December 12, 2006

Malcolm Gladwell just can't leave it alone:

The New Yorker writer calms down, takes a few deep breaths, and tries to salvage what he can from his spat with me:


"More Thoughts On Selling Cars."

"I would like to take one more pass at the car dealer study, because I think it raises a few, additional, interesting questions."


As you'll recall, on Sunday he demonized me as a "racist" from "the lunatic fringe," citing my review of his bestseller "Blink." In it, I had quoted Judge Richard A. Posner who also scoffed at Gladwell's claim that even though car salesmen had been shown to offer higher prices to blacks and women during negotiations, that they weren't consciously discriminating. Car salesmen were instead, according to Gladwell, the victims of "unconscious" prejudices that, sadly, prevented them from making even more money.

Malcolm goes on today:


"My initial response to that study [by Ian Ayres] was simple: it’s wrong to try and charge someone more for something because of his or her gender and skin color. Reading the comments to my earlier posts, I was somewhat surprised to learn that for some people that is a controversial position. I’m guessing a lot of those who are indifferent to this kind of price discrimination are not black males. Oh well."


Malcolm is distorting the record here to make himself look morally superior to me. I always contended that car salesmen were mercenaries who would consciously exploit any edge, including race, to make more money. In reality, in a 1,000 word answer that Malcolm posted on his website about a year ago to the criticism made by Judge Posner and myself, Gladwell wrote:


"My interpretation is that the reason the car salesmen quote higher prices to otherwise identical black shoppers is because of unconscious discrimination. They don't realize what they are doing. But buried prejudices are changing their responses in the moment. Sailer and Posner, by contrast, think that the discrimination is conscious and, what's more, that it's rational. … Now, I suppose it's possible that salesman believe this ludicrous statement to be true. But not on a conscious level. I refuse to believe that all of the car salesmen of Chicago are so stupid as to believe that by virtue of having a slightly darker skin color a human being becomes somehow predisposed towards higher prices. Sailer and Poser have a very low opinion of car salesmen."


As I responded last February to Gladwell in VDARE.com:


"You must be one of the few people in the country who claims not to have a low opinion of car salesmen. A 2005 Gallup poll asked 1002 adults nationwide to rate the honesty and ethical standards of 21 occupations. Nurses came in first, with 82% rating them high or very high. Last were telemarketers at 7%. Next to last were car salesmen at 8%."


Gladwell's defense of salesmen reflects his own self-interest. I wrote :


"In summary, Malcolm, I have to scratch my head: You get paid $40,000 per speech to corporate sales forces?

"Obviously, you don't want to insult salesmen, who butter your bread. But I've spent a lot more years in the corporate trenches with sales guys than you have, and most of them have a good sense of humor about what they do. They can put up with some ribbing.

"What gets on their nerves is a pompous fool."


This is not an isolated example. As I explained in VDARE.com:


"Gladwell is important, however, because he's pioneering a new hybrid genre. There are three obvious ways to get rich as a nonfiction writer:

- Flatter conservatives that they are more moral, patriotic, and practical-minded than liberals.

- Flatter liberals that they are more ethical, cosmopolitan, and high-minded than conservatives.

- Give people advice, especially on how to make more money.

"Although once a conservative, briefly working for The American Spectator, in recent years the Canadian-born Gladwell has been perfecting a spiel that unites the latter two approaches: he appeals simultaneously to his audience’s liberal snobbery and capitalist greed.

"His reply to me, quoted above, is a perfect example of this. He asserts that car salesmen would make even more money if they overcame their primitive biases and started to offer blacks and women lower prices.

"In other words, become more politically correct and wealthier at the same time.

"Hey, it sure worked for Gladwell!"


Malcolm writes today:


"So let’s move on. A good deal of the commenters made the point that the behavior of the car salesmen was rational. This was the position of Judge Richard Posner, who gave “Blink” a spanking, when he reviewed it in the New Republic two years ago...

"I am not one, ordinarily, to take issue with Judge Posner, who knows a great deal more about economics—and most everything, I suspect (except maybe the Buffalo Bills)—than me. But let’s take a little closer look at this idea: is it really in the economic self-interest--is it really rational-- of car salesmen to draw inferences about individual car-buyers from the group to which those car buyers belong?

"When I was reporting Blink, I talked to a number of car salesmen about this very question. They were all top salesmen—99th percentile—since it struck me that it wouldn’t be terribly useful to quiz mediocre salesmen about their strategies. (One of the salesmen I interviewed, Bob Golomb is quoted extensively in the book)."


Of course, a 99th percentile salesman would be precisely the one most likely to figure out what Mr. Gladwell wants to hear about the car business and feed it back to him. As I've said before, Malcolm is too nice a guy. He's too gullible to be a reliable business reporter. He trusts his sources way too much. It never seems to occur to him that they have self-interested reasons for telling him what he wants to hear.

Malcolm goes on today:


"First, that one of the things you quickly learn, in selling cars, is that your ability to draw inferences about individuals’ buying preferences based on surface characteristics of race, gender, dress, age, hairstyle or manner isn’t nearly as good as you think it is. …

"Second, that price discrimination—quoting a higher price to one customer more than another—is a risky strategy, because if it backfires you lose the sale. …

"And three—building on point two—that the incentive structure of car salesmen, in recent years, has changed."


This post of his is an improvement in rationality over his recent ones, and the last is an especially good point (although it may not be relevant to Ayres' study from the early 1990s).

But Malcolm is leaving out that Judge Posner had already answered some of the arguments he makes in this post. From Judge Posner's review of "Blink" in The New Republic:


"Golomb, the successful auto salesman, is contrasted with the salesmen in a study in which black and white men and women, carefully selected to be similar in every aspect except race and sex, pretended to shop for cars. The blacks were quoted higher prices than the whites, and the women higher prices than the men. Gladwell interprets this to mean that the salesmen lost out on good deals by judging people on the basis of their appearance. But the study shows no such thing. The authors of the study did not say, and Gladwell does not show, and Golomb did not suggest, that auto salesmen are incorrect in believing that blacks and women are less experienced or assiduous or pertinacious car shoppers than white males and therefore can be induced to pay higher prices. The Golomb story contained no mention of race or sex. (Flemington, where Golomb works, is a small town in central New Jersey that is only 3 percent black.) And when he said he tries not to judge a person on the basis of the person's appearance, it seems that all he meant was that shabbily dressed and otherwise unprepossessing shoppers are often serious about buying a car. 'Now, if you saw this man [a farmer], with his coveralls and his cow dung, you'd figure he was not a worthy customer. But in fact, as we say in the trade, he's all cashed up.'"


Gladwell also writes today:


"The study is described in Ian Ayres’ Pervasive Prejudice?: Non-Traditional Evidence of Race and Gender Discrimination, which is a book that had a great deal of influence on my thinking when I was writing “Blink.” Ayres’ project in the book is in exploring non-traditional sources of discrimination—that is, the discrimination that persists because of some flaw or condition of the marketplace in which it is operating."


Ayres' study of price discrimination by car dealers had a big impact on me as well. It is an excellent piece of work. I found it quite disturbing when I first read it in the mid-1990s, and I spent a lot of effort trying to discover a flaw in the methodology to no avail.

At the time, I was a libertarian fellow traveler and had just published a cover story in National Review ("How Jackie Robinson Desegregated America: Competition v. Discrimination") trumpeting the Milton Friedman-Gary Becker theory that a competitive market would squeeze out racial discrimination because it was irrationally expensive. (I showed how the baseball teams that integrated first, such as the Brooklyn Dodgers, went on to great success. In contrast, the two teams that met in the World Series the year before Robinson's debut, the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, were the last to integrate, and thus ended up wasting the last decade and a half of the stupendous careers of Ted Williams and Stan Musial, never allowing those two all-timers to get back to the Series).

But then along came Ayres' study that shows how, in certain circumstances, racial discrimination can prove profitable decade after decade, even in a very free market. That was quite unsettling to me because it showed that the free market wasn't the cure for all forms of racial discrimination. I hadn't really thought about the economist's concept of "statistical discrimination" much before, so Ayres' study was a real eye-opener for me.

By the way, in the study black salespeople discriminated against blacks just as did white salespeople. Same for saleswomen -- they offered female customers higher prices. The most plausible explanation is that salespeople know exactly what they are doing, and they are doing it because it makes them more money than not discriminating.

Economist Robert J. Stonebraker writes:


"While dealers and/or salespeople may know little or nothing about a particular customer, they know quite a bit about statistical differences among races and genders. They know that women and African-Americans typically enter the showroom with less information and less proclivity to bargain. Although white males often salivate at the chance to lock horns with car dealers in a bargaining struggle, females and African-Americans may be unaware that bargaining is even possible. Ayres and Siegelman cite a Consumer Federation of America survey that discovered that many female respondents, and more than one-half of African-American respondents, believed that sticker prices were non-negotiable. Armed with such knowledge, salespeople will rationally adopt a more stubborn stance while bargaining with female and African-American customers."


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

46 comments:

Ken Shabby said...

Gladwell has successfully identified and popularized a variety of interesting ideas and research with an entertaining writing style. I've read him in the New Yorker for awhile and look forward to his articles. Although always wordy and at times intellectually flabby, his writing is still makes good water cooler fodder.

However, I was surprised to witness his initial hysterical indignity (so quick with the R bomb already?) on being challenged over some clearly boneheaded statements he made which Sailer called him out on. Even his moderated revised positions are crippled with demonstrably false PC-assumptions, subpar reasoning and continued self-delusion.

As entertaining a writer he is, Gladwell is clearly no first rate intellect. My question is how much of this embarrassing spectacle is a result of:

(a) Gladwell simply lacking the mental CPU power to grasp the failings of his arguments,

(b) Gladwell’s inability to recognize his false assumptions arising from the PC dogma he embraces like a creationist (everyone is equal is all ways, esp intellectually, except for black athleticism)

(c) Gladwell’s ego pumped up with the adulation from too many low-brow corporate gigs and well-meaning pseudo-intellectuals (compare the pro/con comments on his blog on this issue), or

(d) Gladwell’s strategic business decision to protect his brand at all costs and against all realities (a la Bush/Iraq) since most of his many acolytes seem to think more with their heart (gut) and wouldn’t notice the shortcomings anyway. Initech Corp is not paying $40k per for complex, qualified and subtle intellectualizing – they want hard and fast rules to success for the troops.

(e) Gladwell’s popularity has demanded too much of his resources so he is increasingly phoning it in to grab more money before the next Megatrends, 7 Habits, etc comes along.

I don’t need to emotionally bond with purveyors of the mind candy I consume. However, I am concerned my filter on Gladwell’s writings was too permissive after watching him making sausage in comparative real time. Occam’s razor suggests he’s simply a PC-fundamentalist whose reputation and visibility has exceeded his abilities before a wider, more critical audiences.

Steve suggested he was corrupted by his popularity and is too “nice” to be critical. Sound critical thinking is an inherit attribute of intelligence whether expressed nicely or otherwise, so I don’t give Gladwell a pass on that. Also, I wonder if Gladwell has consistently been mentally crippled having been suckled in the ultra-PC environs of the New Yorker and never challenged to examine some of the less logical assumptions of that world. My guess is (c), (a), (b), (e) and lastly (d). What do you think? - Ken

Robert VerBruggen said...

I agree with the gist here -- that the free market, by and large, punishes discrimination, but that there are exceptions. Gladwell pointed out well that bad information makes discrimination easier to get away with.

I think in this case you're right that car salesmen are behaving rationally. I'm not sure that's the case in business at large, though, mainly because of this study:

http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/publications/papers/2003/pagerajs.pdf

It's similar to the car sales study, except it sent out whites and blacks to look for jobs, adding the variable of a criminal record. It found that whites got callbacks 34 percent of the time, 17 percent when they had criminal records. For blacks, 14 and 5.

Being black hurt callback odds worse than a criminal record did. You can make a case that blacks are more likely to be bad employees, but certainly a black person with no record has better chances than a white person with one.

rone said...

The New Yorker writer calms down, takes a few deep breaths, and tries to salvage what he can from his spat with me

A spat that you've done your utmost to provoke practically since Malcolm started his Weblog. You must feel immensely validated that he finally acknowledged your obnoxious behavior, like a five-year-old who has finally gotten the grownups to address him.

And here you are, still using your self-aggrandizing rhetoric (it's a spat! look, everybody, someone dares to exchange ideas with me! let's watch him "salvage" what he can because he has so obviously lost!). Well, enjoy your little echo chamber.

Rast said...

Ken, I vote (b), (c), and (d). Mainly (b) and (c); if Gladwell cared only about his brand he'd ban Steve for "racism", and then pretend he doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

Ive skimmed the comments section of the last two blog entries.


Its my firm conclusion that a great many "anti-paleocon"-neo-cons are logging in, acting as if they agree with Sailer, and henceforth behaving like Kleagles in the Klan to mar his reputation.


Brevity being the soul of wit notwithstanding, allow me to give everyone my little definition of racsim:

Conciously trying to inflict real harm, physical or financial or social, upon someone simply because you hate "their kind".

Sailer's entire point concerning car dealers is that black folk in America are getting shafted by used car salesman because cultural differences allow them to see being "bid up" as a badge of pride (being a "big" spender). Here he is, attempting to correct an injustice, and you guys are painting him KramerGibsonCampainis.


I hope Steve knows what he is getting into by allowing comments on his blog, I imagine the sophisticated obfuscation and sladerous inferences posted here by neo-con slime will be calculated to take up alot of his time. Ive been in arguments with dishonest posters before (on Mean Mr. Mustard's blog for one) and know from experience its almost impossible to argue with a really dishonest person on the internet unless you literally tablulate and paste every lie they have ever told to put back in their face for their ever-changing arguments, false statistics, and half-truths, and especially their tactic of attributing phony arguments to you that you never made (my personal favorite).

Then there is always their never ending search for more nuanced ways to call you a racist when you simply believe host populations in any country on earth should be able to VOTE for how much, and the nature of, immigration to their nations.


Parting shot::::::::::::I'm so racist that I wish Mexico for instance became as properous as the United States in the next twenty years as if by miracle so we could hear some neo-cons arguing for accepting massive immigration from sub-saharan Africa, rural China, Mongolia, and wherever else cheap labor/poverty can be found to import more future would-be Trotskyites.

Miles a' smilin'

Anonymous said...

Sailer,
I realize you and Gladwell have gotten into a bit of an on-going pissing match. Having read both of your numerous comments on this subject and others, all I can say is that you come off as an asshole even if you "might" be right.

You remind me of Walter (John Goodman's character) from The Big Lebowski...he's a bombastic ass and says outrageous things to the point that he's unbelievable. Despite the fact that he's mostly proven right by the end of the movie.

And yes, he labelled with a very serious charge by calling you a racist, but if you act like an ass, then you can hardly be upset when people treat you poorly.

You and your supporters seem to enjoy the personal attacking style...I understand it might be enjoyable to knock an intellectual lightweight who has gotten wealthy and famous by being a clever writer, but you undermine your credibility with your venom.

Cheers,
C

Anonymous said...

Steve, don't you know that niggers are animals. The reason the car salesmen discriminate against the nigs is because they can. The nigs are too stupid to realize that they are being discriminated against, so they end up paying more to look "ballin".

Steve, when will you learn that the savage Negro needs to be sent back to Africa where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

I am sad that segregation ended. Back when segregation was still in force, the blacks knew their place in society. Now, they run around like wild beasts.

I am glad you write about the tendancies of the savage negroes. I am also glad that you bring attending to the INVASION by the brown scum from Mexico. I hope one day we can cleanse the non-white scum from the USA. You and I, Mr. Sailer, will usher in a new Fourth Riech.

God bless the white race and damn the mud people.

--1488

Cody said...

Ugh. Steve, please disable comments.

Anonymous said...

oh cody don't be a PC stooge.

Anonymous said...

Steve's obviously right. And while I realize that there is a social convention that if someone else is saying something wrong, you are not supposed to call them on it except in the most polite way imaginable, I'm willing to make an exception for when the person making the false statements has sacrificed his own integrity as severely as Gladwell has.

And to all the racist trolls here, you are not fooling anyone, so you should feel free to go back to dailykos.com, where you can defend your pat liberal pieties in a less offensive way.

Anonymous said...

"And to all the racist trolls here, you are not fooling anyone, so you should feel free to go back to dailykos.com, where you can defend your pat liberal pieties in a less offensive way."

I hope you are not referring to me. I am a White Soldier of the Apocolypse.

I support Sailer because he speaks the truth about the muds. The muds have had it too easy in the past few decades, and I am glad that Steve Sailer is not afraid to stand up to the "PC" liberals and their mud-loving supporters.

One day this country will have a White Awakening, and oh baby the blood will run in the streets.

God bless Steve Sailer.

--1488

daveg said...

There was a day when restaurant and hotel owners could descriminate on who they let in their places of business.

What did they elect to do?

In large part, the elected to exclude blacks and allow smokers.

Apparently the additional income available by allowing blacks was not worth some other costs.

Conversely, all the mess and discomfort caused by smokers was offset by the resulting income.

The choices made by the free market are interesting indeed.

Ultimately, society said these choices were wrong, as has forced businesses to change on both accounts.

Frankly, I have a real hard time not being happy about the smoking ban.

Vol-in-Law said...

I agree with Rast, it's mostly (b) and (c), with (d) coming in third. I don't think it's (a); he might not be as bright as Sailer but he's no fool.

ken shabby said...

I don’t care that Gladwell enormously profits off his entertaining writing. He’s not the brightest intellect, but he does a good job of creating and marketing his usually entertaining writings as a popular product. He’s physically and stylistically rebranded himself as an ethnic/business writer in a shrewd and effective manner – more power to the markets and Gladwell.

What is concerning in his hysterical defense (now somewhat toned down) of his absolute conviction that car dealers are unconsciously “racist” even to the point of shrinking their own commission paychecks. If slimy salesmen are willing to forego the single-minded objective of their profession to preserve their personal bias against blacks and women so ingrained in their hearts they don’t even realize it hurts them professionally, one can only image what unpunished evil racism festers in the hearts of other unwitting, even well-intentioned non-blacks and men.

To cry “racism” in our society today is akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. If true, it demands attention and redress. If false, it beyond socially irresponsible for a public figure like Gladwell and should be called on and punished in proportion to other racists offenders who disturb the public order. On this issue, especially in calling Sailer a “racist” from the “lunatic fringe” in retaliation for identifying and publicizing Gladwell’s potentially damaging race reasoning, Gladwell lowered himself to the intellectual equivalent of a Tawana Brawley or Duke Lacross “rape” victim.

These irresponsible and knee-jerk claims of racism by Gladwell further poison race relations in America. Although not true, many of Gladwell’s followers will see his endorsement of ubiquitous racism on the car lot as validation for magnifying their own fears, suspicions and racism in all corners of life.

Next the race profiteers, lawyers and the government step in for profit, self-aggrandizement and expand their control over our society while further fragmenting society in unjust ways. For example, as noted in Gladwell’s blog:

“Consider the car-loan market, which has recently been reorganized after rent-seeking lawyers sued banks and finance companies for "racial discrimination" because car dealers often convinced black customers to pay higher interest rates on car loans.

The plaintiffs admitted that the lenders had no knowledge of any potential borrower's race, had no policy or practice of charging different rates to borrowers of different races, and, in fact, had never done anything racist at all. The plaintiffs won anyway!

For each borrower, based on credit score (but without reference to race), the lender would offer a minimum interest rate. Then if the dealer could "upsell" the borrower to a more costly loan, the lender would split the extra profit with the dealer. Dealers often persuaded blacks to sign up for more costly loans.

This practice by dealers, not lenders, was considered so racist that the lenders were required to stop it by (you'll love this) asking each borrower's race, then setting a fixed rate for loans to blacks and hispanics (leaving dealers free to gouge borrowers of other races).

For a scholarly review, see

http://faculty.chicagogsb.edu/erik.hurst/research/car_rates_submission_v1.pdf

To my view, the new regime is more racist than the old--now lenders guarantee favorable car loan rates to blacks and hispanics only.
I'm with you, Boing--if there were anything even vaguely "racist" about car sales practices lawyers would be all over dealers like fruit"

Half Sigma said...

Before I ever heard anything about Gladwell, I read "The Tipping Point" becasue I saw it at a bookstore and bought it. I found the book to be rather pointless and uninformative, so I made a note never to read anything by Gladwell again. I'll never bother to waste the time to read Blink.

Anonymous said...

"To cry “racism” in our society today is akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. If true, it demands attention and redress."

Why does it DEMAND attention and redress? The PC types what you to feel sorry for secretly hating blacks, but there is no reason to feel sorry.

50 years ago most whites thought that blacks were lazy and stupid. Well, guess what...they were right (read the Bell Curve or the g Factor if you need evidence).

Racism is natural. Blacks behave like animals and should be treated like animals. End of story.

--1488

ken shabby said...

Regarding Robert Verbruggen comment and reference to the NWU study showing outcomes for black and white job applicants for entry-level blue collar jobs with and without a criminal record suggest racism acting contrary to economic best interests. The study recorded call-backs after initial contact with the hiring company and found the following percentage of call backs:

Whites w/o criminal records 34%
Whites w/criminal records 17%
Blacks w/o criminal records 14%
Blacks w/criminal records 5%

Although this may indeed show a racial bias, several facts could also be at play that suggest there are rational economic reasons to explain at least part of the outcome bias.

Beyond race, education and criminal record were the only main criteria that were consistently given to all employers and both education and criminal record factors, although appearing equivalent, are statically very unequal in the context of race.

1) All candidates claimed to have graduated H.S. and thus have equal educational qualifications. However, under our current educational system, black H.S. graduates have been shown to read and do math at many years below the level of whites. Thus, a natural preference for the more qualified white candidate in the absence of any basic skills test to individuate a good black candidate from the statistical averages of his group.

2) Both black and white candidates were given the same criminal record of drug possession with intent to distribute (cocaine). I would expect that black and white drug distribution networks are very different in terms of operations (e.g. violence) and customers and again, something that seems equivalent, comes across as very different in terms of potential liability for potential employers. E.g. One report has black committing 139 times as many robberies and 36 times as many violent crimes as whites, probably due in large part to a very violent drug culture in many poor black urban areas.

Finally, there is a hidden institutionalized tax for hiring minority and women employees – the constant fear being sued (justified or not). This may be offset by the fear of being sued for not hiring the right number of minority candidates (qualified or not). I suspect such offset is noticably smaller for low-paid, entry-level unskilled labor (esp in the face of massive illegal immigration), so this fact would also depress the black call back numbers.

Not a happy situation, but the solutions lie at the root of the problems not the leaves (e.g. improving public education, reducing inner city crime, helping young black kids with *effective* programs and alternatives, etc).


applicants have different job

Anonymous said...

"Not a happy situation, but the solutions lie at the root of the problems not the leaves (e.g. improving public education, reducing inner city crime, helping young black kids with *effective* programs and alternatives, etc)."

The SOLUTION involves sending the dumb niggers back to Africa. Your PC mind can't handle that solution, so you pretend that "after-school" programs will help. Sorry, bitch, it won't. The black avg. IQ is less than 85 and will always be unless someone discovers how to genetically enhance IQ.

--1488

Joe Populist said...

I've had a 20 year career as a sales rep, and I totally agree with you that salesmen on commission have little social justice on their mind in their dealings with blacks, or anyone else for that matter.

Ironically, putting self-interest in front of morality might apply to nonfiction writers just as much as car salesmen.

Gladwell makes his living telling lies to well-to-do urban liberals, much like car salemen cater to the egos of their black buyers.

What's really humorous about Gladwell, is that it's easy to see that the kind of work he does isn't any more morally superior then any other shyster trying to dupe the public into handing over their money to him.

Anonymous said...

"Gladwell makes his living telling lies to well-to-do urban liberals, much like car salemen cater to the egos of their black buyers."

I think this is an excellent point. I have never paid much attention to him, but out of curiousity, I pulled up some of his articles recently.

Honestly, his writing seemed like BS offered up to give pseudo-scientific explanations for what we all observe so that people can avoid facing the politically incorrect reality that they fear.

Kinda like Stephen Jay Gould, may he rest in peace.

Leonard said...

it might be enjoyable to knock an intellectual lightweight who has gotten wealthy and famous by being a clever writer

It might be!

Ayres' study that shows how, in certain circumstances, racial discrimination can prove profitable decade after decade, even in a very free market. That was quite unsettling to me because it showed that the free market wasn't the cure for all forms of racial discrimination.

It doesn't unsettle me at all. The argument that a free market will penalize discrimination makes the assumption that the discrimination is irrational. But you should learn about price discrimination in any microeconomics course, I would hope. Sellers always will try to charge more for those who are willing to pay more.

Anonymous said...

ken --

I think you're being too harsh on Gladwell. It took a long time for many of us to "step out of the Matrix". The first reaction is almost always to denounce the people bringing you truth.

See for example:

http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/000938.html

But I will bet $100 that over time Gladwell is going to start reading more of the Sailersphere. Gladwell is definitely *not* a dumb guy.

Turkey said...

Shut off comments. I know it's a slight sacrifice from your victory, but it's necessary.

Every comment-enabled blog of any reasonable size is being astroturfed these days, and allowing comments gives anyone with time to burn (and a willingness to abjure interest in primitive truth) leverage over your writing. Many people with unexamined bourgeois taste will flee the site after seeing astroturf ogres in the comments.

ken shabby said...

Anon to Ken said…

Perhaps my first post was harsh, but Gladwell and his blindly PC-ilk do real and significant damage to the world we live in. He is an intellectual Al Sharpton who profits in stirring up the masses by injecting racism into everyday events driving real divisions much deeper. In this transaction with Sailer, he’s acted like a fragile demagogue and quickly pulled the race card on someone who simply showed how ill-reasoned and fundamentally wrong Gladwell’s interpretation was.

It is a mystery to me how otherwise intelligent people can hold ludicrous ideas that fly in the face of life experience, well document research and simple observation combined with a little reflection. For example, the idea that there is no fundamental differences in intelligence (as measured and proven strongly correlated with positive life outcomes) between subgroups despite a century of consistent psychometric research and every attempt imaginable to dilute, hide or derive contrary results. It’s like explaining evolution to Discovery Institute researchers.

I don’t think Gladwell is dumb, just not exceptionally intelligent as he and many of his acolytes believe. His gift is in having an eye for research that, combined with his strange mix of intellectual curiosity and his anti-intellectual PC dogma, make for sexy magazine stories that can be compiled into book form and taken on the lecture circuit. He is definitely smart enough to mislead a large segment of the population who do not have the benefit of equal access to alternative opinions like Sailer (or have been programmed to instinctively dismiss any non-PC heterodoxy).

I think you’ve mixed up the roles of Sailer and Gladwell in your “Matrix”, “Brazil”, “1984”, etc analogy. Sailer is the voice in the wilderness that perhaps all too effectively tells us of a reality we know is true despite our noblest attempts to reject such a depressing world. Gladwell is the voice piece of the party line, spouting out PC-approved banalities when any moral or intellectual fork in the road appears in his research, reasoning or writing (just guess which one has the larger writing/speaking income to find out who is the blue pill).

It could be argued Sailer is simply a gadfly instead of accurately framing the problem in order to offer or at least begin to think about effective remediations. I don’t think so although it’s easier to define the problem and find effective solutions in this realm. Gladwell, on the other hand, is just offering the same hallow platitudes that sweep the real issues under the rug and create new problems by erroneously pointing fingers elsewhere.

How is the world made better by pretending blacks are as intellectually gifted as Ashkenazi or Chinese are as athletically gifted as Jamaicans in track and field and there is absolutely zero biodiversity among subgroups of humans? How is the world made better by trying to enact laws to vainly try to make everyone equal in ways they manifestly are not? Do people really think intellect is so superior to all other qualities of mankind that we must maintain this illusion at all costs? It’s anecdotal but I suspect it’s generally true that many less intelligent people are happier, better socially adjusted and more successful than the intellectual outliers.

Anonymous said...

"Many people with unexamined bourgeois taste will flee the site after seeing astroturf ogres in the comments."

Many people with "bourgeois" tastes are pussies. What I say is no different from what Sailer says, except what I say is not sugar-coated with PC language.

What is wrong about calling a nigger a nigger? They do have low avg. IQs and do commit a lot of crime. Your shock at seeing the truth expressed in plain English is typical of the yuppie types who think they are better than everyone because of their manners.

To hell with the PC talk. You can't have it both ways. You can't expect people to be both PC and racial realists. Pick one or the other.

In fact, the only thing I don't like about Sailer is that he is sometimes PC. I liked his articles about deporting Hispanics and his articles about a buy-out solution to Europes muslim slime, but when he talks about blacks he suddenly get all squishy and PC. He needs to be mugged by one of those black savages in order to realign his views.

--1488

ken shabby said...

BTW, Gladwell has recently erased my 2 comments from his blog which I take as a complement in some strange way. Judging from the sensitivity expressed in his mother’s writing and his apparent lack of exposure to real life things such as car sales, I think Gladwell was raised in a shealtered academic environment and this entire affair is personally difficult for him.

If I were Gladwell, I’d never have enabled comments in the first place. Now that he’s there, I suggest he take some of that hard earned money and hire a censor to monitor and purge oppositional ideas unless they are harmless or fundamentally flawed (Fox’s strategy with Hannity and Combes). Remember, you’re running a business here and cannot afford to risk damaging your brand over contrary facts or arguments.

Now, what to do about all, the Mobies posting hate messages on Sailer’s site?

williakz said...

Ken,

Enjoy your posts.

I believe Steve and others who have wrestled with these issues are intensely frustrated that the "OK then, so now what?" discussion cannot be had. Steve's Left Half of the Bell Curve series was posted in 2000 fer chrissakes and has been lost in the cone of silence ever since.

With all the "right thinkers" humming loudly with their fingers in their ears, we're just not getting at the real problems Murray laid out so clearly in the Bell Curve and Sailer did (and does) in his essays. Even worse, with the problems off the table, the solutions to them are just that much further away.

I see no cracks at all in the edifice of PC orthodoxy (just look at Gladwell dancing) and I'm very pessimistic that even the GNXP boys will have any real effect on the situation when the hard evidence comes down. Rather, I think the Steeles, McWhorters and Connerlys represent the best hope for real change in the long run.

williakz

Igor said...

Ken Shabby,

You write

"Although this may indeed show a racial bias, several facts could also be at play that suggest there are rational economic reasons to explain at least part of the outcome bias. "

In addition to the three reasons you provide I would add a fourth one - the expectation on the part of the employer that even blacks without criminal records are more likely to comit crime in the future than whites without criminal record. Hense reluctance to hire them. The higher criminality of blacks does not stop at young age and applicants in their 20s would still be showing different levels of criminal behaviour according to their race. Now, if applicants would be in their 50s, the difference in callback rates I would expect might be smaller.

Anonymous said...

"What is wrong about calling a nigger a nigger?"

It's tempting to want to use that word in this PC climate just as a poke in the eye to the thought police. Neverthless it is a word generally intended to convey meanspiritedness. If I were steve sailer I would forbid its usage here, unless purely in reference to other usage. Civility is always preferable to insults and rude language.

Anonymous said...

Steve, please delete comments using the "n" word. That word has no value other than to offend someone, and its usage detracts from the site. And if you don't have the time to do it (I don't blame you if that's the case), then you should shut off comments altogether. The previous regime wasn't that bad.

I agree with the poster who noted how badly comments go on other blogs. Even Becker-Posner, which draws a comparatively elite crowd, often falls victim to emotional arguments in the comments section that detract from the blog itself.

Anonymous said...

"Now, what to do about all, the Mobies posting hate messages on Sailer’s site?"

I am no "Moby". What I am is man who is unafraid to say in plain English what Sailer says in PC language.

--1488

Anonymous said...

"Steve, please delete comments using the "n" word."

NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER!

Read it and weep, you God damn PC enforcer. Nigger is just a word. Blacks should be called niggers because that is what they are.

Luke said...

Definitely bann commenter 1488 if possible, and maybe get rid of anonymous posting.

Also, is it possible to sue malicious posters for "obscenity" if and when their behavior crosses the line of what would be legally acceptable behavior in certain venues? I am thinking of hate speech and agent provacateurs.

Don't pretend to know the answer, but there are issues of the public good at stake here quite obviously.

Theo_musher said...

1488,

What if Steve has met black people he actually likes and doesn't want to be a total Dick?

That's the case with me. I like lots of different kinds of people. I think just hanging out with white people is boring.

That's not to say I like to hang out in all black neighborhoods at night. I'm not stupid. But Why insult people for no reason?

These stats are about probabilities and averages. Its not about hating all members of different racial groups.

Plus I post in my own name. I don't like to say anything online I wouldn't say to somebody's face.

Ted Heistman

Theo_musher said...

Well, I think its becoming pretty obvious why comments were formerly shut off here.

Anonymous said...

luke, ted heistman --
i hate to agree with 1488 but he is essentially correct -- what he affirms in flamboyantly crude and hateful language is not materially different from what is stated less dramatically by Sailer and others. Certainly it is your prerogative to distance yourselves from such gross displays but allowing unpalatable posters such as 1488 to have a say doesn't reflect as poorly on you as banning them for being impolite, when the constant refrain from Sailer, et al is that they are ostracized/marginalized for speaking impolite truths.

Anonymous said...

"Certainly it is your prerogative to distance yourselves from such gross displays but allowing unpalatable posters such as 1488 to have a say doesn't reflect as poorly on you as banning them for being impolite, when the constant refrain from Sailer, et al is that they are ostracized/marginalized for speaking impolite truths."

Finally, someone with a brain. A lot of you bastards want to have your cake and eat it too. That is, you want to be PC but also be racial realists. Sorry, folks, racial realism has its consequences.

For instance, I don't see why segregation is wrong. Negroes have low IQs and are violent. Why should white children have to endure the stupidy of the Negro race in the class room?

When I was a kid, my school was integrated. Do you want to know what Hell is like? Well, integrated schooling was hell for me. My parents were working-class stiffs and couldn't run off to the suburbs like the rest of the hypocritical white middle-class bastards.

The stuff Steve writes about has POLICY applications. Steve is PC about it, but I am sure if pushed Steve wouldn't (if he was honest) mind it one bit if the 1964 Civil Rights act were repealed.

What would happen if the 1964 Civil Rights act were repealed? Defacto segregation would happen, that is what. Stop kidding yourselves and get off your high horse.

--1488

Anonymous said...

"What if Steve has met black people he actually likes and doesn't want to be a total Dick?

That's the case with me. I like lots of different kinds of people. I think just hanging out with white people is boring."

I guess safe neighborhoods and good schools is "boring" nowadays.

Tell me this, and be honest, wouldn't life be better if this was an all-White country?

If you disagree, then explain how having so much "diversity" (i.e. muds) is a good thing?

--1488

Theo_musher said...

Well,

I think black culture could be a lot more Christian and well mannered than it is. Think about it. Who writes the big record contracts for "Gangsta rap" Did R and B and Jazz have that destructive a cultural influence?

There are reasons why young black males think they need to be a thug. I don't think it was always the case and I don't think its simply genetics.

tommy said...

Please don't respond any further to 1488 (I suspect he is the individual going by the name "Chuckles" on Gladwell's blog, who is fond of slinging mud around, hates Sailer, and believes that race is only a "social construct."). I think it is clear Sailer should ban him, post his IP address, and enable comment moderation, but he is undoubtedly aware of his options if he is paying attention to the comments at all.

In the mean time, there is no need to feed the troll. Just ignore him.

Anonymous said...

"I think it is clear Sailer should ban him, post his IP address, and enable comment moderation, but he is undoubtedly aware of his options if he is paying attention to the comments at all."

The PC cops are out in full force. Print my IP address, ban me, or do what ever you want.

I just think it is funny that you so-called racial realists on this site are nothing more than PC types in disguise.

--1488

Anonymous said...

"There are reasons why young black males think they need to be a thug. I don't think it was always the case and I don't think its simply genetics."

Please read The Bell Curve. Is just coincidence that blacks all over the world seem to be violent? Take a look at Africa, Brazil, Haiti, etc. The IQ hypothesis holds a lot more water than does the "culture" argument.

Anonymous said...

re: genetics -- I'd like to take an informal poll.
Regardless of what you currently believe, suppose you were, for the sake of this poll, convinced that there are no noteworthy or practical indicators to be determined from one's ethnicity. How does this change the rest of your opinions? My suspicion is that for most people, their opinions will not be affected. I can't imagine 1488 to cease hating blacks even if he were to believe they were his genetic equals. Neither can I imagine Sailer to withdraw any of his conclusions about "what ought to be done." If this is the case, why is the debate over racial determinants important, if it is irrelevant to what you believe in terms of discrimination and policy? If it is not the case, please explain how your other beliefs would be affected.

Anonymous said...

"If this is the case, why is the debate over racial determinants important..."

It is important for various reasons.

1. If the IQ differences are genetic, then school achievement gaps are not going away.

2. IQ can also explain crime rates. If the IQ differences are gentic, then crime rates are not going to converge anyting in the near future.

3. IQ can also explain income disparities. Blacks and whites have different earning prospect precisely because of the IQ gap.

Now, you don't want there to be policy implications related to race even when there is a clear IQ gap?

That sound crazy.

--1488

Anonymous said...

1488, what you said implies that you believe the IQ gap is what is important, and that whether it is due to genetic factors or not is irrelevant. If this isn't what you meant, please outline how your policy beliefs would be different in the hypothetical case that you did not believe genes had any role in the IQ gap. That is what the question asked for.

For those people whose beliefs would not be different, how can genetics debates be relevant to you, when they do not affect any other ideas you have?