John Derbyshire: "Importing An Overclass"—The Email Bag
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A lot of email still coming in on my "Importing an overclass" post.  Some sample points from the email bag.

White South Africans?

A reader:

Though I generally agree with your call for an almost complete moratorium on future immigration, I was surprised that you had not carved out an exception for white South African immigrants.

If the situation over there looked like going Rwandan, I'd favor an emergency intake. Seems to me it's far from that, though. Right now.

They seemed to have settled into a sort of Malaysian analog: The capable minority (whites in SA, Chinese in Malaysia) are left alone to keep the economy going, while the dumber majority (blacks, bumiputra) get government make-work jobs and opportunities for corruption.

Far as I can tell it's stable. SA whites don't seem to be clamoring to leave.

Let's recall also that there were plenty of white liberal South Africans eager to give their country away.

I'm not really au fait with current SA affairs, though, and will gladly take correction from people better informed.

Comparing Today's Asians With Yesterday's Jews

A Canadian reader tells me I've overlooked an obvious fact:

100 years ago there were maybe 15 million Ashkenazi Jews worldwide (some large portion of which was not even modern and secular) whereas there are possibly 1.5 billion people in China and several hundred million Chinese outside of China, and many of these people would like to move to the West.

True enough, with the slight qualifying factor that the U.S. population 100 years ago was only a hundred million, so there's some modest scaling-up to do for a fair comparison.

He adds:

My own country, Canada, is in fact being sold off and is transitioning into a Chinese polity without opposition or even public discussion …

Yes, I've written about this. Real estate, foreign purchasers thereof, needs some attention from immigration patriots.

Foreigners Who've Put Their Lives On The Line To Help U.S. Interests

I excluded this category from my moratorium. A reader responded thus:

With the plethora of wars foisted on us by the neocons, leftists, and deep-state bureaucrats, this definition allows the immigration of the entire Iraqi army and possibly the army in Niger, Yemen, and whatever other Third-World swamp where the deep state has decided one pooh-bah is favorable to another.  Plus, we get to allow in all the Syrian rebel groups funded by the CIA to overthrow the Syrian government …

Nah. There's a line to be drawn there, and enlisted Iraqi grunts are well the other side of it.  I'd want signed affidavits from senior U.S. personnel naming the guy and his deeds, which had better be impressively dangerous.

The Tail Effect

A reader wants to know more about the tail effect I mentioned in reference to statistical distributions.

OK.  Suppose you have two normal distributions (the famous Bell Curve), identical in shape — same area (i.e. population size), same standard deviation (i.e. "spread") — but with different means.

Arthur Jensen is pictured drawing  two Bell Curves

Overlay one on the other, the two curves offset by that difference in means. Now add a vertical line that cuts off the two right-hand tails some way out on the x-axis.

Here's the thing: The areas under those two cutoff tails can be wildly different, even for quite modest differences in the means of the distributions. The difference in the means is magnified out there in the tails.

I had Microsoft Excel make a table of the magnification factors. To make it relevant to IQ I set the standard deviation to 15.

So if the the mean for population A is 90 (around the world average IQ) and the mean for population B is 15 points higher (the East Asian average), then out beyond a cutoff point IQ 90+50=140 (pretty darn smart) there are nearly 23 times as many Bs per million (or per any fixed number) as As.

For a more extreme case, suppose the lower mean M is 70, the sub-Saharan African mean IQ, and the high mean is M plus 45 = 115, the high-end estimate for mean Ashkenazi-Jewish IQ.  Then out beyond IQ 140 (i.e. M+70) there are better than 31,000 times as many Ashkenazim per million as there are SSAs.

There are a whole host of qualifications to be noted. I'm working from the pure mathematics of the bell curve. In the human sciences, pure math tends to break down at the extremes. Out in those far tails of the bell curve, things may be more granular. Charles Murray's account of the Lotka Curve in Chapter Six of Human Accomplishment is relevant here.

My assumption of a standard deviation 15 in IQ for all human populations is also just an approximation.  Different populations likely have different s.d.s, although data on this is surprisingly sparse.

The USCIS Director Gets Halfway There

USCIS (that is, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) Director L. Francis Cissna had a December 8th op-ed in The Hill titled Break the Chain and Lose the Lottery — America deserves a better immigration system. He called for ending chain migration and killing the "diversity" visa lottery.

That's good so far as it goes. Publishing when he did, though, Director Cissna did not have time to read and inwardly digest my reservations about a merit-based immigration system. He writes:

We need to end extended family chain-migration that favors low-skilled or no-skilled immigrants, and instead establish a point-based system for merit-based immigration.

It's encouraging to see such a well-placed official see some of the light; but I urge Director Cissna to think some more about merit-based immigration, following the trail I have blazed.


John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com:FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge.His writings are archived at

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