Why Global Democratic Revolution (And Mass Immigration) Won't Work

VDARE.COM readers will recognize Tatu Vanhanen as the Finnish political scientist who has co-written two important books with Richard Lynn: IQ and the Wealth of Nations (2002) and IQ and Global Inequality (2006).

Steve Sailer has written about the criminal investigation of Professor Vanhanen by the Finnish equivalent of the FBI. It seems they suspected him of "incitement to racial hatred" because of a magazine interview in which he explained the significance of racial IQ differences. They eventually decided not to press charges; it may or may not have hurt Vanhanen's case that his son had just been elected Prime Minister of Finland.

Professor Vanhanen is the author of many other books besides the two with Richard Lynn. They have included both Finnish and English titles, and several have dealt with "democratization": e.g.,  Prospects for Democracy (1997) and Democratization: a Comparative Analysis of 170 Countries (2003).

Washington Summit Publishers     recently released Professor Vanhanen's latest work, The Limits of Democratization: Climate, Intelligence, and Resource Distribution. The book builds upon his work with Richard Lynn concerning the evolution of intelligence, applying their results to explain democracy (or its absence) in countries around the world.

Vanhanen first constructs an index of democratization (ID) from measures of recent political competition and participation in the various countries of the world. This index correlates well with Freedom House's recent annual surveys of political rights and civil liberties around the world. Next, he devises a rough way of measuring the distribution or concentration of economic and intellectual resources in a society. The resulting number is called the "index of power resources" (IPR). The higher the IPR, the more widely resources are distributed through the population; the lower IPR, the more concentrated they are.

Vanhanen's basic hypothesis is that a country's climate and average IQ level will tend to correlate with its IPR and ID. More specifically, he expects that democracies will have broadly distributed resources, will be made up of smart people and will be—cold.

The French philosopher Montesquieu proposed as far back as 1748 that climate affects human nature, and thereby social and political institutions. He believed that men in cold climates tended to be more vigorous, self-confident and courageous than men in warm climates, as well as having freer institutions. But Montesquieu never gave a satisfactory account of how cold climate effected men in these ways.

Vanhanen himself included climate in a comparative study he did of democracies way back in 1971. He found only a weak relation between temperature and social structures, leading him to ignore climate in later studies. But in this new book he returns to the theme, both because evidence of such a relation has accumulated and—more importantly—because his colleague Richard Lynn has developed a plausible evolutionary model to explain how climate has affected us.

Since 1987, Lynn has gathered an impressive array of data to support what might be called the "Cold-Selection Theory of Intelligence". Long, harsh winters, particularly during the last Ice Age, put evolutionary pressure on Northern peoples. Those smart enough to plan ahead were able to raise more offspring to maturity, and so the average intelligence of the race gradually rose. The intelligence of those remaining in warmer regions, such as the East African savanna in which Homo sapiens originated, remained stuck at the same low level. (See "Winters Are Good For Your Genes" by J. Philippe Rushton.)

Vanhanen bases his climate calculations on the mean annual temperature (MT) of 172 present day countries. He then measures the correlation between mean temperature, IQ, IPR (resource distribution) and ID (index of democratization).

The results for the year 2006 are as follows:

  • MT->IQ = -0.659 (This correlation is negative because IQ goes up as temperature goes down; MT explains 43% of variation in national IQ.)
  • IQ->IPR = 0.754 (National IQ explains 57% of variation in resource distribution.)
  • IPR->ID = 0.813 (Resource distribution explains 66% of variation in democracy.)

Thus the best correlation is between resource distribution and democracy. Indeed, Vanhanen shows that "the impact of MT and national IQ on democratization takes place completely through IPR and does not explain the variation in ID to any significant extent independently from IPR".

In other words, the impact of climate and IQ on democratization takes place completely through their effect on resource distribution; they have no independent explanatory power. Thus, having an average IQ of 105 does the North Koreans no good given the extraordinary concentration of resources in the hands of the ruling party.

"Differences in resource distribution," Vanhanan writes, "have nearly always preceded significant changes in political systems."

The temperature-intelligence correlation is weakest. This seems to be mainly because many people are no longer living where their Ice Age ancestors lived. Thus we find the most intelligent county of all—Singapore, with an average IQ of 108—very close to the equator. But the anomaly is easily explained by the 78% predominance of ethnic Chinese who have only arrived in Singapore within the last two centuries.

In all, there are seventeen countries which are presently inhabited by populations that evolved in colder regions. They include Australia and Israel. These are more intelligent and more democratic than their current annual mean temperature would predict.

On the other hand, there are also a few temperate countries inhabited by the descendants of warmer regions. The Bantu who migrated into the mild uplands of Lesotho several centuries ago give it an average IQ of 67; they have not been there long enough for evolution to raise their intelligence above that of their tropical ancestors. All six countries in Southern Africa belong in this same category. So do some of the mountainous nations of Central Asia such as Afghanistan (IQ 84) and Nepal (IQ 78).

The pattern of democracy increasing with IQ is not strictly linear. Around the low 90s there appears to be a threshold after which levels of democracy rise sharply. This is also, perhaps not accidentally, the point at which large numbers of European and European-derived countries enter the pool.

Many negative outliers—countries less democratic than Vanhanen's hypothesis would predict—are found in the Middle East and North Africa. These countries have IQs comparable to Latin America's, but are far more often autocratically governed.

One might well suspect the influence of Islam here, but Vanhanen does not draw this conclusion. He avers that "the Arab countries are not condemned to authoritarian systems merely because of their Islamic culture".

The largest negative outlier of all: North Korea, with an average IQ of 105 and an Index of Democratization = 0.

North Korea and China are together responsible for dragging the democracy index of the smartest countries (IQ 100-108) below that of the next highest group (IQ 95-99).

Positive outliers are heavily concentrated among European and European-derived countries. This suggests that Western Man has more going for him than mere intelligence.

The least intelligent and least democratic part of the world is sub-Saharan Africa.

But one uniquely successful and enduring democracy there has been Botswana. This country enjoys the advantage—quite unusual for the region—of relative ethnic homogeneity: 80% of the population belongs to the Tswana tribe. In contrast, the multiethnic states more typical of the region seem to favor the formation of ethnically-based political parties. Vanhanen comments:

"Experience shows that African ethnic parties have quite often been unable to agree on the democratic sharing of power. Disagreements have led to violent clashes and breakdown of democratic institutions. If [such institutions] repeatedly fail in practice, it might be useful to consider how to establish a less democratic but more functional system. Perhaps it would be possible to establish a political system that combines dominance by one group and some kind of representation of various tribal and regional groups. Political rights and civil liberties would be more restricted in such dominance systems than in full democracies, but they might be able to guarantee civil peace and legal order."

Vanhanen's thesis, as we can see, is not fatalistic. His correlations are a mere statistical pattern, which leaves room for conscious decision making.

But such decision making always takes place within a framework shaped by climate and inherited intelligence—factors outside human control.

Washington's dominant neoconservative ideology of global democratic revolution implies, of course, that we not only can bring democracy to Africa and the Middle East, but also assimilate any type and number of immigrants into our own democratic way of life—what Steve Sailer calls "Invade the World, Invite The World".

But, as Vanhanen's study shows, by making such an attempt we are undermining the necessary natural basis of our own successful institutions.

F. Roger Devlin [Email him] is a contributing editor for The Occidental Quarterly and the author of Alexandre Kojeve and the Outcome of Modern Thought.