Embattled IQ Scholar Reemerges As National Review Writer


Jason Richwine. (Credit: Media Matters)

Jason Richwine, who parted ways with the Heritage Foundation over his research arguing Hispanics are intellectually inferior to whites, has quietly begun writing semi-regularly for the flagship conservative publication National Review.

Before May 2013, Richwine had written seven items for National Review, five full articles and two blog posts on The Corner, National Review’s catchall blog. In May, when The Washington Post’s Dylan Matthews dug up Richwine’s Harvard dissertation on race and IQ, Richwine responded in National Review. The next Richwine piece appears in The Corner in August, where he has published 14 posts between August and October.

Richwine “blogs occasionally” for National Review, Rich Lowry, the publication’s editor, told ThinkProgress via email.

The author’s research came to public attention when he co-authored the newest Heritage Foundation report on the costs of comprehensive immigration reform, widely credited with sinking the 2007 reform effort. The report had a series of methodological problems, but more importantly for Richwine argued for prioritizing “high-skill” workers in the immigration process. His dissertation proposes using “high-skill” language as a politically palatable mechanism for giving preference to high IQ immigrants.

Richwine’s dissertation argues that “from the perspective of Americans alive today, the low average IQ of Hispanics is effectively permanent.” He also claims that “the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ,” though he believes that low Hispanic IQ will be “effectively permanent” regardless of whether its causes are genetic or environmental.

After the scandal broke, ThinkProgress reviewed the most recent research on race and IQ and spoke to top scholars in related fields. They suggested both that Richwine’s definition of “race” was too shoddy to effectively establish a link between race and IQ and that there was little reason to believe group differences in IQ scores were nearly as permanent or important as he believes. Richwine disputed these claims in a letter to ThinkProgress and more recently reiterated his position on race and IQ in a Politico op-ed.

National Review is no stranger to race-based controversy. In 2012, Lowry fired longtime columnist John Derbyshire for publishing a letter encouraging his children to “avoid concentrations of blacks.”