June 27, 2008

"Americans love a winner!" -- G.S. Patton

A few years ago, I read a book by historian Bernard Bailyn, To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders. It contained a chapter on the wonderfulness of the Federalist Papers, as written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, comparing them to the Anti-Federalist Papers, written by a bunch of losers nobody has heard of since.

The Anti-Federalists would write, "If the Constitution is ratified,the federal government will grab the power to do X [or Y, or Z]." And Madison, Hamilton, or Jay would answer back, "Oh, no, that would never happen in a million years. It explicitly says right here in Article Whatever that only the states can do that."

But the funny thing is, Bailyn's long list of about a dozen or more things the Anti-Federalists warned would happen if the Constitution were ratified ... they have all happened. They didn't all happen right away. Many took until the Civil War, or the New Deal, or the Warren Court, or whatever. Still, when it comes to making long-run accurate predictions, the despised Anti-Federalists were right and the sainted Federalists were wrong.

But, nobody cares. People care about who won, not who turned out to be right.

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

Gun Control

I don't have anything new to say about the Supreme Court's Second Amendment decision, so here's what I wrote in 2004:

Original Intent of the Second Amendment: I haven't really been into guns since I desperately wanted a BB gun for my 9th birthday (see "Christmas Story" for details), but my son and I did some research recently into what the authors and ratifiers of the Bill of Rights intended to do by passing the Second Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

This wording is rather unusual -- besides the superfluity of commas -- in the context of the Bill of Rights in that it contains what appears to be a "whereas" clause, which most of the other first 10 amendments don't. The First for example, doesn't say, "A war of religion, being a bad thing, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

This anomaly has led many contemporary commentators to assume that the 2nd Amendment was meant only to apply to state militias and not to individual gun ownership. Here, for example, is Dahlia Lithwick in Slate confidently explaining that "Eminent legal scholars, including Sanford Levinson and historians such as Emory's Michael Bellesiles, have done some staggering scholarly work on the subject of the original intent of the Framers and the prevalence of guns at the time of the founding of the country."

Staggering, indeed. As the eminent Professor Bellesiles showed in his prizewinning book Arming America: My Fantasy of How Frontier Life Should Have Been, when an American in 1789 felt a hankering for deer meat, rather than resort to using a gun, he normally ran a deer down on foot and gnawed the beast to death with his teeth.

What my son and I found out about the original intent was the exact opposite. The research was a little frustrating to do because there was almost no debate among state legislators at the time about an individual right to gun ownership -- because that simply wasn't controversial. Of course Americans had the right to own guns: the woods were full of bars, Injuns, and bad 'uns. Nobody argued about it then because there was nobody at the time to argue with.

What was controversial back then were state militias -- trained bodies of fighters who could potentially resist the federal government. Legalizing militias -- i.e., alternative armies to the U.S. Army -- was obviously a much more radical step than legalizing individual ownership of firearms. Legitimizing militias was a concession that Federalists like Madison made to win the approval of those skeptical of the centralizing force of the Constitution.

When the Union Army won the Civil War, the idea of alternative armies started to look outdated, thus leading to the current misinterpretations of what the authors and ratifiers of the Second Amendment meant. Gun control advocates should feel free to argue than in an era of rocket-propelled-grenades and radio-dispatched police cars, the whole Second Amendment is obsolete and dangerous, but please don't make up stories about what it was supposed to mean.

The other big change is that the Bill of Rights didn't apply to the states until the 14th Amendment of 1868. For example, Connecticut had an establishment of religion until 1818. So, the ratifiers weren't establishing an absolute right of gun ownership, they were just preventing the federal government from infringing it.

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

June 26, 2008

McCain's Intelligence Intelligence

Philip Giraldi, the ex-CIA man who writes The American Conservative's invaluable gossip column, Deep Background, notes in the June 16th issue:

Intelligence analysts who have briefed Sen. John McCain on international issues generally report that he is not very knowledgeable about most parts of the world, despite his years of experience in government and his campaign's insistence that one of his principal strengths is foreign-policy expertise. When speaking with an area specialist or expert, McCain is primarily interested in stating his own perceptions and is not generally regarded as an attentive listener. Analysts do not like briefing him because he becomes angry and sometimes personally offensive when someone contradicts his view.

It's really not very hard at all for an important personage wrapped in the glamor of power to persuade lower ranking outsiders that he's a deep thinker. Obama is the master of it -- all you do is tell the person how much you value all the time they've put into developing their expertise (implying that you are very busy yourself on so many other important issues), nod attentively as they drone on, then bring up one or two semi-sophisticated questions you had your staff dream up for you ahead of time, and then finally summarize back for them what they just said with an appreciative hint of wonder in your voice implying that the scales are falling from your eyes. The flunkies will go away and tell everybody that you are the new Pericles. But Yosemite John can't bring himself to do even that.

One analyst stated that McCain's alleged expertise on international issues is essentially bogus. He speaks no foreign language, and his international experience [prior to Congress] derives from brief postings at military bases, junkets while serving as Navy liaison to the Senate, and the misfortune of his rather more extensive stay in the Hanoi Hilton.

As a Congressman, McCain served on committees dealing with Department of Interior issues, Indian affairs, and the problems of aging -- all areas of particular interest to his Arizona constituents. As a senator, he has served on the three committees dealing with the armed services, Indian affairs, and commerce. ...

According to the analysts who have interacted with McCain, his recent misstatements about various Muslim groups and other foreign-policy issues are not slips. They reflect a real lack of interest in other countries that makes it impossible for him to empathize with their problems...

McCain, whose foreign-policy advisers are exclusively neocons, receives regular briefings from the distinguished scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, which are presumably more to his taste than the less colorful information provided by the $42 billion per year intelligence community.

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

Cuba Question

Currently, every Cuban who manages to set foot on American soil is eligible for refugee status. Is this American law contingent on Cuba not letting most people leave? Or is it still applicable if Raul Castro threw open the gates tomorrow and a few million Cubans headed for Florida?

Cuba has an enormous number of unemployed welfare bums. If a Cuban Deng took over intending to capitalize the place, it would be very tempting to do a Mariel boatlift and dump the bottom million or two Cubans on America.

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

June 25, 2008

The World Unites! (In opposing immigration)

Sorry about this miniature graph, but if you click on it, it will be legibly large.

Anyway, it's from a Pew Center polling of people in 47 countries on whether "We should further restrict and control immigration." (See p. 29 of the PDF.) Those favoring more restrictions on immigration are the salmon colored bars, those disagreeing are the blue bars. The restrictionists win in 44 of 47 countries, only losing two East Asian countries that haven't really tried immigration yet, Japan and South Korea, and in the Palestinian Territories (I don't know exactly how the Palestinians interpreted that question -- perhaps they read it as restricting their right to immigrate into Israel and reclaim grandpa's house in Haifa.)

Obama's advantage over other black Democrats

In the comments a reader makes an excellent point:

Among the innumerable interesting things about Obama's candidacy is the lie that it puts to some of the most tired myths about black/white relations in America.

In particular, the myth that the historical marginalization of blacks has given them particular insight into the dominant (i.e., white) culture. This may have had some truth when black women frequently worked as "domestics" for upper-crusty whites and had to look the other way at the wife's pill-popping and junior's porn collection, but no more.

Obama has spent much of his adult life establishing his black bona fides in the armpit of South Side radicalism, but he's successful as a candidate because he was raised by and around whites and has developed a very keen instinct for Stuff White People Like. Your typical inner city ward heeler, however, has no idea. With the atomization of popular culture, poor, inner city blacks are probably more insulated today from nonblack culture than they ever have been in history.

For example, interviews with inner city American blacks now frequently need to be subtitled on TV - unthinkable 20 years ago, unless it was someone born in the 1800s and had lived his whole life on the Delta (white speech, as far as I can tell, hasn't changed much - so I don't think that's it).

I always figured the first black Presidential nominee would be a Republican or quite conservative Democrat, probably from a military background, or perhaps a sports background (or both, e.g., former Naval officer and basketball hall of famer David Robinson). I assume Colin Powell could have won the GOP nomination fairly handily in 1996 as a war-winning general, if only he'd wanted it.

In contrast, white Democrats haven't seemed to like black candidates much. They've looked down upon non-racialist pragmatic black politicians like former LA mayor Tom Bradley as Uncle Toms, yet also looked down upon racialist politicians popular with blacks like Rev. Jesse and Rev. Al as buffoons. So, Obama is the unexpected answer to their fantasies. A black candidate who has worked hard to establish a career for himself as a South Side racialist, but who is really a lit fic novel reading white man in a semi-black skin.

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

Bill Gates' last day on the job

Bill Gates is now working full time at his foundation, helping his wife make sure that every child in America gets a college education.

Of course, Bill, himself, didn't bother getting a college education. He dropped out of Harvard.

Indeed, his generational peers -- Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Michael Dell -- all dropped out of college, too.

So, if there are people who are so smart that college is a waste of their time, couldn't it possibly be that there are a lot of people who are so not smart that college is a waste of their time, too?

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

Bush's amnesty point man in House crushed in primary

From Politico:

Republican voters in Utah ousted Rep. Chris Cannon in Tuesday’s GOP primary, expressing their dissatisfaction with the six-term congressman over his left-of-center positions on immigration by nominating a challenger who made crackdowns on illegal immigration a central part of his platform.

Cannon was trounced by Jason Chaffetz, the former chief of staff to Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-Utah.) With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Cannon trails Chaffetz by 20 points – 60 to 40 percent. The AP has called the race for Chaffetz.

With his loss, Cannon becomes the third member of Congress to lose in their own party’s primary. Two members of Congress from Maryland, Democrat Al Wynn and Republican Wayne Gilchrest also were defeated in primaries held in February.

Chaffetz is near-guaranteed to become the next congressman for Utah’s Third District, which is one of the most Republican districts in the country. The seat, based in suburban Salt Lake City and Provo, gave President Bush 77 percent of the vote in 2004.

Immigration was the driving factor behind Cannon’s unpopularity with the district’s Republican base. Despite sporting a near-perfect score from the American Conservative Union, Cannon alienated border security hawks over the past several years with his belief that illegal immigrants should be eligible for certain government benefits.

In 2003, Cannon sponsored a bill that would give children of illegal immigrants in-state college tuition. And he has also supported legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to receive guest worker status.

A friend writes:

A few more notes

1. This is only the second time in 30 years that Utah Republicans have dumped an incumbent.

2. Cannon outspent Chaffetz massively. One source (http://deseretnews.com/article/content/mobile/1,5620,700237801,00.html?printView=true) gave $631,000 to $98,000 as the numbers. Anopther source (http://www.kutv.com/content/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=5fde6f86-b27f-4c58-945d-67c5e61e6dc9) gives $740,000 to $111,000. Yet another source states the numbers at $740,000 to $170,000.

3. Cannon served 6 terms before he was defeated. There were two prior attempts to remove him via the Republican primary. Both were driven by immigration.

4. Chaffetz specifically attacked birthright citizenship.

5. A few quotes from the various articles about Cannon's defeat.

"In 2003, Cannon sponsored a bill that would have allowed states to charge in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants.

Rather than deporting all illegal immigrants, Cannon has called for a guest-worker program that doesn't punish businesses and allows immigrants to travel freely across the border.

Chaffetz said he wants the U.S. to deport all illegal immigrants and stop granting automatic citizenship to children born here if their parents aren't legal residents. "

"The organization built by Chaffetz and Scott overcame a large gap in campaign cash that grew in the final days before the vote. Cannon's fundraising machine raked in $86,000 in large donations over the last dozen days, according the Federal Elections Commission Web site. Over the same time period, Chaffetz gathered just $6,300."

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

June 24, 2008

NYT: Italy lagging lamentably on de-Italianification

Wouldn't the whole world be better off if Italy weren't so damn Italian? I mean, what has Italian culture ever contributed to anything? When will the Italians get with the program and adopt the Universal Globoculture? The New York Times wants to know!

Italy Gives Cultural Diversity a Lukewarm Embrace


Europe, for all its diversity, can be remarkably provincial.

Ponder that for a moment.

Italian culture certainly isn’t diverse now. It subsists on an all-white, all-native, monoethnic diet of Italian game shows, Italian television mini-series, Italian advertisements on cable stations for improbable vibrating contraptions that promise to jiggle fat away, and Italian pop music. Even Roman schoolchildren no longer stray far from a spaghetti-with-ragĂș diet now that an intercultural city program to serve one international-themed lunch a month has been abandoned by the new center-right government, heeding some Italian mothers, who doubted the nutritional value of falafel and curry.

Italian children in Italy eat Italian food? The horror, the horror ...

And isn't it about time they tore down the Florence Cathedral and put up a Frank Gehry building made out of sheet metal? How come there's not a Hello Kitty logo anywhere on Michelangelo's "David"? Shouldn't La Scala dump Verdi and stage a tribute to the Spice Girls?

All across Europe attitudes are stiffening toward immigration, nowhere more so than here. …

Rome, an ancient magnet for foreigners, is naturally more integrated than most Italian cities and, unlike most of the country, it has taken at least a few steps in recent years to come to terms with its multicultural reality, among them instituting a public library program to reach immigrants and provide Romans with books and lectures about foreign cultures. The question now is whether such efforts will continue.

“We always thought of ourselves as a monoculture, but immigration is our present and future,” said Franco Pittau, an official of Caritas, a Roman Catholic social service and development association that, among other things, monitors immigration here.

Franca Eckert Coen echoed that remark. An Italian Jew in an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic city who lives in an apartment filled with Jewish art, she was in charge of multicultural policy under the former mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni. Ms. Coen recalled a year when Chinese celebrated their New Year with dragons around the Day of Epiphany.

“The newspapers said the Chinese were against Christianity,” she said. “So we held a public event on the Campidoglio about Chinese culture and the New Year celebration, and now we have a Chinese parade each year.”

“It was the same with the Sikhs,” she added. “We had a public event after 2001. We also organized tours of the Capitoline Museums for immigrants. Then we asked them to do something. The Poles, for example, had someone play Polish music at the museum.”

“Little things,” she called them. “They can overcome big fears. I saw all these immigrants become a little bit Italian citizens. Culture is crucial to give people here a chance to see that to be foreign is to bring a different ethnic life to the city, that diversity is a positive.”

Do you ever get the impression that Kevin MacDonald has secretly bought a controlling interest in the New York Times and is rewriting its articles to make them prove his theories correct?

Where did the Obamas' money go, 1997-2004?

It might be interesting for somebody to go through the Obamas' tax returns from 1997-2004 and try to figure out where all the money went. This isn't a Davos Man Mystery like with the Clintons' tens of millions; this is just the kind of yuppie personal finance that most readers of this blog can identify with.

Before the Obamas got rich in 2005, they still averaged over $200k in income annually from 1997-2004, but did they save much? For example, even though they made $3 million in 2005-2006, Sen. Obama didn't start sheltering income from his books in a Self Employed Pension until 2007, presumably because they couldn't afford to set cash aside. Obama has said he had a hard time renting a car at the 2000 Democratic convention because his credit card was maxed out.

Mrs. Obama complains frequently about the burden of having to pay off their law school loans, but she got out of law school 20 years ago and he got out 17 years ago.

My vague impression is that Mrs. Obama is quite high maintenance (e.g., she works out with a personal trainer four times per week, which must chew up $10k or $15k per year right there), so that might account for where the money went.

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

AEY hearings in the House

The New York Times reports:

Arms Dealer Had Troubled History


WASHINGTON — When the Army last year awarded a contract worth up to nearly $300 million to a tiny Miami Beach munitions dealer to supply ammunition to Afghanistan’s security forces, it overlooked a very checkered past.

A Congressional committee revealed Tuesday that by the time the Army awarded the bid, State and Defense Department officials had canceled or delayed at least six earlier contracts with the company, AEY Inc., for poor quality or late deliveries.

But that record, including a botched $5.6 million order for 10,000 Beretta pistols for Iraq’s security forces, was either ignored or omitted from databases that American military contracting officials have used to weed out companies suspected of involvement in suspect arms deals.

Congressional investigators also determined that the Afghanistan ammunition contract, which the company is also accused of mishandling, may have been unnecessary: Bosnia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Albania, the Eastern European countries from which AEY bought its ammunition, had offered to donate the type of Soviet-style rifle and machine-gun cartridges that the Afghan Army and police forces use. …

House investigators have also gathered testimony that the American ambassador to Albania, John L. Withers II, helped cover up the illegal Chinese origins of ammunition that AEY was shipping from Albania to Afghanistan under the Army contract. …

Lawmakers also criticized the government officials for failing to review several AEY contracts that had been canceled or delayed, many of which never raised red flags with contracting officials because they fell under the $5 million contract value that was the warning threshold.

In October 2005, the committee report found, AEY delivered a shipment of damaged helmets to the American training command in Iraq. One American inspector said in an e-mail message obtained by the committee: “The helmets came to Abu Ghraib by mistake. They are not very good. They have peeling paint and a few appear to have been damaged such as having been dropped.”

About the same time, AEY failed to deliver more than 10,000 Beretta pistols under contract to Iraqi security forces.

According to the contracting officer, Mr. Diveroli blamed the delays in part on a plane crash that had destroyed important documents and a hurricane that hit Miami. …

Back when he worked for his uncle's Botach Tactical weapons dealership in Los Angeles and angry customers would call up wondering where the M-16 clips they had paid for were, Diveroli probably blamed delays on an earthquake that hit LA.

House investigators determined that Melanie A. Johnson, a contracting officer with the Army Sustainment Command, had overruled a contracting team that raised concerns about AEY’s inexperience and had concluded that there was “substantial doubt” that the company could fulfill the contract.

Investigators said Ms. Johnson had later acknowledged to them that she was unaware of the poor past performance of AEY, including the Beretta contract, when she awarded the company the Afghan bid.

In case you're wondering why federal bureaucrats would fall for an obvious New York camera store-style bait-and-switch operator like Diveroli, keep in mind that Jimmy Carter threw out the federal civil service exam back in January 1981 for "disparate impact" and it's never been fully replaced.

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

June 23, 2008

The Most Dangerous Woman in America is ...

... Melinda Gates, one-time boss of Microsoft Bob. To polish his public image, her monopolist husband Bill, a notorious IQ elitist in his hiring practices, has given her tens of billions with which to play Politically Correct Social Engineerette. Here's an interview with her on NPR, "Melinda Gates Calls for More Emphasis on Education:"
Can we reasonably expect 100 percent of high school students to become college students?

Yes, I think we can. And, in fact, I'm here today in the Chicago school district visiting with students – huge number of Latinos and African-American populations, and guess what? I'm in schools where 95 to 98 percent of these kids are going on to college, and it's because they started freshman year with teachers who believe in them and said, 'These kids can do it.' And maybe they are not coming in with the right reading or math skills, but we are going to bring them up, and we are going to have high expectations of them. And guess what? Those kids are succeeding, and those kids are getting into college.

That would be a dramatic increase of the share of high school students, if 100 percent went on to college. I mean, you would be effecting an enormous social change if you could reach –

Correct, and that is the idea.

How many years do you think it would take to achieve that particular –

I think it is going to take us quite a while. I think that this is a long-term effort and I think it's one that the foundation is going to be at for a very long time. But it ought to be our goal as a nation. We shouldn't let this number of students drop out. I think it's a moral crisis that we're failing students this way.

A reader comments:

Maybe Bill and Melinda should instead donate the $$ to Microsoft so it can make an operating system that works better than Vista!!

Seriously, though, this woman is trying to do serious harm to children, to prevent many decent kids from graduating from high school just because they aren't smart enough for the University of California. You may think she's just wasting her husbands ill-gotten profits, but the Gates Foundation is actively up to no good. The Gates Foundation was the main driver behind the Los Angeles school district, the nation's second largest,outsourcing its high school graduation requirements planning to the elite University of California, which only allows in high students who have passed its rigorous "A-G" curriculum of required courses.

A 2005 press release from the Gates Foundation trumpeted:

"In June, the LAUSD board approved a plan requiring all high school students beginning with the class of 2008 to complete a 15-course series, known as the A-G Curriculum, in order to graduate. This is the same requirement for admission to the University of California and California State University systems."

The new A-G Curriculum requirement will mandate two years of foreign language (i.e., Spanish, as instruction in other languages are being phased out in LA).

Obviously, this is intended as a gift to Hispanic immigrants. But it will be another cross to bear for African-Americans, who have never shown much enthusiasm for learning Spanish.

Worse, every public high school student in LA will have to pass not just Algebra I and Geometry to graduate, but also Algebra II.

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

The Derb on Obama's race

John Derbyshire outlines the advantages and disadvantages Barack Obama faces as a candidate due to his "story of race and inheritance."

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

June 22, 2008

Top Research Universities: The View from Shanghai

Here's a different ranking of top research universities compiled at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, based on Nobel Laureates, citations, etc. (This is not a list of most desirable undergraduate colleges -- it includes entities like Rockefeller U. that don't have undergrad colleges.)

In 2007, The top 20 included 17 American colleges, Oxford, Cambridge, and the U. of Tokyo at #20. The highest continental European university (ETH Zurich) was at #27, the highest French college was at #39, and the highest German school at #53. No Chinese or Indian universities are in the top 100 on this Chinese list.

This Chinese list seems less chauvinistically biased than the London Times rankings I cited in tonight's VDARE article (Harvard #1 in both, but Stanford is #2 on the Chinese list vs. #19 on the English list, behind a number of obscure provincial colleges in England). Because it's a better list, it supports the point I made in VDARE even more strongly than the previous list did: that America's exclusive universities are now enormously prestigious relative to Germany's and the rest of the world's.

German colleges that would have dominated the list 100 years ago have been hit hard by sincere, leftist anti-elitism. The same thing happened to most French universities after 1968, except for some small Ecoles. In contrast, CCNY, which famously shifted to open admissions with disastrous effects, is close to the exception that proves the rule that American colleges largely ignored their own leftist rhetoric and refused to follow their European counterparts into egalitarian anti-exclusivity.

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

Sailer: "The Diversity Recession, or How Affirmative Action Helped Cause the Housing Crisis"

Here's just the beginning of my long article on the mortgage fiasco in Taki's Magazine:

The Diversity Recession, or How Affirmative Action Helped Cause the Housing Crisis

Posted by Steve Sailer on June 22, 2008

Uncovering the roots of the disastrous home mortgage bubble that popped last year will keep economic historians busy for decades. Yet, one factor has so far been largely overlooked: the bipartisan social engineering crusade to drive up the rate of homeownership by handing out more mortgages to minorities.

More than a negligible amount of the blame for the mortgage meltdown can be traced back to multiculturalism: government-mandated affirmative-action lending, demographic change, illegal immigration, and the mind-numbing effects of political correctness.

The chickens have finally come home to roost.

About half of all mortgages for blacks and Hispanics are subprime, versus roughly one-sixth for whites. Not surprisingly, the biggest home price collapses have occurred in heavily Hispanic cities such as Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.

The mortgage bubble was essentially a bet on the purportedly increased creditworthiness of the bottom half of the American population. After three decades of the home ownership rate stalled at around 64 percent, a series of federal initiatives to increase minority and low-income ownership helped push the rate up to just below 70 percent.

As this graph from a 2006 article by three economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows, the great bubble of the last dozen or so years was driven by bets on marginal households well below the median.

Economist William T. Gavin, a vice president at the St. Louis Fed wrote in 2006:

"One of the stated goals of current and past administrations since the Great Depression has been to increase home ownership. After remaining relatively stable around 64 percent, the rate of home ownership has risen to 69 percent in the past decade. This uptrend has been driven by a sharp rise in the rate of home ownership among young, minority and low-income households."

In contrast, at least the previous bubble, the Internet stock boom of the 1990s, had a bit of prima facie credibility. It was a largely a wager on a three-phase business plan:

1. The smart fraction of American society would invent amazing new online services.
2. ?
3. Profit!

As it turned out, bright young people really did start up lots of websites that did things that almost nobody in 1994 had imagined. The problem turned out to be getting from Phase 1 to Phase 3. So many of them became competent at website creation that few (with the huge exception of Google) ended up with the kind of lucrative quasi-monopoly of which investors dreamt.

The housing bubble, on the other hand, never made much sense. The lower half of American society, where the new homeowners had to come from, isn’t getting better educated, is not settling down to more stable family structures, and is not developing a more rigorous code of honor about paying debts.

Nor was the government doing much of anything to help the bottom half earn more in order to afford home ownership. Indeed, by not enforcing the laws against illegal immigration, the Clinton and Bush Administrations were flooding the country with unskilled workers who competed down the wages of blue-collar Americans.

The home construction industry lured in Mexicans to build new exurban houses for Americans trying to get their children away from public schools overrun by the children of illegal immigrants—in effect, a Ponzi scheme that had to break down eventually.

It turned out, not surprisingly, that contrary to the assurances of the Great and the Good of both parties, many of these marginal homebuyers should have continued to rent.

Pushing black and Hispanics into buying was risky for all concerned. Economist Edward N. Wolff calculated that in 2004 the median net worth of black households was only $11,800, exactly one order of magnitude less than the median net worth of whites. (Hispanics were similar to blacks.)

Yet, pointing out that expanding credit to minorities was likely to lead to a debacle is not the kind of thing a prudent corporate manger would put in an email--too great a chance it would be discovered in a discrimination lawsuit.

For four decades, political leaders have viewed subsidizing minority home buying as insuring social peace. The Wall Street Journal reported on white flight from a Chicago neighborhood on March 2, 1977:

The whites in Marquette Park are particularly embittered over the Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance program, which they claim is causing neighborhood deterioration by subsidizing home purchases by blacks too poor to maintain them. Long conservatively run and an engine of the post-World War II suburban housing boom, the FHA program was liberalized shortly after the 1968 urban riots to encourage lower-income black home ownership (‘if they own it they won’t burn it’ was the maxim of the time).


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

The American vs. German Education Paradox

My new VDARE.com column on Charles Murray's recent article "The Age of Educational Romanticism" offers a new partial explanation for the triumph of educational romanticism among American K-12 educators while their counterparts in Europe and Asia remain hard-headed about differences in academic potential. Obviously, race plays a big role here, but even more overlooked is the paradoxical influence of the triumph of our exclusive American colleges.

To summarize the reality under the rhetoric:

American higher education today -- ultra-elitist Social Darwinism masked by politically correct rhetoric

German higher education -- leftist egalitarian mediocrity

American lower education -- leftist egalitarian mediocrity

German lower education -- hardheaded realism about human differences

Elitist continental European universities were largely emasculated by sincere leftism after WWII, especially after 1968, so, today, they have dropped far down in world prestige rankings. In contrast, just about the only famous American college to destroy its exclusiveness in response to 1960s radicalism was CCNY. All the other elite colleges (e.g., Berkeley), merely bought off minority radicals with affirmative action and actually increased their elitism in admissions for non-affirmative action applicants. But, as they became more Social Darwinian overall, they became more politically correct in their public expressions, with disastrous effects on the poor saps running the K-12 system in America, who were too thick to get the joke.

It's a complex argument, so Read the Whole Thing.

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

What will currency look like in the U.S. of Obamocracy?

Obama's new Cult of Personality Presidential Seal reminded one reader of the evolution of design in Idiocracy, where the money looks like this. I suspect, though, that Obama's "Obey Giant Obama" design instincts lean more toward Totalitarian Ironic Chic than to the trailer park populism of Idiocracy's logos:

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