“This Isn’t A Free Country”: The Heritage Foundation And The Fate Of Jason Richwine

Despite our vast difference in age, Jason Richwine and I have two babies roughly the same age and I find it very hard to contemplate what that little family is going through tonight. 

When you read neoconservative harpy Jennifer Rubin cawing about the Heritage Foundation’s cowardly decision to force Richwine out (and of course, as Heritage should have foreseen, demanding further resignations—Richwine resigns, but will others follow? Washington Post, May 10, 2013), remember there are real human costs to this Cultural Marxist Reign of Terror.

And these are costs that Richwine is bearing because, as a doctoral candidate at Harvard, he was a scholar devoted to the truth.  

The facts about the differing average IQ levels of the various post-1965 immigrant streams have been settled science for many years. The original draft of my huge 1992 National Review cover story Time to Rethink Immigration, which eventually resulted in my 1995 book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, contained a discussion of IQ and immigration policy, alluding to Richard J. Herrnstein's and Charles Murray's book The Bell Curve, which I knew was in preparation. The reaction of my dear friend John O'Sullivan, NR's Editor in those happy days, was very instructive. Not only did he insist on cutting out the discussion, but he also hunted down every copy of the original draft in NR's office and had them destroyed. His argument was that any mention of IQ or heredity at all would result in the issue monopolizing all response to my article, plunging the rest of my very broad case against contemporary immigration policy irretrievably into the dark.

At the time, I accepted that he was right. But I now think that, had we fought that battle then, Jason Richwine might still be able to support his family today—and, who knows, American might be a very different place.

As VDARE.com’s James Kirkpatrick wrote earlier, Heritage’s decision to force Richwine out is worse than a crime: it is a blunder.  

I would like to believe that some major donor (Sheldon Adelson?) demanded it. But I am afraid that the explanation is simple stupidity. Heritage did not have to add Richwine’s byline to the Amnesty/Immigration Surge-critical  Rector Report in the first place.  It certainly did not have to say defensively that Richwine’s Ph.d. findings “do not reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation.” Instead, it could have emphasized, entirely truthfully, that Richwine’s contribution to the Rector Report was high-level technical number-crunching, in a completely different area.

Or, of course, Heritage  could have defended Richwine’s Ph.D. —awarded by Harvard University, for goodness sake, with ultra-liberal  Christopher Jencks signing off!—on the basis of truth.

Amazingly, as Kirkpatrick documents, elements of the Conservatism Inc. MSM had actually begun to do this—including (to my astonishment) Rush Limbaugh. (See Cabal of Leftists and RINOs Attempt to Destroy Heritage Scholar Jason Richwine, rushlimbaugh.com, May 10 2013).

But Heritage, by forcing Richwine out, has undercut them all.

Slate’s David Weigel, who apparently broke the news of Richwine’s departure, has provided an unusually detailed account of Richwine’s relationship with the Dissident Right—including, indirectly, VDARE.com:

…In 2008, while at the American Enterprise Institute, he joined a panel discussing a new book from Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “Decades of psychometric testing,” said Richwine, “has indicated that at least in America you have Jews with the highest average IQ, usually followed by East Asians, and then you have non-Jewish whites, Hispanics, and then blacks. These are real differences. They’re not going to go away tomorrow.”

Even in that room, conservatives tried to distance themselves from Richwine’s remark. “It's looking at America in 1965 and assuming that's what we always were,” said Krikorian. Even Richwine added some caveats. “I point out that Ayaan Hirsi Ali was given an IQ test in the Netherlands and did very poorly,” he said. “[It’s] hard to imagine someone brighter.”

But Richwine was winning fans on the nativist right. Marcus Epstein was in the audience, asking a question, then writing the event up favorably at the anti-immigration site VDare.com. Over the years, VDare’s Steve Sailer would point to Richwine’s work and charts to reveal cold truths about racial IQ differentials. In March 2009, he shared Richwine’s calculations “from the 2003 New Immigrant Survey of the backward digit span subtest from the Wechsler IQ test.” Immigrants from Mexico had IQs, on average, 18 points lower than those of white Americans.

Throughout 2009, Sailer pointed readers to Richwine’s research on IQ and crime rates…When he joined Heritage, Richwine wrote only rarely about immigration, applying his statistical acumen more often to public pension crises and student loans. “His mistake is that he wrote about a taboo subject,” Charles Murray told the New Republic yesterday. “And to write about IQ and race or ethnicity is to take a very good chance of destroying your career. And I really hope that doesn’t happen.”

It’s happening right now. According to Politico, Heritage is on the hunt for a PR guru who might spin away the Richwine story. On the paleo right, that’s being interpreted as a nolo contendere admission of thinkcrime. VDare’s writers have defended Richwine as a statistician whose work people prefer to hyperventilate about than to debunk, because they can’t debunk it. “The forces of orthodoxy have identified a heretic,” wrote John Derbyshire, who was laid off from National Review last year after writing that he’d educated his children about racial differences. “They’re marching on his hut with pitchforks and flaming brands. The cry echoes around the Internet: ‘Burn the witch!’ ”[Links in original.]

The IQ Test: Jason Richwine’s friends warned him about researching connections between race and intelligence years ago. The Heritage Foundation scholar should have listened, May 10, 2013

Weigel is right—we do think that Richwine’s work can’t be debunked. We also wonder what kind of editors can write a headline gloating over the triumph of political correctness.

Weigel writes:

Anyone could have predicted it. Richwine didn’t mind taking on taboos or talking to taboo people. That’s how immigration reform foes talk amongst themselves. That’s not how they’re going to stop the bill.

Actually, my observation is that the small community of Beltway immigration patriots are terrified to death of any sign of Political Incorrectness and have substantially internalized this inhibition.

But it doesn’t matter anyway, because what will really stop “immigration reform” a.k.a. the Amnesty/ Immigration Surge is grass roots opposition—as in 2007. And that is motivated by the very Incorrect sentiments of national identity etc.

Nevertheless, the Richwine saga has to make you wonder where America is headed.

Earlier this week, I was talking to a Harvard academic who is familiar with Richwine’s work. He commented that there were simply some subjects the study of which is incompatible with an academic career.

“That’s a remarkable thing in a free country,” I said.

“This isn’t a free country,” he replied.

Peter Brimelow [Email him] is the editor of VDARE.com. He is the author of Alien Nation, now available on Kindle.