March 11, 2005

The Youth of America Speaks!

From UC Santa Barbara history professor Albert S. Lindemann's list of his favorite student essay efforts:

Magellan disproved the theory of a flat earth by circumventing the globe.

Sir Francis Drake circumcised the globe with a 100-foot clipper.

Also interesting in the middle ages is the male chauvinism apparent. In those years, most monks were men.

During the Renaissance, man began to reach out and explore himself.

Berlin became the decadent capital of the new republic, where all sorts of sexual deprivations were practiced. A huge anti-Semantic movement arose.

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The Bankruptcy Bill vs. the Left Half of the Bell Curve

I'm no financial genius, but even I know that not paying off your entire credit card balance each month is one of the dumbest things you can do. If you pay it off promptly, you enjoy the wonderful convenience of a credit card and a month's worth of float for pretty much free. If you are dumb enough to fall behind, though, you pay through the nose, thus subsidizing us smart folks' use of credit cards. Which may be why nobody in the media has ever complained much about this system -- it's mostly been exploiting dumb people for the last 40 years, and who cares about them?

Is it too much to ask that the law force credit card companies to explain these finance facts in simple English and large type on each bill?

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March 10, 2005

Robots vs. Immigrants in Japan

The Washington Post writes:

Ms. Saya, a perky receptionist in a smart canary-yellow suit, beamed a smile from behind the "May I Help You?" sign on her desk, offering greetings and answering questions posed by visitors at a local university. But when she failed to welcome a workman who had just walked by, a professor stormed up to Saya and dished out a harsh reprimand.

"You're so stupid!" said the professor, Hiroshi Kobayashi, towering over her desk.

"Eh?" she responded, her face wrinkling into a scowl. "I tell you, I am not stupid!"

Truth is, Saya isn't even human. But in a country where robots are changing the way people live, work, play and even love, that doesn't stop Saya the cyber-receptionist from defending herself from men who are out of line. With voice recognition technology allowing 700 verbal responses and an almost infinite number of facial expressions from joy to despair, surprise to rage, Saya may not be biological -- but she is nobody's fool...

Though perhaps years away in the United States, this long-awaited, as-seen-on-TV world -- think "The Jetsons" or "Blade Runner" -- is already unfolding in Japan, with robots now used as receptionists, night watchmen, hospital workers, guides, pets and more. The onslaught of new robots led the government last month to establish a committee to draw up safety guidelines for the keeping of robots in homes and offices. Officials compiled a report in January predicting that every household in Japan will own at least one robot by 2015, perhaps sooner...

But the robotic rush in Japan is also being driven by unique societal needs. Confronting a major depopulation problem due to a record low birthrate and its status as the nation with the longest lifespan on Earth, Japanese are fretting about who will staff the factory floors of the world's second-largest economy in the years ahead. Toyota, Japan's biggest automaker, has come up with one answer in moving to create a line of worker robots with human-like hands able to perform multiple sophisticated tasks.

Well, hardly unique ... Japan just figures it doesn't want to go the way of the Netherlands by importing large numbers of foreign workers.

With Japanese youth shying from so-called 3-K jobs -- referring to the Japanese words for labor that is dirty, dangerous or physically taxing -- Alsok, the nation's second-largest security guard company, has developed a line of robo-cops. The guard robots, one version of which is already being used by a client in southern Japan, can detect and thwart intruders using sensors and paint guns. They can also put out fires and spot water leaks.

Apparently, the jobs Japanese citizens "just won't do" can be done by robots. (I wrote about this a year ago in "Japanese Substitute Innovation for Immigration."

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Turkey and the EU

A new reader writes:

I was intrigued to see you had applied your unflinching perspective on race and IQ to the Turks, apropos the EU admission business.

My fascination stems, in part, from the fact that I read articles on Turkey and the EU all the time, from all sorts of purported "experts." I am also subjected to daily diatribes of all varieties on the subject--I have live and taught at a Turkish university in XXX for X years--and yet no one seemed as percipient as you in teasing out the contradictions and problems posed by Turkey's potential admission to the EU.

Also, I sense your skepticism dovetails with mine, though mine is more anecdotal. My girlfriend is Turkish, and so I hesitate before embracing these IQ stats you link too...though I understand they are mean averages, and I fear the Turkish figures are probably correct.

So here it is: the issue of intelligence and the Turks, and why I think they should stay out of the EU.

[Briefly, I reported that what little evidence we have suggested that Turkey's national average IQ is about equal to the world average of 90, about 2/3rds of a standard deviation below Europe's, or similar to Mexico's. In other words, not bad, but also not likely to fully assimilate into Europe.]

I speak from anecdotal experience, but quite broadly so: I have had over a hundred students per term since XXX. Though the top end undergrads and master's students are quite clever, nearly the equal of the best students stateside, the bulk are quite stultifyingly dull-minded. Quite a few even of the mediocrities work very hard: work ethic is not lacking in all but the most spoiled richies; and yet your ordinary Turkish undergraduate simply lacks the most elementary critical imagination. Teaching here is, in a way, heaven: the students frantically take notes, and try desperately to regurgitate back to you exactly what, they think, you taught them...

Here's the rub: Turks' very lack of intellectual sophistication is a large part of the reason I'm so fond of them. My students utterly lack the world-weary, premature sophistication / jadedness of American or European students. They love their country, in an entirely unironic way, lacking all shame or sense of needing to apologize for it. They're willing to accept anything I say about, say, the evils of Communism; but they will suddenly come to attention if I allude to ANYTHING relating to Ataturk, the war of independence, Turkey's borders, etc.

I think joining the EU would ruin this country, ultimately, by undermining the old fashioned virtues of the place.

As I wrote, Turkey is, by global standards, a pretty average country and, yet, a reasonably successful one, especially for a Muslim one in the Middle East. So, it's a decent role model for other average countries, yet subsuming it into the EU will slowly obliterate the virtues that made it a role model.

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Bush's Latest Shia Pet: Hezbollah!

Bush's Latest Shia Pet: Hezbollah!

"U.S. Called Ready to See Hezbollah in Lebanon Role" By STEVEN R. WEISMAN, NYT

After years of campaigning against Hezbollah, the radical Shiite Muslim party in Lebanon, as a terrorist pariah, the Bush administration is grudgingly going along with efforts by France and the United Nations to steer the party into the Lebanese political mainstream, administration officials say.

The administration's shift was described by American, European and United Nations officials as a reluctant recognition that Hezbollah, besides having a militia and sponsoring attacks on Israelis, is an enormous political force in Lebanon that could block Western efforts to get Syria to withdraw its troops.

On Tuesday, Hezbollah showed its clout by sponsoring one of the biggest demonstrations of recent Lebanese history, bringing hundreds of thousands of largely Shiite supporters into central Beirut to support the party's alliance with Syria and, by extension, the presence in Lebanon of 14,000 Syrian troops.

Lebanon's political crisis deepened Wednesday when Parliament renominated the pro-Syrian prime minister nine days after he resigned under pressure from street demonstrations. If opposition leaders refuse to join his transitional government, tension over the rules for elections in May and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country will be high.

The United States and France sponsored a United Nations Security Council resolution last year calling for Syrian troops to leave Lebanon, and a special United Nations envoy, Terje Roed Larsen, is to press for the troop withdrawal. Officially, Mr. Larsen's mission is also to demand the disarmament of Hezbollah, but as a practical matter that objective has receded, various officials say.

"The main players are making Hezbollah a lower priority," said a diplomat who is closely tracking the negotiations. "There is a realization by France and the United States that if you tackle Hezbollah now, you array the Shiites against you. With elections coming in Lebanon, you don't want the entire Shiite community against you."

The new posture of the administration was described by its officials, who asked not to be identified because of longstanding American antipathy toward Hezbollah.

"Hezbollah has American blood on its hands," an administration official said, referring to such events as the truck bombing that killed more than 200 American marines in Beirut in 1983. "They are in the same category as Al Qaeda. The administration has an absolute aversion to admitting that Hezbollah has a role to play in Lebanon, but that is the path we're going down."

Lebanon has been by no means an autocracy since Syria ended the civil war in 1990, but pushing "Democracy!" in Lebanon will largely benefit Hezbollah, since the traditional Lebanese political system is severely gerrymandered against the Shiites (and in favor of the less anti-Israel groups, such as the Maronite Christians). Hezbollah only has one tenth of the seats in the current Lebanese assembly but they likely have a plurality among voters.

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Why does our War on Islamism target anti-Islamists?

One of the recurrent ironies of the the Bush policy is how it constantly beats up the anti-Islamist elements in Islamic countries. Deposing the secularist Baath regime in Iraq in favor of the Grand Ayatollah is only the best known example. Lately, Syria has moved high on our target list, even though the ruling family of Syria, the Asads, are Alawites, a minority sect so heretical that most Muslims don't even consider them Muslims. Because of their precariousness, the Alawite-led Syrian government encourages, according to the U.S. government, religious toleration and pluralism, while discouraging (sometimes with artillery barrages) Muslim fanaticism.

Now, it is frequently argued that American support for religiously moderate Arab dictators like Mubaruk in Egypt encourages Islamism, but, of course, we've never liked the Syrian dictatorship, so, by this logic (such as it is), they should be the perfect solution for us. But, of course, there are fewer perfect solutions in the Middle East than even in the rest of the world.

The best argument for Bush's policy of encouraging Islamic extremism is the get-it-out-of-their-system theory, the idea that the only way the Arabs will learn that Muslim fanaticism is a bad idea is by letting the Muslim fanatics runs their countries for a few decades. Perhaps. Perhaps not. But it sure seems like an expensive way we are going about implementing such a tricky and fragile strategy.

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What's Going on with the Republican Party?

An Antipodean reader who has one of the world's more ferociously conceptualizing minds emailed me this diagnosis of American politics that is very much along the lines I've been thinking as well about why conservatives win election but don't seem to accomplish anything terribly conservative with their victories. The prose style is a little sharp-cornered, but it rewards reading:

I agree that the Republican parties main problem is cognitive dissonance between the Red State’s conservative sociology and the Blue State’s constructivist* [i.e., liberal or progressive] ideology.*

So white male brains & balls allow extreme right wing REP politicos, eg Cheney and de Lay, to be the executives of US governmental power.

But white male heart & soul allow extreme left wing DEM policies -- eg de facto open borders, democracy promotion abroad -- to be the beneficiaries of US governmental power.

I think that in the post-Vietnam era there has been a division of labour between the two parties.

DEMs have been objectively better in political economy, hence the robustness of the US’s welfare state REPs have been objectively better in geo-politics, hence the robustness of the US’s warfare state.

The REPs have an edge in domestic political culture, since LBJ & EMK signed away the DEM control of the South in 1965, hence the robustness of the US’s lawfare state.

This last factor has swung White Family Males towards a covert form of Caucasian and Christian (CC) identity politics. This is why, as you have shown, the White Family Males voting bloc continue to win elections for the REPS since their fertile lineage literally keeps them in the race.

The problem for White Family Males is that their native individualism frowns on group identification and collective responsibility that goes with CC racialism and religionism. So they cannot declare themselves for their own identity political team. Instead they declare for an entity team (Proposition Nation, the military and the Constitution).

Moreover, Red State civic-minded souls must pay lip service to altruistic sounding doctrines, like multi-culti & pee-cee, which Blue State ideologues use to disarm them.

But Red State brutal-bodied males cannot help but reach for their guns when their own honor or power is threatened by Blue State criminals or terrorists.

This is not so much “white masochism” as an honest division of feeling between body, mind and soul. It sets the stage for the incidence of some pretty high-octane cognitive and cooperative dissonance. Of course a good political agent would set about dampening this, rather than amplifying it. The Bushie REPs are however interested in constantly ramping up the degree of ideological partisanship.

They are dominated by politicos who believe in the literal truth of parts of the ideology of their constructive [liberal] opponents and the literal truth of parts of the theology of their conservative forefathers. ie Blue State ideology and Red State theology.

They are also staffed by ultra-loyal & diligent party nerdy Machiavellian apparatchiks who are, as you say, more effective organizers.

Rove's problem is that he cannot make up his mind which side of that fence he wants to be on – he appears to be an apparatchik but he yearns to be a statesman.

So although the REP apparatchiks are pretty talented, as evinced by their excellent Get-Out-The-Vote effort, the REP executives are extreme utopians. This is a bad combination.

The only historical precedent I can think of for this utopian/apparatchik combination is the Communist Party during its Leninist manifestation, which showed a similar tendency towards national multiculturalism and global 4evolutionism.

The post-911 Bush admin tactic, fiendishly clever in its simplicity, was to marshal conservative nationalist White Family Male political support for liberal/progressive globalist policies. The White Family Males were therefore trapped by their ideological professions and sociological organisations into supporting (invade/invite the world) policies that are against their interests.

* I use conservative and constructive as polar opposites in cultural ideology. Apart from being etymologically more satisfying it draws attention to the inevitable dialectic of political history between the status-quo and the agitators. It seems better than regressive and progressive. The word liberal has long since lost all intellectual utility.

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My Mexican Border Trilogy

Here are the accounts of my 2003 visit to the Arizona-Mexican border, where each year hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens enter the U.S. while hundred die trying.

The Mexican Border, Naco-Style

The Border Hawk Drone Flies to Spot Illegal Aliens

Christian vs. American on the Mexican Border

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March 9, 2005

Hey, Garance, looking for another conspiracy?

Check out the Jim Robinson - Steve Sailer Cabal! Nicholas Stix has the inside story on the secret alliance between Free Republic and VDARE at Middle American News.

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My new favorite Hunter S. Thompson story

"Neighbor and actor Don Johnson remembered asking Mr. Thompson, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Mr. Thompson responded by slapping Mr. Johnson across the face."

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Warlords with Private Armies Emerge in Iraq

Recently, various gentlemen in Iraq have come up with a time-tested response to the old challenge:

Q. Oh, yeah? Who's going to make me? You and which army?

A. My own personal army! [Bang-Bang-Boom-Boom]

New factor in Iraq: irregular brigades fill security void BY: Greg Jaffe, The Wall Street Journal 16/02/2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- In the battle against insurgents here, two kinds of Iraqi military forces are emerging: the planned units and the pop-ups.

The planned units of the Iraq Army, about 57,000 soldiers strong, are the result of careful preparation this summer between the U.S. and Iraqi commanders. The pop-ups started to emerge last fall out of nowhere, catching the American military by surprise. These dozen disconnected units totaling as many as 15,000 soldiers are fast becoming one of the most significant developments in the new Iraq security situation.

The unplanned units -- commanded by friends and relatives of cabinet officers and tribal sheiks -- go by names like the Defenders of Baghdad, the Special Police Commandos, the Defenders of Khadamiya and the Amarah Brigade. The new units generally have the backing of the Iraqi government and receive government funding.

While regular units of the Iraq Army have taken up residence on rehabilitated army bases, the others camp out in places like looted Ministry of Defense buildings, a former women's college, an old Iraqi war monument and an abandoned aircraft hangar. Frequently, U.S. officials don't find out about them until they stumble across them. Some Americans consider them a welcome addition to the fight against the insurgency -- though others worry about the risks.

"We don't call them militias. Militias are...illegal," says Maj. Chris Wales, who spent most of January tracking down and finding these new forces. "I've begun calling them 'Irregular Iraqi ministry-directed brigades.' " The "pop up" label comes from other U.S. military officials in Baghdad.

Troops who might have otherwise joined the regular Iraqi Army are drawn to these units because they are often led by a particularly inspirational commander or made up of people with similar tribal and religious backgrounds. This makes the units more cohesive and potentially effective against the insurgency. "Just show us where to go and we will eat the insurgents alive," an Iraqi in one of these units told Maj. Wales earlier this month when he tracked them down at a long-shuttered Baghdad airport..

In late November with the Iraqi elections approaching, homegrown units similar to the Commandos began popping up all over Baghdad. First came the Muthana Brigade, a unit formed by the order of Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. It set down roots at a long-abandoned airport in downtown Baghdad. Like the Commandos, the unit appeared to be well-trained and was pressed quickly into service. "They went from not even existing to being as viable as any Iraqi Army unit out there in six weeks," says Col. Franklin. [More]

Which points out that all this blather from Bush (and from Kerry last fall) about "training" Iraqis is bosh. Iraq used to have the fourth largest Army in the world. It has plenty of men with military training. What they lack is the motivation to fight under American direction.

Back in the 1920's, the young Mao discovered that to be somebody in the chaotic China of his day, you had to have your own army. He rode that insight all the way to being the new Emperor of China. Today, there are a lot of ambitious men in Iraq who are thinking along the lines, "Eventually, one man will probably wind up as Owner of the Oil. Why not me?"

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March 8, 2005

Daniel Pipes: Be careful what you wish for in the Middle East

In Human Events, Pipes writes:

As some of my oldest friends and closest allies are called neo-conservative, I happily accept this appellation. Indeed, it has a certain cachet, given that no more than fifty Americans have been called neo-conservative, yet we allegedly drive U.S. foreign policy.

I mention all this because neo-conservative policies in the Middle East have been looking pretty good the past two months, as Max Boot amplifies in a column titled "Neocons May Get the Last Laugh":.. These developments find some neo-conservatives in a state of near-euphoria. Rich Lowry of the National Review calls them "a marvelous thing." Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post writes that "We are at the dawn of a glorious, delicate, revolutionary moment in the Middle East."

I too welcome these developments, but more warily. Having been trained in Middle Eastern history makes me perhaps more aware of what can go wrong:

  • Yes, Mahmoud Abbas wishes to end the armed struggle against Israel but his call for a greater jihad against the "Zionist enemy" points to his intending another form of war to destroy Israel.

  • The Iraqi elections are bringing Ibrahim Jaafari, a pro-Iranian Islamist, to power.

  • Likewise, the Saudi elections proved a boon for the Islamist candidates.

  • Mubarak's promise is purely cosmetic; but should real presidential elections one day come to Egypt, Islamists will probably prevail there too.

  • Removing Syrian control in Lebanon could well lead to Hezbollah, a terrorist group, becoming the dominant power there.

  • Eliminating the hideous Assad dynasty could well bring in its wake an Islamist government in Damascus.

Note a pattern? Other than the sui generis Palestinian case, one main danger threatens to undo the good news: that a too-quick removal of tyranny unleashes Islamist ideologues and opens their way to power. Sadly, Islamists uniquely have what it takes to win elections: the talent to develop a compelling ideology, the energy to found parties, the devotion to win supporters, the money to spend on electoral campaigns, the honesty to appeal to voters, and the will to intimidate rivals.

This drive to power is nothing new. Already in 1979, Islamists exploited the shah's fall to take power in Iran. In 1992, they were on their way to win elections in Algeria. In 2002, they democratically took over in Turkey and Bangladesh. Removing Saddam Hussein, Husni Mubarak, Bashar Assad, and the Saudi princes is easier than convincing Middle Eastern Muslim peoples not to replace them with virulent Islamist ideologues.

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John Bolton: The Captain-Kanagaroo-Meets-Hitler Look

Calling Extreme Makeover: Can we lose the Captain-Kangaroo-meets-Hitler look currently sported by Bush's new UN Ambassador nominee, John Bolton? (As seen in this NRO picture advertising Frank Gaffney's endorsement of Bolton.)

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Garance Franke-Ruta Rides Again!

Garance Franke-Ruta is at it again: As you may recall, The American Prospect senior editor with the name that appears to have been created by a Random Syllable Generator denounced David Brooks last year for citing in the NYT a statistic tabulated by me. Not because the statistic Brooks quoted was untrue, but because I Am A Bad Person. Among my many crimes, according to Franke-Ruta, was that I wrote, " I believe the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking. At least, it’s certainly more interesting."

Having unraveled the secret of the sinister Brooks-Sailer cabal, Franke-Ruta has a new article out probing the deep, deep connections between Easongate, "Jeff Gannon," and some guy in Baltimore. It's getting a lot of play in the liberal blogosphere despite being 99% fact-free. One of the supposed plotters replies here, witheringly. And here's my close personal friend Tacitus (Josh Trevino) on Franke-Ruta's delusions. (Uh, oh, I shouldn't have let that cat out of the bag. Now Franke-Ruta will probably win the Pulitzer with her next investigative report on the clandestine iSteve-Tacitus juggernaut.)

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Proof that "The Bell Curve" is wrong

"The Army strains to meet recruiting goals in part because black volunteers have fallen 41 percent. They've gone from 23.5 percent of recruits in fiscal 2000 down to 13.9 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2005...

"No such decline has been seen among Hispanic or white recruits. Their percentages among Army recruits grew during the first George W. Bush administration.

"Fear of being killed or injured was the top reason to avoid service for 26 percent of youth in 2004, almost double the 14 percent reported in 2000. Poll data also show that more black parents, particularly mothers, worry that their children could be killed or injured in the war."

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March 7, 2005

Democracy in Africa and the Middle East

Democracy in Africa and the Middle East -- One major test of the popular theory that democracy will cure all in the Arab world is Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa was notoriously undemocratic from about 1965-1989, with almost no non-violent transfers of power. Then, in the wake of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Africa caught the democracy bug, with lots of semi-honest elections beginning in 1990-91. Not all of them stuck, but the continent is far more democratic today than 15 years ago.

So, how much better off is Africa?

Absolutely, it's worse off due to the spread of AIDS. Granted, the political system didn't have much impact, for good or bad, on that, but that put's the whole issue in perspective.

Relatively, Africa's economies are worse off compared to the rest of the human race on average, due to the rapid growth in authoritarian China and democratic India.

Still, it's likely that Africa is slightly better off for the spread of democracy than if it hadn't happened, although it's hard to cite examples where it's made all that much difference. Ghana, for example, has done better economically in the democratic era than in the dictatorial era, yet, amusingly enough, the same guy, Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, a charismatic Bob Marley-Muhammad Ali-looking mulatto, came to power twice by coups and then twice by elections.

The best rule in Africa has probably been under the competent dictatorships in Eritrea and Uganda, but of course the odds of a competent dictatorship emerging under the coup system are very slight, so democracy has probably been a net plus overall. Occasionally, elections have been a clear negative, though, as in Zimbabwe where after 20 years of fairly sane rule, the threat of losing an election drove Robert Mugabe into nationally destructive demagoguery.

The best progress against AIDS has been made in Uganda, which is a mild dictatorship under Museveni. Perhaps the worst governmental performance against AIDS has been in democratic and relatively rich South Africa, where the new ANC spent years trying to ignore AIDS, because its leaders were embarrassed that after decades of striving for black rule, as soon as they'd gained power, they discovered that their people had been fornicating to death, which was not the image they wished to project to the world of the New South Africa. So, they treated AIDS for quite a few years as a racist libel rather than as a public health crisis.

In Rwanda and Burundi, the introduction of elections at the end of colonialism over four decades ago has proven to be a pointless catastrophe. The minority Tutsis now rule both countries through military might, just as they did before the Europeans came, but an awful lot of people got hacked to pieces in the interim.

Anyway, I could go on with anecdotal evidence for some time, but the bottom line appears to be that free elections have been a mixed blessing, although probably a positive one on the whole, but they've done little to solve Africa's fundamental problems, which are not particularly amenable to political solutions. Africa is still Africa.

For the U.S., the good news about Africa's problems is that they don't much spill over into the rest of the world. Africans don't tend to actively blame their troubles on the rest of the world, at least not to the extent that they want to go blow up big buildings in the richer part of the world.

So, if they start holding a lot of elections in the Middle East, will the Middle East still be the Middle East, or will it turn into Finland? Will it be more like Africa, where democracy hasn't made much difference economically, or like ... well, it's not that easy to identify a country where democracy by itself has done all that much for the place, but no doubt there are some, most likely in places like Poland.

In contrast to Africa's self-contained troubles, the Middle East's problems have tended to spill over in three ways: terrorism, the impact on the price of oil, and various American ethnic groups trying to get America to help their relatives in the Old Country.

While very few people in America care if the Ibo or the Hausa have the upper hand in West Africa, lots of influential people care about their equivalents in the Middle East. But why anybody else should care all that much is not clear.

The U.S. used to care a lot about the price of oil, but, judging from the current record-setting price, the Bush Administration seems to have lost interest in the subject.

So, that leaves terrorism, and its dreaded "root causes." The Bush Administration's current theory appears to be that a lack of elections is the root cause of Arab terrorism. That's possible, but it's certainly not obvious.

While it's often asserted, with some evidence, that democracy prevents aggressive war, it's obviously false to claim that democracy prevents terrorism, as Northern Ireland, Northern Spain, and Kashmir show. Holding elections doesn't solve the problem that some men will always feel that the only thing preventing them from winning elections they deserve to win are the current national boundaries. The IRA wants to eliminate the border in Ireland, while the ETA wants to create a new border between Spain and the Basque country, all in the interests of converting a minority into an election-winning majority. Osama bin Laden appears to believe that the elimination of all boundaries in the Muslim world would allow him to come to power as the new Caliph, and he might be right that he would win a plurality if an election were held among all the Arab-speakers in the world.

In reality, Arab terrorism appears to have a lot of causes, but since most of it is carried out against other Arabs, that's not the kind I particularly care about in the long run. The kind where Arabs blow up non-Arabs, such as, potentially, me, is the kind that gets on my nerves.

So, what's the root cause of that? My best guess is that it's Arab soreheadedness over their embarrassing backwardness as a civilization compared to the West, especially economically. Africans, despite all their problems, don't get homicidally angry at the rest of the world when they compare how messed up their countries are. Arabs, however, sometimes do.

Elections might help in two ways. The first is that they might actually assist Arabs in catching up economically and organizationally. Perhaps, although there aren't a lot of examples of that actually happening, other than some Eastern European countries like Poland. In general, evolution to democracy tends to follow economic advances, as in South Korea and Chile, rather than vice-versa.

The Arabs' problems don't seem to be particularly caused by bad ideologies of the Marxist kind that are relatively easy to change. Mostly they seem to be the result of civilizational problems with extremely deep roots. For example, the part of Northern Tunisia that once belonged to the Roman Empire has a fairly high standard of living, but south of the old Roman wall erected to keep out the barbarians, Tunisia is like Yemen.

And, for some Arab countries, oil encourages laziness among the public and overweening ambition among would-be owners of all that oil. Being the Prime Minister of .Iceland, say, isn't a particularly desirable job because the people have to create the wealth through their own hard work and they aren't that willing to give up all the much for you to feather your own nest. But in a mineral state like Iraq, owning the oil is a very desirable job since all that matters is whom the oil companies write the checks to.

The other positive possibility is that elections might prove to be a temporary distraction for Arabs. Throughout the 20th Century, the Arabs have gotten excited over a long series of fads -- nationalism, pan-Arabism, socialism, fundamentalism -- none of which have succeeded in keeping the Arabs from falling farther behind their hated rivals in Christendom. Perhaps democratism might occupy their hopes for a few years.

Then, again, all this democracy hoopla may be an extraordinarily expensive delusion that is distracting us from doing what it takes to secure our homeland against foreign terrorists who wouldn't be particularly hard to keep out if we made the effort.

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"The Education of Larry Summers" - American Conservative, by Steve Sailer

"The Education of Larry Summers" - My article from the Feb. 28th American Conservative (subscribe here) of many weeks ago is now online. An excerpt:

I tried to explain the Larry Summers brouhaha to my wife, but she stumped me with a simple question...

Puzzled, my wife asked, "Why did Summers give in so fast and promise, in effect, to make it harder for our sons to someday get hired there? What's the President of Harvard so scared of?

Invented by Jesse Jackson, this public ritual -- an authority figure commits a "gaffe" by telling a bit of truth about human diversity, and then immediately hands over other people's money and opportunities to the offended special interest -- has become so familiar that nobody else asks why the fix is always in...

Summers' job is partly to enhance, but mostly to protect one of the world's most valuable brand names. "Harvard" stands for "intelligence," extreme far right edge of the IQ Bell Curve smarts.

America is increasingly stratified by IQ, and the resulting class war that the clever are waging upon the clueless means that having Harvard's endorsement of your brainpower is ever more desirable. Thus, applications and SAT scores have skyrocketed over the last half century.

Yet, Harvard's IQ elitism sharply contradicts its professed egalitarianism. The typical Harvard professor or student considers himself superior to ordinary folks for two conflicting reasons: first, he constantly proclaims his belief in human equality, but they don't; and second, he has a high IQ, but they don't.

Further, he believes his brains weren't the luck of his genes. No, he earned them. Which in turn means he feels that dumb people deserve to be dumb.

Ivy League presidents aren't much worried that the left half of the Bell Curve will get themselves well enough organized to challenge the hegemony of the IQ overclass. What they fear is opposition to their use of IQ sorting mechanisms, such as the politically incorrect but crucial SAT, from those identity politics pressure groups who perform below average in a pure meritocracy, such as women, blacks, and Hispanics. They each boast enough high IQ activists, like Nancy Hopkins, to make trouble for prestige universities.

So, Harvard, like virtually all famous universities, buys off females and minorities with "a commitment to diversity" -- in other words, quotas. By boosting less competent women, blacks and Hispanics at the expense of the more marginal men, whites, and Asians, Harvard preserves most of its freedom to continue to discriminate ruthlessly on IQ.

What is obviously in the best interest of Harvard, and of the IQ aristocracy in general, is for everybody just to shut up about group differences in intelligence. Stifling arguments allows the IQ upper class to quietly push its interests at the expense of everyone else. So, Summers bought peace fast.

Of course, he won't pay the price. Our sons will. [Entire article]

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Interracial marriage, Jessica Lynch, African Ancestry, etc.

More 2003 Articles never before on Lately, Google has been very, very good to my website, giving articles on high positions on the first page of its search results, so I'm posting a lot of my old stuff on Most of them seem to have held up pretty well.

2000 Census: Interracial Marriage Gender Gap Remains Big

Are Soldiers Mostly Poor and Black?

Saving Private Ryan: Women in Combat

African Ancestry Inc. Traces DNA Roots

Bush's Affirmative Action Supreme Court Briefs

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Manhattan Transfer on Neoconservatives

"The Neoconservatives: What Went Wrong" explains Manhattan Transfer. He points out in an email to me: "No mention of drinking in the entire post, so most of my regular readers will probably skip it."

How did the sons of the acerbic critics of the Great Society at home become the wooly-headed promoters of National Greatness abroad? Besides victory in the Cold War,

Sometime in the nineties, however, this neoconservatism suffered from two setbacks. The first was that many neoconservatives began to suspect that the culture was not quite (or no longer) as brittle as it had seemed. America had withered the storm of the social upheavals of the sixties and remained largely intact, if radically altered. Several indicators of societal breakdown—most notably crime—reversed, in direct contrast to neoconservative predictions. Other indicators seemed not as serious in hindsight. American culture had shown a surprising ability to absorb feminism, sexual liberation and gay rights. Even the breakdown of the family no longer seemed as deleterious as the neoconservatives had feared. America had been radically transformed in the last quarter of twentieth the century but it had not crumbled.

Perhaps a more cheerful way to look at this would be to say that the neoconservatives and their allies had triumphed in their struggle to temper the worst elements of the adversarial culture. They had “tamed” (to use a word popular with neoconservative theorists) its radicalism. They had, in short, accomplished the conservative task of preserving the culture while adapting it to new circumstances. Of course, the work of taming the adversarial culture had to be continued indefinitely, but Western civilization was no longer on Orange Alert.

The second was the neoconservative triumph over liberal policy. The neoconservative projects of welfare reform and other revisions to the programs of the Great Society were essentially accomplished during the neoconservative moment. Not even the liberals clamored for great projects of social engineering. Democratic President Bill Clinton declared that the era of big government had come to an end.

(Perhaps a a third setback was the loss of the Cold War enemy but, again, this was more generally felt on the right and not particular to the neoconservatives.)

Why describe these accomplishments as setbacks? While they were arguably political victories—or rather, certainly in the case of policy reform and perhaps in the case of taming the adversary culture—they left the neoconservative intellectuals without psychologically satisfying cause. The objects of the neoconservative critique had in various ways entered into the dustbin of history...

What happened? One explanation might be psychological and political. Like their New Class forebearers and the British imperialists before them, neoconservatives needed a project. For the Neo-New Class, power and status are now sought through the expansion and management of empire rather than a large public sector at home. The War on Terror is the Great Society for the Neo-New Class.

I would add a little more ethnic detail. The original neocons were mostly Irish (D.P. Moynihan, J.Q. Wilson, Fr. Greeley) or Jewish (Kristol, Podhoretz, Glazer), with the occasional WASP inner city sociologist thrown in (Banfield, Coleman), and thus had numerous relatives in the big cities who were directly exposed to the rise of black power and black crime in the 1960s. The Irish professors had relatives who were cops and firemen, and the Jewish intellectuals had relatives who were liquor store owners and public schoolteachers.

Over time, Americans learned to insulate themselves from the worst of the crime wave, both by moving away and by locking up more and more criminals, so even the horrible murder epidemic of the crack years affected mostly inner city people.

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March 6, 2005

"Why (Some) Men Don’t Support Summers"

"Why (Some) Men Don’t Support Summers" is my new VDARE column. An excerpt:

Obviously, feminist intimidation plays a huge role. But some of the gentlemen actually seem to be semi-sincere.

No doubt a few have become true believers in the politically-correct cant with which they have been so heavily indoctrinated.

But a more interesting subset, however, are the male science and engineering types who support gender quotas for women out of self-interest. My theory: they see the feminists' vendetta against Summers as their chance to get revenge on the female sex for its annoying femaleness.

Why do these men insist that sexist discrimination and socialization are the only possible reasons there are fewer women than men in their own fields?

Why do they demand massive social engineering to get more women to become as obsessive about the pocket-protector professions as they are?

Paradoxically, this is typically because of how little these nerds appreciate women. They don't like females the way they are. They want a vast societal effort to remold women into liking the same nerdy things they like.

That way, maybe, nerds can finally get dates.

It's roughly same reason you see so many butt-kicking babes in movies aimed at male teenage comic book geeks—such as "The Matrix," "X-Men," "Charlie's Angels," and "Tomb Raider" franchises. It’s always hyped in the press as female empowerment. But it's driven far more by the adolescent male's wish that sexy girls would stop being interested in all that boring girl stuff like relationships and start being interested in cool guy stuff, like kung-fu fighting and really big guns.

There’s also a somewhat older male constituency for re-engineering American society to persuade females to care more about crankshafts and subatomic particles and less about stereotypical female interests like other human beings: scientist and engineer fathers who hunger for a child to follow in their professional footsteps.

Increasingly, these men lack the sons who they would previously have browbeaten into studying their specialties. Smaller family sizes mean fewer men have sons. Roughly half of all one-child families and one quarter of all two-child families have only daughters. So men are putting more pressure on their little girls to follow in their footsteps.

You see the same dynamic in kids' baseball these days. There will eight 11-year-old boys on the field, and one girl, out in right field. She doesn't particularly want to be there. But her dad played a little ball back in school, and has always dreamed of a son who will fulfill his jock dreams. However, he doesn't have one. So she has to stand in.

It would make this father's job easier if society propagandized girls even more about how fashionable it is for girls to do traditionally male things. [...More]

Steve Sailer's homepage and blog is -- A new news site that presents articles relating to America from foreign news sources -- much of it translated.

Steve Sailer's homepage and blog is

Mapinator teams up with Laboratory of the States

Laboratory of the States is back and Mapinator's got it (or vice-versa): Randall Burns and Jim Bowery have built this remarkable statistical investigation system called Laboratory of the States that allows you to correlate several hundred variables for the 50 states against each other, and see a scatterplot of the results. For example, Bush's Share of the vote in 2004 and UFO sightings per capita correlate at only the 0.03 level (virtually random).

Ethan Herdrick's Mapinator displays color-coded maps of the states.

Now, you can feed data from Laboratory of the States into Mapinator just by clicking on the Click here for a geographic map of this correlation line.

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Luke Ford Interviews Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer interviewed by Luke Ford on Race: Here's an excerpt:

* Can a society ever have too much diversity?

Personally, I like ethnic diversity a lot. I lived for many years in the Uptown neighborhood in Chicago, where something like 100 different languages are spoken. I enjoy observing different kinds of people, and because I'm rather shy, the fact that I couldn't converse with most of my neighbors due to the language barriers wasn't much of a problem to me. And I didn't worry too much about crime because I'm a big galoot and muggers don't mess with me much.

But, just because I like diversity doesn't mean everyone else necessarily should. When you get right down to it, most intellectuals' prescriptions for how to improve the world is for the human race to Be Like Me. Well, I try not to be that dogmatic about imposing my tastes on others. For example, among all the professional film critics in this country, I probably spend the least time in my reviews explaining my opinion of the movie and the most time analyzing the issues it raises. I like understanding how the world works more than I like hectoring it to be more like me.

For example, precisely what I liked about Uptown was what made it a lousy place to raise a family due to it lack of neighborliness, crime, and public schools completely overwhelmed by the challenge of educating children speaking 100 different languages.

Ethnic diversity isn't of much interest or value to little kids. They need to learn to deal first with all the human diversity that is found in even the most mono-ethnic communities: young and old, boy and girl, and all the different personality types that you see even in one extended family. Further, kids need some homogeneity and safety so they can learn independence. Before the great crime wave began in the 1960s, kids used to walk or ride their bikes everywhere. Now, moms chauffeur their kids everywhere, which is bad for kids and bad for women.

Overall, like everything else in life, increased ethnic diversity comes with tradeoffs. The funny thing is that a lot of its side effects are precisely the ones that liberals say they oppose: for instance, diversity makes free speech less popular; it lessens community solidarity and support for welfare programs, and it vulgarizes the arts. That's probably why so many liberals have moved to Howard Dean's and Bernie Sanders' Vermont, which is the whitest state in the country. [...more]

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The Dirt Gap

Finally fully online: "The Dirt Gap: A Tale of Two States, Texas vs. California" - The fundamental cause of why some states are red and some are blue, from the Feb. 14th issue of The American Conservative.

Here is my series of four articles progressively digging deeper into explaining the Red State vs. Blue State Gap:

The Baby Gap

The Marriage Gap

The Mortgage Gap

The Dirt Gap

And here is the Gap Map.

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