October 29, 2005

Illinois Irishmen Galore!

You probably haven't been as confused as I've been over all the ultra-Irish names in the news lately, but just in case, I think I've finally got it worked out. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was brought from his native New York to Chicago, where he has investigated corruption in the administrations of former Illinois Republican governor George Ryan and current Chicago Democratic mayor Richie M. Daley, at the request of former Illinois Republican Senator Peter Fitzgerald.

What threw me off is that Sen. Peter Fitzgerald and Patrick Fitzgerald are not related, but they are men of similar character. (I never met Peter Fitzgerald, but his brother Tom Fitzgerald was my corporate attorney when I did mergers & acquisitions in Chicago many years ago.) Peter served only one term in the U.S. Senate because he refused to play ball with the dubious way politics are done in Illinois. The Illinois GOP hierarchy was so outraged when they discovered that they had sent an honest man to Washington that Peter Fitzgerald didn't bother running for re-election.

That set in motion the farcical chain of events that included the Illinois GOP nominating Jack Ryan (no relation, other than moral, to George Ryan, or to George Ryan's predecessor as governor Jim Ryan) for Fitzgerald's seat. But Jim Ryan had to withdraw when it turned out he liked to watch over men have a go at his starlet wife Gerri Ryan. Eventually, the Illinois GOP nominated Maryland resident Alan Keyes to run against Barack Obama (neither of whom is Irish) and lose by about one billion to one.

Illinois, which was a consistently Republican state in the 1980-1990s, is now solidly Democratic, in large part because the Illinois GOP has managed the remarkable feat of acquiring among the voters a reputation as even more corrupt than the Illinois Democratic Party!

But Peter Fitzgerald's legacy looks like it will turn out to be Patrick Fitzgerald.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 28, 2005

Scooter Libby, Mob Lawyer

A depressing fact about being a lawyer is that innocent people make the worst clients, financially speaking. Say you rack up 1,000 hours saving an innocent man from prison, and then send him a bill for a quarter of a million dollars. How likely is he to pay? Well, from his perspective, his life has been nearly ruined, he's lost huge amounts of work, he's been put through hell, and now he's supposed to pay $250,000??? Not bloody likely.

On the other hand, say you spend a 1,000 hours saving a big time mobster from prison, and you send him a bill for $500,000. Will he pay? Sure. For him, it's a cost of doing business. It's a line item in his budget each year: Cost of Shysters.

So, all the monetary incentives are for lawyers to work for mobsters instead of innocent men. The only disincentive is that if you work for organized crime, respectable people don't want to associate with you. You've chosen your path in life, and foreclosed some options in return for the big bucks. For example, the mayor of Las Vegas is a mob lawyer, but that mostly shows the low moral standards of Las Vegas. In most cities, mob lawyers make a lot of money, but they are less likely to be given positions of honor and power in the city government.

Yet, from 1985 to 2000, the now-indicted Scooter Libby represented Marc Rich, one of the most notorious organized crime figures in the world, a man who, while on the lam from the U.S., systematically looted post-Soviet Russia and mentored many of the "oligarchs" in corrupt practices. When Libby's 15 years of work paid off with a pardon for Rich in the last hours of the Clinton Administration, after frantic entreaties for Rich by high figures in the Israeli government, opprobrium rightfully rained down on Bill Clinton's head. And yet, Libby immediately moved into the crucial position of chief-of-staff to Vice-President Cheney.

If Libby had spent the previous 15 years representing John Gotti, he couldn't have attained such a high position in the government. What is it about working for Marc Rich that made Libby largely immune to criticism?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Speaking of the protégés of Scooter Libby's client Marc Rich ...

The Washington Post today reports:

New Retreat for the Russian Rich: London Wealthiest Flooding 'Moscow on the Thames' With Cash

By Mary Jordan Washington Post Foreign Service Friday, October 28, 2005; A16

LONDON -- Russian billionaires, and mere megamillionaires, are dropping tens of millions of dollars for the most opulent houses in town. Jewelry stores and outrageously expensive boutiques are hiring Russian-speaking staff. And purveyors of everything from Bentleys to Beluga caviar are happily riding this wave of Russian affluence in a city some are starting to call "Moscow on the Thames."

Many trace the phenomenon to the day in 2003 when Roman Abramovich, a Russian oil tycoon in his mid-thirties, bought the Chelsea soccer club for $225 million, then paid out hundreds of millions more to assemble a star-studded juggernaut that won the English championship for the first time in 50 years. The British were agog at the cascade of Russian cash that turned humble Chelsea into mighty Chelski.

This is a city accustomed to wealth, even extraordinary wealth, much of it traditionally acquired through the sad but reliable deaths of ancestors. But London is also a magnet for those with new money: Norwegians with their shipping lines, Japanese with their gadgets and Saudis with their oil. They have all come and been tolerated, perhaps even envied, but the British capital has never seen anything quite like the Russians whose lavish wealth arrived after the Soviet Union departed.

No one, for example, had ever staged a political protest in London by sending a hundred silver limousines to the Russian Embassy. Then along came Boris Berezovsky, a billionaire who was granted political asylum by Britain after criminal fraud charges were filed against him back home. Angry at what he has called the politically motivated persecution of business leaders by the Russian government, Berezovsky organized last year's limousine protest, a street demonstration where the appropriate cocktail was martini, not molotov.

"Anyone who is anyone in Moscow is here," said Marina Starkova, director of Red Square, a London-based public relations and event-planning company catering to wealthy Russians.

Her clients enjoy London's safety, the favorable tax laws for off-shore investments and relative proximity to Moscow, just three hours and 20 minutes away by plane -- even less if you tell your Learjet pilot to step on it. But what really sets them apart from others with bulging portfolios, Starkova said, is that "Russians live like there is no tomorrow, so they spend, spend and spend." ...

Not everyone in Russia is so keen on the flight of billions of dollars to London. Much of the new wealth was accumulated at the expense of the state, when oil, gas and other natural resource industries were sold to private investors in often politically motivated deals.

That's putting it mildly...

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Nicholas Wade on the Hap-Map

The NYT genetics reporter describes the latest on the DNA haplotype study.

Besides the hapmap's potential importance for medicine, it has undoubted significance for understanding the biology of the human genome and its recent evolution. The hapmap team has already identified 14 regions of the genome that show signs of having changed in different ethnic groups under the pressure of natural selection. One of the most striking, though known already from earlier studies, is a DNA region in Europeans that confers lactose tolerance, the unusual ability to digest milk in adulthood. This genetic propensity is known to have arisen among cattle herders of northern Europe some 5,000 years ago.

Other genomic regions bear strong marks of natural selection but contain no known gene, a highly perplexing outcome that suggests, Dr. Altshuler said, that "our current ability to predict the function of DNA is very flawed."

The common variation picked up by the hapmap is much the same in different ethnic groups, because most of it is inherited from the ancestral human population before modern humans are believed to have dispersed from Africa about 50,000 years ago. The four ethnic groups studied so far have yielded four million sites of common variation, from which the total number in the world's population is expected to be 10 million.

The hapmap researchers have found that the Chinese and Japanese genomes are so similar that they can be grouped together for many purposes. The genetic differences between Europeans, East Asians and Africans lie mostly in the relative abundance in each of the common DNA mutations. But the hapmap team has found a handful of fixed differences in the first million mutations it studied - 11 between Europeans and the Yoruba, 21 between Europeans and Asians and 5 between the Yoruba and Asians. The role of these mutations is unknown.

A more marked difference emerged on the X chromosome, which is more highly differentiated between ethnic groups than are the other chromosomes. The reason, Dr. Altshuler said, could arise from the fact that men carry only one X chromosome and so, unlike women, have no backup copy if a gene on their single X is inactivated through mutation. That puts the X chromosome under heavy pressure of natural selection when it is carried by a man, and the different pressures experienced by various ethnic groups may have forced the X chromosome to differentiate more than the other chromosomes.

The hapmap team believe they have created a powerful new tool for exploring the human genome but they advise researchers to be careful about publicizing their work, especially when exploring genetic links to human characteristics that are not medical. "We urge conservatism and restraint in the public dissemination and interpretation of such studies, especially if nonmedical phenotypes are explored," they wrote.

A reader writes:

I will be watching how hapmap awareness propagates, and it is certainly off to a careful start. Too careful maybe, or is this all part of the plan?

For example at wikipedia in the description of the hapmap they include this:

"Another potential concern is that the inclusion of populations based on ancestral geography could result in categories such as " race," which are largely socially constructed, being incorrectly viewed as precise and highly meaningful biological constructs. The project undertook the community consultations to understand community concerns about such issues."

This is simply text taken from the official government Hapmap site. Of course, I could be missing something, as my primitive brain is not good at various social double-think, but "ancestral geography" seems like a peculiar category. Unless of course one's ancestral geography includes places like the US, in which case ancestral geography does not seem like an appropriate thing to base the study on at all. Googling "ancestral geography" in order to get a better grasp of the meaning brought up the official hapmap site as the top page of course. In fact, the page that came up, Guidelines for Referring to the HapMap Populations in Publications and Presentations is very specific in how we are to talk about and describe these people's "ancestral geography".

So I am left confused. Unless the point of the whole thing is that it is okay to say that people with different "ancestral geographies" are indeed different, but it is not okay to say that different "races" are indeed different.

The more I write the more confused I become. I think it is because my brain lacks some key part that allows this to all make sense.

Of course, the U.S. Census Bureau talks about "race" all the time, and explains how it's different from "ethnicity," and indeed insists that every single person in America fill in their race.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Lew Rockwell's Two-Liners

The paleo-libertarian editor has a gift for the headline-response format, as in:

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"

My review appears in the new American Conservative, available to electronic subscribers this weekend. A brief excerpt:

"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" is a comic tribute to two of the richest veins of American pop culture during the last century: the hard-boiled Hollywood private eye novel, invented by Raymond Chandler in 1939's The Big Sleep, and its cousin, the LAPD mismatched buddy cop movie, honed to commercial perfection by screenwriter Shane Black in 1987's "Lethal Weapon."

After making himself perhaps the highest paid and most despised screenwriter, Black disappeared a decade ago. Now, Black is back with a loving spoof of the Chandlerian tradition, an ingenious, self-satirical contrivance that would be incomprehensible to anyone not familiar with Chandler's glorious cinematic offspring, such as "Chinatown," "Blade Runner," "LA Confidential," and "The Big Lebowski." Indeed, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" is so fast-paced and convoluted that it's close to impenetrable, period. As in Chandler's Philip Marlowe novels, figuring out whodunnit takes a back seat to just enjoying the ride.

To play his detective leads, Black was able to hire cheaply two of the most gifted but least trustworthy stars, Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. When just a small boy, Downey began receiving recreational drugs from his father, the leftist director of "Putney Swope." His abusive upbringing appears to have rewired his brain, connecting it directly to his mouth, making him superhumanly articulate, but also deactivating all the normal circuits for self-restraint and common sense. Watching this wounded man-child play a lovable loser to perfection resembles what it must have been like listening to the great castrati sing arias -- simultaneously awe-inspiring and guilt-inducing.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Gay Shocker: Basketball Star Comes Out of the Closet!

Oh ... sorry, scratch that headline, it was a lesbian basketball player. Never mind ... All right, let's try that again:

Lesbian Ho-Hummer: WNBA Star Says She's Playing for the Other Team.

Three-time Women's NBA most valuable player Sheryl Swoopes said:

"The talk about the WNBA being full of lesbians is not true. I mean, there are as many straight women in the league as there are gay.''

Got that? The WNBA is only 50% lesbian. That's not even a majority!

Now you might think that Swoopes's announcement that she turned lesbian six years ago would be denounced for promoting the "stereotype" that women's professional basketball is full of lesbians by the same sensitive souls who are denouncing Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry for promoting the "stereotype" that blacks tend to be faster runners.

But you would be wrong. In the final analysis, it's not what somebody says, but who says it that determines whether a statement will be celebrated or excoriated. Let me provide you with a helpful table so you too can understand the complex factors that enter into determining the reactions of sportswriters:

Sheryl Swoopes Fisher DeBerry
Woman Man
Black White
Homosexual Heterosexual
Good Evil

See, being a modern sportswriter's not so complicated after all!

Sports, by its very nature, is politically incorrect because it all about inequality, determining who is superior to whom. So, sportswriters feel the need to lie about the big, obvious patterns we all notice in sports: e.g., that blacks tend to be faster runners; or that team sports appeal a lot to masculine men and masculine women, but not much to feminine women and feminine men. If they ever mentioned such horrible but true facts in their columns, the Earth would crash into the Sun.

The WNBA is a small-time league, with the maximum salary set at $89,000. The essential problem is that it appeals mostly to fans who are either lesbians (about 1% of the population) or the kind of guy fan who will watch anything. John Wooden, the 95-year-old former UCLA coach, likes watching women's basketball more than men's basketball these days because it reminds him of the (whiter) game of his early days. And considering the deterioration in the quality of the NBA over the last dozen years, he has a point. But the WNBA would benefit from using a smaller ball. (Their current ball is 1" less in the circumference than the NBA's ball, but the women need a significantly smaller ball, more like a volleyball, if they wanted to look less lame on the court.)

Lots of sportswriters are claiming that if we're lucky, this will encourage all those male homosexual jocks to come out of the closet. Swoopes herself said:

"What really irritates me is when people talk about football, baseball and the NBA, you don't hear all of this talk about the gay guys playing. But when you talk about the WNBA, then it becomes an issue. Sexuality and gender don't change anyone's performance on the court."

After all, they reason, we know that 10% of the population is homosexual, and there are thousands of famous male athletes, so there must be hundreds of closeted gay ones, right? That's simple math. You'd have to be a complete homophobe to dispute that.

Except it's not true.

It's fun to keep a list of some of the unlikely male athletes (e.g., Sandy Koufax, who has been married twice and currently lives with First Lady's college roommate) whom gays and sportswriters have claimed are homosexual. My favorite example is that frequent victim of rumors, Mets catcher Mike Piazza. The slugger has lived with about ten different lingerie models over the last decade. I have actually heard the argument made, "Well, that just shows how hard he's working to cover up his being gay. Why else would a man want to sleep with a lot of centerfolds? "

Piazza is also a metalhead whose obsession is playing heavy metal tunes on his electric guitar. Trust me, a guy whose favorite band is AC-DC isn't AC-DC himself.

Obviously, gays made up and spread the Piazza rumor just because they enjoy fantasizing about meeting Mike Piazza in a bathhouse someday.

But what about sportswriters, very few of whom are gay? These kind of stupid mistakes are made because journalists are supposed to assume that gays are exactly like straights in all ways except sexual orientation. Statistically, however, that's just not true. Male homosexuality correlates more or less with a long series of traits. In "Why Lesbians Aren't Gay" I listed about three dozen in which male and female homosexuals differ on average.

One big difference between straight and gay males is in the urge to become a professional athlete. Tragically, for about a decade we had a way to tell how many athletes in different sports were gay: the frankest indicator of the proportion of gay men in an occupation was the number of AIDS deaths in the 1982-1995 era.

Most of the occupations you'd assume to be heavily gay, such as Broadway chorographer and fashion designer, were decimated by AIDS in the 1980s and early 1990s, as was figure skating, where both Olympic male gold medallists from the 70s died of AIDS. Diving isn't as gay as figure skating but it's a lot gayer than football or golf, and, not surprisingly, the greatest diver of all time, Greg Louganis, is HIV infected.

Professional sports outside of figure skating suffered very few AIDS cases, typically one per major sport, except for boxing, where shooting heroin is a not uncommon way for old boxers to relieve the constant pain.

Despite having lots of sex with lots of women, virtually no prominent American athlete has contracted HIV heterosexually -- Magic Johnson is probably not an exception to that statement. The LA Times sports editor admitted that they had heard repeatedly that Magic was playing for both teams, but they decided to hush it up in the interests of promoting the idea that straights were just as likely to get AIDS as gays. But Magic's bisexuality is very much the exception that proves the rule about the NBA. So, the one time when the sports media had a chance to break a big news story -- and after Magic's AIDS announcement, it was definitely news -- about a true superstar of a male team sport not being completely heterosexual, it censored itself in order to promote political correctness!

The most interesting question raised by Swoopes is her contention that she wasn't born a lesbian (she used to be married and has an 8-year-old son). She claims she wasn't interested in women until she moved in with her assistant coach six years ago.

Now, that may sound politically incorrect to you -- after all, aren't we supposed to believe that homosexuality is genetic, not environmental, in origin. But, clearly, you haven't absorbed the lesson in the handy table above.

Seriously, I suspect that lesbianism is much more subject to cultural influences than is male homosexuality. In lots of times and places, lesbianism virtually didn't exist. In 19th Century Boston, for example, butch suffragettes would live together in "Boston marriages" and even sleep together, but, despite the frantic efforts of contemporary feminist academics to prove that they were doing the nasty, the weight of evidence suggests that it almost never even occurred to them.

A big question that nobody in our society wants to talk about is whether the enormous emphasis placed on team sports for girls these days makes them more likely to grow up to be lesbians.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 27, 2005


Dispatches from the Hogtown Front is the new immigration-skeptic blog from Toronto. Of all the boring countries in the world, Canada is by far the most interesting, and Americans need to pay far more attention to it. Canada represents a sort of Best Case scenario of where multiculturalist America would be headed ... assuming America had almost no blacks or Hispanics. And, yet, Canada, even with many advantages, is still falling apart.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 26, 2005

Another elderly white sports figure stifled in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

One reason I like old farts is because, unlike the craven young, every now and then they just can't stop themselves from blurting out the truth. My wife calls it "Elderly Tourette's Syndrome."

Awhile back, Paul Hornung, who won the 1956 Heisman trophy as college football's best player at Notre Dame, lost his radio announcer job for suggesting that Notre Dame had to lower its admissions requirements for blacks. (The black quarterback of ND's last national championship team in 1988, Tony Rice, scored a 690 on the SAT: "If Tony Rice’s transcript and SAT scores were brought into the admissions office today, they would be set on fire.")

Outside of sports, what Hornung said would make you a much lauded liberal supporter of affirmative action, but Hornung was crucified by sportswriters for saying it because he was thought to be implying two pieces of crimethink:

- blacks are faster on average
- blacks have lower SATs and GPAs

Obviously, both are true, but that was his fatal mistake. Sportswriters believe that what you don't say is more important than what you do say. The true test of a respectable sportswriter is his adamantine ability to not mention the elephant in the living room -- racial differences in sports skills -- and to persecute anyone who does let slip an acknowledgment of reality.

Now, we have another brouhaha, which I earlier labeled inane-to-the-point-of-being-insane. Just now, an Air Force officer sent me this official email he just received about the high crimes of the 67-year-old Air Force Academy football coach, who dared to suggest that black players tend to run faster than players of other ancestries.

From: Funkhouser Ryan O Jr Maj USAFA/DSE
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 5:06 PM
Subject: Results of Coach DeBerry Press Conference

Sent on behalf of the Vice Superintendent, Brig Gen Irv Halter

During his weekly news conference Tuesday, Falcon Football Head Coach Fisher DeBerry made some inappropriate comments about recruiting minority athletes. They were inappropriate because they could be construed by some as stereotyping a particular racial group. The Academy will not tolerate inappropriate remarks by its staff, faculty, cadets or contractors. Coach DeBerry was officially reprimanded by his supervisor, Dr Mueh, and the Academy Superintendent.

Coach DeBerry released a public statement today:

“Today, it is my desire to make a public apology for remarks I made recently about minority recruitment. I realize that the things I said were hurtful to many people and I want everyone to understand that I never intended to offend anyone. Gazette columnist Milo Bryant was right today when he said that I should have never said what I did. I have made a mistake and I ask for everyone's forgiveness. I regret these statements and I sincerely hope they will not reflect negatively towards the Academy or our coaches and players. I thank the administration for the opportunity to make this apology.”

Coach DeBerry has been a successful coach and mentor to countless cadets for more than 25 years, and the Academy will continue to fully support him as our head football coach.

Of course, America's sportswriters, those true-blue defenders of liberty, piled on immediately:

Pat Forde, ESPN: DeBerry should retire before his legacy slips:

Then, after losing to TCU Saturday to drop to 3-5, DeBerry explained that the Horned Frogs' defensive success is attributable to the fact that it starts 11 African-Americans.

"… Afro-American kids can run very, very well," DeBerry said. "That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well."

Again, not ideal timing. On Monday, the academy welcomed a new superintendent, Lt. Gen. John Regni, who pledged a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination. On Tuesday, DeBerry piped up about TCU's African-American players, stopping just short of saying, "We need us some more of those black fellers."

I'm not saying that Fisher DeBerry discriminates. I went to high school on the base of the Air Force Academy, and I graduated a few years ahead of Fisher's son, Joe (who was a fine baseball player). I don't know anyone in my hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo., who doesn't think highly of DeBerry.

So it's not like DeBerry was inventing something here -- or even saying something many coaches don't talk about in private. But given the decades of wrongly stereotyping black athletes as physically superior and mentally inferior -- run fast, think slow -- the coach was walking into a minefield. He was creeping toward Jimmy "The Greek" territory -- and every coach knows that you don't go there. Certainly not without great care.

I'm all for a more open dialog about race in America, and especially in sports. But sweeping generalizations about fast black players are going to get a coach in trouble.

Combine DeBerry's two tone-deaf episodes and you have the unsettling feel of a coach who is losing his way. Combine that feel with the on-field results -- Air Force has lost 14 of its last 22 games and could have its first back-to-back losing seasons since 1980-81 -- and you have concerns about the state of the program.

For two decades, few coaches in college football have done better than Fisher DeBerry. In a no-win situation, he won routinely.

DeBerry's career record is 164-99-1. He's had just three losing seasons in 21 years -- the third-longest tenure in the game, behind only Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden. He's won at least eight games in 11 different seasons. He's dominated the Commander In Chief competition against Army and Navy. His option offense has been perfectly tailored to the Falcons' strengths -- discipline and intelligent decision making -- and compensates for their physical shortcomings.

Not ideal timing! Forde is saying that the heavily white Air Force Falcons have, compared to blacker teams, better discipline and more intelligent decision making, which compensates for their physical shortcomings.

I'm all for a more open dialog about race in America, and especially in sports. But sweeping generalizations about smart, disciplined, slow white white players are going to get a sportswriter in trouble.

Here's Forde's email in case you want to praise him for his courageous defense of free speech.

Another brave, calls 'em as he sees 'em sports columnist:

Milo F. Bryant

Once again, these ritual eviscerations of elderly white sports figures by white sportswriters has very little to do with blacks, per se. This is just a white-on-white war over status. Blacks won't run any slower nor whites any faster because white sportswriters beat their chests and say certifiably insane things in order to show they are more racially sensitive than this outstanding coach.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Great correction in today's Wall Street Journal:

"ON AUG. 31, a mob of looters, which officials in the New Orleans mayor's office and police department say included gang members, attempted to break into the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, where city leaders had set up a command center. A Sept. 9 page-one article about communications difficulties after Hurricane Katrina didn't mean to imply that all of the people in the mob were gang members.

Let the word go forth from this time and place: New Orleans has equal opportunity mobs open to more than just gang members.

Hey, I thought those reports of looting and violence in New Orleans were all just anti-Bush and/or racist hallucinations by the anti-Bush and/or racist media? Man, keeping up with the conventional wisdom about New Orleans can give you a whiplash...

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

The demographics of Fitzgerald's Grand Jury

are not good news for the Bush boys. According to Time reporter Matthew Cooper, he noticed when he testified in front of the grand jury:

"They somewhat reflected the demographics of the District of Columbia. The majority were African American and were disproportionately women."

In the 2004 election exit poll, Kerry beat Bush among black women in the District of Columbia by a margin of 94-5. Fitzgerald apparently only needs a majority of the 23 grand jurors to indict.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

My review of Why Gender Matters:

What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences by Leonard Sax appears in the new Fall 2005 issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Not online, so subscribe here. An excerpt:

I must note that the title of Sax's book is likely to raise the hackles of readers who are purists about proper English. They may rightly snort, "Is this book about French grammar?" Obviously, Sax is misusing "gender" when he means "sex" - male or female.

I fear, though, that this usage battle is lost because the English language really does need two different words to distinguish between the fact and the act of sex. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg claims her secretary Millicent invented the use of "gender" to mean "sex" in the early 1970s while typing the crusading feminist's briefs against sex discrimination. Millicent pointed out to her boss that judges, like all men, have dirty minds when it comes to the word "sex," so she should use the boring term "gender" to keep those animals thinking just about the law. On my iSteve.com website, for example, I reluctantly use "gender" rather than "sex" in the HTML title code to avoid having web monitoring software block access to it as presumably pornographic.

Unfortunately, "gender" now comes with a vast superstructure of 99 percent fact-free feminist theorizing about how sex differences are all just socially constructed. According to this orthodoxy, it's insensitive to doubt a burly transvestite truck driver who is demanding a government-subsidized sex change when he says he feels like a little girl inside. Yet, it's also insensitive to assume that the average little girl feels like a little girl inside.

Speaking of that, you may have noticed that a number of intensely motivated transsexuals, such as computer maven Lynn Conway, have long been conducting an obsessive smear-and-destroy campaign, aided by (who else?) the Southern Poverty Law Center, against myself and anyone else who has ever had a good word to say for Northwestern U. professor of psychology J. Michael Bailey. Now, Bailey has issued a statement in the matter.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

There's still time for Michael Ledeen to begin his search for the "real forgers!"

Today, the media finally started to show some interest in the more intriguing question behind Plamegate: who forged the Niger yellowcake documents? All roads lead to Rome, and anytime anything convenient for the neocons and shady in nature happens involving the Italian intelligence service, informed eyes swivel toward National Review Online contributing editor Michael Ledeen

When I posted a rumor in April pointing in the general direction of Ledeen, that International Man of Mystery emailed me:

"This is total nonsense. I have nothing at all to do with the "Niger documents," I have not ever seen them, let alone create them or transmit them."

Yet, when I asked him if he would use his extensive contacts within the Italian spook community to search for the Real Forgers, he broke off contact.

Or maybe the French forged the documents to make everybody else look stupid.

We shall see.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Translation of latest Niger yellowcake forgeries investigative article

from La Repubblica can be found here.

Americans tend to think of Italy as being a not very serious country, with governments rising and falling constantly over seemingly petty comic opera disputes. Yet, Italy's history since the mob-assisted American invasion of Sicily in 1943 has had a lurid subterranean element involving the Mafia, a rogue Masonic lodge preparing an alternative post-coup government, the Pope's banker, the corruption of almost the entire power elite, the CIA, American funding of Italian election campaigns, and Michael Ledeen.

It doesn't take much to get Italians to conspire, but America bears some of the responsibility, since in the higher cause of fighting first Fascism, then Communism, we subsidized a fair amount of the underground activity over the years. Once again in the yellowcake fiasco, we appear to have brought out the traditional flaws in the Italian character.

On a related matter, Richard Sale of UPI writes:

A former senior State Department official told this reporter: "If Iraq had had the yellow cake in question, it would not have advanced its ability to develop a nuclear weapon because Iraq lacked the complex industrial capacity required to refine yellow cake into anything usable in that respect. In fact, in 1991 Iraq already had several hundred tons of yellow cake purchased in two deals with Niger in the early 1980's that were deemed of so little value by the IAEA that they were never removed as part of the UNSCOM disarmament effort because it was of so little significance. In fact, in the weeks after the fall of Baghdad, looters removed some of the yellow cake from its sealed drums to use the drums as containers for other materials. All along, since early 2003, I've wondered why virtually no-one said `so what?'" in reaction to the nuclear aspect of this entire affair."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

A Methuselah Mouse Prize for IQ?

A number of foundations have joined together to offer a cash prize to whomever can develop the longest-lived laboratory mouse. A reader suggests:

I was looking at Aubrey de Grey's SENS website, and was inspired to a variation. An IQ project. However many millions for the first person to raise IQ 30 points in a small number of normal people. The creatine study in Australia showed a route: massive creatine supplementation.

To be honest, I have a couple of ideas on where to begin: Fix small micronutrient deficiencies, make sure the people sleep enough, get some exercise, maybe work with neurofeedback (saw a book, symphony in the brain, claimed to have raised IQ 10 points), add creatine to the diet, remove trans fat from the diet, add omega-3's, filter lead and mercury out, both from food and water, and from the body. Learn to use the left hand. Provigil, vascular dilators, no one really knows. Remove trans-fat from the body.

Some of these may not be feasible, but some are, and we'd gain publicity in a couple of ways: we wouldn't be the evil people pointing out blacks are dumber on average. We would be the people trying to improve the world. The really high goal (30 points instead of 5 or 10) says that everyone would benefit, and benefit alot, and the importance of IQ would get out there as a problem (which we want to fix) rather than a condition (that we have to live with). By focusing on euphenotypics, people would benefit, not just vaguely conceived future generations.

You could call it the Solomon Mind contest.

Maybe the contest should be restricted to boosting the IQs of a sample averaging below 100? That's presumably easier to do (to the extent it's doable at all) since below average people are more likely to be suffering from correctable deficiencies. For example, people Africa average about 70 on IQ tests, while their cousins in America average about a standard deviation higher, suggesting that malnutrition, disease, and the like in Africa is lowering IQs below the genetic potential. We already know that lack of iodine and iron in the diet can undermine cognitive performance (which is why salt and flour is fortified here in America).

Second, focusing on the left half of the bell curve is less likely to raise the worry that the contestants are breeding superhumans who will take over the world. We really don't want a mob with torches burning down Dr. Frankenbrain's laboratory.

A methodological problem with any human testing program (e.g., the NCLB) is how do you keep subjects from sandbagging on the pre-treatment IQ test so they get higher scores on the post-treatment IQ test in order to win the prize? Maybe the foundation that offers the prize would pick and test the subjects themselves and then anybody competing for the prize would have to choose subjects from the list provided by the foundation? So, all you need is a rich foundation!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Latest inane-to-the-point-of-being-insane sports and race controversy

The AP reports:

Air Force Investigating Coach's Racially Charged Remarks:
DeBerry, in 22nd Year at Academy, Complained About Program's Lack of Minorities

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 25) - The Air Force Academy is looking into comments made by longtime football coach Fisher DeBerry, who said black athletes "run very, very well" and that the program lacks minority athletes.

The 67-year-old DeBerry, in his 22nd year at Air Force, first mentioned the academy's lack of minority players compared to other schools on Monday.

"We were looking at things, like you don't see many minority athletes in our program," DeBerry was quoted as saying in The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

DeBerry elaborated on his comments during his weekly luncheon Tuesday.

"It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well," DeBerry said in remarks broadcast Tuesday night by Denver television station KWGN.

Academy officials released a statement Tuesday, saying they were aware of the remarks.

"We cannot comment further until we have a chance to review all the reports, the coach's actual statements and to speak with the coach personally," academy spokesman Lt. Col Laurent Fox said.

DeBerry is the winningest coach in service academy history with a record of 161-94-1. He has had 17 winning seasons and won 12 bowl games.

Other controversial remarks for which DeBerry is being investigated by the U.S. government include "Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly" and "Tomorrow is another day."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 25, 2005

Linda Gottfredson devastates Evolutionary Psychology

"How did humans evolve such remarkable intellectual powers?"

As I've mentioned before, a major problem with orthodox Evolutionary Psychology of the Tooby-Cosmides mode is that it is heavily concerned with brain functioning, yet, because (understandably) it wishes to avoid being crucified for political incorrectness, it tries hard to ignore the vast amount of knowledge about the subject that has been generated over the last 100 years by IQ psychometricians. So, it generates theories like "domain-specific massive modularity" of brain function that are divorced from the reality of the importance of the general factor (g) of intelligence that psychometricians have uncovered going back to Spearman in 1904.

Now, one of the leading scholars of the current social impact of IQ, Linda S. Gottfredson, has reversed the situation by developing a theory of the evolution of intelligence based on how brainpower works today in her upcoming book chapter "Innovation, Fatal Accidents, and the Evolution of General Intelligence."

“How did humans evolve such remarkable intellectual powers?” This is surely one of the most enduring and captivating questions in the life sciences, from paleoanthropology to neuroscience. Modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) far exceed all other species in their ability to learn, reason, and solve novel problems. We are, most strikingly, the only species whose members routinely use words and other abstract symbols to communicate with each other, record ideas in material form, and imagine alternative futures. Perhaps for these reasons, we are the only species ever to have developed complex technologies that allow us radically to transform the physical environments we inhabit.

Human intelligence is tied in some manner to the large increase in brain size going up the human evolutionary tree. When the encephalization quotient (EQ) is used to measure brain size relative to body size, modern humans are three times as encephalized (EQ = 6) as other primates (EQ = 2) and six times the average for all living mammals (EQ = 1, the reference group). This phylogenetic increase represents a disproportionate expansion of the brain’s prefrontal cortext, which matures last and is most essential for the highest cognitive functions, including weighing alternatives, planning, understanding the temporal order of events (and thus cause-and-effect relations), and making decisions. Moreover, encephalization of the human line proceeded rather quickly, in evolutionary terms, after the first hominids (Australopithicines, EQ = 3) split off from their common ancestor with chimpanzees (EQ = 2) about 5 million years ago. Encephalization was especially rapid during the last 500,000 to one million years, when relative brain size increased from under EQ = 4 for Homo erectus (arguably the first species of Homo) to about EQ = 6 for living humans (the only surviving subspecies of Homo sapiens).

Brains are metabolically expensive. In humans they account for 2% of body weight but consume 20% of metabolic energy. Hence, the rapid increase in relative brain size suggests that higher intelligence conferred a strong adaptive advantage. Attempts to identify the selection forces driving up intelligence in the human environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) often look to the ecological, behavioral, and life history correlates of encephalization, either in the paleontological record or comparative studies of living species.

Evolutionary psychologists agree that increases in brain size are crucial in tracing the evolution of man’s extraordinary intelligence, but they say relatively little about what that intelligence actually is. They agree that humans have impressive reasoning abilities, which in turn confer valuable behavioral flexibility, but they conceptualize human intelligence in very different ways. The debate has focused on whether intelligence is “domain specific” (e.g., has “massive modularity”) or “domain general."

Proponents of domain specificity emphasize the morphological modularity of the human brain, likening it to a Swiss army knife, and argue that human intellectual prowess consists of a large collection of separate abilities that evolved independently to solve different specific adaptive problems, such as “cheater detection”. Humans, they argue, have not evolved any meaningful content- and context-free general reasoning or learning ability, but are smart because the human brain evolved myriad “fast and frugal heuristics”. The domain generalists, emphasizing the highly interconnected circuitry of the brain’s distinct parts, argue that human intelligence is best understood as a generalized capacity that facilitates reasoning and adaptive problem solving, especially in novel, changing, or otherwise complex situations. These theorists acknowledge the modular elements of the brain and mind, but consider them subject to the more general learning and reasoning mechanisms that they believe humans have evolved.

The specific-versus-general debate parallels the one-versus-many-intelligences debate that raged in the psychometric study of intelligence for almost a century. By the 1990s, however, cumulated evidence had persuaded most psychometricians that there exists only a single general intelligence factor (called g) which, in addition, constitutes the common backbone of all human cognitive abilities, broad or narrow. Proponents of domain generality cite this conclusion to support their thesis for a domain-general intelligence, but their currently favored explanations for its evolution actually presuppose a social intelligence in competing with other humans for resources. This does not correspond well to psychometric g (or to any other measured trait).

This implicit shift in the explanadum has followed the field’s inability to better substantiate longstanding hypotheses about how mastery of the physical environment (e.g., food, predators, harsh climates), as distinct from the social environment, ratcheted up human intelligence.

This chapter aims to show not only that our species’ distinctive intelligence is domain general at the phenotypic, genetic, and functional levels, but also how a general intelligence could have evolved. Drawing evidence from sister disciplines not often consulted by evolutionary psychologists, I first describe how general mental ability, g, represents a suite of generic critical thinking skills that provides individuals with pervasive practical advantages in coping with many life challenges, especially when tasks are more complex.

A close look at the task requirements of jobs and daily self-maintenance in modern life reveals which task attributes contribute most to complexity, and hence to the functional advantages of higher g, in many domains of life. As will be illustrated, the cognitive demands of even the most mundane daily tasks are sufficient to put less intelligent persons at a higher relative risk for many unfavorable life outcomes, including premature death.

One particularly large class of deaths -- fatal accidents -- will be used to illustrate how individual differences in g might contribute to differential mortality as people go about their daily lives. The prevalence, etiology, and demographic patterning of accidental deaths in both modern and hunter-gatherer societies provide clues to how these could have winnowed away a group’s less intelligent members throughout human evolution: fatal accidents (unintentional injuries) kill a disproportionate number of reproductive-age males, their accidents are generally associated with provisioning activities, and preventing these is a cognitively demanding process. Accidents have a high chance component, are diverse in type, and rarely kill, which dulls our appreciation of them. But these attributes are also precisely what make them a potentially powerful force for evolving a general-purpose problem solving mechanism rather than hazard-specific hazard detection modules. Fatal accidents would supplement, rather than supplant, provisioning and other ecological challenges by which natural selection could have favored individuals who learn quickly and reason well. They would likewise supplement sexual selection, in which mate preferences drive the evolution of preferred traits. [Much more]

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

President Bush's Plan to End the War in Iraq

PRESS RELEASE -- WASHINGTON D.C., President Bush has announced his plan to end the war in Iraq.

1. Declare an open border with Syria
2. Amnesty for all insurgents/terrorists
3. A guest bomber program

Thanks to a reader!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

"On Human Diversity"

"On Human Diversity" -- Armand M. Leroi, the author of that fine essay "A Family Tree in Every Gene" in the New York Times earlier this year has an article in The Scientist called "On Human Diversity." The caption reads:

The physical phenotypic differences between this Sudanese skull (right) and this European skull (left) are apparent. (From J.L.A. de Quatrefages, E.T. Hamy, Crania ethnica: les Cranes des races humaines, Baillere et fils: Paris, 1882.)

Why has the genetics community discarded so many phenotypes?
By Armand M. Leroi

Henry Flower became director of the British Museum of Natural History in 1884, and promptly set about rearranging exhibits. He set a display of human skulls to show their diversity of shape across the globe. A century later, the skulls had gone, and in their place was a large photograph of soccer fans standing in their terraces bearing the legend: "We are all members of a single species, Homo sapiens. But we are not identical." In 2004 even this went, and so it is that the world's greatest natural history museum has nothing to say to the public about the nature and extent of human biological diversity.

Of course, The Natural History Museum, as the British Museum of Natural History is now known, is not the only institution to relegate such demonstrations to the basement.

Leroi may be referring to my 2002 VDARE.com articleMalvina Hoffman's Nuer (Sudanese) Warrior about how the famous Field Museum in Chicago has broken up and demeaned its fabulous collection of 104 life-size sculptures by Malvina Hoffman representing "The Races of Mankind." When I last visited it in 1999, Hoffman's 6'-8" Sudanese Nuer tribesman had been relegated to a dusty spot in the basement next to the Mold-o-Vac and Penny Squeezer souvenir-making machines.

Leroi continues:

After the 1960s, physical anthropologists, struggling to bury the idea of race, buried phenotypes as well – sometimes literally so, as human remains have been reinterred by aboriginal claimants. They turned, instead, to comfortably neutral genetic markers to unravel the highways and byways of human history. This magnificent enterprise has charted our species' path out of Africa using successive generations of markers: blood type, allozyme, mitochondrial DNA, the Y chromosome, and nuclear single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). But is it enough? I would argue not. I would argue that it is time to resurrect the study of human phenotypic diversity. [More]

That skull comparison: A reader writes regarding the picture (below) of the European (left half) and Sudanese (right half) skulls that illustrates Armand Leroi's new article:

I find it interesting that the picture aligns the two skulls flush at the *TOP*. If they aligned the two skull together at the eye orbits you'd notice the obviously smaller frontal cranial area in the right skull. Attached [above right] is a quick edit realigning at eye sockets. Smaller brain, bigger jaw.

Hey, there are a lot of careers where that combination pays off in the big bucks. Did you ever notice how college professors and intellectuals like to wear beards, while most salesmen are clean-shaven? A beard covers up a weak jawline. (See the picture at the top of my homepage for an example.)


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Corruption's Correlates

What contributes to corruption? My criminologist reader has calculated correlation coefficients between Transparency International's 2005 Corruption Perception Index and various national demographic factors.

One confusing aspect is that the CPI gives the highest scores to the least corrupt countries, so it's actually an honesty index. Thus, the following coefficients are for correlations with honesty. Positive correlations are good, negative correlations are bad.

- IQ (from Lynn and Vanhanen's list) correlates at an impressive .708 with the honesty index.

Interesting how the IQ correlation is stronger than any of the other factors. Perhaps smarter societies rationalize their systems. National IQ is turning out to be a powerful shaper of society. And my brilliant professors all told me that individual traits do not matter at aggregate levels!

- predominantly Muslim country, -.257

- predominantly Protestant country, .345;

- predominantly white county, .521.

- ethnic diversity, -.364 for 121 countries (that offers some supports Lee Kuan Yew's contention that multiculturalism combined with democracy equals corruption).

- first and second cousin marriages (percent consanguineous), -0.160.

One difficulty is that most of the samples for cousin marriages were of subpopulations so they did not match up with the CPI data which is national. I found comparable data for 35 countries. Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia were not represented. The 7 Muslim countries fit your model perfectly, but the heavy sampling of Latin American countries (13) weakened the correlation greatly--it ended up being -.16 (remember that high CPI is low corruption). Also, consanguinity is not normally distributed--the Muslim countries averaged around 30% while no other country in the sample was higher than 6.3%.

So, my cousin marriage theory -- that the Arabs and Muslims have trouble forming effective nation-states because their extended families are too strong for patriotism to flourish due to high rates of cousin marriage -- is neither supported nor debunked by this data. The methodological problem is that, as I observed in 2003, the Muslim countries have lots of cousin marriage and lots of nepotism. But the rest of the world has so little cousin marriage that there isn't much relationship to corruption. It could well be that cousin marriage helps makes the Muslim countries the way they are, but this methodology won't nail it down.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Dick Cheney on why we should stay out of Iraq

Good Questions:

If you're going to go in and try to topple Saddam Hussein, you have to go to Baghdad. Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you do with it. It's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that's currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when it's there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave?

Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, April 13, 1991

The truly strange thing is that a decade later, Dick Cheney agitated ceaselessly to topple Saddam Hussein ... yet he never bothered to answer any of those questions he posed in 1991.

In 1996, Cheney, then chairman of Halliburton, again defended, on PBS' Frontline, the first Bush Administration's decision to leave a severely weakened Saddam in power:

... the idea of going into Baghdad, for example, or trying to topple the regime wasn't anything I was enthusiastic about. I felt there was a real danger here that you would get bogged down in a long drawn-out conflict, that this was a dangerous, difficult part of the world; if you recall we were all worried about the possibility of Iraq coming apart, the Iranians restarting the conflict that they'd had in the eight-year bloody war with the Iranians and the Iraqis over eastern Iraq. We had concerns about the Kurds in the north, the Turks get very nervous every time we start to talk about an independent Kurdistan...Now you can say, well, you should have gone to Baghdad and gotten Saddam. I don't think so. I think if we had done that we would have been bogged down there for a very long period of time with the real possibility we might not have succeeded.

[I]f Saddam wasn't there, his successor probably wouldn't be notably friendlier to the United States than he is. I also look at that part of the world as of vital interest to the United States; for the next hundred years it's going to be the world's supply of oil. We've got a lot of friends in the region. We're always going to have to be involved there. Maybe it's part of our national character, you know, we like to have these problems nice and neatly wrapped up, put a ribbon around it. You deploy a force, you win the war, and the problem goes away, and it doesn't work that way in the Middle East; it never has and isn't likely to in my lifetime.

This was the sensible Dick Cheney the nation thought it was electing in 2000. Something went wrong with the man somewhere along the line.

My biggest regret as a journalist is that I didn't adequately publicize Gregory Cochran's analysis in 2002-2003 arguing Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program. For example, in October 2002, Jerry Pournelle published Greg's irate letter arguing:

As far as I can tell, exactly nothing new has happened in Iraq concerning nukes. Most likely they are getting steadily farther away from having a nuclear weapon.

Look, back in 1990, they surprised people with their calutrons. No normal country would have made such an effort, because calutrons - mass spectrometers - are an incredibly inefficient way of making a nuclear weapon. We know just how inefficient they are, because E. O Lawrence conned the government into blowing about a quarter of the Manhattan Project budget on a similar effort. Concentrating enough U-235 for one small fission bomb cost hundreds of millions of 1944 dollars. Probably the Japanese could have constructed new cities for less money than this approach took to blow them up.

By far the cheaper way is to enrich the uranium just enough to run a reactor and then breed plutonium. The Iraqis wanted U-235, probably because it is much easier to make a device with U-235 than with plutonium. You don't have to use implosion and you don't even have to test a gun-type bomb - we didn't test the Hiroshima bomb. . I would guess that they realized their limitations - they're not exactly overflowing with good physicists and engineers - and chose an approach that they could actually have made work. Implosion is not so easy to make work. India only got their implosion bomb to work on the seventh try, back in 1974, and they have a _hell_ of a lot more technical talent than Iraq.

Anyhow, Iraq doesn't have the money to do it anymore. The total money going into his government is what, a fifth of what it used to be? ( Jeez, quite a bit less than that, when you look carefully)

[Almost all the oil sales ( other than truck smuggling) go through the UN. ^8% of that revenue is available for buying _approved_ imports. Mainly food and other hings that we approve of. The Us has a veto on such purchases. The total amount available for those approved purchases was something like 7 billion last year. Saddam is getting under-the-table payments of something like 20 cents a barrel from some or for all I know all of the buyers: but how much cash is that? we're talking something like 1 or 2 %" no more than 100 million a year. Sheesh. Probably the truck smuggling accounts for more. Hmm.. That might be as much as a billion. Not much cash to run a government. . It's a little hard to for me to see how he manages to keep the show on the road at all.]

Big non-private organizations tend to gradually slide towards zero output when the money merely stays the same: cut and they fire the worker bees and keep a few Powerpoint specialists. There is no reason to think that Arabs are immune to that kind of logic of bureaucracy. On the contrary. Not only are they not making any nuclear progress, they're probably making regress.

At best, if we hadn't interrupted them back in the Gulf War, they would have eventually had a couple. I doubt if it they even would have been an effective deterrent. It's hard to make classic deterrence work when you have one or two bombs and the other guy has thousands, when he can hit you and you can't hit him.

[Saddam] would cause himself practical trouble by harboring anti-US terrorists. If they ever made a significant hit on the US, he'd be in deep ****. What would he get out of it? And I am supposed to think that he fears terrorist groups more than he fears a Trident boat?? He should appease _them_, rather than us? Look, if we really got mad, we could turn him and his entire nation into something that was no longer human. Kill them too, of course, but that's too easy.

This particular argument is nonsense, even if he had a little deterrent. as are all the ones that I have seen floated by the Administration or by their hangers on and flacks. It's not as crazy as the idea that we're going to democratize Iraq, or Iraq and then the entire Arab world - that's about as crazy as a human can get - but it makes no sense.

Anyone with a brain knows, for example, that the last thing Israel wants is democratic Arab states, because theyd be _more_ hostile than the existing governments, and possibly stronger. . People like Mubarak understand that they can't beat the Israeli Defense Force, and also understand who makes the deposits in their Swiss accounts: a new popular government might not. And a popular government might have some enthusiasm to draw on - Iran did, at first, after the fall of the Shah - whereas in places like Syria or Iraq > 70% of the population hates the government.

I know why Wolfowitz wants this, and why Bill Kristol wants this. I know that most Americans have decided that Iraq was somehow responsible for 9-11, because what else would explain the Administration's desire to attack? And so they support an attack, which would make every kind of sense if Iraq _had_ been behind 9-11. Except that everyone knows that they didn't have anything to do with it. The problem is, I don't understand, even slightly, why Bush and Cheney want this.

Gregory Cochran

Greg made a lot of sense, but surely Dick Cheney, a man with a proven track record and with access to all that classified intelligence, must have known something Greg didn't.

Or so I thought.

I didn't see how Saddam was a danger even if he had a nuke or two, so I was deeply skeptical of the Iraq Attaq, but I didn't give Cochran's ever evolving debunking the attention it deserved.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Lebanon, Syria, and "The Princess Bride:"

Now that the UN has released a report blaming Syria in the assassination of the Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri, there have been numerous interviews with the murdered man's son. I'm reminded of William Goldman's dialogue from "The Princess Bride" when the Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya finally tracks down the six-fingered man who murdered his father.

Inigo Montoya [Mandy Patinkin]: Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father: prepare to die.

Now, offer me money.

[slices Count Rugen's cheek]

Count Rugen [Christopher Guest]: Yes.

Inigo Montoya: Power too. Promise me that.

[slices Count Rugen's other cheek]

Count Rugen: All that I have and more. Please...

Inigo Montoya: Offer me everything I ask for.

Count Rugen: Any thing you want.

Inigo Montoya: I want my father back, you son of bitch.

[stabs and kills Count Rugen]

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

The Bush Bust

My new VDARE.com column "The Bush Bust:"

The Bush Administration is currently imploding on multiple fronts.

- After years of encouraging illegal immigration, President Bush has suddenly responded to the ever-increasing frustration of American citizens by announcing that he intends to deport all illegal aliens. Well, either that or make them all legal aliens. Or something. The details haven't all been revealed yet. But, after all, if you can't trust George W. Bush to enforce the immigration laws … Having burned his base on border security for nearly five years—and for over four years since 9/11!—nobody seems willing to give Bush any more credence.

- The President clearly wants to start a wag-the-dog war with Syria and/or Iran over their failure to control their borders (while desiring to reward Mexico for the same thing). But the public's patience with Bush's grand strategy of Invite-the-World-Invade-the-World is at an all time low. Bush’s approval rating continues its natural course downward, now descending into deeply negative territory.

- Karl Rove, the alleged brains of the operation, and Scooter Libby, for 15 years a lawyer for international conman Marc Rich and for the last five years chief-of-staff for Vice President Cheney, are sweating out the possibility of indictment.

- Bush's attempt to elevate his undistinguished former personal lawyer Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has been greeted with derision even by many of his most sycophantic supporters at outlets like National Review.

Here at VDARE.com we'd like to take this opportunity to mention:

We told you so.

For years, since well before 9/11, we've been a rare independent voice telling you that George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and the whole gang were men of both poor character and poor judgment.

We knew that they were interested neither in what was good for the American people, nor knowledgeable about what was what was good for the Republican Party.

Why? Because their immigration policy has always been ludicrous.

But the mainstream media was too biased on the topic to notice. [More]

Don't forget to donate to the VDARE.com tax-deductible fund-rasier.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

John Derbyshire: "The Specter of Difference"

"The Specter of Difference" is the new article by John Derbyshire in the Nov. 7th issue of National Review. It was inspired by Bruce Lahn's recent discovery of two heterogeneously distributed brain development genes. The Derb writes:

While I believe that results like these out of the human sciences should prompt us to begin some hard thinking about our society, and about what we can reasonably expect social policies to accomplish, I don’t think that conservatives should fear these results, or strive to deny them. For all the corruption it has suffered from public financing and infection by campus political fads, science is, I shall always believe, a fundamentally conservative profession. Pseudoscience and wishful thinking — they are usually the same thing — have their natural home on the political left, Marx’s “scientific socialism” being only the best-known example. True science doesn’t care what we believe or what we wish for. It just tells us what is, and leaves us to come to terms with it as best we can. Science is a Daddy discipline, not a Mommy discipline.

It is not the case, as foolish people like Richard Dawkins tell us, that science excludes religion. (The research geneticist personally best known to me, another native of China, is a passionate adherent of the Falun Gong sect.) It is true, however, that in his working hours a scientist owes devotion to only one deity, the one Rudyard Kipling called “the God of Things As They Are.” That God is, as Kipling himself was, profoundly conservative in all His works, and conservatives, religious or otherwise, have nothing to fear from Him. To judge from history, in fact, His greatest delight is to make fools — or slaves, or corpses — of pacifists, family-breakers, sexual liberators, dispensers of unconditional welfare, love-the-world purveyors of Uplift, Scientific Socialists, and deniers of unpleasant truths.

Some of the truths now beginning to emerge from the human sciences will strike us as very unpleasant indeed. Some of them will force us to hard thinking about our nation, our ideals, and our traditional boundless optimism towards the potentialities of human beings. We have it on good authority, though, that we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free. I believe that if we hold fast to faith in that proposition, and trust science to uncover the truth, neither we nor our country will come to any harm. [More] ...

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 24, 2005

Minorities only 6% of screenwriters

I wrote a few months ago about Hollywood's "Skin Deep Leftism," and mentioned last Sunday in VDARE.com that almost nobody in Hollywood who is anybody is worried about a minority taking his job.

An LA Times story confirms this for the TV and film writing businesses:

The study by the Writers Guild of America, West, found that minorities accounted for about 10% of the 3,015 employed television writers in 2004, while women made up 27% — even though those groups represented more than 30% and 50% of the population, respectively.

In film, women represented 18% of the 1,770 employed film writers in 2004, while all minority groups combined accounted for just 6% of the total, virtually unchanged since 1998.

It's important to keep in mind that in most of the ultra-elite and influential jobs in the U.S., such as writing Hollywood movies, there is little competition from minorities, immigrants (other than European immigrants), foreign firms, or outsourcing. Most of the competition is from other whites, typically other white men. The view from the top of who the competition is looks very different from the view from working class.

Something this country very much needs is to develop and propound a philosophy that will at least make the elite feel a little guilty for ignoring the state of their fellow American citizens in the working class. Preaching white solidarity is absolutely not going to sell to the elite, in large part for the paradoxical reason that the elites in the fun jobs (e.g., writing movies as opposed to science, engineering, computer programming and other heavily Asian unfun jobs) already have something that looks very much like white domination -- e.g., 94% of working film writers are white, compared to no more than 60% of the American teenagers who make up the target audience for the screenwriters.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 23, 2005

Dick Cheney, pump head?

Here's an excerpt from Jeffrey Goldberg's upcoming New Yorker article on Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser and current best friend to ex-President George H.W. Bush:

"The real anomaly in the Administration is Cheney," Scowcroft said. "I consider Cheney a good friend -- I've known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore." He went on, "I don't think Dick Cheney is a neocon, but allied to the core of neocons is that bunch who thought we made a mistake in the first Gulf War, that we should have finished the job. There was another bunch who were traumatized by 9/11, and who thought, 'The world's going to hell and we've got to show we're not going to take this, and we've got to respond, and Afghanistan is O.K., but it's not sufficient.'" Scowcroft supported the invasion of Afghanistan as a "direct response" to terrorism.

Perhaps the greatest mystery of this Administration has been Cheney's failure. He became Secretary of Defense in 1989 after the Senate rejected George H.W. Bush's first nominee, their old colleague Sen. John Tower, as too much of a drunk. By all accounts, Cheney performed well during the first Gulf War. Most notably, he opposed conquering Iraq when we had the chance at the end in March, 1991.

But his choice of personnel for the Administration during the frenzied transition of 2000-2001 -- Wolfowitz, Feith, Libby, etc. -- has turned out disastrously. And he has imposed a paranoid, irrational influence on foreign policy decision-making ever since, which has been the opposite of calm, wise, voice of experience that he was expected to bring.

One theory that has been floating around is that Cheney is a "pump head," which is one of those vicious M.D. terms -- like Gomer (Get out of my Emergency Room), banana (a jaundice victim), and FLK (funny-looking kid, i.e., retarded due to an organic syndrome). A pump head is someone who has suffered mental problems, typically cognitive loss, following a bypass operation. Bypass operations can also lead to depression.

(I suspect you can see the exact point in Tom Wolfe's novel A Man in Full where he had his bypass operation due to the sudden deterioration in quality. Wolfe suffered from a version of manic-depression some time after his operation. He dedicated the novel to his psychiatrist who helped him get out of his depression. Fortunately, Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons showed a significant recovery of form.)

The problem with the pump head theory is that Cheney had his quadruple bypass operation in 1988, before his impressive performance as Defense Secretary.

Since then he's had a small heart attack in November of 2000, and two heart operations in the first half of 2001. Perhaps those have caused mental troubles, but, still, the timing doesn't seem quite right, although his health problems still could be a factor in his deterioration. He got seduced by the neocons some time during the 1990s, probably the late 1990s, for reasons that remain inexplicable.

Another possibility is that Cheney's thinking got warped in an apocalyptic direction, which the neocons ideologues could exploit, by his participation for many years, along with Donald Rumsfeld, in a secret program started by the Reagan Administration to provide continuity of government in case the actual Federal government was wiped out in a nuclear war. According to James Mann in a 2004 Atlantic article called "The Armageddon Plan,"

A t least once a year during the 1980s Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld vanished. Cheney was working diligently on Capitol Hill, as a congressman rising through the ranks of the Republican leadership. Rumsfeld, who had served as Gerald Ford's Secretary of Defense, was a hard-driving business executive in the Chicago area—where, as the head of G. D. Searle & Co., he dedicated time and energy to the success of such commercial products as Nutra-Sweet, Equal, and Metamucil. Yet for periods of three or four days at a time no one in Congress knew where Cheney was, nor could anyone at Searle locate Rumsfeld. Even their wives were in the dark; they were handed only a mysterious Washington phone number to use in case of emergency.

After leaving their day jobs Cheney and Rumsfeld usually made their way to Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington. From there, in the middle of the night, each man—joined by a team of forty to sixty federal officials and one member of Ronald Reagan's Cabinet—slipped away to some remote location in the United States, such as a disused military base or an underground bunker. A convoy of lead-lined trucks carrying sophisticated communications equipment and other gear would head to each of the locations.

Rumsfeld and Cheney were principal actors in one of the most highly classified programs of the Reagan Administration. Under it U.S. officials furtively carried out detailed planning exercises for keeping the federal government running during and after a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The program called for setting aside the legal rules for presidential succession in some circumstances, in favor of a secret procedure for putting in place a new "President" and his staff. The idea was to concentrate on speed, to preserve "continuity of government," and to avoid cumbersome procedures; the speaker of the House, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and the rest of Congress would play a greatly diminished role.

This kind of end-of-the-world playacting could take a toll on one's mental balance. Thus, when 9/11 came along, perhaps Cheney was primed to latch onto nonsensical theories about how Saddam was going to nuke America.

Once again, the timing isn't right -- Cheney's roleplaying came in the 1980s, not the 1990s, but combined with his heart problems and who knows what else in his private life, we may be beginning to unravel Cheney's unraveling.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer