November 12, 2005

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and "A History of Violence"

When did movie directors decide that thematically "dark" movies had to be "dark" in the sense of being underexposed? The upcoming Harry Potter movie struck me as a snooze because only about 2% of the scenes were brightly lit, unlike the first Harry Potter movie, which had lots of sunshine falling on the beautiful Lake Country (?) mountain scenery around Hogwarts. Granted, it's unrealistic to expect sunny days during the school term in northern England, but when you're making a guaranteed blockbuster, I expect the director to burn cash waiting around for the three hours per week when the light is perfect.

After getting the series off to a solid start with the first two movies, Chris Columbus dropped out, and art house Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron won critical kudos with the third film for making it "dark" -- i.e., filming outdoors during the usual bad weather. Now Mike Newell has made the fourth film, and it's also dreary-looking. The three seventh graders liked it, though, and that's what counts.

The same goes for "A History of Violence, " which is so underexposed that I took my glasses off to check to make sure I wasn't accidentally wearing my prescription sunglasses.

"A History of Violence" aspires to be a little like Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs," but without the memorable dialogue, fun acting, and bright colors. If the point of the movie is too shock you with all the blood, doesn't it help if the blood looks red?

The wife and I finally saw David Cronenberg's latest at the $3 2nd-run theatre, and the low-budget Saturday night crowd gave it the raspberry, laughing derisively at numerous phony turns in the plot. In contrast, the critics found it a thought provoking work of art:

"A masterpiece of indirection and pure visceral thrills, David Cronenberg's latest mindblower is the feel-good, feel-bad movie of the year."
-- Manohla Dargis, NEW YORK TIMES

"A gripping, incendiary, casually subversive piece of work that marries pulp watchability with larger concerns without skipping a beat."
-- Kenneth Turan, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Packed inside David Cronenberg's latest film, which presents itself as gift-wrapped, shoot-'em-up entertainment, is a sobering reflection on our culture's attitude toward violence."
-- Desson Thomson, WASHINGTON POST

Apparently, the critics decided it was an anti-Bush and anti-American film, so therefore it had to be good:

"It's a savage film that questions its savagery every step of the way and asks its audience to consider the costs of Dirty Harry diplomacy writ large. It will hit you like a ton of bricks. Don't miss it."

But the plot and the dialogue about a small town nice guy who isn't what he seems, just appears off from the first five minutes of the film, as if nobody involved with it had ever been to a small town and had no clue how anybody would actually act in these situations. It doesn't help that "A History of Violence" is another ultra-serious movie made from a graphic novel (i.e., expensive comic book), like Road to Perdition, but without that film's expensive cinematography, sets, costumes, and musical score. The film is full of the kind of ridiculous incidents that look cool in a graphic novel but ring false when projected 30 feet high on the screen.

And the casting is ridiculous, with Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, and William Hurt playing gangsters in the Philadelphia mob, the Anglo-Nordic Mafia, apparently.

William Hurt appears to have negotiated a contract that his character will only be seen with a glass of scotch in his hand, and that that won't be colored water pretending to be scotch in his glass. Hurt appears to be making up his characterization as he goes along, and he's more entertaining than anybody else in the movie.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Congratulations, Malcolm, just remember to leave your soul with its rightful owner when you're done using it:

Proving that there is no limit to the amount of money an insightful journalist can make if chooses to sell his soul comes this article in Variety:

Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way is developing Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller Blink into a movie, with DiCaprio attached to star and Stephen Gaghan (Syriana) onboard to write and direct.

As he did in his previous book "The Tipping Point," in "Blink" Gladwell combines vignettes about people making snap judgments in various situations to argue larger points about how people make first impressions.

Gaghan's pitch is thought to include a writer character based on Gladwell and various characters out of the book, woven together into a story.

Here's my capsule review of Blink:

- Go with your gut reactions, but only when they are right.

- And even when your gut reactions are factually correct, ignore them when they are politically incorrect.

Uh, Leonardo, Gladwell, who is a little bit black, got the idea for Blink when he grew an afro and suddenly started getting hassled by The Man. Are you sure this role is perfect for you?

Tyler Cowen asks:

So who will star in Freakonomics?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Peter Drucker, RIP

The one management guru who deserved that title has died at age 95. Last year he pointed out something that almost nobody is talking about:

"But the immigrants have a mismatch of skills: They are qualified for yesterday's jobs, which are the kinds of jobs that are going away."

As the French have discovered, by importing people to do the jobs you don't want to do, you're setting yourself up for trouble a generation hence when machines do those jobs.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Whites over-represented in Iraq fatalities

Here's something you won't read elsewhere.

It's widely assumed that American minority soldiers are suffering a disproportionate number of deaths in the current war. Yet, according to iCasualites, 74% of all American fatal casualties in the Iraq war have been suffered by non-Hispanic whites. In 2004, non-Hispanic whites only made up 67% of the total population, and, more relevantly, only 61% of the 25-year-olds, which might be about the representative age of the fatalities.

So, young whites are dying in Iraq at a per capita rate more than 80% higher than young minorities. If you are wondering about how I calculated that, it's:

(74% / 61%) / (26% / 39%)

What you definitely won't see elsewhere is an explanation of the most likely reason for this racial imbalance: IQ. To be allowed to enlist, you have to score 92 or higher on the military's IQ test, the Armed Forces Qualification Test (the same one used throughout The Bell Curve.) Since 1992, only 1% of new military enlistees have had IQs below the 30th percentile nationally.

This requirement disqualifies about half of all Hispanics and over 60% of all blacks from joining up, versus less than a quarter of all whites.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

November 11, 2005

Your Christmas Present Purchasing Problem Solved!

Just give a subscription to the American Conservative magazine to those on your Christmas list. Only $19.95 for 16 issues or $29.95 for 24 issues. Do it now and you won't have to worry for the next six weeks about what you'll get them .

A relevant article from the Nov. 21st issue of The American Conservative:

The Weekly Standard’s War

Murdoch’s mag stands athwart history yelling, “Attack!”
By Scott McConnell

As the Weekly Standard celebrates its 10th birthday, it may be time to ask whether America has ever seen a more successful political magazine. Many have been more widely read, profitable, amusing, or brilliant. But in terms of actually changing the world and shaping the course of history, what contemporary magazine rivals the Standard? Even if you believe that the change has been much for the worse, the Standard’s record of success in its own terms is formidable.

At the time of the Standard’s founding in 1995, there was considerable speculation among neoconservatives over whether the movement had run its course. In “Neoconservatism: A Eulogy,” Norman Podhoretz argued that neoconservatism had effectively put itself out of business by winning on its two major battle fronts: over communism and the residue of the 1960s counterculture. In the process, it had injected itself into the main body of American conservatism to such a degree that it was no longer particularly distinct from it. The eulogy was not a lamentation, more an appreciation of a job well done.

But while there was something to the Podhoretz argument, the American Right in 1995 did not have a neoconnish feel. Newt Gingrich and the new Congress were the center of gravity; Rush Limbaugh was a far more important figure than Bill Kristol; the issues that most agitated the Right, gays in the military and Whitewater, were either the province of religious and social conservatives or committed Republican partisans.

On other national issues, neocons were either uncertain or not on the cutting edge. Charles Murray’s 1994 bestseller The Bell Curve, which argued that IQ was hereditarily based and was increasingly and ineluctably correlated with career success and life outcomes, was the most discussed and controversial book on the Right, but neocons were split over whether to distance themselves from it or quietly embrace at least some of its analyses. Immigration, already an issue of intense popular concern in California, was a key cause for National Review, the oldest and most popular magazine on the Right. But most neoconservatives deplored the immigration-reform impulse, with many claiming to see in it an echo of the restrictionists of the 1920s, whose legislation had the (obviously unintended) result of closing America’s door to Jewish refugees a decade later.

Foreign policy, which had been a prime unifier of the Right during the Cold War, was on the back burner. Norman Podhoretz’s Commentary had been waging a lonely battle against the Oslo peace process (a track leading to a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank), but its position was very much in the minority among both foreign-affairs experts and American Jews. In the quarterlies, foreign-policy specialists debated America’s role in the post-Cold War world, but it was hard for most newspaper readers to keep up with obscure struggles on the Balkans or complicated debate about NATO expansion. America, it seemed, had no real enemies. Thus in 1995, it could be rightly claimed that the original neoconservative movement had spawned a successor generation, even two. But it was not clear what that generation’s role would be, if any.

Enter the Weekly Standard—edited principally by William Kristol, a genial and sharp son of an eminent neoconservative family—which arrived on the scene thanks to a $3 million annual subsidy from Rupert Murdoch. It is not always understood beyond the world of journalism that political opinion magazines almost invariably lose money—sometimes a lot of it. The deficits are usually made up by their owners and subscribers’ contributions, some quite substantial. Commentary was supported for most of its life by the American Jewish Committee and now has a publication committee of formidably wealthy people. William F. Buckley’s National Review always had angels; Buckley once answered a query about when his magazine would be profitable by saying, “You don’t expect the Church to make a profit, do you?” The venerable Nation, at the time of the Standard’s founding, had an annual deficit of roughly $500,000, made up by owner Arthur Carter. The prestigious Atlantic Monthly reportedly loses between $4 and $8 million a year.

That said, while the Standard’s reported subsidy was gigantic for a small ideological niche magazine, if Rupert Murdoch’s purpose was to make things happen in Washington and in the world, he could not have leveraged it better. One could spend 10 times that much on political action committees without achieving anything comparable...

The subsidy Murdoch accorded the Standard assured the new venture would be highly visible by the standards of start-up political magazines. It could afford a wide newsstand presence: it is costly for any new magazine to print issues that will in most cases not be sold. The Standard not only passed out thousands of complimentary issues around Washington, it had them personally delivered to Beltway influentials as soon as they were printed. Above all, the new journal provided employment for a small coterie of neoconservative essayists and a ready place to publish for dozens of apparatchiks who held posts at the American Enterprise Institute and other neocon-friendly think tanks.

With the fledgling Fox News network, the Standard soon emerged as the key leg in a synergistic triangle of neoconservative argumentation: you could write a piece for the magazine, talk about your ideas on Fox, pick up a paycheck from Kristol or from AEI. It was not a way to get rich, but it sustained a network of careers that might otherwise have shriveled or been diverted elsewhere. Indeed, it did more than sustain them, it gave neocons an aura of being “happening” inside the Beltway that no other conservative (or liberal) faction could match. Murdoch had refuted the otherwise plausible arguments in Norman Podhoretz’s eulogy...

Without the Weekly Standard, would the invasion of Iraq taken place? It’s impossible to know. Without the Standard, other voices—including those of the realist foreign-policy establishment, which had been dominant in the first Bush administration and which opposed a precipitous campaign against Saddam—would have been on a more level playing field with the neocons. That would have made a difference.

So in a sense the Iraq War is Bill Kristol’s War as much as it is George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s, and the Standard is the vehicle that made it possible. [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

"Genetic Find Stirs Debate on Race-Based Medicine"

Nicholas Wade writes in the NYT:

In a finding that is likely to sharpen discussion about the merits of race-based medicine, an Icelandic company says it has detected a version of a gene that raises the risk of heart attack in African-Americans by more than 250 percent.

The company, DeCode Genetics, first found the variant gene among Icelanders and then looked for it in three American populations, in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Atlanta.

Among Americans of European ancestry, the variant is quite common, but it causes only a small increase in risk, about 16 percent.

The opposite is true among African-Americans. Only 6 percent of African-Americans have inherited the variant gene, but they are 3.5 times as likely to suffer a heart attack as those who carry the normal version of the gene, a team of DeCode scientists led by Dr. Anna Helgadottir reported in an article released online yesterday by Nature Genetics...

The new variant found by DeCode Genetics is a more active version of a gene that helps govern the body's inflammatory response to infection. Called leukotriene A4 hydrolase, the gene is involved in the synthesis of leukotrienes, agents that maintain a state of inflammation.

Dr. Stefansson said he believed that the more active version of this gene might have risen to prominence in Europeans and Asians because it conferred extra protection against infectious disease.

Along with the protection would have come a higher risk of heart attack because plaques that build up in the walls of the arteries could become inflamed and rupture. But because the active version of the gene started to be favored long ago, Europeans and Asians have had time to develop genetic changes that offset the extra risk of heart attack.

The active version of the inflammatory gene would have passed from Europeans into African-Americans only a few generations ago, too short a time for development of genes that protect against heart attack, Dr. Stefansson suggested.

That's interesting in part because it suggests that interracial marriage could cause health problems by combining genes that haven't evolved together and thus don't work as well together.

I haven't seen much evidence for this incompatibility problem in the past. My assumption has been that minor problems caused by incompatibilities like this were about evened out by small advantages from hybrid vigor, so people born of interbreeding between races were about as healthy as everybody else on average (other than examples of extreme inbreeding such as first cousin marriages).

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Diversity Means Death

In the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson opines:

The riots in the suburbs of Paris and other French cities ought to wipe the smirk from the lips of even multiculturalism's smuggest critics. Those who lobby against bilingual education or get upset when their children learn about Cinco de Mayo should look at France and realize that multiculturalism is a lot like democracy -- it's the worst system except for all the others.

The French example presents an ideal laboratory experiment. France, like the United States, bases its sense of nationhood on a set of Enlightenment ideas about the rights of individuals in a society. France, much more than this country, also draws identity from language and an ancient cultural heritage.

But then immigrants began to arrive -- mostly former colonials from North and West Africa, people with darker skin and a different cultural and religious heritage. France essentially said to the immigrants: "Look, these are our ideals -- liberty, equality, fraternity . We're not adding diversity to the list."

It was a deliberate decision, of the kind that opponents of multiculturalism in the United States would have our country make: As a matter of policy, the French refused to acknowledge that cultural and religious differences even existed.

Apparently, Eugene doesn't read the rest of his newspaper, because then he could have told us about how well multiculti is working out in the officially multicultural Netherlands. From the Washington Post:

As Prof. Afshin Ellian arrived at Leiden University law school one day recently, two bodyguards hustled him through the entrance and past the electronically locked doors leading to his office. For the rest of the day, the men stood sentry outside those doors, scanning the hallways for any sign of the people who want him dead.

Ellian is one of a soaring number of Dutch academics, lawmakers and other public figures who have been forced to accept 24-hour protection or go into hiding after receiving death threats from Islamic extremists. In a country with a tradition of robust public debate and an anything-goes culture, the fear of assassination has rattled society and forced people such as Ellian to reassess whether it's worth it to express opinions that could endanger their lives.

"The extremists are afraid that if Dutch society becomes a safe haven for an intellectual discussion of political Islam, it will be very dangerous for them," said Ellian, an Iranian-born professor of social cohesion who escaped to the Netherlands two decades ago from Afghanistan after receiving death threats from communists there. "This is normal behavior in the Middle East, but not in Europe. They think it's their obligation to kill people they consider to be enemies of Islam."

In other European countries and in the United States, Islamic extremists have generally sought to spread terror with indiscriminate attacks -- bombing trains and hijacking airliners. In the Netherlands, however, radicals have embraced a different strategy: singling out individuals for assassination...

The wave of political violence began in May 2002, when Pim Fortuyn, an anti-immigration populist and biting social critic, was assassinated by an animal rights activist. While the crime shocked the Dutch, many people dismissed it as a freak occurrence, not a sign of overheating in the passionate rhetoric and vigorous debate that the country has always cherished.

It drives me nuts that the media keep on lying about Pim Fortuyn's assassination. The reason they lie is precisely because the media and political establishments have some of Fortuyn's blood on their hands.

Fortuyn, a potential prime minister, was murdered by Volkert Van der Graaf, a white lawyer for an environmental organization on May 6, 2002. Tellingly, that was the day after the French Presidential election of May 5 between Chirac and Le Pen, which climaxed the continent-wide Two Week Hate toward anti-immigrationists that Le Pen's qualifying for the final round on April 21 had initiated.

The respectable elites were so enraged at immigration restrictionists at the time that Fortuyn's murder was widely greeted by establishment figures with variations on he-had-it-coming. As I reported for UPI on May 8, 2002:

In response to his killing, El Mundo, a leading Spanish paper, cast much of the blame on the victim in convoluted but clearly angry prose: "A criminal response to the incendiary racist calls of these distant heirs of Nazism, introduces a terrible new element in a Europe that is fearful and harassed by demagoguery: that of vengeful violence, which can only engender more violence."...

Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel implied that the dead man had been just too darn democratic for a modern Euro-democracy: "Democratic parties have to campaign in a very cautious way, and in a balanced and serene way to try to orientate the debate toward democratic values.

The Irish Times editorialized, "It is the very essence of democracy to allow anti-democratic views to be expressed." Apparently, trying to win an election on an anti-immigration plank is inherently "anti-democratic."

Mainstream newspapers and politicians hinted that Fortuyn was a racist, a fascist or even a Nazi. The Irish Times went on: "Nevertheless the murder will serve to highlight the rise of the far right in European politics and may in the long run gain votes for those involved in simplistic, racially-motivated campaigns. Today, on the 57th anniversary of the defeat of fascism, such trends strike a sad note."

Norman Lamont, the former Tory chancellor of the exchequer, wrote, "Britain has been fortunate to avoid the rise of extreme Right-wing, hateful politicians like Jean-Marie Le Pen and Pim Fortuyn, the Dutchman who was murdered in Hilversum."

Aftonbladet, the leading circulation Swedish newspaper, weighed in with, "The brown parties of Europe have a new martyr." Brown was Hitler's color.

The media soon seized upon the self-exculpatory theory that the assassin was some animal rights nut who had shot Fortuyn not because of the politician's voluminous politically incorrect statements about immigration and Muslims, but because of a tiny number of glancing references to animals in his writings.

This was disproved when the murderer finally appeared in court and explained why he did it, but by then, the convention wisdom was set in stone.

First, he wasn't crazy. The BBC reported:

A psychiatrists' report presented to the court concluded that Van der Graaf was sane. It said he was a highly intelligent perfectionist who was emotionally uncommunicative and intolerant of those with different values to his own.

Second, as I wrote in VDARE in "Pim Fortuyn’s Murderer Revealed As Immigration Enthusiast:"

The assassin, Volkert van der Graaf, finally made his confession in court this last week. And -- what do you know! -- he says he killed Fortuyn largely for opposing Muslim immigration.

The London Daily Telegraph reported:

"Facing a raucous court on the first day of his murder trial, he said his goal was to stop Mr. Fortuyn exploiting Muslims as 'scapegoats' and targeting "the weak parts of society to score points" to try to gain political power. He said: 'I confess to the shooting. He was an ever growing danger who would affect many people in society. I saw it as a danger. I hoped that I could solve it myself.'"

The Boston Globe noted:

"Van der Graaf said that he had sensed an increasingly unpleasant and anti-Muslim atmosphere in society after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States—a time when Fortuyn's star was beginning its meteoric rise. Van der Graaf said Fortuyn, 54, had tried to use that atmosphere for his own aggrandizement. 'I saw him as a highly vindictive man who used feelings in society to boost his personal stature. The ideas he had about refugees, asylum seekers, the environment, animals. . . . He was always using or abusing the weak side of society to get ahead.'"


"Van der Graaf claimed, according to the Algemeen Dagblad, he was greatly influenced by politicians who compared Fortuyn with Austrian far-right leader Jorg Haider and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini."

Obviously, I take Fortuyn's murder pretty personally. He wasn't shot by some Muslim loony but by a well-educated person who swallowed the media's demonization of outspoken immigration restrictionists.

The "respectable" press and politicians bear some of the blame for Fortuyn's murder.

Nor am I crazy about the fact that the assassin will be eligible to get out of jail after serving only 12 years.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Diversity Means Homogeneity

Michael at 2Blowhards wrote a post that explains more about the French than anything else I've ever seen. Here's an excerpt:

I suspect that the reason why France had such an impact on me and my tastes is simple: it's because Culture and Pleasure are such big things for the French. They're subjects that aren't kept under Puritanical wraps; instead, they're constantly out there, acknowledged, discussed, pursued, and relished. In many ways, there's (or at least there was back in my time) a cultural consensus that art (conceived of in a rather strict sense) and pleasure (conceived of in a very broad sense) are the points of life....

I was lucky enough to spend some time with a wide range of French people -- some rich ones, some middle-class ones, and some poor and working-class ones. And it was striking how similar their convictions about Culture were, and how similar their ideas of Pleasure were too. The Good Life? Coffee, wine, cheese; sparkling cities; good cars; witty conversation, flirtation, fashion; travel and time in the country; picnics; film and lit; and especially food and l'amour ... Rich or poor, all the French people I encountered shared the same taste-set. They worked with different budgets -- and the French people I knew were all really, really tight with a franc. But you didn't deny yourself the pleasures. What would be the point of doing such a thing? Work was important, money was important -- but far more important was having some perspective on these banal concerns. (I recall that even discussing work past a certain point was frowned on.) Living well (l'art de vivre), on the other hand -- ah, now that's what it's all about.

We might as well admit that one reason the French irk us so much is that they genuinely are onto something. If we Anglos feel looked-down on by the Froggies, it's partly because they're so annoyingly snobbish, sure. And, y'know, screw 'em for that. But why not allow too as to how they're onto something worthwhile that we're clueless about?...

The key to understanding the French is understanding how rewarding the French find "Being French" to be. Hard though it is for an American to believe, the French wake up in the morning and look forward to a full day's-worth of Being French. They go through the day Being French with great relish. They re-charge at night so that they can spend the following day Being French.

Well, goodbye to all that. The New York Times explains that in order to start being sensitive to diversity, the French are going to have to stop being so damn French:

[I]n a nutshell, ... what lies at the heart of the unrest that has swept France in the past two weeks: millions of French citizens, whether immigrants or the offspring of immigrants, feel rejected by traditional French society, which has resisted adjusting a vision of itself forged in fires of the French Revolution. The concept of French identity remains rooted deep in the country's centuries-old culture, and a significant portion of the population has yet to accept the increasingly multiethnic makeup of the nation. Put simply, being French, for many people, remains a baguette-and-beret affair.

It drives us Americans nuts with rage that the French think their culture is superior to ours -- and, what really gets on our nerves is that we know deep down that in a lot of ways ... they're right. Then, think of how French arrogance about their cultural superiority must strike people from Mauritania, a country so dirtbaggish that they've outlawed slavery three times (and still practice it) and their most famous cultural contribution is force-feeding girls to fatten them up until they are globular.

So, we are told, France must now compromise both its highest ideals and it unique culture to to make the thugs rioting in the streets feel more at home. It must stop being so snootily French and instead welcome with open arms the global lumpenproletariat multiculture, led by African-American rappers. Soon, Paris can be another Birmingham or Bradford, where the Ali G's of Paris won't have to worry that anybody is looking down their noses at them.

Of course, those officially multicultural British cities with their supposedly vibrant free market Anglo-Saxon economic systems have had their own race riots in this decade, but solving problems isn't the point, now is it? The point of diversity is that every place in the world must become just like every other place! The ultimate goal of diversity is global homogeneity.

To adapt what I wrote about Utah for VDARE in "Utah's Not Diverse -- It's Weird!"

There are two kinds of diversity: external and internal. And they inevitably conflict with each other. When there is more of one, there must, mathematically speaking, be less of the other.

France was an example of external diversity. It worked hard to make itself culturally homogenous internally, so therefore, when observed from the outside, it was obvious that it had a distinct character of its own. It took in a steady but not overwhelming flow of immigrants, mostly from other Roman and Orthodox Catholic countries in Europe, such as Chopin from Poland and Zola's father from Italy, and brought all the considerable resources of the French state and society to forcing them to adopt French culture. But, now it has taken in too many people from Africa who don't want to, or can't, or both, adjust to French culture.

In contrast, internal diversity is the only kind we are supposed to celebrate these days. The people in every state, company, college, or club must "look like America." And soon the people in every Western country must "look like the world."

Of course, when that great day arrives, then everything and everywhere will look like everything else.

As Solzhenitsyn wrote in his Nobel Prize lecture, which the Soviet regime refused to let him deliver:

In recent times it has been fashionable to talk of the levelling of nations, of the disappearance of different races in the melting-pot of contemporary civilization. I do not agree with this opinion, but its discussion remains another question. Here it is merely fitting to say that the disappearance of nations would have impoverished us no less than if all men had become alike, with one personality and one face. Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colours and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Udolpho on Tuesday's defeat of anti-gerrymandering initiatives

He writes:

Where is your brain?… Anti-gerrymandering initiatives lost in both California and Ohio. IN GOD'S NAME WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU MORONS? Gerrymandering is nothing more than a way of reducing the power of your vote and giving the balance over to the parties – whichever party is in office gets to wield it over you. There is actually no argument in favor of it, unless you regard yourself as a zombie created as a mere extension of the Party's will – an undead, moronic automaton. These initiatives are the closest thing we will ever see to an initiative that states plainly, "Vote against me if you are a complete fool." [More]

I, for one, welcome our old invincible overlords. I look forward to the exact same legislators and Congressmen ruling us into their senile years, with absolutely no chance of the public mobilizing to defeat any of them unless, as the saying goes, they are found with a dead girl or live boy (and that didn't stop Congressman Gerry Studds).

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Jus Soli (Birthright Citizenship) and the riots

A reader writes:

I have a theory that may at least partially explain why its so much worse in France. France has birthright citizenship. In the other European countries, citizenship is far more sparingly granted. For example, I believe that almost all of the Turks in Germany are NOT German citizens. [This is called jus sanguinis or "right of blood, as opposed to France's jus soli or "right of soil" (i.e., birthplace).]

Why does birthright citizenship exacerbate social problems? A few possible reasons:

1. French rioters generally assume that they can't be deported. After all, they are citizens. In this respect they are correct. Given that the penalty for rioting is either nothing (only a tiny fraction are ever caught) or two months in jail, there is really very little downside. Of course, today Sarkozy announced that immigrant (not just illegal) rioters would be deported. However, only 120 of the 1800 or so arrested so far would appear to qualify for deportation. Indeed, this low percentage may demonstrate that only "French" youths immune from any possibility of serious punishment, are rioting.

2. The possession of French citizenship has probably given the rioters are vastly inflated sense of entitlement. They are told from childhood that they are equal citizens of France and therefore entitled to the French version of the La Dolce Vita. Of course, they lack the skills, work ethic, discipline, education, etc. to actually participate in middle-class French life. However, these minor points are easily overlooked by the chronically resentful. Perhaps if they weren't citizens their expectations would be lower and their sense of disappointment, resentment, hatred, and rage diminished. In more practical terms, perhaps they would be more willing to take the low-wage jobs that they are actually qualified for and which do exist in France. Many interviews with rioters have included mention of some dead-end job they quit because "they didn't like it".

My above points are far from flawless. Riots have occurred in Belgium and Denmark where I don't think the immigrants are citizens even after two or three generations. The counterpoint may be that rioters in these countries may have viewed themselves as immune from deportation (rightfully so, at least so far).

Conversely, the more stable immigrant communities in Germany may also reflect ethnic differences among immigrant groups. Turks predominate in Germany and are generally a more disciplined group. Not that Turks in Germany are without problems. (See this Der Spiegel article on honor killings of Turkish women who want to live like Germans.)

What does this mean for the U.S.? Obviously birthright citizenship is a dangerous policy. However, so is keeping non-citizens within one's borders who were actually born here. Birthright citizenship has to go along with any non-citizens (illegals) who happen to be born here.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

French vs. British:

A reader writes:

History's repeating itself in an interesting way here. Britain and France have historically approached their problems from opposite directions. France favored the theoretical and abstract, while Britain leaned towards the particular and the empirical. With Third World immigration you see the same thing. France has pushed the abstract, singular proposition nation, while Britain has favored a more empirical form of multicultural pandering. Yet unlike the past, where Britain's empiricism proved superior to France's theorizing, in this case both approaches have been spectacular failures. Both countries are dealing with riots and terrorism.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

November 10, 2005

Are the French rioters Islamists? A way to test

My vague impression is that the rioters in France are more hip-hop hoodlums than religiously fanatical Islamists. No doubt the global inflammation of Islam plays a sizable role, but one way to test this would be to see if non-Muslim black Africans are refraining from getting in on the fun of burning vehicles.

The methodological problem is that most of the black African countries that had been colonized by France were farther north than the British conquests and thus more heavily Muslim. But a few of the Francophone African countries are not very Muslim, such as Gabon, Central African Republic, Benin, and Togo. So, if men with roots in those countries are heavily represented among the rioters, then that would weigh against the Islamist theory. But if the non-Muslim blacks are sitting this one out, that would support the Islamist idea.

Of course, a middling position could easily be true: that for the rioters, Islam is more of an ethnic badge than a motivating force. In Northern Ireland, the IRA were Catholics and the "paras" were Protestants, but their differing opinions on the necessity for salvation of faith and good works versus faith alone didn't have a whole lot to do with why they were fighting. No, religious differences served, not as motivations, but to make the Catholics and Protestants into two in-breeding extended families.

Likewise, my impression of France is that the Muslims don't intermarry with non-Muslims, so they lack family feeling toward the other people in France.

Another approach would be to study why these riots have such a different flavor than American riots, like LA in 1992. American riots are typically bacchanalias. The first shops looted in LA were liquor stores, and as the crowd got drunker, it turned to murderous building arson and gunfire. (Of course, the heavy usage of crack, the devil's own drug, no doubt contributed to the wave of riots in the early 1990s. Today, inner city African-Americans smoke more marijuana and less crack, and are thus fatter and less on edge.)

In contrast, the French riots have a tone of calculated political street theatre. The rioters have done a good job of figuring out how far they can go without provoking the PC-whipped French government into getting serious about stopping the rioting: e.g., they've burned an incredible number of cars, but relatively few buildings, and deaths have been few. In LA, the riots ended on the fourth day when 4,000 federal troops arrived. About 10,000 people were arrested in a few days, far more than have been arrested in two weeks in France.

I haven't seen any reports of looting liquor stores, which might suggest these guys are better Muslims than we're being told.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

November 9, 2005

Wal-Mart's War on Christmas

It looks like's annual "War on Christmas" contest may have a contender already: that dominant institution in Red State America, Wal-Mart!

Go to and search on "Kwanzaa." You get:

77 items found for “kwanzaa”

Fair enough. Now, search Wal-Mart's site for "Christmas." You get:

We've brought you to our "Holiday " page based on your search.

I would presume this is just the work of some low level flunkies who didn't realize how obnoxious this is.

UPDATE: A reader writes on Friday, Nov. 11th:

Here’s what I got on a search for Christmas at Wal-Mart:

7967 items found for “christmas”

The world-changing might of demonstrated once again!

But there's more to the story.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights responded:

A woman who recently complained to Wal-Mart that the store was replacing “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” received an e-mail response from Customer Service. It appears below in its exact form:

“Walmart is a world wide organization and must remain conscious of this. The majority of the world still has different practices other than ‘christmas’ which is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism. The colors associated with ‘christmas’ red and white are actually a representation of of the aminita mascera mushroom. Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal. It is a wide wide world.”

To which Catholic League president Bill Donohue says: “This statement was signed by someone called Kirby. When I read it, I thought he might be drunk. But I was wrong. We sent Kirby’s response to Wal-Mart’s headquarters only to find that Dan Fogleman, Senior Manager, Public Relations, agrees. After acknowledging that he read Kirby’s response, Fogleman said, in part, the following”:

“As a retailer, we recognize some of our customers may be shopping for Chanukah or Kwanza gifts during this time of year and we certainly want these customers in our stores and to feel welcome, just as we do those buying for Christmas. As an employer, we recognize the significance of the Christmas holiday among our family of associates…and close our stores in observance, the only day during the year that we are closed.”

Wal-Mart sold $38 billion worth of stuff last December, so I don't think they really hate Christmas. Christmas has been berry berry good to them. Nonetheless, this fiasco shows a lot about our culture.

While you're in a Wal-Marty mood, you can download JibJab's new video "Oh Big Box Mart."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Nice work if you can get it

Reporter Judith Miller is finally let go by the New York Times:

The New York Times and Judith Miller, a veteran reporter for the paper, reached an agreement today that ends her 28-year career at the newspaper and caps more than two weeks of negotiations.

After a brief probationary period, NYT reporters have tenure, so to get dumped, they either have to make up their stories out of whole cloth like Jayson Blair, or help lie America into a war, like Judith Miller.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The world's greatest living writer can't get published by NYC publishers!

It has been over four years since the first volume appeared in Russia of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's history of Russians and Jews, Two Hundred Years Together: 1795-1995, but the book remains unpublished in the United States. A translation of the first volume was published in France in February of 2002, and the second volume came out in French in September of 2003. Yet, apparently, no major publisher will bring out the book in the English-speaking world.

What's even more striking is that there has been virtually no mention of this extraordinary behavior by American publishers in the American press.

Isn't it time to change the National Anthem to delete that outdated reference to "the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 25, 1944

A reader provides his translation of a speech by General Charles De Gaulle:

"Paris! Paris outraged! Paris burnt! Paris martyred! But Paris LIBERATED! Liberated by itself! By its people with the help of the armies of France, with the support and help of the whole of France, of the France that fights, the only France, the real France, eternal France!

"And now, since the enemy which held Paris has capitulated to us, France returns to Paris, where she is at home. She returns to it bloodied, but quite resolute. She enters there, enlightened by the great lesson, but more certain than ever of her duties and her rights."

Of course, there's no mention of any help from America or Perfidious Albion ... but, still, what a speech and what a man. We, by contrast, live in an age of political pygmies.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The last French artist

Kevin Michael Grace reviews the life and work of depressive reactionary Michel Houellebecq (pronounced Well-beck), the last French writer anybody cares about.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


From my review of Charles Murray's Human Accomplishment in The American Conservative:

French postmodernists will sneer at the very concept of objectively measuring greatness, but their brittle amour propre will be secretly salved by hearing that the most important city in Murray’s lists, by far, is Paris. It was the workplace for 12 percent of the 4,002 significant scientists and artists [in Murray's database of eminent individuals over the last 2,800 years].

I believe London was in second place, way back with 4%.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

French Funk

The French student and worker strikes of May 1968 reached such a frenzy that on May 29, 1968 an old and depressed President De Gaulle, fearing all was lost, fled by helicopter to West Germany to take refuge with French troops under the command of his redoubtable protégé, General Jacques Massu, who, during a long career, had wiped out the terror bombing organization in the famous Battle of Algiers in 1957 by use of torture (which he first tried on himself).

Massu convinced De Gaulle to buck up and return to France, and Prime Minister Georges Pompidou persuaded him that the New Left-Old Left alliance could be broken by granting 35% pay raises to the workers, leaving the faddish student revolt to wither. De Gaulle called new elections and won a huge majority. French democracy (or whatever you want to call what they have) was saved.

De Gaulle was one of the great patriots of the 20th Century, but even great men can crack. When you do, it's good to have friends like Massu and Pompidou.

Although the challenge from street punks today is far less than in 1968, I also doubt that the current French government has men of the same caliber.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The most boring newsmagazine cover ... ever.

Newsweek's cover article is entitled "Ready or Not, Boomers Turn 60," with a photocollage of a lot of sexagenerian celebrities that's a tribute to plastic surgery and good genes. Is there no end to the self-absorption of the early Baby Boomers? As a late Baby Boomer, I've spent my entire life listening to the early Baby Boomers rattle on about their wonderfulness.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Why Jerry Kilgore lost the Virginia governor's race

Although Bush won 54% of the vote in Virginia last year, Republican Jerry Kilgore lost the gubernatorial contest yesterday. A reader writes about Kilgore, who has a wife and kids:

Kilgore had the same problem Al Gore had in 2000: On TV, his voice and mannerisms scream "gay."

People can deny or dodge it, but the fact is that Kilgore is untelegenic -- especially compared to Democratic rival Tim Kaine, who has the look and manner of a local-news sportscaster.

And a big part of Kilgore's problem is his "prissy" voice. I tried to get people to notice this during the 2000 presidential debates. Lots of people noted that Gore came across as a bit of a "teacher's pet" -- smug, know-it-all.

But few bothered to notice what I noticed: Gore has a slight but distinct lisp in his voice which suggests effeminacy, if not homosexuality, in the public mind. In our newsroom during the first Gore-Bush debate, I could *hear* the TV but not see it. And as I listened, Gore's lisp was startlingly clear -- sounding especially "gay" in comparison to Bush's down-home Texas drawl.

Al Gore has a lissssssp rather than a lithp -- a hissy sound when he pronounces the letter "S." Al's not gay, but a large fraction of the men with this speech defect are. It's the bane of gay men's choir directors across the country.

Ace comedian Harry Shearer, who provides the voices for such "Simpsons" characters as the evil billionaire Mr. Burns and his devoted male secretary Smithers, emailed me a precise description of Gore's speaking style. "It's not a lisp--as in "lithp." Rather, it's a sibilant problem, in which the sibilants are pronounced in a thinner, more 'hissy' fashion than is normal among American males."

More at

During the Va. gubernatorial debate this year, the same phenomenon repeated itself. A co-worker was watching the Kilgore-Kaine debate on a TV that I couldn't see. But as I caught the voices, the high-pitched "Southern belle" voice of Kilgore really rang through. All that was missing was a few "fiddle-de-dees," and Kilgore could have been playing Scarlett O'Hara in a drag production of "Gone With the Wind." I walked over to the TV and inquired who was who in the debate. When informed that the sissy-sounding candidate was Kilgore, the Republican, I said to my friend, a staunch Republican who lives in Virginia: "Y'all are in a heap of trouble."

Welcome to the television age, GOP. You cannot -- CANNOT -- win elections with candidates whose TV personas don't click with voters. George W. Bush won two elections because, compared to the prissy Gore and the snobbish Kerry, Bush seemed liked a "regular Joe" -- maybe not an intellectual, but a decent, ordinary guy with common sense, and not stuck-up at all. Kilgore might be a wonderful, decent, conservative person. But on TV, he was a cross between Gomer Pyle and Truman Capote.

Have you ever seen "Gomer Pyle" since you were a kid? I watched it all the time when I was about 8, but I didn't seen an episode again until I was 35. Boy, there's a lot you don't pick up on when you're 8! With Jim Nabors, there was definitely no need to ask or tell.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

November 8, 2005

The death of meritocracy

For a couple of decades, the standard neocon response to immigration, clearly seen for example in a derivative thinker like Tamar Jacoby, is that mass immigration would be all hunky-dory if it weren't for those evil leftist intellectuals who seduce innocent immigrants into identity politics.

Now, the amusing paradox is that nobody believes in the neocon prescription for treating immigrants more than the the French. They hate identity politics, affirmative action, multiculturalism, and all the rest almost as much as the neocons hate the French.

Well, it turns out that you can follow all the neocon rules and still have immigrant groups rioting in the streets. The truth is that the quantity and quality of the immigrants matter more than the details of how you treat them.

Of course, the French won't be allowed to think about effective solutions for their problem. What all the bright boys are telling them, including some of the neocons, is that they need to impose affirmative action quotas on themselves. And Sarkozy is all for it.

So, what happened? Well, the ethnic groups that are supplying the rioters have much lower average IQs than the French average. When you get growing groups with different average IQs in the same country, you will eventually have overwhelming demands for affirmative action. That is a lot of politics.

If you don't want to have affirmative action, then don't have ethnic diversity of average IQ. That's the only solution.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Something's fishy in France?

Street theatre and political theatre, working together?

Nur al-Cubicle translates a Le Monde story:

On the streets with the rioters and their rage

Sunday 6 November: 8:00 pm. Abdel, Bilal, Youssef, Osman, Nadir and Laurent meet up outside the 10-story structure of Building 112 in Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis). When Rashid, dressed in an oversized down jacket, comes along, he lights a cigarette and sets fire to the building’s garbage collection station. That’s too bad but we have no choice, blurts Nadir. For the last 10 days this scene has been repeating itself daily. This small gang from the “projects” of Hélène-Cochennec Street, which house more than a thousand tenants, wants to “f*** s*** up.” ...

If we ever get organized someday, we’ll have grenades, explosives, Kalashnikovs…We’ll meet outside the Bastille and it’ll be war, they threaten. Neither kadi nor Islamist seems to dictate their behavior or manipulate them. But for now, the gang from Building 112 acts only in the neighborhood: the “organization” seems to be more of an improvised happy hour than a warrior undertaking. Everyone brings some stuff along, explains Abdel.

We have more revolution inside us than hate, announced Yussef, the eldest member of the gang. At age 25, he says he’s calmed down since getting engaged. Nonetheless, he feels “rage”. His hatred is mostly directed at Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and his bellicose language. Since he thinks were scum, we’re going to clean his racist clock down at the pressure car wash. Words hurt more than punches. Sarko must resign. Until he apologizes, the violence will continue.

Adding to the “rage” is the tear gas canister launched at the Clichy-sous-Bois Mosque a week ago. That was blasphemy, says Yussuf. A judicial investigation will determine if the tear gas grenade was fired from inside the mosque or next to the entrance. All these young men have too much pent-up rancor to listen to appeals for calm. When a dog is backed against a wall, it becomes aggressive. We are not dogs but we’re responding as if we were animals, affirms Osman.

17 year-old Laurent, the youngest of the lot, claims he torched a Peugeot 607 just a stone’s throw from here two hours ago. Nothing could be easier. All you need is to fill a bottle with gasoline, stuff in a rag as a fuse, break a window then toss in the Molotov cocktail...

But why are they burning neighborhood cars? We have no choice. We are ready to lose everything because we have nothing, Bilal justifies.... You know, when you brandish a Motolov cocktail, you hear people shouting for help. There are hardly words to express how you feel. You “speak” by torching something.

There’s no unknown recipe in their incendiary quest. Their most worthy handiwork is acid bombs you can buy at Franprix and stuff with aluminum foil, usually done by 13 year old kids. If you’re 13 and all you feel is revolt, then that’s a big problem, explains Abdel, who hopes that he’ll never have rage-filled kids.

At 8:15 pm, you hear the firetruck sirens. Here come the cops…Let’s get out of here, orders Yussuf and the gang disappears into the vestibule. The building’s elevator only stops at two floors: the 4th and the 9th.

Up on the 4th floor, they think they are safe from police patrols. Bilal, 21, knows something about that: Today I was searched twice. Les flics threw me down on the sidewalk and shoved a Flash Ball [a double-barreled plastic pistol that uses rubber bullets]. They don’t understand why the government spends millions of euros to equip the police and won't give us a dime to open a youth establishment.

Yussef and the gang aren’t chumps. They know very well that the violence which they unleash will be met with a backlash. We’re not punks, we’re rioters, they say defensively. We’re calling everyone together, to spread our revolt, they say. And they complain about their wretched lives. Every member of the gang is jobless and unemployment subsidies are running out, deplores Nadir, 24. Just like the others, he stopped going to school at age 16, after failing his electromechanical exam. Since they, he has worked only small-time janitorial jobs and stacking pallets. What other job could we do? he shrugs. Out of the 100 resumés I mailed out, I only got three interviews. Even if I show them I’m earnest, they reject me, he says bitterly. For this bunch, school was never much use. That’s why we are burning them down, interjects Bilal.

Did Nicolas Sarkozy’s provocative comments represent the occasion they were waiting for? Did they feel they were entitled to release their bottled-up rage? We are drowning and instead of throwing us a life preserver, they’re pushing our heads under water. We need help!, they insist. These youths say they are without resources, misunderstood, victims of racial discrimination, condemned to live in the dirty projects and rejected. They are not shy about hiding their satisfaction and pride as the rioting spread throughout the country. There is no competition among the cities. It’s all pure solidarity.

9:00 pm. The gang goes back outside, at the end of the fence. The firemen have put out the fire in the garbage collection station. Yussef and his homies ask the question : What are we waiting for to burn something else?

Yves Bordenave and Mustapha Kessous
LE MONDE | 07.11.05 | 16h27

Does this whole picture strike you as phony, as more street theatre than anything else? They're burning cars, not buildings, which makes for spectacular TV, but doesn't wreck their neighborhoods the way black rioters in America stupidly destroyed the commercial streets in their own neighborhoods in their riots.

These punks -- half illiterate Franz Fanons, half scrawny Fiddy Cents -- would run and hide under their mamas' beds at the first whiff of grapeshot. Even if the main French Army is rotten (which I doubt), these men would put the fear of Allah, Jehovah, Thor, and Zeus into these punks.

That the French government has let this rioting go on for almost two weeks -- on this, the 12th night, Prime Minister Villepin announced his big decision: he's going to let local mayors declare curfews, but only if they want to! -- suggests that powerful elements within the French government want this anarchy to happen for reasons of their own.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

November 7, 2005

Welcome to the Schmuck

Brendan Miniter, Wall Street Journal op-edster denounces the new movie "Jarhead" in a piece entitled:

"Disillusioned warriors bomb at the box office.

Great headline, except that, according to

"Jarhead" enlisted $27.7 million at 2,411 locations, storming past industry expectations. Universal Pictures' $72 million military drama was in a similar range as "Black Hawk Down's" $28.6 million nationwide berth and was considerably stronger than "Three Kings" and "Courage Under Fire," two pictures that also dealt with Operation Desert Storm. "Yippee!," said Universal's head of distribution, Nikki Rocco. "That's my word. I think the entire industry had [the movie] in the high teens."

That's a solid $11,500 per-theatre opening weekend gross for a movie aimed at a literate audience. I guess, when you are a WSJ op-edster, you don't have to know anything about the business aspects of what you're opining about.

An excerpt from my upcoming American Conservative (subscribe here) review of "Jarhead:"

War movies have been getting more stomach-churning over the decades, but that hasn't hurt recruiting. The more gore on the screen, the more boys want to prove they're man enough to take it. Although Marines have been dying in Iraq at a disproportionate rate, the manliest of all the services still hit its enlistment quota for fiscal year 2005, while the more feminized Army has struggled.

Former Marine lance corporal Anthony Swofford writes in "Jarhead," his somewhat embroidered Desert Storm memoir about his love-hate relationships with war and his fellow warriors, "Vietnam war films are all pro-war, not matter what the supposed message, what Kubrick or Coppola or Stone intended."

Indeed, when "Apocalypse Now" was finally released in 1979 after years of hype about how it would be the ultimate antiwar movie, I noticed that all the most macho ROTC guys at my college were humming Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. Likewise, in this slow but often hilarious adaptation of Swofford's book, a theatre full of Marines lustily sings along as Francis Ford Coppola's helicopters rain down death from above. Young soldiers, Swofford notes, are excited by war movies "because the magic brutality of the films celebrates the terrible and despicable beauty of their fighting skills."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Adoption: New study, old results

From the Sunday Times of London:

Good genes beat good homes as guide to pupils’ school success
by David Smith and Abul Taher

NATURE not nurture is the main determinant of how well children perform at school and university, according to a study to be published this week. The researchers came to their conclusion by comparing how well adopted children did at school when they were brought up alongside parents’ biological children. The relative effects of genes and the home environment were then separated out.

Previous studies have suggested that the home environment, and in particular the level of family income, is the most important determinant of educational attainment.

But the new study, to be published in the Royal Economic Society’s Economic Journal, will argue that while income and home environment account for about 25% of educational attainment, inherited intelligence is responsible for the rest.

Doubling a family’s income would have only a small effect on educational performance, say the researchers, who examined more than 15,000 children, 574 of them adopted...

The study, Does Family Income Matter for Schooling Outcomes? by Wim Vijverberg, professor of economics at Texas University, and Erik Plug, an economics researcher at Amsterdam University, concludes that previous studies suggesting a strong link between family income and educational performance were flawed.

“Children of higher income parents probably do well in school because they inherit superior genes, not because they can afford to buy their children a better education,” said Vijverberg.

Adoption experts said the research failed to take into consideration other factors. Jonathan Pearce, director of Adoption UK, said: “A lot of adopted children have faced previous trauma or abuse.”

The quality, as well as quantity, of children available for adoption has fallen since the legalization of abortion.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Help me out here

I think understand American and British riots fairly well, but I'm not sure I know what's going on in France. Essentially, what happens here is that people notice that the cops have lost control of an area, so they can get free stuff (or as Robin Williams derisively called it during the LA riots in 1992, "political shopping.") For example, when my wife was a little girl, on the day after Martin Luther King was assassinated, she looked out of her house window on the West Side of Chicago and noticed that neighbors were walking down the street holding new televisions. "Look, mom, free TVs! Let's get some!" Her mom locked her in her room.

Similarly, during the 1992 Michael Jordan victory riots in Chicago following the Bulls' NBA championship, a mob of white yuppies looted the best book store in Chicago, Stuart Brent's on Michigan Ave. (where I used to see Saul Bellow browsing), of coffee table art books.

The gigantic Rodney King riots earlier that year in LA got started when thugs broke into liquor stores at Florence and Normandie. The LAPD, having been dragged across the coals for a year over excessive use of force in subduing that philosopher, said, in effect, "Forget it, we're not going to bother, let the public see who the real bad guys are," and let the drink-soaked mob run amok.

So, are the riots in France primarily driven by looting? Or are they more of an intifada intended to intimidate the government into handing out expensive concessions? Or just tough guys showing off? Or what?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Did you know that the U.S. Constitution authorizes privateering?

Across Difficult Country suggests that Congress respond to the Somali pirate attack on a cruise ship by utilizing its Constitutionally-assigned power to "grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water" to authorize private ships to hunt down the pirates:

" Not only would this be an efficient solution to the piracy problem, it would also be all kinds of fun."

UPDATES: A reader responds:

I am not an expert on international law, but I think privateering was outlawed by an international treaty in the 1850s. I think a privateer now has the legal status of a pirate.

Those international busybodies, taking away all our innocent pleasures...

Mr. Across Difficult Country replies:

According to Wikipedia though European countries outlawed letters of marque via the 1865 Treaty of Paris, the US never signed the treaty.

We have been adhering to that treaty, even though we didn't sign it. But, hey, we've recently tossed out international law technicalities like not invading sovereign countries, so why not privateering?

Some senator should ask Judge Alito during his hearings about Letters of Marqe. It's definitely part of the Original Intent of the Constitution. And it would be more fun than dancing around Roe v. Wade for days.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

November 6, 2005

Chirac playing his Stay-Out-of-Jail card

The ideological aspect of the war within the French government over dealing with the Muslim riots is interesting: Sarkozy has a dual right-left strategy, involving both a police crackdown and instituting affirmative action for Muslims. Villepin (and Chirac behind him) wants to stay with the neoconnish traditional approach where ethnicity isn't supposed to matter, but is talking up "compassion."

But, as is common in these post-Cold War days, ideology is mostly a facade. A French friend, whose English is less than perfect (but infinitely better than my French) writes:

The situation in French political circles is quite peculiar: the favorite for next presidential elections, Sarkozy, is an enemy of the current President Chirac, who fears that when in power Sarkozy will send him to jail. So Chirac is trying to "kill" him (that's the term used by politicians, they consider themselves as "killers"), and for this is launching Dominique de Villepin in the media. Villepin has made his political career under Chirac, and so is probably implicated in all scandals that could affect Chirac (ex: Oil For Terror): he is a secure ally.

The opposition between both is exaggerated by media on any affair, and for these riots, they are positioning themselves on opposite points. While Sarkozy uses strong words and speak about Republican Law, Villepin is trying to give an image of himself as compassionate, and is willing to give advantages to Muslims.

But actually, these are no more than words.

This seems to be a growing trend of national leaders needing to manipulate their succession to keep from going to jail themselves. This has been standard practice in Mexico for decades, and it's how Putin ended up running Russia. Perhaps it's a good sign that politicians are at least more worried about going to jail these days. But it doesn't feel like a good sign.

A reader writes:

Anyway, a new intellectual consensus will likely emerge on both sides of Atlantic which will recommend the following:

1) Obviously there hasn't been enough multi-culturalism. To increase understanding of Muslims, France needs to import even more of them!

2) There needs to be more welfare, more equality, because that's what rioting youths are angry about!

3) The rioting youths weren't Muslims. Don't you know Islam is a religion of peace?

The Wall Street Journal editorializes that the solution, surprisingly enough, is to cut wages. And the WSJ editors conclude:

"The U.S. experience shows that all immigrants, regardless of race or creed, ultimately respond to the same incentives to embrace their new home. The Muslims of Europe are unlikely to be different."

You see, if the Muslim of Europe were different, that would be a bad thing, and only bad people think bad things might be true.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer