August 8, 2009

"I, for one, welcome our new blue-eyed overlords"

One of the amusing aspects of Matthew Yglesias's blog is his 1966 liberal obsession with the superiority of the Blue-Eyed Utopias of Northwestern Europe. Each week he puts up a half-dozen or so posts on the general theme of "They do it better in Spitzbergen." For example, here's the opening of today's essay on "Postal Service in Scandinavia."

When considering a policy issue like the quality of mail delivery it’s often intriguing to ask oneself “how is this done in Scandinavia?” What appears to be the case is that the government of Denmark quasi-privatized its postal services, creating an independent corporation called Post Danmark that’s partially owned by a private equity firm, partially owned by the firm’s employees, and partially owned by the Danish state.

Meanwhile, Sweden has a state-run postal agency but a deregulated market in postal services. So the state-owned Posten AB needs to compete with a firm called Bring CityMail. Bring CityMail operates as a private company in Denmark and Sweden, but it’s actually a subsidiary of the Norwegian state postal service. Meanwhile, in order to better compete with this Norwegian juggernaut, Sweden’s publicly owned postal service and Denmark’s semi-public postal service are merging to form Posten Norden AB. This is going to be organized as a private firm, though a large share of the ownership will be in the hands of the Danish and Swedish governments.

Hmmhmmhmm ... There must be some common denominator among the postal systems of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark that makes them so good. Obviously, the reason for the difference in quality of postal service between Scandinavia and the Brown-Eyed Dystopias such as Italy, with their excessive clutter of paintings, statues, and other useless junk, must be some wonkish detail in organizational structure.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 7, 2009

The Twitter-Facebook Gap

The revelation that yesterday's outages of Twitter and Facebook may have been due to Russian distributed denial of service attacks on a blogger in Tbilsi, Georgia blogger raises disturbing questions about whether America's 56,200 troops in Germany are sufficient in number and are based close enough to potential Facebook Fronts to safeguard vital American Twittering interests.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Trimming the cost of the Empire

Obviously, the U.S. government can't afford all its overseas commitments. So, which should we cut back and how much would we save by leaving Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Germany, Kenya, and the like?

For example, almost 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have 56,200 military personnel based in Germany. Doing what, exactly? Protecting Germany from whom? France? Poland?

We have 33,000 troops in Japan, another expensive country, and 28,000 in South Korea.

Here's the strategic conundrum about having foreign bases with fairly large numbers of troops instead of either a huge number of troops, as during the Fulda Gap years, or just a caretaker staff to keep the base in shape in case it ever becomes needed. It's relatively cheap to keep the main battle tanks from the 1980s in storage in Germany and pay German civilian mechanics to keep them tuned up (Germans are good at tank maintenance). In case of war, we could easily fly in that many troops in a couple of days (the military has plans to borrow the fleets of Fed Ex and the big airlines, so restocking Germany with 56,200 soldiers would require, say, 112 flights of 747s), assuming we maintain air supremacy over the oceans.

Now, you might say, that's a Big If. But, if we've lost air supremacy over the oceans, well, then these poor bastards in these forward bases are dead. So, what's the war-fighting reason for deploying only moderately large numbers of troops overseas? It sounds like we have, in the unlikely event of a central European war, not enough troops in Germany to win, but, instead, just enough troops to suffer the worst defeat in American history.

Moreover, in a number of countries, most notably South Korea, leaving would do more for American popularity than anything else imaginable. For example, Seoul is a horribly overbuilt city with a gigantic green space in the middle of the city -- the U.S. military base, which we could simply give to the nation of Korea to become the Central Park of Seoul. Moreover, as Dennis Dale has pointed out from his Army service in Korea and Okinawa, thousands of horny 20-year-olds don't make the most diplomatic ambassadors for America.

The most overlooked cost-saving would be unilaterally granting independence to Puerto Rico, because we spends tens of billions each year bribing Puerto Ricans to stay home. PR no longer even has a Navy base. In the long run, the key American ally in the Caribbean will be the naturally dominant country, Cuba, making PR even more dispensable.

Maybe, it would be easier to start over with figuring out which overseas assets are truly useful. For example, Diego Garcia, the fortress island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is highly useful, and inexpensive because it's uncontested, having no real indigenous population.

Similarly, the various bases the U.S. has in friendly countries around the Persian Gulf, such as Turkey and Bahrain, seem well worth the price of guarding the flow of oil from the greatest prize in world history.

After that, well, there are a lot of refueling bases here and there, which shouldn't cost too much, and can be left with skeleton crews in times of peace.

So, what do we really need and what do we really not need?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Afghanistan: Why don't we just go home?

What is America's increasingly lethal war in Afghanistan about these days other than Barack Obama trying to to check off the Must Look Tough box on David Axelrod's re-election image strategy list?

I know it's supposed to now be all about Pakistan, but for decades the Pakistanis had a simple solution to Pushtun orneriness: the government just put up a big sign at the border of the northwest frontier territory near the Afghan border saying: "Sorry, but the Government of Pakistan does not guarantee your safety beyond this point. Cheer-i-o!" If Pathans tribal raiders came roaring down out of their mountains into the worthwhile land, they'd be slaughtered on flat ground by the Pakistani Army, and go back to their mountains, so, mostly they didn't. And the government of Pakistan didn't bother trying to control the mountains because A) They're mountains, and B) They're mountains that are are full of Puhktuns ... and why would anybody want to deal with them more than the minimum it takes to make sure they stay away from you?

But ever since Obama came to power, I keep reading (actually, I only glance at the headlines) about the Pakistani Army mounting punitive expeditions into the Swat Valley that sound very much like the one Winston Churchill took part in during the 1890s.

Churchill and friends won most of the battles, but in the very long run they lost the war, for the simple reason that, in the long run, people like Winston Churchill had some place nicer than the Khyber Pass to go home to, while the Pushtuns didn't, and the Pushtuns knew that.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 6, 2009

Bill James Sold His Soul

You aren't supposed to say bad things about the beloved Bill James, the ex-boiler-room attendant who revolutionized the interpretation of baseball statistics, but now that he has finally spoken up on the issue of steroids in baseball, I have to say that his head-in-the-sand, don't-rock-the-boat act over the last 21 years has been disgraceful.

For example, his New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract of 2001 mentions steroids maybe twice, in passing, in 1012 pages.

By largely staying mum on the impact of steroids on baseball statistics since the topic first became widely discussed when Jose Canseco enjoyed the first 40-homer 40-steal season in 1988, James got himself a nice front-office job with the Boston Red Sox, and got to be part of World Champions in 2004 and 2007, teams whose biggest stars, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, were found to be on the juice in the 2003 test.

So, what does James have to say for himself now about his silence? Well, not much. Instead, he's written complacently, in "Cooperstown and the 'Roids," about how all the notorious drug cheats of the last two decades will eventually be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
But it wasn’t really an issue of some players gaining an advantage by the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs; it is an issue of many players using Performance Enhancing drugs in competition with one another. Nobody knows how many. It would be my estimate that it was somewhere between 40 and 80%. The discrimination against PED users in Hall of Fame voting rests upon the perception that this was cheating. But is it cheating if one violates a rule that nobody is enforcing, and which one may legitimately see as being widely ignored by those within the competition?

Hey, thanks for giving us that 40% to 80% estimate in 2009, Mr. Baseball Statistics Guru!

Moreover, that's a misleading way to phrase it. Perhaps 40% to 80% tried drugs at one point or another, but it's clear that 40% to 80% of the man-years weren't enhanced. Otherwise, we wouldn't see so many silly anomalies when players went on the juice, like Brady Anderson's 50 homers, or Ken Caminiti's second half of 1996.

Consider Barry Bonds. We have the full inside story on Bonds, and he comes out looking a little better than his public image would suggest. We now know he didn't touch performance enhancing drugs during his first 13 seasons, 1986-1998. From 1990-1993 he was the best player in the National League each year, and from 1994 to 1998, he was the second to fourth best player each year. If, say, 60% of his competition was on the juice, how could he compete with them?

During the 1998 season, obvious juicers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa got all that publicity for "restoring the innocence to the game," and nobody paid attention to Barry's usual monster season (.303 BA, 37 HR, 122 RBI, 120 runs, 130 walks, 44 doubles, 7 triples, 28 stolen bases, .438 on-base average, .609 slugging average, 1.047 OPS, 178 OPS+). If Barry had retired right then, he would have been a first ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Instead, resentful of the lack of press appreciation he got compared to what the cheaters got, he started dabbling with drugs in 1999, got good with them in 2000, and great with them in 2001 through 2004. When Bonds hit 73 homers in 2001 (previous career high 46 when he was eight years younger), it was perfectly obvious that he was cheating, but Bill James preferred to talk about Bonds' new maplewood bat, telling the WSJ in 2007:
I strongly suspect that the influence of steroids on hitting numbers is greatly overstated by the public. ...I've never understood why nobody writes about it, but the bats are very different now than they were 20 years ago. [Barry] Bonds's bats are still different from everybody else's.

Yeah, sure, if only I'd gotten me one of those special bats when I was 39, major league pitchers would have issued me 232 walks, too.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Once you get the joke ...

... the many articles over the last 20 years like this new one in Slate are pretty unintentionally funny:
Does this Purple Mink Make Me Look Gay?
The rise of no homo and the changing face of hip-hop homophobia
By Jonah Weiner

I particularly like the picture of Kanye West trying to look tough.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 5, 2009

Foreclosure rates in California by ethnicity

The California mortgage market is central to understanding the chain of events that brought down the world economy. No doubt something else would have dragged it down eventually, but it would be nice to know what actually happened.

Fortunately, I finally found, buried away in a San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank report, some hints on who defaulted in California, the home to a sizable majority of all defaulted mortgage dollars.
Lending in Low- and Moderate-Income Neighborhoods in California:
The Performance of CRA Lending During the Subprime Meltdown

Elizabeth Laderman
Carolina Reid
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
November 26, 2008

Two economists at the San Francisco Fed made a study of mortgages originated in California in the Housing Bubble years of 2004-2006. They painstakingly matched federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data about mortgage originations, which track whether minorities get enough mortgage money but don't track whether they pay it back, with private (and expensive) Lender Processing Services (LPS) data, which don't care about ethnicity but do care about borrowers paying what they owe. The Fed economists came up with 239,101 successful matches of mortgages that show up in both databases. About 10,000 of them had entered the foreclosure process by the end of September 2007.

This is a good time period for looking at foreclosures, since these aren't 2009 foreclosures that were caused by the recession; instead, these are the foreclosures that caused the recession.

Most of this Fed report consists of a defense of the Community Reinvestment Act by showing lower foreclosure rates for banks (e.g., Washington Mutual) than for independent mortgage companies (e.g., Countrywide). Of course, that's not a very informative comparison since the Clinton Administration warned Countrywide-like firms that they would have the CRA extended to cover them legislatively unless they behaved like they already were under the CRA. Thus, Angelo Mozilo signed a deal with HUD secretary Henry Cisneros to lend more to minorities and lower income borrowers, and then put Cisneros on Countrywide's board, and even named Cisneros consultant to Mozilo's CRA-like trillion dollar pledge of January 2005.

No, what's really interesting is on pp 12-14. I put the most interesting stuff in bold at the end:
In Table 3, we present a very simple model where we predict the likelihood of foreclosure, controlling for borrower risk factors including income, race, and credit score. We present the findings as odds ratios to assist in interpreting the coefficients. We also control for neighborhood characteristics that may influence the underwriting decision, including the CAP rate, the age of the housing stock, and the percent of owner-occupied housing. Given the importance of house values in predicting foreclosures, we control for house price appreciation in each of the model iterations.

Several findings from even this simple model stand out. First, metropolitan house price changes do have a significant effect on the likelihood of foreclosure. Rapid house price appreciation in the 2 years preceding origination significantly increases the likelihood of foreclosure. This is consistent with previous research that has linked foreclosures and delinquencies to local housing market conditions, particularly in California where house prices rose quickly in relation to fundamentals and where subsequent corrections have been quite dramatic (Doms, Furlong and Krainer 2007). The tract’s capitalization rate is significant only at the 10 percent level, but also increases the foreclosure rate as expected. A higher percent of owner occupied housing in a tract and more recent construction both also seem to increase the likelihood of foreclosure, but only slightly.

Second, and not surprisingly, FICO scores matter. A borrower with a FICO score of less than 640 is 12.6 times more likely to be in foreclosure than a borrower with a FICO score of more than 720; for borrowers with a FICO score between 640 and 720, the odds ratio is 4.7 times compared to borrowers with the highest credit scores. We also find that race has an independent effect on foreclosure even after controlling for borrower income and credit score. In particular, African American borrowers were 3.3 times as likely as white borrowers to be in foreclosure, whereas Latino and Asian borrowers were 2.5 and 1.6 times respectively more likely to be in foreclosure as white borrowers.

So, in the economists’ simple multiple regression model, after adjusting for income and FICO, minorities in California still had substantially higher foreclosure rates than whites:

- blacks 3.3X
- Latinos 2.5X
- Asians 1.6X

(These adjusted gaps are all statistically significant at the 0.01 level.)

Presumably, the raw differences in foreclosure rates are even greater. Unfortunately, the actual raw numbers aren't listed in the report, and the authors refused my repeated email requests to release the unadjusted numbers by ethnicity.

The raw ratios are important for estimating the overall share of defaulted dollars by ethnicity in California. We know from the federal HMDA data that minorities accounted for 77% of subprime home purchase dollars borrowed in California in 2006 (the worst vintage for defaults) and 56% of all home purchase dollars. You can see the graphs here. (I'm excluding borrowers of unknown ethnicity and mixed ethnicity couples).

Request 1: Would it be possible to reverse engineer the actual raw ratios from the numbers that do appear in this report?

Request 2: Also, is the Fed subject to the Freedom of Information Act?

According to Google, even though this report is eight months old, the part about the race differences in foreclosure rates has only been quoted once before, by E. Scott Reckard, an LA Times reporter who has done a lot of good work on the mortgage meltdown.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

My Taki's Column: "The Wire"

In my weekly Taki's Magazine column, I write about the HBO television series "The Wire" and its little-mentioned tendency toward showbiz schmaltz.

Read it there and comment about it here.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 4, 2009

Calling all actuaries

I have to confess that I've never firmly understood life expectancy statistics. Razib has been putting up graphs on GNXP of life expectancy by county, such as this one of white male life expectancy (highest in southern Minnesota, lowest in the South, Oklahoma, and the Coal Belt). The maps are fun to look at, but when trying to make sense out of them, I realized that I don't understand the basics of what a life expectancy number even means. For example, where are people placed -- where they were born, where they lived most of their lives, where they died?

Or, say, there are two rural counties that are very similar but one has an old folks home and the other doesn't, so many of the old people in the two-county region end up dying in just one of the counties. What impact does that have on life expectancy statistics by county?

And then a reader sent me a simple question:
I have a numeracy question for you because I don't know anyone else to ask. I have been thinking about life expectancy which I can easily determine for myself and for my wife. I know that she will probably outlive me, but how do I compute the probability that she will do so? (Yes, I know that it is strictly incorrect to assign a probability to a single event, but if we had 100 similar mes and 100 similar hers, then what?)

If you are less baffled by these matters than me, please comment below.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

NYT: Let's Burn Down the Economy All Over Again

From an op-ed in the New York Times:
Safe at Home

THE financial crisis has given rise to all sorts of wrongheaded ideas, among which is the notion that we should not subsidize the “losers” who can’t make their mortgage payments. In fact, the solution to our troubles is not to restrict homeownership, but to expand it.The timing is right.

Now that prices have collapsed in many areas, low-income Americans might be able to afford to purchase homes for the first time in years. Sales of new homes in June were down 21 percent from last year. This would seem an ideal time to encourage low-income families to buy homes — if we weren’t haunted by misconceptions about the roots of the subprime mortgage crisis.

This “blame the victim” mentality is hardly new. It goes back to the 1960s, when the anthropologist Oscar Lewis wrote an article whose title took root in the American public consciousness: “The Culture of Poverty.” His basic argument was that poor people adopt certain practices that differ from those of “mainstream” society in order to survive. These might include illegal work, multifamily households or serial relationships in place of marriage. Once these survival strategies are in place, the argument goes, they take on a life of their own and lead to missed opportunities.

Personally, I suspect that the main reason that poor people are less likely to pay back their mortgages than rich people is because poor people tend to have less money than rich people, but, then, I'm not the Dean of Social Sciences at NYU like Dalton Conley, so what do I know?
... But Lewis’s theories seem to have gained new life in the notion that a certain stratum of Americans just aren’t capable of homeownership, and that the increase in homeownership rates contributed to the real estate bust. The “natural” rate should be around 60 percent of American households, some analysts say, not the 70 percent it reached in 2004. That’s an unfortunate argument, because owning a home can be one of the best ways for a poor family to save and accumulate assets: recent history aside, the value of a house does typically rise, and its owner avoids paying rent and gets a tax break.

We could improve the housing market as well as the security of poor families by making homeownership more attainable.

Decades of government programs to make homeownership "affordable" only succeeded by 2007 in making homeownership insanely unaffordable, so I guess the plan is to replace the word "affordable" with the word "attainable" and then just rerun the same old stuff.
Currently, the biggest policy to support homeownership other than the mortgage interest deduction is the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage program, which works by insuring loans made to buyers through traditional lenders (that is, it decreases risk to lending agencies by underwriting the loan). However, many of the most disadvantaged Americans, and minorities in particular, do not qualify for F.H.A. loans because of their low net worth and other factors.

Into this breach stepped a North Carolina organization called Self-Help. In 1998, Self-Help received a $50 million grant from the Ford Foundation. The money was used to insure the mortgages of low-wealth families that aspired to homeownership, but had trouble getting loans in the private market. More than $2 billion in mortgages were guaranteed over five years, making homeownership possible for 27,000 families that might not have qualified for conventional loans.

This experiment of sorts provided evidence that there was a market failure in mainstream lending that was shutting out deserving borrowers. The foreclosure rate of lenders participating in the program was below the national average. This tells scholars of finance that something is not working in the traditional loan market.

Hmmhmm, or maybe it just says that home prices went up in North Carolina from 1999 to 2004, so nobody got foreclosed upon because, if you couldn't make your payments, you could always sell your house for more than you owe. Of course, I'm not one of those "scholars of finance" who have been doing such a bang-up job lately, so don't take my word for it.
... By expanding the Self-Help program “to scale” — by underwriting mortgages for people who are now excluded from F.H.A. — the government could not only support affordable refinancing of existing mortgages but could also extend the dream of homeownership to households now shut out of the market.

The "dream of homeownership" ... whom have I heard that phrase from before? Angelo Mozilo? George W. Bush? Henry Cisneros? Bill Clinton?
Instead of critiquing low-income buyers who may have made reasonable calculations in an upbeat housing market, we should focus on building a more comprehensive system to aid low-income purchasers and repair the housing market in the process. Otherwise, we are squandering an opportunity to move past ill-formed moral discourse about poverty and its causes.

Dalton Conley, the dean of social sciences at New York University, is the author of “Elsewhere, U.S.A.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 5, 2009
An Op-Ed article on Tuesday, about helping poor families buy houses, misstated the home state of Self-Help, a group that insures mortgages. It is based in North Carolina, not South Carolina.

The North Carolina angle is not insignificant: Self-Help is centered in North Carolina, which has had a Goldilocks housing market -- not too hot, not too cold -- for years. So, the foreclosure rate in North Carolina is below the national average.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Declines in violence

Steven Pinker has an article on how the rate of killing has tended to fall since prehistoric times. I would suggest that war just doesn't pay no more, except, possibly in the case of mineral rich targets.

Warfare in medieval Europe used to go on in a desultory fashion with no end in sight because the stakes were low: one set of aristocrats felt they had the right to supplant another in collecting taxes from the peasants. (Dynastic marriages, so often seen as bringing peace in the short term, tended to create long-term situations in which every throne had multiple claimants with plausible genealogies.)

War couldn't do much damage to the productive capabilities of rain-watered cropland, so why not fight? But once most of the value was in fragile buildings and the like, war became a lose-lose proposition.

At the level of crime, the Lily Burk case out in LA (see below) suggests just how many ways cops can build a case against a killer if they are really motivated to go all CSI on a bad guy. They've got security camera footage of the kidnapper and his victim pulling into parking lots, they've tracked her cell phone, they've got ATM records, etc.

I've never actually sat all the way through a CSI episode, but I very much like the fact that lots of would-be criminals who watch those shows now believe that the police all have high tech hoodoo powers of detection so that they are more likely to believe crime doesn't pay.

Combine the televised wizardry of modern crime-solving with the stupidity of most criminals, and it's really not a fair fight anymore. (Lily Burk's murderer was arrested about an hour after killing her for merely drinking in public. The the home invader who slashed the throat of my wife's friend 18 months ago was arrested because he called all his friends from the cellphone he stole from her; the police called them and they immediately rolled over on him and squealed that they could arrest him any morning at his local Jack-in-the-Box.)

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

An unteachable moment

Two days after President Obama's denunciation of racial profiling at his press conference, a blonde 17-year-old private schoolgirl, whose mother is a law school professor and advocate for the homeless and whose father was a longtime jazz critic for the local alternative weekly, was somehow abducted off busy Wilshire Blvd. in the middle of the afternoon by a ten-time loser homeless black crackhead, and, after a tour of ATMs, murdered in her car.

It's been a huge story in Los Angeles for over a week. (Here's the latest news.)

Here's a minor local columnist's braindump that reveals a lot about why white liberals are such fine haters (see "Projection"). I'll quote it at length because the transition is so starkly hilarious that if I shortened it, you'd assume I had distorted it.

Children are murdered in Southern California on a tragically regular basis.

They are beaten by mothers or mothers' boyfriends or so-called "foster" parents. They are slaughtered in selfish family massacres by suicidal fathers. They are felled by stray bullets in drive-by shootings.

So why does the senseless death of Lily Burk affect me so deeply? Why do I pore over news articles about her? Why do I agonizingly imagine her final, terrifying moments?

Why, in fact, does the media seemingly focus more on Lily than on most child murders?

I can only speak for myself, but I suspect similar reasons.

Lily was 17 and headed for her senior year of high school. My daughter, almost 17, is headed for her senior year of high school.

In a widely circulated photo, Lily is wearing a fashionable scarf around her neck. My daughter, too, "got into" scarves last winter.

Lily had a mass of dark blond hair, like my daughter.

Lily's father is a journalist. I, and many of my friends, are journalists. Lily's mom is an attorney. My mom, my brothers and some of my friends are attorneys.

Lily grew up in a middle-class family that, apparently, values education and the arts. Like us.

Lily was a creative sort - as are both my children, in their own ways.

Lily was a new driver running an errand for her mother. My daughter just passed her driving test a few days ago.

Lily was abducted by a transient in downtown Los Angeles. I worked for years in downtown Los Angeles and can easily visualize the turf.

Lily was white. Like my daughter. Like my son. Like almost all of my family. Like the bulk of my friends. Like me.

I never knew Lily, but she feels very familiar.

While I choke up over pictures of the sweet little boy ruthlessly bludgeoned by his stepfather, I cannot as instantly relate to the circumstances.

There is a lot of ranting going on by publicity-hungry white male windbags about "reverse racism." It is unbecoming, to say the least. And it is even more repugnant when white male political leaders - who, after all, represent our diverse country - offer scant rebuttal.

To label Sonia Sotomayor racist over a tiny soundbite in which she relates to and celebrates her own ethnic group - during a pep talk to that ethnic group - is egocentric at best.

To dismiss the painful history of racial profiling as a lesser issue than President Obama's unmeasured use of the word "stupidly" - regarding the arrest of a black scholar at his own house - is insensitive at best.

And for intelligent adults to keep perpetrating a thoroughly debunked rumor that our first African American president qualifies as strictly African but not American is immature at best.

In every one of those scenarios, the term "at best" is charitable at best.

We like to pretend to be a colorblind society. We like to pretend that race doesn't matter - thereby, some argue, saying that it does is in and of itself racist.

But racial profiling does not just occur among police officers, or it would be a pesky problem instead of a persistent, gaping wound. Police departments are merely a microcosm of society at large.

Indeed, we owe a huge debt to those who risk their lives to protect us - doing so with the same kinds of biases every human harbors in some form or another.

Racial - and/or cultural and/or socioeconomic and/or religious and/or educational and/or regional and/or political and/or etcetera - profiling is embedded in our hearts.

Let's be honest: Whatever our skin color, we do tend to notice skin color. Whatever our background, we do tend to connect most automatically with people of the same background.

Thus, in a country dominated by white people, nonwhite people are vulnerable to being marginalized and discriminated against.

For a white man, who has reaped the innumerable benefits of his majority status, to cry racism when a minority ever so mildly expresses sentiments born from firsthand experience is disingenuous at best.

(While we're on the topic, I'd be curious to know how many of these spewing volcanoes partied at college in all-white fraternities. And so on.)

I can't think of Lily Burk without thinking about my daughter and the enormous, risky world into which she is soon to embark. Lily could have been my child.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 3, 2009

California v. Texas

Ross Douthat follows up my old California v. Texas theme in the NY Times.

The key point that he leaves unsaid is that you can afford a huge Hispanic population a lot more easily in a conservative state than in a liberal one. But, can you stay a conservative state once you have a huge number of Hispanic voters?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

August 2, 2009

My new column: Advice for GOP on capitalizing on the Brewhaha

Here's my new column.

Read it there and comment about it below.

Currently, the GOP brain trust of professional political consultants is baffled by the question of how the mostly white Republicans can possibly ever again defeat a growing coalition of blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and liberal whites.

Hmmmhmmmhmm ... That's a tough one. Clearly, nobody in the entire global history of conflict has ever figured out a strategy to use against a large but diverse coalition.

Oh, wait, I have heard of a strategy.

It's called Divide and Conquer.

See, the idea is that you encourage the other side to squabble amongst themselves over their conflicting interests.

For example, the Republicans can say to the Democrats,
"Okay, let's talk about a compromise on Racial Preferences and Immigration. Obviously, we can't afford to have both. If you'll stop and think for a moment, you'll see why.

"So, you Democrats go discuss amongst yourselves which one you want -- Racial Preferences or Immigration -- and which one you don't want. Let us know when you make up your minds. It's an important decision, so make sure to hash it out fully. Get input from all interest groups within the Democratic Party. Take your time!"

Of course, what the Democrats want is A) Both and B) For nobody to ever mention either topic in public.

In this decade, GOP leaders like Bush and McCain have been happy to play into Democrats' hands, with the inevitable results.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer