In 2010 the banker and amateur geneticist Thilo Sarrazin published his book on immigration - Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany Abolishes Itself) - in which he argued that low-IQ immigrants from Turkey and Arab countries were "over-breeding" and displacing high IQ Germans who were having fewer and fewer children. Intelligence, Sarrazin explained, is genetically determined, so the Muslim community in Germany was simply reinforcing its dull-wittedness by bearing more children, and, to the extent that Muslims were interbreeding with Germans, were dumbing down the "thoroughbred race horse" Germans into a race of "mules" ("Ackergaul"). Jews, on the other hand, are highly intelligent thanks to a "Jewish gene."
Sarrazin's book and his speeches have make him enormously popular - and wealthy - in Germany. Others have been less complimentary: recently, the United Nations condemned the German government for not clamping down on Sarrazin for his racist views. Sarrazin, however, is unrepentent and is working on yet another incendiary book (see this interview in Business Week: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Euro, Thilo Sarrazin is Not Sorry).
Attacking races because of their supposed inferior genes remains popular - and not just in Germany. Recently, the American conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation released a study which claims that granting amnesty and a path to US citizenship to illegal Hispanic immigrants would cost the US over $6 trillion - due to the fact that low-intelligence, lazy Latinos would rely on welfare and food stamps for support.
The Heritage study was cowritten by Jason Richwine, who earned a doctorate at Harvard University with a dissertation analyzing the low IQ's of Hispanic immigrants to the US. “Today’s immigrants are not as intelligent on average as white natives,’’ Richwine wrote in the thesis. “The IQ difference between the two groups is large enough to have substantial negative effects on the economy and on American society.” Sounding very much like Thilo Sarrazin in Germany, Richwine argues in his work that the US should only allow immigrants with high IQs. Richwine's Harvard dissertation is just one more chapter in the sorry history of Ivy League insttituions linking race and intelligence.
Both Sarrazin and Richwine acknowledge their indebtednes to (Harvard grad) Charles Murray, whose 1991 book The Bell Curve used crude statistical analysis to "prove" the inferior intelligence of African Americans. Richwine went so far as to apprentice with Murray at the neo-conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.
It is obvious why studies linking race and intelligence appeal to conservatives in Germany and the United States. Persistent poverty among immigrant and minority communities can be explained not as an outcome of racial discrimination, but rather because the minorities are simply not smart enough to succeed on American or German society. Conservatives can attack liberal programs such as the early-childhood Head Start program in the US as well-meaning but useless, since no amount of intervention can overcome the genetic deficiencies of these groups with respect to intelligence.
But these attacks on "stupid immigrants" are as old as America itself. It was one of our founding fathers - Benjamin Franklin - who warned that the influx of "stupid" Germans represented a grave danger to America:
"Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation…and as few of the English understand the German Language, and so cannot address them either from the Press or Pulpit, ’tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they once entertain…Not being used to Liberty, they know not how to make a modest use of it…I remember when they modestly declined intermeddling in our Elections, but now they come in droves, and carry all before them, except in one or two Counties...In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious."