IQ and Warfare

The Fjordman Report

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.

In my essay Why Did Europeans Create the Modern World? I wrote a review of the interesting 2007 book Understanding Human History by the American astrophysicist Michael H. Hart. Throughout history, most of the instances where people from one region have conquered another have involved “northerners” invading lands to the south. China has never been conquered by the populous nations south of it but has been repeatedly attacked from the north. On two occasions — the Mongols and the Manchus — invaders conquered all of China. Within China, it was the northerners who created a unified country by conquering southern China. India, despite its large population, has never invaded the lands north of it, but has itself been repeatedly invaded from the northwest. The three Indian dynasties which came closest to ruling the entire subcontinent (the Mauryas, the Guptas and the Mughals) all originated in the north. According to Hart, “The obvious — and, I believe, the correct — explanation for the military superiority of the northerly peoples is the higher average intelligence of those peoples compared with the inhabitants of more tropical regions.”

Michael H. Hart admits that the Muslim conquests constitute a major counter-example to this general rule. It is true that Muslims never managed to establish lasting control over Europe, as they did in North Africa and the Middle East, but the impact of Islamic Jihad over many centuries on the nations of southern Europe was far from marginal. Regarding the Mongols, as soon as they left the colder regions of the mountains they failed to adapt their successful strategies based on horses to the sea and never conquered most of India and Southeast Asia. Their conquest of Iran and Iraq but defeat by the Egyptian Mamluks in 1260 cannot be attributed mainly to differences in IQ.
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Some would say that the mass immigration of many low-IQ peoples to white majority Western nations at the turn of the twenty-first century is another major counter-example, but this development constitutes such an anomaly in world history that it must be treated as a special case. Western nations have not been military defeated. These immigrants/colonists would not have been able to settle in these countries if they couldn’t exploit the deranged altruism and political-ideological flaws of the modern West, and they have always received substantial aid from high-IQ groups within the West itself, among them white Marxists.

What impact does IQ have on warfare? Consider the attack against the United States’ naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese armed forces. From a strictly military point of view this was an extremely successful and devastating attack. In the long run, however, it brought the USA into the Second World War on the winning side so from that perspective perhaps it was a mistake. Let us put aside the moral and historical issues here and ask the following question:

Could a low-IQ people such as, say, Zulus have carried out an attack similar to Pearl Harbor? The answer to this is almost certainly no, for a number of reasons. First of all the attack required the development and effective use of high-tech equipment such as aircraft carriers and airplanes with an impressive range for their time. And second of all the discipline and intelligence needed to not only plan but successfully carry out such a bold surprise attack are the hallmarks of a high-IQ people. The Japanese eventually lost the war because they attacked another high-IQ people, white Americans, who were more numerous and possessed a larger industrial base. Size and demographic numbers matter, also in war.

High intelligence measured in IQ is an advantage in all walks of life, from mathematics to finance. In warfare it is a great advantage for strategic thinking and for understanding your enemy and his society. Above all, high IQ is important for creating technology and weapons used to conduct warfare as well as an underlying economic base to support the war efforts. Nevertheless, I would argue that the correlation between IQ and success in warfare is less strong than it is in mathematical astronomy. Even in mathematics there is not an automatic correlation between the two; Europeans historically outperformed East Asians in mathematics by a wide margin, despite the fact that the latter have at least as high average IQ as the former. Nevertheless, it would be fair to say that in mathematics and mathematical astronomy, IQ is the single most important factor to explain different levels of performance.

When it comes to warfare, IQ is still a very important factor but perhaps less decisively so than in mathematics. Warfare is about intelligence in every sense of the word, but also about sheer aggression, total dedication to your cause and complete willingness to crush your enemy. Although I personally do not like Islam as a creed at all I must admit that in certain situations Muslims may have an advantage in the latter categories. Islam is a very simple, even primitive, creed, but as such it can ironically carry certain advantages. From a strictly evolutionary point of view, if Islam didn’t enjoy any advantages it wouldn’t have become as large as it has. Muslims are absolutely convinced about the justness of their cause and the fact that they literally have a God-given right to conquer other peoples. They have no moral qualms whatsoever about doing so. In contrast, the modern West is full of self-doubt.

As blog reader Terry Morris puts it, “it has been truthfully remarked before that some people tend to ‘outthink’ themselves. Which I’m not sure entirely applies here, or can be said to be the source of the current problem with Muslim empowerment in Europe. But it actually could be the case that the comparatively ‘simple’ Arabs have a distinctive advantage over their white European counterparts which derives from their comparative simplicity. It’s something worth thinking about. When a person is able to see his way clear to a goal or a purpose, unimpeded by a lot of intellectual mind-junk, he definitely has an advantage over someone who tends to over analyze the chain of causes and effects related to a given problem…..I tend to think that there’s one essential key to eventual European victory over the Muslims—they have to believe and know that they’re right, that their cause it just and right; that their victory over the Muslims is just and right. Otherwise I see no possibility of their winning.”

You could successfully argue that Islam historically encountered an IQ limit to its expansion. The high-IQ peoples of northeastern and northwestern Eurasia never came under lasting Islamic rule, whereas Muslims dominated southern Eurasia and parts of Africa. Muslims inflicted real damage on Europe, but in the end failed to establish their rule over the European heartland. This could be because in the Chinese and Europeans, Middle Eastern Muslims encountered peoples who were too smart for them to conquer.

However, the old rules no longer apply at the turn of the twenty-first century. With intercontinental air travel available to the masses and with human rights legislation, both inventions of the West, Muslims and others can colonize the West. Entire villages can be transplanted from Morocco or Bangladesh to the Netherlands or Britain within a few years. Muslims have so far been more successful at infiltrating democratic Europe peacefully than they ever were at conquering pre-democratic Europe through warfare. Does that mean that the democratic system itself will break down and be abandoned before Europeans fight back? It is difficult to predict future events because what is happening now has no historical precedent. The rulebook consequently goes out the window.

As American writer Daniel Pipes states, “The decisive events that will resolve this question have yet to take place, so one cannot yet make the call. Decision-time is fast approaching, however. Within the next decade or so, today’s flux will end, the Europe-Islam equation will harden, and the continent’s future course should become apparent. Correctly anticipating that course is the more difficult for being historically unprecedented. No large territory has ever shifted from one civilization to another by virtue of a collapsed population, faith, and identity; nor has a people risen on so grand a scale to reclaim its patrimony. The novelty and magnitude of Europe’s predicament make it difficult to understand, tempting to overlook, and nearly impossible to predict. Europe marches us all into terra incognita.”

6 thoughts on “IQ and Warfare

  1. There is more than just skill and brawn involved in warfare. There is what the Orientals call ki (or chi), or “life force.” Normally, the amount of ki is inversely related to the intellect. That’s why in Zen-related disciplines, most saliently in the martial arts, the idea is to “shut off the mind” and let autonomous reflexes take over. What one can read in the Sun-Tzu book, the wolf knows as a cub.

    The savage sticking the knife into an “infidel” does not stop to think how many children will be orphaned unjustly, and whether there is some common humanity with the victim that should stop his striking hand. His – i.e. in this context the jihadi’s – only concern is to strike when the odds are in his favor. His warfare is dictated by the lower, reptilian brain, which is just as important as IQ, even in modern warfare.

    In contrast, the West has 350 million Hamlets (the Balkans and the Eastern Slavs are different). Not only that, the 350 m. Hamlets are pushed around by 350 million Ophelias – a burden conspicuously absent among the lower IQ peoples, particularly of the jihadi persuasion.

    And warfare is not a forte of the fair sex. The Norwegian male now may have a higher IQ and may be biologically indistinguishable from his ancestor of 1200 years ago, but then he held all the reins of command in society, and now his women do, even deeply inside his own brain. It makes all the difference in the world as far as the likelihood of success in warfare of the Norwegian (i.e. ex-Viking) Army is concerned.

    As to the female concepts of war strategy, I refer you to the famous Madeleine Albright video:

    It’s riotously funny until you realize that Mme. Albright is now the doyenne of the Council of Foreign Relations, and the CFR is where future American generals are sent for a year of indoctrination…

  2. Fjordman,

    Interesting as always. There’s one aspect of that remarkable century of Islamic expansion that doesn’t receive the attention it deserves and we don’t necessarily need to consider IQ or the animus of ideology. Early in the 7th century the two superpowers of Western Asia,the Eastern Romans and the Persians,had recently fought a devastating war,the Romans finally drove the Persians from their territory,however both Empires were exhausted and bankrupt. The Moslems readily took advantage of the power vacuum and subsequently used the resources of the regions they captured for further expansion.Islam’s early success was probably due to simple,everday, luck,and we’ve been paying for it ever since.

  3. Mace: By the early seventh century, both regional Great Powers, the Eastern Roman and the Persian Empires, had mutually exhausted each other through war and did not expect a major military conquest from the Arabian Peninsula. Even Michael Hart suggests that “the main factor involved in the Arab conquests was not the great strength of the Arabs, but rather the temporary weakness of their opponents.”

    As always, IQ does not explain everything, but it does explain something. I believe in the power of ideas. If the Middle East were to adopt a different religion today, I don’t think Middle Easterners would catch up with the Japanese in technology. They do not possess a sufficient IQ for that. But I am convinced that the region would have been better both for themselves and for outsiders.

  4. Fjordman,

    Thanks for the info.

    The North East Asian reaction to Western technology was at first incredulity,then alarm, and finally a committment to learn from the foreign barbarians.In contrast, Moslems seem to be unable to change their mindset, even today,perhaps Hart has a point.
    It’s intersting how explanations for cultural phenomena change.When I was at Business School in the 1970s,Confucianism was suggested as one of the reasons for first Japan’s, and later Korea’s rapid development.Islam as an ideology was not even on the horizon and definitely no one would have mentioned IQ as a factor(not in class anyway).

  5. This is a no-brainer the will to win is the first rule of war, the west must reawaken Christianity if not we are as fragile as hollow clay soldiers.

  6. It is a ridiculous assumption to think Europe could continue to exist after being abandoned to Muslim tradition. That is like thinking the British could continue building roads, cities, and plumbing once the Romans left.
    The Muslims will discover they have left warm dirt for cold, a pointless exercise even by their sensibilities.

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