July 2, 2005

iSteve.com Has Been Splendidized

One of the stranger artifacts I've found on Google is a translation of my blog from last December into the argot spoken in Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies by the daft debutante Lady Agatha Runcible, as played by Fenella Woolgar in Stephen Fry's terrific 2004 movie adaptation "Bright Young Things." For example,

The bloody university's main concern appears to be to make students feel "comfortable," a shriekworthy word that reappears constantly in Claremont publications despite the frightfully divine obvious hopelessness of the simply bogus project. Ugh, how uncouth! Darling, the beastly only way to make 19-year-olds feel comfortable is fabulously to wait 30 years while they sag into their well-padded maturities, darling! Dash me twice, right now, they are, and I don't want to be frightfully mean, teenagers and their surging hormones have far more important emotions for them to feel than comfort, which is terribly just too bogus! I say, adults, however, who make careers out of encouraging kids to mold permanently self-pitying identities around their transient social discomforts have much to answer for, my dear fellow! [More]

Apparently, the Splendidizer was a program available through the film's website, which is no longer on line.

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

July 1, 2005

Perjury rap for Rove?

From Editor & Publisher:

Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to federal court, presumably revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant on the name of that source, and what might happen to him or her. Tonight, on the syndicated McLaughlin Group political talk show, Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, claimed to know that name--and it is, according to him, top White House mastermind Karl Rove.

Here is the transcript of O'Donnell's remarks:

"What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's e-mails, within Time Magazine, are handed over to the grand jury, the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is.

"And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury."

Other panelists then joined in discussing whether, if true, this would suggest a perjury rap for Rove, if he told the grand jury he did not leak to Cooper.

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

The single best debate over Levitt's abortion-cut-crime theory:

I hadn't seen this before from the comments section of Tim Lambert's Deltoid blog, but Jack Strocchi rips into Levitt's Freakonomics adulators. Strocchi's performance makes me sense how Darwin must have felt having T.H. Huxley as his "bulldog."

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

John Tierney Nails Iraq

Too bad nobody will read it because it's the Fourth of July weekend, but Tierney's New York Times op-ed, "Get Out, You Damned One," is his best yet. I'm obviously prejudiced, because much of it is built on my work, especially my "Cousin Marriage Conundrum" article that Tierney made the basis for his NYT article "Iraq’s Family Bonds Complicate U.S. Efforts" that he wrote while stationed in Baghdad in September 2003.

Here's his July 2, 2005 op-ed:

President Bush has the bully pulpit, but Saddam Hussein has the hot novel. Bootleg copies of his latest work are selling briskly in the Middle East, and not just because of the free publicity he got when Jordan banned it this week. Say what you will about Saddam, he knows his audience. Skip to next paragraph

The critics have not been kind to the prose and the plot, but they miss Saddam's strength. He's a marketer. He is said to have finished the novel just as the war was beginning, when American leaders were fantasizing about their troops' being welcomed as liberators. But Saddam knew enough to give his novel a surefire title for the post-invasion era: "Get Out, You Damned One."

It's a naked appeal to xenophobia, an impulse that's far more ancient and widespread than the yearning for democracy that President Bush talked about this week. Yet it's been curiously underestimated by conservatives who used to pay close attention to just this sort of instinct.

When liberal intellectuals dreamed of a socialist world with a selfless "New Man," conservatives realized that he'd be as greedy as ever. When some feminists envisioned the end of gender stereotypes, conservatives insisted there were ingrained differences between the sexes. Yet when American troops met resistance after the war, conservatives dismissed the early insurgents as "dead-enders" and expected Iraqis to join Americans in quickly vanquishing the thugs.

In those early days, when the memory of Saddam was still fresh, you could walk down a street in Baghdad and be greeted by an Iraqi stranger thanking you for bringing freedom. But even back then there were plenty of Iraqis like Saleh Youssef Sayel, who proudly told me of the reaction of his 5-year-old son, Mustafa, to an American soldier.

"The soldier tried to shake his hand, but my son refused," he said. "He knew enough English to say, 'No. You go.' Later he told me he wanted a gun to kill Americans. This is a natural feeling. Nobody wants a stranger in your house or your country."

The natural impulse to dislike outsiders is so strong that it barely matters who the outsiders are.

When experimental psychologists divide subjects into purely arbitrary groups - by the color of their eyes, their taste in art, the flip of a coin - the members of a group quickly become so hostile to the other group that they'll try to deny rewards to the outsiders even at a cost to themselves.

And when the members of a group really have something in common, like family ties, they're willing to fight outsiders even if it means their own deaths. Xenophobia produced genetic rewards for hunter-gatherer clans. When the evolutionary psychologist J. B. S. Haldane was asked whether he would lay down his life for his brother, he replied, "No, but I would to save two brothers or eight cousins."

Iraqis have their own version of that line: "My brother and I against my cousin; my cousin and I against the world."

Because marriage between cousins is so common in the Middle East - half of Iraqis are married to their first or second cousins - Arabs live in tightly knit clans long resistant to outsiders, including would-be liberators. T. E. Lawrence learned that lesson when trying to unify Arabs early in the last century.

"The Semites' idea of nationality," he wrote, "was the independence of clans and villages, and their ideal of national union was episodic combined resistance to an intruder. Constructive policies, an organized state, an extended empire, were not so much beyond their sight as hateful in it. They were fighting to get rid of Empire, not to win it."


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

Mexico's New Stamps Depicts Black as Ape-Man

To celebrate the art of caricature in Mexico, Vicente Fox's government has issued a series of postage stamps commemorating the popular comic strip character Memin Pinguin, a black youth drawn to look like he's part-chimpanzee.

Defying U.S., Mexicans flock to buy 'racist' stamps

By Catherine Bremer

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Crowds of Mexicans lined up at post offices on Friday to buy a new set of stamps featuring a 1940s black comic-book hero whose stereotypical looks and antics have been slammed as racist in the United States.

Some 400 people, from comic fans to Mexicans simply wanting to defy the White House, descended on Mexico City's main post office. Media reports said one bought 4,000 stamps of Memin Pinguin, a mischievous black boy whose thick lips, flat nose and monkey-like antics have offended U.S. civil rights groups.

The basic take-home lesson of this is that the cultural level of the Mexican masses is extremely low, and importing millions more uneducated Mexicans into the U.S. isn't making our cultural level more "vibrant," it's just depressing ours as well. One might think that American white liberals who pride themselves on their superior cultural sophistication might object to what mass immigration is doing to American culture, but they don't because they don't care about superior culture, just about feeling superior to other American whites.

Ironically, the average Mexican appears to be somewhere around 5% black by ancestry, although the African contribution to the Mexican population has been shoved down the memory hole by the Mexican government. For the full story, see my 2002 article "Where Did Mexico's Blacks Go?"

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

"Mr. Bush, Put Up this Wall!"

Randall Parker has been studying the cost of building security barriers. The highest cost per mile he's seen for the highly successful new Israeli fence around (and partly in) the West Bank is $4.15 million.

Even at $4.15 million per mile a barrier on the US border with Mexico would still be under $10 billion and therefore cost less than one year of illegal alien health care.

The Iraq-Syria border is about one third the length of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The highly effective anti-illegal immigration fence in San Diego came out to about $1.7 million per mile. The Israeli fence is much more lethal (e.g., includes landmines), as is appropriate for dealing with suicide bombers.

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

ABC Kills Housing Segregation Reality Show

The AP reports:

"Welcome to the Neighborhood," an ABC reality series that pushes hot buttons of racism and anti-homosexuality, was pulled by the network before its debut.

The program had drawn criticism from groups claiming it risked fostering prejudice.

In a statement Wednesday, ABC acknowledged the delicate nature of the series in which families asked to pick a new neighbor are made to expose and overcome their biases.

"Welcome to the Neighborhood" demonstrates what happens when people are forced to "confront preconceived notions of what makes a good neighbor," the network said.

"However, the fact that true change only happens over time made the episodic nature of this series challenging, and given the sensitivity of the subject matter in early episodes we have decided not to air the series at this time."

A spokeswoman for the network said ABC had no further comment. A replacement program was not announced.

The six-episode show, which was to debut July 10 in the "Desperate Housewives" slot, follows three families in Austin, Texas, who are given the chance to choose a new neighbor for a house on their street.

Each family initially wants someone similar to them — white and conservative.

Instead, they must choose from a diverse group that includes families that are black, Hispanic and Asian; two gay white men who've adopted a black child; a couple covered in tattoos and piercings; a couple who met at the woman's initiation as a witch; and a poor white family.

In the early episodes, one man makes a crack about the number of children piling out of the Hispanic family's car and displays of affection between the gay men provoke disgust.

The series' producers had said it was intended to promote a healthy and open debate about prejudice and people's fear of differences.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, after viewing the series, expressed strong concerns.

While it ultimately carries a valuable message about diversity and acceptance, those watching the first episodes could be left thinking discrimination is "not that big a deal," GLAAD spokesman Damon Romine said Wednesday.

"Regardless of how things turn out at the end of the last show, it's dangerous to let intolerance and bigotry go unchallenged for weeks at a time," he said, adding that GLAAD hopes a revised version might air.

A little too much reality for Reality TV, I guess...

Gosh, you ever wonder why the country is dividing up into childless blue and family-rich red zones?

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

June 30, 2005

More of James Q. Wilson on Steven D. Levitt's Freakonomics

from the July issue of Commentary:

The abortion-crime connection [is] … symptomatic of a general disposition on the part of Levitt or his coauthor to avoid being thought politically incorrect. For just as this book's discussion of abortion ignores race, so its chapter on the gap in educational achievement between blacks and whites soft-pedals some indisputably important facts.

The chapter begins by considering how little influence parents may exert over their child's personality given that half of the difference among personalities can be attributed to genes. This is quite correct. But genes also account for well over half (in some studies, as much as three-quarters) of differences in intellectual ability. If we are explain the black-white gap in educational achievement, we cannot turn away from the fact that on average, African Americans have a lower IQ than white Americans.

There are, of course, many highly talented blacks and many really stupid whites.

[Using stylized data from the normal probability distribution, I've estimated that about 33 million non-Hispanic whites score below the average black on IQ tests, and about 6 million blacks score above the 100 million whites who are below the white average. -- Steve]

But these important individual differences are not relevant to explaining the average difference between black and white school achievement. That difference is not the product of racist innuendo; the matter has been measured for decades, often by means of tests that do not require the use of words.

It is true enough that black IQ scores have risen -- owing, one suspects, to improvements in the social condition of blacks over the last several generations. But the black white gap in educational attainment has not narrowed. In Freakonomics, the authors assert that this gap is the result of differences in incomes between blacks and whites. Such differences certainly exist. But income differences are themselves in large measure the result of differences in intelligence, so one cannot explain the gap in IQ-based school scores by "controlling" for income.

The best test of this was done by Sandra Scarr and Richard Weinberg. They looked for changes in the IQ scores of black children who had been adopted by white families, mostly middle-class and well-educated. Over a ten-year period, there was no significant gain in the IQ's of the adopted black children. (Not was there any gain in the IQ's of adopted white children.) The data strongly suggest that parental environment, even in well-to-do families, has only a modest and probably short-lived effect on educational ability.

If you bothered to look up Levitt's original paper on the black-white test gap, written with Roland G. Fryer, you would find that that the authors are indeed aware of the many other studies that have been done of this issue. But they also think that once one "controls" for socioeconomic status, black and white schoolchildren become "observationally equivalent." Observationally, perhaps, but not actually.

As they themselves note, moreover, the gap between black and white test scores increases as children get older, and this widening gap cannot be explained by socio-economic differences in the quality of the schools the children attend. Experts on genetics have long known that heritability increases with age, and so, as a result, will the average gaps in school achievement between white and black children.

Wilson belongs to the heroic first generation of neoconservatives, who were primarily heterodox social scientists largely concerned with explaining domestic issues involving race and ethnicity: Wilson, Moynihan, Glazer, Sowell, Herrnstein, Coleman, Banfield, and Murray. Basically, I'm an Old Neocon in that tradition.

By a strange process, the second generation of neocons became primarily propagandists for a foreign political party and largely gave up research and analysis.

By the way, I wrote about Levitt and Fryer's IQ paper last October:


Steven Levitt "eliminates" the black-white test score gap! Levitt is the imaginative U. of Chicago professor who recently was named the top young economist in America...

Levitt has now turned his peripatetic attention to the IQ racial gap, with the goal of statistically showing that it can be eliminated just by adjusting for various environmental factors. In a May 2004 paper in the Review of Economics and Statistics called "Understanding the black-white test score gap in the first two years of school," Levitt and Roland G. Fryer Jr. claim

"As in previous data sets, we observe substantial racial differences in test scores in the raw data: black kindergartners score on average 0.64 standard deviation worse than whites. In stark contrast to earlier studies (including those looking at kindergartners), however, after controlling for a small number of other observable characteristics (children’s age, child’s birth weight, a socioeconomic status measure, WIC participation, mother’s age at first birth, and number of children’s books in the home), we essentially eliminate the black-white test score gap in math and reading for students entering kindergarten."

However, I have thought of a simpler way to "essentially eliminate the black-white test score gap" than the one they describe. First, though, let's think of an analogy for what they are doing. Say you were attempting to "essentially eliminate" the Japanese-Lithuanian child height gap. You could control for household environmental measures such as the length of the beds, the height of the ceilings, the average inseam length of pants hanging in the closets, the size of the shoes, etc. Or you could simply control for the height of the parents. Much simpler! Occam would approve.

Similarly, if you controlled simply for the IQ of the parents, I bet you wouldn't have to laboriously include so many proxies for the parents' IQ like socio-economic status, WIC participation (i.e., get free formula from the government for being poor), mother's age at first birth, number of children's books in the home, and birth weight.

This generated the usual indignant replies from Levitt's ex-students about how my reductionist crudities were unfair to the ineffably brilliant sophistication of Levitt's thinking, which they couldn't quite explain because you had to be there to fully experience its wonderfulness. Levitt looks like he's well on his way toward becoming one of those charismatic U. of Chicago professors whose students take his every idea on faith, like Leo Strauss and Allan Bloom.

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

June 29, 2005

Where's the evidence?

NRO claims the Iraq Attaq was part of the War on Terror, not Bush's War in Error, because Iraq was up to its eyeballs in promoting terrorism.

Yet, the Bush Administration has almost the entire leadership of Saddam's regime in custody. They've been sweating some of them for over two years. Yet, have you seen any televised confessions of top Baathist officials to their involvement with anything the Bushies claimed justified this war? We know the WMD was all lies, but what about Atta's supposed meeting with an Iraqi diplomat in Prague or the practice hijacking camp or all the rest of the fairy tales we were fed? I don't even think the story that Saddam had doubles was true.

What, do you think some Baathists wouldn't sell out their colleagues out to get more favorable treatment for themselves? They're Arabs! Of course they would ... if they had anything to sell. But, they don't.

The truths is, it was almost all lies. And we ate them up, and even after we knew they were lies, we re-elected the liars.

For some reason, I am reminded of Wordsworth's great poem, "London, 1802:"

Milton! thou should’st be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.

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

Mounties use DNA tests to discover race of criminals

Carolyn Abraham of the Toronto Globe & Mail, who wrote that long article on "The New Science of Race," is back with another article, "Molecular Eyewitness: DNA gets a human face," this time on how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other law enforcement agencies are employing DNAprint's genetic test to estimate the racial admixture of suspects from evidence samples.

Funny how for something that doesn't exist, race sure seems to act like it exists.

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

Too funny to pass up

Way back in 1997, I wrote in my groundbreaking article "Is Love Colorblind?" about why interracial couples are more likely to be black husband-white wife and white husband-Asian wife than vice-versa:

Despite these opportunities to meet white men, so many middle-class black women have trouble landing satisfactory husbands that they have made Terry (Waiting to Exhale) McMillan, author of novels specifically about and for them, into a best-selling brand name. Probably the most popular romance advice regularly offered to affluent black women of a certain age is to find true love in the brawny arms of a younger black man. Both Miss McMillan's 1996 best-seller How Stella Got Her Groove Back and the most celebrated of all books by black women, Zora Neale Hurston's 1937 classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, are romance novels about well-to-do older women and somewhat dangerous younger men. Of course, as Miss Hurston herself later learned at age 49, when she (briefly) married a 23-year-old gym coach, that seldom works out in real life.

Today, the AP reports:

Terry McMillan divorcing 'Groove' muse

(AP) -- Author Terry McMillan has filed for divorce from the man who inspired the 1996 novel "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," which chronicled the romantic adventures of a 40-something woman who falls for a guy half her age. In papers filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court, McMillan, 53, says she decided to end her 6 1/2-year marriage to Jonathan Plummer, 30, after learning he is gay.

The revelation led her to conclude Plummer married only to get his U.S. citizenship, she said. McMillan met Plummer at a Jamaican resort a decade ago.

"It was devastating to discover that a relationship I had publicized to the world as life-affirming and built on mutual love was actually based on deceit," she said in court papers. "I was humiliated."

In response, Plummer maintained McMillan treated him with "homophobic" scorn bordering on harassment since he came out to her as gay just before Christmas.

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

"Hollywood's Other Obsession: Blond Bad Guys:"

"Hollywood's Other Obsession: Blond Bad Guys:" My new VDARE.com column is up:

Exactly why Hollywood hates blond men almost as much as it loves blond women is not clear... This prejudice against blond men would seem to be on a collision course with the tendency of movie moguls, such as Steven Spielberg, to marry blonde women, such as Kate Capshaw. This means the industry's hereditary elite will tend to become blonder over the generations. No doubt it will cause no end of father-son conflicts, keeping Beverly Hills psychiatrists prosperous for the rest of the century. [More]

And who can forget "Lethal Weapon II" where the bad guys were Afrikaaner drug smugglers in the South African embassy? Fortunately, Mel Gibson seduced the beautiful blonde Boer babe away from dark side.

My all-time favorite blond bad guy is Gary Busey's Mr. Joshua in the original "Lethal Weapon." Busey has had a two-role career: Buddy Holly and Mr. Joshua, which shows a fair amount of range, but he hasn't made much of a mark in anything else. Of course, falling off a motorcycle onto his head hasn't helped.

A reader asks:

How far back does the blond bad guy motif go? Is it left over from WWII and the SS? Or were they doing this in the early 1930's as well? It would be kind of interesting if Hollywood was still doing its part to win the war against the Nazis.

But I would imagine that it is simply the flip side of your other article. If the leading lady has to be pale and blonde, and the hero has to be darker, well the villain has to stand out. We would not want the audience to pull a brain muscle in the theater.

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

The NYT runs _another_ rave review of Freakonomics

After Jim Holt's softball review last month, Roger Lowenstein says the same old same old all over again, accepting Levitt's abortion-cut-crime theory without demurral or the slightest evidence that he even spent fifteen minutes Googling the subject.

Aren't these NYT tongue-baths of Freakonomics getting a little unseemly? After all, the NYT now employs Levitt and Dubner to write a regular "Freakonomics" column for the NYT Magazine. Does the term "conflict of interest" come to mind?

Okay, okay, I know a lot of economists are shocked, SHOCKED by my insinuations that some of the puffery associated with the Freakonomics fad is a bit self-interested, so forget I ever said that... I admit, it's utterly beyond belief that anyone associated with economics could ever be motivated by financial gain. It would violate all the laws of economics if economists weren't an exception to the laws of economics.

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

They Saved Einstein's Brain!

Interesting article from the LA Times on McMaster U. psychologist Sandra Witelson, who has been dissecting hundreds of brains (after their owners no longer need them, I'm glad to report). She finds strong sex differences. Does that mean Larry Summers can take back the $50 million in other people's money he's promised to make up for his gaffe?

By the way, Dr. Witelson has chopped up Einstein's brain and finds it to have been, no fooling, a "one in a billion brain."

Back when I was a kid, while Einstein's brain was still floating in a jar undissected, and you could only look at the outside of it, my fourth grade teacher explained that Einstein's brain was extra-wrinkled, which shows that every time you learn something new, you get a new wrinkle in your brain. But the new article is unaccountably silent on the Wrinkled Brain Theory.

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


Random notes:

- Notice how the Gotham City muggers are blond?

- This time, Gotham City looks more like Chicago than New York, with all the liftable bridges over the river and the art deco Wayne Tower looks like a bigger version of the Board of Trade building at the end of Lasalle St. A lot of the underground road footage was shot on Lower Wacker Drive, a rather ominous-looking shortcut under the Loop that I took to work every day for years. However, Chicago is lacking in blond muggers.

- As a boy, Christian Bale starred in Steven Spielberg's 1987 "Empire of the Sun," which was a rare box office dud for Spielberg ($22 million domestically, but I thought was one of the greatest movies ever made. Bale plays an English lad living in the wealthy European suburb of Shanghai on December 7, 1941 who is interned in a brutal camp by the Japanese. Objectively, he's a pitiful victim of the war, but he finds World War II to be a blast. Spielberg took the script by Tom Stoppard and augmented Stoppard's trademark "surreal realism" -- a style Stoppard invented in "After Magritte" where a seemingly impossible tableau is later explained. For example, the remarkably memorable scene that begins with Bale's Japanese friend on the other side of the fence singing a Shinto hymn and climbing into his Kamikaze was largely Spielberg's invention. Stoppard couldn't imagine spending the money the scene cost, but Spielberg came up with the most Stoppardian segment in any of the many movies Stoppard has worked on.

- Gary Oldman doesn't have much to do as the only honest cop in Gotham City, but he gives a seminar in acting solely through facial expressions when he is pressed into driving the Batmobile. Oldman was great way back in 1986's "Sid and Nancy" (he beat out Daniel Day-Lewis for the role of Sid Vicious), but Chloe Webb was even better. But there aren't a lot of roles for funny-looking girls (other than as Danny Devito's girlfriend in "Twins"), so her career never amounted to much. Too bad Tim Roth turned down the role of Johnny Rotten.

- Practically the entire cast of "Batman Begins" is from the British Isles, other than Katie Holmes, Morgan Freeman, and Ken Watanabe. The British are still just better than we are at the kind of classy showmanship that this kind of film demands.

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

Did the Iranian people just elect a hostage-taker as president?

There's photographic evidence that the landslide winner in the recent Iranian election was one of the creeps who took American Embassy workers hostage in 1978-1980. (Of course, in the age of PhotoShop, seeing in the media should not be believing.)

Another triumph of democracy!

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

Why don't we seal the Syrian border?

asks Andrew Sullivan, wondering why the Bush Administration constantly complains about fighters slipping in from Syria but doesn't seem to do anything about it.

Let me update what I wrote over two years ago about Iraq's borders, just after the capture of Baghdad. Obviously, the U.S. military knows how to seal even a much more dangerous border, from its experience on the Korean peninsula over the last half century. Similarly, Israel has largely stopped the infiltration of suicide bombers by largely fencing off Gaza and much of the West Bank. Heck, the King of Morocco ended infiltration of Polisario guerillas into his new territory of Spanish Sahara by building a dirt berm around it.

There are four likely reasons the Bush Administration isn't letting the military seal the border in Iraq:

1. Bush wants Al-Qaeda fighters to get into Iraq so he can claim Iraq is part of the 9/11 payback.

2. At least part of the Administration wants to conquer Syria, which is more of a problem for Israel than Iraq was, so they want the border to stay porous as an excuse for invading Syria. As Noah Millman has long pointed out, taking out Saddam was a lower priority for the Likud government compared to the threats posed to Israel by Iran and Syria. But, the Likud fellow travelers in the Bush Administration assumed that getting U.S. troops into Iraq would make it more likely the U.S. would then turn on Syria and/or Iran. Neutralizing Syria by sealing the border would lessen the chance of the U.S. invading Syria, so that's not a popular choice within the Bush Administration.

3. Successfully sealing off the Syrian border would give the lie to the claim that it's impossible to seal off the Mexican border to cut back on illegal immigration, and that's the last thing Mr. Bush wants to do.

4. The Syrian border actually isn't all that important. This is primarily an ethno-nationalist rebellion, and Bush is exaggerating the importance of the foreign element so he can tell people his War in Error is part of the War on Terror. Maybe it would be cost-ineffective to worry about the border. Still, how much time does laying landmines use up?

More on sealing the border(s): A reader writes:

Fences are OK. Walls are better. Concrete walls better still.

Tilt-up concrete construction has been used in the Southwest since the 1940s. Essentially, you cast a reinforced concrete slab on the ground (say 4-6" thick) and then, after a few weeks, tilt it up to make a wall. Simple, and quick. An experienced crew can tilt up 30 panels a day and you can make them 60'x60' or larger. Secure? We build prisons out of them in Texas.

If you wanted a 6" thick, 60' high wall of concrete along the border withSyria or Mexico, you would need a few square miles of flat land under guard and semis to move the slabs out to the border. With a few square miles, you could supply multiple crews for a few weeks. Stage the areas to cast the slabs up and down the border and guard the goddamned things like we used to be able to do before GHW Bush and Bill Clinton drove all of the professionals out of the US military. Build a berm and compress the earth, and tilt up the wall in between braces pounded into the earth.

While construction is going on, let everyone know that activity in the immediate few miles will draw fire without any attempt to verify the target. Period.

So, lets assume 25 slabs per crew per day, 10 crews working, each slab 60' long, that would be 2.84 miles a day (15000/5280), and if we were working for 135 days we would be done. End of story. Cost? My back of the envelope is $275,000,000 for materials times a mutiplier for the cost of shipping them in plus the labor (which, if it is military, is already a sunk cost). How about an even billion, which is a lot less than we have spent so far. Patrol night and day in Blackhawks with IR and respond immediately and with overwhelming force every time anything, even a camel, gets close to the wall.

Think that Bush would do it? No, and I don't think that you are being paranoid when you say that this would make people think "Hmmm ... why not here?" I sent a sketch of this idea to a friend in DC a few days ago and but he thought that it might affect the efforts to attract Hispanics to the Republican Party. Wonderful.

Update: My wall expert has now priced out what it would cost to buy the wall from his local Lowe's Home Center:

So, I was thinking to myself, let's assume $500 of rebar and the suggested 3031 80 pound bags of Quick-Crete that Lowe's suggests for one of these wall panels (60'x60'). We would need to look at transportation costs, labor, forms (which can be reused for a while), and so on, but just the concrete and rebar would be $13,000 per slab. We need 34000 slabs to run right down the Syrian border, so that would be $442,000,000 if we bought this at Lowe's, and I would hope that buying in bulk would give us a little bit of a discount. I know, I know, we would have to truck in water, we would have to do the earthworks, and so on. But still -- we could seal the Syrian border with with crap we can buy at Lowe's and even if it costs us $2,000,000,000 because my math is lousy, we would still be running at under 1% of the cost of this goat rodeo so far.

Why do they have to be 60 feet tall? The walls the Border Patrol has built in towns on the Mexican border like Nogales and Naco are about 15 feet tall. They're effective, but the BP boys have to watch them to keep people from climbing over them on extra long ladders. But they don't have any spikes on top of them or electrification or landmines below them, or all the other sadistic (and fun to dream up) anti-personnel schemes that would be perfectly justifiable in using to keep Al-Qaeda terrorists from entering Iraq to set off car bombs.

Randall Parker has been studying the cost of building security barriers. The highest cost per mile he's seen for the highly successful new Israeli fence around (and partly in) the West Bank is $4.15 million.

Even at $4.15 million per mile a barrier on the US border with Mexico would still be under $10 billion and therefore cost less than one year of illegal alien health care.

The Iraq-Syria border is about one third the length of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The highly effective anti-illegal immigration fence in San Diego came out to about $1.7 million per mile. The Israeli fence is much more lethal (e.g., includes landmines), as is appropriate for dealing with suicide bombers.


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

How interracial marriage keeps the ruling class relatively white in Latin America

From Georgie Anne Geyer's 1970 book The New Latins:

In Bolivia, for instance, divorce came into being with the 1952 revolution, which also disgorged from the lowest depths of society and flung to its apex an entire new class of Indian and Mestizo leaders. Almost without exception, these leaders divorced their original wives and married women of a higher social class -- a class whose status coincided with their newly acquired importance.

Their new children would come out whiter than they were. And so it goes...

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

Who you gonna believe? Us or your lying eyes

From the NYT, "What Other People Say May Change What You Believe:"

A new study uses advanced brain-scanning technology to cast light on a topic that psychologists have puzzled over for more than half a century: social conformity. In the new study, subjects were asked to decide if geometric shapes were the same or different.

The study was based on a famous series of laboratory experiments from the 1950's by a social psychologist, Dr. Solomon Asch.

In those early studies, the subjects were shown two cards. On the first was a vertical line. On the second were three lines, one of them the same length as that on the first card.

Then the subjects were asked to say which two lines were alike, something that most 5-year-olds could answer correctly.

But Dr. Asch added a twist. Seven other people, in cahoots with the researchers, also examined the lines and gave their answers before the subjects did. And sometimes these confederates intentionally gave the wrong answer.

Dr. Asch was astonished at what happened next. After thinking hard, three out of four subjects agreed with the incorrect answers given by the confederates at least once. And one in four conformed 50 percent of the time.

The new study tried to find an answer by using functional M.R.I. scanners that can peer into the working brain, a technology not available to Dr. Asch.

The researchers found that social conformity showed up in the brain as activity in regions that are entirely devoted to perception. But independence of judgment - standing up for one's beliefs - showed up as activity in brain areas involved in emotion, the study found, suggesting that there is a cost for going against the group.

"We like to think that seeing is believing," said Dr. Gregory Berns, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta who led the study.

But the study's findings, he said, show that seeing is believing what the group tells you to believe.

That reminds me of a neurological experiment somebody should do. I suspect that in many people, especially those with a lot of book-learning, there is little connection between the part of the brain that processes their visual perceptions and the part that engages in high level abstract word processing.

I spent a couple of hours once talking to the founders of evolutionary psychology, John Tooby and Leda Cosmides. They had decided to explain race and racism to the world. So, we talked about race for two hours. For modern Americans, they were remarkably uninformed. What struck me was how immune both of them were to learning anything from just looking at people as they went about their daily business. If they didn't read it in an article in a peer-reviewed academic journal, it didn't register in their heads. Yet, they are enormously successful academic entrepreneurs. And Tooby and Cosmides are, more or less, the good guys in academia -- they've made the study of sex differences a lot more realistic.

I wonder if people with lower Verbal scores on the SAT would be better at noticing the implications of what they see.

For example, way back in the mid-1990s, I drew up a proposal for a book to be entitled: The Words Don't Match the Pictures: Why the Polite Lies We Tell About Race & Sex Are Undermined by What We See on ESPN. But, then I got cancer and by the time I was better, Jon Entine was well along on his similar book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It. So, I helped him out a little bit with his book. It turned out well, but it didn't sell terribly well, and it was quickly swept under the rug.

What strikes me now is how naive I was back then to think that there was a sizable market of well-educated readers who believe what they see with their own lying eyes, rather than subscribing to the pre-digested ideologies they are handed in college and told that this is what intelligent people all believe.

For example, look at all the online discussions where you can sign in anonymously, yet whenever the topic of racial differences in sports comes up, how many people believe their lying eyes? Not many.

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

Croatian-Australian goes first in NBA draft

U. of Utah center Andrew Bogut became the first white guy to be the top pick in the NBA draft since Indiana's Kent Benson in 1977. (Yao Ming was only non-black between Benson and Bogut.) Utah had the top draft picks in both the NBA and NFL this year.

Interestingly, even though the 7-foot Bogut is from Australia, he has those Balkan height genes that have helped Balkan countries win so many medals in Olympic basketball. (Yugoslavia doesn't exist anymore, but it still is in third place all time, having medaled in six different Olympics.) Another place with extremely tall Europeans is the Baltics. Lithuania has medaled in three of the last four Olympics.

Earlier this year, Steve Nash became the first white NBA Most Valuable Player since Larry Bird 19 years before.

As I've been saying, these admittedly sparse data points suggest that something has gone wrong with African-American basketball culture. Look at the San Antonio Spurs, who just won their third NBA title in the last seven years. They are led by ultra-solid Tim Duncan, who grew up in the Virgin Islands, and didn't play basketball until he was 14 (he'd wanted to be an Olympic swimmer). Their new star is Manu Ginobili from Argentina (he played on his country's gold medal winning Olympic team), and their point guard is Tony Parker, who grew up in France where his African-American father had moved to play minor league basketball. In other words, they didn't grow up in the 'hood listening to gangsta rap.

Darryl Dawkins, the former NBA center who called himself "Chocolate Thunder," has become an insightful minor league coach. "Black basketball is much more individualistic," he told Charlie Rosen of FoxSports. "With so many other opportunities closed to young black kids, … if somebody makes you look bad with a shake-and-bake move, then you've got to come right back at him with something better, something more stylish… It's all about honor, pride, and establishing yourself as a man."

Dawkins, whose showboating Philadelphia 76ers lost to Bill Walton's Portland Trailblazers in an epic 1977 NBA Finals confrontation between the black and white games, now says, "The black game by itself is too chaotic and much too selfish… White culture places more of a premium on winning, and less on self-indulgent preening and chest-beating."

Arguing that the best teams combine both styles, Dawkins pointed out, "In basketball and in civilian life, freedom without structure winds up being chaotic and destructive."

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

"War of the Worlds"

The good news is that, in contrast to the latest Star Wars bloat-a-thon (and much else this year), it's very well made. The acting is fine, the dialogue doesn't clunk, the editing is not too fast and not too slow, the camera is pointing in the right direction, etc. Spielberg, unlike Lucas, gives you your money's worth of sheer competence.

Actually, the best contrast is to "Independence Day," in that Spielberg and Co. consciously decided to leave out almost everything that made that hit so wildly entertaining. We don't get to see any national monuments being blown up; Jeff Goldblum doesn't show up as some technical genius to explain what's going on; Will Smith doesn't punch out the aliens; Randy Quaid isn't around for comic relief; and there are no references to Roswell or other goofy UFO mythology.

"War of the Worlds" has a certain degree of artistic rigor and compressed intensity because Spielberg follows a quite restrictive rule: We only see what Tom Cruise's blue-collar regular guy sees. He's no superhero, and mostly he just runs away and tries to save his kids. As I pointed out in my recent cover story on Hollywood's politics, current filmmakers are strikingly into family values, at least of the family unity kind.

The downside is that while "War of the Worlds" is an exciting thrill ride and a decent family drama, it's not as much fun as "Indepenence Day." It's not even as interesting intellectually as "Independence Day."

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle have written a couple of end-of-the-world blockbuster sci-fi novels, Lucifer's Hammer and Footfall, and they show just how intriguing alien attack and apocalypse can be. Unfortunately, "War of the Worlds" is sadly lacking in the kind of what-if interest in how to survive. It just doesn't give you much to think about, unlike Spielberg-Cruise's wrongheaded but consistently thought-provoking previous sci-fi film "Minority Report." Because of that, it will probably make as much money as "Minority Report" and "Vanilla Sky," Cruise's other highbrow sci-fi film, combined.

For example, if you are living in Newark, New Jersey, and giant alien tripods start smashing up your neighborhood, in which direction do you flee? I think the natural human response is: head for the hills, perhaps a coal mine in the Alleghenies where you can lay low for awhile.

Instead, Cruise's character heads for Boston, which makes no sense at all from a survivalist point of view. It only makes sense from the family drama standpoint. See, that's where his ex-wife is, and he assumes she's a lot smarter than him and will be able to figure out how to save the kids. And the reason she has to be in Boston, rather than in, say, a small coal-mining town in Pennsylvania, is because they got divorced because she's from the upper class (and Boston is a snobby-sounding city) and he's not, but they still care for each other even though they aren't right for each other.

Okay, but it's not as much fun as all the questions that come up in survivalist stories. Like in "Red Dawn," when the Soviet paratroopers are landing and some high school football players pile into a pickup truck and head for the Rockies, and they stop for 90 seconds to stock up for the winter at a sporting goods shop. You've got a minute and a half to grab everything you'll need to survive and fight: What do you take?

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

Dear Mr. President: Just a reminder ...

No matter how many times you mention 9/11 in your speech on Iraq, that country, for all its sins, had nothing to do with 9/11.

Your Iraq Attaq was not part of the War on Terror. It is the War in Error. Thank you.

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

Let's set a date and leave:

The President and the rest of the establishment, such as John F. Kerry during his campaign last year, have been lying to us about what is wrong in Iraq. The reason the Iraqi forces have done such a pathetic job fighting the insurgents is not a lack of military training -- an extremely high proportion of the Iraqi male population served in Saddam's military, most have experience with guns, and they don't need extensive high tech training to patrol neighborhoods -- it's a lack of motivation. Some of the Iraqis hate us; and the ones who hate the ones who hate us don't see much reason to risk their necks fighting them ... when we'll do it for them.

If you were an Iraqi, would you get yourself killed when the President of the United States is willing to order American boys to their deaths in your place?

The only way to get any significant number of Iraqis to fight fiercely for their government is for the U.S. to leave. Then, if they want their government to survive, they'll have to fight. We can provide air support and weapons, but let's get American forces out of Iraq and back to Kuwait.

Many warn that our leaving will precipitate Iraq into a civil war. But, Bush's publicly-stated strategy is to make Iraq into a civil war by getting the Iraqis to do the fighting instead of us. But, they won't fight as long as we'll fight for them.

Therefore, at this point our choices are not between peace and civil war but between a civil war within Iraq and a foreign war within Iraq. Since we are the foreigners who are dying, it seems like a no-brainer for us that we'd prefer the Iraqis settle their differences without us dying on the ground. We'll just drop bombs on the side we don't like, which should keep them from winning.

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

June 28, 2005

James Q. Wilson reviews Levitt's Freakonomics abortion-crime theory in Commentary

From the new July issue of Commentary, not yet online:

During my many years of lecturing on crime, invariably the first two questions I would be asked were: "What do you think of the death penalty?" and "What do you think of gun control?"

No more. Now the first question is whether I believe that legalized abortion has cut the crime rate. For this I can thank Freakonomics, the weirdly named book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner that has been high on the New York Times best-seller list for weeks now. My answer, by the way, is no: I do not believe the evidence shows a causal link between legalized abortion and our reduced crime rate.

Levitt, an acquaintance of mine, is an immensely talented economist whose restless mind has inquired into all sorts of fascinating topics....

Back to abortion and crime. Levitt's argument is that, with the legalization of abortion by the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, many fetuses were killed in America that would otherwise have led to the birth of unwanted children. Such unwanted children, receiving little affection and guidance, would have been more likely to commit crimes when grown. Ergo, their removal from the population had something to do with our lowered crime rates.

Why should we think such children would have been unwanted? Because, Levitt contends, they would have been born to thousands of poor, single, teenage mothers. Levitt conspicuously refrains from saying so, but a very large fraction of these poor, single, teenage mothers would have been African American: over 60 percent of all black children are born out of wedlock, and the abortion rate is roughly three times greater among black than among white women.

To prove that abortion reduced crime, Levitt and his coauthor on the original paper, John Donohue, examined crime rates 15 to 18 years after the Roe decision, and found a drop. Moreover, they pointed out that five states had already legalized abortion three to four years before the decision: in these early-legalizing states, crime rates fell sooner than in states that did not permit abortion until Roe.

You would never know it from this book, but not only have these claims been criticized, but several scholars have offered rival theories. On the issue of abortion rates alone, the economists John Lott and John Whitley have written that, even before Roe, many anti-abortion states allowed abortion if the life or health of the mother was at risk; in these states, there were at least as many abortions per 1,000 live births pre-Roe as in states that had made abortion legal. Why, then, attribute falling crime rates to legalized abortion?

Levitt and Donohue have rejoined that, in those states where abortions were still nominally illegal, it was well-to-do white women who mainly availed themselves of the loopholes in the system. But there is no evidence of this; to the contrary, black women were over-represented among those having abortions in such states.

Now look at homicide rates by the age of suspected offenders. In the late 1990s, roughly a quarter century after Roe, the murder rate was falling for offenders aged twenty-six and older -- a class of offenders much too old to have been affected by Roe one way or the other. As for the youngest offenders, those between sixteen and twenty, their murder rates had jumped up in the early 1990s, probably because of involvement in the crack cocaine trade. Again, no Roe effect.

George Akerlof, Janet Yellen, and Michael Katz have argued that legalized abortion actually increased the number of out-of-wedlock first births -- because the availability of abortion, along with the advent of new contraceptive devices, rendered sex "cost-free" for men but not necessarily for the women they impregnated. Were the children who were increasingly likely to be born to unmarried women "unwanted"? Perhaps they were, but we do not know; Akerlof and his colleagues have not given us sufficient evidence.

As of now, no one is entitled to decide who is correct in this matter, whether Levitt or any of his critics. But it is certainly premature to say that Levitt is right, and positively disconcerting to take the work of an enamored journalist that Levitt must be right.

On another controversial matter, however, Levitt is clearly right, and I am his victim. I once wrote that the proportion of juveniles in the population was going up and that therefore the crime rate would go up. Levitt correctly takes me to task for this unwarranted assertion, which was later proved wrong. His criticism reminds me of something my Ph.D. adviser once said, no doubt quoting someone whose name I have forgotten: social scientists should never try to predict the future; they have enough trouble predicting the past.

Touché ... Levitt, of course, being a classic example of a social scientist who has failed to predict the past. When Levitt concocted his theory in 1999, he only looked at crime rates in 1985 and in 1997, and he forgot to look at crime rates by narrowly defined age groups. So, he completely overlooked the fact that, in direct contradiction of his theory, the first cohort born after legalization went on an enormous teen violence spree in-between 1985 and 1997. Ever since then, with his name and reputation linked to his half-baked theory, he has been hustling like P.T. Barnum to turn his slapdash hypothesis into conventional wisdom to preserve his marketability.

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

Exciting Medical Research:

The Cochran-Ewald theory that many chronic diseases are caused by cryptic infections makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary standpoint, but, it is extremely hard to find the killer germs. Fortunately, Matthew Meyerson, a geneticist at Harvard and Dana-Farber is working on a new approach to looking for germs:

Discovery of pathogenic microbes: We have developed a genomic approach to discover microbial sequences in cryptic infectious diseases. In sequence-based computational subtraction, we generate and sequence libraries from diseased tissues. Sequences that match the human genome are removed computationally, leaving microbial sequences (Weber et al., 2002). We have recently generated several genomic representational methods to complement this pathogen discovery approach and are applying the methods to human disease samples.

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

Solving the Birthrate Implosion and Fixing Pensions:

A reader has a plan:

Childlessness is a form of parasitism. Old people can only be supported by younger people. That means that childless seniors are supported by somebody else's children. The combination of publicly provided pensions and privately raised children means that people who profit most from children are those who don't have them. It is a case of private costs and public benefits.

Of course, part of the costs of raising children are public, such as schools, and in Canada health care as well. Nonetheless, most of the costs of child-rearing are private. However, when a person who raised children and one who remained childless turn 65, both are equally entitled to social security.

This is unfair. It would not be unfair if public pension schemes were funded plans, but they are simply pay-as-you-go systems. The premiums paid today are passed on to the seniors living today. Unfortunately, nearly every country set up a plan that creates the impression in the public's mind that they are paying into a fund and that they are simply getting their money back when they turn 65. It would have been preferable to finance old age pensions from general revenues and provide the same level for everybody, regardless of what they earned throughout their working lives.

In light of the above, it would be a good idea to make the level of old age pensions dependent on the number of children that the pensioner raised. Seniors that raised 2 children to adulthood would get level 100. Those that raised 3 children or more would get level 125. Those that raised one child would get level 75, and those that remained childless would get level 50. That way everybody would get something, but those who contributed most to the formation of younger people would get the most. It should be pointed out that people who don't have to support children are in a much better position to accumulate assets that can help them finance their retirement.

Perhaps you should get credit for the difference between what your children are paying in taxes minus what they are costing the taxpayers in welfare costs. That way, you'd benefit financially from raising your kids to be productive members of society.

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

Latin American Zillionaires:

An Indian reader draws an analogy to South Asia:

India has extreme inequality and one of the reasons for it is that capital is a lot less mobile. People don't pay taxes honestly (partly because they can get away with it and partly because there was a time when Taxes were extortionately high). The result is that there is a huge pool of money swimming around which in India is called "Black money". "Black money" is a very broad term and includes all kinds of money - from the proceeds of crime to simply money on which Tax has not been paid. This money is obviously less mobile than legitimate money (which in India is called "White money") because it doesn't get channeled as easily into the economy.

The result is that there are vast fortunes of hidden wealth often behind the facade of middle class mediocrity. And because it is hidden wealth and the owners of the wealth do not trust anyone but their immediately family and cousins, the wealth tends to remain concentrated in the hands of those families in a way that prevents it from being used productively (which would give the opportunity to others to make money and become wealthy or better off).

So it is not uncommon for business families to be sitting on vast fortunes that are completely invisible to the Taxman. I suspect the same thing is in play in Latin America because a lot of the "wealth" in Latin America is from illegitimate businesses or activities.

The only way to create a better future for everyone in such countries is by reducing the size of the illegitimate economy and bringing as much wealth as possible into regular capital investments. But thats a hell of a lot easier said than done when you have centuries old traditions of not trusting anyone.

One of Mexico's worst problems is the difficulty the government has in finding taxable income. Vast amounts are hidden so the government sets tax rates high to get more out of what income it can find, which just encourages more people to evade taxes. So, the government doesn't collect enough money to pay for decent education.

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

June 27, 2005

Make Poverty History: A Constructive Suggestion

Tony Blair and Sir Bob Geldof are working together to make a very big deal out of getting more aid for Africa out of the G8 countries this week.

Sub-Saharan Africa's single biggest problem is its average IQ of around 70. Since African-Americans score around 85, and they share about 80% of their genes with their African cousins, it's likely that the poor environment in Africa depresses the average IQ substantially.

Probably the cheapest way to raise IQs in Africa is to attack diseases caused by a lack of micronutrients that are known to lower IQ, such as "cretinism," which is caused by lack of iodine. Western countries started fortifying salt with iodine and flour with iron back before WWII, and that quickly eliminated what had been a substantial problem here.

UNICEF sponsored a big study of the problem last year. I wrote about what we could be doing to help the Third World in this regard here and here. But nobody else in the media seemed very interested because they aren't supposed to write about black IQ. See, good people think it's more moral to let cretinism and the like ravage Africa than to mention IQ in polite society. Only evil people like me are so disreputable as to try to get the world to solve the problem.

By the way, does anybody remember Geldof's band, the Boomtown Rats? He seemed smart, funny, inauthentic, and insincere - I especially liked his faux-Springsteen pseudo-epics such as "Johnny's on the Street Again." They were awfully catchy, but their phoniness kept them from catching on big here in the US. Who would have guessed he would make a future career for himself in saintliness?

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

Latino Power?

"Latino Power?: It Will Take Time for the Population Boom to Translate [into Votes]" writes Robert Suro of the Pew Hispanic Center in the Washington Post, confirming what I've been saying since 2001 ("Mexican-American Vote Smaller than Widely Thought"). Suro echoes my VDARE article in May debunking the "Latino Power" cover story in Newsweek.

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

US Ladies Open

Seven Koreans named Kim qualified for the Ladies US Open golf tournament (or close to 5% of the field). One of the least known was a young woman who changed her name to Birdie recently because "Eagle" sounded like a boy's name.

LPGA officials were enraptured because four American teenage amateurs were in the chase for the biggest title in women's golf. Foreigners have been winning too much on the LPGA tour for the good of the fame in America. And everybody likes a cute teenage girl.

Fifteen-year-old Michelle Wie, the willowy 6-footer with the perfect complexion and doll's features who can drive the ball 300 yards, was tied for the lead starting the final round. Victory would have made her the most celebrated female athlete on Earth: an Anna Kournikova who wins, both an American and an extremely tall East Asian, who would be almost as popular in East Asia for her height as Yao Ming. But, not yet: she skied to an 82.

Instead, 17-year-old blonde Morgan Pressley played terrifically, and stood in the 18th fairway tied with Birdie Kim who was in a deep bunker to the right of the green. Then, Kim holed out her sand blast from nearly 100 feet away to win one of the wilder tournaments in years. Young Morgan looked distinctly irate that Birdie's one in a thousand shot had gone in, costing her the U.S. Open at age 17. That bodes well for her future success -- it was often said of Arnold Palmer that he holed so many 30 footers to win on the last green because he sincerely felt he deserved to make them.

This tournament was unusual in the number of very young players in contention, but in general, females seem to win at younger ages than males. Sure, Tiger Woods won the Masters at 21 and Jack Nicklaus the U.S. Open at 22, but Palmer didn't win a professional major until he was 28, and Hogan didn't win one until he was 36 (although WWII got in the way).

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

June 26, 2005

Another triumph of democracy in the Middle East

The Washington Post reports:

The United States and its European allies are bracing for a tough new opponent in Iran with the election to the presidency of Tehran's ultra-conservative mayor, a relative unknown to the outside world whose campaign pledged to take a harder line in talks on Iran's nuclear program, according to U.S. and Western officials, as well as Iranian analysts.

The upset victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has alarmed U.S. and European officials over issues including the future of Iraq, the Middle East peace efforts and the impact on oil markets. Any prospect of ending more than a quarter of a century of tensions with Iran is also unlikely after Ahmadinejad begins his four-year term this summer, the officials said.

The unpleasant irony is that Iran was one place where the trend was our friend before we invaded Iraq, as a quarter century of fundamentalism had made many Iranians heartily sick of the mullahs. But putting 140,000 troops on Iran's border does not appear to have made Iranians like us more.

Michael Ledeen is in full blither here.

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

Max Boot says the insurgents are bound to lose

in Iraq:

The rebels lack a unifying organization, ideology and leader. There is no Iraqi Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro or Mao Tse-tung.

Which means there is nobody to capture, kill, or negotiate a deal with. The Shining Path rebellion in Peru and the Kurdish rebellion in Turkey both ended abruptly with the capture of their respective numero unos. The Afrikaaners could negotiate a deal with Mandela and know that his rebels would abide by it.

We don't know for sure that nobody will eventually emerge from the insurgency as a charismatic leader -- Bonaparte didn't emerge until about six years into the French Revolution -- but we're probably worse off without a centralized command. Lack of centralization means the insurgency could go on irrationally long, with the worst hot-heads keeping it going with more atrocities setting off more reprisals, etc etc.

A reader writes:

Exactly. The error people make in dealing with Arab polities is to assume there is some “there” there when they negotiate with the leaders of Arab states.

In fact Arab states seem more and more like Potemkin polities, just a bunch of soldiers controlling some oil wells who have set up shop to impress international visitors but are not really in control of their people.

Arab societies are much more swarm-like – organized from the bottom-up by clans, rather than top-down by states. That’s why they seem ineffective in mobilizing their populi for war or economic development but good for stuff like weddings, mafias and guerilla war.

So regime change does not really change much, apart from the name on the shingle hanging on the street-front of the Potemkin state.

You still got the same people with the same families, only now you really pissed quite a few of them off because your “smart” bomb just blew up cousin Ahmed.

That’s why the US should not bother with nation-building or state-construction in the ME: if the Arabs can't do it, it does not seem likely that the US Army can do it whilst simultaneously fighting off legions of the irate cousins of Ahmed. (Boy do I feel sorry for the GI’s in Iraq.) [The high Sunday is forecast to be 112.]

The US’s continued presence in Iraq is just stirring up the hornets nest even more. If the US leaves the Suunis will probably go back to what they like doing best, throwing weddings and engaging in a little mafia activity. Hopefully, this will give them less incentive to participate in guerilla war and encourage them to turn on the opportunistic jihadis.

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