August 20, 2005

From the NYT: "... as I discovered from reading Edward O. Wilson and Steve Sailer."

I suppose I can live with having my name yoked in the New York Times with the double Pulitzer-winning Edward O. Wilson, author of Sociobiology, On Human Nature, and Consilience. As guidelines for anyone mentioning my name in the future, however please try to restrict yourself to choosing my peers from the following list:

A. Charles Darwin

B. Isaac Newton

C. William Shakespeare

In a pinch, you could fall back to linking me with Aristotle, Galileo, or Dante, but that's about it. One must maintain one's standards.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 19, 2005

NYT's Tierney on "The Golf Gene"

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

The Golf Gene


New York Times

Published: August 20, 2005

The P.G.A. championship didn't end until Monday, which was ostensibly a workday, but more than five million men still managed to watch it on television. Why?

As an action-packed sport, golf ranks down with baseball and bowling, except that baseball is faster-paced and bowlers are whirling dervishes compared with golfers. Some golfers do exhibit sudden movements when they win a tournament, but it's always a shock to see they can get both feet in the air at once.

Golf features no body contact, no car crashes and no cheerleaders, yet men keep watching. They make up more than 80 percent of the TV audience for golf. This might simply be because they like watching a game they play themselves; men make up nearly 80 percent of the golfers in America, too. But then why do so many guys play such a frustrating game?

You could theorize that this is a cultural phenomenon, a holdover from the days of alpha males playing at exclusive clubs. But even though most courses have been opened to women, the percentage of golfers who are women hasn't risen in 15 years. Another traditional country-club sport, tennis, is played by nearly as many women as men, but golf remains one of the most segregated sports by sex - more male-dominated than rock climbing, racquetball, pool or roller hockey.

The male-female ratio is about the same as in paintball, a war game that always made more sense to me than golf. My basic feeling toward golf - hatred - probably has something to do with how badly I did the couple of times I played, but incompetence didn't seem to stop other guys from becoming obsessed with it.

I couldn't imagine what possessed them until I learned about disc golf, which began as a mellow sport for both sexes three decades ago, played by hippies in Grateful Dead T-shirts who flung Frisbees into baskets mounted on poles in public parks. Today there are 1,700 courses and a pro tour that includes superb women players.

But more than 90 percent of the disc golf players, pros and duffers, are men. The best explanation I can offer for the disparity is what happened to me the first time I teed off several years ago.

Our foursome started at a tee on high ground, looking down a tree-lined swath of grass at the basket nearly 400 feet away. After we flung our discs, as we headed down the fairway, I felt a strange surge of satisfaction. I couldn't figure out why until it occurred to me what we were: a bunch of guys converging on a target and hurling projectiles at it.

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.

The ideal is a vista from high ground overlooking open, rolling grassland dotted with low-branched trees and a body of water. It would have been a familiar and presumably pleasant view for ancient hunters: an open savanna where prey could be spotted as they grazed; a water hole to attract animals; trees offering safe hiding places for hunters.

The descendants of those hunters seem to have inherited their fascination with hitting targets, because today's men excel at tests asking them to predict the flights of projectiles. They also seem to get a special pleasure from watching such flights, both in video games and real life. No matter how many times male pilots have seen a plane land, they'll watch another one just for the satisfaction of seeing the trajectory meet the ground.

That's the only plausible excuse for watching golf. Men, besides having a primal affection for the vistas of fairways, get so much joy watching that little ball fly toward the green that they'll sit through everything else. One sight of a putt dropping in the hole makes up for long moments watching pudgy guys agonize over which club to use.

I realize, of course, that this is conjecture. But it could be tested if some enterprising anthropologist showed a video of the P.G.A. championship to the men and women in one of the remaining hunter-gatherer societies. I predict that only the men would take the day off to watch.


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.

I've now added 35 pictures to my article, and a lot of extra text.

The Natural History Of Art: Possible animal influence on human perception of art by Richard Conniff. Discover, November 1999.

Heroes, Rogues, and Lovers: Testosterone and Behavior by James McBride Dabbs with Mary Godwin Dabbs. McGraw-Hill, 256 pp., July 2000.

“Aesthetics and Evolutionary Psychology”
by Denis Dutton. The Oxford Handbook for Aesthetics, edited by Jerrold Levinson. Oxford University Press, 2003.

The back story is that Tierney's Eureka moment occurred to him while playing frisbee golf (as described above). He then looked up his hypothesis on Google, and found that I had already written up a similar version of it in a 2002 UPI article entitled "The World According to Golf." (And this idea is not original with me -- I first saw it in 1992 in John Strawn's Driving the Green: The Building of a Golf Course.)


My impression from the local driving range is that golf has been getting more popular with young women over the last couple of years. Perhaps this is due to the golf recession driving down sky high greens fees? Or bigger clubs that are easier to make solid contact with? Annika Sorenstam? Michelle Wie? Or maybe it's not happening at all... Hard to say.

Golf was fashionable for young women right after WWI, when Vogue featured covers of flappers on the links and P.G. Wodehouse wrote dozens of romantic comedy short stories for the Saturday Evening Post about two duffers who challenge each other to a desperate round to see who will win the hand of the beautiful ladies club champion.

But then it faded in popularity among young women. Today, a large fraction of women golfers are post-menopausal wives who join their retired husbands on the links.

In one survey of married PGA pros' wives, only one out of nine played golf herself often enough to have an official handicap. This suggests that access to golf courses, which the wives of star male golfers have in abundance, is not a limiting factor in keeping young women off the golf course.

The only time my wife ever got interested in golf was during her pregnancies with our sons, during which she became, for the only times in her life, a fanatical sports fan. She said she'd be flipping through the channels on TV, "And there was a close-up of a golf ball sitting on a tee ... and I just wanted to hit it!" Presumably hormonal in origin, this is a rare condition, but not unknown (I've heard from three other women who felt the same way during their pregnancies). If you are a medical researcher, you should do a paper on this Pregnancy Sports Fan Syndrome and get it named after yourself.

A sizable fraction of American women golf pros are lesbians, with well-informed published estimates running in the 20% to 30% range. In fact, one of the LPGA's major championships, the Nabisco (formerly Dinah Shore) in Palm Springs, doubles as a national lesbian spring break.

In East Asia, however, golf is quite fashionable among straight young women, and the same is true among Asian-American girls. In Southern California high schools, Asians make up about one third of female All-Conference golfers compared to about one-eighth of male star golfers.

I've never heard an explanation why. This has been going on much longer than 15-year-old Michelle Wie has been famous. It's more reasonable to say that Wie is an outgrowth of this Asian girl love of golf than that the trend started with Wie. Of course, it's likely to accelerate since Wie is on track to become the most celebrated woman athlete in the world by the time she is 18 or so. In at least one measure, performance in PGA men's tournaments, Wie is ahead of where Tiger Woods was at the same age. And it won't hurt the willowy 6-footer's popularity with young women that she looks like a fashion model.


Tierney is already getting grief from the smear-by-association crowd. One liberal blogger is shocked, SHOCKED that Tierney linked to my golf-architecture-as-art essay because it contained, out of about 4,000 words, this thought-crime:

"'The web version of Tierney's column approvingly links to another Sailer piece containing this profound analysis: "On the other hand, the Ladies Professional Golf Association's Nabisco Championship in Palm Springs has become one of the largest annual lesbian get-togethers in the United States, but, as Camille Paglia has noted, lesbians tend not to be interested in the classic visual arts, and, indeed, are often resentful of the prestige of Dead White European Male artists.' Do Tierney and the Times endorse this bigotry?"

Ah, the good old quote-out-of-context then point-and-sputter school of left- McCarthyite demonization! No need to come up with any facts or logic supporting your objections to any statement. Just fuming in outrage is sufficient.

Is Mr. Ailes claiming that the Nabisco Championship (formerly the Dinah Shore) is not one of the largest lesbian party weekends in the country? Ask some lesbians and they'll set you straight. For example, from the book "Girljock," "The Nabisco Dinah Shore Golf Tournament is reputed to attract the largest lesbian gathering in the known universe."

Or from The Advocate: "Dinah Shore weekend in Palm Springs is fast becoming the lesbian event of the year."

And if the blogger is indignant about the second half of my sentence, well, then his argument is with Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae, which a "Lingua Franca" survey of academics picked as the number one academic book of the 1990s.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Ethnic Team Names

An excerpt from my article in the September 12th issue of The American Conservative (subscribe here):

Although sportswriters like to present themselves as bluff, call-'em'-as-they-see-'em regular guys, they are remarkably prone to form high tech lynch mobs when a sports figure violates the reigning norms of political correctness. For example, Fighting Irish football legend Paul Hornung suggested in 2003 that to compete better with less academic colleges, the University of Notre Dame should, in effect, offer black athletes more affirmative action. A firestorm of journalistic indignation, though, cost Hornung his radio job.

Yet, the National Collegiate Athletic Association's recent diktat that college "mascots, nicknames or images deemed hostile or abusive in terms of race, ethnicity, or national origin" be banned from NCAA tournaments (such as the big money March Madness basketball tourney) was so laughable that many sportswriters dared snipe at it in print.

For example, scribes pointed out that the NCAA's pronunciamento only applied to 18 colleges with American Indian team names, such as the Florida State Seminoles. Yet, the council of the Florida Seminole tribe had given formal permission to the university in return for scholarships, a Seminole museum on campus, and other benefits.

Some columnists noted that proscribing the team name of the runner-up in the 2005 basketball tournament, the Fighting Illini, could cause problems since the entire U. of Illinois's name stemmed from the tribe, not to mention the state itself.

By this logic (such as it is), isn't the "U. of Indiana" inherently offensive? And while I don't exactly know what a "Hoosier" is, it sure sounds like it must be hostile or abusive to somebody…

More than a few sportswriters observed that the most beloved nickname in college sports, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (a university so popular that the NCAA had contractually awarded it uniquely favorable treatment in football bowl game bids), is a blatant ethnic stereotype. Indeed, Notre Dame's famed mascot is a hostile and obviously alcohol-abusive leprechaun putting his dukes up. Irish-American comedian George Carlin once observed that he had the feeling Notre Dame had come close to naming its teams the "Drunken, Thick-Skulled, Brawling, Short-D***** Irish." Still, ND's appellation is A-OK with the NCAA.

Nonetheless, from the NCAA's institutional perspective, its ban on Indian team names might actually turn out to be a rather clever bureaucratic ploy.

As Sports Illustrated's S. L. Price noted: "Although Native American activists are virtually united in opposition to the use of Indian nicknames and mascots, the Native American population sees the issue far differently." A 2002 poll of 352 Native Americans found that 81 percent approved of college and high school sports programs using Indian nicknames

Of course, the NCAA hardly cares what the average American Indian thinks. What plagues the organization are the Native American activists, led by the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media, which is a subsidiary of the old 1970s radical organization, the American Indian Movement.

Although individual universities like Florida State can work out deals with local tribal governments for naming rights, the NCAA is pestered by free-floating ideologues like the NCRSM. I suspect the NCAA leadership thinks it's double-crossing those annoying Indian activists, rendering them irrelevant by abolishing the offending Indian nicknames. As Stalin might have said if he was an NCAA functionary: "No mascot, no problem." [Continued in the September 12th issue]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Wong Kar Wai's "2046"

"2046" -- From my review in the upcoming September 12th issue of The American Conservative (subscribe here):

Hong Kong might be the most materialistic city in the world, but its wealth has made feasible the expensive obsessions of one of the movie business' true aesthetes, Wong Kar Wai. His film "2046," a tone poem about erotic nostalgia, has finally debuted in America more than six years after he began filming with an all-star cast of China's most glamorous leading ladies.

The making of "2046" -- Wong's lavish quasi-sequel to his oblique and exquisite little ode to unrequited ardor, "In the Mood for Love" -- could be called the Asian "Eyes Wide Shut," if Stanley Kubrick's laborious production had employed not just Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, but also Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, and Bjork.

Fortunately, after infinite tribulations, Wong and his long-suffering colleagues, most notably the great Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle (the lensman for last year's grand "Hero"), have emerged with a triumph, although a languorous and self-indulgent one. "2046" can induce the kind of reverie, the art buzz, that few films even attempt these days, but make sure you see it in a theatre with comfy seats.

"2046" stars five famous Chinese actresses, with Zhang Ziyi making the most indelible impact as a sultry taxi dancer who falls hopelessly in love with the caddish hero. Zhang has been seen mostly in kung fu movies like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," but in "2046" she seems quite happy not having to kick anybody. Instead, she, like all the women in the film, wears extremely tight 1960s dresses and even tighter high heels. (Wong's foot fetish would be comic if it wasn't so lyrically visualized.)...

Although Wong's delightful 1994 comedy "Chungking Express" was a tribute to pop culture, his wistful focus has turned increasingly toward the vanished Hong Kong of the 1960s, where his family lived in a Mandarin-language cocoon trying to keep alive Shanghai's 1949 culture. "2046" is perhaps most reminiscent of another exile from Communism's science fiction novel about a future that evoked his longed-for past, Vladimir Nabokov's Ada.

Nabokov would have liked "2046."

Also, Tommy Leung displays tremendous masculine charisma as the lothario nursing a secret sorrow.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 18, 2005

Who cares about Able Danger? Bush told airport screeners to ignore Atta Danger!

Why has there never been a scandal about Bush's program to prevent airport security checkers from giving extra attention to Arab Muslim airline passengers like, oh, say, Mohamed Atta and his 18 buddies? The Bush Administration had spent the summer of 2001 commanding airport screeners to go easy on Arab Muslims because Karl Rove had the hots for the Arab and Muslim vote (which turned out to be about a quarter of one percent -- thanks a lot, Karl!)

As I wrote for UPI on the evening of September 11, 2001 in "Bush Had Called for Laxer Airport Security:"

Sep. 11 -- Ironically, in an attempt to appeal to the growing number of Arab-American and Muslim voters, exactly eleven months ago George W. Bush called for weakening airport security procedures aimed at deterring hijackers.

On Oct. 11, 2000, during the second presidential debate, the Republican candidate attacked two anti-terrorist policies that had long irritated Arab citizens of the U.S... Bush said during the nationally televised debate, "Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what's called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we got to do something about that."

Then-Governor Bush went on, "My friend, Sen. Spence Abraham [the Arab-American Republic Senator from Michigan], is pushing a law to make sure that, you know, Arab-Americans are treated with respect. So racial profiling isn't just an issue at the local police forces. It's an issue throughout our society. And as we become a diverse society, we're going to have to deal with it more and more."

Bush's plug for Senator Abraham was intended to help Abraham in close re-election battle, which he ultimately lost. (Abraham is now the Bush Administration's Secretary of Energy.) More important personally to Bush was the swing state of Michigan's 18 electoral votes, which Al Gore eventually won narrowly. Arab-Americans, centered in Dearborn and Flint, make up about four percent of the population of Michigan, the most of any state.

In the debate, Bush conflated two separate policies that Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans felt discriminate against them: the heightened suspicions faced by Middle Eastern-looking travelers at airport security checkpoints and the government's use of "secret evidence" in immigration hearings of suspected terrorists.

Yet, despite Bush's confusion, Arab-Americans appreciated his gesture. Four days after the debate, the Arab-American Political Action Committee endorsed Bush.

The day after Bush's remarks, 17 American sailors died in a terrorist attack in the Arab nation of Yemen. The bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, however, did not stop Vice President Al Gore from echoing Bush's calls to end these two anti-terrorist techniques in a meeting with Arab-American leaders on October 14, 200.

According to a spokesperson for a leading Arab-American organization, people of Arab descent are stopped and searched at airports more often than many other ethnic groups. Some refer to this as Flying While Arab or Flying While Muslim. These terms are intended as plays on the popular phrase "Driving While Black," which is widely used to criticize police departments for stopping more black than white motorists.

This year, both Bush and his Attorney General John Ashcroft have called for an end to racial profiling. The Federal Aviation Administration provides airline and airport personnel with the Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening system to help them identify suspicious travelers. It relies on a secret profile of the characteristics of typical hijackers and terrorists.

Bush's Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has said that "the security procedures are not based on the race, ethnicity, religion or gender of passengers" Yet, the system is widely believed to use other information - such as whether the traveler is going to or coming from the Middle East - that tends to "disparately impact" Arab and Muslims.

None of the ethnic rights groups, however, has offered any data to dispute the widespread assumption that in the three decades since the Palestine Liberation Organization invented skyjacking, a disproportionate number of hijackers and plane bombers have had Middle Eastern ties.

Nonetheless, the Bush Administration publicly agrees with the civil rights organizations that even a nonracial airport profiling system that had merely a disparate impact on Arabs and Muslims would be objectionable. Secretary Mineta said, "We also want to assure that in practice, the system does not disproportionately select members of any particular minority group." Of course, if Arabs and Muslims are disproportionately more likely to hijack airliners, and the profiling system does not end up disproportionately targeting them, then system wouldn't work very well at preventing hijackings.

To ensure that no disparate impact is occurring, the Bush Administration carried out in June a three-week study, first planned by the Clinton Administration, of whether or not profiling at the Detroit airport disparately impacts Arabs. The results of the study have not been released. Nor is it known whether the secret profiles have been relaxed - they are kept secret in order to keep hijackers guessing.

However, on June 6th Attorney General Ashcroft told Congress, "We want the right training, we want the right kind of discipline, we want the right kind of detection measures and the right kind of remediation measures, because racial profiling doesn't belong in the federal government's operational arsenal." [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer makes the Human Biodiversity case against evolutionary psychology:

In "Cave Thinkers: How evolutionary psychology gets evolution wrong," a glowing review of David Buller's critique of evolutionary psychology, Adapting Minds, Amanda Schaffer thinks she's making the case for feminism, but she's actually explaining why evolution make racial genetic diversity inevitable.

As Razib pointed out at GNXP, Buller's critique is less of evolutionary psychology than of "Evolutionary Psychology™®©," as codified by my friends John Tooby and Leda Cosmides in one of the most admirable feats of academic marketing of our era.

As I wrote in "The Future of Human Nature" in Toronto's "National Post" in 2000:

However, the inevitable conservatism of Edward O. Wilson's sociobiology made it so many enemies on leftist-dominated campuses that anthropologists John Tooby and Leda Cosmides found it expedient to relaunch sociobiology under the new, improved brand name of "evolutionary psychology." In a brilliant marketing ploy, they spin-doctored sociobiolgy into academic acceptability by pronouncing themselves the truest True Believers in equality. They portrayed human nature as almost monolithically uniform, and proclaimed that science should only study human similarities.

Yet, except for identical twins, no two humans' genetic codes are the same. So, exactly whose genes were they going to study? Stumped, the evolutionary psychologists responded with name-calling: Interest in human differences was deemed evil, or tedious, or insensitive, or just not done. This conservative egalitarian party line soon had many smart people parroting silly ideas. For example, one evolutionary psychology bestseller concluded "… differences between individuals are so boring!" Since most highly-educated people are infected with the Platonic virus that makes them prefer to think in terms of nonexistent abstract certainties rather than reality's fuzzy probabilities, few challenged the new orthodoxy of a homogenous human nature. The evolutionary psychologists themselves, however, soon found that while egalitarianism was a useful cover story, it was a largely useless methodology for learning about humanity. Ironically, but not surprisingly, evolutionary psychology has become primarily the study of sex differences. Why? Because knowledge consists of contrasts. For example, yesterday the National Post reported the controversial finding of a so-called "suicide gene." Its existence was inferred by contrasting the genetic codes of the suicidal to the non-suicidal.

Information can be boiled down to that most basic of contrasts, the ones and zeroes of digital data, but it can't be boiled down further to all ones. So, if we want to learn much about human nature, we're going to need to compare different kinds of humans: male and female, sick and healthy, young and old, smart and stupid, gay and straight, tall and short, black and white, and so forth. They all deserve respect as manifestations of human nature's rich diversity.

Grasping this realistic perspective on the varieties of human nature, we can now think about our onrushing ability to manipulate our natures without succumbing to the vapours. For we already have been diversifying our own genetic code. For instance, adults were uniformly "lactose intolerant" until cattle were domesticated within just the last 10,000 years. Fortunately, Darwinian selection can work so fast that in ethnic groups with a milking tradition (e.g., Danes or Fulanis from the Sahel), most adults now possess a gene allowing them to digest milk comfortably. In other words, just as our genes influence culture, culture rearranges our genes.

For example, Schaffer writes:

These problem-solving modules evolved between 1.8 million and 10,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene epoch. And there the selection story ends. There has not been enough time in the intervening millenia, EP-ers say, for natural selection to have further resculpted our psyches. "Our modern skulls house a Stone Age mind," as Cosmides' and Tooby's primer on evolutionary psychology puts it. The way forward for research is to generate hypotheses about the urges that would have been helpful to Stone Age baby-making and then try to test whether these tendencies are widespread today...

In addition, we are probably not psychological fossils. New research suggests that evolutionary change can occur much faster than was previously believed. Natural selection is thought to effect rapid change especially when a species' environment is in flux—precisely the situation in the last 10,000 years as humans learned to farm, domesticate animals, and live in larger communal groups. Crucially, Buller notes, in order for significant change to have occurred in the human mind in the last 10 millennia, evolution need not have built complex brain structures from scratch but simply modified existing ones.

Indeed. Evolutionary Psychology™ has a quasi-Creationist tendency to assume that human evolution miraculously came to an end with the invention of agriculture. In truth, it probably sped up at that point as conditions leading to survival or death changed radically. To take one obvious example, people whose recent ancestors didn't know how to make alcohol, such as Eskimos, most American Indians, and Australian aborigines, have a much harder time dealing with alcohol today than do people descended from a long line of imbibing Eurasian farmers. And among those, Mediterranean peoples such as Italians and Jews are much less likely to be ravaged by alcoholism than are Northern Europeans who didn't have access to wine until recently.

Of course, Schaffer might be disappointed to learn that no groups of humans at any point in the past evolved under Doctrinaire Feminist conditions.

Schaffer also writes:

EP claims that our minds contain hundreds or thousands of "mental organs" or "modules," which come with innate information on how to solve particular problems—how to interpret nuanced facial expressions, how to tell when someone's lying or cheating....

[T[he central, underlying assumption of EP—that humans have hundreds or thousands of mental problem-solving organs produced by natural selection—is questionable. Many cognitive scientists believe that such modules exist for processing sensory information and for acquiring language. It does not follow, however, that there are a plethora of other ones specifically designed for tasks like detecting cheaters. In fact, considering how much dramatic change our forebears faced, it makes more sense that their problem-solving faculties would have evolved to be flexible in response to their immediate surroundings. (A well-argued book from philosopher Kim Sterelny fleshes out this claim.) Indeed, our mental flexibility, or cortical plasticity, may be evolution's greatest gift.

In other words, evolutionary psychologists ignore the g Factor to the detriment of their theories. Psychometricians increasingly agree that a "general factor" of generalized problem-solving ability accounts for much of human intelligence. This doesn't mean that humans aren't equipped with a whole Swiss Army Knife's worth of the special-function mental modules that evolutionary psychologists theorize about (they may be, or may not be), but evolutionary psychologists intentionally ignore the much more well-documented g Factor because it is politically incorrect.

Indeed, most evolutionary psychologists try hard to ignore entirely all of the the vast field of psychometrics. That's pretty funny because the data that evolutionary psychology is based on is pretty sparse, often consisting of questionnaires given to UCSB students, while psychometrics is based on 100 years of research, including military testing of scores of millions of recruits correlated against their subsequent performance.

In his bestselling (and very silly) The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould demonized the g Factor as the "rotten core" of the field of IQ (and proceeded to make a dog's breakfast of factor analysis as he flailed about trying to validate his prejudice). Indeed, two major late 1990s books entitled The g Factor suffered notorious publishing misadventures. Arthur Jensen's magnum opus couldn't find a major publisher and ended up at a mail order house. (Unsurprisingly, my review of his book, "The Half Full glass," was commissioned by National Review in 1998, but then they never published it.) Chris Brand's book The g Factor was actually pulled from store shelves by its own publisher! (You can read it here.)

Evolutionary Psychologists have tried very hard not to notice the science of psychometrics. There are a few exceptions: Geoffrey Miller is well-versed in the field but, as he admitted in his book The Mating Mind, he wasn't going to talk about it because he didn't have tenure yet. Steven Pinker wrote a chapter about IQ for The Blank Slate, but then cut it before publication. So, there is movement in a positive direction, but it will take awhile to get their courage up.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 17, 2005

Andrew Sullivan on America's vs. Britain's morals

In the London Times, Sullivan tries his hand at a topic I took on earlier this year in "How Much Ruin In A Nation? UK vs US White Working Class." His is called:

"It's a wonderful life: American society has rescued itself from what seemed to be terminal decline caused by family breakdown. Andrew Sullivan sees a lesson here for Britain."

Sullivan's article represents his usual frustrating combination of perceptiveness undermined by Sully's bulletproof self-absorption (which I outlined in detail in "Sullivan's Travails"). As a gay hedonist, Sullivan is particularly ill-suited to understand the American moral revival, so he makes a number of obvious errors that hurt his sensible points.

For example, his analysis of why social trends have improved in America gets off on totally the wrong foot:

The first thing to point out is that there was never a grand government-organised “war on anti-social behaviour”. Nannying people into being better stewards of their own lives appealed to do-gooding lefties and censorious righties but failed to have much effect. What did help was government getting out of the way when it wasn’t needed and becoming much more adept when it was...

"The most obvious explanation is the somewhat obvious one: people didn’t like living in hellish environments. If they have enough freedom to do something about it, they will. Take the crack epidemic. Crack cocaine was and is ferociously addictive, and in a matter of a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s it was clearly destroying lives, neighbourhoods and families. Now it’s a fraction of its former power. Informal social pressure simply forced it away."

What in the world is "informal" about the vast increase in imprisonment that helped bring down the American crime rate? Look at the blue line on this graph:

We've more than quadrupled the imprisonment rate since 1975. As Jack Strocchi points out, locking a couple of million bad people up is being a super-nanny.

Clearly, another crucial reason why working class whites in America are now more law-obeying and sober than in Britain is the dynamism of fundamentalist Protestantism in America, but Andrew is reluctant to admit that:

Does America’s religious revival have something to do with it? It would be nice to think so; and the critical lubricant for a healthy society — mutual trust, honesty, good neighbourliness — have rarely thrived without some religious context.

But the centre of the fundamentalist and evangelical Christian rebirth of the past 30 tears — the Bible Belt south — witnessed no greater progress than more secular areas;

Actually, the South has progressed tremendously over the decades. For example, the Christian Science Monitor recently reported:

Americans cheered the latest release of the test called "the nation's report card," which showed marked long-term gains in math and reading for elementary and junior high students. But the loudest applause is due for the South, as it turns out. Largely missed in the initial hoopla was a startling fact:

Much of the national progress reported for 9- and 13-year-olds was driven by gains in the South. For example, while 9-year-olds in the Northeast gained 10 points in reading achievement (the equivalent of a grade level) over the past 30 years, the South gained 24, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). While reading scores for 13-year-olds barely budged in most of the United States, the South gained 12 points, more than a grade level.

Andrews blunders on:

and the whole region still has higher levels of crime, abortion, divorce, illegitimacy than much of the rest of the country.

That's mostly because the South has a lot more blacks than the rest of the country, who are much more prone to a variety of social ills. What is methodologically correct is to make black-to-black and white-to-white comparisons.

Blacks, it turns out, are more law-abiding in the South than in the North, being imprisoned only about six times more often than whites in the South compared to nine times more often than whites nationally.

Among whites, the South is a more blue collar region than the parts of the country Andrew prefers. The most instructive comparison for his purposes is the American South versus the working class north of England -- such as Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, etc. -- where the white population has been descending into drunkenness and thievery, while the white population of the American South has closed much of the gap between itself Northern whites that was once quite wide.

Andrew cites one of his favorite misleading statistics:

Liberal Massachusetts — where gays, for example, can get legally married — has the lowest divorce rate in the country.

But that's because Massachusetts residents don't get married in the first place until they are so old and wrinkly that nobody wants to commit adultery with them. Seriously, a much more comprehensive and informative measure is the one I invented: Years Married. Among 18-44 year old white women, Massachusetts is last among the 50 states with an average of only 12.2 years married out of the 27 years possible. In contrast, most Southern states are up in the 15-16 years married range.

Unsurprisingly, Andrew passes on Steven Levitt's theory:

"Even higher abortion rates in the 1970s might have contributed in some way to lower crime in the 1990s, when those otherwise unwanted children would have emerged into their post-adolescent, most crime-laden years. Because they had been aborted, those people simply didn’t exist."

But the peak years for serious violent crime by youths under 18 were 1993-94, all of whom were conceived after Roe v. Wade.

(When I pointed this out to Andrew, he noted that he said "might have," which I suppose makes him less credulous than 98% of the commentators on the Freakonomics theory.)

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 16, 2005

Thomas Sowell on "Immigration Taboos"

Nothing drives me crazier than people who claim to be free market fans ignoring Econ 101's main lesson -- the Law of Supply and Demand -- and saying "Immigrants just do jobs Americans won't do." It drives Sowell crazy too (via Mickey Kaus at Slate):

Immigration has joined the long list of subjects on which it is taboo to talk sense in plain English. At the heart of much confusion about immigration is the notion that we "need" immigrants -- legal or illegal -- to do work that Americans won't do.

What we "need" depends on what it costs and what we are willing to pay. If I were a billionaire, I might "need" my own private jet. But I can remember a time when my family didn't even "need" electricity.

Leaving prices out of the picture is probably the source of more fallacies in economics than any other single misconception. At current wages for low-level jobs and current levels of welfare, there are indeed many jobs that Americans will not take.

The fact that immigrants -- and especially illegal immigrants -- will take those jobs is the very reason the wage levels will not rise enough to attract Americans.

This is not rocket science. It is elementary supply and demand. Yet we continue to hear about the "need" for immigrants to do jobs that Americans will not do -- even though these are all jobs that Americans have done for generations before mass illegal immigration became a way of life.

There is more to this issue than economics. The same mindless substitution of rhetoric for thinking that prevails on economic issues also prevails on other aspects of immigration.

Bombings in London, Madrid and the 9/11 terrorist attacks here are all part of the high price being paid today for decades of importing human time bombs from the Arab world. That in turn has been the fruit of an unwillingness to filter out people according to the countries they come from. [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Pew Poll of Mexicans: Bush's guest worker plan could bring in 56 million Mexicans!

The Pew Hispanic Center has sponsored two polls in Mexico this year on desire to immigrate to America. The results are eye-opening. When asked if they would be inclined to go to work legally in the U.S. in a temporary worker program, 52% of Mexicans in February and 54% in May said "Yes." With 106 million people in Mexico, this translates to 56 million people (assuming they bring their underage dependents, which the Bush plan would allow).

Unfortunately, Pew didn't ask how many would stay on illegally in America after their time ran out.

As for the U.S. running out of Mexican illegal immigrants, as Bush pollster Matthew Dowd claimed would happen in his recent New York Times op-ed, 21% of Mexicans said in both Pew polls that they would be inclined to go work and live in the United States without authorization. That's 22 million people. (And about twice as many Mexicans would be inclined to emigrate to America if they could do it legally.)

Robert Suro of the Pew Hispanic Center noted:

In other words, about one of every eight adults born in Mexico now lives in the United States. In the PHC surveys, 46% of Mexican adults in February and 37% in May said they have a relative living or working in the United States. Those Mexicans who have already migrated serve as a draw for future migration. Respondents with family members here were more likely to say they would migrate if they could (52% in February and 54% in May) than those who do not have relatives in the United States (33% and 40%).

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Lee Kwan Yew on democracy vs. multiculturalism

From a Der Spiegel interview with the 81-year-old founder of the Singaporean state (via GNXP).

SPIEGEL: During your career, you have kept your distance from Western style democracy. Are you still convinced that an authoritarian system is the future for Asia?

Mr. Lee: Why should I be against democracy? The British came here, never gave me democracy, except when they were about to leave. But I cannot run my system based on their rules. I have to amend it to fit my people's position. In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion. Supposing I'd run their system here, Malays would vote for Muslims, Indians would vote for Indians, Chinese would vote for Chinese. I would have a constant clash in my Parliament which cannot be resolved because the Chinese majority would always overrule them. So I found a formula that changes that...

SPIEGEL: ... and that turned Singapore de facto into a one party state. Critics say that Singapore resembles a Lee Family Enterprise. Your son is the Prime Minister, your daughter-in-law heads the powerful Development Agency...

Mr. Lee: ... and my other son is CEO of Singapore Telecoms, my daughter is head of the National Institute for Neurology. This is a very small community of 4 million people. We run a meritocracy. If the Lee Family set an example of nepotism, that system would collapse. If I were not the prime minister, my son could have become Prime Minister several years earlier. It is against my interest to allow any family member who's incompetent to hold an important job because that would be a disaster for Singapore and my legacy. That cannot be allowed.

There's so much romanticized worship of the Ellis Island immigration these days that it's heretical to mention the obvious fact that massive European immigration was a blow to democracy at the local level in America. It's hard to run a multiethnic city without venal machine politics. Chicago, for example, remains a one party town all the way into the 21st century. Like Singapore and the Lee family, Chicago has settled upon dynastic family rule as the best solution, with DaLee Rich-Mike following DaLee Rich-Joe as mayor for 37 of the last 50 years, and who knows how many years to come.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The Wages of Error

... are lucrative:

The fact is that U.S. Marines will find more deadly weapons in the first hours of war than the U.N. did in three months. And by day two the world will have forgotten Dominique de Villepin and be listening instead to Tommy Franks, who will practice a different sort of diplomacy. Get out of town in 48 hours sounds tough — but not when it results in liberation, rather than subjugation, and reconstruction instead of destruction....

Now the battlefield, Thucydides's harsh schoolmaster, will adjudicate what talk cannot. The only question remaining is not the ultimate verdict, but to what degree the past failure of allies to support the United States emboldened Saddam Hussein, cost the American military tactical surprise, complicated logistics, and needlessly raised casualties.

Victor Davis Hanson

"War Has Come," NRO

March 18, 2003

Writers who have been profoundly wrong about great issues have a built-in market of readers who share their delusions and want clever rationalizations to help them avoid admitting their own mistakes.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

"What Makes People Gay?"

Masculine and effeminate identical twins: Here's the beginning of a reasonable article on the various theories floating around for the cause of male homosexuality. J. Michael Bailey's latest finding from the Australian twin registry is that in only about 20% of male identical twin pairs where at least one twin is homosexual the other is homosexual too. So discordant pairs like Patrick and Thomas are more common than not.

What Makes People Gay?
The debate has always been that it was either all in the child's upbringing or all in the genes. But what if it's something else?
By Neil Swidey in the Boston Globe:

With crystal-blue eyes, wavy hair, and freshly scrubbed faces, the boys look as though they stepped out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. They are 7-year-old twins. I'll call them Thomas and Patrick; their parents agreed to let me meet the boys as long as I didn't use their real names.

Spend five seconds with them, and there can be no doubt that they are identical twins - so identical even they can't tell each other apart in photographs. Spend five minutes with them, and their profound differences begin to emerge.

Patrick is social, thoughtful, attentive. He repeatedly addresses me by name. Thomas is physical, spontaneous, a bit distracted. Just minutes after meeting me outside a coffee shop, he punches me in the upper arm, yells, "Gray punch buggy!" and then points to a Volkswagen Beetle cruising past us. It's a hard punch. They horse around like typical brothers, but Patrick's punches are less forceful and his voice is higher. Thomas charges at his brother, arms flexed in front of him like a mini-bodybuilder. The differences are subtle - they're 7-year-old boys, after all - but they are there.

When the twins were 2, Patrick found his mother's shoes. He liked wearing them. Thomas tried on his father's once but didn't see the point.

When they were 3, Thomas blurted out that toy guns were his favorite things. Patrick piped up that his were the Barbie dolls he discovered at day care.

When the twins were 5, Thomas announced he was going to be a monster for Halloween. Patrick said he was going to be a princess. Thomas said he couldn't do that, because other kids would laugh at him. Patrick seemed puzzled. "Then I'll be Batman," he said.

Their mother - intelligent, warm, and open-minded - found herself conflicted. She wanted Patrick - whose playmates have always been girls, never boys - to be himself, but she worried his feminine behavior would expose him to ridicule and pain. She decided to allow him free expression at home while setting some limits in public.

That worked until last year, when a school official called to say Patrick was making his classmates uncomfortable. He kept insisting that he was a girl.

Patrick exhibits behavior called childhood gender nonconformity, or CGN. This doesn't describe a boy who has a doll somewhere in his toy collection or tried on his sister's Snow White outfit once, but rather one who consistently exhibits a host of strongly feminine traits and interests while avoiding boy-typical behavior like rough-and-tumble play. There's been considerable research into this phenomenon, particularly in males, including a study that followed boys from an early age into early adulthood. The data suggest there is a very good chance Patrick will grow up to be homosexual. Not all homosexual men show this extremely feminine behavior as young boys. But the research indicates that, of the boys who do exhibit CGN, about 75 percent of them - perhaps more - turn out to be gay or bisexual.

What makes the case of Patrick and Thomas so fascinating is that it calls into question both of the dominant theories in the long-running debate over what makes people gay: nature or nurture, genes or learned behavior. As identical twins, Patrick and Thomas began as genetic clones. From the moment they came out of their mother's womb, their environment was about as close to identical as possible - being fed, changed, and plopped into their car seats the same way, having similar relationships with the same nurturing father and mother. Yet before either boy could talk, one showed highly feminine traits while the other appeared to be "all boy," as the moms at the playgrounds say with apologetic shrugs.

"That my sons were different the second they were born, there is no question about it," says the twins' mother. [More]

Gregory Cochran suggests that the best way to test the popular gay gene theory is to clone gay sheep. Although you hear a lot from propagandists about how common homosexuality is among animals, exclusive male homosexuality is quite rare. Rams are one of very few animals where a measurable percentage of males will ignore a female in heat who has been tied to a fence. It drives sheep ranchers crazy. They might have a superb specimen of a ram, a real Greg Louganis of the sheep world, that they want to mate with as many ewes as possible, but he doesn't have eyes for ewe -- just rams.

Anyway, we've known how to clone sheep since Dolly back in the 1990s, so we could clone a bunch of gay rams and see how their clones turned out. If they are all gay, that suggests that there is a gay gene or genes. If not, that suggests the environment or random breakdowns play a role, such as Greg's gay germ theory or something else.

So, why do Christian and Jewish churches dislike the idea that male homosexuality is innate? Well, within their institutional memories, most homosexual behavior was not. It's pretty clear that in Greek and Roman time, homosexual behavior wasn't much at all like modern Castro Street homosexuality. To a very large extent, it was an indulgence practiced by the powerful on the weak: what we think of as child molestation, prison rape, and sexual harassment. (Modern homosexuals often fail to realize that they would have been scorned in Athens as womanish for wanting to please another man.) Even at it's least abusive, ancient homosexuality reflected youthful male-male infatuations that only flourished when women were sequestered or despised. The triumph of Jerusalem over Athens came both by negative sanctions on vice but also by the increased status of women under Christianity, which made companionate marriage the ideal.

My best guess is that due to the success of Christianity at stigmatizing homosexual vice, we are left then, largely, with men who are innately homosexual. But that also explains why Christians and orthodox Jews have a hard time agreeing that homosexual behavior stems from innate homosexual orientations -- in their historical experience, most homosexual behavior was not an innate orientation, but was controllable by social sanctions.

I suspect that after the gay movement achieves gay marriage, they'll quickly realize they just wanted it because they were told they couldn't have it. So, they'll look around for some new goal. In the long run, they'll probably try to revive the ancient world's attitudes toward homosexuality.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 15, 2005

Choose the DNA for your own John Madden's NFL Football 2006 players!

A reader writes:

As you may or not know last Tuesday was the official slacker holiday of the year, it was that special day when John Madden’s NFL Football 2006 was first made available in stores. So of course I took the day off and bought it first thing in the morning. In the opening menu of the game there is an option to view tutorials for upgrades to the new season’s game play. My jaw dropped when I saw that one of the new additions this year is option to create a player from scratch, using the new “DNA” feature.

The DNA process allows game players to select the athletes’ parents. While scrolling through the parents available to mate and have your next superstar you will see the parent’s education levels, race, occupations, and IQ!

Here are a few observations from how the boys at EA Sports view IQ: 1. Female mates almost always have higher IQs than their male counterparts (at least 95% of the time).

2. Parents of sub-Saharan African ancestry are far more likely to have IQs between 130 and 160 than their Caucasian counterparts.

3.The brighter the parents are, the higher level of on field “awareness” your player will have.

Next Level Gaming explains:

Another big feature in Madden 2006 is the NFL Superstar mode. In this mode, you create your own NFL player, and guide him throughout his career. You start off by creating a new player, importing a NFL Street 2 created player, or importing your NCAA Legend from NCAA 2006. If you choose to create a new player, you start by selecting your parents by choosing your DNA. The type of DNA you choose determines the position you will play and your skills at that position. Once you have created your player, you will jump in the NFL schedule in the month of April. The first thing you can do is meet with your Mentor, Terrell Davis. He will talk about some of things you can do in this mode. Next up is to participate in an interview, hire an agent, take the Wonderlic IQ test, and then it is time for the big day, the NFL Draft. Typically, I have seen my created players go in the 3rd or 4th round of the Draft. After the Draft, you will go through Training Camp and begin your journey of building a brilliant NFL career.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

What will Barry Bonds do?

The 41-year-old slugger who has won the National League MVP award four years in a row has conveniently missed the entire season having his knee tinkered with, thus avoiding the chance of being caught like Rafael Palmeiro for steroids. So, what will Bonds do next year?

- If he comes back and stays on steroids, he runs a fair chance of being caught, which would make the Palmeiro story look like a small town zoning meeting for news value. (Of course, Bonds can afford the best masking agents and biochemical advice, so he might risk it.)

- If he retires now, his reputation is toast.

- On the other hand, if he comes back with 30 pounds less muscle and hits only 15 homers next year instead of his usual 45, he will have as much as admitted he was cheating.

- So, here's what I expect. Secretly, Bonds will go off steroids, but will use Human Growth Hormone, which is officially banned, but for which baseball doesn't test. (It requires a blood test rather than a urine test, and blood tests aren't in the players' union's contract.)

Publicly, Bonds will announce that his knee is now too delicate to support all that upper body mass he innocently built up through his dedicated pumping of iron, so he's switching to a lighter, more flexibility-oriented exercise regimen. He'll talk a lot about how how his weakened knee can't let him drive his lower body through the ball anymore, so he's relying more on his wrists, etc. etc. so don't expect tape measure homeruns from him anymore.

He'll return, pass his steroid tests, and play maybe 15 pounds lighter next year. Pumped up on HGH, he'll still hit about 30 homeruns, which is tremendous for a player who turns 42 midway through next season.

Sportswriters will, on the whole, proclaim that Bonds's successful, even heroic, return from his knee injury vindicates him and all those smear artists should just shut up. Granted, sportswriters all know Bonds is a jerk, and when they stop and think, they all know it's physically impossible to do what he has done for the last four seasons without cheating. But, spectator sports and sportswriting are fundamentally driven by hero worship, not cold-eyed analysis.

We'll see.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

"Is Love Colorblind?"

My 1997 "Is Love Colorblind?" article about interracial dating and marriage is still generating discussion after eight years. Today, one blogger noted the following highlights of a recent on-line discussion about white men and black women:

So the following are completely anonymous snippets of discussion:

- "White men's game is rather weak. They seem to lack the confidence that most brothers possess. But White men love them some sistas."

- "But uh yea my experience with them has been they're actually a little more straight forward and will ask you straight out if you'd like to go out for a drink or lunch. I guess they figure if you're going to shoot them down, do it quick! Most do seem a bit lacking in overall confidence as they ask you out. Like "Would you like to go out sometimes?, I know I'm white but.......blah blah blah."-Don't give me an explanation negro...I mean dude."

- "One thing about white men that I've found is that they're more into the whole chivalry thing and culturally, they're less likely to holler at a woman walking down the street because they consider it inappropriate. Since black women are often more used to the overt approach taken by many black men, black women don't often respond to the subtle flirtation that many white men use to show their interest."

- "White men are still in the sexual experiment phase concerning black women. they sleep with but they don't have the guts to marry. Dating is meaningless."

- "I don't think that black women understand that lots of white men are actually intimidated by black women. I have had some white male friends calling me and asking how to approach certain black women because they were crazy about them, and wanted to get to know them, but didn't quite know what to say or do to get their attention."

- "For me, growing up, black guys always told me I was too dark for beauty and that I need to find the strength to pick up a hot comb since I didn't want to relax my hair. Now while all this was going on in middle school and high school. the white guys were telling me how cute they thought i was and how pretty my hair is and asking me out to the dances. These things usually being said to the tops of my shoes because of being so shy or nervous."

As I wrote in 1997:

The realities of interracial marriage, like those of professional sports, show that diversity and integration turn out in practice to be fatal to the reigning assumption of racial uniformity. The courageous individuals in interracial marriages have moved farthest past old hostilities. Yet, they've discovered not the featureless landscape of utter equality that was predicted by progressive pundits, but a landscape rich with fascinating racial patterns. Intellectuals should stop dreading the ever-increasing evidence of human biodiversity and start delighting in it.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

David Rieff on Muslim immigrants in Europe

In an essay entitled "An Islamic Alientation" (echoing Peter Brimelow's book title) in the New York Times Magazine, Susan Sontag's son echoes many of my themes.

Even if they produced no other positive result, the attacks on the London Underground have compelled Europeans of all faiths to think with new urgency about the Continent's Muslim minority. Such a reckoning was long overdue. Some left-wing politicians, like London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, have chosen to emphasize the proximate causes of Muslim anger, focusing on the outrage widely felt in Islamic immigrant communities over the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the harsh reality is that the crisis in relations between the European mainstream and the Islamic diaspora has far deeper roots, consoling as it might be to pretend otherwise.

Indeed, the news could scarcely be worse. What Europeans are waking up to is a difficult truth: the immigrants who perform the Continent's menial jobs, and, as is often forgotten, began coming to Europe in the 1950's because European governments and businesses encouraged their mass migration, are profoundly alienated from European society for reasons that have little to do with the Middle East and everything to do with Europe. This alienation is cultural, historical and above all religious, as much if not more than it is political. Immigrants who were drawn to Europe because of the Continent's economic success are in rebellion against the cultural, social and even psychological sources of that success.

In January 2004, I wrote in "Four Failed Immigration Approaches,"

But look at Europe. Its experience proves that the different immigrant-treatment approaches of the host countries matters less than what the immigrants bring with them.

Likewise, Rieff explains that none of the European's states' latest responses are likely to prove terribly effective. There's no magic bullet.

Strikingly, Rieff also observes:

In a sense, Europe's bad fortune is that Islam is in crisis. Imagine that Mexican Catholicism was in a similar state, and that a powerful, well-financed minority of anti-modern purists was doing its most successful proselytizing among Mexican immigrants in places like Los Angeles, Phoenix and Chicago, above all among the discontented, underemployed youth of the barrios. The predictable, perhaps even the inevitable, result would be the same sort of estrangement between Hispanics and the American mainstream.

Yet, it's crucial to keep in mind that when this vast social experiment of importing millions of poor Muslims "to do the jobs Europeans just won't do" began, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Early in the 20th Century, the Catholic wise men G.K. Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc forecasted that an Islamic revival would one day threaten Europe again, but their warnings were forgotten. After WWII, Islam looked like a beaten and broken faith, and Muslims appeared to be dutiful and submissive laborers. Today, American elites view Latin American immigrants similarly: as perpetually cheerful and obedient replacements for those uppity blacks whom you just can't trust as servants anymore.

The future remains unwritten. Still, history suggests prudence, something that has been in short supply among the ruling classes of both Europe and American in recent decades.

Of course, I've also been pointing out in essays like "The Wind from the South" that much of Latin America south of Mexico is increasingly in crisis itself, due to the growth of anti-white populism in reaction to the still-unresolved racial problems growing out of the Conquest of 500 years ago. This movement is likely to become vocal in Mexico during the Presidential election of 2006.

Will indigenous anti-white populism become a major problem in the U.S. as the Hispanic population becomes increasingly less white as the poorer, more brown and black sources of immigrants are progressively tapped? I don't know, I'd guess the chance of Latinos in the U.S. someday becoming a massive problem on the order of Muslims in Europe is less than 50% but more than 10%.

But why do we continue to exacerbate the odds? When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 14, 2005

My new column

"The Open Borders Crowd at the WSJ Gets Religion" -- An excerpt:

The Wall Street Journal's Editorial Page has long been notorious for making a religion of Open Borders. Now it has tried to enlist religion on the side of its obsession.

On Aug. 12th, the WSJ's free website,, ran an essay by the deputy editor of its "Taste" page, Naomi Schaefer Riley, called "Welcoming the Stranger: Faith-based groups say it's time to reform immigration." (In WSJ-speak, "reform" means "more of the hair of the dog that bit us.").

Ms. Schaefer Riley writes:

"Jihad Turk, the director of religious affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California, believes that Muslims, 'as people of conscience and faith, have to protect those in need of protection.' And his religious community is practicing what it preaches, most recently helping several families of Bosnian refugees to resettle here."

Isn't it wonderful that Mr. Jihad Turk is importing more people like himself into America? In fact, I think the U.S. should try extra hard to attract from the Muslim world more gentlemen just like Mr. Turk, men whose parents chose as their monikers, out of all the possible first names in the world, "Jihad."

"'Family reunification should be the cornerstone of immigration policy,' says Mark Franken, executive director of migration and refugee services for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."

Uh, if family unity was so important to these immigrants, why did they abandon their families and move to America in the first place? And couldn't they now reunify their families by going home? If living near relatives is so important, perhaps family reunification should be the cornerstone of deportation policy.

"'Atithi devo bhava: Look upon the guest as God.' That's the Hindu principle that should guide our policies toward immigrants in this country, says Suhag Shukla, legal counsel for the Hindu American Foundation."

Nonetheless, if we are going to adopt Hinduism as our guide, we should show it the dignity of not tendentiously distorting its meaning for political benefit the way this Wall Street Journal employee does. An immigrant is not a guest because the defining feature of a guest is that, eventually, he goes home.

Ms. Schaefer Riley continues to misrepresent the meaning of "guest" and "hospitality" throughout her essay:

"The Episcopal Migration Ministries works with the U.S. government to resettle between 2,500 and 3,000 refugees a year. 'No story in the New Testament fully expresses the belief in hospitality as well as the story of the good Samaritan,' says C. Richard Parkins, the organization's director. He cites other biblical injunctions as well, like Hebrews 13:2: 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.'

"What does that "entertaining" consist of?"

Good question...

According to the authoritative Vine's Concise Dictionary of Bible Words (1939), however, the ancient Hebrew hospitality described in the Bible, while generous, was distinctly circumscribed in duration:

"In oriental lands, and still in some countries of belated civilization, it was and is felt to be a sacred duty to receive, feed, lodge, and protect any traveler who might stop at the door… The present practice of the Arabs is the nearest approach to the ancient Hebrew hospitality. A traveler may sit at the door of a perfect stranger and smoke his pipe until the master welcomes him with an evening meal, and may tarry a limited number of days without inquiry as to his purposes, and depart with a simple " God be with you" as his only compensation." [Emphasis mine.] [More]


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Numbers Count

David Brooks' latest NYT column, Two Steps Toward a Sensible Immigration Policy, confirms his reputation as a good sociological journalist of the Tom Wolfe Lite school and a poor policy pundit. He starts off well by vividly describing one aspect of the immigration problem:

What do you say to the working-class guy from the south side of San Antonio? He feels [sic -- he knows -- it's called the Law of Supply and Demand] his wages are stagnating because he has to compete against illegal immigrants. He watches thousands [sic -- millions] of people streaming across the border, bankrupting his schools and health care system, while he plays by the rules.

He's no racist. Many of his favorite neighbors are kind, neat and hard-working Latinos. But his neighborhood now has homes with five cars rotting in the front yard and 12 single men living in one house. Now there are loud parties until 2 a.m. and gang graffiti on the walls. He read in the local paper last week that Anglos are now a minority in Texas and wonders if anybody is in charge of this social experiment.

What do you tell him about the immigration system?

Uh, that we have to get serious about cracking down on immigration? That his and his children's futures are being sold down the river by the President of the United States?

No. Of course not. According to David:

Here's what you tell him: You're right. The system is out of control. But we can't just act like lunkheads and think we can solve this problem with brute force.

No, Dave, you go tell Mr. Blue Collar American that. Let me know how he takes it.

(By the way, David, did you ever tell the Israeli government than in dealing with their problem of illegal intruders from the West Bank, that they "can't just act like lunkheads and think we can solve this problem with brute force"? I didn't think so.)

Brooks goes on:

Tough enforcement laws make us feel good but they don't do the job.

Why don't we try enforcing the laws against employing illegal aliens?

Since 1986, we've tripled the number of Border Patrol agents and increased the enforcement budget 10 times over, but we haven't made a dent in the number of illegals who make it here.

And we're spending an order of magnitude more annually on your war in Iraq, Dave, and notice how much we are getting for that! Look, I've driven along the border in Arizona and it's a joke. We have a four foot high fence that is broken down every 200 yards where illegal aliens come under it or over it nightly.

We've got agents chasing busboys while who knows what kind of terrorists are trying to sneak into this country.

No, we don't have agents chasing busboys. Internal enforcement of illegal immigrations laws is almost nonexistent these days. The de facto policy of the Bush Administration is Ollie, Ollie, Home Free. If illegals make it past about 50 miles north of the border, they are in for good.

The problem is that we make it nearly impossible for the immigrants to come here legally. We issue about 5,000 visas for unskilled year-round labor annually, but the economy requires hundreds of thousands of new workers to clean hotel rooms and process food. We need these workers --

Maybe you need these workers, David, but that blue collar guy from San Antonio doesn't need them. His life would be better off without them. And he sure doesn't need any more of them.

-- but we force them underground with our self-delusional immigration policies. As Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute says, "It's very hard to enforce unrealistic rules." So it doesn't matter how many beer-swilling good old boys appoint themselves citizen border guards, we're not going to get this situation under control until we understand this paradox: The more we simply crack down, the more disorder we get. The only way to re-establish order is to open up legal, controllable channels through which labor can flow in an aboveground, orderly way. We can't build a wall to stop this flood;

Why not? Israel's building walls. The one around Gaza has worked wonderfully for a decade and the West Bank wall is turning out to be highly effective, too. and it's working for them. Maybe they'd lend us their blueprints? Lots of other countries have had success with anti-illegal immigrant fences, too.

we need sluice gates to regulate the flow.

Brooks doesn't seem to care much about the welfare of our fellow citizens who happen to be "beer-swilling good old boys" like, say, that "working class guy from the south side of San Antonio," but in case he wants to pretend he does, he should reread his own paragraphs about what problems that blue collar citizen is confronting. Let's see how many of the problems stemming from the flood of illegal immigrants stem from the immigrants being illegal per se versus there simply being a flood of them, illegal or legal.

He feels his wages are stagnating because he has to compete against illegal immigrants.

This working class guy might not have gone to the U. of Chicago like you did, David, but he has a surer understanding of Econ 101. According to the Law of Supply and Demand, his wages are stagnating because he's facing a larger supply of competitors. Karl Marx would have called them the "reserve army of the unemployed." Legalizing the illegals would have only the most marginal of impacts on the supply and demand equation.

He watches thousands of people streaming across the border, bankrupting his schools

Once again, the problem is too many immigrants. Indeed, many of the immigrants' kids who are swamping his kids' schools are American citizens because they were born here. But the fact that a lot of them are legal under the current 14th Amendment interpretation doesn't solve any of the problems caused by having too many Spanish-speaking kids from an anti-education culture in the public schools.

and health care system, while he plays by the rules.

Legalizing them won't fix the this problem either. The central problem is too many poor people who aren't productive enough to pay for health insurance. So, when they need medical care, they just go to the local Emergency Room and the cost gets added to the bills of everybody with insurance..

But his neighborhood now has homes with five cars rotting in the front yard

Issuing documents to the undocumented won't make them better neighbors.

and 12 single men living in one house.

Legalizing them won't do anything to make them able to afford anymore. Their wages are low because the supply of them is so high.

Now there are loud parties until 2 a.m. and gang graffiti on the walls.

Ditto. An awful lot of the teenage members of Hispanic gangs were born here and thus are legal. Many gang-bangers are third or fourth generation citizens.

He read in the local paper last week that Anglos are now a minority in Texas and wonders if anybody is in charge of this social experiment.

Double ditto.

Look, numbers count.

So, what do we do? The initial step is obvious. As Norman Tebbit said in Britain after the London terrorist attacks:

“If you are in a hole, then stop digging. First we have to stop admitting people ..."

A friend writes:

The Open Borders lobby loudly proclaims that the border can't be enforced at any plausible cost. As can easily be shown, that is entirely untrue. My challenge to the Tamar Jacobys of this country is direct: "We know that the border can be easily secured with a fence, are you willing to support a fence or just admit that you don't want the border enforced even if it could be done for free?"

Another reader writes:

This afternoon, while driving from my parents' house in New Jersey to my apartment in Philadelphia, I saw something remarkable along I-95. There was a construction project along a large section of the highway. Work crews were building a 20 foot high sound-barrier that appeared to be made out of reinforced concrete. I thought to myself, "wow...I have seen these walls everywhere...I wonder how good they are at keeping the sound down."

Five miles down the road it hit me: "Wait a minute! How many miles of highway are there in the U.S.? How many miles have soundproofing barriers? How much does that cost per mile? Is this more expensive than building a wall along the border with Mexico?????"

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer