Thilo Sarrazin says Muslims are “dumb[ing] down” Germany

September 12, 2010

What to make of 65-year-old economist Thilo Sarrazin, the “most talked about man in Germany,” according to the Washington Post?

Sarrazin, a board member of the German Central Bank until he resigned under pressure Thursday, has divided the nation by postulating the theory that Germany is being “dumbed down” by Muslim immigrants and their children. Wielding statistics and scientific arguments both in his book and in public comments, he delves into territory largely taboo here since the Holocaust, suggesting that “hereditary factors” are at least partly to blame. Turks and Kurdish immigrants, he asserts, are genetically predisposed to lower intelligence than Germans and other ethnic groups, including Jews.

Presumably his statistics and scientific arguments bear some resemblance to the following chart, reproduced in Nell Irvin Painter’s The History of White People, which ranks racial and national groups according to their scores on Army IQ tests conducted between 1917 and 1919:

According to Painter, Army officers “complained that men given the Beta tests’ two lowest grades, D and E, frequently turned into excellent soldiers once taught to read” (284).

Back to the Post:

Among Germany’s population of 82 million, about 5 percent are Muslims, most of Turkish descent. A poll published in the national magazine Focus this week showed 31 percent of respondents agreeing that Germany is “becoming dumber” because of immigrants, with 62 percent calling Sarrazin’s comments “justified” and 52 percent saying he shouldn’t be thrown out of his Social Democratic Party because of them. Since party chiefs began a process to evict him last week, their headquarters in Berlin has been inundated with thousands of e-mails supporting Sarrazin. High-profile politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, have strongly condemned him. But others are praising him for bringing Muslim immigration concerns to the forefront of the national dialogue.

Sarrazin now has more than 21,000 friends on Facebook and an online fan club. In less than two weeks, his book, “Germany Does Away With Itself,” is in its seventh printing, topping bestsellers lists with more than 300,000 copies shipped so far and many bookstores in Germany still sold out.

The Post clarifies:

Though most of his backers are publicly distancing themselves from his genetic arguments, they are lauding him as a straight-talker willing to address the problem of Muslim immigrants, who often eschew German language and culture. By throwing political correctness to the wind, they say, he has dared to speak the truth about higher immigrant unemployment, birthrates and welfare rates.

So let me get this straight. The “truth” Sarrazin has dared speak is that social and economic integration is entirely the responsibility of the unassimilated minority? Not sure I’m buying that. If you have an opinion, feel free to speak up in comments.

2 Responses to “Thilo Sarrazin says Muslims are “dumb[ing] down” Germany”

  1. M Pearle Says:

    ***The “truth” Sarrazin has dared speak is that social and economic integration is entirely the responsibility of the unassimilated minority?***

    No, you’re creating a strawman by saying “entirely”.

    ***Turks and Kurdish immigrants, he asserts, are genetically predisposed to lower intelligence than Germans and other ethnic groups, including Jews.***

    Sarrazin has noted that Ashkenazi Jews have a higher than average level of cognitive ability. This has been reported in the New York & LA Times. There was a paper a few years ago outlining this may be due to selection for cognitively demanding occupational roles over the past 1200 years.

    http://homepage.mac.com/harpend/.Public/AshkenaziIQ.jbiosocsci.pdf

    ***suggesting that “hereditary factors” are at least partly to blame. ***

    Behavioural traits, including cognitive ability, are significantly heritable. So if some migrant groups are underachieving academically then it may well be partly due to hereditary factors as well as cultural ones. It is certainly plausible that groups may have different distributions of traits.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7265/full/461726a.html

    My understanding was that Sarrazin considered cultural assimilation issues to be more of a problem. And logically if a group with a different culture/religion has a higher birthrate, then over time they will form the majority. So if they are having problems in terms of education/employment, then it should be addressed.

  2. JR Minkel Says:

    Sorry, I’m definitely not buying that Turks are intellectually inferior to other Germans. You can make all the scientific sounding arguments you want. Heritability is defined for a specific population in a specific environment. I don’t know anything about what’s going on in Germany, but it sounds like you’ve got two populations living in two different socioeconomic environments. You’ve got to equalize the two environments before you can start making claims about heritable group differences. To argue otherwise is to smuggle in racist priors, IMO.


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