June 30, 2007

Dennis Dale is on a tear:

You hopefully know Unthethered's Dennis Dale for his Repo Man meets Nabokov memoirs of growing up in LA's suburban wasteland. Having seen the global projection of American military might up close, he's also a political thinker of some power:

One reason why a democracy cannot survive empire, and why empires are increasingly short-lived things, is that citizens of conquered and occupied nations, and cultures, half a world away, thereby become people to whom the leadership of the imperial power is answerable, in one way or another:

“The Americans know everything, they can do everything, they can repair the space shuttle without touching it, why do they let these things happen here in Iraq?” said Abu Muhammad, 55, one of the custodians of the bombed Khalani Mosque.

Good question, and one for which the man has the right to an answer. Mr., or Mrs., (future) President, meet one of your constituents. He has a few problems he'd like to bring to your attention.

He expands upon the philosophy of invade the world, invite the world here at greater length.

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

12-year-old in U.S. Women's Open golf tournament

Alexis Thompson, the 12-year-old who became the youngest girl ever to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open, shot a respectable 76 in Thursday's opening round. She wasn't as good on Friday and will probably not make the cut (qualify for the last two rounds by being in the better half of the entrants) when the second round of the rain-delayed tournament finishes on Saturday. But it's still a pretty amazing showing for somebody who just finished 6th grade (home-schooled).

On the other hand, prodigies are hardly unknown in women's golf. Morgan Pressel qualified as a (somewhat older) 12-year-old in 2001's Women's Open.

John Paul Newport, the WSJ's golf columnist, points out:

Of the 156 competitors in Southern Pines, N.C., 24 are teenagers, and nearly a third are younger than 22. That compares to only five players under 22 in last month's men's U.S. Open. ...

You can call it the Tiger Woods effect for girls, but the difference is that girls tend to mature physically sooner than boys. Many, by their early or mid teens, have attained their full adult stature and close to their full adult strength. They are ready for prime time earlier.

Michelle Wie was arguably better than Tiger at age 14 and 15 -- she three times came within a stroke of making the cut in men's PGA tournaments, which is better than Tiger did at the same age even though he was already recognized as the greatest male prodigy since Bobby Jones -- but she's struggling at age 17. When the estrogen is fully flowing, athleticism often plateaus.

The elite players who make it into events like the U.S. Open often come from blue-chip athletic backgrounds. Both of Morgan Pressel's parents, for instance, were top college athletes and her uncle, Aaron Krickstein, was once the sixth-ranked tennis player in the world. Among the top players in girls amateur golf these days are two of tennis great Ivan Lendl's daughters.

Ms. Thompson, whose oldest brother, Nicholas, ranks second on the Nationwide Tour money list, is home schooled, along with her middle brother, so they can travel as needed to tournaments around the country and practice when they are home in Coral Gables, Fla., on the golf course outside their back door.

There just aren't that many teenage girls who care much about golf, so athletic families with country club memberships have a good shot at winning a full scholarship for their daughters on a college golf team (due to Title IX) if they can get their daughters to concentrate on the game.

But non-elite girls are also showing more interest in golf these days. In a generally stagnant golf market, the only category that has shown any significant growth in the last few years is under-17 females. A magazine called Golfer Girl has just debuted, with features about top young players and golf fashion. The competitive scene for girls in places like Southern California and Florida rivals that for boys.

I've noticed this trend at the local driving range -- there are more pretty girls than at the beginning of the decade.

In SoCal, Asians dominate high school girls golf much more than high school boys' golf. At the 2007 California high school boys' state tournament at Poppy Hills on the Monterey Peninsula, less than 10% of the qualifiers had Asian surnames versus about 30% at the girl's tournament.

On the women's LPGA tour in 2007, 20 of the top 50 moneywinners have Asian names, including 5 Kims and 4 Lees, as opposed to 4 of the top 50 on the PGA men's tour.

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

June 29, 2007

Biden and Obama as Costanza and Seinfeld

Not that there's anything wrong with that! From the Democratic President's debate last night at Howard U. in DC in front of a mostly black audience:

NPR's Michel Martin: "[W]hat is the plan to stop and to protect these young people from this scourge [AIDS]?" ...

Sen. Joe Biden: "I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack got tested for AIDS. There's no shame in being tested for AIDS. It's an important thing." ...

OBAMA: Tavis, Tavis, Tavis, I just got to make clear -- I got tested with Michelle. (Laughter, applause.)


OBAMA: In -- when we were in Kenya in Africa. So I don't want any confusion here about what's going on. (Applause continues.)

SMILEY: All right. ...

OBAMA: I was tested with my wife.

SMILEY: And I'm sure Michelle appreciates you clarifying it.

OBAMA: In public. (Laughter.)

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

Rasmussen Poll:

Hopefully, Scott Rasmussen's polling business will get a lot of new business because he was so much more correct about public opinion on immigration than the established polls. Why was he more accurate? Because he thought through the issue so much more logically.

His company released this wrap-up yesterday:

Scott Rasmussen’s first law of politics is that America’s politicians aren’t nearly as important as they think they are. That law was clearly demonstrated earlier today when the United States Senate finally surrendered to the American people on immigration. Politicians may make things messy for a while, but over the long haul it is the American people who determine the nation’s fundamental policies.

The final Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll before the vote found that just 22% of Americans supported the legislation. No amount of Presidential persuasion, Senate logrolling, and procedural tricks was able to overcome that solid bi-partisan lack of public support (although it’s breathtaking to consider how close a determined leadership could come to passing such an unpopular bill).

The real mystery in all of this is why the Senators and their cheerleaders didn’t anticipate the public response. Perhaps they fell in love with their own rhetoric and forgot how it might sound to others.

Near the end of the debate, supporters of the doomed legislation often stated that the status quo is unacceptable. Most Americans would agree on that point. In fact, they might even hold that feeling more strongly than the Grand Bargainers of the Senate--72% of American voters believe it’s Very Important to reduce illegal immigration and enforce the borders. But controlling the border was never a focal point of the Senate debate. Instead, the Senators spent most of the time debating the fine points of various approaches to legalizing those who are here illegally. For voters, those topics were definitely a second-or-third tier aspect of the issue.

Because the Senators and the White House never showed much enthusiasm for reducing illegal immigration, only 16% believed the Senate bill would accomplish that goal. Forty-one percent (41%) thought passage of the legislation would actually lead to more illegal immigration. In other words, even though voters consider the status quo unacceptable, they had every confidence that Congress could make a bad situation worse.

It is impossible to overstate the significance of this basic fact. Outside of 46 Senators, hardly anybody thought the legislation would work. That’s why it was defeated. It wasn’t amnesty or guest-worker programs or paths to citizenship that doomed the bill. Each of those provisions made it more difficult for some segments of the population to accept. However, a majority would have accepted them as part of a true compromise that actually gained control of the border.

In that environment, the only way for political leaders to prove they are serious about enforcing the border and reducing illegal immigration will be to do it. That’s the next logical step in the immigration debate.

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

June 28, 2007

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy

From the Washington Post:

NEWPORT, R.I., June 28 -- He looked uncharacteristically dejected as he approached the lectern, fiddling with papers as he talked and avoiding the sort of winking eye contact he often makes with reporters. And then President Bush did something he almost never does: He admitted defeat.

"A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn't find a common ground," he said an hour after his immigration plan died on Capitol Hill. "It didn't work."

It was, in the end, simply a statement of reality after the Senate buried his proposal to overhaul immigration laws. ..

In March, he told an audience in Guatemala that he had to get an immigration bill to his desk by August to have a chance of success. After that, he reasoned, the congressional budget calendar and the presidential election campaign would make it impossible. But he and Rove remained supremely confident that they would prevail. Just 17 days ago, while in Bulgaria, Bush brushed off pessimism about the legislation. "I'll see you at the bill-signing," he predicted.

By Thursday, his tone had changed. He made no pretense that the immigration initiative might still be revived before he leaves office. Instead, he indicated that he is moving on to other issues. He would probably not admit to being humbled, but he appeared at least chagrined.

At one point during his Iraq speech, Bush pleaded for patience with Iraqis trying to pass reconciliation legislation. "In a democracy," he said, "the head of government just can't decree the outcome."

The audience laughed. Bush smiled wanly and joked: "I'm not saying that's what I'd like to do."

It's just not fair. If only those Guatemalans could vote in American elections already, then poor Mr. Bush wouldn't be so sad. But that nasty Constitution has some technicality in it about only American citizens getting to vote, so the President's fondest dream couldn't come true.

Seriously, let's stop and think about what an enormous waste of six years it has been for the President, aided and abetted by the almost the entire American Establishment, to pursue his delusion of imposing his immigration obsession on the citizenry. Even leaving aside how much better the immigration situation would be if Bush had followed his oath and simply enforced the damn laws, imagine what he would have been able to accomplish legislatively in other areas without wasting time, energy, and political capital on a losing proposition like this.

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

It doesn't take a genius

I've been explaining for over a half dozen years that the Bush-Rove immigration offensive was politically nuts for the Republican Party. Of course, I'm not a genius like Karl Rove, but, I do feel in the mood today, June 28, 2007 to get something off my chest:

I told you so.

Thank you. I feel a lot better now.

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

We Win, They Lose (Redux)

Cloture fails to get 60 votes, in fact it fails to get a majority, and loses 46-53

Senator Ted Kennedy showed true class in defeat, saying opponents of his bill were in favor of a "gestapo."

Now all we need, as the Turks say, is three more horseshoes, and a horse

So, who should be punished? How about Senator Lindsey Lohan Graham (R-SC) for demonizing his fellow Republicans as racists? Suggestions, please.

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

Thursday's the day:

From the WaPo:

"The [immigration] legislation faces a make-or-break vote this morning when senators will decide whether to cut off debate and move to a final vote tomorrow. If it does not get the 60 votes necessary, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has said he will pull the bill, all but dashing hopes for any meaningful legislation this year."

The LA Times reported:

But the most ambitious attempt to overhaul immigration laws in two decades suffered a major setback late Wednesday when lawmakers approved an amendment that the bill's backers and the administration said would undermine its effectiveness. The measure targeted the bill's work-site enforcement section, removing all provisions that required so-called "Real ID" driver's licenses — tamper-proof, secure identification that does not yet exist, but that the bill's backers consider essential to cracking down on illegal hiring.

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

June 27, 2007

Do you do voodoo?

Confirming that the 1989 comedy "Major League," with Dennis Haysbert as Pedro Cerrano, the slugger who keeps a Santeria shrine in his locker, was ahead of its time, the LA Times reports:

Religion under wraps
Santeria finds a following among baseball's Latin American players, who'd rather not discuss it for fear of misperceptions.
By Kevin Baxter Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO — On a shelf in the office of Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen, mixed in among the family photos, the Roberto Clemente bobblehead and the Napoleon Dynamite figurine, are four small but intimidating religious icons.

"If you see my saints, you'll be like 'Golly, they're ugly,' " Guillen had said before inviting a visitor to come in. "They've got blood. They've got feathers. You go to the Catholic church, the [saints] have got real nice clothes.

"My religion, you see a lot of different things you never see."

Guillen's religion is Santeria, a largely misunderstood Afro-Cuba spiritual tradition that incorporates the worship of orisha — multidimensional beings who represent the forces of nature — with beliefs of the Yoruba and Bantu people of Africa and elements of Roman Catholicism. And Guillen, born in Venezuela, is one of a growing number of Latin American players, managers and coaches who are followers of the faith.

How many major leaguers have converted to Santeria is impossible to say because most, aware of the stigma the religion has in the United States, refuse to talk about their faith.

"It's like the forbidden fruit," said one player. "It's something personal. It's something you don't talk about."

But among those who have acknowledged their devotion are Angels pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and Florida Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera — both Venezuelan — and the White Sox's Cuban-born pitcher Jose Contreras, all of whom have been All-Stars and won World Series rings. Others, such as Cincinnati Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez and Chicago Cubs infielder Ronny Cedeno, have experimented with it.

With all that spiritual power on his side, you'd think Ozzie Guillen could have gotten a few more walks during his playing career. (Guillen's name has become a by-word for a player who will not take a base-on-balls no matter how much the team needs it.)

Anyway, it's all just part of the vibrant future we Americans have to look forward to.

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

Brothers and IQ, again

Something that's important to keep in mind in all the hoopla over the Norwegian study of conscripts showing a few point higher IQs for oldest brothers, with the New York Times running three articles on the subject over the last week, is that small differences in IQ scores like this can be influenced by methodological issues of specific tests.

Now, big differences in average IQ, such as 15 points (one standard deviation), are test-independent. For decades, the Holy Grail of cognitive test designers has been to invent a test on which blacks and whites would average the same, without losing most real world predictive power. The first psychometrician to accomplish this would be rich and celebrated. Unfortunately, it has turned out to be the equivalent of the perpetual motion machine for engineers and cold fusion for physicists.

But small differences are sensitive to test design trade-offs. For example, the U.S. military's 1979 version of its very heavily g-loaded entrance exam for enlistment applicants, the Armed Forces Qualifying Test, found an anomalously large 18.6 point gap between whites and blacks when it was standardized on the National Longitudinal Study of Youth in 1980 (this is the study that provides much of the new data in The Bell Curve). The average study has found a 16.5 point difference, so this 18.6 point gap was strange because the AFQT is a test the military has spent a fortune developing, and the NLSY sample, with about 13,000 participants including an oversampling of minorities, was the gold standard for a nationally representative data set..

The 1979 AFQT was designed to be highly accurate around IQs of 100. For instance, from 1992-2004, the military took very few applicants with IQs of 90, but would take quite a few 95s.

So, the 1979 AFQT was designed to be extremely thorough for the average person: it was 105 pages long! As Charles Murray pointed out recently, in the 1990s it was finally realized by studying results on a question-by-question basis that the length of the test had a downside that explained the unusually large 18.6 point white-black gap. Low IQ applicants, especially black males, often got discouraged by all the questions they couldn't answer and would give up, either not filling in the rest or bubbling in the rest of the way.

In 1997, the 105 page paper and pencil AFQT was replaced with a computerized test that dynamically changed the test to reflect performance so far. For instance, if you missed a lot of early questions, the computer would serve up easier questions. The white-black gap turned out to be 14.7 points on the 1997 normalization of the computerized AFQT.

Unfortunately, we don't know enough to be able to divvy up this 3.9 point narrowing of the white-black gap from one version of the AFQT to the next between the test methodology change and actual change in the size of the gap.

Somewhat similarly, Half Sigma hypothesizes that the brother result on the Norwegian equivalent of the AFQT is caused by older brothers being more conscientious. Perhaps they study harder in school and thus do better on the parts of the test that are less g-weighted. Or perhaps they just don't give up as easily.

Or this could be a real result.

The point is, however, that it's exactly backward for the media to get all worked up over one study reporting a 3 point difference between demographic groups (older and younger siblings) while ignoring the dozens of studies reporting much larger differences between demographic groups, such as between whites and Hispanics -- especially because the Senate is voting on an immigration bill right now!

The best estimate I've yet seen of Hispanic-American IQs is the 2001 meta-analysis by Roth of 39 studies covering a total 5,696,519 individuals in America (aged 14 and above). It came up with an overall difference of 0.72 standard deviations in g (the "general factor" in cognitive ability) between "Anglo" whites and Hispanics. The 95% confidence range of the studies ran from .60 to .88 standard deviations, so there's not a huge amount of disagreement among the studies.

One standard deviation equals 15 IQ points, so that's a gap of 10.8 IQ points, or an IQ of 89 on the Lynn-Vanhanen scale where white Americans equal 100. That would imply the average Hispanic would fall at the 24th percentile of the white IQ distribution. This inequality gets worse at higher IQs Assuming a normal distribution, 4.8% of whites would fall above 125 IQ versus only 0.9% of Hispanics, which explains why Hispanics are given ethnic preferences in prestige college admissions.

In contrast, 105 studies of 6,246,729 individuals found an overall average white-black gap of 1.10 standard deviations, or 16.5 points. (I typically round this down to 1.0 standard deviation and 15 points). So, the white-Hispanic gap appears to be about 65% as large as the notoriously depressing white-black gap.

So, the white-Hispanic IQ gap is about what you'd guess from observing life around you with your lying eyes: not as big and deleterious as the white-black gap, but not trivial either.

If a 3 point IQ difference between brothers is worth three articles in the New York Times, you might think that an eleven point gap between whites and Hispanics would be worth, oh, say, eleven articles, especially when the immigration bill is up for debate in the Senate. But almost nobody has ever mentioned Roth's finding in the press.

"A Mighty Heart"

From my upcoming review in The American Conservative:

Thirty seconds into Angelina Jolie's explanatory voice-over that opens "A Mighty Heart," the critically-acclaimed film about the pregnant wife of the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and beheaded by Muslim terrorists in Pakistan, the dozen corn-rowed young men sitting near me got up, put on their gang-colors jackets, and filed out of the theatre to go find something more entertaining to watch.

Who was right about "A Mighty Heart" -- the Critics or the Crips?

After Angelina Jolie first surfaced playing a lesbian junkie supermodel who dies of AIDS in 1998's "Gia," she stood out from Hollywood's fungible ranks of blonde and bland starlets by being dark and demented. After lurid years of soul-kissing her brother and wearing around her neck a vial of then-husband Billy Bob Thornton's blood, however, Jolie has been trying to recast herself as a globe-trotting humanitarian, a sexy Albert Schweitzer. Not surprisingly, she has brought the same demonic energy she once devoted to playing with knives to adopting orphaned children from different countries, resembling an obsessive Pokemon player who's gotta catch 'em all.

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

June 26, 2007

First cloture vote passes 64-35

This was the cloture vote to consider the Kennedy-Bush-McCain amnesty bill without holding public hearings like a normal piece of legislation would have. Back on May 21, this same cloture vote passed 69-23. Then, the second cloture vote (to limit debate -- i.e., prevent a filibuster) failed 45-60.

So, it's not over yet. But, don't be optimistic. The powers-that-be have all sorts of carrots and sticks to whip Senators in line. The White House and the Senate can hand out or withhold an enormous amount of pork. The press won't tell us about the backroom deals because corruption in the the higher cause of immigration has always been okay with them (as the remarkable lack of publicity about the corruption that undermined the employer sanctions in the "Grand Bargain" of 1986 shows).

So, the crucial second cloture vote, which will come up very shortly while the public's attention has drifted toward getting ready for the Fourth of July weekend, is going to be close and decisive.

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

Graduation season

A reader reflects upon his child's elementary school graduation ceremony:

And the hall was awash with estrogen. **Every one** of the 6 class teachers was female. (Though one was joined at the lectern by a "class assistant"--male, but plainly as gay as a bag of macadamia nuts.) Two of them cried while delivering the encomium to their class. One boasted that there was no horrid competition in her class, only cooperation. Another that she had helped her kids "express themselves ... manage their feelings."

I longed for one of the gruff old bullies who managed my own education to show up and tell the hall how he had kept the class in line with threats, contempt, & a heavy ruler across the palm as necessary, how he'd driven the best kids to excel far above the others, to declare that most of his class were slackers and no-hopers, but that he had done what he could, against formidable odds, to increase the probability that none of us would come upon the town, or be hanged.

If such a one HAD shown up, someone would have called the police.

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

June 25, 2007

New York Times: Race is real

From the 6/26/07 NYT:

Humans Have Spread Globally, and Evolved Locally

Historians often assume that they need pay no attention to human evolution because the process ground to a halt in the distant past. That assumption is looking less and less secure in light of new findings based on decoding human DNA.

People have continued to evolve since leaving the ancestral homeland in northeastern Africa some 50,000 years ago, both through the random process known as genetic drift and through natural selection. The genome bears many fingerprints in places where natural selection has recently remolded the human clay, researchers have found, as people in the various continents adapted to new diseases, climates, diets and, perhaps, behavioral demands.

A striking feature of many of these changes is that they are local. The genes under selective pressure found in one continent-based population or race are mostly different from those that occur in the others. These genes so far make up a small fraction of all human genes. ...

Even more strikingly, Dr. Williamson’s group reported that a version of a gene called DAB1 had become universal in Chinese but not in other populations. DAB1 is involved in organizing the layers of cells in the cerebral cortex, the site of higher cognitive functions.

Variants of two genes involved in hearing have become universal, one in Chinese, the other in Europeans.

The emerging lists of selected human genes may open new insights into the interactions between history and genetics. “If we ask what are the most important evolutionary events of the last 5,000 years, they are cultural, like the spread of agriculture, or extinctions of populations through war or disease,” said Marcus Feldman, a population geneticist at Stanford. These cultural events are likely to have left deep marks in the human genome.

A genomic survey of world populations by Dr. Feldman, Noah Rosenberg and colleagues in 2002 showed that people clustered genetically on the basis of small differences in DNA into five groups that correspond to the five continent-based populations: Africans, Australian aborigines, East Asians, American Indians and Caucasians, a group that includes Europeans, Middle Easterners and people of the Indian subcontinent. The clusterings reflect “serial founder effects,” Dr. Feldman said, meaning that as people migrated around the world, each new population carried away just part of the genetic variation in the one it was derived from.

The new scans for selection show so far that the populations on each continent have evolved independently in some ways as they responded to local climates, diseases and, perhaps, behavioral situations.

The concept of race as having a biological basis is controversial, and most geneticists are reluctant to describe it that way. But some say the genetic clustering into continent-based groups does correspond roughly to the popular conception of racial groups.

“There are difficulties in where you put boundaries on the globe, but we know now there are enough genetic differences between people from different parts of the world that you can classify people in groups that correspond to popular notions of race,” Dr. Pritchard said.

David Reich, a population geneticist at the Harvard Medical School, said that the term “race” was scientifically inexact and that he preferred “ancestry.” Genetic tests of ancestry are now so precise, he said, that they can identify not just Europeans but can distinguish between northern and southern Europeans. Ancestry tests are used in trying to identify genes for disease risk by comparing patients with healthy people. People of different races are excluded in such studies. Their genetic differences would obscure the genetic difference between patients and unaffected people. [More]

For almost a decade, I've been pointing out that we know with tautological certainty that extended families exist, extended families of whatever size you wish from the tiny to the vast. And we know with as close to absolute certainty as anything can be in the human empirical world that some big extended families have a certain degree of coherence and endurance because their ancestors were not randomly outbreeding but tended to inbreed so some degree -- if you go back 1,000 years, there are 1 trillion openings in your family tree but there weren't 1 trillion people alive. So a lot of your ancestors did double duty, to say the least. So, nobody is randomly descended from the entire human race. Even if you are Tiger Woods' daughter, you can still divvy up your ancestry into Thai, Swedish, etc.

Now, what you want to call these partly inbred extended families is a subjective semantic issue. "Racial groups" strikes me as the most obvious, but if Dr. Reich wants to call them "ancestral groups," well, swell, that's a useful term too.

The point is that partly inbred extended families exist and they are important.

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

New York Times: IQ is important and fascinating!

NYT readers put a couple of articles on the recent Norwegian study showing a small average advantage in IQ for elder brothers at the top of the Most Emailed articles list for much of last week. So, the Times responded to public interest by publishing a third article on IQ: "Study on I.Q. Prompts Debate on Family Dynamics." And now the new article is the most emailed of the day!

Hey, wait a minute, I thought that IQ was a discredited, obsolete, fraudulent, racist concept yada yada yada ... This reminds me of 2002 when the NYT editorial board thought IQ tests were great when the Supreme Court mandated their use to save low IQ murderers from the death penalty.

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

June 24, 2007

Ted Kennedy's New Iron Law of Wages

An excerpt from my new VDARE.com column "The Axis of Amnesty’s Ideology of Cheap Labor:"

Senator Kennedy is echoing, oddly enough, the fatalistic conventional wisdom of Dickensian England—the doctrinaire assumption that cheap labor is essential, and that the inexorable grinding of the dismal laws of economic science determine wages as immutably as the orbit of Mercury is fixed by Newton's Law of Gravity.

The main difference: while Sen. Kennedy assumes the need for unskilled immigrant workers, the early Victorians were convinced of the necessity of uneducated child laborers.

We don't think of the British as being terribly ideological. But during the second quarter of the 19th Century, their justifiable national pride in developing economics for once overwhelmed the vaunted British common sense. A dogma based on a crude interpretation of the works of Malthus and Ricardo presumed that low wages were crucial to profits, much like the sophomoric economics of today's open borders crowd.

Back then, the ruling class didn't fulminate over plucking chickens but over sweeping chimneys.

Consider the fates of the little boys, from age four on up, who were widely employed by master chimney sweeps to clamber up inside long flues and knock down the soot, at horrific cost to their health. Paul Johnson writes in A History of the English People (p.285), "often they were forced up by the use of long pricks, and by applying wisps of flaming straw to their feet. They suffered from a variety of occupational diseases and many died from suffocation."

The ruling ideology of the age assumed that, as regrettable as this might be, the laws of economics required it.

After all, how else would chimneys ever get swept?

The first bill banning the employment of children under eight from chimney sweeping passed Parliament in 1788. But, like many immigration laws in America today, it was ignored. So was the 1834 act.

Then, the greatest reformer of the Victorian Era, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, began his almost endless crusade to abolish child labor inside chimneys. Like William Wilberforce, the victor over the slave trade, Shaftesbury was a Tory, an evangelical Anglican, and a relentless parliamentarian.

In 1840, Shaftesbury carried a bill to regulate child chimney sweeps over “ resistance that can only be called fanatical", in Johnson's words.

It also was not enforced.

Three more of Shaftesbury's bills failed in Parliament in the 1850s. He succeeded in 1864, but the legislation proved ineffective "due to a general conspiracy of local authorities, magistrates, police, judges, juries, and the public to frustrate the law. Boys continued to die…" including a seven-year-old who suffocated in a flue in 1873.

Shaftesbury finally succeeded in passing effective legislation in 1875.

And, of course, that winter everyone in Britain froze to death due to clogged chimneys.

Oh, wait … sorry, that was in Bizarro Britain, where the reigning interpretations of economics actually applied. Rather like in Senator Kennedy's Abnormal America, where nobody will be able to afford to eat chicken without the Liberal Lion’s amnesty and guest worker programs.

In the real Britain, however, the master chimney sweeps quickly found other ways to clean chimneys. [More]

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