A Clash of Uncivilizations

There’s been a profound cultural shift in the wake of the Paris attacks which has led many in the West to question whether or not Islam is fundamentally compatible with their civilization. The question is valid–the Paris attackers were all citizens of France or Belgium and likely incubated in French banlieues, which comprise de facto Islamic colonies on French soil.

Imagine the detailed and expansive logistical planning required to execute the French attacks. A network from Syria to France had to exist: automatic weapons had to be acquired and smuggled into the country, ammunition had to be stored, bombs had to be made in a lab in France or elsewhere, personnel had to travel from Europe to Syria and back again. Communications had to be made under the nose of French surveillance.

In the run-up to the suicide operation, the attackers had to walk past neighbors, speak with shopkeepers, old classmates, members of their mosque, and various others in their community on a daily basis. They had kin, wives, and friends local to the area as well. That such a savage and sophisticated attack could emanate just miles away from downtown Paris suggests that there is indeed an enormous social problem beginning to bubble up in Europe and the rest of the Western world vis-a-vis the Muslim population.

The Paris Attackers


What this demonstrates is that there is a sentiment in the French Muslim community that is radically anti-Western and, even if it is not being openly acknowledged, there is now a concomitant and rapid growth of suspicion and hostility towards all Islamic communities across the West.

Shortly after the attacks, a football match was played in Turkey where a ceremonial “moment of silence” was to be held in honor of the French victims before kickoff. The Turkish crowd booed and jeered throughout the procession. This wasn’t surprising to me, but I remember reading comments of many shocked Westerners on social media who couldn’t believe the insensitivity of the Turks. This anecdote is tangentially related to the fact that there is now considerable anti-Western sentiment commonplace in the Muslim world.

And this highlights a seemingly perennial problem that Westerners possess, which is their own arrogance and ignorance.

Pax Americana

Before I begin this harangue of Western culture, let’s backtrack a bit. Is Islam compatible with the West? Probably not anymore. In support of what its detractors say, Islam is indeed a cultural technology which creates aggressive individuals. It’s why Muslims were able to colonize substantial portions of Asia, Africa, and some parts of Europe and why it persists and grows to this day. However, this doesn’t mean that every Muslim is a potential terrorist or separatist. Most Muslims get along just fine in the West, but there is a problem with Western foreign policy that cannot be ignored if we wish to maintain peaceful relations with Muslim citizens and avoid radicalizing segments of the population.

I remind Westerners that is was they, not the Muslims, who decided to provoke a war of civilizations. 9/11 happened, Afghanistan was invaded to find those perpetrators and, before the dust had even settled in the Afghan mountains, the US had already invaded Iraq and set up plans to invade Syria and Iran as well. It was at that moment, when the US invaded Iraq, that the war with radical Islam ceased to be a war with a pack of ideological radicals holed up on a isolated, Central Asian mountain range and became primarily focused on conquering and subjugating the Islamic domain itself. Now, years later, this callous and arrogant disposition is bearing its bitter results in the streets of Baghdad, Aleppo, Beirut, and Paris.

Personally, I believe American hegemony over the Middle East would have been superior to both Saddam Hussein and the powers that have succeeded him, but the Americans cut and ran when they realized the Iraqis wouldn’t roll over easily and left a mess that has, ironically, created the very Islamic monster that they mythologized about to scare the American voter into supporting foreign adventures. Indeed, toppling Saddam opened a vacuum that has been filled by the most radical elements of the Islamic world.

Of course, American stupidity (which will ultimately be the undoing of its empire) did not stop in Iraq. They toppled Gaddafi and helped drive an insurgency in Syria where some 70% of that country has been lost to radical Islamists. In essence, where there was one Afghanistan before 9/11, there are now four, and the Islamist movement is now truly global and more of a threat to the West than ever before. Every revolutionary, miscreant, and psycho from across the Islamic world’s 1.6 billion members is scurrying towards the smoldering ruins of the Sykes-Picot arrangement in Syraq, acquiring combat experience, and is being armed by a variety of state actors with weapons that the Iraqi insurgents who battled the US military in the 2000’s could only dream of. Worse yet, they’re multiplying and training leagues of children to do the same.

Syrian Rebel firing a TOW antitank missile

Today we have a Mideast situation where the US is known for nothing but slaughtering and wounding hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, self-interested and destructive meddling, and supporting Israel. Essentially, there is a clusterfuck in the region thanks to American arrogance (facilitated by the stupidity of its own population) that I see acknowledged nowhere besides radical fringes on the far Left and libertarian circles.

It must be acknowledged that considerable parts of the American political establishment are profoundly not sorry for what they did in Iraq and the outcomes that war bore. Indeed, this sentiment even pervades the American culture. The only big budget Hollywood film I can think of that documents the Iraq War is American Sniper, which is essentially Clint Eastwood’s elaborate, 150 minute homoerotic masturbation to the legend of an American soldier. Compare this to the war films released by America in the wake of Vietnam, which were profoundly antiwar.

So there exists on both sides an intractability towards the other which threatens to drag future generations into an absolutely unnecessary and prolonged conflict. In essence the West will need to decide what it wants: years of fruitless war against Islam as its empire begins to recede, or a mending of relations. Of course, I bear no delusions that Westerners will willingly choose to acknowledge, much less apologize, for their crimes against Muslims. What I would prepare for is a century of civilizational war whose gory twists and turns nobody knows.

Trumping While Muslim

I recently attended a Trump rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’ve had an on-and-off interest in Trump since he announced his candidacy. What he’s espousing is essentially what’s been advocated among the “alternative right” for a while now.

If you don’t know, the alt right is an amalgamation of conservatives, traditionalists, and fascists. They comprise what is an internet-based bloc of people who, before Trump, were at the fringes of mainstream politics in the West. Now they are very much a part of the action, much to the horror of roughly half of America and most of the world.

Trump interests me because he represents, at least in the abstract, the contours of a leader who will absolutely create an industrious, confident, powerful America that I want to live in. He believes that the middle class is the engine of America’s economic might. His platform on the Middle East is sound: an end to regime change, support Putin in his destruction of Sunni Jihadists in Syria, no foreign policy centered around Israel–all practical ideas that demonstrate he’s (probably) not going to make the idiotic mistakes of past presidents.

However, his stance on Muslims in the West places a bright red target on me. The lack of nuance to his approach to Islam signals that I would not be “in” on the Trump America–that is, a White Christian America.

As a Levantine from a Muslim upbringing, it would be idiotic–even dangerous–to count on my being accepted by a quasi-fascist White American bloc. For the most part, I don’t want to belong to it either.

Thus, I am in the position where the movement I align with in the ideological abstract is hostile to me on the basis of my inherited, inextricable identity, and the people on the Left who would otherwise accept me on the basis of “ethnic diversity” outright repulse me. I went to the Trump rally unaware of the breadth of this fissure in my identity. Also, more practically, it was free of charge and only about 40 minutes away.

When I got to the stadium where The Donald was set to speak, it was packed with a live, energetic atmosphere. The capacity of the venue was 10,000 and it was brimming with people a couple of hours before Trump would even appear on stage. The Secret Service, who I found out are far more friendly than the TSA, were stationed everywhere in their white and black uniforms. I arrived an hour and a half early, but seating was already gone by the time I’d gone through security (no, I was not subjected to a special search), so I’d been relegated to the standing section next to the podium where Trump would be speaking. The upside was that I was about ten feet away from the man the whole time, which was pretty cool.

As you might have expected, the gathering was virtually 100% white, middle class folks. Did I get any nasty glances? No. Did I feel unwelcome? Nope. Just another face in the crowd, really.

Before the man himself came onto the stage, there was the Pledge of Allegiance. I’ve hated this pledge since a young age. Growing up during the War On Terror where I was regaled day in, day out, with news reports of Arabs being butchered by the truckload by the American war machine, I developed an ingrained enmity towards the American nationalism in whose name the slaughter was performed. At a very tribal, instinctual level, I cannot salute the American flag without being disgusted with myself deep down. This will never change and, yes, I realize that admitting this publicly affirms, perhaps even vindicates, Trump’s stance on Muslims.


As it happened, I was standing only a couple of feet away from the flag that was to be saluted. So, ironically, I was at the point of the 10,000-person salute to a giant piece of polyester material emblazoned with those colonial stars and stripes. I let out a grudging sigh, and went to move my hand to my chest. My entire arm might as well have weighed a thousand pounds. I could barely bring myself to even pretend that I was taking part in a genuine Pledge. I slunched forward and sort of gawked at the floor while a guy in a cowboy hat to my right and an ex-Marine to my left barked their pledge of allegiance to the American flag of the United States of America. I didn’t know the words.

It was at that moment that I regretted coming to the rally. There was a fault line the size of the San Andreas that was just made obvious to me there and then. On the one hand, I possess a natural affinity to my own, Mideastern tribe which is effectively at odds with White America. On the other side of this fissure stands the dissonant, intellectually-derived, constructed identity of mine which brought me to the event in the first place.

I don’t know what, exactly, I was expecting. This was a pep rally for White America who’d come to see their champion. This is their guy. He’s going to bring America back, he says, and it’s hard not to believe the man. He’s not taking money from special interests, he speaks his mind, and he’s beholden only to the people who are supporting him. Most of all, he’s funny and likable.

I’ve tried to work out different schemes in my mind which would meld the American Muslim/Arab populace into a future Trump Regime: i.e. a Muslim military detachment to the CIA, FBI, and other intelligence services. However, I find it practically impossible after the Muslim Immigration Ban proposal. Muslims in the Trump America would be sub-citizens of the Republic, a public statement or two away from fifth column status. Jews before Kristallnacht.

Ironically, I still like Trump. He bears the potential to do great things for the USA, but I’m not going to prostrate myself and beg to be a part of the project.

A War of Abstractions

I write this in a post 11/13 world, a few days after the Islamic State executed its attacks in Paris.

Currently, there stands at the West’s doorstep millions of refugees–the refuse of a faraway world whose homelands were seized upon by wolves. And they, being but sheep, are in need for a place to graze.

Their arrival presents the Western world with a conundrum. For if it honors its Christian ethos and exercises magnanimity towards the sick, poor, and needy, it exposes itself to myriad unknown variables. This is, after all, the same population that the West has spent the past decade and a half Crusading on.

Those in favor of opening the West’s fertile pastures to these refugees insist that ‘not all Islam’ is like the one propounded by the Paris attackers and their parent group. No, in fact, most Muslims despise the Islamic State, they say.

They are correct, yet they operate from a flawed premise. They believe that this human species of ours is democratic, egalitarian; that mere agreement between minds summons forth a magical force that will exact a fantastic, corporeal change upon our reality, and whose power grows mightier with greater agreement.

And how could they not? We live in this democratic society where, as the story goes, the majority votes and things simply happen.

Alas, the universe and animal kingdom heed not this temporal democratic arrangement. In the war of abstractions–that is, the war of ideas–numbers do not matter. In fact, only one man suffices to make the world move beneath our feet.

For isn’t it ironic that the story of Islam itself is the story of an underdog who, armed only with his revolutionary ideology and scant few Companions, proselytized the entire Arab peninsula (and later much of humanity), through sheer persistence, cunning, and faith? Yet, in matters pertaining to Muslims, suddenly we ought care about the disposition of the Common Muslim.

The Common Muslim is not important. In fact, the only elements of Islam that matter are the most boisterous and aggressive ones. Those elements of Islam that are doing. 

Let us be honest and ask: where is the ideological competitor to Salafism in Sunni Islam?

It doesn’t exist. In fact, Salafism is the most powerful and influential variant of Sunni Islam in our era. The Salafists are the moneyed ones, after all. They are the al-Saud’s, the al-Thani’s, and the al-Khalifa’s. The momentum is with Salafism and it is winning hearts and minds if the propensity for Sunni Muslims to don its costume and ethos the moment their strongmen are toppled is any indicator.

I wrote previously about the Ideological Vanguard–the few who control the many–where I highlighted the fact that the people who shepherd this species are not masses but, rather, relatively small groups of uniform and organized men. These are the “brain” that makes the mass move and the converse almost never occurs.


So ask yourself: in the face of a resurgent Islam, one with fire and energy and the desire to smite the West with medieval brutality in their own cities–an Islam with something to prove and revenge to exact upon a Western world which has spent decades now callously slaughtering them by the million–who do you think will win in the war of abstractions once those Muslim refugees are in Europe?

My answer: the perpetrators of November 14th’s slaughter were all Europeans. Europe has already lost its war of abstraction with Islam on its soil and that was but a prelude to war.

Fallacies: Egalitarianism


I’m not a scholar when it comes to Marx. I’ve never read one of his works from start to finish, but I know his metaphysics and have come to understand his philosophy secondhand. How could one not? Public discussion about Marx has gone on so long that you can absorb his ideas entirely through osmosis. From my perspective, Marx wanted to do away with the existing hierarchies in European society. Indeed, he wanted to destroy hierarchy altogether in favor of a thoroughly egalitarian world.

Generally speaking, the 18th and 19th centuries were not a good time for Old European hierarchy. Aristocracy was becoming increasingly synonymous with “vapid and idiotic.” The aristocrats were a class of people who collectively behaved like the Paris Hilton’s and Kim Kardashian’s of our day, but with the additional burden that taxes had to be paid to them, even if one was a so-called commoner more talented and ambitious than them.

The Industrial Revolution and Empire created wealth that enriched–and emboldened–individuals of European castes outside of the Old Europe power structure and, thusly, kindling piled up at the feet of the kings and bishops of Europa which would eventually be lit by revolutionaries of various stripes.

Given these conditions, I can understand why hierarchies were hated by most and perceived as useless at the macro political level by contemporaneous philosophers. We are creatures of the present, after all, and human beings, narcissistic animals that we are, tend towards an unconscious belief that our time on this planet is the penultimate one. Indeed, we will usher in a grand age and our mark on the species will happen, internal consistency of our ideas be damned.

That said–and I say this with all humility, as I have the privilege of hindsight–Marx’s philosophy bore within it the seeds of its destruction specifically because it was not consistent philosophically. Human beings need hierarchy. Indeed, many of us actively search it out.

Egalitarianism does not work with human apes. One cannot get anything done within an egalitarian structure because masses are constrictive and possess enormous inertia. The type of creature that chooses to identify with a mass is, necessarily, a herd animal who sacrifices autonomy in order to acquire some added benefit of group protection. We all do this (or so I assume if you have an internet connection), but to varying extents.

Egalitarianism assumes that The Truth lies within the perception of a borg consensus, but what is perceived to be truth by any mass is usually a set of long since calcified ideas that simply work, even if they are not perfect. They persist because, as I said, the masses have inertia and prefer a static existence. The old hierarchies of Europe stuck around for centuries because they worked, even if flawed.

Innovation necessitates a hierarchy which can respond quickly to unexpected circumstances. This becomes increasingly clear to anybody who launches an offensive in any field, whether it be business or on the battlefield. Someone needs to call the plays in high-pressure situations and a diversity of opinion in this scenario is unacceptable. Imagine, for example, a football team where there is a diversity in opinions on the plays that should be run. That team will not function. The quarterback will commit to one action, his receivers another, and the ball will never move upfield. In the act of vesting in any one person the power to make decisions on behalf of the group, the principles of egalitarianism have already been violated.

I am not being pedantic here. If you are going to implement (or perhaps inflict) a philosophy into societies of billions of people, the axioms of that philosophy must obey the laws of nature or it will lead to catastrophe. If you build an airplane which does not follow every single principle of thermodynamics or account for all variables related to laws of physics, that plane will fall out of the sky, blow up on the tarmac, or nature will find another way to kill every living thing on board. Similarly, the design of human societies must obey the laws of “human physics,” which are that of an ape species that unconsciously forms hierarchies to the great frustration of anointed philosophers of the Enlightenment period and their successors.

Ironically, the communist regimes of old, perhaps woefully, realized that their ideals would not go viral on their own because, and this bears repeating, masses have inertia. The member of the Mass tentatively twists his neck 180 degrees to observe his neighbors before he commits to a meaningful action. He prefers, no–he needs direction. To animate the communist utopia, the adherents of Marxism had to form an aggressive vanguard that smote its enemies and virulently spread its message.

And you never really saw those old communist hierarchies dissolve throughout the short-lived period of global communist revolution. The same goes for every other ideological vanguard that came about in the revolutions of the 20th Century. They are only human, after all.

I’ll Put a Hex On You: Horizontal Enforcement of Poverty in the Levant

I had a conversation with my uncle yesterday that I felt was worth sharing here. This is an anecdote, but nonetheless illustrative of the nuances of Levantine culture in a way that I do not think you will ever see captured in a cross-sectional documentation of the region in any mainstream media outlet.

My uncle, born and raised in Beirut, has been in the United States since the early 1970s, right before a civil war kicked off In Lebanon. He’s spent most of his life in the US but, nonetheless, his formative years were had in the Levant and so its culture is embedded in his DNA.

During the civil war, my family’s properties in Beirut were either bombed or besieged by militias, forcing my grandparents to abandon the city proper and bus their then nine (now ten), children up to our summertime villa near the peak of Mount Lebanon, which, with one exception, was largely spared of the more violent episodes of sectarian violence in the 70s and 80s.

It is a beautiful, expansive mansion in what has now become one of two Shi’ite villages on the mountain. It was built sometime in the 50s or 60s and the glaring flaw in the  stone mansion’s design is that it is extraordinarily difficult to heat given its size, and the fact that it was built specifically to be a summertime home. Winters at the top of the mountain are, as you might expect, extremely cold and snowy.

The town of Aley, on Mount Lebanon
The town of Aley, on Mount Lebanon

My grandparents, now both in advanced age, can’t stay in the villa during the winter months because of the cold and the several feet of snow which buries every village near the mountain’s peak. They come to America for winters since the largest contingent of my mother’s side of the family resides here and, because, well, there is indoor heating. Neither of my grandparents particularly like it in the US. They’re not American and don’t speak English. Their friends are all back in Lebanon as well.

The topic of my grandparents yearly wintertime migration to the States came up on a ride back from the airport with my uncle, where I asked him why they simply don’t get heating installed. Surely, it can’t be that expensive or difficult. I expected a practical answer, such as:

“It’s an old building, so the infrastructure can’t handle it,” or;

“The building is too big.”


“They can’t afford it.”

Instead, my uncle told me

“They’re afraid if they heat the house, other people in the neighborhood will start putting curses on them. They’re afraid of getting cursed.”

I laughed out loud. I knew that Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East can be a very superstitious place, particularly when it comes to hexes and curses, but I didn’t know it was that serious. Many women wear a special charm in the shape of an “always-watching” eye, which they believe wards off curses (since curses set in while you sleep). My own father, otherwise a smart guy, genuinely believes his father was killed by a sorcerer who put a curse on him in the late 80s. Sorcery itself is regarded as a real threat that must be accounted for in everyday life, like cancer or car accidents.

The Eye Charm
The Eye

Essentially, if my grandparents heated what is already a home with a size and stature indicative of wealth, they feared their neighbors who could not afford heating would cope with their embarrassment by placing curses upon the entire family. There are two things to unpack here: 1) that people respond to an improvement in a neighbor’s standard of living with calumny and hatred, and 2) superstitious bile actually works at horizontal enforcement of social standards to the point where it has a profound impact on peoples’ lives.

To me, having been born and raised in the mostly mystically sterile and materialist West, this brand of whimsy is downright hilarious; yet it is illustrative of an unattractive aspect of the culture which I almost never see discussed. There has been very little social growth in the region, largely because neighbors don’t compete with one another. In fact, they’re afraid to do so openly. There isn’t a culture of “Keeping Up With the Jones’s” in the Levant, more like “Put a Hex on the Hussein’s and Hope One of Their Children Goes Blind.”

Essentially, psychological skull duggery paralyzes people and one begins to understand why societies can remain stagnant over centuries. The competitive impulses of human beings are bottled up over the generations until they explode into frenzies of massive violence, destroying accumulated wealth and resetting the clock on civilization. Contrast this with societies who accept competition as a daily fact of life, openly engage in it, and are all the better for it.

In one social model, you have the facade of egalitarianism and equality, while hidden inequalities accumulate over time until they explode in a Black Swan episode. The other social model has a more open playing field with clear winners and losers, but nonetheless pulls up the society’s baseline as time goes on and fosters long term stability and peace.

You can pretend there are no winners and losers in a society, but only for a time–until all hell breaks loose and there is a collective succumbing to the feral, biological impulses which drive the evolution of our species.

ISIS beheads a sorcerer
ISIS beheads a sorcerer

Two Standard Deviations Part II: Keeping it in the Family

Islamic philosophy, while having served as one of mankind’s great civilizing paradigms in the ancient and medieval era, has failed to scale into modernity. For the most part, mainstream Islam—particularly Sunni Islam—is outmoded in global economic and military competition where congenital intelligence is perhaps the most important factor in success.

The Islamic world is infamous for its promotion of consanguineous marriage, which has a measured dysgenic effect on a population over time. Essentially, wherever we see Islam as the most popular religion, we see a concomitant population with an IQ between 80 and 85, on average.

Global Rate of Marriage Between First Cousins: A Muslim Problem
Global Rate of Marriage Between First Cousins: A Muslim Problem

“Ah, but is it because Islam appeals to people with low IQ or does Islam lead to low IQ”?

Good question. Anecdotally, if we examine other Middle Eastern populations who are not Muslim, such as Greek Orthodox Arabs, we observe a higher quality of life which is, in turn, positively correlated with IQ. For example, the class divisions in Lebanon have typically been sectarian, with some sects (mostly Christians) occupying the upper strata, while Muslims occupy the lower stratum exclusively. Same ethnic group, same geographical location, but different metaphysics and, thus, a significant difference in material success.

Both Greek Orthodox and Maronite Catholicism explicitly ban consanguineous marriages and have done so for centuries.

Further highlighting the dysgenic impact that consanguineous breeding has, a study of Muslims and Hindus in the northern Indian subcontinent found that Hindus, who have strict prohibitions against marriage between first cousins, had an IQ of up to 15 points higher than their Muslim neighbors. Again: same population, proximate ethnicities, but the only key difference between them is that one practices consanguineous marriage and the other largely does not.

Marriage between first cousins has been practiced for perhaps a hundred generations in many Arab tribes. Indeed, it is one of the key defining features of the culture given that, in many parts of the Near East, a woman cannot even get married without the explicit consent of a male first cousin who is “entitled” to her by tribal custom. In the areas of the Middle East where tribes are dominant, like Saudi Arabia, consanguineous marriage gets as high as 70%. Not coincidentally, the tribal Arab Gulf is where the absolute worst modern ideas come from.

Slaves for auction in the Islamic State
Slaves on auction in the Islamic State

These dysgenic unions are justified on the basis that the prophet Muhammad and his Companions also practiced consanguineous marriage (they were all members of Arab tribes). Given that Muhammad and his cadre are revered as “model human beings” to be emulated by the rest of humanity according to pretty much every mainstream Islamic theologian, consanguineous marriage is thus considered quite halal and even preferable to marriage with outsiders.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I’m picking on consanguineous marriage rather than on other aspects of Islam that might promote dysgenics. Essentially, it is because I believe that our behaviors and ideas are shaped largely by congenital factors and other fixed realities. It is our ideologies that almost always conform to, and are a reflection of, our material reality rather than the other way around. Intelligence, which is largely heritable, is a material quality. Thus, if you see a culture with a reverence for counterproductive ideas, it is most likely because the population is simply too irrevocably stupid to understand the long-term consequences of the behaviors that stem from those ideas.

Furthermore, I pick on consanguineous marriage because it is a problem that can be fixed without having to resort to violent or invasive eugenics. Promoting facts about the dangerous reality of the practice, and battling the morons who promote it, is a crusade that is worth fighting.

Two Standard Deviations: Part I

The Arab-Israeli conflict is a dramatic illustration of the impact that two standard deviations in intelligence can make. On the modern battlefield and in competition in general, the human mind has emerged as the preeminent force multiplier on an order of magnitude, enabling the numerically few to kill, conquer, and control the many.

The Arab-Israeli wars of the 60s and 70s serve as perhaps the best modern example of the importance intelligence, that is, cognitive ability. Arab intelligence and the low level of modern intellectual output from the Arab world is a topic rarely broached. Really, the only time I’ve ever even seen it brought up is when Israeli propagandists wish to draw a contrast between themselves and their Arab enemies as a way to justify their colonial project to Western audiences.

Straw Zionist: “Look, we’re the ones carrying the torch of civilization, and our adversaries are brutish savages who behead Christians and have hardly contributed a damn thing to civilization since the medieval era”!

Of course, those propagandists, no matter how annoying they might be, touch upon an important truth: no matter how you spin it, the Arab world in general provides very little value to the world intellectually. This is not to say that individuals of Arab ethnicity do not make scientific and philosophical contributions–they certainly do, but only within the context of an established Western culture. For all intents and purposes, the Middle East is an intellectual hellscape.

God said it was okay
God said it was okay

To illustrate the collective intellectual dystopia that are the Arab countries, the country of Greece (11 million people) translated five times more books into Greek in 2009 than did the entire Arab world combined (population of 367 million). A 2003 UN study of Arab knowledge (the last study which broached this topic), found that the Arab world accounts for only 1.1% of total book consumption, despite making up 5% of the world population.


So, again, why do I bring this up? Because it is, quite literally, a matter of life and death:

  1. We are now witnessing the emergence of extreme Idiocracy in the Arab countries where the price of intellectual passivity has led to the dumbest ideas dominating the region with the backing of oil dollars.
  2. An unfortunate fact of nature is that if you do not provide people of any value, they will, at best, ignore you. At the worst, they will invade, conquer, and enslave you.
  3. More directly, the deficiency in scientific literacy and subsequent lack of technological output by the Arabs has led them to humiliation and subjugation by adversaries employing superior technology, greater organization, and more convincing propaganda.
  4. The Arab revolutions of this decade have categorically failed due to any concomitant intellectual revolution arising alongside protests that could replace the existing social order–leading to a rotating door of cynical despots who rule through fear.

Lastly, I choose to write about this topic because I believe that hope is not lost. If I thought that the modern Arab IQ disparity was simply a matter of latent, intractable, and inbred dysgenics, I’d consider this subject an open and shut case and write about something else.

To be clear, I share the same belief reflected by the scientific consensus that IQ is largely heritable, while also strongly affected by environmental factors.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict in Context of IQ

The Arab-Israeli conflict illustrates the destructive impact of Arab intellectual malaise and dysgenics (I will discuss dysgenics in the Middle East in another edition of this blog). In the story of colonizer and colonized, intellectual ability–especially when it is perceived to be latent to the genetics of the conqueror and not the conquered–is a particularly sensitive topic.

The picture I am about to paint will likely perturb many readers of all ethnicities, as truths often do. In any case, this topic warrants discussion given what is at stake. Also, I am an empiricist, so if you hold dear the ideas that God or Marxist-derived theories of social justice will improve the sorry lot of the Arabs, I suppose you can ignore this blog entirely and go back to your mental masturbation and futile agitations.

Disclaimers aside, let’s begin…

Arab Intelligence

According to IQ and the Wealth of Nations, Arab populations have a mean IQ of approximately 85. Donald Templer of Alliant International University replicated this finding. This places Arabs about a full standard deviation’s distance away from European populations, who have a mean IQ of 100, and two standard deviations away from the Ashkenazi Jewish population, who have an average IQ of about 115.

It is worth noting that an IQ of 85 or lower used to be regarded as mentally retarded by cognitive scientists until this threshold was shifted down to 75 in the 1960s. There is general agreement, however, that anybody with an IQ within the range of 80 can possibly be categorized as mentally retarded.

Applying these statistics, Egypt, which was historically Israel’s chief adversary up until the late 1970s, had a 1967 population where somewhere between 33-50% of its individuals could be categorized as mentally retarded by European standards. This cognitive deficit is reflected by the extreme poverty that characterizes Egypt today (GDP per capita $3,314 per year), its political instability, and the decisiveness with which its people were defeated on the battlefield by the Israelis in multiple wars.

Does this imply that the Egyptian nation can be characterized as “retarded”? No. What it does imply, however, is that the talent pool available to Egypt from which it could cultivate strategists, technologists, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers has been extremely limited throughout its modern history. It also implies that Egypt has had to deal with dysgenic problems related to low intelligence that Israel does not have to face, such as aforementioned elements of poverty, civil war, sedition, and decreased competitiveness in the world economy.

The Destruction of the Egyptian Air Force, 1967
The Destruction of the Egyptian Air Force, 1967

Ashkenazi IQ and Israel

In 1967, there were roughly 1.6 million Ashkenazi Jews in Israel. This is a population whose IQ is about 115. Assuming that IQ distribution in the Ashkenazi population can be modeled after a typical Caucasian bell curve, this would suggest that roughly 15% of their population is “gifted” by European standards, implied by an IQ score of 130 or above.

This relatively high degree of intelligence explains the prosperity and stability which Israel possesses within its borders. Israel is one of the technological capitals of the world–Intel develops their chips there, and some of the world’s best aviation and military technology has been developed and manufactured by Israelis in Israel. On the battlefield, the best their adversaries have managed to affect against their military machine is stalemate, and the Jews have repeatedly embarrassed and humiliated the Arabs throughout the course of their short history.

Why IQ Matters

Perhaps it goes without saying that, if you want a sophisticated military with advanced technology and hundreds of thousands of personnel at your disposal, you need smart people to design, manage, and coordinate it. Modern militaries have an extremely high number of variables to account for–picture all of the troops, tanks, watercraft, fighter jets, supply trains, communications networks, and maintenance logistics that need to be accounted for. Then factor in the extreme pressure that military leaders are under in existential wars like the one fought by the Arabs and Israelis in 1967. The responsibilities are absolutely massive and the room for error is extremely small.

Furthermore, air forces–the crux of modern military superiority– require very intelligent personnel to operate effectively. The US air force, for example, requires its fighter pilots to have an IQ that is between one and two standard deviations above the average population. The people actually building the aircraft are essentially geniuses.

Comparing the Populations

I am assuming that the Arab and Israelis both follow a Caucasian distribution curve of intelligence for this comparison. I am also (perhaps arbitrarily) choosing to make a numerical comparison of the number of people within the “gifted” intelligence bracket rather than simply “smart.”

Click to enlarge

If we stack up every country involved in the 1967 war by total population, then count the number of intellectually “gifted” (IQ greater than or equal to 130), individuals in the population, we observe:


Total population: 33 million

Gifted population: 33,000


Total population: 5,760,000

Gifted population: 5,760


Total population: 1,278,000

Gifted population: 1,278


Ashkenazi population: 1,700,000

Gifted Ashkenazi population: 255,000

So, in other words, the total gifted population in Israel in 1967 was more than six times the number of that in all of its Arab adversaries’ countries combined. This qualitative difference in intelligence has translated to an overwhelming advantage for Israel, and the Arabs would do well to learn this lesson.

In Part II, I will discuss this IQ disparity in its historical context.