October 24, 2007

"The League of Extremely Rich Donors for Free Speech"

One of the depressing things about the James Watson Witch Hunt is the enthusiasm with which so many people signed up to be voluntary auxiliaries for the Thought Police, how many people who imagine themselves to be freethinking nonconformists positively reveled in their chance to put the boot in when they found a great man down.

As far as I can tell at this point, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Board of Trustees are going to get away with their shameful suspension of the man who rebuilt their institution over the last 39 years.

What can be done for the future?

Money talks. What the world needs is an organization of major donors to academic and scientific institutions who have publicly pledged themselves to defend free speech and scientific inquiry by punishing institutions who punish heretics like Watson.

In 2006, billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle withdrew his pledged gift of $115 million to Harvard after it forced out Larry Summers. But that was just 1/300th of Harvard's endowment, so even Ellison had little impact by himself. Some rich guys need to get together and throw their weight around.

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

19 comments:

quo vadis scipio said...

quo vadis scipio

Some rich guys need to get together and throw their weight around.

well free speech is a white gentile ethnic concern, steve. jews are natural speech police. and arabs asians and africans are all ambivalent or worse on the issue. so that narrows down the donor list. and don't ask that wacko warren buffett for any help. he's a billionaire miser with socialist politics.

free speech is just not high on the list of priorities for the top 5%. have you listened carefully to our very richest people discuss their views? what becomes clear is that while they are good at making money many of them lack wisdom and even basic knowledge in any other area besides their own business. also they are notorious for being uninterested in history. I doubt there are more than a handful of persons on the fortune 400 billionaires list that have a real understanding of our political history dating back to the founders magna carta rome and greece i.e. who we are and how we got here.

buffett was interviewed last week and mentioned his latest private summit thingy that he does up in wyoming or colorado? at his weekend big thinker retreat the issues discussed are mostly global socialist initiatives. if you bring up federalist paper arguments in that crowd they will question your sanity. they are pychologically post-constitution post-america. when the issue of free speech comes up it's likely to be discussed as an impediment to social justice.

on top of all that: fighting the flat earthers on the race issue means fighting the jewish political network. the jewish organizations don't want racial differences discussed in the mainstream. they've made that very clear. and most every rich gentile in america is doing business with jews. middle class christians are organizing and fighting for their beliefs to some extent. rich gentiles? what exactly are they fighting for besides reducing their own guilt?

Jim said...

Will that really work? Rich donors are likely to care more about prestigious connections than substantive results. So if some refuse to fund PC even when it's prestigious others will be happy to take their place.

David said...

Wilson simply needs to sue. What for? Wrongful suspension - back pay - defamation - fill in the blank. A loud and public trial, or at least a major settlement. What else has he got to do?

He should take the attitude that he built the "lab" [sic], he can destroy the "lab" [sic].

Now I expect half a dozen "moderate" commenters to rush to tell me how this is a bad, impractical idea and that it's much, much better that we do nothing. Ever.

Mark said...

Extremely rich men get that way because their only concern in life is making money. Anything but anything that gets in the way of that gets tossed out the window. Here's the Board of Trustees of Cold Spirng Harbor Lab. Note that all or virtually all are businessmen, not scientists:

Donald E. Axinn
Founder and Chairman, CEO, Donald E. Axinn Companies

Landon T. Clay
Chairman, East Hill Management Company, LLC

Kristina Perkin Davison
Partner, iEurope Capital LLC

Joseph T. Donohue
Managing Director, Gleacher Partners, LLC

Jacob Goldfield
J. Goldfield & Co.

Lola N. Grace
Officer: Vice Chairman
Managing Director, Sterling Grace Capital Management

Laurie J. Landeau, V.M.D.
General Manager, Listowel

Stephen M. Lessing
Managing Director, Lehman Brothers

Robert D. Lindsay
Officer: Vice Chairman
Co-Managing Partner, Goldberg Lindsay & Co.

Nancy Abeles Marks
Carl Marks & Co.

Eduardo G. Mestre
Officer: Chairman
Vice Chairman, Evercore Partners

Douglas P. Morris
Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group

Jamie C. Nicholls
Forstmann Little & Co.

John C. Phelan
Managing Partner, MSD Capital, L.P.

Thomas C. Quick
Palm Beach, FL

William S. Robertson
Naples, FL

David M. Rubenstein
Managing Director, The Carlyle Group

Alan Seligson
NAK International

Andrew Solomon
New York, NY

Alan C. Stephenson
Partner, Cravath Swaine & Moore, LLP

James M. Stone, Ph.D.
Chairman, The Plymouth Rock Company

Jerome Swartz, Ph.D.
Chairman, The Swartz Foundation

Edward Travaglianti
Officer: Secretary/Treasurer
President, Commerce Bank Long Island

Roy J. Zuckerberg
New York, NY

Being on the board of an organization that has a "known racist" at its head wouldn't do well for impressing folks on the social circuit or padding the resume for that CEO position. Best to let Watson hang.

Anonymous said...

And just where would you find these libertarian billionaire philanthropists Steve?

Even once no-BS hardcore independent-thinking guys like Bill Gates now view the world thru a warm and fuzzy Vaseline covered lens. It’s the price of admissions to the respectability clubs at Davos and Aspen.

Unrepentant libertarians like Russian oligarchs or America’s own billionaires (anon hedge fund traders and the likes of Steve Jobs) don’t believe in giving money away. It’s against the natural order, and these guys could care less about clinking crystal and chit chat with Bill Clinton or Warren Buffet after a golf mixer.

Thursday said...

Most rich guys don't have enough balls to buck the popular consensus. You rarely get rich by offending opinion makers.

Cromwell said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071025/ap_on_sc/controversial_scientist_2

Controversial DNA scientist retires

Bruce G Charlton said...

I've just seen Nature's attack on Jim Watson - The Nature editorialists state that Watson's 'views have finally been deemed beyond the pale. And rightly so'

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v449/n7165/full/449948a.html

In an article entitled Watson's Folly, his 'folly' is to be 'crass' - unlike the editorialists at Nature, who may be mediocre at science but are (in their own estimation) at least sophisticated practictioners of public relations and rhetoric.

These Nature editorialists remind me of exquisite Victorian maidens, who either swoon or go descend into a tizzy of tut-tutting moralistic condemnations at the slightest hint of anything vulgar.

So - what it boils down to is that Nature (jointly the premier science journal in the world) is more concerned that great scientists should avoid being 'crass' than they are to defend the freedom of scientific discourse.

Indeed Nature says that: 'Crass comments by Nobel laureates undermine our very ability to debate such issues, and thus damage science itself.'

What a disgraceful closing sentence.

To blame Watson's candor for the deluge of moral grand-standing and ignorant self-righteousness which has engulfed him, and on top of this to blame him for making these subjects harder to discuss... this is - frankly - despicable.

Lucky for humanity, there are still a few 'crass' scientists like Watson - the kind who expend their life's effort on doing science and talking-straight; because they believe that to do anything else would be unworthy of science.

Lucius Vorenus said...

quo vadis scipio: ...if you bring up federalist paper arguments in that crowd they will question your sanity. they are pychologically post-constitution post-america...

rich gentiles? what exactly are they fighting for besides reducing their own guilt?

Uhh, total world domination?

[Was that a trick question?]

Soros [does an atheist Jew count as a Gentile?] is like a bad caricature of a sharks-with-frickin'-laser-beams James Bond villain.

Speaking of which, he was in the news again today.

Anonymous said...

Umm, quo vadis, the one rich guy Steve could think of who had stood up for free speech is Jewish.

poorbastard said...

It probably won't be Bill "look I'm posing with black children, I'm such a generous guy" Gates.

Luke said...

xuzaqIt used to be that newly minted billionaires would immortalize their names by founding new colleges and universities, not by supporting old ones. Think Stanford, Duke, Vanderbilt, U. of Chicago.

Why not do that again in the 21st century? A billion dollars is enough money to build and endow a first-rate liberal arts college; imagine a new handful of such colleges offering a true liberal arts education, dedicated to the critical and unbiased search for truth, and with a lot of generous merit-based scholarships to attract the best and the brightest in the next generation.

My own preference would be for these schools to skimp or skip the hard sciences (except for good introductory survey courses in statistics,cosmology, and biology) and concentrate on history, literature, and and what used to be called the moral sciences (political economy and political philosophy).

Graduates would be prepared to go on to graduate schools, pursuing careers in business, law, teaching, journalism, politics, public administration, foundation work, divinity, and so on.

Outside the hard sciences, it is time to get rid of the 19th century German model of a research university dedicated to the discovery of new knowledge Instead the emphasis should be on preserving and transmitting old knowledge by good, old-fashioned teaching. The whole emphasis should be on reading, conversing, and writing about the best that has been thought and done in the past.

Our country could especially use anumber of such colleges in those parts of that were pretty much passed over during the New England renaissance, the South and lower Mid-West especially.

As for affirmative action, we all know the arguments against the way it is currently being practiced. But how about taking it to its logical extreme: insist that every major ethnic group and geographical region in the country, urban as well as rural, is represented in proportion to its numbers in the population (region by region, I mean, with rural and urban areas in each region being treated separately). That way you would get a student body that really was representative of the country as a whole which would be a much more suitable pool from which to draw our national elites. This is a national democracy we live in after all, the diversity of which is not even remotely represented in the current student bodies of the Ivy League, where a couple of tiny minorities take close to half the slots, two underpriviledged minorities take another 10 or 12 percent, with the remaining third or so being drawn disproportionately from urban areas in the Northeast and upper Mid-West.

This other option would insure we get the best representatives of each and every ethnic and democratic group in the country. If that means some super-talented members of certain super-talented minorities would be passed over, well, they could still go to places like Cal Tech and MIT where a pure, color-blind meritocracy really makes sense.

What we should be after in our elite educational institutions is not an absolute meritocracy, but rather a pool from which to draw our national governing elites in journalism, law, teaching, finance, diplomacy, and the like. Since this is a democracy shouldn't that pool be representative of, and reflect the true diversity of, the country as a whole.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that about Larry Ellison. I'm still not one of his fans, but my respect for him just went up. BTW, "quo vadis scipio", I think Ellison is Jewish.

tommy said...

In an article entitled Watson's Folly, his 'folly' is to be 'crass' - unlike the editorialists at Nature, who may be mediocre at science but are (in their own estimation) at least sophisticated practictioners of public relations and rhetoric.

With any luck, by 2025 we will be talking about Nature's Folly. What an incredibly shameful episode this has been. I cannot believe the number of B-, C-, and D-grade scientists who not only won't give Watson's opinion any serious consideration but in their hysterical outburst of politically correct pomposity have forgotten that they have never held a candle to Watson and almost certainly never will.

quo vadis scipio said...

quo vadis, the one rich guy Steve could think of who had stood up for free speech is Jewish.

one point of my post was that the various ethnic groups feel different levels of passion for free speech and just about zero hyper wealthy people are passionate on the issue no matter the group. the post should've noted that many white gentile subgroups don't give a damn about free speech also. for instance the russians. in fact the us constitution is the ethnic expression of a small homogenous group of people. most eu member countries have abandoned free speech already. free speech society is a radical departure from the norm worldwide.

as far as the best bet for an investor angel venture capitalist to defend even the most radical "race matters" free speech perhaps it could be a jew. but it won't be ellison.

from ellison's wikipedia entry:

"In June of 2006, Ellison announced that he would not honor his earlier pledge of $115 million to Harvard University, claiming it was due to the departure of former President Lawrence Summers. However, outside sources reported that Ellison lost interest in the gift months before Summers’ February announcement that he would resign."

so there's more than meets the eye to ellison's withdrawal of harvard funding. plus summers is a globally networked businessman. ellison might have tried to leverage his withdrawal against summers' enemies no matter the particular reason for the ousting. simply as a favor to a summers as a fellow member of his business network.

mort zuckerman's middle finger said...

Soros [does an atheist Jew count as a Gentile?]

when in doubt ask mort zuckerman who is jew and who is gentile. mort is no-nonsense and he knows his jews.

doubtful kosher bigwig mort zuckerman would count soros as a real jew. stateside the jewish leadership is zionist. soros is persona non grata for comparing israelis to nazis.

ps: ellison has a father of unknown background and also has married 4 shiksas. big mort would say that's not circumsized behavior.

scipio

yep said...

Who says Ellison was "standing up for free-speech"? Has he said anything to that effect? As far as I can tell, his pal (who also happens to be Jewish) was forced to step down, so he took the opportunity to rescind his donation (which was apparently linked to some sort of anti-trust settlement). I see no reason to believe Ellison would have acted differently if Summers was forced out for suppressing speech.

Steve Sailer said...

The uproar over Summers' remarks began in January 2005.

Anonymous said...

Well, here is one extremely rich guy who may be interested in history and things besides just the business that made him rich: http://www.fourmilab.ch/