Ron Unz, who strongly objects to the treatment of Jason Richwine, nevertheless disagrees with the substance of Richwine’s dissertation:
First, he argues that the large IQ deficit of impoverished Hispanic immigrants is likely to inflict a long-term social disaster upon American society. However, it is well known that nearly all previous immigrant groups—southern and eastern Europeans—who came here in poverty similarly scored very low on IQ tests in the decades after their arrival, with results that were sometimes far below those of today’s Mexican immigrants. Yet after a generation or two their tested intelligence had almost invariably converged close to the American mean. Evidence of the past does not necessarily predict the future, but such a strong historical pattern should leave us cautious about assuming it will not continue.
In fact, Richwine specifically discusses the famous study by Carl Brigham, who concluded on the basis of the tests taken by WWI recruits that southern and eastern Europeans were drastically inferior in innate mental ability to America’s mostly northwestern European population and argued that their continuing immigration would produce a national disaster. Richwine rather cavalierly dismisses this historical analysis as having been based on poor testing methods and probably motivated by a belief in “bizarre … racial categories.”
But Brigham was a highly regarded psychometrician and his careful research was widely accepted by nearly all the leading experts of that time. Having carefully read his book, I cannot find any serious fault with his methods nor any indications of unscientific bias on his part. Brigham may have been mistaken in his conclusions, but they seem to have been based on the best evidence and theory of his day.
Furthermore, Richwine chooses to ignore a vast amount of additional evidence from that same period, much of which was collected in Clifford Kirkpatrick’s important 1926 academic monograph “Intelligence and Migration.” Kirkpatrick provides page after page of separate studies demonstrating that during the 1920s the tested IQs of American schoolchildren of Greek, Slavic, Italian, and Portuguese ancestry were usually in the 75-85 range, and that Jewish schoolchildren sometimes performed just as poorly. These results are hardly obscure since they have been cited for decades by Thomas Sowell, and I think it is a serious scholarly lapse for Richwine to have essentially ignored them. Perhaps he simply believes that all IQ experts of a century ago were frauds and their empirical work should be dismissed, but if so, he should explicitly make that argument. Otherwise, we must accept that southern and eastern European immigrant groups had very low IQs a century ago and have average ones today, which is an extremely important finding. In fact, I have demonstrated that there is overwhelming evidence that various other group IQs have risen rapidly over time, and I also provided some strong indications that this exact process is already occurring among today’s Hispanic immigrants.
On another matter, Richwine must be aware that Arthur Jensen and Hans Eysenck rank as two of the greatest figures in twentieth century psychometrics. Yet decades ago both these scholars reviewed the structural evidence of Mexican-American IQs, and reached conclusions almost identical to my own, namely that the acknowledged gaps to white intelligence scores were largely perhaps almost entirely due to environmental factors and would steadily disappear as the population became more affluent and acculturated. Scientists should not argue from authority and Jensen and Eysenck might certainly have been mistaken, but it seems unreasonable for Richwine to never mention their contrary analysis.
This is the kind of criticism that is far more serious and cogent than cries of racism.