IQ Shredders

IQ Shredders
Photo by Samuel Schroth / Unsplash


Executive Summary

Idiocracy: Beginning 3 minute clip In modern society, almost every aspect of culture/society either directly or indirectly promotes low fertility rates in the most intelligent members of society (see clip above). The effect of this through multiple generations is the lowering of IQ for the entire society. Further, as some countries fortify their population through immigration, this creates a severe "brain drain" for the donor countries as their best and brightest leave for the "big city" of more prosperous nations. And while there, even those immigrants fail to produce maintenance-rate fertility.

Steel-manning the Idea

High Pressure Environments

  • High-IQ people tend to be concentrated into large cities and high-stress environments. This is especially true in the West.
  • Talented individuals often leave home (see: The Great Sorting) in order to find the highest paying jobs and most "opportunity" available to them.
  • Higher educational attainment and professional success is shown in studies to be correlated with low fertility rates.
  • Women in the workforce delay childbearing or eliminate it all together.
  • This is to say nothing of the effect of child-rearing and development.

Urban Living and Economic Pressures

  • High living costs and other economic pressures of living in the city ultimately delay childbearing and discourages large families.
  • Urban life also presents a great number of distractions in every form of entertainment and side interest a person could have. The effect of this is to dull the reproductive instinct of the urban population.
  • Urban pleasures can be a psychological substitute of a sort for offspring.
  • Data show urbanization is linked to low birth rates (birth rates in cities are lower than in rural areas).

Computers as IQ Shreders

  • The distractions mentioned as a substitute for the reproductive instinct aren't limited to urban areas.
  • Joseph Bronski points out that computers, and especially computer games, are similarly potent distractions.
  • They also tend to retard social interaction between males and females and effectively take huge numbers of young men out of the dating/mating pool.
  • This concept may also be applied to other things like binging shows on streaming services and porn.

Long-Term IQ Impact

  • The concentration of high-IQ individuals in low-fertility environments inevitably leads to a decrease in the overall IQ of the population, as high-IQ individuals contribute less to the overall population.
  • Prosperous nations use immigration to offset their low self-fertility rate.
  • This creates a "brain drain" in the donor nation as their best and brightest leave to seek better opportunities in prosperous foreign lands.
  • This leaves those countries with a weaker genetic IQ pool to solve their problems.

Other Thinkers

  • Nick Land has a very similar take, with a bit more focus on the effect of this process on future innovation from an Accelerationist technological perspective.
  • He calls out the exploitative nature of IQ shredders - both exploiting the individual and the home country for the production value of the individual to the city. The city "consumes" its people.
  • Land feels that feminism, individualism, and secularism, all of which are more prominent in cities, contribute to the IQ shredder phenomenon, which is an existential risk.
  • Malcolm Pollock attributes the IQ Shredder as being part of the cause of cyclical history where a population's declining IQ contributes to the fall of the society.

Straw-manning the Idea

  • Some high IQ people are able to manage success and stressful careers while living in urban areas AND having more than 2 children.
  • It's not like people are forced into these decisions - they make them on their own, as most would given similar circumstances.
  • Some argue that certain policies would alleviate or mitigate some of the natural pressures and could encourage successful family life in cities (HAHAH!)
  • There aren't studies with long enough duration to show the population-scale IQ changes of the above effects.
  • It is possible that the complex genetics of intelligence may limit population-scale IQ effects.
  • Improvements in economics and nutrition on a population scale may counteract strict genetic effects.

Major Thinkers and Works

  • Spandrell
  • Nick Land
  • Malcolm Pollock


  • "Singapore is an IQ shredder. It is an economically productive metropolis that sucks in bright and productive minds with opportunities and amusements at the cost of having a demographically unsustainable family unit." - Spandrell
  • "Urbanization, from its origins, has tended relentlessly to convert children from productive assets into objects of luxury consumption. All of the archaic economic incentives related to fertility are inverted." - William McNeill
  • "Education expenses alone explain much of this. School fees are by far the most effective contraceptive technology ever conceived. To raise a child in an urban environment is nothing like rural precedent ever prepared for. Even if responsible parenting were the sole motivation in play, the compressive effect on family size would be extreme." - Nick Land


#idea #nrx #accelerationism #land #spandrell

Back to:

Master Index