illegal unless prohibited by a specific statute.

Such intellectual insufficiencies almost guarantee widespread Bernie Sanders-style demagogy, a world where voters embrace free lunches thanks, supposedly, to an endless supply of billionaires agreeable to being fleeced. Campaigns will see rivals competing to be Santa Claus, as if every alluring benefit were an unalienable government-funded right. Pandering office-seekers will also demand that government just get rid of “bad things” regardless of cost or legal obstacles. Just try to convince those of limited intelligence why eliminating all sexual harassment invites totalitarian cures far worse than the offending behavior. Does the concept “totalitarian” mean anything to those stymied by 4th-grade reading lessons?

There is some upbeat news here. The Founders fully understood this danger and, for those accusing Trump, et al. of racism, the Constitution was written at a time when America (excluding slaves, of course) was overwhelmingly white and of European ancestry. Warnings of low I.Q. are not dog-whistle racism. Many Founders were personally familiar with mass foolishness where people demanded “free” government handouts. The Constitution itself was created in response to the Shays Rebellion, when mobs of destitute farmers attacked courthouses in the hope of forcefully discharging their debts.

The Constitution reflects the fear of the Great Unwashed: checks and balances; the separation of powers; federalism; explicit limits on government power (for example, Article I, Section 9 and the Bill of Rights); the lifetime appointment of judges; and the Electoral College, not a popular majority, electing the president, among multiple other barriers to foolish mob rule. Meanwhile, the states sharply limited the franchise to property-owners to block the easily misled poor from heeding soak-the-rich demagogy.

Nevertheless, the threat of rapacious economic appetites remains relevant. Constitutional limits can accomplish only so much. Puerto Rico is constrained by the U.S. Constitution, but it has nevertheless overspent itself into near bankruptcy. California seems headed in this direction thanks to widespread beliefs that any idea that sounds good – for example, universal health care for all immigrants – deserves to be implemented. Several cities such as Detroit have declared bankruptcy due to never having to say “no” to “good ideas” while refusing to pay the bills.

It is impossible to specify a tipping point when the U.S. drifts into a Third World-like wealth-destroying “socialism,” where government barely functions thanks to an inept workforce. It may require an influx of millions more low-I.Q. immigrants before this calamity finally arrives, but this fear is not racist hyperbole. This is the elephant at our southern border.