The Analytical Rigor of Racists

On the fringes of the internet, you often hear that the science of hereditary racial differences is settled, that racial equality is a convenient fiction that doesn’t stand up to real scrutiny. So you’ll understand my amusement at this half-baked post from Half Sigma, which takes issue with an article that suggests immigration and military infrastructure, not the innate racial superiority of its population, are behind Israel’s  economic success:

Immigration is offered as an explanation [for Israeli success]:

“A key lesson from Israel is that innovation is not just something that goes on inside companies; it comes from a wider culture that fosters both innovation and entrepreneurship. Israel is a country of immigrants — there are over 70 nationalities represented in this tiny country. Two out of every three Israelis are newcomers, or the children or grandchildren of newcomers. . . . Immigrants are natural risk takers since they were willing to uproot themselves and start over.”

Ah yes, how convenient that Israeli economic success can teach us a politically correct lesson about the importance of allowing more immigrants into the United States.

The thing about Israeli immigration is that it’s mostly composed of high-IQ Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Bloc countries, who share a cultural and racial heritage with Israel’s existing Jewish population. In contrast, United States immigration is mostly low-IQ Hispanics, and most of the high-IQ immigration comes from Asia and they don’t share a cultural background with America’s predominant white European population, nor are they of the same race.

Politically correct? Or factually accurate? It’s worth noting that immigrants are generally more innovative and intelligent than those who stay behind, regardless of their ethnic or geographic origins (emphasis mine):

Geneticists have shown that there is literally such a thing as American DNA, not surprising when nearly all of us are descended from immigrants. We therefore carry an immigrant-specific genotype, a genetic marker expressing itself—in some environments, at least—as energetic risk-taking and competitive self-promotion. Even when famine, warfare, or another calamity strikes, most people stay in their homeland. The self-selecting group that migrates, seldom more than 2 percent, is disproportionally inclined to take chances. They also have above-average intelligence and are quicker decision makers. Something about their dopamine-receptor systems, the neural pathway associated with a taste for novelty and risk, sets them apart from those who stay put.

Of course, the actual science makes no distinction between Ashkenazi Jews and ‘low-IQ Hispanics’, but why let that stop mindless speculation?

The author, wholly committed to making a fool out of himself, follows up with this gem:

The blog post also suggests that military service benefits Israel.

This is a big red herring. I worked for the U.S. Army as a civilian, and it was the most poorly managed organization I ever worked for. I was able to see firsthand that battlefield experience does not result in skills which are especially useful in white collar office jobs.

Ah, of course. Anecdotal evidence trumps the testimony of various industry insiders. Never mind the fact that the Israeli military is dramatically different from the United States’. Never mind the fact that people who have actually studied Israel’s high tech economy came to similar conclusions:

Jeffrey Goldberg: One of your arguments is that it’s not necessarily Jewish culture that created this, but Israel Defense Force culture, that many of the great entrepreneurs and innovators come out of the Air Force, out of the technical branches of the IDF. And that this is replicable. Is that fair to say?

Dan Senor: Shimon Peres told us that Jews have a tendency throughout our history to be dissatisfied. That’s a big theme, so this is obviously a big part of IDF culture. I’m of two minds on how applicable this is to the American military. On the one hand, I feel that the Israeli military is just a more entrepreneurial military than any military I know of or that we’ve studied. I mean, it’s just so much more built around improvisation. The fact that when you’re being promoted in the Israeli military, your subordinates have input, or can have input, in those decisions. So it’s a very entrepreneurial, start-up military. There are very few bosses.  The only way you can cultivate that culture and ethos is if you have very few bosses, because the moment you have a lot of bosses, you have a lot of people who need to justify their existence, and they justify their existence by giving commands. I saw this on military bases I’ve worked on and when I’ve been in government —  the U.S. military is top-heavy, and you have a lot of people standing around giving orders to sort of justify their existence.

Half Sigma’s post is supposed to be a fearless exercise in truth-telling, an unvarnished look at the genetic superiority of certain racial groups. Instead, it’s a laughably thin excuse to trot-out easily debunked racialist theories. It’s not as if you need any particular expertise in genetics or Israeli society to disprove this stuff, either. Behind the author’s self-satisfied ranting about “political correctness” is a post that doesn’t stand up to the scrutiny of a few well-placed Google searches.

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4 thoughts on “The Analytical Rigor of Racists

  1. there is something especially uniquley stupid about members of group who has been oppressed based on vile bigotry claiming they are racially superior to other groups.

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    • Indeed. I certainly hope this Half Sigma guy isn’t actually Jewish, and is instead some white guy claiming that Jews -only the European ones though – are “genetically superior”, because we get better grades or something.

      Of course, we Ashkenazim are considered “white”now, I guess. It’s still icky.

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