Chart above via R/DataIsBeautiful
One of the most controversial issues on the American Right is the so-called “JQ”—the “Jewish Question.” I often receive passionate emails demanding that I discuss the “JQ” or telling me that I am a coward who is too frightened to do so. The Jews “run America,” argue these people, because Jews are extremely nepotistic. That is the only reason. Jewish influence—their over-representation in elite positions—has nothing to do with the evidence, set out, for example, in British psychologist Richard Lynn’s book The Chosen People: A Study of Jewish Intelligence and Achievement, that the average Jewish IQ in the US is 12 points higher than average white IQ. Jewish average IQ, it is alleged, is actually no different from that of whites. This view recently resurfaced in a popular YouTube video by “Leather Apron Club” entitled High Jewish IQ Debunked. This was itself a follow-up to “Nobody knows that HALF of Joe Rogan’s Guests have THIS in common,” which claimed that 42% of Joe Rogan guests are Jewish even though Jews compose only 2% of the U.S. population. But the videos prove no such thing about Jewish IQ.
Another YouTuber—Ubersoy—has shown this in his lengthy response video Leather Apron Club Debunked | High Jewish IQ Vindicated.
First, Ubersoy highlights Leather Apron Club’s key argument—that he has found six studies, the higher average Jewish IQ claim relies on these studies, and they don’t actually show that Jews have high IQ or the studies have various issues which make them unreliable. Ubersoy replies that these are not the only studies that show that Jews have high IQ. Leather Apron Club ignored numerous other studies, some with enormous and highly representative samples, such as the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, which show that U.S. Jews have an IQ of 112.
Secondly, Ubersoy notes that no study will be perfect, but if you have many studies pointing in the same direction then you meta-analyze them and the conclusion is likely to be reasonably accurate.
Thirdly, the studies Leather Apron Club cites include one which did not draw upon a conventional IQ test and another which was merely trying to explore the disparity between Jewish verbal and other intelligences (such as spatial intelligence) and so didn’t use a representative white gentile control. Leather Apron Club also wonders aloud whether the non-white category in another study included Hispanics, even though the study clarifies that it didn’t. So, presumably, Leather Apron Club didn’t really read the study. And then there are books such as The Bell Curve, where Leather Apron Club simply ignores areas of the text that imply a high Jewish IQ.
Ubersoy then proceeds to present many of the studies which show that Jews do have a higher IQ, such as How to Explain High Jewish Achievement, by Richard Lynn and Satoshi Kanazawa, Personality and Individual Differences, 2008, which finds a Jewish IQ of 109.
Leather Apron Club also ignores, notes Ubersoy, evidence that Ashkenazi Jews are more likely to carry alleles that are associated with high IQ than are white Gentiles [e.g., Polygenic scores mediate the Jewish phenotypic advantage in educational attainment and cognitive ability compared with Catholics and Lutherans, by C. Dunkel et al., Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 2019].
Leather Apron Club argues that Jewish overrepresentation in Nobel Prizes is due to Jewish networking and Jews being better able to verbally persuade people—implicitly conceding high Jewish verbal intelligence—to give them the prizes. Ubersoy counters that Jewish overrepresentation in prizes and eminence of all kinds varies in line with the Jewish cognitive profile. They are more overrepresented in areas that require mathematical and verbal skill (their linguistic intelligence averages about 117), but much less so in those that require spatial skill, such as architecture. But this is consistent with intelligence being the key explanation for their success.
Leather Apron Club also observes that the IQ in the geographical area that Jews originally come from—the Middle East—is not very high, so it cannot possibly be high among Jewish Americans. But this this ignores the possibility that Ashkenazi Jews might have evolved to have high IQ over two thousand years since leaving the Middle East and, also, intermarried with high IQ whites. This is exactly what Richard Lynn shows in The Chosen People.
The other arguments that Leather Apron Club makes are easily refuted. For example, he asks why U.S. Episcopalians, who have an average IQ only slightly lower than Jews, if at all, are not overrepresented on the Joe Rogan Show. Ubersoy demonstrates that if intelligence is the reason you go on the Joe Rogan Show—which is doubtful—then Jews actually have a more pronounced “right tail” of their IQ distribution: they have more very high IQ outliers. So, this could potentially explain it.
Some people have asked why Jews are so dominant in the Biden Administration or as presidents of Ivy League Universities. The answer is the same: Jewish linguistic intelligence, which predicts attaining these positions, is extreme and there are more Jewish than white gentile outliers. Plus, of course, Jews are disproportionately concentrated in the Democratic Party, which white gentiles are steadily abandoning.
I have written many pieces for VDARE.com on bias among leftists (here, here, and here, for example). The attitude to the “JQ” of people like Leather Apron Club is an example of similar bias among some people on the right. As Ubersoy explains, it may be born of jealousy or resentment. But it seems to involve emotion strong enough to cloud logical thinking. Ashkenazi Jews in the U.S. are more intelligent on average than white gentiles. This is simply a fact.
This is not to say that higher average IQ is the only factor in Jewish success. Jewish-American writer Ron Unz has calculated that Jewish IQ alone cannot explain the extent of Jewish overrepresentation at Harvard. But the other big predictor of accomplishment, especially in academia but also more broadly, is having a socially affective personality—a high so-called “General Factor of Personality” (GFP). Jews have a higher GFP than American whites [A comparative study of the general factor of personality in Jewish and non-Jewish populations, by Curtis Dunkel et al., Personality and Individual Differences, 2015].
And it’s still perfectly possible that ethnic nepotism does play a part in Jewish overrepresentation. This would be consistent with evidence that Jews are higher in positive ethnocentrism than American white gentiles [Religiosity as a predictor of in-group favoritism within and between religious groups, by Curtis Dunkel and Edward Dutton, Personality and Individual Differences, 2016].
Kevin MacDonald has set this evidence out in detail in his many books and articles on the subject.
Jewish-American philosopher Nathan Cofnas seems obsessed with finding impressive-sounding ways to deny MacDonald’s point and has recently proclaimed that “Jews are not particularly ethnocentric” (which avoids the question, anyway, of whether whites are even less so) [Still No Evidence for a Jewish Group Evolutionary Strategy, by Nathan Cofnas, Evolutionary Psychological Science, 2023].
It could be argued that Cofnas too is allowing emotional bias to cloud his reason on this question, which may be highly personal to him.
But those who insist on denying the simple fact that Ashkenazi Jews in America have higher average IQ than American white gentiles are, in many ways, gentile versions of Nathan Cofnas.
Lance Welton [email him] is the pen name of a freelance journalist living in New York.