August 7, 2005

"The Left Doesn't Like Darwin Either"

"The Left Doesn't Like Darwin Either" is my new column.

"Selection" remains the most underexploited concept in American intellectual life. It has applications far beyond biology.

Conservatives intellectually disarm themselves when they let distaste for Darwinism cause them to ignore the explanatory power of selection.

Of course, what most people are interested in is the religious controversy over Darwinism. I'm not going to end that dispute, but please allow me to explain why it's not as dire an issue as most of the participants on either side assume. Neither stance logically rules out thinking in selectionist terms.

Consider this: When your doctor prescribes a ten-day course of antibiotics to you, he insists you take all ten days worth of pills, even if you feel fine after two days.

This logic is derived directly from Darwin's theory of natural selection. If you only take two days of antibiotics, you are likely to kill just the bacteria most vulnerable to the medicine and leave alive the most antibiotic-resistant germs. If you keep doing that, you may accidentally create a new version of the bacteria that can't be killed by the antibiotic.

The good news is that there are no Creationists so dogmatic that they preach taking only two days worth of penicillin on the grounds that Darwin must have been wrong. Indeed, the logic of natural selection is widely recognized to be virtually tautological.

Darwin seems to lose out with the public primarily when his supporters force him into a mano-a-mano Thunderdome death match against the Almighty. Most people seem willing to accept Darwinism as long as they don't have to believe in nothing but Darwinism. Thus, the strident tub-thumping for absolute atheism by evolutionary biologists like Richard Dawkins, whom the new issue of Discover Magazine rightly criticizes as "Darwin's Rottweiler," is self-defeating.

Instead, what excites vast controversy is the issue of whether Darwinian selection explains everything. Nobody doubts that selection explains the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and much else. But many doubt it can explain every single feature we see about us. Biologists, in contrast, typically assert that Darwinism can explain all of life, with no need for any miraculous interventions.

So is the natural selection glass 100 percent full or just 99 percent full—with the occasional miracle necessary to fully account for the wonder of life as we know it?

Strikingly, that question appears to be fundamentally unanswerable by scientific methods. Although the theory of natural selection has been vastly useful in understanding the biological world, nobody has a time machine to go back and check every possible moment in the history of life on Earth.

The biologists' assumption that no miracles are needed to explain the universe is itself a form of faith.

Interestingly, the concept of a miracle is far less inimical to science than many biologists assume. As science fiction novelist Jerry Pournelle pointed out to me, a miracle is, by definition, an exception that proves the rule. So, a belief in miracles, unlike a belief in magic, presupposes a belief in natural laws, which is a necessary condition for science.

Thus, Christendom could develop modern science, while China could not. Historian S.A.M. Adshead of New Zealand wrote a fascinating little book full of aphorisms called China in World History. He noted that the medieval Chinese focused on magic and technology while the Europeans concentrated on theology and science. Early on, the Chinese profited more from their seemingly more practical approach, but in the long run, the Western approach proved best.

Yet what critics of Darwinism fail to understand is that this a priori dislike of miracles is the appropriate professional prejudice of biologists. The Sidney Harris cartoon summed it up. A lab-coated researcher is filling the left and right sides of a black board with equations, but the only thing connecting the two clouds of symbols are the words, "Then a miracle occurs." Another scientist suggests, "I think you should be more explicit here in step two." Relying on miracles in science is like relying on the lottery in retirement planning.

Different professions require different professional prejudices. If you should ever need a defense attorney, you would want him to follow his trade's ethic of battling to have you acquitted even if he assumed you were guilty. Judging you is not his job. Yet we wouldn't want judges to think that way.

Similarly, biologists will be more productive if they don't just throw their hands up and declare a miracle when faced with something they can't yet explain.

But the problem comes when biologists try to inflate this useful professional prejudice into the primary principle of the cosmos. Indeed, evolutionary biologists’ views on religion tend to be positively sophomoric compared to those of physicists and astronomers.

This is because cosmologists have learned humility the hard way. They were twice burned badly in the 20th Century, when their smug atheistic assumptions about the nature of the universe—that what we can see is all there is and all there ever was—turned out to be radically wrong.

Consider two of the most scientifically fruitful theories in 20th Century cosmology—the Big Bang and the Anthropic Principle of Intelligent Design. [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

How could steroid-cheater Rafael Palmeiro have lied so confidently to Congress?

That's a question many are asking, but the answer might be staring us directly in the face: the first baseman was juiced. Although anabolic steroids are less masculinizing than natural testosterone, they still often have virilizing side effects, one of which can be increased self-confidence. Steroid users seem to be above average liars, perhaps because steroids boost the user's masculine arrogance.

In contrast, retired slugger Mark McGwire's demeanor during the Congressional hearings was widely derided as "pathetic." McGwire, who now devotes his time to golf (a sport that doesn't require as much raw muscle as hitting 70 homers), has lost about 50 pounds since his retirement from baseball, suggesting he has discontinued steroid use. Perhaps not being on the juice anymore is why McGwire's appearance seemed so much less convincing than Palmeiro's?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

NeoconGate Update

The 26 page indictment of the two officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is now online here. It makes interesting reading because lots of the other players involved in what prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald calls a "conspiracy" as described in 57 "overt acts" going back to 1999 are rendered in codenames. Who, for example, does this refer?

"On or about March 13, 2003, Rosen disclosed to a senior fellow at a Washington D.C. think tank the information relating to a draft internal policy document concerning a Middle Eastern country and the internal deliberations of United States government officials that had been provided to Rosen by Franklin. Rosen disclosed details from the document and encouraged the official to use his contacts to investigate further. The senior fellow advised Rosen that he would follow up and see what he could do."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Is John Podhoretz the American Ali G?

As you probably know, Ali G is a character who interacts with famous people, asking them idiotic questions (e.g., he inquired of Pat Buchanan whether any BLTs had been found in Iraq).

A reader writes:

"I'm wondering if your mockery of John Podhoretz has been unfounded. I had stopped reading NRO a year or so ago because it was a little bit predictable, but since you highlighted Pod's attempt to criticize John Derbyshire, the Corner has become essential reading. Every week John Podhoretz will attempt to argue with a different member of their team. Because he is one of them, they can't just ignore him, they have to engage with him. And so they gradually get more and more frustrated as he doesn't understand their points. He's like an.American Ali G.

For example, there was Andrew Stuttaford, and this week Ramesh Ponnuru was reduced to communicating as if he's telling off a slightly backwards child:

"I'm not upset, but I do have better things to do. The reason I keep noting the fact that I have not made various points is that you keep erroneously attributing these points to me. Knock it off."

Perhaps, but maybe JPod is the anti-Ali G. The comedian Sacha Baron Cohen who plays the moronic Pakistani wigger Ali G is actually a member of a brilliant British Jewish family (his cousin Simon Baron-Cohen is an important autism researcher). In contrast, perhaps John Podhoretz plays being a member of brilliant American Jewish family, but actually is a moron.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Did Marilyn Monroe really kill herself?

John Houston, the director of her last completed movie "The Misfits," argued that she didn't intend to commit suicide, and that she wasn't murdered either. It was just an accident.

An enormous mythology has grown up around her over the years, with vast efforts put into turning her life and death into a symbol of this or that, but Marilyn suffered from a combination of mundane problems that might well have proved deadly.

- The movie industry works on a surprisingly early schedule, with stars needing to be getting their make-up put on not long after dawn.

- Marilyn needed her beauty sleep. Especially as she got older, if she didn't get a full night's sleep she didn't look her radiant best.

- She was highly emotional (as almost all top female stars are, and Marilyn was the greatest ever) and this contributed to her insomnia. And the less sleep she got, the more she worried about not getting enough sleep, and the less likely she was to get to sleep.

- So, she took a lot of pills to try to fall asleep. Over time, the recommended dose of barbiturate had less and less effect. So, she'd take some more. And then some more. But the more barbiturates she took the harder it was to remember how many she'd already taken.

Huston believed that on the fatal night she probably just kept popping pills while in a daze. With the better sleeping pills that exist now, she might well be still alive.

Huston himself was a wreck during the filming of "The Misfits," staying up all night gambling in Reno and falling asleep during the shoots. Monroe and co-star Montgomery Clift were dealing with their pill problems. The only thing saving the movie is Clark Gable's last performance. He'd cut back on the Scotch and looked great.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

"Affordable Family Formation" and "Sailer Strategy" at work in Australia:

Continuing's recent All Australia All the Time theme, I see, thanks to Jack Strocchi, that Tim Colbatch reported in the Sydney Morning Herald last November that much the same process that is dividing the US map up into red and blue is at work in Australia:

New Political Divide Is All About Values:

A new divide is reshaping Australians' political loyalties. Analysis of voting shifts, booth by booth throughout Victoria, reveals that a cultural divide is growing alongside the income divide that traditionally dictates our votes - and, increasingly, is overshadowing it.

In the past six years, many elite suburbs and coastal areas have moved towards Labor [the left party]. The middle and outer suburbs have gone towards the Liberals [the right party].

From its high watermark in 1998, when it won its second-best vote in Victoria for 50 years, Labor has slid from 53.5 per cent of the two-party vote to 49 per cent, a swing to the Coalition [right] of 4.5 per cent.

Yet at scores of polling booths, voters generated swings of more than 10 per cent - while at other booths, Labor was polling even better in 2004 than in 1998.

The new divide is based on values rather than incomes. "Australia is dividing between the cultural elite on one side and middle Australia and everyone else on the other," says social analyst Bernard Salt, a partner at KPMG and author of The Big Shift.

Educated insiders living close to the city are increasingly Labor-oriented, while the outsiders living in middle and outer suburbs are increasingly Liberal-oriented...

Take Melbourne, one of just three seats where Labor did better this time than in 1998. Within two kilometres of each other, two booths swung in wildly different directions. Voters in the booth under Richmond's housing commission flats gave the Liberals a combined swing in 2001 and 2004 of 12 per cent. But over Punt Road and up a dozen income levels, East Melbourne residents voted Labor, with a swing almost as large.

Educated insiders living close to the city are increasingly Labor-oriented." Take Batman in the northern suburbs. Almost all the booths in inner-suburban Northcote swung to Labor or held fairly steady, yet in Reservoir the swings to the Coalition ran as high as 13 per cent.

Similarly, in Maribyrnong, inner middle-class Essendon was slightly better for Labor this time than in 1998, whereas outer working-class St Albans and Sunshine were much worse.

... In outer-suburban marginals such as La Trobe, suburbs dominated by families with children and mortgages - such as Berwick, Boronia and Ferntree Gully - swung heavily to the Coalition [right]. But Sassafras and Mount Dandenong swung to Labor [left]. The analysis suggests that interest rates and the Mitcham-Frankston freeway helped draw Coalition votes, just as the GST inflated Labor's vote in 1998.

In contrast to the role born-again Christians played in US President George Bush's re-election during the week, religion seems not to have been a factor here. Analysis by Andrew Kopras of the Federal Parliamentary Library shows that the electorates with most non-believers are nearly all outer-suburban Liberal seats.

Mr Salt argues that there is a "groovy, inner-urban green culture" that identifies with Labor, even in affluent suburbs such as Middle Park, Parkville and North Fitzroy. And it has spread to coastal resorts and bushland settings by "sea-changers and tree-changers".

"You can almost draw a line around that culture a few kilometres from the city," Mr Salt says... Mr Salt said big swings to the Liberals among people on welfare were no surprise. "Even people in housing commission flats no longer see themselves as aligned to a particular class, but to the values set of middle Australia," he said. By contrast, "I think most sea-changers and tree-changers are Labor voters. These are inner-city people so they've got property wealth and green values."

While Prime Minister John Howard, now in his fourth term in office, is best known in the U.S. for his support of the Iraq Attaq, Australia's actual participation in the fighting has been prudently nugatory. Not a single Australian soldier was even injured in Iraq until October 2004, 19 months after the invasion. As far as I can tell, no Australian soldiers have yet been killed in action. Michael Duffy wrote in March:

At the peak of their commitments to Iraq, Britain had 45,000 people there and the US about 150,000. Relative to population sizes, to match this Australia should have had between 10,000 and 15,000 people in the Middle East at some point. In fact we peaked at just 2000. There are now fewer than 600 Australians serving there, to be joined next month by another 450.

Republicans in America should note that the hot issue for John Howard was cracking down on immigrant refugees. This paid off at the ballot box in recent elections. Howard has been winning on what Peter Brimelow calls the Sailer Strategy:

Michael Millett wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2002:

White fringe fury feeds Labor's fall

But controversial new research suggests an even bigger issue at play, one that Labor [the left party] will struggle to overcome as long as elections are fought on anything other than conventional hip-pocket issues. It is what Melbourne academic Bob Birrell refers to as the "new political divide" of birthplace.

Birrell's thesis, outlined in a just-released article in his People and Place journal, published by the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University, is that birthplace can be just as strong a voting determinant as class or educational background. Moreover, that Howard [the center-right prime minister] is winning the political war by directly targeting the white vote, that is, Australian-born voters in outer-suburban seats with a potent mix of conservative social, cultural and national security policies. Labor's inability to match the Howard pitch is costing it dearly.

Birrell points out that Labor is being forced back to its inner-city strongholds - seats with a high proportion of ethnic voters (more specifically, seats with a high concentration of voters from non-English-speaking backgrounds). At the election in November last year, Labor held 19 of the top 20 electorates in which more than 30 per cent of residents spoke a language other than English at home.

Yet these impenetrable inner-city defences do little to assist Labor out where it really counts - out there in the "white bread" marginals that fringe the major cities.

It is here, asserts Birrell, that Labor's progressive social justice agenda runs up against native-born, middle Australia conservatism. While bipartisanship protected Labor's weaker flanks during the 1980s, it was Howard's hard-edged social conservative agenda, and his attack on Labor's "global vision" that cost it the brick veneers in the late 1990s.

Howard's success lay in turning the anti-Keating movement [Keating was the last Labor prime minister] into a viable new constituency. According to Birrell, it is at its most potent in the outer-suburban marginals, where Australian-born voters are predominant. These voters have a stronger sense of national identity, are wary of immigration and multiculturalism and are most likely to criticise policies involving concessions to minority groups, such as Aborigines and migrants.

Birrell analyses voting data and the highly respected Australian Electoral Survey (AES), which attempts to gauge how the electorate votes across a whole range of criteria, to isolate this new factor. His focus is on NSW, and the mass desertion of Labor votes on the suburban fringes of Sydney.

The figures are stark. Labor dominates the New South Wales [Sydney and environs] ethnic seats, with little noticeable shift in votes there between 1993 and last year. But in the half of NSW's 50 seats where the non-English-speaking presence is low, Labor's hold is almost non-existent. It held 16 of the 25 seats in 1993. It now possesses four.

The swing against Labor on the suburban fringe has been pronounced...

Why such a big swing? For answers, Birrell looks to Mark Latham, the outspoken Labor frontbencher. From his base in Sydney's unfashionable outer-western suburbs, Latham has raised the uncomfortable notion of "white flight", caused by aspirational families fleeing troubled neighbourhoods for perceived safe havens on the city fringe.

"In most cases, the population are changing rapidly due to movement into the areas, overwhelmingly from Australian-born and mainly-English-speaking-born persons moving from elsewhere in Sydney," Birrell writes. "They could well include some of Mark Latham's aspirational voters - voters with enough capital to afford a new dwelling 50 kilometres or more from the centre of Sydney. Latham hypothesises that such people do not want the troubles of other areas to follow them to the fringe.

"Given the attention paid in Sydney to social tensions associated with the city's changing migrant population, it could well be that these people would be especially susceptible to negative messages about Labor's social and cultural vision."

It is obvious that Howard's security message also resounds strongly here. Nationalist sentiment - embodied in Howard's declaration that "we decide who comes here" - was at the heart of the Coalition's response to the Tampa and its strong border protection policy at the last election.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 6, 2005

Craig Nelsen's graph

I thought I was the first to discover the statistic that there are five billion people living in countries poorer than Mexico, but Craig Nelsen of ProjectUSA has been using it for years, and has created a cool graph to illustrate it, using what looks like PacMan's sinister uncle.

Indeed, a while ago somebody even "Shizzolated" one of the ProjectUSA web pages into Snoop Dogg lingo:

"There are five BILLION muthas in da world today living in countries poorer than MEXICO, fo' crying out loud n' ****. George, look at da picture:"

And if that doesn't get the point across, I don't know what will.


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Blacks find race realist whites friendlier and more likable than politically correct whites:

The Washington Post reports on an academic experiment:

In fact, whites with more negative views of blacks and minorities are more likely than those with more racially tolerant attitudes to go out of their way to appear friendly and open-minded when interacting with African Americans, according to a team of psychologists led by Jennifer Richeson of Dartmouth College and Nicole Shelton of Princeton University.

This faux friendliness has a startling consequence: These researchers found that blacks would rather interact with less tolerant individuals than those with more accepting views, which "could lead blacks to make the unfortunate decision to avoid future contact with low-prejudiced whites," the psychologists wrote in the latest issue of Psychological Science.

In other words, politically correct whites lie, including lying to themselves, and blacks can sniff out phonies and don't want to talk to them.

(From Modern Tribalist).

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


The destruction caused by the Hiroshima bomb was not enormously greater than that caused by the rare firestorms set off by conventional bombing, as in Tokyo in March 1945, or in Hamburg and Dresden earlier. But those events were semi-flukes caused by unusual weather conditions and other random variables. Thus, the ability of the U.S. to destroy a city was not unprecedented, so it's not surprising that the Japanese did not immediately surrender, but waited until after the Nagasaki bomb. The ability of the U.S. to destroy two cities in four days, however, meant that the human race had entered a new epoch, one not necessarily to the advantage of the Japanese war effort, as Hirohito put it in his surrender message to his people.

Also note that in between the two bombs came the massive Red Army assault on the Japanese army in mainland Asia.

No nation has ever suffered three such hammer blows in four days. Still, even after that, fanatical militarists fought gun battles within Tokyo trying to keep the Emperor from announcing the end of the war.

By the way, what if the Los Alamos boys had finished the A-bomb just one month earlier and we had compelled Japan to give up before Stalin had shifted his army from Germany to northeast Asia? Would Korea be a unified capitalist democracy today?


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Surprise, Surprise!

One of the more blatant examples of political correctness has been the refusal of scientists (Jared Diamond being an honorable exception) to attribute the rapid extinction of most giant mammals in the New World shortly after the end of the last Ice Age to the arrival of the Indians, who, as we've all been told over and over, were sensitive vegan eco-feminists.

For example, the George C. Page museum at the La Brea Tar Pits on Wilshire Blvd., which is full of incredible skeletons of elephants, camels, and so forth pulled from the pits, explains that the Ice Age climate of Los Angeles was like that of modern day Monterey, CA: mild and moist. Yet, the museum then pushes the idea that maybe the Indians didn't eat all the big beasts, maybe they just died from climate change. But why wouldn't they just walk north to Monterey? In general, the end of the Ice Age made it easier to survive: for example, the mile thick sheet of ice that covered much of North America disappeared.

Giant Creatures Wiped Out by Hunters, Not Climate

Weapon-wielding humans, and not warming temperatures, killed off the sloth and other giant mammals that roamed North America during the last Ice Age, a new study suggests.

The arrival of humans onto the American continent and the great thaw that occurred near the end of the last Ice Age both occurred at roughly the same time, about 11,000 years ago. Until now, scientists were unable to tease apart the two events.

To get around this problem, David Steadman, a researcher at the University of Florida, used radiocarbon to date fossils from the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola, where humans didn't set foot until more than 6,000 years after their arrival on the American continent.

The West Indian ground sloth, a mammal that was the size of a modern elephant, also disappeared from the islands around this time. "If climate were the major factor driving the extinction of ground sloths, you would expect the extinctions to occur at about the same time on both the islands and the continent since climate change is a global event," Steadman said.

His findings are detailed in the Aug. 2 issue of the journal for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This could also explain why more than three-fourths of the large Ice Age mammal species -- including giant wooly mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed tigers and giant bears -- that roamed many parts of North America became extinct within the span of a few thousand years.

"It was as dramatic as the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago," Steadman said.

If climate change were the major factor in the mass extinction, fewer animals might have been affected, since most species of plants and animals can adapt to temperature changes.

The Wooly Mammoth survived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic until 2,000 BC.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Good weekend for art house movies:

If you are in NY or LA, you can see:

- Bill Murray in Jim Jarmusch's semi-minimalist "Broken Flowers" (an excerpt from my American Conservative review is here).

- The great Wong Kar-Wai's "2046," the wildly glamorous semi-sequel to his celebrated "In the Mood for Love" with many of the top Chinese movie stars. I'll probably review it for The American Conservative, so I won't say more about it other than: go see it.

-"Junebug," a small semi-comedy ensemble piece, about a Chicago yuppie taking his cosmopolitan art dealer wife to visit his good-old-boy family in North Carolina. It's quite well done.

- And the children's nature-adventure movie "Duma" by Carroll Ballard, director of the all-time classic "The Black Stallion," debuts next week in Chicago. I haven't seen it.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Steven D. Levitt Concedes He Was Wrong about His Most Controversial Theory:

No, not his abortion-cuts-crime theory, which generated very little critical comment, but his assertion on his blog that Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletic's baseball team and hero of Michael Lewis's bestseller Moneyball about how Beane's use of Bill James's statistical tools made the A's a budget powerhouse, was over-rated. Levitt demonstrated that in recent years the A's offensive statistics weren't dramatically better than other good teams.

This proved highly unpopular with the commenters on the Freakonomics blog, who pointed out that Levitt didn't know what he was talking about. The point of Billy Beane's strategy is not to have the best offensive statistics, but to have statistics comparable to the Yankees and Red Sox with much lower payrolls. And, anyway, Levitt was forgetting to adjust for the fact that Oakland doesn't play in a hitter's park. Their field doesn't favor pitchers as much as in the old Reggie Jackson days, but, still, anybody who knows anything about baseball statistics (i.e., not Levitt) knows you have to adjust for the park effect.

All through April and May, Levitt bragged about how badly the A's were doing. On May 28th Levitt began his post entitled "I need some abuse, so here is another baseball post:"

It's probably poor sportsmanship to do another Oakland A's post at a time when the A's have now sunk to a record of 17-31 and are ahead of only one team in the American League.

Well, now the A's are 61-47, having gone 44-16 since Levitt's gloating. Yesterday, Levitt announced, "I concede on the A's," adding:

I don't know anything about baseball, as evidenced by my prior posts... Economists, like everyone else, are much better at explaining the past then predicting the future.

Commenter Jonathan Schwarz replied:

If economists can't predict the future with the same model that they used to explain the past does that pretty much mean that they did not really explain the past?

Good question. The funny thing is that Levitt's abortion theory failed even more catastrophically to predict the past than his baseball theory failed to predict the future (the teen murder rate for the first cohort born after legalization was three times higher than for the last cohort born before legalization), but nobody noticed. It turns out to be less damaging to his reputation to be wrong about the past than about the future ... even though an hour's online research with FBI statistics back in 1999 should have convinced Levitt not to bother foisting his slapdash theory on the world. But he didn't do the due diligence, and when I pointed it out to him in Slate, his gigantic ego was too committed to back down so he's gone on pushing his bad idea on an intellectually defenseless public.

But why is the American intellectual class so defenseless?

What's also funny (and maybe more than a little sad) is how much more brainpower in America is devoted to analyzing baseball statistics than to analyzing crime statistics. Levitt's massive ego encouraged him to talk through his hat about (at least) two subjects he was ignorant about: crime in 1999 and baseball in 2005, and he came up with equally dubious theories about both. Yet, the response to his abortion-cut-crime theory has generally run from trusting to wildly enthusiastic, while his back-of-an-envelope musings about baseball brought down on his head cannonades of detailed analysis of his mistakes.

Now, I've wasted a lot of time looking at baseball statistics, too, but does it strike you that there is something decadent about the disproportion between how much intelligence is devoted to thinking about baseball statistics (a field in which there has been tremendous progress over the last thirty years) and how little effort our people put into analyzing statistics that really matter, like crime rates?

The problem with thinking about social statistics like crime is that they are all intimately tied to racial differences, which aren't supposed to exist, so thinking about them is career-threatening.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

More by Michael Duffy on Drew Fraser's suspension:

More by Michael Duffy on Drew Fraser's suspension:

Freedom of speech takes a fall
By Michael Duffy
August 6, 2005

Sydney Morning Herald

THE ANDREW Fraser affair is not the first time an attempt has been made to stop discussion of race and IQ at Macquarie University. It also happened when I was a student there in 1977. The British psychologist Hans Eysenck was visiting Australia to talk about the subject, and had already had a lecture stopped by demonstrators at Sydney University. At Macquarie the university administration, to its credit, made sure the talk went ahead. That was in the days when its security guards were used to protect free speech, not suppress it.

We often hear that tolerance is a - perhaps the - central Australian value. But its meaning tends to shift depending on the issue at stake. Recall the slogan "All animals are equal" in Animal Farm. In the closing pages of George Orwell's book, this receives the qualification "but some animals are more equal than others". Likewise with tolerance, some views seem to be more tolerable than others.

Intellectuals have generally been tolerant of extreme views on the left. At Macquarie I studied a course called Marxism, run by people who appeared to believe in it. At least one was a member of the Communist Party of Australia, dedicated to the overthrow of our social system by force. This situation was public knowledge, by no means unique to Macquarie. It was deeply offensive to the many Australians who'd suffered at the hands of communist regimes, but it was generally tolerated on the grounds of free speech.

In contrast, many intellectuals were vicious in their condemnation of Pauline Hanson, predicting she would unleash the innate racism of ordinary Australians and turn them against immigration... It was also widely predicted that Hanson and One Nation would excite violent racists and produce blood in the streets. But it was her supporters who were beaten, abused and intimidated around Australia. It was her meetings that were shut down due to violence and threatened violence. We need to remember this now, when Macquarie University evokes concerns about safety to justify its extraordinary decision to ban Fraser from teaching. [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Interview with Drew Fraser

I wrote about the suspension of Australian professor Andrew Fraser earlier this week. Here's an interview with him conducted by Michael Duffy, whom I wrote about a month ago for his insight into the eugenic basis of Steven Levitt's abortions-cut-crime theory.

Michael Duffy : Well there've been some amazing scenes in the past week or two at Macquarie University in northwestern Sydney over a major free speech controversy. The vice-chancellor, Di Yerbury, publicly apologised for comments about immigration made by associate professor of law, Andrew Fraser. The professor had a letter published in the local newspaper which was prompted by the settlement of Sudanese refugees in the area.

Fraser regretted the steady erosion of what he calls Anglo-Australians' distinctive national identity. Fraser works in the Department of Public Law, and he wrote, 'Experience practically everywhere in the world tells us that an expanding black population is a sure-fire recipe for increases in crime, violence and a wide range of other social problems. Last week the university tried to persuade Fraser to resign, and when he refused, they suspended him from teaching.

We recorded the following interview just before the 2 o'clock class that Andrew Fraser was about to go into, and as we go to air now, Andrew Fraser is holding an informal class because he's been locked out of the classroom that he normally uses-due to security concerns.

Andrew Fraser, welcome to Counterpoint. Let's run through the story from the start. How did the university initially respond to your letter to the Parramatta Sun ?

Andrew Fraser : Oh, their initial response was just make it clear that you're not speaking on behalf of the university, and that's all they said.

Michael Duffy : Now, what's the exact law there, can you actually sign a letter to a newspaper with your title at the university?

Andrew Fraser : Well, I just sent them an email with my signature attached to it. I'd never even thought about it, personally, but then the reporter or the letters editor at the Sun phoned me up and discovered obviously that I was an academic, and that made him all the more interested in the letter.

Michael Duffy : I understand the vice-chancellor has apologised to representatives of the Sudanese community for the fact that you signed the letter like that. Are you saying that that was an accident?

Andrew Fraser : Partly an accident-but the fact is that because I'm an academic and teach and research in areas such as American constitutional history and Australian immigration law, I actually do know more about subjects like race, racial differences and racial conflict than the ordinary citizen.

Michael Duffy : Okay, so that's an important point-you're actually speaking within your area of expertise.

Andrew Fraser : Yes.

Michael Duffy : Di Yerbury also told the Sudanese people that the university as a whole dissociates itself from your views. Does the vice-chancellor actually have the power to do that-to dissociate an entire organisation from a particular view?

Andrew Fraser : Well, I don't think the organisation per se has ever taken a view on these subjects. I would be very surprised to learn when, where, and indeed how they would take such a view...

Michael Duffy : Has anyone at the university criticised the factual content of your claim regarding a link between an expanding black population and crime?

Andrew Fraser : No.

Michael Duffy : So why do you think they're so upset?

Andrew Fraser : Because-for example-the issue of sub-Saharan African IQs, which are somewhere in the neighbourhood of 70 to 75-this is a fact that is well known to psychologists but they prefer not to talk about it.

Michael Duffy : I understand that the IQ of Asian people on the same scale is actually higher than that of Europeans.

Andrew Fraser : Yes. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 105, apparently.

Michael Duffy : Is this racism? Racism is attributing certain characteristics to certain races, isn't it, so in a technical sense-not a moral sense-is what you're saying racist?

Andrew Fraser : Well, I prefer to call it racial realism. It's just recognition that races, or descent groups, if you prefer, are different across a whole range of characteristics. Cognitive ability being one. But athletic ability being another. If you want to think in those terms, black Africans clearly stand out as being superior in many respects to white Europeans.

Michael Duffy : It's interesting, isn't it, that you're a university academic; you spoke out on this subject that should be verifiable according to scientific research, and yet the university has not tried to enter into that discussion-at least, so far.

Andrew Fraser : Well, as the controversy broke, I provided Professor Loxton with the text PDF files of the basic references involved.

Michael Duffy : Just to stick with the story of the university's response, for the moment, we'll come back to your views later, perhaps-I understand that on 26 July, that's last week, you met with Tim Sprague, the university director of human resources, who offered to buy out your contract. Did he say why he was making that offer? I should just say that the university has said that he didn't talk about the fact that it was affecting the university's capacity to attract foreign students. What do you say to that?

Andrew Fraser : Well, in our initial telephone contact, he told me that the university wanted to buy out my contract because they were suffering reputational damage and loss of students as a consequence of the controversy. The next day, when I spoke to him face to face, he told me essentially that the university was a business, it had a business plan; that business plan was oriented to attracting foreign students, and the controversy over my public comments was impacting adversely on their attempt to get into that market...

Michael Duffy : And what was your decision? What did you decide?

Andrew Fraser : I decided not to because, essentially, while they were going to buy out my contract financially, on the personal level they were refusing to extend to me the status of honorary associate, you know, with email access and so on that most retired academics who are still active in research and scholarship customarily receive.

Michael Duffy : And they've declined to do that for you?

Andrew Fraser : Yes. So in effect what they were offering me was a dishonourable discharge.

Michael Duffy : Andrew, let's talk briefly about your views, then. You've said the white Australia policy should never have been discarded. What ill effects do you think that that discarding has had on Australia, as of today?

Andrew Fraser : Well, as we can see in this controversy, I mean, it has bred enormous-so far suppressed-ethnic conflict. As far as I can see there are a great many ordinary white Australians who really do believe that they are losing their country. And moreover feel fearful about making any sort of public complaint about that loss. So it seems to me that is one of the major unreported costs of a multiracial society.

Michael Duffy : That sense of loss, you're talking about.

Andrew Fraser : Yes. People often say multiculturalism is working well. But of course the minute one raises any questions about it-for example the antidiscrimination commissioner in New South Wales has been reported as saying publicly my comments could lead to blood in the streets. Now, I mean, if multiculturalism is so fragile a beast that the comments of an academic in a local newspaper could bring the whole edifice crashing down, there's something wrong here...

Michael Duffy : Getting back to the issue of crime, what would you say is the evidence that the settlement of black people around Parramatta will lead to an increase in crime in that area?

Andrew Fraser : Well, if you looked, as I said, to experience elsewhere, in the United States, 90% of interracial crime in the United States is committed by people of black African descent. Black African Americans are four to eight times as likely to commit violent crime as white Americans. If you look at England the same pattern emerges, the same pattern emerges elsewhere in continental Europe, Canada. And if you look at Africa-South Africa for example, there are 30,000 murders per year in South Africa. And black Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, is obviously notorious as a scene of violent crime, war-it's just a fact.

Michael Duffy : Had you always held these views about race?

Andrew Fraser : No. In fact, I mean, I was never very interested in race at all. As we can see, most white Australians do not-or white Canadians-do not actually like to think of themselves as members of a racial group. And I was fairly typical in that. But over the last ten to fifteen years it has become plain to me that members of other ethnic and religious groups are very interested in their particular racial or ethnic identity, and had no hesitation whatever in identifying themselves as members of particular ethno-cultural groups and promoting the interests of those groups. So, in short, what's going on here is everybody else is playing the game of identity politics, and white Australians are willy-nilly being forced to play catch-up in that game...

Michael Duffy : What do you think the university is so afraid of? Why are they making such persistent efforts to respond to what you've done?

Andrew Fraser : Well, you know, this is a funny sort of question, because it seems to me it says something about the distinctive ethnic character of white Europeans. I think what's going on here is that what distinguishes white Europeans from other ethnic groups is a kind of competitive altruism. We really do feel as if we need to sacrifice our interests for the benefit of other groups, and it makes us feel good when we do that. So to be anti-racist is to prove one's moral superiority.

Michael Duffy : Do you think the Sudanese people around Parramatta would have been offended or hurt by what you said?

Andrew Fraser : Well, they claimed to have been. I personally don't believe it. I mean, I think really, once again, it's a stick to beat me and white Australia over the head with. They are a group of people who, once again, have a clear sense of their identity as Africans, and a clear desire to promote their particular ethnic interests.


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 2, 2005

US Army creating IQ test for Iraqi Army recruits:

One of the least known but most decisive facts in the pseudo-controversy over the validity of IQ tests is that the U.S. military, after 88 years of intensively studied experience with giving IQ tests to tens of millions of potential recruits, remains utterly committed to using them. Indeed, since 1992, when the end of the Cold War and the destruction of Iraq, reduced the need for a giant standing army, only about one percent of all new enlisted personnel have gotten in with scores under the 30th percentile nationally on the military's entrance test.

The U.S. military currently gives potential recruits to the enlisted ranks a 10-part test called the ASVAB. Four of the current sub-tests made up the old AFQT IQ test, while the other six are more subject-specific, such as a test on automobile engine repair.

In all the discussions you've read about how the military might solve the problem of meeting its recruiting goals, you've probably never seen reference to the simplest: just lower the minimum IQ from the 30th percentile to the Congressionally-mandated minimum 10th percentile. This would immediately increase the fraction of eligible young people by 29 percent. Indeed, since people with IQs in the 80s don't have many good opportunities in the private sector, many would flock to the military.

The reason you haven't hear about this (besides the usual stifling of IQ discussions in the media) is because military hates the idea of lowering IQ standards. It has done an enormous amount of research on trainability by IQ, accidents by IQ, and the like and it knows low IQ soldiers aren't worth the expense and risk in a high tech military.

By the way, IQ testing also explains why non-Hispanics white soldiers are being killed in Iraq at a rate higher than their proportion of the 18 to 30 year old segment of the population. A majority of blacks are ineligible to enlist due to low test scores, and roughly half of Hispanics can't enlist. On the other hand, at least three quarters of non-Hispanic whites score above the 30th percentile nationally.

Also, the much vaunted racial equality within the U.S. Army stems directly from the use of cognitive tests. As I wrote in a couple of years ago:

Professors Moskos and Sibley found in their 1994 book All That We Can Be:

"83 percent of white recruits scored in the upper half of the mental aptitude test (compared with 61 percent of white youths in the national population), while 59 percent of black recruits scored in the upper half (compared with 14 percent of the black youths nationwide)."

In other words, the Army's black enlisted personnel score just as well on the general aptitude test as the average white American. (African-American officers average even better, of course.)

There are still differences, so whites tend to predominate in the most intellectually-challenging military jobs. Still, by drawing just from blacks with relatively high IQs, the Army has managed to sidestep a huge number of problems.

So the magic race relations bullet that the military has found turns out to be - IQ tests.

A reader sent me an article about the US wanting to devise a cognitive test for Iraqi army recruits. It comes from the expensive newsletter Inside the Army, along with his comment: "No [kidding], Sherlock ... of course, we can't even talk about this in the States, without winding up on the SPLC's list of racists."


The U.S. Army and Iraqi Ministry of Defense want to devise a screening test for recruits to the new Iraqi armed forces, with an eye toward weeding out unsuitable recruits and possibly identifying those that may have leadership skills.

A private contractor is being sought to design and administer a paper-based, multiple choice test for potential recruits to the Iraqi armed forces. According to a July 21 Defense Department report to Congress on stability and security in the country, 171,300 members of the Iraqi Security Forces have been trained and equipped as of July 4. The new test would be given to those wanting to join these ISF troops.

The proposed test would take no longer than an hour and it would take officials no longer than 20 minutes to score 100 of them using electronic scoring equipment. Officials hope this proposed pre-induction screening program would eliminate “unsuitable applicants before significant time and resources are wasted in the vain effort to train” them, and identify “those applicants possessing superior cognitive skills that make them likely prospects for future leadership roles in the military service,” according to a solicitation released July 22.

The Iraqi and U.S. militaries said in the solicitation that they want tests translated in Arabic and Kurdish languages, as well as an English version. Kurdish and Arabic scholars, and “man-on-the-street groups,” will review the different translated tests to incorporate cultural changes.

Plans for the pilot project, which could last a year, include initial testing of 5,000 applicants, averaging 100 per day.

The U.S. military has used similar tests for nearly a century. Owen Jacobs, who recently retired from the National Defense University, where he developed and managed a U.S. military assessment battery, said many Americans could not read and write in the early 20th century, which presented problems in recruiting qualified soldiers for World War I. The military, with the same goal as the current proposal to test Iraq’s soldiers, instituted a multiple-choice test to satisfy its literacy requirement.

“Now, I don’t know how it is in Iraq, but here, individuals who are not literate can go to great lengths to conceal it,” Jacobs said. “On a multiple choice test, which requires reading and understanding, a whole lot of people were just guessing.”

Jacobs said the strictness of the literacy requirement in Iraq, where 56 percent of all residents 15 years of age and over can read or write, should be based “on how many you can afford to throw away.

“If you can afford to throw away a large number, and literacy requirements are a part of the job, than it’s no problem. If I were doing it, I’d want one level of selection for individuals who are going to be doing security duties but aren’t likely for leadership roles or promotion. [As] in the U.S. Army, I would want one level of selection for privates and corporals, and then I would want another level of selection for lieutenants and captains. If I think a guy has a possibility of becoming a higher-level leader, I would be willing to invest more in that person.”

Jacobs raised questions about the value of paper-based assessments, suggesting they should instead consider use of “non-verbal” tests as a better alternative. Nonverbal refers to the type of question, not the way the question is asked. A mathematical equation, for example, would be a verbal test. Jacobs cited object rotation as a particularly effective method, in which a test taker spots five sets of five geometric figures and determines which set has been rotated, for example, 90 degrees. Another testing option favored by Jacobs is “matching” or “cancellation,” in which a test taker has to examine a succession of 50 letters and numbers and cross out all the number 5s or letter As. “Can I pay attention to detail?” Jacobs said of the point of that exercise.

In Iraq, police recruits now go through rigorous testing, for example. The screening process for police recruits includes a physical training test, a medical screening and a literacy test, including a requirement that all applicants have at least a high school diploma, according to the Defense Department. Police forces already are tested with an assessment tool developed by a contractor for the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq. That tool screens for literacy, and cognitive and suitability characteristics, according to DOD’s report to Congress.

Responses to the solicitation are due by Aug. 5.

“Research has proved that cognitive ability or general intelligence, is the single greatest predictor of job success -- for any position,” the solicitation states. “More effective than resumes, education, references or interviews, cognitive-ability testing gives objective information to aid hiring decisions.”

The solicitation said an effective screening mechanism has a potential savings of about 30 to 1 in training dollars. “In addition to screening out individuals who just don’t have the cognitive capacity to serve in the army, it should also significantly reduce the attrition rate in the training pipeline,” the solicitation says. Following the pilot program, the contract solicitation says, “validity studies” will be used to “evaluate whether the test would prove itself as a useful predictor of future success in the training program much the same as it has done in the U.S.” The test could become permanent if validity studies are positive and the U.S. and Iraqi governments agree to go forward.

An Army source, talking about the U.S. military’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test that anyone entering the services must take, said the goal is much the same as what is being sought of the Iraqi army.

“If we, the Army, are going to send you through training, we could pretty much successfully predict [based on the test results] that you are going to make it through training, and we’re not going to waste any money, we’re not going to set anyone up for failure,” the source said. “You’ve got a pretty good opportunity to successfully pass the course and be a successful rifleman, computer operator, signalman, medic, computer specialist, and they’ve had practically this whole century to develop this stuff.”

Army Col. Paul Bartone of the National Defense University’s Department of Leadership and Information Strategy, said in an e-mail to ITA that the U.S. military, like many organizations, relies on multiple choice tests a great deal. “They are cost effective and demonstrably valid. They are certainly not the only type of measure one might ider, but definitely a good place to start.

“No single test -- multiple choice or otherwise -- is used to identify high potential future leaders in the U.S. military, or to screen out low potential ones,” Bartone continued. “Rather, in U.S. officer selection, both [Reserve Officer Training Corps] and the service academy process, we rely on a wide range of indicators including high school grades, community service, demonstrated leader potential. . . . To my knowledge, there are no psychological tests, personality, intellectual or otherwise, given to our officer candidates as part of the application process.” -- Glenn Maffei

On the other hand, in the classic movie "The Man Who Would Be King," Sergeant Daniel Dravot (as played by Sean Connery) offered a contrasting opinion on the value of IQ in native troops. Here's a paragraph from my essay on the movie from late September, 2001, in which I predicted the US would win easily in Afghanistan, but then not find it easy to civilize it:

Daniel explains to his uncomprehending boot privates, "Good soldiers don't think. They just obey. Do you think that if a man thought twice, he'd give his life for Queen and country? Not bloody likely!" Noticing an Er-Heb man with an extremely small head, Daniel remarks, "Him there with the five and a half hat size has the makings of a bloody hero."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

President defends steroid cheat Palmeiro

From the Washington Post:

David Jackson writes in the Dallas Morning News: "Little more than an hour after word of Rafael Palmeiro's suspension for violating Major League Baseball's steroid policy, President Bush defended the former Texas Ranger.

" 'He's a friend,' the president said in a White House roundtable interview with several Texas reporters. 'He's testified in public, and I believe him.'

"Citing Mr. Palmeiro's previous statements under the 'klieg lights' that he had not used steroids, the former Texas Rangers part-owner said: 'I believe him -- still do.' . . .

"Mr. Bush, who was part of the Rangers' majority ownership group from 1989 to 1998, has often spoken out against steroid use."

As you'll recall, the President was co-managing director of the Texas Rangers when his players, such as Rafael Palmeiro, started hitting prodigious numbers of homers. Granted, his partners didn't let him have much authority, but he claimed that he "signed off" on all trades, the most notorious of which was the 1992 acquisition of Jose Canseco, author of the recent steroid tell-all Juiced. As I wrote for UPI in "Bush Turns Against Steroids" on January 21, 2004 in response to Bush's denunciation of steroids in his State of the Union address:

In 1992, Bush's Rangers acquired in a blockbuster trade the ever more massive Canseco, even though he was then probably the most infamous steroid abuser in baseball.

Although Canseco had won the 1988 American League MVP award by being the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases, his career as a Ranger is most remembered for one week in May 1993. First, a long fly ball bounced off the outfielder's increasingly block-shaped head for a home run. Three days later, Canseco volunteered to try pitching and blew out his elbow, ending his season.

Last year, after angrily ending a career cut short by injuries, Canseco was jailed when he failed a drug test for steroids, violating his probation stemming from a nightclub brawl he had gotten into alongside his brother Ozzie.

... When Bush's Rangers traded for Canseco in 1992, he had been the subject of steroid rumors for many years... Canseco's second World Series appearance in 1989 inspired novelist Anne Lamott to complain in "Operating Instructions," her best-selling diary of her baby Sam's first year of life: "I was explaining to Sam that Jose Canseco shouldn't get to play because of the obvious steroid use, that there is something really wrong with the guy ... It was obvious from Sam's expression that he didn't think much of Canseco."

The evidence was not subtle. When Canseco started in the minor leagues, he was tall and slender, but eventually bulked up to 240 pounds. Tellingly, he possessed the steroid user's equivalent of the portrait of Dorian Gray: his identical twin Ozzie, who stayed skinny and in the minors for years.

Bush signed off on all Rangers trades, such as the Canseco acquisition...

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The Guardian reviews Freakonomics (and Levitt's ego): Allen Lane writes:

In the summer of 2003 the New York Times sent the journalist Stephen J Dubner to interview the heralded maverick economist Steven D Levitt. What were the chances of two men with extraneous initials being attracted to one another? Higher than you might think. Levitt recognised in Dubner a man with a gift for hagiography, while Dubner knew a meal ticket when he saw it...

If morality is the way we would like the world to work, then economics is how it actually does work. Freakonomics works on a number of premises. 1) Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life. 2) Conventional wisdom is often wrong. 3) Experts use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda. 4) Readers' gullibility should never be underestimated...

Levitt is a noetic butterfly that no one has pinned down, but is claimed by all.

What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? They all cheat. I know this will come as a terrible shock but dreary data proves it is true.

Levitt is one of the most caring men in the universe.

Why do so many drug dealers live with their mom? Amazingly, I can prove that most of them earn far less than you might imagine.

Levitt is genial, low-key and unflappable...

Levitt is about to revolutionise our understanding of black culture. Even for Levitt this is new turf.

Black parents often give their children different names. A boy called Deshawn is less likely to get a job interview than someone called Steven. Maybe Deshawn should change his name.

The digested read ... digested:

What is the probability that a collection of often trivial and obvious data will be passed off as brilliance? Regrettably high.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 1, 2005

The Republican Devolution

Another column by me: Karl Rove's pollster Matthew Dowd published an op-ed in the NYT on Monday called "The Mexican Evolution" advising conservative Republican politicians to put the the red-hot illegal immigration issue on the back-burner for the next ten election cycles in the hopes that it will go away in a couple of decades due to declining population growth in Mexico. This was such disingenuous effort that I immediate pounded out a 1,600 word debunking for An excerpt:

"The Republican Devolution:" More Open Borders Shilling from the White House

By Steve Sailer

President Bush's pollster Matthew Dowd, who was the chief strategist for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign and is now the senior adviser to the Republican National Committee, writes in a New York Times op-ed called The Mexican Evolution [August 1, 2005] that the illegal immigration problem is solving itself.

Why? Because, in effect, the world will run out of Mexicans. According to Dowd's crystal ball, all those Americans who are now worrying their pretty little heads about illegal immigration are in for a political come-uppance. Real Soon Now.

Are you listening, Tom Tancredo?

Dowd claims:

And as these trends become more apparent to the public, politicians running on an anti-Mexican-immigrant platform will be seen as out of step… But legislators and government agencies should spend more time and resources addressing the problems of immigrants already here and our direct security needs, and much less time on prescriptive laws aimed at stemming illegal immigration from Mexico. We should be aware of the historic transformations occurring in Mexican society so that we aren't fighting a war that is already ending.

Dowd advises us all to just lie back and enjoy illegal immigration for 20 more years, and then it will go away.

Obviously, he wants us to ignore the damage illegal immigration will do to America between now and 2025, and how much trouble all the illegals who get in between now and then will continue to wreak after 2025. (Currently, almost ten percent of all births within our borders are to illegal aliens, and who knows what that fraction will be in 2025 …)

So, what evidence does Dowd muster even just for his theory that illegal immigration will wither away like the state in Karl Marx's utopia? He writes:

But chances are that there will be a substantial decrease in illegal immigration from Mexico in the next 20 years, and it won't be because of civilian border patrols, laws being passed, pronouncements by politicians, or as some would like, "building a wall on the border." Instead, the cause will be demographic trends within Mexico itself, trends that have been largely ignored in the debate over immigration.

Mexico's population growth rate has dropped by more than 50 percent during the last five decades, according to the United Nations. The annual growth rate has declined from approximately 3 percent in 1960 to 1.3 percent today. And it is expected to continue to fall in the first decades of the 21st century; by 2050, the United Nations predicts, the rate will be negative. The fertility rate in Mexico has had a corresponding significant drop, from 6.9 children per woman in 1955 to 2.5 today.

The population growth rate of Mexico is now only slightly higher than that of Canada, where recent data shows it to be 1 percent. Twenty-five years ago, Mexico had a growth rate more than twice that of Canada...

Uh, Matt, allow me to remind you that a big reason Mexico's population growth rate has dropped to "only" 30 percent higher than Canada's is because of the on going massive emigration from Mexico to the U.S. Close to one-fifth of all people of Mexican descent in the world now live in the U.S.

(Also, Canada's population growth rate is fairly substantial because its Liberal government has a pedal-to-the-metal legal immigration policy in order to manufacture more Liberal voters, an analogy that Mr. Dowd should ponder before advising the Republican National Committee to open our borders even wider.)

Even despite Mexico's high emigration rate, the U.S. Census Bureau's latest official estimate is that the population in Mexico will grow from 106 million today to 148 million in 2050. That's an increment of another 42 million … not to mention the tens of millions of extra Mexicans who will be living in our country at mid-century if the current non-enforcement of the laws continues.

Why is there such a difference between the rosy picture of Mexican population growth that Dowd paints using dabs of data and the alarming picture projected by our Census Bureau? Because Dowd is conveniently ignoring what demographers call "population momentum." "A population will typically grow for 50-60 years after reaching replacement level fertility," and Mexico hasn't even reached that birthrate yet. [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

News Media Humor

At the NBC News studio in Burbank, somebody has put up on the wall a four foot wide map of the United States with the title "News Time Zones."

The map is divided up into five time zones:

The New York / Washington DC area consists of:

- He's out to lunch
- He's gone for the day

Southern California consists of:

- He hasn't come in yet
- He's out to lunch

The other 95% of America comprises a single time zone entitled:

- Who cares?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Rafael Palmeiro nailed for steroid use

The NYT reports:

Rafael Palmeiro, the Baltimore Orioles slugger who at a Congressional hearing in March vehemently denied using steroids, was suspended for 10 days today for violating major league baseball's steroids policy.

At a congressional hearing in March, Rafael Palmeiro said, "I have never used steroids, period. I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that."

The Orioles' first baseman is by far the biggest name suspended under baseball's recently toughened program, which tests for performance-enhancing substances. Over all, he is the seventh major leaguer this season suspended under the new program.

Last month, the 40-year-old Palmeiro collected the 3,000th hit of his career, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players in history to amass 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

In February, I blogged:

Back in 1993, a baseball player agent whose brother was a major-leaguer told me that "Jose Canseco is the Typhoid Mary of baseball," because when he'd show up on a team, soon his new teammates started to inflate like him.

You may recall that Rafael Palmeiro came up with the Chicago Cubs in 1986, but was traded to Texas after 1988 when rookie Mark Grace emerged as the Cub's first baseman of the future. Grace enjoyed a fine old-fashioned career, hitting .303 with a career high of 17 home runs. Palmeiro, however, turned into a modern-style monster in Texas, hitting 47 homers in two separate seasons, and now has 551 for his career, 30 more than Ted Williams and 226 more than Joe DiMaggio, all without anybody ever thinking Palmeiro was a great player.

On the other hand, all three of the Texas Rangers Canseco named [including Palmeiro] were good players before Canseco arrived, so I'm not convinced. Maybe they would have developed without him. But I am suspicious.

There's an interesting political angle: In last year's State of the Union Address, President Bush used his bully pulpit to denounce steroid use in sports. Bush, however, was the co-managing director of the Texas Rangers in 1992 when they acquired Canseco. Bush's partners didn't trust him enough to give him substantive power in running the team, using him as a front man. But, Bush claims, he did have responsibility for signing off on all trades, so he apparently approved the acquisition of Canseco, even though Canseco had been notorious as a steroid user since at least the 1988 post-season when Fenway Park fans showered him with chants of "Ster-oid! Ster-oid" and he responded by striking a Mr. Universe pose in the outfield. (The details on Bush and Canseco are in my "Out of the Park: Baseball & Steroids" article in the April 12, 2004 American Conservative.)

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The View from Planet Economist

The British newsweekly The Economist prides itself on being the smart news source for the global overclass. (It calls its new lifestyle advice spin-off magazine Intelligent Life.) But, The Economist sure can be dumb about immigration. A reader sends me this excerpt from its article "The Americano Dream:"

AMERICA is going through one of its periodic bursts of high immigration. According to the Census Bureau, the country is home to about 34m people born abroad, half as many again as ten years ago. It is also going through one of its periodic panics about the subject.

But, as seen from Planet Economist, there's nothing to worry about:

"New arrivals [i.e., immigrants] tend to head for New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and other cities. Over half the immigrants first settle in one of these gateways, and two-thirds of the foreign-born population live in states surrounding them... As it happens, these preferences are extremely fortunate for America as a whole, because the melting pots are precisely the places that domestic migrants have been leaving in droves."

Apparently, The Economist believes the reason that millions of native-born Americans have fled the coast of California over the last dozen years is because they suddenly grew tired of year-round sunshine, mild temperatures, low humidity, and no mosquitoes. Their leaving couldn't possibly have anything to do with immigration. Thank God for all these immigrants doing us a huge favor by moving into the Golden State, or otherwise Los Angeles and San Francisco would be unpopulated wastelands that looked like a neutron bomb had hit them.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer