July 13, 2008

My review of Ross Douthat's and Reihan Salam's "Grand New Party"

Here's the opening of my book review in VDARE.com

Grand New Party Recycles Old (but Good!) VDARE.COM Ideas

Peter Brimelow writes: I know some readers get annoyed, but I was going to block off VDARE.COM’s home page again tonight with a new fundraising appeal. After a few hopeful days, our current campaign has once again stalled. And nothing else seems to work.

But then I got this piece from Steve Sailer, which is a case study in the influence of VDARE.COM writers. Steve, in his serene way, doesn’t seem to mind that these writers have ripped him off. He thinks it’s all for the good of the cause, and he’s right. But to do the pioneering work that causes the MSM to steal their ideas, our writers need to be paid. Please give generously.

By Steve Sailer

Two young Atlantic Magazine editors, both fairly conservative, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, have written a much-discussed book, Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream. They argue, sensibly, that the Republican Party should focus on policies that strengthen families, financially and morally.

They observe:

"The American dream is ultimately a dream of home, of a place to call your own, earned and not inherited, and free from the petty tyranny of landlords, bureaucrats, and bankers. It's a dream of a country in which ownership is available to everyone, provided that they are willing to work for it, rather than being handed out on the basis of wealth or caste, brains or beauty."

Less poetically, they want the traditional high wage, cheap land America that Ben Franklin endorsed in his 1751 essay showing that "When Families can be easily supported, more Persons marry, and earlier in Life."

Of course, Republicans have been winning the family vote recently. In 2004, George W. Bush carried 25 of the top 26 states grouped in terms of white “total fertility rate” (number of babies per woman per lifetime), while John Kerry was victorious in the bottom 16.

But Republicans haven't actually delivered much to deserve the family vote, other than some good judicial nominees. What has the Bush Administration's policy, now endorsed by John McCain, of Invade the World/ Invite the World/ In Hock to the World done to build the human capital of average American families?

Douthat and Salam argue that the GOP's commitment to tax-cutting has hit electoral diminishing returns. It's no longer 1980, when the "animal spirits" of businessmen desperately needed to be jumpstarted by cuts in marginal tax rates.

Instead, they offer a long list of creative, if wonkish, reforms that Republican politicians might consider.

One I liked: their plan for breaking the higher education system's monopoly on credentialing. Most people go to college primarily to show future employers they are smart and hard-working:

"But making credentialing dependent on four years of college sets the barriers to entry so high that it limits competition and shuts out ambitious Americans who lack the time and money to acquire a four-year degree."

And, let's be frank, it's not just time and money. Plenty of Americans are smart enough to earn a decent living at a job for which they've been well-trained who aren't ever going to be smart enough to fulfill, say, Cardinal Newman's vision of what a well-rounded university-educated gentleman should know: hence today's enormous college dropout rate.

Ross and Reihan continue:

"A far fairer system would assign credentials on the basis of examinations, either national or state-level, that evaluate students on the basis of the actual skills they'll need to do their jobs well."

A benefit they don't mention: this would reduce the amount of time Americans at impressionable ages are exposed to leftist indoctrination on college campuses.

In general, the youthful authors aren't cynical enough to note that policies don't endure just on their merits—they have to grow their own constituencies.

For example, Ted Kennedy's 1965 and 1990 immigration laws have, as planned, harvested a heavily Democratic voting bloc that has scared off many would-be reformist politicians.

As a mirror image of Democratic immigration policy, Republicans should focus on programs that raise the marriage and birth rates among Republicans. As Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg noted, in 2004 when all else was held equal, being single made a voter 56 percent more likely to vote Democratic.

For example, Randall Parker has long emphasized the importance of getting competent people through the education system and into the workforce faster. "Turn kids into taxpayers sooner", Parker trenchantly suggests.

The partisan benefit to Republicans is that this gives their kind of people more years to get married and have more children.

[More]

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

14 comments:

testing99 said...

I have a couple of serious issues with both your own and Douhat/Reihan's assumptions Steve.

1. That women WANT marriage. That women want children is of course obvious, but marriage? Single motherhood seems the default choice, most women will make it, for obvious reasons.

When a woman can have support (as you've noted in West Africa) on her own terms or through the Welfare State, she'll choose the most testosterone high male, the classic bad-boy. It's WHY the illegitimacy rate is so high (I've seen 50% for the UK as a whole quoted). Women don't want the steady husband, when they can have bad boys, and children too! Dalrymple in "Life at the Bottom" shows how even his nurses always choose violent, abusive men because they are more "manly" than a steady plumber.

This has profound implications for the GOP. Helping people get ahead economically early in life will only exacerbate the problem, with women simply having more kids early as single moms with the bad boys. Unless there are severe cultural/economic consequences this is the choice that will be made over and over again.

The Murphy Brown fight with Dan Quayle (I'm sympathetic to Quayle's argument now) was won by Democrats and women 20 years ago and won't change. We will just have to live with the consequences of a West African style life for most of America. [It's folly to think it won't slip up to the Upper Class, the Lohan-Denise Richard reality shows on E! show women love that stuff regardless of class, and both those women are upper class.]

2. Isolationism does not become either yourself or any serious party. The US has interests, among them that no single power or entity will dominate the Gulf and run oil up to $300 a barrel in a shock movement. This interest has been US policy since FDR, and requires periodic military intervention given how dangerous and chaotic that region is. Unless you have a working cold fusion reactor in your garage this global economic reality.

Nuclear proliferation, deniable terrorist cutouts, social/political instability among proliferators, "lawfare" all present huge security issues. The US has coasted on the Cold War duopoly of nuclear weapons, but proliferation to nations like Pakistan and Iran present profound challenges unlikely to be met with either "change" or "hope" and requiring real military intervention at some point. Anyone who's spent time in South Central or East LA knows weapons around short-term thinkers means they get used pretty often.

I agree with most of your points excepting National Security (your life can be ruined if most of your relatives die in a NYC nuclear explosion) and family formation.

One thing you neglected -- Seniors now dominate demographically ... there are 8 million more of them than young people. So most of the immediate "bang for your buck" electorally speaking (seniors vote 75%, youth only 50%) would be catering to seniors on crime, inflation, gas/food prices.

LDS on LSD said...

I don't recall Steve ever advocating isolationism. And let's be honest. Under the interventionists, oil prices have gone up. So, to me, they have less credibility than the isolationists.

I do agree though that until the concept of natural law is reintroduced into government, or a healthy dose of religion, the social outlook is bleak.

Dutch Boy said...

No recovery of the American Middle Class is possible unless the outsourcing of the economy is reversed. This was done in the first place in the interests of the business elite who bankroll the GOP. So the Republicans will have to choose between voters and donors unless they think they can continue to fool most of the people, most of the time.

Mu'Min M. Bey said...

Let me try to address Tester's points in the order he made them.

1. His points wrt Women, Single Mommyhood & what I like to refer to as their thing for "Thug Wood" is right on target. Evolution teaches us that women need support to successfully birth, and then raise any kids they may have. Unlike other animals, they cannot do this entirely on their own, not at least w/o extreme difficulty in most cases. That said, most women simply will not own up to their "default position" here, & I think mainly because they know that the "lesser" guys will loudly and actively withdraw any form of support they might be giving in the form of taxes etc to help raise the scions of Thugs. The recent Gloucester Girls "Pregnancy Pact" issue zeroes right in on this point because its highly unlikely that those girls will be supported by private means, meaning, that the rest of us will have to do it. I agree w/Tester that for many women, consciously or no, this is the best strategy to have kids. Dealing w/another grown adult in terms of making decisions etc, is a daunting task for any of us, which is why Marriage is tough. But when you don't have to do that, it gets easy to see how singlemommyhood has grown so explosively in the Western world over the past few decades.

However, w/o a major push by the public, it is unlikely that a kind of "Scarlett Letter" campaign will come in style. For those who don't have to live w/the day to day consequences of such lifestyle choices, a simple matter of digging into one's pockets to offer change to the idea takes virtually no real courage. And this perhaps explains why, not even a month later, the PP girls up North barely get a whisper here online.

As an African American, I have no problem saying that he African norm for family formation sucks. Doesn't work. And in fact, may be responsible for a lot of what we see in the Inner Cities than a little bit.

Definitely, this is a subject we have to keep hammering down on, until it gets so blatantly obvious could do it almost.

2. As for foreign policy, I agree the idea that we can simply "turn off" the world is rediculous on its face; simply put, we, and the rest of the Western World need the oil that part of the world produces.

Very interesting thoughts! I gotta post them up to my blog too!

Comments?

Salaam
Mu

Anonymous said...

Women absolutely want marriage. We're talking about normal women. This is why "The Rules" was a bestseller despite feminists, some literally crying on Oprah, being outraged and steaming.

BTW, Steve. I had been wondering just how many, and who, reads you. Years went by before it was acknowledged that Drudge was read by every journalist and just about every high I.Q. person in the First World. My impression has been that you are more influential than we can know. When I read some excerpts and blog postings of Douthat, well, I knew. Yep. I knew.

Anonymous said...

http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/07/credit_where_credit_is_due.php

Check out the comments. It's interesting how some conservatives attract antagonistic liberals while others do not. Ross Douthat and Daniel Larison come to mind as a couple who do while you and Auster do not. My guess is that Liberals find non-blank slatism(!) deeply unnerving and uncomfortable; they don't even come here and try to argue. When such ideas come up in more conventional conservative blogs, they yell and sputter. They are definitely more confident about their other ideas, but not the blank slate.

To conservative bloggers who see infestations of Leftists in your threads: bring up some of Steve's ideas about gender and mention, "He has some good points". Eventually, sooner rather than later, your problem will be solved.

testing99 said...

lds -- Oil prices have gone up because:

A. Demand in China/India increased.
B. Supply declined slightly.

If anything, getting rid of Saddam and installing a new regime to bring Iraqi oil to the open market would alleviate supply problems. Since the new Iraqi regime would have every incentive to both allow foreign investment (improve infrastructure) and increase output (more money to be distributed around patronage/graft wise).

Supply is a problem, Steve's right that Iran like Saddam before him plays short-term games to hike the price of oil. But instability/chaos in Nigeria, and nationalization/corruption in Russia, Venezuela, and Mexico means that major oil producing nations can't or won't increase supply in response to increased demand.

I don't think the social environment will or can change -- too many powerful interests not the least of which are women, the larger demographic slice, want single motherhood. It gives women many advantages -- macho/testosterone bad boys when young, kids when older without bother of a husband.

Anonymous said...

testing,
I am in agreement with much of what you say except for when it comes to women. BTW, I am one. One, it goes against natural law and two, women are submissive. If being slutty in this culture is what it takes, lower class women reason, they'll do it. The idea of women being okay sharing one man becomes more and more ludicrous the higher up the I.Q. scale we go. I've always believed that the Jews abandoning polygamy was a profound world event on the scale of the move to agriculture, especially when Christianity spread this ideal, and many other things, to the West. Women aren't as jealous as men, but they're still jealous. The smarter a woman is, the less tolerant she is of cheating, or polygamy; brainwashing of the submissive sex can go along way, but only so far.

Anonymous said...

"The US has interests, among them that no single power or entity will dominate the Gulf and run oil up to $300 a barrel in a shock movement."

So I guess $145/barrel is a really bang-up job so far. My God, just think what I'd be paying for gas right now if we hadn't invaded Iraq. And when we turn Iran into a smoldering cinder, it'll be even cheaper!

Man oh man, these wars practically pay for themselves.

--Senor Doug

Eric said...

The second crime-rate vs. Britain link is broken

Anonymous said...

Testing99 has two fixations, only two, and you see them scattered in various comments sections every day, but rarely does he mention them in the same post. So this is a treat.
Mr. Sailer doesn't seem to share Testing's preoccupation with women's preference for cads, but I do. It's' another obvious fact that's hard to mention in polite society so it's perfect for the candidness and privacy afforded by the blog environment. The ladies really do "want the bad boys," but the only people who discuss this information are seduction gurus like Mystery and people like blog commenter Testing99. Notice that both truthtellers are pseudonymous.
While I don't agree with Testing's view of America's role in the world, I have no doubt that Testing would be a good guy with whom to share a couple of beers.
Thanks, Testing.

Martin said...

"Dutch Boy said...

No recovery of the American Middle Class is possible unless the outsourcing of the economy is reversed. This was done in the first place in the interests of the business elite who bankroll the GOP. So the Republicans will have to choose between voters and donors unless they think they can continue to fool most of the people, most of the time."

Right on. The republican party has never really been a populist party, and was only truly a conservative party from about 1920 to 1952. What it has always consistently been however is the mouthpiece for business interests. The republican leadership keeps droning on about free trade, as if conservatives (conservatives, mind you, not republicans) care about it or like it. Many, if not most, don't.

And yet that, together with supply -side economics, is all they really care about.

This is why I will be voting against John McCain in the upcoming election. The republicans in general (and McCain in particular) need to be punished - harshly. Their party needs to die. Until it does, it will suck all the oxygen out of the air, that otherwise might nourish a truly conservative party.

"testing99 said...

Isolationism does not become either yourself or any serious party. The US has interests,..."

Yes, cheap oil is in my interest. So would cheap gin, but I don't expect our government to send young men off to die to keep my martini shaker full. We have other, more important interests. Like not having our politics and culture be held hostage to the politics and culture of the mideast. Like not letting in ever more streams of hostile, alien, and unassimilable refugees to our shores. Like not having some of the most able and productive young men in our nation maimed, crippled, and killed so that Susie Soccer-Mom can ferry her kids to their play-dates in her Ford Explorer.

Your fixation on nuclear proliferation is childish. Deterrence works. It will work with those who rule Iran (those who really rule Iran, which is not Admenidjahd), just as it worked with those who ruled the Soviet Union. They aren't stupid.

As to your opinion about women: You must have been very unlucky in love. Not all women behave like trailer-park tramps. There are plenty of women, who want a nice stable home with a good provider as husband.

The problem is that we subsidize the bad decisions of those women who are less discerning than that. The way to stop doing that - the only way to stop doing that - is.....to stop doing that. No AFDC, no food-stamps, nothing. If a girl has a child out of wedlock, she either prevails on her father and his shotgun to pay a friendly call on her beau, or failing that, adoption or the orphanage. Oh yeah, and shame. Lots of shame.

Ronduck said...

Mu'Min M. Bey said...

His points wrt Women, Single Mommyhood & what I like to refer to as their thing for "Thug Wood" is right on target. Evolution teaches us that women need support to successfully birth, and then raise any kids they may have. Unlike other animals, they cannot do this entirely on their own, not at least w/o extreme difficulty in most cases. That said, most women simply will not own up to their "default position" here, & I think mainly because they know that the "lesser" guys will loudly and actively withdraw any form of support they might be giving in the form of taxes etc to help raise the scions of Thugs.

I agree a woman has 4 options for supporting herself and her spawn:
1. A husband
2. The state
3. Herself
4. Her children

My mother did #4. She had me and my brother 10 years apart at age 30 and 40. After having us she struggled for many years to support her 2 bastard children, finally being bailed out by her parents. I'm now 25 and she has lived with me at my expense for the last 2.5 years while only looking for housewife employment.

I now understand what my girlfriend in high school said when she said my mother is using me. But I can't bring myself to just throw my own mother into the street, even though for the first year she lived with me she wouldn't look for work. Hell, before she lived with me I gave her money so she wouldn't get evicted, I know my grandparents were giving her money too.

If I lived in her house I would simply move out, but since she is in my apartment I can't just leave, I would ruin my credit and leave behind a reasonably good paying job.

I can't seem to get this woman out of my paycheck, my apartment or my life. Every month I push her to look for apartments and she piddles around for a few days and drops it.

Hopefully sh should be out by the end of this month, or else I would have to throw her out on her ass. I hope I can bring myself to throw her out.

Richard said...

If you read one book this year, you should read Grand New Party. As a candidate for Congress (running in the AZ-04 Sept. 2 GOP primary), I think this book is a must for every Republican and lots of Democrats.