A new reader writes:
I was intrigued to see you had applied your unflinching perspective on race and IQ to the Turks, apropos the EU admission business.
My fascination stems, in part, from the fact that I read articles on Turkey and the EU all the time, from all sorts of purported "experts." I am also subjected to daily diatribes of all varieties on the subject--I have live and taught at a Turkish university in XXX for X years--and yet no one seemed as percipient as you in teasing out the contradictions and problems posed by Turkey's potential admission to the EU.
Also, I sense your skepticism dovetails with mine, though mine is more anecdotal. My girlfriend is Turkish, and so I hesitate before embracing these IQ stats you link too...though I understand they are mean averages, and I fear the Turkish figures are probably correct.
So here it is: the issue of intelligence and the Turks, and why I think they should stay out of the EU.
[Briefly, I reported that what little evidence we have suggested that Turkey's national average IQ is about equal to the world average of 90, about 2/3rds of a standard deviation below Europe's, or similar to Mexico's. In other words, not bad, but also not likely to fully assimilate into Europe.]
I speak from anecdotal experience, but quite broadly so: I have had over a hundred students per term since XXX. Though the top end undergrads and master's students are quite clever, nearly the equal of the best students stateside, the bulk are quite stultifyingly dull-minded. Quite a few even of the mediocrities work very hard: work ethic is not lacking in all but the most spoiled richies; and yet your ordinary Turkish undergraduate simply lacks the most elementary critical imagination. Teaching here is, in a way, heaven: the students frantically take notes, and try desperately to regurgitate back to you exactly what, they think, you taught them...
Here's the rub: Turks' very lack of intellectual sophistication is a large part of the reason I'm so fond of them. My students utterly lack the world-weary, premature sophistication / jadedness of American or European students. They love their country, in an entirely unironic way, lacking all shame or sense of needing to apologize for it. They're willing to accept anything I say about, say, the evils of Communism; but they will suddenly come to attention if I allude to ANYTHING relating to Ataturk, the war of independence, Turkey's borders, etc.
I think joining the EU would ruin this country, ultimately, by undermining the old fashioned virtues of the place.
As I wrote, Turkey is, by global standards, a pretty average country and, yet, a reasonably successful one, especially for a Muslim one in the Middle East. So, it's a decent role model for other average countries, yet subsuming it into the EU will slowly obliterate the virtues that made it a role model.