Cries of “who the hell let him in?” echoed across the Harvard yard:
Richwine praised Krikorian’s book, but said he disagreed with its opening lines “It’s not the immigrants, it’s us. What’s different about immigration today as opposed to a century ago is not the characteristics of the newcomers, but the characteristics of our society.”
He agreed that our society changed, but made the blunt point that a major difference between today’s immigrants and yesterday’s is that today’s are almost all non-white while the earlier groups were almost all white. He went on to say this is important because whether we like it or not, people are naturally tribal and—to the gasps of many of the audience members—there are serious racial differences in IQ and that having groups with vastly different achievement levels will create more racial strife.
He said that the fact that saying that all European immigrants once thought unassimilable were eventually included into the Melting Pot in no way means that non-white immigrants will also be assimilated.
He pointed to Native Americans, African Americans, and earlier Mexican immigrants as examples of groups that have not assimilated after hundreds of years. He echoed Peter Brimelow by suggesting that Krikorian is triangulating between the Open Borders crowd and himself.
He ended by making a thought experiment: What if the earlier waves of immigrants had been Pakistanis and Australian Aborigines instead of Italians, Germans, and Irish? Would they have assimilated? In the Q&A, I brought up Pat Buchanan’s comments about Englishmen assimilating more easily than Zulus and asked a corollary question: If our immigrants were coming from Europe, would we have the problems we are having today with Third World immigrants?
I had never heard of Richwine before this speech. It turns out that he is currently finishing his dissertation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on the topic of immigration and IQ. Definitely someone we want to keep our eye on.