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Steve Sailer

Live not by lies. - Solzhenitsyn

To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle. - Orwell

Knowledge is good. - Animal House

Truth is better for humanity than ignorance, lies, or spin. And it's more interesting. - Sailer

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Who is Steve Sailer? I'm a journalist, movie critic for The American Conservative, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute, which runs the invitation-only Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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"Robotics vs. Helotics" by John Derbyshire in the New English Review.




"The Devil Wears Prada" -- An excerpt from my review in the upcoming issue of The American Conservative:


Perhaps you shouldn't mention this around the feminist thought police, but women often hate working for other women. While men compete for status by including as many underlings as possible in their hierarchies, women gain prestige by excluding the maximum number from their cliques.

Running Vogue, the most celebrated fashion magazine, might be the ultimate in cliquishness, and Anna Wintour, who in 1996 became the industry's first million dollar per year editor, is famously frosty toward anyone beneath her in celebrityhood.

English journalist Toby Young tells the story of a Vogue executive's teenage daughter interning at the office. Once, as the intimidating editor bore down upon the awestruck girl in a hallway, the stiletto heel of one of Wintour's Manolo Blahniks snapped, sending her sprawling at the intern's feet. The teenager had been warned by her mother that "under no circumstances was she to speak to Ms. Wintour -- ever. Consequently, she gingerly stepped over Anna's prostrate form. As soon as she turned the corner, she sprinted to her mother's office… Had she done the right thing? Yes, her mother assured her. She'd done exactly the right thing."

Wintour has erected a persona for herself that "glories in self-created aristocratic solitude," like a character in a Camille Paglia-directed revival of The Importance of Being Earnest. Wintour resembles an earnest cross between Oscar Wilde's fashion-fixated duo, Gwendolen, whose motto is, "In matters of utmost importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing," and her Gorgon mother, Lady Bracknell, who observes, "Style largely depends on the way the chin is worn. They are worn very high, just at present."




Austin Bramwell on the Conservative Movement: Bramwell is the young lawyer recently appointed by William F. Buckley to National Review's five-man Board of Trustees just before Buckley's retirement. "I wanted somebody who is very young and very talented," Buckley said. "One likes to think in the long term."

In the July 17, 2006 issue of The American Conservative, Bramwell writes:


First, the conservative movement in large part exists to promote intellectual conformity. Few writers or scholars affiliated with the movement care to risk their sinecures (or their institutions' funding) by disagreeing too vociferously with the official movement position. Consciously or unconsciously, right-wing writers instead tend to suppress thoughts that may be deemed too eccentric or independent. Meanwhile, the movement selects and promotes the careers of young writers whose primary qualification consists of believing ab initio what the movement tells them to believe. One should not be surprised, given this incentive structure, if the movement has become increasingly bland, notwithstanding the usual humbug about how intellectually superior the Right is thse days. Blandness is part of the institutional design.

Second, those at the top of the conservative movement have wide discretion to set its movement's official positions. Bedrock or founding principles, whatever they may be, play very little role in determining what policies the conservative movement will embrace. Whatever may be said of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq, for example, they were surely not deduced from immutable conservative principles. Nevertheless, the signature achievement of the conservative movement in the past decade has been to rally -- or, perhaps more accurately, manufacture -- public support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. With just one or two changes in personnel, however, one could easily imagine events turning out very differently. Reckless or prudent, thoughtful or ignorant, the opinion-mongers at the top set the movement line; the other constituents -- the donors, the directors, and other writers and the consumers of opinion -- then accept and promulgate whatever positions the movement tells them to.


By the way, Bramwell had kind things to say about me last year.




Around the Web: 

- GNXP's Darth Quixote asks ten questions of Steven Pinker.

- Chris Roach reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution

- Michael Blowhard says nice things about me, along with much else of interest about the impact of the Web on written discourse in America.

- Genetic distance of populations correlates with economic differences:


The Diffusion of Development
by Enrico Spolaore and Romain Wacziarg

This paper studies the barriers to the diffusion of development across countries over the very long-run. We find that genetic distance, a measure associated with the amount of time elapsed since two populations' last common ancestors, bears a statistically and economically significant correlation with pairwise income differences, even when controlling for various measures of geographical isolation, and other cultural, climatic and historical difference measures. These results hold not only for contemporary income differences, but also for income differences measured since 1500 and for income differences within Europe. We uncover similar patterns of coefficients for the proximate determinants of income differences, particularly for differences in human capital and institutions. The paper discusses the economic mechanisms that are consistent with these facts. We present a framework in which differences in human characteristics transmitted across generations - including culturally transmitted characteristics - can affect income differences by creating barriers to the diffusion of innovations, even when they have no direct effect on productivity. The empirical evidence over time and space is consistent with this "barriers" interpretation.   [More]




The Random Walk theory of Hollywood success: The LA Times runs a long article by a physicist explaining that chaos rules in determining which films will be successes and which won't:


Meet Hollywood's Latest Genius: 
Then again, in 6 months he could be a loser. Box-office success is more random than you may think. 
By Leonard Mlodinow

The fact is, financial success or failure in Hollywood is determined less by anyone's skill to pick hits, or lack thereof, than by the random nature of the universe. The typical patterns of randomness—apparent hot or cold streaks, or the bunching of data into clusters—are routinely misinterpreted and, worse, acted upon as if a new trend had been discovered or a new epiphany achieved. And so, despite a growing body of evidence that box-office revenue follows the laws of chaotic systems, meaning that it is inherently unpredictable, the superstructure of Hollywood's culture—that pervasive worship of who's hot and the shunning of who's not—continues to rest on a foundation of misconception and mirage....

When Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone bought Paramount Pictures in 1993, he inherited Sherry Lansing as studio chief and decided to keep her on. Until just a few years ago, that seemed brilliant, for, under Lansing, Paramount won best picture awards for "Forrest Gump," "Braveheart" and "Titanic" and posted its two highest-grossing years ever. So successful was Lansing that she became, simply, "Sherry"—as if she were the only Sherry in town. But Lansing's reputation soon plunged, and her tenure would not survive the duration of her contract.

In mathematical terms there is both a short and long explanation for Lansing's fate. First, the short answer. Look at this series of numbers: 11.4%, 10.6%, 11.3%, 7.4%, 7.1%, 6.7%. Notice something? So did Redstone, for those six numbers represent the market share of Paramount's Motion Picture Group for the final six years of Lansing's tenure between 1999 and 2004. The trend caused BusinessWeek to speculate that Lansing "may simply no longer have Hollywood's hot hand." In November 2004, she announced she was leaving, and a few months later Grey was brought on board.

How could a sure-fire genius lead a company to seven great years, then fail practically overnight?...

Postdiction is less impressive than prediction. But as the final chapter of Lansing's career shows, postdiction is how Hollywood does business.

Academic research provides an alternate theory of Lansing's rise and fall: It was just plain luck. After all, a film's path from Lansing's greenlight to opening weekend is subject to unforeseen influences ranging from bad chemistry on the set to nasty competition in the theaters, and even after the movie is in the can its appeal is difficult to judge. So one could argue that what is farfetched is not the comparison of Lansing's success and failure to the tossing of darts, but rather the belief that a studio chief's taste can really matter. That's not a popular viewpoint in Hollywood, but there are exceptions, such as former studio executive David Picker, who was quoted in "Adventures in the Screen Trade" as having admitted, "If I had said yes to all the projects I turned down, and no to all the ones I took, it would have worked out about the same."

Few people—including Lansing—wish to discuss it, but in Lansing's case there's already evidence that she was fired because of the industry's flawed reasoning rather than her own flawed decision-making. It's too early to determine how Brad Grey is doing, because Paramount's 2005 films (and even half of 2006's) already were in the pipeline when Lansing left the company. But if we want to know roughly how Lansing would have done in some parallel universe in which she had not been forced out, all we need to do is look at the data from last year.

With films such as "War of the Worlds" and "The Longest Yard," Paramount had its best summer since 1994 and saw its market share rebound to nearly 10%. That isn't merely ironic—it's one of the characteristics of randomness called regression to the mean: In any series of random events, an extraordinary event is most likely to be followed, due purely to chance, by a more ordinary one. Thus an extraordinarily bad year is most likely to be followed by a better one.

A recent Variety headline read, "Parting Gifts: Old regime's pics fuel Paramount rebound," but one can't help but think that, had Viacom had more patience, the headline might have read, "Banner year puts Paramount and Lansing's career back on track."  [More]


I've been a big believer in screenwriter William Goldman's famous 1983 pronouncement that "Nobody knows anything" about what films will be a hit. 

Certainly luck plays a huge role, but, on the other hand, talent does too. Sherry Lansing during her unluckiest year would still be a much better studio head than, say, I would be during my luckiest year. "Talent" includes the ability to function on little sleep, the self-confidence to make decisions quickly, the ruthlessness to step on the dreams of a lifetime and the personal warmth to keep too many people from hating you for it. 

Something to keep in mind is that at the very top of the decision-making pyramid, the big decisions are often the ones that the underlings couldn't decide upon because they are too much of a toss-up. The nobodies who get $150 to read screenplays throw out the vast majority of movie ideas. The ideas that make it to Sherry Lansing's desk are the ones that, objectively, are close to a coin flip, so it's not surprising that no executive's batting average at the top is all that good. 

Say that somebody has brought you this package to greenlight -- Steven Spielberg to direct Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts in Dan Brown's next bestselling thriller. Can't miss right? Unfortunately, the agents for Spielberg, Pitt, Roberts, and Brown all know that too, so they want you to commit to paying $70 million in above the line costs just for the Big 4, plus $110 million in production costs, plus $80 million in marketing, for an investment of $260 million, not counting interest costs, which will be in the tens of millions. Okay, now is it such a sure thing? Can you make a profit on this? Well, now it's pretty much of a toss-up as to whether it would pay-off or not, so any idiot who can flip a coin probably wouldn't be all that much worse at making the go-no go decision than Sherry Lansing would be. But the point is that this opportunity would never be brought to any idiot, only to somebody with a long track record of making things happen.

So, you can't be too young. But, you can't be too old either.

Analogizing from sports statistics, it's also apparent that even the most talented have peak years and burn out eventually. (Frequently, an individual's best years precede the peak of his fame by quite some time.) Jobs like running a studio that require tremendous energy are particularly hard to do past a certain age. Soccer players, for example, tend to be washed up around 30. There's now much discussion over whether 31-year-old David Beckham is too old to continue to play for England. On the other hand, he has the kind of specialized skill that serves an old player well -- on free kicks, nobody can bend it like Beckham still can. As you get older, you want to do a few things extraordinarily well because you won't be able to do everything well.

Running a studio, however, is more the job for an energetic generalist than an aged specialist. Lansing turned 60 in 2004, which is rather old in the dog years of moguldom.




My New column: What's the matter with economists?


Because many economists advocate an individual-centered moral code that denigrates patriotism and any solidarity with fellow citizens, it's more than ironic that family nostalgia and ethnocentrism are probably the biggest drivers of many economists' pro-immigrationism.

Former Bush Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Greg Mankiw, for example, has a hard time thinking about immigration without proudly dragging in his four grandparents who immigrated from the Ukraine. He blogged:


"When I see unskilled Mexican workers coming into the United States to find better jobs, I cannot see any difference between them and four Ukrainian immigrants I know who came into the United States almost a century ago to find better lives. Those four Ukrainians were my grandparents. So to me, taking a hard line on immigration feels a lot like slamming a door in the face of my grandmother."


Similarly, Paul Krugman wrote this spring in his New York Times column:


“‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,' wrote Emma Lazarus, in a poem that still puts a lump in my throat. I'm proud of America's immigrant history, and grateful that the door was open when my grandparents fled Russia. In other words, I'm instinctively, emotionally pro-immigration.” [North of the Border, March 27, 2006]


(To Krugman’s credit, however, he went on to admit, for the first time, that, "serious, nonpartisan research reveals some uncomfortable facts about the economics of modern immigration, and immigration from Mexico in particular.")

These economists obviously feel that the most important purpose of future American immigration policy is to validate the admission of their own grandparents at Ellis Island a century ago. Apparently, they haven't been educated to understand the strong emotions driving their preferences. Their individualist perspective seems to be too limited to comprehend many human motivations, especially political ones.





The Reductio ad Absurdum of the Cheap Labor Obsession: Having expended much energy explaining why importing cheap labor is so good for America, The New York Times now applies the same "logic" to China, in what Dean Baker calls "one of the most convoluted articles yet on demographics:"


As China Ages, a Shortage of Cheap Labor Looms

The world's most populous nation, which has built its economic strength on seemingly endless supplies of cheap labor, China may soon face manpower shortages....

Demographers also expect strains on the household registration system, which restricts internal migration. The system prevents young workers from migrating to urban areas to relieve labor shortages, but officials fear that abolishing it could release a flood of humanity that would swamp the cities.

As workers become scarcer and more expensive in the increasingly affluent cities along China's eastern seaboard, the country will face growing economic pressures to move out of assembly work and other labor-intensive manufacturing, which will be taken up by poorer economies in Asia and beyond, and into service and information-based industries.


The horror, the horror!

First, at present China has, what, 400 or 500 million people in what you could call the modern economy of factories, which leaves another 800 or 900 million people knee deep in rice paddies and the like, doing the same jobs in roughly the same ways as their great-grandparents. China has so much under-utilized labor that it has "internal migration" controls to keep 'em down on the farm. Obviously, for decades to come, the solution to any labor "shortage" in the booming coastal regions is to let more inland farmers move to where the jobs are.

Second, in the long run, China will likely follow Singapore in making a transition from factory work to "service and information-based industries," which, if you are Chinese, is a good thing: white collar jobs are, on the whole, nicer than blue collar jobs.


Baker writes:


It wasn’t that long ago that I learned my economics, but back then this was THE POINT of economic development. Countries wanted to have more good paying jobs relative to the size of their population so that people would not be forced to take the bad paying jobs. I am not quite sure what theory of economic development the Times has where a lack of people in low-paying jobs is a problem. (Maybe we can make Times reporters do them.)

Just about everything else in the piece is equally incoherent. It gives us the warning of the rising ratio of retirees to workers. But let’s toss in some arithmetic. China’s per capita GDP is growing at more than 8 percent annually. This means that in a decade, per capita income will have more than doubled. Suppose the tax burden was raised by 10 percentage points to cover the higher ratio of retirees to workers, this would leave the average worker more than 80 percent better off (assuming that income growth is distributed in proportion to current income, a very big assumption). What is the problem?




"What's Wrong with the Democrats?" A brief excerpt from my upcoming article in the July 31st issue of The American Conservative:


While Democrats esteem themselves as more socially prestigious than Republicans, their electoral prospects are undermined by the faint whiff of failure that many Democratic voters exude, the impression that they resent their country and compatriots because they haven't quite fulfilled their own potential.

Surveys going back to 1972 have consistently found that more Republicans than Democrats consider themselves to be "very happy." In a 2005 poll, the Pew Research Center discovered that fifty percent more Republicans than Democrats rate themselves as "very happy," and that "if one controls for household income, Republicans still hold a significant edge." Indeed, Pew reported that their multiple regression analysis of what makes people content showed that "the most robust correlations of all those described in this report are health, income, church attendance, being married and, yes, being a Republican. Indeed, being a Republican is associated not only with happiness, it is also associated with every other trait in this cluster."

While it may (or may not) be admirable of liberals to want to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable," it's also hardly unreasonable for voters to assume that the party whose members, on the whole, better manage their own lives could better manage the government.




George W. Bush and Hoyt Thorpe: The best fictional portrait of George W. Bush so far is Hoyt Thorpe, the mean, drunken fraternity boy in Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons." He's a bad boy, but also, if you knew you were going to get in to a fight, somebody you'd want as your leader.

Bush is the Peter Principle version of Hoyt Thorpe: a good guy to follow in a drunken campus brawl, but, unfortunately, not a good guy to have as your President.




War Nerd on the Mexican Revolution: Gary Brecher writes:


"Celaya, the decisive battle of the Mexican Revolution, has its own flavor too, with all the gory comedy of the First Bull Run mixed up with the anti-fun, hard lessons of WW I trench warfare. Best of all, it's about a confrontation between the ultimate macho cavalry leader, our old friend Pancho Villa, and one of the most underrated generals in history, a cool-headed, very un-Mexican dude named Alvaro Obregon. It's the ultimate clash of brawn vs. brain, charisma vs. machine guns. Three guesses who won."




So, what's wrong with the Democrats? I'm working on an article about why Democrats have such a hard time exploiting GOP incompetence in governing. Any suggestions?

Update: Here's a  new idea I haven't seen before:


"The worst thing that could happen to the Democrats is if Geo Bush announced that he was really 1/4 black."




Request for help with my hypothesis about voting, income, and education: Can anybody with access to General Social Survey data or the like help me out with testing my theory that Republicans tend to have higher standards of living per level of educational credential while Democrats tend not to make as much money as their education levels predict? 

Here's a graph using fictitious data that I just made up off the top of my head to give you an idea of what I think is happening. The vertical axis is income in thousands and the horizontal axis is educational level from 1 to 5, with 1 as high school dropout, 2 as high school graduate, 3 as some college, 4 as college graduate, and 5 as some postgrad. Republicans are represented in red, Democrats in blue. I am betting that more Republicans fall above the best fit line, more Democrats below it. 



To make this analysis simpler, I'd recommend looking just at non-Hispanic whites. 

The biggest problem with this analysis is the huge cost of living differences around the country, with, for example, California 44% over the national average and Texas 11% below it. White Democrats tend to live in higher cost of living locations, so their standards of living are lower than their raw incomes would indicate. 

One way to reduce this problem is to look just at a single state with fairly consistent cost of living within the state. Texas might be the likeliest bet because it offers a big sample size of respondents, it's the most urbanized state in the country, and its big cities (with the possible exception of Austin) are not terribly expensive (in contrast, Illinois or New York are pretty rural/small townish except where they are extremely megalopolitan).

Another way is to adjust every individual for his state's cost of living differences. Here's the ACCRA table on cost of living by state that's updated for corporations transferring employees.




Brazilian soccer legend advises Japanese to grow taller if they want to win the World Cup:


TOKYO (AFP) - Coach Zico bade farewell to Japan with a warning that the Asian champions, who were humiliated in the World Cup, face an uphill battle making up for their physical shortcomings.

The Brazilian legend, who is now looking for jobs at European clubs, regretted that no Asian countries, barring Australia, advanced in the World Cup.

"It is very disappointing that all the Asian teams failed to reach the next round, but when you compare the teams with those who reached, the difference is apparent," Zico told his final news conference Monday as Japan's coach.

"No matter who their coaches are, it is up to the players. Unless they try to catch up with top teams in the world mentally and physically, it will be very difficult in the future as well."

Zico said that Asians, and particularly the Japanese, would always be hurt by their small stature compared with other nationalities.

"Even in the future Asian qualifying rounds for the World Cup, Japan will face a lot of long crosses from behind whenever they play a team which has a height advantage," Zico said.

"The forwards of those teams are usually 190cm tall. Those of Italy and the Netherlands are also tall. When they find it is difficult to connect a ground pass, I'm sure they will send long crosses like Australia did."




Pop-sci brain-gene overview for engineers: From EE Times


What drives you? Pick your brain

Debra Schiff


The researchers are finding that vocational interests are primarily the products of genetics and unique, or nonshared, environmental factors, with shared family experiences holding less sway. The research may indicate why some individuals are predisposed to careers in engineering. It might also explain the high occurrence of autism in the families of engineers.


This tends to be more true of middle class white Americans than of other people and places. If you got switched at birth into, say, a potter subcaste in India, you'd probably grow up to be a potter, even if your genetic strong suit was, say, selling real estate.




Is Dr. Charlton on to something or just on something? Here's a Big Theory that's both new and just possibly true:


"Serious Study: Immaturity Levels Rising" 
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News, June 23, 2006

"Charlton explained to Discovery News that humans have an inherent attraction to physical youth, since it can be a sign of fertility, health and vitality. In the mid-20th century, however, another force kicked in, due to increasing need for individuals to change jobs, learn new skills, move to new places and make new friends.

"A `child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge' is probably adaptive to the increased instability of the modern world, Charlton believes. Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are, he said, `unfinished.'

"The psychological neoteny effect of formal education is an accidental by-product -- the main role of education is to increase general, abstract intelligence and prepare for economic activity, he explained. ... "But formal education requires a child-like stance of receptivity to new learning, and cognitive flexibility."

"People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact."

"Charlton added that since modern cultures now favor cognitive flexibility, `immature' people tend to thrive and succeed, and have set the tone not only for contemporary life, but also for the future, when it is possible our genes may even change as a result of the psychological shift."


A striking change in our society is visible by looking at the extras in 1930s movies vs. today. What's apparent is that men in the past tried to look older than they actually were, while men today try to look younger. This is clear from the stars -- Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt, and Tom Cruise are all at least as old today on the calendar, but not in looks, as Humphrey Bogart was in the "The Maltese Falcon" -- but everybody back then, apparently, was trying to look wiser and more mature than they were. 

Maybe Charlton is talking through his hat, but it's an idea that deserves some consideration. 

For example, attending high school wasn't all that common in America until the Depression, when high school was used to warehouse teens to keep them from competing for jobs with heads of households. (That's an undiscussed pre-requisite for the success of the GI Bill's college students after WWII -- the GI generation was the first to attend high school in huge numbers.)




Why is there no videogame criticism? I haven't really been keeping up with the latest videogames since, oh, Ms. Pac-Man, so sometimes I worry that I'm totally out of touch with the most vibrant art form of our age. But most of the time, I feel fine about my obliviousness. A reader writes to assure me that I'm not missing much:


Is there a market or audience for real videogame criticism? Really good criticism isn't that easy, unlike reviewing, and I think it takes more space than a lot of review/preview magazines will give. So I would think there needs to be enough people who are willing to pay for criticism that is more than just "reviews" in order for it to really appear, or at least enough to make an encouragingly-sized audience.

And I'm not sure the audience for games, huge though it is, constitutes that kind of audience or market.

1) Videogames are more addicting than other entertainment forms like movies or music. For some people they seem to be like drugs: There may be something about them that makes their appeal different from other forms of art, whether highbrow or lowbrow or whatever, but that has some similarities to other forms of recreation, like exercise or socializing or drugs. So I wonder how much of the audience is interested in criticism any more than those other forms of recreation inspire criticism.

2) As your reader said, games are very difficult to make—they take years and cost a lot, and experimentation is risky, so they're at least as artistically constrained as big budget tentpole studio films. A lot of the more artistically-inclined designers have been dropping out of the business or thinking publicly about doing so.

3) There's a resistance among gamers and reviewers to too much "movie" in a game, as in if we wanted to watch a movie, I'd watch a movie, skip the story and get to the game. So even if the writing in a game is good—very, very, very rare—it's not generally welcome unless it's also light. So that's another restriction on narrative artists, that leaves critics less to work with.

4) They're loooong. Reviewers (as opposed to critics!) regularly complain if a game is any less than 20 hours. Whereas they consider a game that's more than 20 hours, and has superficial tweaks to justify second and third playthroughs, to be a healthy package, rather than to be bloated and having worn out the good parts with too much filler, which is what it almost always is.

Most of the millions of people who fill out the industry's huge market probably don't finish many games. This reduces interest in them as an artistic whole.

5) Good critics tend to be well-versed in their form--they've seen tons of movies or heard tons of records or read tons of books. The comparable stance for a game critic today would be to have been playing them for at least two decades or so, across many expensive platforms from different companies, with most games taking way longer to become "versed in" than movies or records or even books... And unlike the other forms, it's not easy to go back and revisit or learn about ones you've missed--those platforms may be unavailable. So the pool of people who really know what they're talking about or can potentially know what they're talking about might be smaller than other fields, reducing in turn the number who are also good writers.

6) When you get down to it, most games are about committing some sort of act of violence! And a lot of the remainder are still about visceral action. Other forms, such as movies, can certainly cater to that impulse, but the lack of variety in what, fundamentally, videogames are about is really pretty amazing when you think about it. Again, less to work with for a critic…




"X-Men 3" (AKA, "The Return of the Teeming Freaks Return"): A reader writes:


Did you see X-Men 3? It has a theme that fits squarely in your wheelhouse -- namely the sort of pretzels people tie themselves into when discussing inherent, group-based biological differences. The plot is about a treatment that cures mutants. This is treated as purely evil, and any mutant who wants the treatment as a victim of self-hating bad faith. Yet there are some mutants whose mutations are clearly pretty horrible (there's one girl whose name I forget who will kill anybody she touches). Nobody in the movie makes the third-grade suggestion that the mutants with good mutations keep them, and the ones with bad mutations get rid of them. This is just the reductio of the basic premise of the series, which is that the mutants are at the same time godlike supermen, and oppressed victims.




The American Conservative semi-online:


July 3, 2006 Issue

Divided & Conquered
By Scott McConnell
A visit to Syria, Israel, and Palestine reveals the barriers—physical as well as political—to Mideast peace.

Nation Breaking
By Joe W. Guthrie
A soldier finds that training the Iraqi army is an unwinnable battle.

Border Bargaining
By W. James Antle III
As the House and Senate negotiate an immigration bill, will amnesty survive?

Bleeding-Heart Libertarian
By Steve Sailer
Can we aid the poor and shrink the welfare state? That’s Charles Murray’s $10,000 question.

Monumental Mistakes
By Peter Wood
Elaborate memorials are often less about honor than ostentation.

Unfinished Business
By Stewart Nusbaumer
A traffic accident ignites an anti-American powder keg in Kabul.

Losing Liberties Left and Right
By Doug Bandow and Michael D. Ostrolenk
Advocates of limited government should look to their left.

The Mild, Mild Midwest
By Steve Sailer
Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” hits the silver screen.

A Tale of Two Tyrants
By Lee Congdon
June 1941: Hitler and Stalin
by John Lukacs

Getting the Left Into Fighting Shape

By Nicholas von Hoffman
The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again by Peter Beinart

Outsider Intellectual
By Paul Gottfried
Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography by David S. Brown

Time for an “Agonizing Reappraisal”
By Patrick J. Buchanan
Across the "arc of crisis," U.S. foreign policy is in disarray.

Compensating With a Yacht
By Taki
When it comes to yachts, bigger isn’t always better.

Fourteen Days:
Haditha Crimes Go to the Top; With this Amendment, I Thee Patronize; Talking to Tehran

Deep Background: What’s Hebrew for Shut Up?; Qatar’s Emir Can’t Please Ahmadinejad




David Frum's 18th wedding anniversary speech on NRO: On Gideon's Blog, Noah writes:


I really want to hear Steve Sailer's comment on David Frum's dvar torah on parshat shelach. If you get at least halfway down, you'll figure out why.


Personally, I really want to hear Mrs. Frum's comment on Mr. Frum's speech on the occasion of their 18th wedding anniversary. I bet it was something like, "David, that first part was very sweet, but WHAT THE HELL DID THE REST OF IT HAVE TO DO WITH OUR MARRIAGE?"

Frum, in case you are wondering, is the former Bush speechwriter who made up 2/3rd of the term "Axis of Evil," which was perhaps the most disastrous phrase in the history of American diplomacy. In early 2002, following 9/11 and the quick expulsion of the Taliban from power, American prestige and power were at historic heights. Unfortunately, the 2002 State of the Union address claiming, preposterously, that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea formed an "axis" began to persuade observers around the world that the people running American foreign policy were either liars or unbalanced or both, a conclusion that subsequent events have done little to dispel.

Anyway, Frum's wedding anniversary speech is worth reading to get a sense of the strange mental atmosphere of the neocons.




Around the Web:

- "The Color of Crime 2005" is now available online (Adobe PDF format).

- "How Racial Preferences Backfire" is Stuart J. Taylor's summary in the National Journal of Richard Sanders big study of the ill effects of law school quotas. Sanders report itself can be downloaded here. And here's an analysis of the Texas Bar Exam results by race:


3) Do the differences in bar exam passing rates and scores among racial/ethnic group correspond to the differences in their admissions credentials and law school grades?

Yes. We found that on the average, the applicants in different racial/ethnic groups performed as well on the bar exam as would be expected on the basis of their law school admission credentials and law school grades.


- Parapundit on the decline of the middle class neighborhood.

- Michael Blowhard asks, "When I look over the many comments that accumulate on my various postings about immigration policy ... what puzzles me far more than the question "How can anyone fail to succumb to the brilliance of my arguments?" is another question entirely: "Why are so many Americans so very shy about expressing their preferences?"

- Tyler Cowen's latest, and perhaps lamest, argument for massive Hispanic immigration. In another posting, this on his favorite things Swiss, Tyler, who is exquisitely cultured, admits, "These days I find Paul Klee repetitive." Perhaps someday Tyler will explain why he favors the lumpenproletarianization of American culture by a flood of Latin Americans with 5th grade educations.

- Dennis Dale at Untethered gives us a taste of what "Repo Man" might have looked like if written and directed by Marcel Proust. Then, shifting gears, he has his way with the "Baja 500," the economists who signed that "open letter" on immigration.

- Martin Kelly reviews Ken Loach's Cannes-winning IRA 1922 movie "The Wind that Blows the Barley."

- New Englanders have the best vocabularies among white people, according to the GSS, says Half Sigma.

- Dusk in Autumn explains what it takes to be a good teacher.

- Genetic Chaos reports on a DNA study that finds little evidence for the popular idea that New Mexico's Spanish-American (i.e., pre-Mexican independence) settlers (e.g., Linda Chavez's and Sen. Ken Salazar's Spanish-speaking ancestors arrived in what's now the American Southwest about 400 years ago) included a sizable crypto-Jewish element. 




"The Age of the Fine Print: Socializing Costs, Privatizing Profits" -- My new column is up. It's about the berserk reaction by the establishment press to the Speaker of the House's announcement that, rather than go into the smoke filled room with the Senate, the House would hold public hearing on immigration.

An excerpt:


Let's step back to put the immigration controversy in a new and broader historical perspective.

At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama announced that we had reached "The End of History." Obviously, somebody forgot to send History the memo.

Yet, in the narrow Hegelian/Marxist sense in which Fukuyama used the term "History," he was correct. The big controversy of the 20th Century—socialism vs. capitalism—was effectively over. Pure socialism was dead. Capitalism had survived, but not laissez-faire. From now on there would be markets, but with government interference.

Unfortunately, many commentators are still living in the past. They think basic ideology is still the big issue—the free market vs. socialism. Well, history hasn't ended, but it has moved into a new stage. Regulated capitalism has won, so most of the political struggles in the future are not going to be about the old boldface big ideas like nationalizing the means of production, but about the fine print.

The politics of the present and future will revolve around various organized interests trying to put one over on the disorganized rest of us in the particulars of legislation.

Contra Fukuyama, there will never be a ceasefire in this struggle between the clever and the clueless. The Age of Ideology is over but the Age of the Fine Print is upon us.

For instance, back in 1996 when the California legislature unanimously deregulated the state's electricity market, few in public life bothered to read the fine print because the ideological principle of deregulation seemed so historically inevitable at the time. Well, it turned out the devil was definitely in the details. The only people who mastered the minutiae were the traders at Enron and other such firms, who raped California out of billions.

A basic strategy for the crafty to make money is privatizing profits and socializing costs. To do this, they use tame politicians and journalists to help them hand their costs of doing business off to the public. (Economists, when they aren't blinded by ideology, call these costs "externalities.")

By importing “cheap labor”, employers shift major costs—such as medical care and policing—to you and me.

The Senate Sellout would further increase the burdens imposed on us.

And that's why its supporters in the press don't want us to worry our pretty little heads about what's in those 118,227 words in the Senate immigration bill.



A reader writes:


Under post-Cold War globalization, the Age of Ideology gives way to the Age of Ethnology. The big question changes from the (Platonic) policy-oriented “what form of state is best?” to the (Leninist) political-oriented “whose group rules the state?"

It's pretty clear that cultural identity now trumps political economy in determining the great questions of statecraft. The equity of civil society and the efficacy of state polity depends as much upon the citizenry’s individual natures as it does upon the civitas’ institutional structures.

Cultural identity issues are typically unmentionable in normal ethical language since they essentially boil down to grabs for power and money by rival gangs/tribes. That is one reason why cultural theory is so unintelligible – if its assumptions and conclusions were stated in plain language people would laugh or throw-up.




The Secret of Soccer: From my article "One World Cup: Soccer Gives American Elites the Chance to Celebrate Nationalism in Other Countries, Not Ours" in the 7/17/06 issue of The American Conservative (not online):


While soccer is usually extolled or derided as a Eurosport -- Tom Piatak calls it "the metric system in short pants" -- it is actually another triumph of Anglo-Saxon culture. Sports have been played all over the world for all of history, but 19th Century Britain and its offshoots possessed a genius for self-organization. The Victorian emphasis on fair play created enough trust for local sportsmen to be able to cooperate nationally. Most of today's major spectator sports, such as baseball, basketball, track & field, ice hockey, boxing, cricket, tennis, and golf, were formalized by English-speakers in the 1800s.

Soccer, rugby, and American football evolved out of medieval English mass mêlées in which the livelier lads of rival villages would celebrate Shrove Tuesday by trying to propel an inflated pig's bladder past the other mob. In England, soccer became the gentleman's game played by thugs and rugby the thug's game played by gentlemen...

Tellingly, one place where soccer is not terribly popular is in Britain's cultural offspring. Being equally blessed with cooperative creativity, Canadians instead devised ice hockey and Australians developed Aussie rules football.

Similarly, Americans didn't need to import soccer or rugby because we could cultivate our own variant. American football was adopted by the Republic's commercial classes and refined into the most perfect sport for television the world has known. While soccer remains hamstrung by the need to keep the game affordable in the Third World, Americans could adopt costly innovations such as separate offensive and defensive units that make the football far more exciting than soccer, where tired players often visibly dog it on the field.

In summary, Americans play soccer (at least until we grow coordinated enough to try other sports), but we don't watch it on TV. Quite possibly, we've found the world's best way to deal with soccer.


A reader comments:


Perhaps proving the theory in the title of your article, the diversity office of my company has made watching the world cup a “diversity” event, where it will be shown on televisions in the workplace (usually on business news) and they are supplying noisemakers and flags for us to root for teams. We are “encouraged” to get into the games by bringing in foods, artifacts, etc. Each part of the firm roots for a team, and as they are eliminated, the losing groups join the winning groups.  I really have no idea what this is supposed to accomplish, something about sensitivity/awareness, but I think your point about elites wanting to celebrate other people’s nationalism is basically dead on.




Larry Summers critic leaps to her death from lesbian lover's luxury apartment building: After Nancy Hopkins, the second leading lady of last year's Larry Summers Brouhaha was Denice D. Denton for daring to "speak truth to power," as Denton modestly described her contribution to silencing Summers for heresy about gender differences. The San Francisco Chronicle reports today:


UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice D. Denton, who had come under fire for her housing perks and helping her partner obtain a UC job, died today after jumping off the roof of the 42-story apartment building where her partner lived.

Denton, 46, died at 8:17 a.m. after jumping from The Paramount apartment building on Mission Street. A guest at a nearby hotel reported the jump, police said...

Denton's mother was in the building at the time of her death, police said.

Denton may have been living in the 42-story building, police said. Her partner, Gretchen Kalonji, has an apartment in the building, according to a San Francisco directory listing. Calls to the apartment's phone number were not immediately returned.

A Web site for The Paramount claims it is the tallest luxury rental apartment building in San Francisco.

Denton had been provided a 2,680-square-foot home on the UC Santa Cruz campus, the subject of a story in a Chronicle series this spring examining perks and pay in the UC system.

Before she moved into her University-provided house on campus in 2005, she asked for dozens of improvements -- everything from a new fence for her dogs to new wiring, speakers, amplifier and CD player for a built-in sound system, according to university documents.

In all, a $600,000 upgrade was made to the home, though it is not clear how many of the improvements were at Denton's request. Denton's annual salary is $282,000.

As a result of that and other spending disclosed in the press, UC President Robert Dynes tightened rules for renovation projects at university-owned homes and the offices of top executives.

In 2005, UC unions protested the hiring of Kalonji, a former University of Washington professor of materials science, into a $192,000 UC management position. UC also provided Kalonji, then Denton's partner of seven years, a housing assistance allowance of up to $50,000.


I wrote in The American Conservative in "The Education of Larry Summers" (2/28/05) first about Nancy Hopkins financial conflict of interest in denouncing Summers, then about Denton's:


Similarly, Denice D. Denton was celebrated for standing up to Summers to, in her words, "speak truth to power." This heroic tableau of the humble, no-doubt-discriminated-against woman engineering professor daring to defy the mighty male university president lost some luster when it emerged that Denton was UC Santa Cruz's chancellor-designate at $275,000 annually. One college supremo attempting to intimidate another one into not mentioning inconvenient facts is not what most people visualize as speaking truth to power.

A few days later, Tanya Schevitz reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on how Denton plays the game. The headline read, "UC hires partner of chancellor: creates $192,000 post for Santa Cruz chief's lesbian lover."

Less privileged women were unenthused:


"'It makes me sick,' said Mary Higgins, an administrative assistant at UCSF and statewide president of UC's clerical union, which did not get a raise this year. 'It is a violation of the public trust and it is just more of the same.'"


But Denton had a powerful defender in the woman scientist who had formerly headed UC Santa Cruz. M.R.C. Greenwood praised UCSC's two-for-the-price-of-three deal for the lesbian academics as the cost of gender diversity: UCSC "should be commended for attracting and hiring two very qualified female engineers."

Greenwood herself had just moved up to provost of the UC system, at $380,000 per year, almost $100,000 more than the man she replaced. Moreover, she had quietly brought with her a female scientist friend from Santa Cruz to fill the novel post of "Executive Faculty Associate to the Provost."

Are you noticing a pattern here?


Greenwood later resigned under a cloud following a conflict-of-interest investigation.


The feminists' complaints never made much intuitive sense (not that they cared -- the goals of academic feminism are money and power, not rationality).


And here's one more anecdote about feminist backscratching between Denton and Kalonji.




The black hole of contemporary culture: This seems like a particularly uncreative time in contemporary culture, with most of the traditional arts arousing little excitement: E.g., Name three painters younger than David Hockney. The New York Times recently announced the results of a poll of the best novels of the last 25 years, and practically all the winning writers were born in the early 1930s. Perhaps architecture has a little buzz right now, although most of the architects winning critical hosannas seem meretricious to me, but, overall, the high culture fields seem pretty somnolent. The popular culture of the 20th Century also seems to be treading water. Movies are okay, but certainly not getting better. Popular music, after three generations of extraordinary stylistic innovation, seems stuck, with most of the styles that were in place by 25 years ago remaining dominant today. Television ads are glitzier than ever, but so what? This is a good decade for hour long TV dramas, but a weak period for half-hour TV comedies. And so forth...

So, where is the creative talent going? The most obvious candidate is into video games. But video games, at present, seem particularly ill-suited for cross-fertilization with other media. The lack of quality video-game criticism is particularly striking. John Scalzi at Whatever offers an exhaustive explanation of why there isn't yet much videogame writing that would be interesting to anybody other than somebody considering buying the game. (Via 16 Volts)

A reader writes


The problem with video games is the difficulty of making them. The software industry as a whole is very immature, relative to its potential, and from what I can see this is even more true of video games. The technical demands of making video games are so great that artists stay away in droves, at least in terms of where they can have an impact on storytelling. Very few people are going to have the motivation or the ability to impact the storytelling aspect of gamemaking until the technical hurdles come (way) down. Right now, like water, innovation in gamemaking is seeking its easiest path, which is graphics. Until photorealism, then NPR (non-photorealistic rendering) are mastered, they're going to suck up all the effort an innovation. In other words, good storytelling is still a looooooong way off, at least as anything approaching an industry standard.

(ironically, the geometric increases in graphics have made artists a far bigger part of the process, but only visual artists, so we get prettier and prettier vast wastelands of content free of any human feeling)

Until then, you're not going to see any real criticism because frankly, there's nothing to criticize. I gave up on video games a few years ago because I live in an area that doesn't get broadband. Without broadband multiplayer online games are a no-go, and without multiplayer action games video games are largely a wasteland (because AI doesn't sell like graphics, ergo the state of AI in games today is absolutely pitiful).

I don't think the requirements of gamemaking today (elite coding) leave much room for artistic or creative genius. Until, as that article's author suggests, there are some standard platforms for gamemaking that allow creative types to elbow technical types out of the way and infuse some art into gamemaking, it's going to resemble auto manufacturing far more than it does filmmaking; ergo, you get reviewers, not critics.

My info is all a few years old, but yes, when I was into games finding honest reviewers was very difficult. In my experience game reviewers are shameless shills, though I wouldn't go so far as to call them all corrupt; they're fanboys, generally, goofballs with stars in their eyes who are incapable of objectivity and generally really do like every piece of crap game that comes along.




"When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything." As  I mentioned in my review of "The Da Vinci Code," this most famous of all G.K. Chesterton quotes doesn't appear to have actually been said by Chesterton in its current lapidary form. A reader points me toward one source in one of Chesterton's Father Brown detective stories:


The Oracle of the Dog


It's part of something I've noticed more and more in the modern world, appearing in all sorts of newspaper rumours and conversational catchwords; something that's arbitrary without being authoritative. People readily swallow the untested claims of this, that, or the other. It's drowning all your old rationalism and scepticism, it's coming in like a sea; and the name of it is superstition.' He stood up abruptly, his face heavy with a sort of frown, and went on talking almost as if he were alone. 'It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense and can't see things as they are. Anything that anybody talks about, and says there's a good deal in it, extends itself indefinitely like a vista in a nightmare. And a dog is an omen, and a cat is a mystery, and a pig is a mascot, and a beetle is a scarab, calling up all the menagerie of polytheism from Egypt and old India; Dog Anubis and great green-eyed Pasht and all the holy howling Bulls of Bashan; reeling back to the bestial gods of the beginning, escaping into elephants and snakes and crocodiles; and all because you are frightened of four words: 'He was made Man'.'




Gossip doyenne Liz Smith quotes me again: From her NY Post column:


END CODE: Here's a thought from the American Conservative film critic Steve Sailer: "In the climax to 'The Da Vinci Code,' we discover that one of the characters is Jesus' last living descendant. This . . . hooey is superstition of the grossest sort. Consider how genealogy actually works. Go back 80 generations (2,000 years), and your family tree has a septillion slots to fill. If Jesus had any living descendants today, he would have millions of them. The only way there could be just one surviving heir is if the family had relentlessly inbred so incestuously that the latest Merovingian would have three eyes." 




Good grief, more Sabbateans! A reader in Istanbul writes about the crypto-Jewish ethnic group, descended from followers of the apostate false messiah Shabbetai Zevi, who make up a big chunk of modern Turkey's secular elite:


There's a Turkish saying that goes: "When a madman meets another madman, he hides his stick". It means that people - especially people of extreme nature - tend to inspire reasonable behavior in each other. Seems like our "Muslim fundamentalists," in their craze to discover conspiracies in the way Turkey has been steered in the last century, hit upon something quite significant with their research into the Donmeh. They were among the most relentless and instrumental, though by no means the sole, element in unearthing this. 

But whenever their opinion leaders meet with alleged members of the Sabbetaians in the media - either the TV or the write-ups on the Internet - the discussion becomes remarkably sober, well-reasoned, and empirically grounded. Using micro-demographic techniques like census records, marital bondings and family genealogies, cemeteries, residential areas, common private schools, enterprises with certain connections, etc., they have aggregated quite a clear picture now of this reality...

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The nimrod speaks! Reuters reports:


President Bush praised Hungary's bloody 1956 uprising against communist rule on Thursday and said the country's eventual success in ousting authoritarian rule was a shining example for Iraq to follow.


Uh, Mr. President, the Hungarians were amateur locals revolting against foreign occupiers in tanks. Is that really the analogy you want to apply to Iraq, with the U.S. as the Soviets?

Tom Fleming says that David Frum's replacement as Bush's speechwriter must be Stephen Colbert.




I imagine most readers are heartily sick by now of my obsession with the Donme, the secretive ethnic group descended from followers of a Jewish false messiah who apparently make up much of the secular elite of Turkey, but it strikes me as reasonably important for Americans to understand more about how Turkey works:
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A hidden downside to privatization: The Becker-Posner blog is discussing a deal to sell the Indiana Toll Road for $3.8 billion. An overlooked cost to privatization is that privatization saps the quality of government employees if the more ambitious can quit and go into identical jobs in the profit-making sector. 
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Who Are Those Guys? I've got a new posting up on the blog:


"Who Are Those Guys?"


The words of Butch Cassidy come to mind when perusing the names of the 500 economists who signed an “open letter” on immigration (celebrated by, of course, the Wall Street Journal editorial page)....

Here are some famous American economists. Are they on the list?   [Click here to read the rest.]




Stoppard's "Rock 'n' Roll" huge hit on London stage: Ben Brantley writes in the NYT about Tom Stoppard's new play blending the Czech Spring of 1968 and Pink Floyd:


"Now what was that old nonsense about Tom Stoppard as all head and no heart? Mr. Stoppard's exciting new play of immutable passions and mutable politics, "Rock 'n' Roll," which opened last week at the Royal Court Theater here and has become the hottest ticket in town, is so flush with feeling that it never seems to stop trembling."


I've long identified with Sir Tom (for example, his list of favorite writers -- Waugh, Nabokov, and Macaulay -- is quite similar to mine), seeing myself as his less intelligent, lazier, and even more emotionally shallow doppelganger. So, I'm happy to see him still on top of his game at age 68. It gives me hope.




Viva Fidel! No Speedbumps shows what 47 years of Marxism have done for the evolution of Cuban transportation technology.




Another nail in the coffin of the Freakonomics theory that abortion cut crime: When I pointed out to Steven D. Levitt in 1999 that not only did crime not drop among the first cohort born after the legalization of abortion, but that the age 14-17 homicide rate hit its historic peak in 1993-94, his defense was, in effect, well, okay, but that's only at the national level. If you had run a massive econometric study at the state level, like I did, you'd see my theory is validated. 

Last fall, economists Christopher Foote and Christopher Goetz finally reran Levitt and Donohue's original state-level analysis and found Levitt had made two fatal technical mistakes. When those flubs were corrected, his entire claimed effect disappeared. (Of course, by then, Freakonomics was the publishing sensation of the year and Levitt had signed deals with ABC and the New York Times, so he cried all the way to the bank.)

Levitt & Donohue's response was to present a new data set, which they claimed validated their original theory.

Now, two economists have analyzed their new data and here's the beginning and the end of their brief paper:


A Comment on Donohue and Levitt's (2006) Reply to Foote and Goetz (2005) 

Angela K. Dills Department of Economics, Clemson University
Jeffrey A. Miron Visiting Professor of Economics, Harvard University April, 2006

Donohue and Levitt (2001) (DLI) consider the hypothesis that U.S. legalization of abortion in the early 1970s caused much of the decline in crime in the 1990s. Foote and Goetz (2006) (FG) show, however, that one key result in DLI contained a coding error; dummies for state-year interactions were inadvertently omitted from the regressions. FG demonstrate that correcting this error, along with estimating the regressions using arrest rates rather than arrest levels, suggests virtually no effect of legalized abortion on crime.

Donohue and Levitt (2006) (DLII) acknowledge the coding error and agree that correcting the mistake and using arrest rates suggests no effect of legalized abortion on crime. DLII argue, however, that use of an improved abortion measure and an instrumental variable revives or even strengthens their original result...

Our conclusion is that the kind of analysis considered in Table VII of DLII does not suggest a quantitatively important effect of legalized abortion on crime. The best case for such an effect is the IV results in columns (6) and (7); these imply that abortion legalization explain 24-25.9% of the 1991-1998 decline in violent crime and 7.1-8.1% of that in property crime. None of these coefficients is statistically significant at conventional levels, however, and the results in column (8) suggest they rely on an implausible mechanism relating abortion to crime.   [Full Length PDF]


Large assertions require large proof, and after seven years, Levitt hasn't come close to meeting the burden of proof.

By the way, you can download the latest version of Ted Joyce's paper here.




Derbyshire on Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn: For six weeks, my review of Wade's book has been the top hit on Google for "'Nicholas Wade' 'Before the Dawn," but John Derbyshire's review should take over the top spot.




The wonderfulness of earplugs: I want to plug earplugs, which have made my life better. I work better and sleep better because of them. They also make airline travel less awful. You can buy a big jar of 100 orange foam ones for about $10, which should last you a year. If you have to work in a cubicle, what are you waiting for?

A reader writes:


Since we're doing plugs (pun intended), these days I find Flents' Quiet Please white foam plugs, which claim only a 29 rating, much better than the orange ones.


Another writes:


The best OTC earplugs, by a large margin: Super Leight Pre Shaped Foam Ear Plugs




Was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, crypto-Jewish? Conspiracy theories were quite prestigious in the 1970s, but ever since the release of Oliver Stone's 1991 movie "JFK," the elite cultural atmosphere has turned strongly against them. 

And yet, there really have been lots of secret societies, cabals, covert activities, and the like down through history. For example, the history of Italy since WWII can't be adequately explained without reference to the Mafia, Operation Gladio "leave-behind" cells,  the P2 Masonic Lodge, and secret CIA funding of the anti-Communist parties, not to mention all of the Communist conspiracies on the other side.

It turns out, of course, that most of the secrets are pretty mundane. My late father-in-law, a 32nd degree Mason, liked to say that he couldn't tell any outsiders the secret protocols of the Masons because it might be fatal to them.

"Because if you told them, you'd have to kill them?" I asked.

"No, because if they heard what we really do, they might die laughing."
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It's a Borges Borges Borges Borges World (Sometimes): I have a taste for tales that sound like bizarre fictions made up by Jorge Luis Borges but are actually true. My favorite is the story of the shocking discovery that economist John Maynard Keynes made when he purchased a trunk full of Isaac Newton's papers. 

Another true story worthy of Borges is the False Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi. One of the major figures in Paul Johnson's A History of the Jews is the 17th Century mystic Sabbatai Zevi, a bipolar ecstatic from Smyrna who, with the help of his brilliant publicity agent Nathan of Gaza, declared himself the redeemer of the Jews. His claims caused wild excitement in Jewish communities throughout the world. But when Sabbatai Zevi (there are alternate spellings such as Shabbetai Zevi and Shabbtai Tzvi) traveled to Constantinople in 1666, the Ottoman Sultan threatened him with death unless he performed a miracle or converted to Islam. He chose the latter. 

Now that might have been the end of the cult, but Nathan of Gaza was no ordinary PR flack. Johnson writes (p. 268-272):


Nathan was an outstanding example of a highly imaginative and dangerous Jewish archetype which was to become of world importance when the Jewish intellect became secularized. He could construct a system of explanations and predictions of phenomena which was both highly plausible and at the same time sufficiently imprecise and flexible to accommodate new events when they occurred. And he had the gift of presenting his protean-type theory, with its built-in capacity to absorb phenomena by a process of osmosis, with tremendous conviction and aplomb. Marx and Freud were to exploit a similar capacity...

The apostasy was transformed into a necessary paradox or dialectical contradiction. Far from being a betrayal, it was in fact the beginning of a new mission to release the Lurianic [Kabbala] sparks which were distributed among the gentiles and in particular in Islam... It meant descending into the realm of evil. In appearance he [Zevi] was submitting to it, but in reality he was a Trojan Horse in the enemy's camp. Warming to his task, Nathan pointed out that Zevi had always done strange things. This was merely the strangest -- to embrace the shame of apostasy as the final sacrifice before revealing the full glory of the messianic triumph... Nathan quickly provided massive documentation in Biblical, talmudic and kabbalistic texts.


Johnson writes:


As a result, the Shabbatean movement, sometimes openly, sometimes in secret, not only survived the debacle of the apostasy but continued in existence for over a century.


But is there an equally Borgesian sequel to this sequel? Are the Shabbateans, also known as the Donmeh or Dönme or Doenmeh, still around today? The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in 2002:


In search of followers of the false messiah 
By Orly Halpern

Aubrey Ross is an unusual man with an unusual pastime. He's looking for Jewish Muslims. In Turkey. With the help of the Internet. And he's convinced he has found some.

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WASP accounting professor not descended from Genghis Khan after all: You probably heard the story of how Bryan Sykes's genealogical DNA testing firm Oxford Associates had declared mild-mannered accounting professor Thomas R. Robinson to be the direct male-line descendent of Genghis Khan. It was pretty amusing because in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy there was a Mr. Prosser who was "a direct male-line descendant of Genghis Khan, though intervening generations and racial mixing had so juggled his genes that he had no discernible Mongoloid characteristics, and the only vestiges left in Mr. L. Prosser of his mighty ancestry were a pronounced stoutness about the tum and a predilection for little fur hats." 
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The frog and the snake: A baby rattlesnake in Illinois slithers up to a bullfrog on the banks of the Mississippi and asks him to carry him across to Iowa. 

"No way, you'll bite me and I'll drown," says the frog.

"But why would I do that? Then I'd drown, too," says the snake.

"You'll bite me anyway. I heard all about this."

"No, really, I won't. I very much want to get across and I'd be awfully grateful if you'd carry me."

Eventually, the frog agrees. He swims across with the snake on his back. When they get to Iowa, the snake crawls off and says, "Thank you very much. If there's anything I can ever do for you, please let me know."

Puzzled, the frog says, "I don't get it. I was sure you were going to bite me and we'd both drown. Why didn't you?"

The snake replies, "Because it's the Middle West."


Greg Cochran




My upcoming World Cup article in The American Conservative: An excerpt:


One People, One World, One Sport 
By Steve Sailer

Just as Brazil, soccer's dominant nation, has been the "Country of the Future" for, roughly, ever, the quadrennial arrival of another month-long World Cup reminds us that, for Americans, soccer is the Sport of the Future and it always will be.

Every four years Americans get lectured that the World Cup is the biggest single-sport competition on Earth and that we'll no doubt be hopping on this global bandwagon Real Soon Now...

Lately, though, a soccer-crazed fraction of our postnationalist verbal elite has switched tactics and now imply that Americans will never get excited about soccer as a spectator sport because we just don't deserve "the beautiful game." ...

This World Cup in Germany offers the soccerati the opportunity to flaunt their cosmopolitanism as they elucidate the exhilarating subtleties you likely missed in that Croatia-Japan nil-nil draw because you prefer native pastimes such as baseball, basketball, or, God forbid, NASCAR. The "celebrate diversity" folk want America to become athletically homogenous with the rest of the world. To them, the tepid American response to the World Cup is evidence of our bigotry, our xenophobic failure to get with the global program. As Kevin Michael Grace says, their slogan would be "One people, one world, one sport," if they weren't so freaked out by all the host country fans waving German flags. Ironically, while the World Cup is an occasion for globalist preening in the U.S., in the rest of the world it's a prime locus for jingoism...

Soccer is by no means a bad sport to play. It's fun, good exercise, cheap, and, unlike basketball or football, it doesn't help to be 7-feet tall or 300 pounds. In fact, soccer shares many virtues with hiking, but there are no hiking hooligans and nobody calls you a chauvinistic boor if you don't watch Sweden v. Paraguay on TV in the World Hiking Cup.


Thanks to Kevin Michael Grace for the phrase "One People, One World, One Sport."

And thanks to all readers who wrote into to bring me up to speed on soccer.

Here's soccerati Franklin Foer, editor of the New Republic, on "What kind of governments produce winning soccer teams?"

Here's the New York Observer on the soccer obsession of Foer and friends.




"Cars" -- From my upcoming review in The American Conservative:


Although the Pixar animators do everything imaginable to infuse the cars with personalities, automobiles still prove ill-chosen vehicles for two hours of anthropomorphizing. In particular, Luigi and Guido, the Italian-stereotype Fiats working at the Pirelli tire shop, suffer from the autos' lack of hands with which to gesticulate vociferously. A more subtle deficiency of this kids' movie is that there are no kids in the factory-built world of "Cars."

And then there's the fanatically precise scenery. One of Jorge Luis Borges's funnier conceits was the fictional Chinese emperor so adamant about his imperial cartographers' providing more detail that he eventually had them draw a map of China exactly as large as China itself. "Cars" is similarly unclear on the concept of artistic abstraction. Back in 1995's "Toy Story," John Lasseter's computer graphic techniques were charming in their creative simplification and exaggeration of reality. Now, the technology has evolved to where -- through a prodigious expenditure of talent, time, and money -- the CGI desert in "Cars" looks virtually as photorealistically genuine as the actual desert in, say, the modestly budgeted "Road Warrior" -- and, therefore, almost as pointless as the emperor's 1:1 scale map.




French Adoption IQ Study: Over on GNXP, Darth Quixote offers a thorough analysis of a small (38 cases) but impressive French study of the impact of adoption on IQ at age 14. Bottom-line looks roughly like:

Nature 60 - Nurture 40

This is a larger role for environment than several American adoption studies have found, but this French effort put a lot of work into getting around the "restriction of range" problem (they seldom let people in the bottom ranks of society adopt children). They found 8 kids who were the biological children of professional class parents but were raised by farmers or laborers.

Heredity seems to have more impact on the most g-loaded parts of IQ.




My new column


Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more

King Henry V, Shakespeare


When Peter Brimelow suggested I write a third article on disingenuous pro-immigration polling, I groaned.

But there's nothing like reading the latest well-financed lies of the Open Borders Establishment to, in the words of Prince Hal before Agincourt,


Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage.  


As an old marketing researcher, I can now say that the mainstream media's immigration surveys belong in a Hall of Shame of how not to perform objective opinion research.

Latest example: the Wall Street Journal's June 15th article (in the news section, not, surprisingly enough, on the Editorial Page) on a recent WSJ/NBC News poll of 1002 people:


Public Warms to Bush Immigration Stance






IQ by State - New Data: As a follow-up to the notorious IQ-by-Blue-State-v.-Red-State hoax that I exposed back in 2004, a reader wrote to me:


I know this is not really scientifically rigorous, but I thought you might find it interesting. And, no, I didn't pay for it! I took the Tickle IQ test for fun and several days later got an email saying I could get further analysis for free if I look at a couple of ads.


These Tickle state rankings (below) look pretty reasonable to me as estimates of the average non-Hispanic white IQ by state (I presume white people are the main market for online IQ tests, although I may be wrong), with scores boosted by about 10 points due to self-selection and/or grade inflation (I presume most people who take the test want to get a 3-digit score. I'm reminded of when John Derbyshire asked Charles Murray to help him interpret the score he'd gotten on a free IQ quiz. Murray replied waspishly, "You took a heavily advertised, free, seven-minute IQ test and you want me to tell you what that says about your intelligence? Haven't you answered your own question already?")
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JPod's contribution to statistics & genetics: Many people can't see beyond John Podhoretz's oafish exterior and thuggish behavior, such as sending Philip Weiss an email entitled "Look Out!" that read only "We know where you live!" Yet, his contributions to world culture include being responsible for the invention of the word "Podenfreude," which was coined by his coworkers at the Washington Times to describe their delight in their weekly ritual of gathering around in JPod's absence and laughing while one of them read aloud his sublimely awful column.

Nor do many people realize that Podhoretz, the scion of a distinguished intellectual family, has contributed to the further development of a trend in statistical analysis initiated by Francis Galton by being the world's greatest living exemplar of "regression beneath the mean."




Steven Pinker on the Cochran-Harpending theory of Jewish IQ in The New Republic:


Groups and Genes 
by Steven Pinker 
Post date 06.15.06 | Issue date 06.26.06 

My grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe who owned a small necktie factory on the outskirts of Montreal. While visiting them one weekend, I found my grandfather on the factory floor, cutting shapes out of irregular stacks of cloth with a fabric saw. He explained that by carving up the remnants that were left over when the neckties had been cut out and stitching them together in places that didn't show, he could get a few extra ties out of each sheet of cloth. I asked him why he was doing this himself rather than leaving it to his employees. He shrugged, tapped his forehead, and said, "Goyishe kop," a term of condescension that literally means "gentile head."...  [More]


To read the rest, you have to go through free registration.




The Duke Lacrosse Brouhaha: Predictably, the case is imploding, but DA Mike Nifong, even though he used his witchhunt to win re-election, has yet to withdraw his indictment of the three Great White Defendants. The question now is whether anyone -- the DA, the accuser, the Duke administration, or the media minions who hyped this case as proof of white racism -- will suffer the slightest punishment for their actions. 

Don't count on it. As you'll recall, Al Sharpton's career has not exactly suffered for his role in orchestrating the Tawana Brawley hoax.




From the Freakonomics blog: Steven D. Levitt posts:


Steve Sailer asks an excellent question

In response to my last blog post, Steve Sailer posed the following question in the comments:


The abortion rate among whites fell from 19 in 1991 to 11 in 1999, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute of Planned Parenthood. Should we thus soon expect an upturn in crime rates among white 14-17 year olds?


This is a great question. And the answer—no, we likely shouldn’t expect an upturn in crime—may surprise you.  [More]




My new VDARE blog item:


A Tale of Two Pueblos


Prominent economist and unskilled Hispanic immigration supporter Tyler Cowen writes on his Marginal Revolution blog about two Mexican villages he’s visited in the state of Guerrero, a good one and an awful one, then affirms his hope that Mexican immigration to the U.S. will turn out like the good village. I respond by asking some obvious questions, here.




Diversity Trumps Scientific Inquiry in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, Part 426: Bruce Lahn's discovery last fall of two genes apparently related to brain development that have been under recent selection (here's my blog posting on it) was quantitatively overwhelmed by Bob Moyzis's HapMap analysis last December of 1,800 genes, no doubt hundreds of which are related to cognition, that have been under different selection pressures on different continents over the last 50,000 years. Nicholas Wade of the New York Times didn't have a chance to cover Moyzis's paper when it came out, so much of the attention remains on Lahn's earlier work.

I talked to this WSJ reporter for about an hour six weeks ago when he was researching this article, as I mentioned in my review of Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn.

From the front page of today's Wall Street Journal:


Head Examined: Scientist's Study Of Brain Genes Sparks a Backlash

Dr. Lahn Connects Evolution In Some Groups to IQ; Debate on Race and DNA 'Speculating Is Dangerous' By ANTONIO REGALADO June 16, 2006; Page A1

CHICAGO -- Last September, Bruce Lahn, a professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago, stood before a packed lecture hall and reported the results of a new DNA analysis: He had found signs of recent evolution in the brains of some people, but not of others.

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"Don't mention the genocide!" -- I noted below that New Republic editor Franklin Foer's 26 page chapter on the Ukraine in his soccer book manages to mention the Jewish Holocaust but not the Ukrainian Holocaust (or Holodomor). A reader points out that this isn't even the Foer Family record for for most pages written about the Ukraine without any mention of the recent unpleasantness of 1932-33:


As you may know, Franklin Foer's brother, Jonathan Safran Foer, wrote a popular novel, Everything Is Illuminated, since made into a movie, about a young Jewish fellow named Jonathan Safran Foer who visits the Ukraine to find the Ukrainians who sheltered his grandparents from the Nazis. The premise was based on real life, though Jonathan never found them.

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The Laws of Economics v. the Law of Economists: Not content with co-owning a popular blog, Marginal Revolution, and having a gig as a New York Times columnist, George Mason U. economist Tyler Cowen has been promoting massive Hispanic immigration through op-eds in Slate, the LA Times, and now the Washington Post, in a piece of sophistry on Hispanic assimilation entitled "Blending In, Moving Up." Cowen wants to Hispanicize America because he likes Latin American cuisine and painting, but readers of his blog know that, although editors seem accept him as an expert on immigration, until very recently he didn't actually know much of anything about the effects of immigration on the U.S., and that all of his research in recent weeks has been devoted to developing talking points for his preconceived bias.

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My new blog item on VDARE:


Wall Street Journal–”So How About Just Open The Door…?”

On the Wall Street Journal’s website, veteran WSJ Editorialista Holman W. Jenkins Jr. graces us with his solution to the immigration problem:


“So how about just open the door to anyone willing to put down a refundable entry deposit (say, $2,000) in return for a biometric work card?”    [More]




Showing patriotism in England: Permissible so long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses: My new VDARE blog item is on a funny story in the Guardian about a warning from the English police about the threat to horses posed by displaying small English flags during the World Cup.




A reader writes: 


Just out of curiosity (and, as a Jewish reader of your blog, I'm quite curious), are you accused of anti-Semitism for simply discussing these issues? 

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The American Conservative's June 19th, 2006 Issue:

Reach Out and Tap Someone
By James Bovard
If the Bush administration is telling the truth when it says that no innocent Americans’ phones are tapped, we must all be guilty.

A New Democrat
By W. James Antle III
James Webb was Reagan’s Navy Secretary—and now wants to be Virginia’s Democratic senator.

Prophets in Their Own Land
By Michael C. Desch
Analyzing the smear campaign against scholars who question U.S. policy toward Israel 

Dynasty Through Diversity
By Steve Sailer
Why Bush wants to import 66 million immigrants

The Blog Ate My Life
By Diana Moon
Blogging behind enemy lines

The Church of Dan Brown
By Steve Sailer
Ron Howard’s “Da Vinci Code”




Question about the Ukrainian Holocaust: In downtown LA, I noticed a bronze plaque in the civic plaza that reads


In memory of 7,000,000 Ukrainians, victims of Russian communism, who lost their freedom, property and life by order of the Soviet government during 1932-1933 genocide by starvation in Ukraine. -- Dedicated by the Genocide in Ukraine Commemorative Committee, Los Angeles.


I presume the number 7 million on the plaque was chosen by Ukrainian-Americans to one (million) up the 6 million dead of the Jewish Holocaust, but what was the real number?

A reader responds:

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Rock 'n' Roll is the new play by Sir Tom Stoppard. It is said to combine, in some hard to predict Stoppardian fashion, the stories of both Pink Floyd's acid-casualty Syd Barrett and of Czechoslovakia between the Soviet invasion of 1968 and the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

By my count, that makes Rock 'n' Roll Stoppard's ninth play to deal, disapprovingly, with Eastern European Communism. 

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Immigrant extended families, the cash culture, and corruption: I recently spent a couple of weeks on jury duty in a tax fraud case involving an extended family of Iranian immigrant used car dealers, which turned out to be a horrendous fiasco of justice. It's rather astonishing I was allowed on the jury because the case confirmed much of what I've been writing about all decade about how vulnerable Western societies, with their nuclear family values that have made them successful polities, are to exploitation by immigrants from parts of the world with extended family values. The same nepotism and in-group morality that makes their home countries so dismal that they leave, also gives the immigrants them large advantages at cheating us naive Westerners in our countries. I won't say more now about my jury duty because I'll write about it at length later, but I was reminded of it by this news story from the UK Guardian that I briefly mentioned in my new VDARE column.


Secret report brands Muslim police corrupt:
Fury over internal Met study which says Asians need special training
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My new column:


Diversity Is Strength. It’s Also the Worst Sort of Welfare State

By Steve Sailer


Intellectuals as politically contrasting as David Goodhart, editor of the fine British centre-left journal Prospect, and Frank Salter, the perceptive rightist political scientist, have argued that immigration undermines the welfare state by sapping solidarity among fellow citizens.
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From the email bag: Readers write about the 2005 NAEP 8th Grade Science scores:


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The Future Looks Dumberer: The 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress scores are now out for eighth grade Science, and the cutting edge state of California, home of Silicon Valley and Cal Tech but also of millions of illegal aliens, ranks second worst out of the 44 states measured, ahead of only Mississippi. In California, only 18% of eighth graders scored at the Proficient or Advanced levels, versus 27% nationwide. 

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Origins of the Swedish welfare state: Johan Norberg writes in The National Interest:


Gunnar and Alva Myrdal were the intellectual parents of the Swedish welfare state. In the 1930s they came to believe that Sweden was the ideal candidate for a cradle-to-grave welfare state. First of all, the Swedish population was small and homogeneous, with high levels of trust in one another and the government. 

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From the emailbag: On women's voices reportedly getting lower in pitch since 1945, readers respond:


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Keep a close eye on your heirs during 2010: Half Sigma points out:


The wise members of Congress have determined that the estate tax will be 45% in 2009, 0% in 2010, and then 55/60% in 2011 and years after. Clearly, the best year to die is 2010. By dying in 2010 a rich person essentially doubles the amount of money his heirs will receive.

I predict that there will be a mysterious increase in deaths among the very wealthy in 2010.

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My interview with Charles Murray will appear in the new issue of The American Conservative. Here's an excerpt:


Once a decade, Charles Murray publishes massive data-driven volumes such as Losing Ground (1984), The Bell Curve (1994), and Human Achievement (2003). In between, he pens smaller, more philosophical books such as In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government (1988) and What it Means to Be a Libertarian (1997).

In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State is Murray's latest little work. Only 127 pages (not counting the elaborate appendices), it offers a striking combination of futuristic policy wonkery and Murray's old-fashioned notions, derived from Aristotle, Jefferson, and his own small-town upbringing, of how people can lead a good life. "Happiness is lasting and justified satisfaction with one's life as a whole," he writes.

Having demonstrated in Losing Ground that the Great Society poverty programs degraded the poor (a tour de force that ultimately led to the successful welfare reform of 1996), but having also documented in The Bell Curve that not all of our fellow citizens are cut out to thrive in the highly libertarian society that he would ideally prefer, Murray now offers in In Our Hands a "Plan" for a generous but radically simplified welfare state. He suggests abolishing all transfer programs, including Social Security, and replacing them with a single grant of $10,000 to each adult.

I discussed his new book with him via e-mail:

Q. Is this your follow-up to The Bell Curve, where you documented that some people are just unlucky about their endowment of human capital?

A. You're the first person to ask that question. Yes, it is a libertarian's compromise with the realities documented in The Bell Curve. The dynamics that the Plan will set in motion are ones that create the "valued places" that Dick Herrnstein and I talked about in the final chapter of The Bell Curve. In effect, I'm saying to the left, "You get to have big government in terms of spending, if you'll give me small government in terms of the government's ability to stage manage people's lives." ...

Q. Can I be a test case and get $10,000?

A. No test cases. I'm fomenting revolution here.




Zarqawi dead -- Is this a good time to declare victory and leave?




Scott McConnell reveals the four-letter-word that explains why WASP realists lost control of America's foreign policy.




The Mild, Mild Midwest: From my review of the new film version of Garrison Keillor's public radio variety show "A Prairie Home Companion" in the upcoming issue of The American Conservative:


For most of us, acting our age requires an awkward improvisation for which we've tried to avoid preparing. Garrison Keillor, however, has always had the soul of a 63-year-old, and now that he's finally attained that age on the calendar, he's the Grand Master at it.

The Mark Twain of Minnesota has at last made a movie out of his "Prairie Home Companion," which he's been broadcasting live for two hours every Saturday, 32 weeks per year since 1974, when he got the inspiration while writing a profile of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry for The New Yorker. The low-key film version is merely a fictionalized rendition of his show, with lots of unfashionable old songs like "Frankie & Johnnie" and a little backstage drama about how after tonight's performance the series is being shut down by a soulless Texas corporation.

In a bit of Blue State humor, such as it is, one Minnesotan gripes, "Don't make fun of Texans just because they talk funny, their eyes don't focus, and the flesh is rotting from their bones." Keillor used to write an advice column in Salon, in which his primary message was "to bust loose." Good counsel, I'm sure, for the gentle souls who look to Garrison Keillor as a role model, but perhaps not a reliable general worldview.

Minnesotans like Keillor tend to be politically liberal because they are so personally conservative by nature and nurture that they can't imagine anybody else might need to be restrained by law or tradition. The more hell-raising Texans, in contrast, take a less softheaded view.




Abortion Dust-Up: John Derbyshire takes a whack at Ramesh Ponnuru's book Party of Death. Ramesh responds. Separately, John O'Sullivan reviews the book.

By the way, pp. 65-73 of Ramesh's book includes the most lucid summary of my critique of the Freakonomics abortion-cut-crime theory I've read (including my own stuff). Here's a small sample:

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My new posting on the VDARE blog:


"Amnesty" Is Not about "Citizenship," Dammit, It’s about Residency




Do autistic children never recover? An NYT oped by Cammie McGovern, "Autism's Parent Trap," is getting a lot of publicity for asserting:

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My new column: Immigration Polls: The Old Shell Game Continues




IQ and Infant Mortality: The Audacious Epigone is starting to transcend his overly humble screen name. He offers an interesting look at many factors that correlate with Lynn and Vanhanen's national average IQ figures. 

By the way, now that Richard Lynn's new book summarizes 620 IQ studies, about 3.5 times more than his last book, somebody should look into coming up with a new, improved table of national average IQs.




More blogs of note: 


- faute de pire by David Orland is back -- Sophisticated coverage of immigration issues with a Francocentric orientation. It reminds me of what Christopher Caldwell could be doing if he wasn't trimming his sails to get into the NYT


- Darwinian Conservatism by Larry Arnhart


"The Left has traditionally assumed that human nature is so malleable, so perfectible, that it can be shaped in almost any direction. Conservatives object, arguing that social order arises not from rational planning but from the spontaneous order of instincts and habits. Darwinian biology sustains conservative social thought by showing how the human capacity for spontaneous order arises from social instincts and a moral sense shaped by natural selection in human evolutionary history."


- Reactionary Radicals by Bill Kauffman and friends


- Advocatus Diaboli by Hans Gruber (Hey, wasn't Hans Gruber the English aristocrat arch-villain played by Alan Rickman in "Die Hard?" Are you saying that's not his real name?)




The World's Most Gullible Country Contest: Who fell the hardest for the dopey yet soporific movie version of "The Da Vinci Code?"

Because "The Da Vinci Code" was released almost simultaneously around the world, it's relatively simple to calculate which countries blew more of their available money on this nonsense. All we have to do is compare the film's box office haul through its first two weekends across 56 countries versus each country's Gross Domestic Product to award the coveted title of the Nation Most Easy to Fleece.
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Half Sigma: This is turning into a quite good blog in a low key sort of way. The author applies a statistical-orientation to a variety of issues that are poking their heads up now and then in the news, and sometimes comes up with new angles. 




"Dynasty through Diversity: Why the Bush Administration is so adamant about amnesty" is my new article in the June 19th issue of The American Conservative (subscribe here). Here's an excerpt:


The President's patent insincerity about controlling illegal immigration has catalyzed the realization among a rapidly growing number of conservatives that the Bush Administration's governing principles, such as they are, are at best only superficially conservative. Their common denominator is a lack of what Edmund Burke emphasized as a key conservative virtue: prudence.

The foreign, domestic, and economic policies of President Bush can be summarized as:

- Invade the world 
- Invite the world 
- In hock to the world

As far as Grand Strategies go, this is not the most seamless. There are palpable contradictions in combining pugnacity abroad with welcoming tens of millions of foreign newcomers at home while borrowing hundreds of billions from overseas to fund our budget and trade deficits.
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Legislative Negligence: The Senate Immigration Bill: With a few honorable exceptions, such as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the U.S. Senate's performance over the last week and a half was a textbook example of legislative negligence. Today, Thursday, the Senate is expected to vote for a 614 page bill that is estimated to increase legal immigration over the next two decades from 19 million to 66 million, and yet few Senators appear to have taken time to study the bill and crunch the numbers.

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Almost beyond parody: Alex Tabarrok, author of that "open letter" of economists retailing all the hoariest sentimental tripe about immigration, now explains on his Marginal Revolution blog the reason that so many economists don't like to think hard about immigration: the moral superiority of economists!

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The Da Vinci Code, women, and Catholicism: One of the more curious aspects of the cult of The Da Vinci Code is the lack of skepticism about novelist Dan Brown's contention that Catholicism was a vast plot to steal from women the feminist freedoms they had enjoyed under "the pagans" who worshipped "the Goddess." 

First, pagans didn't worship the Goddess because if they had, they wouldn't have been pagans, they would have been monotheists. Like his New Age feminist sources, Brown is a slave to the intellectual prestige of monotheism. Let's face it, real Greco-Roman paganism, as described in, say, Homer, has a tawdry People magazine Jennifer Aniston vs. Angelina Jolie battle over Brad Pitt quality to it. So, a bunch of goddesses get reduced down to the Goddess because monotheism just seems more respectable.

Second, Brown, with all his talk of "the sacred feminine," is being intentionally hazy about what pagans have tended to mean by it: i.e., fertility goddesses.

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Sen. Sessions commits the unpardonable: He's read the Senate immigration bill and crunched the numbers! Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has distinguished himself as the Senate's leading statesman over the last two weeks for the simple reason that he has read the 600+ page Hagel-Martinez Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act and done the math. He has delivered a number of well-informed, carefully considered speeches on the subject. John O'Sullivan calls him "a hero of commonsense in this debate." 

For this public service, he is today smeared by the Washington Post's top political reporter Dana Milbank:

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Another nail in the Freakonomics abortion-cut-crime theory: Here's the abstract from Ted Joyce's new paper (not online yet so far as I know):


Further Tests of Abortion and Crime

Ted Joyce 
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Over on the blog, I write:


“Bush Losing Hispanics:” Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy. (Too Bad about GOP, Though) 

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More from my upcoming review of "The Da Vinci Code" in The American Conservative:


Back when I wrote computer users' manuals, I'd try to break up the forbidding slabs of my pedantic prose by employing an EZ-2-Read Question & Answer format. Watching the similarly structured "The Da Vinci Code," I couldn't help musing about how my tome, "The HP LaserJet Code," would have turned out as a $125 million summer blockbuster:


Audrey Tautou (beseechingly): How do I print in Times Roman?
Tom Hanks (decisively): Insert the serif font cartridge. 
Audrey (frantically): But the printer's not doing anything! 
Tom (with steely resolve): Try plugging it in.


Having sat through "The Da Vinci Code," I'm confident that Audrey and Tom would have delivered my lines with more believability, personality, and sexual tension than they managed to muster for screenwriter Akiva Goldsman's didactic dialogue.




My new article on an overlooked implication of the Senate's "temporary worker program is up:




The Higher Morality: Bolsheviks were excused from the requirement to follow traditional ethics because the ends justified the means. Similarly, supporters of illegal immigration believe that ordinary morality, such as not telling bald-faced lies, don't apply to them because they are fighting for diversity, tolerance, and against nativism and racism. Thus, we see that the shocking behavior by President Bush and Senator Hagel that I documented in Bush Administration Announces Bush Lied about "Temporary Workers" Being Temporary passing almost without negative comment. Hey, they are on the side of the angels, so what's a little lying to the American people compared to sticking it to the "political lowest common denominator," as Sen. Hagel referred to the Republican "base."




"The Da Vinci Code" -- From my upcoming review in The American Conservative


In the not-so-shocking climax to "The Da Vinci Code," we discover that one of the characters is the last living descendent of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. 

This "Holy Blood" hooey is superstition of the grossest sort. Consider how genealogy actually works. Go back 80 generations (2000 years), and your family tree has one septillion slots to fill. If Jesus had any living descendents today, He'd have millions of them. Almost the only way there could be just one surviving heir is if the dynasty had relentlessly inbred so incestuously that the latest Magdalenian would have three eyes.


This Slate article by Larry Hurtado on how the New Testament came together is good.




Bush Administration Announces Bush Lied about "Temporary Workers" Being Temporary -- Here's my new posting on the blog.




New Sailer items on the blog:

Thanks A Million, Senate! No, Wait…

A Marshall Plan for Mexico?




My latest blog item: Over on the blog, I celebrate one of my iSteve readers' contributions to the immigration debate.




Bleg: A reader at a big trucking firm wants to know what kind of testing could they do of truck-driving employment applicants to get a higher percentage of drivers who won't get in accidents, won't get lost, won't fail to call in when they are late and so forth. And what could they get away with under EEOC guidelines (they are well over the 15 employee limit where anti-discrimination guidelines begin to take effect)?




Reactions to the Bush Immigration speech:

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Tom Wolfe's concept of the "fiction-absolute:" In Wolfe's recent Jefferson Lecture, he wrote: 


Each individual adopts a set of values which, if truly absolute in the world--so ordained by some almighty force--would make not that individual but his group . . . the best of all possible groups, the best of all inner circles.


I only wish Wolfe had come up with a catchy name, which he, the coiner of "radical chic," "the Me Decade," and "the Right Stuff," is certainly capable of. A reader writes:


Tom Wolfe's "fiction-absolute" structure of the mind has tremendous explanatory power.
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Live-Blogging the Apocalypse: The blog is all over today's immigration events in real time.

Here is the transcript of Bush's speech.

Random notes on Bush's immigration speech:

If this speech reassures conservatives, we definitely are the Stupid Party, just like John Stuart Mill claimed.

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Glaivester's thought for the day: 


Is Evolution Your Science or Your Religion?


Whenever [a liberal] denigrates evolutionary psychology, what they really mean is "I thought the whole point of evolution was just to deny God. I didn't think it was actually supposed to tell us anything."




The new issue of The American Conservative:



May 8, 2006 Issue

New Republican Majority?
By Steve Sailer
The future of the GOP lies not with the Hispanic vote but with overlooked middle-class Americans.
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My New column: "Duke Lacrosse and The Bonfire of the Vanities:"


Although few fans follows the old American Indian sport of lacrosse, because of the current "rape" scandal the Duke lacrosse team is now one of the most publicized team in America, with 24,000,000 Google hits, a 30 percent margin over the New York Yankees.



By the way, here's the NY Times' web page devoted to the Duke lacrosse case coverage, listing 25 NYT stories on the brouhaha. 




Important New York Times think piece on Greg Cochran's "dangerous idea:"


Ideas & Trends
The Twists and Turns of History, and of DNA 

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Michael of 2Blowhards writes:


I don't know of any writer working today who does a better job of opening up dicey but pressing topics in humane and informed ways than Steve Sailer. Year after year, Steve has been bravely playing the role of the guy who's the first to bring up and examine loaded subjects -- subjects that I have a strong hunch we'll be hearing much more about in coming years. It's a heroic performance he has been putting on. (Steve's latest column is a topnotch example of his hefty and daring work.)

Needless to say, it's also an approach to a writing career that is probably pretty thankless in financial terms. Meanwhile, the cautious corporate journalists who take up the subjects Steve initially raised are doing very well for themselves indeed, thank you very much. Which makes it all the more important that those who value Steve's work show their appreciation. Steve is running one of his occasional fund-raising drives right now. If you enjoy and learn from Steve's writing, and especially if you're grateful that he's out there taking the big risks, please visit his website, click on the PayPal button, and send him a donation. 


So, let me review the four ways to contribute:

[1.] Peter Brimelow writes:


We want to commission Steve to begin a major project, separate from his columns, the results of which will be published in longer pieces, working towards a possible book. The topic: the implications of modern discoveries in the human biodiversity area for the survival and success of the American nation. Donations to this project will be tax-deductible. You can make credit card contributions here; or fax credit card details here; you can snail mail checks made out to "Lexington Research Institute" and marked on the memo line (lower left corner) “Biodiversity/ National Project” to the usual address:


Lexington Research Institute
P.O. Box 1195
Washington CT 06793


Now, if tax deductibility isn't relevant to you (e.g., you live outside the U.S.), you might find it simpler to donate directly to me through [2.] Paypal or [3.] Amazon, or [4.] just email me and I'll email back my Post Office Box address.


You don't need to have a PayPal or Amazon account already to donate, just a credit card. (Or you can E-mail me and I'll send you my P.O. Box number.)

Paypal and Amazon charge $0.30 per transaction and 2.9% of the total, so I only get to keep 41% of a $1 donation, but 96.8% of a $100 donation!




The Feb. 27th issue of The American Conservative is now semi-online. It includes my article "Cesar Chavez, Minuteman."




"Americans First: What's best for the citizens we already have?" -- My American Conservative article outlining my "citizenist" philosophy is now on-line.   [More]




George Clooney vs. Steve Sailer in NBC's "Roguish Charm Smackdown:" I was on the NBC Nightly News for 15 seconds tonight, right after George Clooney. With the benefit of that kind of one-on-one comparison, I'll be waiting for leading man offers to pour in from Hollywood producers. Clooney's getting raves for growing a beard and adding 30 pounds to play his role in "Syriana," but, hey, I did both of those things years before he did...

Update: The reviews are in!


"Dad, that was horrible."

My younger son


[For the rest, click the "Permalink" below ...]




Last time (I hope, but doubt): Here's my updated, refined summary of this week's Freakonomics Fiasco that includes the three iSteve blog entries below on the debunking of the Levitt abortion-cut-crime theory. Nothing new for regular readers, but if you're looking for something to link to, it's the best overall single page on the current status of the controversy.




Jodie Foster, Eugenicist: Few word strings bring Google search hits faster than "Jodie Foster lesbian," (enquiring minds want to know!) but, as I've been pointing out for years, what's more interesting about Foster is her long-standing fascination with alternative forms of conception. [For the rest, click the "Permalink" below ...]




Race v. Ethnicity: Much of the confusion in modern American intellectual discourse would be cleared up if pundits would adapt my definitions of race and ethnicity, which I've designed to fit the way the U.S. Census Bureau uses the terms.

- A racial group is a partly inbred extended biological family.

- An ethnic groups is one defined by shared traits that are often passed down within biological families -- e.g., language, surname, religion, cuisine, accent, self-identification, historical or mythological heroes, musical styles, etc. -- but that don't have to be. 

The difference is perhaps easiest to see with adopted children. [For the rest, click the "Permalink" below ...]




The Color of Crime and the New Orleans Nightmare -- My new column is up.




"Racial Realities and the New Orleans Nightmare" -- My new article is up a day early. 


It was the Perfect Storm.

No, not Hurricane Katrina. That could have been much worse. Back in the 1990s, my friend Rob Brennan wrote an unpublished novel called Category 5 about a ferocious hurricane that strikes New Orleans at the worst possible angle. Katrina, in contrast, was a Category 4 hurricane and hit New Orleans only a glancing blow.

No, the perfect storm was actually the combination of social and governmental incompetence at local, state, and federal levels—and unmentionable racial reality.




"Defining Conservatism Down" by Austin Bramwell of the National Review Board of Trustees is now up on The American Conservative website. My favorite paragraphs:


Second, a loose network of what John O’Sullivan has called “evolutionary conservatives” attempts to understand politics in light of genetic science. Unlike many conservatives, evolutionary conservatives remain undaunted by the apoplectic reaction of liberals to Charles Murray’s Bell Curve and Dinesh D’Souza’s End of Racism. Steve Sailer, for example, the most talented evolutionary conservative, writes with rigor and imagination on such scabrous topics as race, IQ, voting patterns, and national identity. Though other writers treat these ideas as taboo, perhaps because they seem to undermine American ideals of equality and self-reliance, evolutionary conservatives pride themselves on preferring truth to wishful thinking.




Tierney in NYT on the Sailer Theory of the evolution of golf's appeal:


The Golf Gene


New York Times

Published: August 20, 2005

Was golf the modern version of Pleistocene hunting on the savanna? The notion had already occurred to devotees of evolutionary psychology, as I discovered from reading Edward O. Wilson and Steve Sailer. They point to surveys and other research showing that people in widely different places and cultures have a common vision of what makes a beautiful landscape - and it looks a lot like the view from golfers' favorite tees....

For Further Reading:

From Bauhaus to Golf Course: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of the Art of Golf Course Architecture
by Steve Sailer. The American Conservative, April 11, 2005.


[For the rest, click the "Permalink" below ...]




The Return of the Second Panhandling Drive! Lots of readers have asked where the Panhandling Drive went. Well, after I collected less than 2% of what Andrew Sullivan would consider an adequate fundraising campaign, automatically informed me I couldn't collect anymore for 28 days, for reasons that remain inexplicable. So, here now is a PayPal button. You don't need to have a PayPal account already to donate, just a credit card. (Or you can E-mail me and I'll send you my P.O. Box number.)



[To read the rest, click the "Permalink" below ...]




Second Panhandling Drive!


The Internet Age is a reader's dream, but it can also be a writer's nightmare because it is so hard to get paid in an age when everybody expects "content" to magically appear for free. Moreover, my blogging and more formal articles are never going to support a lucrative amount of advertising since my natural audience is quite elite. (As Fry explained on Futurama, the economics of mass media are: "Clever things make people feel stupid and unexpected things make them feel scared.") Nor are the big money boys enthusiastic about supporting an independent thinker who isn't a team player. 

I don't just provide opinionizing. Over the last year, I broke the following stories that required extensive statistical analysis:

[For the rest, click the "Permalink" below ...]




Nicholas Wade in New York Times on the Cochran-Hardy-Harpending Theory of Ashkenazi IQ


Researchers Say Intelligence and Diseases May Be Linked in Ashkenazic Genes 

[For the rest, click the "Permalink" below ...]




Mickey Kaus blogs on


Steve Sailer has boiled down the explanation for why some states become red and others become blue to three simple words. ("God" is not one of them.) ... His equation sure works for San Francisco. ... 6:01 P.M.




Steve Sailer interviewed by Luke Ford on Race:




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My Recent Articles & Old Favorites

(See top of screen for all my articles by category)

Socializing Costs, Privatizing Profits in The Age of the Fine Print


Contra Fukuyama, there will never be a ceasefire in this struggle between the clever and the clueless. The Age of Ideology is over, but the Age of the Fine Print is upon us.

A Third Rigged Pro-Immigration Poll


It's bad enough for the WSJ's pollsters to ask a fraudulent question. But for the WSJ reporter then to announce the results support the real legislation the newspaper was afraid to ask about in the first place is such an exquisite refinement on run-of-the-mill dishonesty that it would require the imagination of a Dante to dream up an appropriate punishment.

Diversity's double whammy on good government


Does immigration-fueled diversity decrease or increase government spending? The unfortunate truth: diversity appears to lead to the worst of both worlds: less spending on honest programs benefiting those who need it, and more on ethically-dubious giveaways to those who don't.

Immigration Polls: The Old Shell Game Continues


The fact that they support massive immigration means that are more moral than you. So they don't have to obey the basic rules of morality. They can lie, mislead, and twist the truth with a clear conscience. Why? Because they are better than you.

An Overlooked Problem with "Temporary" Workers


The Senate's "temporary" worker program wouldn't even succeed at turning illegal immigration from Mexico into legal immigration. Instead, it would bring in Southeast and South Asian workers, many of them Muslims, while encouraging continued illegal immigration from South of the Border.

Bush's Immigration Speech


So, if each one of the 6,000 National Guardsmen was on patrol an average of, say, 21 hours per week (which is 1/8th of the 168 hours in a week), that would provide one soldier per 2.6 miles of border.

The Pete Wilson Myth

American Conservative


No myth has become more entrenched in the media than that recent California political history demonstrates that cracking down on illegal immigration would be political suicide for Republicans.

Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn


Although he's not a scientist, NYT genetics reporter Nicholas Wade may be the single most invaluable figure in the human sciences today.

The Duke Lacrosse Brouhaha and the Hunt for Tom Wolfe's 'Great White Defendant'


"Every assistant D.A. in the Bronx … shared Captain Ahab's mania for the Great White Defendant. For a start, it was not pleasant to go through life telling yourself, 'What I do for a living is, I pack blacks and Latins off to jail.'"

Richard Lynn's Race Differences in Intelligence


A common stratagem, I've found, is to assume that IQ differences matter only if they are genetic in origin. Since no decent, civilized, right-thinking person could possibly believe that racial differences in IQ have any genetic basis, then racial and national differences in average IQ can't possibly exist. Except — whatever their cause, they do exist and do matter.

How to Rig an Immigration Poll


Also see Part 2 here.

Four myths about immigration and voting


The lack of accountability and integrity in the mainstream press is striking. A pundit, once established, can apparently propagate nonsense catastrophic to America for years without paying any career price for his incompetence or bad faith.

Mike Judge and King of the Hill


Judge, who lives in Texas, is that rarity in the entertainment business: an unabashed populist conservative.

Undercover Economist Underperforms on Why Poor Countries Are Poor


The fundamental problem is that it doesn't really pay in Africa to be a good ruler.

Does Hispanic Immigration Actually Reduce Crime?


If you criticize this NYT op-ed by pointing out that the Hispanic imprisonment rate is 2.9 times the white rate, well, then you are an evil racist and nobody should listen to you. 

"The Return of Patriarchy"


Post-modern cultures might well be eventually pushed aside by whichever groups of religious fundamentalists — Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Wahhabi Islamists — best succeed in motivating their followers to have lots of children.

On John Derbyshire's "Hesperophobia"


The genetic science is progressing so fast that we'll know soon enough—perhaps two decades to be rock solid certain. We know which way the scientific wind is blowing right now, but even if we ignore that, wouldn't the prudent action be to wait a couple of decades, to restrict immigration and refrain from utopian foreign adventures, until the science is in?

Cesar Chavez, Minuteman

American Conservative


Like today’s Minutemen, United Farm Worker staffers under the command of Chavez’s brother Manuel patrolled the Arizona-Mexico border to keep out illegal aliens. Unlike the well-behaved Minutemen, however, Chavez’s boys sometimes beat up intruders.

Winter Olympics


"So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention."–Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s Real Sports

The Larger Lessons of the Danish Cartoon Crisis


Danes and Muslims don't agree on the basics of social organization and don't want to live under the same rules. That shouldn't be a severe problem. It's what separate countries are for. But due to mass immigration, it is in fact becoming a huge stumbling block.

Americans First

American Conservative


In devising immigration policy, the question should be: what’s best for the citizens we already have?

Malcolm Gladwell Blinks Again


Malcolm Gladwell, perhaps America's highest paid print journalist, responds at length to my criticism of his bestseller Blink, and I fire back. Who wins? You be the judge.

The Sinister "Plan of San Diego"


The forgotten story of the President of Mexico's campaign of terrorist raids on America.

Boys Will Be Boys: Reviewing Sax on Sex

Claremont Review of Books


Perhaps in a saner society, then, we would have less need for Leonard Sax's engaging combination of popular science exposition and advice guidebook, Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences. But parents as well as professors could benefit from it now.

"The New World" v. the Real Captain John Smith


"It's the End of the World as We Know It"


What the DNA researchers are uncovering as they scrape away the blather of the Goulds and Diamonds is a world we already more or less know, the one we all live in every day. The human race has its flaws. But the truth about ourselves is not so horrible that we must be shielded from it by self-appointed sages who get rich fabricating falsehoods.

American Gunfight


On November 1, 1950, two immigrant gunmen tried to  assassinate President Harry Truman in the name of Puerto Rican independence. They might well have succeeded if not for one of the great acts of individual heroism of the last century.

The Economist on Evolution


Embarrassingly for The Economist, two days before Christmas came a landmark paper by Robert Moyzis, Eric Wang, et al. that listed 1,800 genes that have been under varying selection pressure in Africa, Europe, or East Asia over no more than the last 50,000 years.

Playing the Holocaust Card


The odds of major anti-Semitic attacks in this country unfortunately rise rapidly farther out into the future, as immigration brings in more anti-Semites—which is one reason I work to cut back on immigration.

Everyday Economics: A review of Tim Harford's Undercover Economist

New York Post


TIM Harford evidently hopes his new book "The Undercover Economist" joins the apostolic succession of 2005's pop social science bestsellers that began with Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink." Just as the hugely popular "Freakonomics" by economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner flaunted a front-cover blurb from Gladwell, "The Undercover Economist" splashes Levitt's "Required reading" tribute over the title.

French Lessons

American Conservative


The nation that neocons most love to hate has followed their immigration prescriptions—to devastating results.

“Human Directionals”—The Cheap Wage/Expensive Land Economy Personified


In that harbinger of the American future, Southern California, once the Promised Land of the middle class, unskilled labor has become so plentiful that now a common weekend sight is people who are paid to stand on corners and try to catch your eye by randomly wiggling brightly colored directional arrows, typically pointing to real estate open houses. It's the 21st Century equivalent of the Depression-era advertising practice of hiring unemployed men to walk around wearing sandwich board signs saying "Eat at Joe's." And it's just as depressing.

A Celebration of the Jewish Contribution to the American Christmas


Of the top 10 Christmas pop songs, Jews wrote five and co-wrote two more.

Voting Rights Act should protect all citizens


Nationwide, 92 percent of all Latino officials elected under a partisan label are Democrats, in large part because Hispanics are clumped together in "majority-minority" districts.

Sailer Scheme for Muslim Immigrant Buyouts: Anybody have a better idea?


A recent BBC documentary revealed that 55 percent of married Pakistanis in Britain are wed to first cousins! That's even a little higher than the inbreeding rates seen in Pakistan—probably because Muslims in Europe use cousin marriage as an engine of immigration fraud.

My "Citizenism" vs. Jared Taylor's "White Nationalism" - Part 2


There has been an underlying trajectory to Western history that has produced an America where citizenism is a lot more likely to appeal than white nationalism.

France in Flames: Immigration, Not “Discrimination,” Is the Problem


The brutal fact is that the economic failings of France's Muslim and African immigrants stem in large measure from their low average IQ.

A Buyout Option for Europe's Muslims


A push-pull policy could be very effective in getting Muslims to go away. European countries should combine the push of a crackdown on welfare and crime with the pull of a buy-out offer. Returning to the Old Country with a sizable nest egg would be alluring to many who haven't assimilated into the European middle class.

The Slow Suicide of the GOP


You might think that the Bush Administration would promote policies making family formation more affordable for its political base. But the latest government data suggest it is doing the opposite.

The Bush Bust


The Bush Administration is currently imploding on multiple fronts. Here at, we'd like to remind you that: We told you so!

The Man Who Would Be Justice

American Conservative


Does the NFL Discriminate against Whites?


For at least the last 2.3 seasons, football teams with more white second-stringers have won more games. Will anybody pay attention?



It has become a journalistic cliché that keeping down working class wages through illegal immigration is "good for the economy" -- as if the American economy exists for its own sake as opposed to existing for the good of American citizens.

The Bill Bennett Brouhaha


All September, ever since the New Orleans Nightmare became evident on September 1st, the hysteria built among the political and media elite over which of them would crack first and mention the elephant in the living room: that blacks have higher average crime rates. Finally, it has burst forth in a spasm of irrational and self-righteous denunciations of former Education Secretary William J. Bennett.

Diversity Emasculates Free Speech Down Under


The presence of a few hundred Sudanese refugees in Australia has intimidated two universities into shutting down discussion of the wisdom of importing more sub-Saharan Africans into Australia. 

New Orleans and "The Color of Crime"


Personally, I am a citizenist… My starting point in analyzing policies is: "What is in the best overall interests of the current citizens of the United States?"

New Orleans, Race, and IQ,


The tragic conundrum is that the young men who could most benefit from serving a hitch in the Army, the decent but not too bright 18-year-olds who are on the knife-edge between getting their act together and falling into a lifetime of drugs and crime, are the ones least likely to make Armed Forces' cognitive cutoff of having an IQ of 92 or above.

The New Orleans Nightmare and Racial Reality


New Orleans should remind us that we still live in a harsh world. The make-believe that passes for public discourse, even at the elite level, simply isn't adequate for protecting American citizens.

Charles Murray's "Inequality Taboo"


The great thing about truths is that they are causally connected to all the other truths in the world. If you follow one truth bravely, it will lead you to another. In contrast, lies, ignorance, and wishful thinking are dead ends.

American Media Waking Up to Immigration Crisis


"More than 40 percent of Mexicans in a new survey would opt to immigrate [sic] to the United States and more than 20 percent of them would enter this country illegally given the opportunity, a study released Tuesday disclosed."

The Left Doesn't Like Darwin Either


The good news is that there are no Creationists so dogmatic that they preach taking only two days worth of penicillin on the grounds that Darwin must have been wrong.

"Mexican Evolution" or "Republican Devolution"


White House strategist Matthew Dowd argues that we shouldn't worry our pretty little heads about illegal immigration from Mexico because it will go away in 2025.

Diversity v. Freedom, Chapter CLXXXVII: The Case Of Andrew Fraser


An Australian law professor is suspended for writing a letter to a newspaper.

Jared Diamond: The New King of All Media


I offer a balanced assessment of the author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse.

John Podhoretz vs. Steve Sailer


The Five Billion


Today, almost one-fifth of all ethnic Mexicans live in the U.S. Almost five billion people (4,976 million to be precise) live in countries where the average per capita gross domestic product is lower than Mexico's mean of $9,600.

Free to Choose: The Genius Factory


Sperm banking may sound derisible. But it's a heartrendingly serious matter to those who have the misfortune to need the industry's services. About one million Americans alive today were conceived with donor sperm. Another 30,000 are born every year.

The Wind from the South: Anti-White Populism


A mighty storm is brewing in Latin America, and it will eventually reach the U.S.

Hollywood's Other Obsession: Blond Bad Guys


The only thing Hollywood loves more than blonde women is hating blond men.

From Bauhaus to Golf Course: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of the Art of Golf Course Architecture

American Conservative


2Blowhards: "I have a pretty broad conception of what "art" and "culture" can mean: Even so, I was taken up short when I read Steve Sailer's American Conservative article on golf course architecture as art. Silly me, I'd never given the topic a moment's thought. Yet there it is: landscape architecture, full of aesthetic qualities, there all around us, and in popular use. I'll take an eye-opener like Steve's piece over yet another run-through of conventional aesthetic theory any day."

Peter Frost's Fair Women, Dark Men


A couple of decades ago, I began noticing that the leading lady in a movie was almost always fairer-skinned than her leading man.

"The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence" by Cochran and Harpending


"'It would be hard to overstate how politically incorrect this paper is,' said Steven Pinker, a cognitive scientist at Harvard, noting that it argues for an inherited difference in intelligence between groups. Still, he said, 'it's certainly a thorough and well-argued paper, not one that can easily be dismissed outright.'"

Census Bureau Deflates "Latino Power" Voting Hype


According to the Census survey, Hispanics cast only 6.0% of the vote in 2004, under my 6.1% prediction, and way under Michael Barone's 9% speculation.

Asian "Natural Republicans" vote heavily Democratic: Any more bright ideas?


Thomas Sowell's Black Rednecks and White Liberals


Important   "Affordable Family Formation"—The Neglected Key To GOP's Future


Mickey Kaus wrote on "Steve Sailer has boiled down the explanation for why some states become red and others become blue to three simple words. ("God" is not one of them.) ... His equation sure works for San Francisco. ..."

Genetic Engineering: How to Find Out What It Portends


The Freakonomics of Race and IQ


Pre-emptive Executions?

American Conservative


Did legalizing abortion in the early ’70s reduce crime in the late ’90s by allowing “pre-emptive capital punishment” of potential troublemakers, as Steven D. Levitt argues in Freakonomics? Or did the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, by outmoding shotgun weddings, adoption, and respect for life, instead make more murderous the early ’90s crack wars fought by the first generation of youths to survive legalized abortion?

Click here for my follow-up responses on abortion-crime.

How Much Ruin in a Nation? Working Class Crime in the UK vs. US


Why have the morals of the white working class in the U.S. proven more resilient than those of their white counterparts in Great Britain?

Race Does Exist - New York Times


An important New York Times' op-ed page essay recently appeared, vindicating the existence of human races. ["A Family Tree in Every Gene"—Armand Marie Leroi, March 14 2005].

The White Guy Gap


From Rove's point of view, this all makes a certain amount of twisted sense. The more insults get piled upon white men by the immigration-driven growth of the diversity industry, the more motivated they are to practice identity politics of their own through the Republican Party. 

Why Some Men Don't Support Larry Summers


The Education of Larry Summers

American Conservative


I tried to explain the Larry Summers brouhaha to my wife, but she stumped me with a simple question: "Why did Summers give in so fast and promise, in effect, to make it harder for our sons to someday get hired there? What's the President of Harvard so scared of?"

The Dirt Gap: A Tale of Two States

American Conservative


The fundamental geographical reality underlying the division of Red vs. Blue states.

We're Different. Get Over It.

National Post


What Larry Summers actually said.

How to Get Rid of White Racist Prison Gangs


The Larry Summers Show Trial


Possibly the most prominent American female economist today is Deirdre McCloskey—who, perhaps not coincidentally, used to be the prominent American male economist Donald McCloskey.

Richard Florida's Cities and the Creative Class

Washington Examiner


And, sure, booms and bohemians tend to correlate, but who really attracts whom to a metroplex? Do the engineers and salesguys actually pursue the gay art dealers and immigrant restaurateurs, or are Dr. Florida's footloose favorites more likely to follow the money generated by the pocket-protector boys?

Mapping the Unmentionable: Race & Crime


Color maps showing imprisonment rates by state by race.

Sailer's One-Point Plan for Lessening Racial Enmity


1. Don't Let Your Kids Get Beaten Up by Underclass Minorities.

Malcolm Gladwell Blinks at Race


A demolition of the #1 bestselling book Blink.

Autopsy of 2004 Exit Poll


Democrat Pollster Validates My Marriage Gap Red-Blue Theory


Unmarried women voted for Kerry by a 25-point margin (62% to 37%), while married women voted for President Bush by an 11-point margin (55%- 44%).

Reflections on Martin Luther King Day


Alberto Gonzales Tortured the Law to Preserve Racial Quotas


Tom Wolfe, I am Charlotte Simmons, and the Reality of Human Differences


The GOP’s Third Electoral Secret: Marriage, Fertility…And Cheap Housing


Out of 377 demographic measures, the top three correlates with Bush's share of the vote by state are Years Married among Whites, Growth in Housing Prices, and White Fertility.

The Marriage Gap: The Baby Gap's Big Brother


My sequel to "Baby Gap:" I find a demographic measure that correlates even more outrageously with the 2004 election results.

NRO Rebunks the Hispanic Vote


Vindication on the Hispanic Exit Poll


The exit poll's funders, AP and NBC, admit it inflated Bush's share.

The Baby Gap: Explaining Red vs. Blue States

American Conservative


Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility (just as he did in 2000), and 25 out of the top 26. In sharp contrast, Kerry won the 16 states at the bottom of the white fertility list. Background data and graphs, along with reader responses, here.

What went wrong with the 2004 exit poll


The technical problems that caused that implausible report that Bush won 44% of the Hispanic vote.

Blue States More Inegalitarian


The 2004 IQ Wars: Kerry, Bush, and Red vs. Blue States


Bush's Brain

American Conservative


For a moment, I thought Sen. John F. Kerry was the exception to the rule that all liberals are secretly obsessed—even though they tell each other they don’t believe in it—with IQ.

From the Folks who Brought You President Kerry ...


The troubled exit poll that claimed that Bush won 44% of Hispanics is not just inconsistent with the real world, it's inconsistent even with itself, due to systematic inflating of Hispanic votes for Bush.

2004 Election Wrap-up


Does IQ Matter in a President?


Popular   This Just In: Kerry's IQ Likely Lower than Bush's!


Bush's scores on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test have been briefly mentioned in the press. But nobody before now has fully explained what they mean. And, even more important, this is first article to publish Kerry's score on the Navy's Officer Qualification Test. The two tests aren't perfectly comparable. But they provide no evidence that Kerry is smarter. If anything, Bush is smarter than Kerry.

The Bush-Kerry Debate on Immigration


"You have to tell the truth:" The Bell Curve after 10 years


Where Richard Dawkins fears to tread: ethnic nepotism and the reality of race


Athens' Olympic Scorecard

American Conservative


On Richard Dawkins on Race


Why is the US pushing for the EU to admit Turkey?


Perils of Marijuana Decriminalization

The American Spectator


In Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, Samuel L. Jackson comes home to find Bridget Fonda lying on the couch, smoking dope, and giggling at the TV. Disgusted, he tells her that marijuana will rob her of her ambitions. "Not if your ambition is to get high and watch TV," she replies.

Opening the Black Box of IQ and the Wealth of Nations


To open up the black box, I've created a table displaying virtually all the information Lynn and Vanhanen provide on each IQ study they used—not just the overall national IQ averages you've seen so far. 

Importing a New Underclass: More Evidence


For American-born Hispanic children, the school achievement gap, as measured by the federal NAEP tests, is 67% as large as the notoriously big white-black difference.

Michael Barone, Call your Office!


Michelle Malkin's In Defense of Internment


Michael Moore is Less

American Conservative


Latin America: The Cul-de-sac of Creativity


Olympic Human Biodiversity Preview


Thinking more about the unthinkable: The white-black IQ gap


Blogger Tacitus has been working himself up into a fine lather lately over the always-fascinating question of Steve Sailer: Evil or Vile?

Reporters Denounce Larry Bird for Being Interesting


I'm still bemused that modern sportswriters form lynch mobs whenever sports experts commit the unforgivable sin of not being boring about race. 

"Copenhagen Consensus:" Help the Tired, Poor, and Dispossessed to Stay Home


Interesting India, Competitive China


A frank comparison of the peoples of the two giga-countries: India and China.

The Brown discussion's two missing letters: IQ


Revolutionary Nepotism

The National Interest

Winter, 2004

Nepotism and dynasticism are on the rebound in politics, both abroad and at home. A major article in the prestigious quarterly The National Interest.

A Gypsy is haunting  Europe...


We're not supposed to think about the victims of Gypsy criminals because, after all, crime victims are not real victims -- they are just random human beings, not an organized political pressure group.

Bill Frist's First Priority: Medical Quotas


Limits of Libertarianism: Northern v. Southern California


Out of the Park: Baseball & Steroids

American Conservative


IQ: Truth can set us (and Africa) free


The UN reported on 3/25/04: "Few outside specialist circles are aware of the scale and severity of vitamin and mineral deficiency, or of what it means for individuals and for nations. It means the impairment of hundreds of millions of growing minds and the lowering of national IQs… And it means the large-scale loss of national energies, intellects, productivity, and growth."

The Claremont U. Reichstag Fire


Minority Outreach a Waste for GOP in 2004



Japanese Substitute Innovation for Immigration; NYT Shocked


The "Too Diverse?" Brouhaha


Occam's Claw: The Zorro of Statisticians, La Griffe du Lion.


"Stereotype Threat" (a.k.a. Occam's Butterknife)


The Bush Cult Crumbles


The Bush Administration's Malaise


The Battle of Algiers and the Battle of Baghdad

American Conservative


Invade the World! Invite the World!


Nothing Verboten: An Interview with Steve Sailer



Bernard Chapin interviews me on film criticism, what in the world happened to neoconservatism, and why the fix is in on immigration.

Remythologizing the Melting Pot


What Is Bush Thinking?


Steve Sailer would like to announce that he has finally lost all patience with George W. Bush.

Sarich & Miele: Race: The Reality of Human Differences


Norquist & Rove Pursue The Muslim Falcon


Now We Know: What Happened in the Last Election


The 2002 elections might seem like a long time ago. But in vital ways they still provide the best guide to the rapidly approaching 2004 elections.

Culture's Bell Curve: Charles Murray's Human Accomplishment

American Conservative


The GOP's Southern Strategy Wins Again


No Excuses for Thernstroms' No Excuses


Our society suffers from the "Yale or jail" myth. We tell all American kids that if they don't graduate from college, they are doomed. They too often take that to mean they might as well start dealing crack right now.

Decline of the Metrosexual

American Conservative


In the distant past, a man who dressed stylishly and enjoyed art, theater, and sophisticated music would have been praised as a "gentleman," but today his sexual orientation is automatically called into question.

The Not-So-Secret Cause of Bad Schools: Bad Students


Mass Immigration vs. The Arts


In Praise of In Praise of Nepotism


Never End a Nation with a Propostion


Gay Gene or Gay Germ?


The Blonde Wars


Rove Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry


Cognitive Dissidence on Quotas


Bush's Racial Profiling Guidelines


America's Scotch-Irish & Rove's Strategy


Sea Change or Smoke Screen?


The Iraq Attaq wasn't about democratizing the Middle East. It was about racial-religious revenge. Some Arabs Muslims blew up the World Trade Center, so we blew up some Arab Muslims. Mission accomplished.

Thinking Quantitatively about ... Golf


Let's Nation-Build in Latin America, not MidEast


Why the Hispanic Cultural Boom Fizzled


Race Flat-Earthers Dangerous To Everyone’s Health


Some of the "Race Has No Biological Reality" ideologues are so fanatical that, rather than be proven wrong about the reality of race, they'd apparently prefer to see members of their own race die.

Karl Rove: Time for a Career Change?


A Couple of Wild-Eyed Wackos: Me and the NYT


Who else besides me reports on the genetics of race? Well, the New York Times is who.

The Truth about Pim Fortuyn's Assassination


Immigration Can Spur Anti-Americanism


Is Love Colorblind? Updated


The latest Census data on the gender gap in interracial marriage.

Ethnic Crime Mobs


The "Midget or Giant" Paradox


The Black Blank Slate Theory of African-American Culture


Almost every author who writes about social issues involving African-Americans appears to know nothing -- and doesn't seem to want to learn anything -- about Africans.

End of History or End of Posterity?


Here in Southern California, marriage is increasingly reverting to what it was in Jane Austen's novels: a luxury that many cannot currently -- and some may never -- afford.

Will America Retain a "Market Dominant Majority?"


The Army's Race Relations Secret Weapon


Black and white recruits are quite equal even before they join up.

Bush's Bakke II Brief: It's Déjà vu All Over Again


A completely accurate prediction of the outcome of the Michigan Law School case.

Cousin Marriage Conundrum

American Conservative


Selected by Steven Pinker for inclusion in The Best Science and Nature Writing 2004. About half of all married people in Iraq are married to their first or second cousins -- is this one reason nation building and democracy are so difficult in Arab countries? 

Unmentionable Root of Quotas


1986 Amnesty Set off a Baby Boom among ex-Illegals


Pinker's Progress


Whites, not Latinos, won it for GOP 

Washington Times


On Interracial Marriage


My bottom line view on marriage: you ought to marry the person you love. The alternatives -- marrying a person you don't love or not marrying at all -- are a lot worse.

The “Whiteness Studies” Status Game


Vital   It's All Relative: Putting Race in Its Proper Perspective: "A racial group is a partly inbred extended family"


"Does race exist?" After years of debate over this crucial question, only limited progress has been made because neither side possesses a useful definition of "race." So, here is my General Theory of Race. This is probably my single most important contribution to contemporary thought.

Importing Anti-Semitism, 2002


Environmentalists Decide Country Worth Saving


Stephen Jay Gould, RIP

National Review Online


Fortuyn: Demonization Has Consequences


Thoughts on IQ and the Wealth of Nations


Highly popular: The strong correlation between IQ and the wealth of nations demonstrated by Lynn & Vanhanen is of world-historical importance. From now on, no public intellectual can seriously claim to be trying to understand how the world works unless he takes IQ into account.

Utah & the Paradox of "Diversity"


Pat Buchanan's Death of the West


Hispanic Cultural Conservatism a Paper Tiger


The Future of Multiculturalism

San Diego Union-Tribune


Seven Daughters of Eve


Afghan Insights of Man Who Would Be King



Originally published on Sept. 26, 2001 before the first American air strikes, this analysis of the wonderful 1975 Sean Connery movie argued that the Taliban could be beaten fairly easily, yet nation-building in Afghanistan is likely to prove difficult. Was I wrong?

Afghanistan's Family/Race Problem & Ours


Amnesty's Bad Math

National Review Online


Sullivan's Travails


Andrew Sullivan began shooting himself up with prescription testosterone about three years ago.

Neo-Darwinism in Moscow

NY Press


A Major Review of Michael Barone's The New Americans


John Derbyshire, columnist for National Review Online, commented on this long essay: "Every once in a while I read something that makes me feel I ought to give up commentary altogether. This was one such. Why isn't Steve Sailer nationally famous? Rhetorical question--I know, I know..."

Multicultural Conservatism by Angela Dillard

National Review


Importing Anti-Semitism?


Libertarianism in One Country


Human Genome Disinformation


GOP Future Depends on White Vote


The highly controversial article that revolutionized how Republicans think about their electoral future. "If Dubya had garnered 57% instead of just 54% of whites, he would have cruised to an Electoral College landslide of 367 to 171."

How to Help the Left Half of the Bell Curve

1. Why We Aren't Supposed to Write about IQ


2. How the Other Half of the Bell Curve Lives


3. IQ & the Class Struggle


4. Not So Hot Ideas for Helping the Left Half


5. Seven Ways to Help Our Fellow Citizens


It can be painful to speak honestly about such a sensitive topic as IQ. But only realism will allow us to do anything beneficial about it.

Will Vincente Fox be Dubya's Yeltsin?


Do Gays Want to Be Married or to Get Married?

National Review Online


Sociobiology at Age 25

National Review


"Ironically, while the religious right futilely attacks Darwin's theory of what we evolved from, the left clamps down upon Darwin's theory of what we evolved to." 

The Reality of Race


"What is a 'race'? It is essentially a lineage, a family tree. A racial group is merely an extremely extended family that inbreeds to some extent. Thus, race is a fundamental aspect of the human condition because we are all born into families."

Seven Dumb Ideas about Race


Thatcher Speech: The Genetic Revolution

American Outlook

Spring, 2000

Importing Mexico's Worsening Racial Inequality

Part 2: Mexico's Insidious Color Continuum


"After an experiment lasting nearly 500 years in Latin America, intermarriage has utterly failed to eliminate racial inequality. In fact, in Mexico racial segregation is worsening."

Part 3: How Latino Intermarriage Breeds Inequality


"The Hispanic influx into California seems to be simply recreating the racial hierarchy of Latin America."

A Better Way in Kosovo? 

National Post


"What could the West have done instead? The answer, shockingly enough, is to have sponsored and made humane the inevitable ethnic cleansing."

Immigration vs. African Americans


The Future of Human Nature

National Post


"As we all know from watching old science fiction movies, humans will evolve into hyper-intelligent, 97 pound weaklings. Or will they?

The Unexpected Uselessness of Philosophy

National Post


"Is there a more prestigious job title than "philosopher"? Yet, in what other profession has more brainpower made less progress?  

A Miracle Happens Here: Darwin's Enemies on the Right

National Post


Why religion and Darwinism need not be mortal enemies.

Equality v. Truth: Darwin's Enemies on the Left

National Post


A major article on how the Left hates Darwinism.

Great Slate Debate: Steven Levitt vs. Steve Sailer



I debate with the coauthor of the much discussed study claiming that legalizing abortion in the Seventies lowered crime in the Nineties.

Human Biodiversity Hall of Fame

Track & Battlefield -- w/Dr. Stephen Seiler

National Review


Everybody knows that women athletes are narrowing the gender gap separating them from male athletes' performance. Yet in running, the most quantifiable sport, everybody is wrong. 

For track buffs: additional in-depth analysis and statistics

The Words Don't Match the Pictures: Why the Polite Lies We Tell About Race & Sex Are Undermined by What We See on ESPN

National Review Online 


Is Love Colorblind?

National Review


Interracial Marriage -- Who Wins? Who Loses? While interracial marriage is increasingly accepted by whites, a surprising number of Asian men and black women have become bitterly opposed. Why?

More on interracial marriage: Readers' responses, Arthur Hu's funny article, etc.      5 graphs   

Great Black Hopes

National Review


Black Athletes triumph by toiling intensely at those games where they tend to enjoy not just cultural, but also physical and mental edges over whites. This suggests a new, pragmatic view of racial differences. 

How Jackie Robinson Desegregated America

National Review


Perhaps the least-learned lesson of the saga of Jackie Robinson is that competition can transform self-interest into an engine for racial fairness.

Where the Races Relate

National Review


Why do the U.S. Army and college sports teams do so much of a better job at managing race relations than elite colleges?

Why Lesbians Aren't Gay

National Review


From "Pervert" to "Victim:" the media's continued one-dimensional stereotyping of homosexuals; with handy table of dozens of ways gays tend to differ from lesbians.


Entire website Copyright Steve Sailer 1990-2006













































































For the convenience of search engine users: Although the correct spelling of my name is "Steve Sailer," people looking for me often spell my name as Steve Sailor, Steve Saylor, Steve Seiler, Steven Sailer, Steven Sailor, Steven Saylor, Steven Seiler, Stephen Sailer, Stephen Sailor, Stephen Saylor, Stephen Seiler, Steven E. Sailer, Steven E. Sailor, Steven E. Saylor, Steven E. Seiler, Stephen E. Sailer, Stephen E. Sailor, Stephen E. Saylor, Stephen E. Seiler, Steve Seilor, SteveSailer, iSteve, David Sailer (as Tom Brokaw called me) and more. Please note, however, that I am not the Steven Saylor who writes well-regarded detective novels set in Ancient Rome. Nor am I my old friend Stephen Seiler, the sports scientist with whom I collaborated on a National Review article in 1997. Nor am I an Australian broadcaster of a similar name.