The Traits Of An American

Like me, Conor is opposed to using IQ scores to determine immigration eligibility. He observes that “barring the hypothetical low IQ people would imply that intelligence determines worth, and that our project as a nation is intimately tied to constantly maximizing material wealth”:

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that recruiting human beings with impressive skills is illegitimate. In fact, I think it is prudent, and I’m glad that lots of talented scientists, athletes, artists, and programmers want to come here. More, please. I’m glad that lots of farm workers and janitors want to immigrate too. I recognize that the economic contributions of the two groups are different, but I don’t conclude that the low skill immigrants are less worthy of citizenship or less valuable citizens. Are they kind? Honest? Wise? Fun? Hardworking? Inclined to embrace core American values as articulated in the Declaration of Independence? To what extent do they participate in the civic process? Do they raise children who flourish? Do the best of their ethnic traditions and cultural insights enrich the American character? Do they contribute to the common defense? Are they invested in their new country? It’s amazing how often bygone immigration debates have focused on a couple narrow metrics to the exclusion of all else. There are so many important traits, and seemingly no one clamoring to measure or recruit for most of them.