This book review was written and compiled by Dr. Ole Jørgen Anfindsen (editor), and published by HonestThinking on 12 March 2011.
Scandinavian readers may want to see the discussions between O. J. Anfindsen and others over Roth's book at Verdidebatt.no: Mangfoldets farer.
The Perils of Diversity – Immigration and Human Nature; by Professor Byron M. Roth.
Professor Byron M. Roth has written a fantastic book; well-researched, science-based, and full of useful information and sharp observations. I am not aware of any other book that so thoroughly documents the problems associated with the multicultural ideology that currently holds the Western world in a deadly embrace. Every now and then there appear books that deserve to become standard references and which should therefore be considered mandatory reading for anyone who wishes to understand a particular topic. This is such a book.
Being currently forced by certain practical circumstances to avoid too much writing, below I limit myself to quoting text from some paragraphs that I find particularly interesting, rather than writing an ordinary review of Roth’s excellent book.
The book’s introductory chapter documents how unscientific attitudes towards racial differences often force reseachers into intellectual dishonesty. After giving examples of this, Roth writes (pp 26 – 27):
The case of Nobel Prize geneticist, James Watson, arguably the preeminent living scientist, is particularly troubling. In a long interview published in the London Sunday Times, Watson commented on Western policies with respect to Africa that “are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really.” Further, “there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of people geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to preserve equal powers of reason as some universal human heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so.” For these perfectly defensible statements (they are supported by overwhelming scientific evidence) he was widely vilified and relieved of his duties at the research laboratory that was largely his own creation.41
This narrow-minded denigrating of differing scientific views has become so widespread that otherwise thoughtful scholars find themselves taking positions that are close to absurd. A case in point is Jared Diamond, who in his widely acclaimed book, Guns, Germs and Steel, argues that all societal differences can be explained in terms of resources and geography, are, in others words environmentally determined. While this is hardly a novel view, Diamond introduces material that is certainly valuable to the argument. In an earlier time such a scholar would have welcomed thoughtful challenges as an opportunity to clarify and strengthen his argument. In fact, there is a large body of scholarly work by accomplished scientists which challenges Diamond’s position and suggests that, while environmental factors are important, so, too, are genetic factors. For instance, the relationship between IQ and wealth is well established for intrasocietal differences, and a strong case has been made that IQ has an important impact on income differences between societies.42
Diamond does not discuss this literature or attempt to refute it. The word “intelligence” does not even appear in the index of his book, and he cites none of the prominent scientists who have argued that genes may play a prominent role in human social organization. In fact, he makes the rather preposterous claim, contradicted by overwhelming scientific evidence that “‘Stone Age’ peoples are on average probably more intelligent, not less intelligent, than industrialized peoples.” He gives as evidence the most cursory anecdotal stories based on his personal encounters with individuals. Those who disagree are labeled loathsome and racist.43 In other words, anyone who questions Diamond’s politically correct view is simply dismissed ad hominem.
Writes Roth on the Marxist roots of multiculturalism (pp 41 – 43):
While most thoughtful observers were well aware of the malfunctioning of the Soviet Union, its collapse made glaringly clear the utopian nature of Marxism as applied to the economic sphere. People simply could not be made to work as hard for the good of all as they would for themselves and their own families. People who could not, because of communist rules, benefit themselves by harder work, simply did not work very hard. In time the Soviet Union fell further and further behind the West in productivity and wealth. Furthermore, the predicted withering away of the state under communism did not, in fact, transpire. Rather, all Communist states required massive, and often brutal, repression of their people and nowhere tolerated democracy or freedom of expression.
No one should be deluded, however, into thinking that the failure of Communism as an economic and political system has discredited Marxist thinking among its former sympathizers. It has certainly not done so among a great many of the intellectuals in America or Europe‘s dominant political class. Multiculturalism, for instance, is clearly an outgrowth of Marxist thinking, with ethnic groups replacing economic classes as the primary actors in the conflict that defines modern societies. Whites of European stock are the oppressor class, and the various less fortunate racial and ethnic groups are the exploited classes. Another important product of Marxist thinking is its disparagement of nationalism and its promotion of global internationalism. It is, perhaps, the driving idea behind the formation of a political European Union, as opposed to a merely economic common market. And it certainly explains the faith of the left in world organizations such as the UN and the World Court. It also explains the left’s embrace of large-scale third-world immigration to the industrial democracies, which serves to dilute white European influence and to reduce distinctions among nation states.81
According to Daniel Mahoney, many of these ideas originated with the writings of influential French left-wing thinkers such as Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan who sought to “subvert—to deconstruct—traditional wisdom and established social institutions. Egalitarian moralism coexisted with a fanatical repudiation of the idea of the Truth…”
Further, these ideas created a “new authoritarianism…more illiberal than anything found in the old order since it showed limitless contempt for habits, practices and judgments that had long served to support civilized human existence.”82 Mahoney quotes Dominique Schnapper, writing in the French journal Commentaire which was founded by her illustrious father, Raymond Aron. According to Schnapper such thinking has transformed “the democratic principle of human and civic equality…into a passion for equality that perceives every distinction…as discriminatory, every difference as inegalitarian, every inequality as inequitable.”83 This reflects Aristotle’s assertion that the corruption of democracy results when people falsely believe that people “who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.”84
The attachment of the many intellectuals to this view explains their support for programs of international multiculturalism that deny any difference between people and culture. It also explains their concern for the world’s oppressed minorities, a concern that trumps their concern for their own countrymen. To favor one’s own over others is viewed as a base chauvinism. Therefore, the inconsistency of supporting mass immigration while at the same time claiming a concern for the working poor disappears if one defines the working poor in international terms, rather than in chauvinistic, national ones. Put in other terms, a true Marxist should show a concern for all the struggling masses of mankind; to be more concerned for your own working classes is a retrograde nationalism, best eschewed. This change of focus explains, in large measure, the left’s abandonment of the workingman and joining with corporate interests on the issue of immigration. It is, of course, also the case that the parties of the left increase their power by importing third-world immigrants who overwhelmingly become constituents of those parties. The net result is that people who oppose massive immigration have no place to turn for support on either the right or the left of the political spectrum.
Writes Roth on the totalitarian nature of the current regime (pp 52 – 54):
The consensus among elites is that the popular resistance to mass immigration is an ignorant xenophobia that should be ignored in setting public policy. As Francis Fukayama explains, “Postmodern elites, particularly in Europe, feel that they have evolved beyond identities defined by religion and nation and have arrived at a superior place.”111 Esteemed British philosopher Roger Scruton observes that such elites dominate European national parliaments and the bureaucracy of the European Union. It is this domination that “is partly responsible for the acceptance of subsidized immigration, and for the attacks on customs and institutions associated with traditional and native forms of life.” A typical member of this elite class, according to Scruton, himself hardly a stranger to this class, “repudiates national loyalties and defines his goals and ideals against the nation…” (Italics in original). He sees himself “as a defender of enlightened universalism against local chauvinism.” It follows than that such a person defines “his political vision in terms of cosmopolitan values that have been purified of all reference to the particular attachments of a real historical community.”112
Not surprisingly, the multicultural program these elites promote is, by its very nature, profoundly undemocratic, in that it imposes changes on society that citizens most assuredly do not want and which they resist when given the opportunity to do so. Hence the extraordinary repression of dissent in the immigration debate and the totalitarian imposition of political correctness wherever elites have power, such as in American universities and in most European political parties.
Nobel Prize winning novelist Doris Lessing, no enemy of the left, argued in a 1992 article that political correctness is “immediately evident as a legacy of Communism…a continuation of that old bully, the Party line.” She argues: “millions of people, the rug of Communism pulled out from under them, are searching frantically, and perhaps not even knowing it, for another dogma.” They are rabble-rousers using the “most dirty and often cruel tactics” and are “no less rabble-rousers because they see themselves as anti-racists or feminists or whatever.”113
It is difficult to disagree with Lessing that the totalitarian methods and utopian ambitions of multiculturalism clearly have their roots in Communist ideology. The multicultural program is, to be sure, spectacularly utopian. It supposes that, given the proper conditions, national and ethnic identities can be suppressed and eventually wither away as people come to see themselves as citizens of the world. This is truly an extravagant vision, but one the elites of the West have demonstrably embraced. They seem not willing to ask what the consequences would be if their vision is flawed. Marxist visionaries were wrong in thinking that they could remake people to love and to work hard for other people’s children as for their own. Are today’s visionary multiculturalists wrong in thinking they can eradicate ethnic solidarity and the group strife it so often engenders?
Communist totalitarians committed grave crimes against millions of people in their attempt to eliminate human self-interest in their plans for a just economic order. Left-wing intellectuals in the West defended the barbarities of Communism for years because they viewed its ends as noble. Today, intellectuals of all political stripes excuse the excesses of their governments in promoting large-scale immigration. After all, the goal of world harmony and universal justice is as noble as the goal of economic equality. Will today’s governments pursue those noble goals with a ruthlessness similar to their communist predecessors? This is not an idle concern. Many today call the tactics of European multiculturalists a “soft” totalitarianism. However, the willingness of governments to put people in jail or deprive them of their livelihoods for disagreeing with government policies can hardly be characterized as soft. It should be recalled that in its last years, the Soviet Union rarely murdered opponents, but used tactics similar to the ones being used today in Europe.
A world without borders would be one without refuge from despotic rule. Despotic governance was the rule throughout most of recorded history, and it is still the rule for the majority of the world’s citizens. The Soviet Union built walls to keep its people from seeking refuge in the West. What if there had been no “West” in which to seek refuge? The last time Western Europe was united was under Nazi rule, and people who opposed that rule were simply murdered, as were millions of undesired minorities who were trapped in the boundaries of that multicultural empire. Whether people would be better off without independent nation states, living under the rule of a world government, or in large supernational blocs such as the EU is by no means clear. In fact, history and reason suggest that just the opposite would be the case. Most utopian dreams when implemented have, in fact, been real-life nightmares for the vast majority. One is hard-pressed to think of an exception.
Towards the end of the introductory chapter, Roth discusses the importance of IQ (pp 58 – 61):
The future that these developments portend is not one consistent with the vision of the founding fathers [of the USA] who built their republic on a model that included large numbers of independent yeoman farmers and skilled tradesmen. Rather the future of America is likely to come to resemble South American oligarchies, in which there are extremely successful elites, relatively small middle classes, and large masses of people whose main work is to provide services for the more successful members of society. These class distinctions in Latin America, moreover, are quite clearly related to ethnic and racial differences.
America is not alone in facing serious consequences brought on by unexamined immigration policies. Europe and all European-derived nations face similar problems to a greater or lesser degree. Most critics of European immigration policy focus on the difficulty of assimilating North Africans and Western Asians, many of whom are Muslim, due to religious differences and the potential social conflict produced by those religious differences. Left out of these discussions is the fact that, according to the best estimates, Middle Eastern and West Asian societies (that include India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan) have populations whose average IQs range between 85 and 90, with some having averages considerably below that range.124 As will be seen in Chapter 7, these figures are reflected in the academic performance of the native-born children of immigrants in European schools. A notable exception is students of Indian descent. As in the case of Hispanic immigrants to America, these differences between immigrants and host populations will probably decline somewhat through improved education and nutrition, but there is little reason to believe that these gaps will close to the point of being socially unimportant.
Europeans, therefore, face the problem of assimilating people of very different religious and social values who, in addition, are unlikely to achieve the economic success of native Europeans. This is by now glaringly evident in France where large numbers of the children of North Africans perform poorly in school, have bleak economic prospects, and have failed to integrate into French society. Similar difficulties are widespread throughout Europe. Invoking the nostrum of better education as the answer to these growing problems is as disingenuous for European elites as it is for American ones.
It is important to understand the significance of these IQ gaps, since they are often dismissed as trivial and unimportant, and their persistence over time is generally not emphasized. An IQ difference of ten or fifteen points, for instance, results in widely differing numbers of those at the top and the bottom of the distributions, due to the normal distribution or bell curve for IQ. Whereas 50% of the individuals drawn from a European population will have IQs above 100, the figure drops to 25% for those whose group mean is 90, and only about 16% for those whose group mean is 85. The figures for IQs associated with success in higher education, roughly a minimum IQ of about 110 (equivalent to literacy levels 1 and 2 according to Gottfredson’s estimates), are even more striking. Approximately 25% of the European host population will surpass that figure, but only about 10% of the population of the typical North African and West Asian country, and an even smaller percentage of those from the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.125
These figures are not only important for economic success, but suggest a host of other problems associated with immigration. It has by now been well established that IQ correlates very highly with rates of criminality and antisocial behavior and with other maladaptive behaviors such as illegitimacy. These correlations are, furthermore, found worldwide.126 Challenges to social harmony are exacerbated if some immigrant groups exhibit, and come to be associated with, a host of social pathologies, as is currently the case in America and Europe. High crime and illegitimacy rates are common among Third-World immigrants to industrial societies, and it is possible that these phenomena are linked to cultural and intellectual differences. It is also possible that ethnic groups are somewhat different in their temperamental makeup in impulse control and aggressiveness, and these may simply compound the problems posed by cultural and ability differences. This is a very important and highly controversial question, which will be explored in Chapters 3 and 4.
All of which suggests that, without dramatic changes in patterns of immigration, considerable economic and social disparities among groups are likely to persist and to grow more apparent as immigration swells the ranks of those less academically talented. A related question is what these figures mean for democratic governance. Can democracy thrive when only a small percentage of the population has the capacity and skills associated with middle-class employment? Are the autocratic societies of North Africa the natural byproduct of societies where an insufficient fraction of the population has the intellectual wherewithal to deal with political and economic complexity?
If people from North Africa and Southwest Asia replace European people, will European civilization, including its democracy and wealth, be replaced by some new civilization with very different dynamics and values? Will America be the same if it becomes a confederation of different ethnic groups with different values and aptitudes? Given current immigration policies these are the most important questions the Western world must attempt to assess. Such a demographic realignment would be epochal in nature and would have ramifications in every corner of the globe. When coupled with the rise of China and India as world superpowers, it heralds a new chapter in world history that will shape the destiny of mankind for centuries to come. Thoughtful people would not hesitate to consider what these epochal changes portend for their progeny. Neither would they hesitate to openly consider the full consequences of the current immigration policies which, if left on their present course, will prove to be irreversible and quite possibly tragic.
The book’s second chapter is a treasure trove of information about the Fundamental Principles of the Evolution of Social Behavior. Below are some excerpts from this chapter.
Writes Roth in a subsection on The Nation State and Inclusive Fitness (pp 107 – 109):
Most simple societies are bound together by inclusive fitness, since they are to a large degree merely extended families. Societies can grow larger on the basis of inclusive fitness only if they can convince their members that they are part of an extended kin group or clan, and draw their commonalities from a common gene pool. In premodern times, the distances between various groups made intermarriage and a widespread commingling of genes impossible. Large societies tended to be confederations of unrelated people from separate regions held together by mutual and often temporary convenience, or by coercion. One thinks of the shifting alliances of the Greek city-states as an example of one based on convenience and the Roman Empire as an example of one based on coercion. Very often those confederations bolstered a sense of common ancestry through myths of origin and sagas of heroic figures from the past. The founding of the Hebrew nation as related in the story of Abraham’s encounter with God implies a common genetic ancestry, as do the heroic legends of the Greeks and Vikings. Most of the world’s religions deal with questions of the physical origins of the world and the linking together of people through a common founding lineage.
However, the unity of a large society based on a presumed extended kinship is constantly threatened by the centripetal forces of more local loyalties, since the kinship claimed by large societies is often more mythic than real. Such confederations are, therefore, highly unstable and increasingly come to be held together by physical force without any pretense of common ancestry. That is, of course, what is meant by an empire and what distinguishes it from a tribe or a nation. A nation, especially a modern nation-state, is somewhat of a combination of a tribe and an empire in that it ties people together on the basis of both coercion and common ancestry. To the extent that a sense of common ancestry, of genetic relatedness, is real and not fictitious, the society can rely more on the power of inclusive fitness and less on naked force to bind its population together.
It is well to keep in mind that the history of the European nations was one of ever greater consolidation of separate ethnicities, often involving great violence. This was the case even though Western European populations share a common ancestry with the Neolithic peoples that inhabited those regions thousands of years ago. In effect, modern Europeans are drawn from the same distinctive gene pool as those prehistoric peoples. Genetic studies suggest that more recent migrants, mainly from the Middle East, have contributed relatively little (about 20%) to the European gene pool as it exists today.63
Nevertheless, it took centuries, and it was not until quite recently that the European states were able to fashion a unified population where marriage across ethnic lines became common. Before transportation brought people from separate regions into regular contact with each other, this was not possible. In France, for instance, it was not until the twentieth century that the transfer of allegiance from region to nation was complete. Once the intermingling of regional populations became sufficient to foster near universal intermarriage, a nation could be transformed into one sharing a common gene pool and, in effect, one based in common ancestry. This is clearly what happened to the various nations of Europe and indeed of almost all nations of sufficient age. These nations are made up of closely related peoples, and comprise a fairly large, but nevertheless identifiable gene pool—an extended clan or tribe as it were. Where this genetic consolidation didn’t happen, as in Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, ethnic allegiance trumped national allegiance with the expected outcome.
Writes Roth on pp 111:
The answer to the famous question posed by Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?” is quite simply that we are not programmed to get along, but rather to view people different from ourselves with varying degrees of suspicion and hostility. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam found, to his dismay, that multicultural communities in America are rife with distrust. Speaking to a reporter for the Financial Times he said his research indicated that, “[t]he effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined.” This is the case even after adjusting for the factors of class, income, and urban versus rural residence. Putnam found that “the more people of different races living in the same community, the greater the loss of trust.” 68 He reports that the greater ethnic diversity in society the less trust people had in each other, even people of their own race. “In more diverse setting, Americans distrust not merely people who do not look like them, but even people who do.” In addition, “inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less.” He adds that “in colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’—that is, to pull in like a turtle.”
Writes Roth on pp 111 – 112:
From the perspective of inclusive fitness, unfamiliar others are potential free-riders and, out of a concern that they will be exploited by others, people reduce considerably their altruistic attitudes and behavior in a general way in more diverse communities. This loss of trust is a symptom of a breakdown in social cohesion and is surely a forerunner of the sort of ethnic conflict that is always likely to break out if allowed to do so. This is undoubtedly the reason why multicultural nation-states are forever promoting tolerance and ever more punitive sanctions for the expression of ethnic hostility, even going so far to as to discourage the expression of opinion about the reality of ethnic and racial differences. Currently these measures are directed at the host population when they express reservations about the wisdom of mass immigration, but this will surely change as it becomes ever more obvious that it is the presence of competing ethnic groups that is creating the tension and not the expressed reservations of the majority population. The real danger for modern democracies is that in their zeal to promote multicultural societies, they will be forced to resort to the means that have characterized all empires attempting to maintain their hegemony over disparate peoples.
Writes Roth on pp 112 – 114:
Empires cannot be democracies, for if they were, people would choose to separate themselves into ethnically distinct jurisdictions or states. This happened after the breakup of the Hapsburg Empire in the wake of WWI. A similar pattern resulted when the USSR dissolved and the separate nationalities that had been submerged reestablished their independent identities. For similar reasons a democratic multiethnic nation cannot survive unless it can drastically reduce ethnic identity through widespread assimilation, and concomitant intermarriage. The traditional nation-state based in ethnicity does not face this problem and can therefore survive and remain democratic, and has only a limited need for coercion. This, of course, is not to deny that a state can accommodate small, relatively powerless groups who fail to assimilate, but the key here is that they must be small and powerless. The Jews of Western Europe are a tragic case of a group that, while small, was perceived as powerful.
In summary, the modern nation-state is a relatively new phenomenon in that it can comprise a very large population in a cohesive society based in considerable measure in a common ancestry. That shared ancestry, buttressed by a shared cultural heritage, means that it is less reliant on coercion than other large societies lacking a shared ancestry and heritage. Because of the workings of inclusive fitness, people of the same ethnic background normally exhibit greater empathy for, and understanding of, each other than they do for people from other groups. It may not be accidental that the most successful welfare states are the Scandinavian nations that were highly homogenous until recently. In the current immigration debate and its assumptions about a multicultural society based on ideology, rather than ancestry and heritage, it is well to keep these things in mind. In the attempt to reduce conflict by replacing ethnic and national loyalties with ideological loyalties, it is wise to consider that such loyalties can generate conflicts every bit as deadly and tragic.
In the utopian vision of those who promote a universal altruism, ethnic and national loyalties would be replaced with a loyalty to all of mankind. But can one really love and be loyal to everyone? Would the world be a better place if parents had no more affection for their own children than those of total strangers? Would the world be a better place if people cared as much for strangers as for their friends and neighbors? What would a friend or a neighbor be in such a case? In such a world people might be excused if they chose to care for no one. The end result would be a society in which people exhibited an indifference to the welfare of their neighbors and a profound sense of alienation from the larger community. This was recognized more than 2000 years ago by Aristotle in his critique of Plato’s Republic and its communal nature. “That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Everyone thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest…everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill.” He goes on to reject Plato’s notion of collective family life: “Each citizen will have a thousand sons who will not be his sons individually, but anybody will be equally the son of anybody and will therefore be neglected by all alike.” Further “which is better to say ‘mine’ about every one…of the other citizens, or to use the word ‘mine’ in the ordinary and more restricted sense…. How much better it is to be the real cousin of somebody, than to be a son after Plato’s fashion!”70
But the vision of universal altruism is plainly utopian and can never, thankfully, be realized. People need and want families and friends and allies and that will not change if national loyalties are undermined in the interests of multicultural tolerance. What may be undermined is the shared sense of national community within nations that took centuries of human misery to bring into being. Is it really wise to abandon the moderately harmonious communities, so created, on a fashionable whim, only to find that we must start the painful process all over again?
Discussing the dramatic changes that are being forced upon Western societies through the current immigration regime, Roth writes (pp 463 – 465):
Changes in culture can have very negative consequences for large numbers of the people who were born and adapted to the older displaced culture, as well as for their descendants. This opens up a number of issues that require examination. For one, there is the profoundly moral question of what obligations one generation owes to future generations? Would the new culture which arose be suitable and comfortable to the progeny of the Europeans who will live in it? A second question is whether the transformation of the West could be so great as to make it very inhospitable for the current generation so that they would attempt to flee? Finally, is it possible under current immigration policies for Western cultures to be transformed peaceably?
Considering the first question, it is useful to turn to the thoughts of Edmund Burke who argued that a society is a contract between members, a partnership as it were, but unlike a normal contract between parties for mutual benefit, it is of a very different sort.
It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.3
Failure to recognize that obligation to past and future generations is one of the characteristics of the nihilistic individual. Should such a mentality come to be widespread, the consequence could be catastrophic to a society, especially one threatened by a hostile and potential aggressor state. Even one not infected by such individualism would have to think twice about putting his life on the line to defend a society, especially if he suspected that few would honor or even remember his sacrifice.
Anyone who has had occasion to visit the American military cemeteries that dot the European continent and is not profoundly moved by the sight of the thousands of grave markers of the young Americans who were sacrificed in war in the pursuit of causes (even causes which may have been, in retrospect, of dubious value), is hardly one who can be expected to much concern himself with the fate of future generations. As mentioned in an earlier chapter, nations often place terrible burdens on their members, which could not be endured were those burdens to be forgotten by mindless, self-absorbed future generations. Even when not required to make such extreme contributions, all citizens are expected and often gladly contribute to the well-being of their society through volunteer work and other charitable efforts, and act in myriad ways with a concern for their fellow citizens. It is worth quoting Burke at length on what would ensue if any generation, which is only a temporary possessor of its society, forgets its fiduciary responsibility and was to become:
unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors, or of what is due to their posterity, should act as if they were the entire masters; that they should think it amongst their rights to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance, by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society; hazarding to leave to those who come after them, a ruin instead of a habitation…4
One can make a case that those who are plunging Western societies headlong into great changes under massive immigration, whose consequences are, at best, unknown, are profoundly amoral and astoundingly arrogant in indulging “at their pleasure” in policies that gain their force from the sense of moral superiority that comes from the almost religious faith that all men are equal in all regards, and all can live comfortably in any social arrangement.
This leads directly to the second question of whether, in fact, all men can live comfortably in any social arrangement. The argument throughout this book is that this assertion is almost certainly false, and it is worth repeating and amplifying the reasons why the multiculturalist position is flawed. Multiculturalism is often incorrectly confused with the doctrine of cultural relativism that was formulated by anthropologists early in the 20th century. Cultural relativism, which continues to be a central principle in anthropological research, did not argue that all cultures are equal, but rather that every culture had to be understood in terms of its needs and ecological circumstances, including its knowledge and technology. The concept did not include the position taken throughout this book, however, that cultures also reflect the particular idiosyncrasies of their inhabitants including, especially, their abilities and temperamental characteristics. For instance if a society has a great many people of an aggressive temperament, its methods of regulating antisocial behavior are likely to be very different from one in which very few people exhibit such tendencies. Likewise, a society composed of people with few high IQ members is likely to be structured very differently from one with a substantial number of intellectually gifted individuals.
Discussing some of the prerequisites that must be met if a democracy is to function properly, Roth writes (pp 465 – 467):
To take a contemporary example from the field of education, it is worth considering the failures of so many of the nation’s urban schools. Those failures can, in part, be explained by the fact that, in general, school procedures are set at the state, rather than the local, level. The rules governing discipline and curricular content are therefore the same for children from the poorest, often black and Hispanic, neighborhoods in the inner cities as they are for those from the wealthiest suburban communities. This is bound to create disastrous consequences for the urban schools, given the differences in ability and perhaps in temperament between the two populations. The consequence is that poor black and Hispanic children are required to study things they often find unfathomable, and must attempt to do in disorderly and dangerous environments. It is hardly surprising that the dropout rates in urban schools are alarmingly high. Christopher Swanson analyzed the graduation rates of the schools in the 50 largest U. S. cities and found an overall average graduation rate of only 52%. In the worst case, Detroit, only 25% graduate. In 10 of the worst performing cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta, fewer than 46% graduate. In Baltimore, Cleveland and Indianapolis the figure is fewer than 35%.5 Linda Gottfredson made the point that
the black-white differences among children from the same social class is no larger than the mean difference (about 12 IQ points) between siblings brought up in the same household…. Most families, however, neither expect nor demand that all siblings perform to the same level, and most believe it is inappropriate for parents to treat children who have different needs in an identical manner. It is likewise unwise for a nation to insist that all its subgroups perform to the same average level. (emphasis added)6
Gottfredson was, in this case, discussing the education of black American students that have an average IQ of 85. She did not deal with temperamental differences, but the same logic would apply, if such temperamental differences do in fact exist.
The point is that what works well in one population may fail in a different population. If a group of people making up a society is to survive, it must, at the least, provide the basic necessities of existence. It must also organize itself for defense against enemies and order the relations between individuals so that they do not destroy their society in intrasocietal violence. In other words, they must have a set of practices and values which enables them to survive and prosper. Necessarily, differences in populations and circumstances are likely to produce very different societal solutions, as is evidenced by the extraordinary cultural variation revealed by anthropological studies. As discussed earlier, large numbers of immigrants to the EU and the U. S. come from societies with average IQs of about 90, while the average IQ in the West is about 100. Practically, this means that while 50% of the population of Western societies has IQs above 100, that figure drops to approximately 25% for those from societies with a mean IQ of 90. The question immediately arises as to whether there is some threshold for IQ required for the smooth functioning of a democratic republic. The work of Tatu Vanhanen, discussed in Chapter 4, strongly suggests that this is the case. As mentioned in the first chapter, it may well be that the autocratic regimes, and lack of democratic forms, that are so common in the many countries from which immigrants come are the result of their population’s lacking the intellectual resources to create democratic republics.
In the book’s final chapter, Immigration and the Future of the West, Roth writes (pp 506 – 507):
If the United States and Europe continue with the policies that have been outlined in the sections above, it will mean that Western civilization will go into inexorable decline and may eventually cease to exist in any meaningful way. This returns us to the question posed at the very beginning of this book: why is this happening and why is it happening now? The answer given throughout this book is that the reasons lie in the influence of patently false ideas, ideas promoted by intellectuals for a variety of reasons, not least of which have been a desire to increase their influence on world affairs and thereby their own power. In effect it has been a Treason of the Intellectuals, the name of the 1927 book by the French writer, Julien Benda. The treason to which he was referring was the abandonment by the intellectual class of the disinterested search for truth in favor of using scholarship to promote political ends. When he wrote in 1927, those political ends involved promoting the passionate nationalism and ethnic identity that led to World War I and which, he predicted, would result in even greater violence in the future. The intellectual’s greatest crime was the abandonment of the ideals of the enlightenment that had promoted the idea that there were universal truths which could become known to men by disinterested research and the replacing of those universal ideals with a Nietzschean will to power and a nihilism that only recognized the utility of knowledge to advance political ends. According to Benda, intellectuals demonstrated a “desire to debase the values of knowledge before the values of action.”83
He was particularly critical of the intellectuals’ efforts to politicize almost all issues, and to enlist the masses in the antidemocratic mass movements of Fascism and Communism. “It may be said that to-day there is scarcely a mind in Europe which is not affected—or thinks itself affected—by a racial or class or national passion, and most often by all three.”84 Since Benda’s time the power of intellectuals has grown, as has their political agenda, and today, as much as in his time, they have adopted a much more open stance that the truth must take second place to what they view as virtuous political ends. This is, of course, what we know today as political correctness.
Reviewed by Dr. Ole Jørgen Anfindsen, editor, HonestThinking
Byron M. Roth. The Perils of Diversity – Immigration and Human Nature. Washington Summit Publishers; 1st edition (October 22, 2010), 594 pages (including 993 footnotes and a 35-page bibliography). Available e.g. from Amazon.
Byron M. Roth is Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Dowling College. He received his B.A. from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research. His work has appeared in The Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Public Interest, Academic Questions, and Encounter. His previous books include Decision Making: Its Logic and Practice (co-authored with John D. Mullen), and Prescription for Failure: Race Relations in the Age of Social Science. The latter was described by the editors of the journal Political Psychology as "a book of major importance to the science and the applications of political psychology."
Other reviews (updated 13.03.2011):
See also the book’s FaceBook page.
Scandinavian readers may want to see the discussions between O. J. Anfindsen and others over Roth's book at Verdidebatt.no: Mangfoldets farer.
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