May 17, 2014

"Who Gets to Graduate?"

Paul Tough in the New York Times has a long article "Who Gets to Graduate" on the high college dropout rate of working class kids, focusing on some black girl from a mediocre Dallas area high school who gets into desirable U. of Texas at Austin, the state flagship school, despite being down around the 10th percentile among freshmen:
Her senior-year G.P.A. was 3.50, placing her 39th out of 559 students in her graduating class. She got a 22 on the ACT, the equivalent of about a 1,030 on the SAT — not stellar, but above average.

The 25th percentile at UT Austin on the ACT is 25 and the 75th percentile is 31. I believe 30 is at the 95th percentile among takers of the ACT, so maybe 97th among the overall population. There are a lot of smart kids at UT Austin.

She got in, barely, under George W. Bush's plan to admit the top X percent of Texas high schools' graduating classes, even though 3.5 isn't very good these days.

Not surprisingly, like many freshmen, she struggled. Traditionally, state flagship universities are harder to graduate from than more prestigious private colleges because they spend less per student and don't feel a commitment to parents to deliver a degree in return for a huge amount of tuition.

After Sputnik, America focused on finding and educating the highest potential students. And 12 years later, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. But then came other priorities like civil rights. 

The solution touted in the article is for famous public universities to give low test score students much more handholding, such as improving the teacher to student ratio in a special chemistry class for low test score students by 10 to 1.

But, the article makes clear, it's absolutely essential that nobody on campuses notices that there are all these special courses for the not so bright because that would ruin their self-esteem and then the magic would vanish. Or something. 

It's the perfect anti-falsification trick. Didn't work? That's because white students noticed! Karl Popper is spinning in his grave.
Anyway, I'm gearing up for the first iSteve fundraiser to launch in this year, finally, so I've tried to upgrade my Panhandling technology at top right of the blog. I think the links all work now, with lots of new options for sending me money. I'd like to do a soft opening among those of you who have been itching to send me money but have been rightfully frustrated by the various payment systems recurrently getting shot out from underneath me. So, if you wouldn't mind playing guinea pig, please give it a try. Thanks. That would be a huge help for seeing if all these news systems really work.

Over the years, I've gotten Paypal, Amazon, and WePay shot out from under me. But I'm not ecstatic about asking you to entrust obscure firms with money. So, I've added Google, Wells Fargo, and Chase.

Update: Okay, a reader has successfully sent me a donation via Google Wallet. So, that works and you won't be stuck trying something that doesn't work.

Michelle, Ma Belle

Civil Rights Anniversary Season has become never-ending. We are currently in the thralls of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 1954 decision Brown v. Board of Education. Our First Black President has stepped back on this task, perhaps because of his preppie private education, and delegated Mrs. Obama:
Michelle Obama Cites View of Growing Segregation

TOPEKA, Kan. — Sixty years after the Supreme Court outlawed “separate but equal” schools for blacks and whites, civil rights advocates say American schools are becoming increasingly segregated, while the first lady, Michelle Obama, lamented that “many young people are going to schools with kids who look just like them.” 
“Today, by some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were back when Dr. King gave his final speech,” Mrs. Obama told 1,200 graduating high school seniors Friday here in the city that gave rise to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. 
In a speech that was part commencement address, part policy pronouncement and part journey into her own past, Mrs. Obama said that Brown’s advances were being reversed. “Many districts in this country have actually pulled back on efforts to integrate their schools, and many communities have become less diverse,” she said, leading to schools that are less diverse. 

You know, a system based on using the white majority of children to buffer the dysfunctions of minorities depends upon having a white majority of children, which the media recently was celebrating doesn't exist anymore among pre-schoolers.
“And too often,” Mrs. Obama said, “those schools aren’t equal, especially ones attended by students of color which too often lag behind.”

As opposed to the students in those schools.

For Mrs. Obama, too, the visit was personal. She was born in Chicago at a time when public schools were still resisting integration. By the time she entered high school, the city — under pressure from the federal government — opened an integrated magnet school for high achievers, which Mrs. Obama credits with setting her on a path to Princeton and Harvard.

And Michelle lived happily ever after.

Well, no actually, at Whitney Young H.S., Princeton, Harvard Law School, while trying to pass the Illinois bar exam, and while washing out of Sidley and the law profession entirely, she constantly felt like people were judging as not smart enough to be there without her affirmative action privileges.

I wrote up the whole story of Michelle's academic career and struggles and resentment of her test scores in 2008 in VDARE.

Lots of people wonder why the President has never released his test scores, but the explanation might be his wife's fragile ego, since I'll bet you dollars to donuts his were a lot better than hers.

The rise and rise of Julian Castro, America's first Hispanic President

For four years, I've been following the quasi-fabulous career of the Hispanic Obama, Julian Castro, who gets paid about $3k or $4k per year to be the ceremonial "mayor" of San Antonio while some white lady gets paid 100 times ($375,000) Hizzoner's stipend to be the actual city manager.
Texas Mayor Is Said to Be HUD Pick in Cabinet Reshuffling 
President Obama intends to choose Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio as the secretary of housing and urban development, replacing Shaun Donovan, who would move to head the Office of Management and Budget, according to Democrats informed about the plans.

Sheryl Sculley, city manager
Well, hey, San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros used the same Cabinet post to launch himself on a public and private career that culminated in this January 2005 Countrywide press release: "Countrywide Expands Commitment to $1 Trillion in Home Loans to Minority and Lower-Income Borrowers." So, let's go back to the well and get another Hispanic San Antonio "mayor."

I wrote about how the Democratic establishment was prepping Castro to be the Hispanic Obama in VDARE in May 2010:
"Who Is Julian Castro And Why Is He Being Touted As The Next Minority President?"
For some reason, Julian's identical twin brother Rep. Joaquin Castro doesn't get quite as much Presidential Timberhood adulation. I wonder if that is a source of sibling rivalry?

May 16, 2014

Blond Muslim billionaire takes control in eastern Ukraine

Although a blond Muslim Russian-speaking billionaire sounds like the ultimate Hollywood blockbuster bad guy, at the moment Rinat Akhmetov is against the separatists in eastern Ukraine (although his long-range goals may be obscure). So that makes him Our Man in Donetsk and by definition a good guy.

I think. This is getting confusing.

Nicholas Wade's Story of Race and Inheritance

A few more reviews of Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance:

A positive review in Scientific American.

A witty and thorough mixed review by James Thompson at Psychological Comments. From the comments on Psychological Comments:
Bruce Charlton *  15 May 2014 12:00 
A few years ago I have a vague memory of reading another NYT best-selling book, whose sub-title proclaimed it was covering similar ground to this volume. 
That subtitle was, I think, "A Story of Race and Inheritance" but I cannot (ahem) recollect the author (presumably a biologist) or the main title (something about psychology and paternity, perhaps?) - maybe you could help me with this?... 
Nonetheless, it clearly *must*, surely, have been making the same kind of arguments concerning ethnicity and genetics as does Mr Wade.

James Thompson 15 May 2014 15:40 
I do apologize. I should have referenced this notable text, but when people recount their dreams I often find it hard to maintain the requisite degree of rapt attention. Furthermore, I realize I should, in all fairness to the previous author, have described Wade's effort as being post-racial.
* By the way, Bruce Charlton assures me he's not the golf course architect Bruce Charlton, who is the Senior Design Partner in the Robert Trent Jones II organization and designer of Chambers Bay, next year's U.S. Open site.

World Wars B, G, and T collide

The future belongs to whichever identity group can throw the biggest snit:
Racially Themed Work Stirs Conflict at Whitney Biennial
By FELICIA R. LEE MAY 16, 2014

The YAMS, a collective of artists who made a video on race and black identity for the current Whitney Biennial, have withdrawn the work to protest a project in the show that they contend is racially insensitive. 
The project is by Joe Scanlan, a white New York-based artist who creates sculptures, paintings and books that feature a fictional persona who is black. Mr. Scanlan, who is on leave this spring from his post as director of the visual arts program in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton, has for years showcased the life and art of “Donelle Woolford,” a black female Yale graduate and artist, even hiring black female collaborators to portray her. 
“Its de facto endorsement by the Whitney Museum is both insulting and troubling,” the YAMS said of the Donelle Woodford material in a letter to the Whitney. The collective said it objected to “the notion of a black artist being ‘willed into existence’ by a white male artist,” and that in the context of an art exhibition, the work presented “a troubling model of the black body” and amounted to “conceptual rape.” 
The YAMS collective, which is made up of musicians, poets, actors, writers and visual artists from around the world and describes itself as mostly black and queer, is participating in the Biennial under the name HowDoYouSayYaminAfrican? and allowed its video “Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: An Opera“ to be screened in March. But in the letter, it asked the museum to cancel final screenings of the video at the show, which ends on May 25. 
Not Donelle
Mr. Scanlan said he had not encountered much opposition to the Donelle Woolford theme until it was selected for the 2014 Biennial, in which it is represented by two paintings and “Dick’s Last Stand,” a series of performances around the country. In the show, Donelle, played by the artist Jennifer Kidwell, appears in drag to re-enact a subversive stand-up routine recorded in 1977 by Richard Pryor for the last episode of his TV comedy show. 

This may seem confusing, but it has a simple moral: whatever the complaint, the White Man is to blame.

As a tonic after all the World War Xs, here's the real Richard Pryor:


Liberalism's ultimate tendency: freedom for aggression

As I mentioned below, in today's New York Times (off to a great start, Dean Baquet!), actor Harvey Fierstein trumpets the very latest cause celebre: a 16-year-old youth legally called "Jane Doe" who has been put into a cottage at a detention center in Connecticut. He writes in "What Is This Child Doing in Prison?"
You see, Jane can be violent. She has fought with other children and with staff members wherever she’s been placed. But given her history, how could she survive by being anything but violent? Where, in her entire life, would this child have ever learned anything except to fight back? ... 
It’s not enough to recount the torment she has endured. If we want to stop the cycle of brutality, we have to ask why the heavens rained down on this child. I believe it is because Jane is transgender. 
Jane was born a boy. She began exhibiting feminine characteristics from age 5, and by the time she was 9 she knew that she was, in fact, a girl. Born into a society where blending gender lines was unacceptable, where God and preachers condemn, Jane didn’t have a chance. ...
And yet, against all odds and reason, she has not destroyed herself. And her strength has brought her allies; protesters have marched in the state capital, Hartford, demanding her release. 

What Harvey doesn't get around to mentioning in this call for "Jane Doe's" release is that "Jane" broke a woman's jaw. As Stalin might say if he were waging World War T today, "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few jaws."

World War T represents two fundamental extremist tendencies of contemporary liberalism: minoritarianism and what a blogger named J.S. Bolton called "freedom for aggression."

Note that the opening salvo of WWT in the NYT was a year ago in as story about some ex-man who is being oppressed by not being allowed to beat up women for money: "For Transgender Fighter Fallon Fox There Is Solace in the Cage."

The cure for all ills: Moar immigration

Here's a paper that lots of people are citing about "declining business formation dynamism" and decline in job relocation.
Declining Business Dynamism in the United States: A Look at States and Metros 
By: Ian Hathaway and Robert E. Litan 
Business dynamism is the process by which firms continually are born, fail, expand, and contract, as some jobs are created, others are destroyed, and others still are turned over. Research has firmly established that this dynamic process is vital to productivity and sustained economic growth. Entrepreneurs play a critical role in this process, and in net job creation.

But recent research shows that dynamism is slowing down. Business churning and new firm formations have been on a persistent decline during the last few decades, and the pace of net job creation has been subdued. This decline has been documented across a broad range of sectors in the U.S. economy, even in high-tech. 
Here, the geographic aspects of business dynamism are analyzed. In particular, we look at how these trends have applied to the states and metropolitan areas throughout the United States. In short, we confirm that the previously documented declines in business dynamism in the U.S. overall are a pervasive force throughout the country geographically. 
In fact, we show that dynamism has declined in all fifty states and in all but a handful of the more than three hundred and sixty U.S. metropolitan areas during the last three decades. Moreover, the performance of business dynamism across the states and metros has become increasingly similar over time. In other words, the national decline in business dynamism has been a widely shared experience. 
While the reasons explaining this decline are still unknown, if it persists, it implies a continuation of slow growth for the indefinite future, unless for equally unknown reasons or by virtue of entrepreneurshipenhancing policies (such as liberalized entry of high-skilled immigrants), these trends are reversed.

You know, I realize this may come as a surprise, but we've actually had a certain amount of immigration during these recent decades of declining economic dynamism. So, before we rush into even more immigration, maybe we should consider the possibility that immigration discourages business formation and job relocation among Americans. 

I thought through the logic last year in conversations with my wife's nephew, when he was visiting us in Los Angeles from his small town in the Midwest. He played on a couple of informal soccer teams here, one otherwise all-Mexican, one otherwise all-Russian. The friendly Mexicans called him "Hollywood" because he looks like the kind of All-American handsome young man associated with movie stardom. (The brooding Russians called him "you.")

But, assuming you aren't going to be the next Brad Pitt, does it make sense for an American to relocate for economic reasons to Los Angeles, the immigration capital of America over the last generation? 

First, it's really expensive in part because of the steady population increase, and in part because it attracts immigrants from cultures where extended families crowded into one house are standard.

Second, wages are not very good here relative to the cost of living. That has something to do with the esoteric concept known as supply and demand.

Third, lots of people make lots of money owning small businesses in Los Angeles, but for an American outsider without many family connections, it can be a baffling maze of ethnic specialties and unfriendly extended family business networks. What's your best field? Well, in Los Angeles, a lot of fields are not particularly open to random Americans moving up into management, so good luck. Maybe you'll stumble into one that doesn't turn out to discriminate against you. Or maybe you'll waste a few years before you figure out that the good jobs in the field where you are an entry-level employee only go to, say, cousins from Yemen.

Fourth, California imposes numerous regulations and taxes on businesses, which makes it a difficult business environment for law-abiding Americans. In turn, it attracts a large number of immigrants from cultures where everybody cheats. (Here's my jury duty story about the Iranian used car dealers who stole two million dollars in sales tax revenue.) It's hard to compete when you are burdened with small town Midwestern values against businessmen who think Americans are chumps.

The great issue of our times: World War T

Top right on the now:

What Is this Child Doing in Prison?
The transgender teen needs treatment, not isolation.

Marketing is the great art form of the 21st Century, especially socio-political marketing.

Update: As a commenter points out, to get the straight story on this, you need to go the radical feminist blog GenderTrender to find out that this youth broke a female staffer's jaw. This post is more than a month old, so the NYT had plenty of time to find out what was really going on:
It turns out that Jill, the ultra-violent girl cited in testimony by DCF Commissioner Joette Katz in February 14th hearings regarding the need for a Connecticut facility for ultra-violent female juveniles is in fact a male transgender. 
The 16 year old “girl” and “female” cited in multiple reports as an alleged serial violent batterer of women and girls across several foster care placements was revealed to be a male “transgender teen” yesterday when gay activist groups revealed he has since been remanded to an adult prison facility for evaluation and placement by the state. 
In most recent charges, the male teen has been charged with biting a woman on the top of her head, kicking her repeatedly in the head arms and face, punching, assaulting, [temporarily] blinding [in one eye] a female caseworker, and breaking her jaw. 
The young man has now been sent for evaluation to an adult (female!) prison for evaluation without charge, an extraordinary occurrence.

Strikingly, the main resistance to World War T is coming from hardcore feminists, typically lesbians, who have been trying to get away from the attentions, violent or sexual, of men in dresses for decades, as the old policy of the Michigan Womyn's Festival of keeping out anybody born male suggests.

Perils of prediction: telephone industry

Regarding Nicholas Wade's speculations on future economic developments by regions of the world, I recall that when I was young, the United States had an expensive and inflexible but relatively terrific national telephone system. Before its antitrust breakup in 1984, the Bell System was a regulated monopoly that provided unstylish but high quality analog telephone service (sound quality was so good that teenagers were notorious for spending hours on the phone), from installation of landlines to long distance to Bell Labs, where Claude Shannon invented information theory and Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson stumbled upon the origin of the universe.

Only a few other cultures, mostly in Northwestern Europe could rival the quality, reliability, and convenience of American telephony. Getting a phone hooked up after moving in, say, Rome or Moscow was a bureaucratic nightmare, much less in Cairo. In Mogadishu? Don't ask.

Now, we could speculate about whether this grand achievement of American technology and, especially, organization was a matter of nature or nurture, but my point is that this is a case in which the past didn't predict the future well, at least regarding phones. The introduction of cell phones over the last 30 years has been a godsend for low trust cultures. They simply don't require the organizational coordination of the old landline technology.

Most famously, the cell phone industry flourished in Somalia even when there was no government. A typical Somali cell phone company would have 500 regular employees (salesmen, technicians, and managers) plus its own private army of 300 AK-47 wielding warriors. Now, that's a lot of overhead, but it's a price Somalis were willing to pay for cellphone service. 

So a prediction from the past about the economic future of telephone industry in Somalia would have gone askew because it pays to develop new technological workarounds for regional deficiencies. 

On the other hand, it's still more pleasant in general to live in the kind of place that could run an old-style landline phone service, like Minneapolis, than to live in Mogadishu, as attested to by the number of Somalis shivering in Minnesota.

Oligarch Carlos Slim to own 17% of NYT

From Reuters last February:
(Reuters) - Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim plans to increase his stake in The New York Times Co by exercising at the end of this year warrants he received when he made a major loan to the newspaper company, according to a report in Bloomberg. 
The report, which cited a person familiar with the matter, said Slim plans to hold his stake in the New York Times Co. He currently owns about 8 percent of common shares though this will increase to about 17 percent when he exercises the warrants, according to the New York Times Co latest proxy filing. 
A spokesman for Slim was not immediately available to comment. A spokeswoman for the New York Times Co declined to comment. 
Slim's warrants were part of deal he made with the company in 2009 when he loaned it $250 million during the height of the economic crisis when many big city newspapers reported plunges in advertising revenue.

These are not voting shares, but, still, for a Mexican who regularly contends for richest man in the world, how has buying so much influence over the entire American news media not been a great deal for him?

May 15, 2014

Donald T. Sterling's commencement address at Michigan St. dogged by controversy

I don't actually have anything to say on the subject, but I liked the title.

My post-post-modern definition of race

Below I've posted an essay I circulated on an evolution-related email group in 1998 in which I outlined my first version of my concept that a racial group is a partly-inbred extended family.

I developed it in response to the post-modern attacks on the modern Linnaean conception of a racial group as a subspecies (which Nicholas Wade sticks with in A Troublesome Inheritance). So I guess that makes my conception post-post-modern. Indeed, recently I've been puttering around on an essay about how the pre-modern Shakespeare used the word "race," and it seems like I've gotten pretty close to a formalized version of the hazy but evocative ways that the English used the word when it became popular in English in the 16th Century.

I'll have to write up the Shakespeare essay one of these days.

Steve Sailer, 1998: "A Race Is An Extremely Extended Family"

First Draft -- Comments Requested

Copyright by Steve Sailer 1998

For a number of years, mainstream anthropologists have been trying to discredit the Concept of Race by claiming that races are just arbitrary social constructs without biological underpinnings. Just flipping through today's newspaper, however, demonstrates that the non-anthropologists of the world are paying no attention. As one editor recently observed, "Without race, what would we have to write about?"

Underlying much of the attack on the concept of race is repugnance at the mass murders that Nazis used racial thinking to justify. Of course, in this century even more people have been murdered by Marxists in the name of equality and the malleability of human nature. So, it's clear that humans are facile both at murdering other humans they find inconvenient and in developing ideological rationalizations for mass murder.

I believe that the relevant lesson of history is that, on the whole and in the long run, truth is more beneficial to humanity than obfuscation, lies, ignorance, and wishful thinking. And, even if it's not, the truth is a hell of a lot more interesting. Therefore, since race is obviously such an important topic, we deserve a clear discussion of what it means.

Most of the criticism of the concept of "races" focuses on the lack of agreement over how many races there are, what to call them, and precisely who belongs to them.

In contrast, scientists who defend the validity of the race concept make many good points, but their replies tend to be confuse the average person. I believe the problem is that they start from the wrong end of the stick; in fact, the wrong ends of two sticks. (1) They attempt to reason down from the species to the race, and (2) They attempt to argue that humans can be sorted into races based on their differing characteristics. These are the techniques used in classifications of non-human animals, so it's natural to explain race in these terms.

Unfortunately, confusion tends to follow.

NYT review of "A Troublesome Inheritance"

The New York Times hands their veteran reporter Nicholas Wade's book to somebody I've never noticed, Arthur Allen. A quick search suggests this Arthur Allen is this writer for the Huffington Post.*
Charging Into the Minefield of Genes and Racial Difference
Nicholas Wade’s ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’
MAY 15, 2014


Few areas of science have contributed more to human misery than the study of racial difference. In the 1920s, eugenicists from top American universities promoted the sterilization of the unfit and later praised Hitler’s racial codes while advocating laws that would exclude thousands of Jews from our shores. 

One of my commenters notes: "At least the reviewer waited until the second sentence to bring up Hitler."
Contemporary researchers have found it useful to examine genetic variations that affect traits like diabetes in Native Americans or high blood pressure in African-Americans. But in the shadow of the Holocaust, scientists in the United States have largely avoided the classification of races as a “futile exercise,” in the words of the population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza; the very concept of race is a matter of scientific debate. 

Almost a decade and a half ago, both leftist anthropologist Jonathan Marks and I pointed out the obvious problem with this popular interpretation of Cavalli-Sforza's forgivable attempt to use the newly fashionable race-does-not-exist verbiage to not get Watsoned avant la lettre: Just look at the map on the cover of Cavalli-Sforza's 1994 magnum opus the The History and Geography of Human Genes:

I noted in VDARE in 2000:
This is Cavalli-Sforza's description of the map that is the capstone of his half century of labor in human genetics: "The color map of the world shows very distinctly the differences that we know exist among the continents: Africans (yellow), Caucasoids (green), Mongoloids … (purple), and Australian Aborigines (red). The map does not show well the strong Caucasoid component in northern Africa, but it does show the unity of the other Caucasoids from Europe, and in West, South, and much of Central Asia." 
Basically, all his number-crunching has produced a map that looks about like what you'd get if you gave Strom Thurmond a paper napkin and a box of crayons and had him draw a racial map of the world.

From the left, the perceptive Marks wrote in his 2003 book What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and Their Genes:
But things quickly worsened, for Time ran a color figure from The History and Geography of Human Genes, in which each of the non-existent human races actually came color-coded: Africans yellow, Mongoloids blue, Caucasoids green, and Australians red. 
Quite literally! 
It was the old essentialist fallacy of Linnaeus, except now with different colors and computerized.

Cavalli-Sforza's map of the Old World from
the cover of a different edition.
But who can notice the cover of Cavalli-Sforza's book when on the inside he uses the word "populations" instead of "races?"

By the way, Marks is by nurture a leftwinger, but by nature he's a Noticer, and that hasn't made him very popular.

Back to Arthur Allen's review of Nicholas Wade:
In “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,” however, Nicholas Wade argues that scientists need to get over their hang-ups and jump into studies of racial difference. “The intellectual barriers erected many years ago to combat racism now stand in the way of studying the recent evolutionary past,” he writes.

Mr. Wade, a longtime science writer for The New York Times, draws on the wealth of evolutionary data that has emerged from the decoding of human genomes. This research has enabled scientists to imagine our prehistory with more precision, and the picture is one of unexpectedly significant genetic change since many of our ancestors left Africa. Since this evolution affected traits such as skin color, body hair and the tolerance of alcohol, milk and high altitude, why not intelligence and social behavior as well? Mr. Wade asks. 
The central problem here is that if significant genetic-controlled behavioral differences exist among races, with scant (at most) exception they haven’t been discovered yet. To build a case with the evidence at hand requires a great deal of speculation, with the inevitable protrusion of the nonscientific worldview. 
Mr. Wade presents a few scattered genetic studies and attempts to weld them into a grand theory of global history for the past 50,000 years. Where Jared Diamond argued in “Guns, Germs and Steel” that environment and geography enabled Europe to develop a highly successful civilization, Mr. Wade says environmental pressures led to genetic differences that account for much of that advantage.

Here's my anecdote about when I pointed out to Dr. Diamond at the 2002 Milken Global Conference that his documentation of the massive environmental differences between continents would tend to select for the evolution of genetic differences between continental races.
“The rise of the West,” he writes, “is an event not just in history but also in human evolution.” 
Conservative scholars like the political scientist Francis Fukuyama have long argued that social institutions and culture explain why Europe beat Asia to prosperity, and why parts of the Mideast and Africa continue to suffer destabilizing violence and misery. 
Mr. Wade takes this already controversial argument a step further, contending that “slight evolutionary differences in social behavior” underlie social and cultural differences. A small but consistent divergence in a racial group’s tendency to trust outsiders — and therefore to accept central rather than tribal authority — could explain “much of the difference between tribal and modern societies,” he writes. 
This is where Mr. Wade’s argument starts to go off the rails.
At times, his theorizing is merely puzzling, as when he notes that the gene variant that gives East Asians dry earwax also produces less body odor, which would have been attractive “among people spending many months in confined spaces to escape the cold.” No explanation of why ancient Europeans, presumably cooped up just as much, didn’t also develop this trait. Later, he speculates that thick hair and small breasts evolved in Asian women because they may have been “much admired by Asian men.” And why, you might ask, did Asian men alone prefer these traits? 

Maybe Mr. Allen should ask Charles Darwin, whose 1871 classic The Descent of Man; and Selection in Relation to Sex offers at vast length a sexual selection theory for racial differences.
Mr. Wade occasionally drops in broad, at times insulting assumptions about the behavior of particular groups without substantiating the existence of such behaviors, let alone their genetic basis. Writing about Africans’ economic condition, for example, Mr. Wade wonders whether “variations in their nature, such as their time preference, work ethic and propensity to violence, have some bearing on the economic decisions they make.” 
For Mr. Wade, genetic differences help explain the failure of the United States occupations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. “If institutions were purely cultural,” he writes, “it should be easy to transfer an institution from one society to another.” It’s hard to know how to begin to address such a puzzling statement.

But pointing-'n'-sputtering is the standard response.
Mr. Wade acknowledges that specific evidence for the influence of “social behavior” genes is quite limited. The one example he presents repeatedly is the MAOA 2R variant, the so-called warrior gene that has been linked to violent behavior in men abused as children and is more common in blacks than whites or Asians. Mr. Wade admits that such genes at most create a tendency to violence, and adds that there may be other, yet undiscovered violence-susceptibility genes that could skew the racial picture. 
Mr. Wade’s distinctive focus is on how evolution, in his view, shaped different races’ “radius of trust,” or ability to assume loyalty to, say, a nation rather than a tribe, and to punish those who violate social rules. Modern civilizations select out violent individuals and their genes, which might be more valuable in tribal societies, he argues. 
When it comes to his leitmotif — the need for scientists to drop “politically correct” attitudes toward race — Mr. Wade displays surprisingly sanguine assumptions about the ability of science to generate facts free from the cultural mesh of its times. He argues that because the word “racism” did not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary until 1910, racism is a “modern concept, and that pre-eugenics studies of race were “reasonably scientific.” This would surely surprise any historian of European colonies in Africa or the Americas. 
“Science is about what is, not what ought to be,” Mr. Wade writes. “Its shifting sands do not support values, so it is foolish to place them there.” Yet he acknowledges that views of scientific truth are highly contextual. The philosopher Herbert Spencer “was one of the most prominent intellectuals of the second half of the 19th century, and his ideas, however harsh they may seem today, were widely discussed,” Mr. Wade writes. Why does he suppose that Spencer was so popular? Was it science’s “shifting sands” that gave his ideas credibility, or their tendency to support what powerful people wanted to believe?

What is it that powerful people want to believe (or, at least, want the rest of us to believe) today?
The philosopher Ludwik Fleck once wrote, “ ‘To see’ means to recreate, at a suitable moment, a picture created by the mental collective to which one belongs.” While there is much of interest in Mr. Wade’s book, readers will probably see what they are predisposed to see: a confirmation of prejudices, or a rather unconvincing attempt to promote the science of racial difference.

Arthur Allen is the author of “The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl,” to be published by W. W. Norton in July.
* This Arthur Allen is almost certainly not the other Arthur Allen, I am relieved to say, whom a Google search turns up as a suspect in the Zodiac Killer mystery.   

Magic Johnson's greed ruins 2014 season for Dodger fans

One of the many overlooked ironies of the Los Angeles Clippers story is that the media-beloved choice to take the Clippers away from Donald T. Sterling is basketball legend Magic "The Ultimate Cleanser" Johnson, who was the frontman for the purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers two years ago. 

Yet, Magic, his Guggenheim Partners backers, and their smart money investor Michael Milken, are currently the greediest owners in big league sports. A quarter way into the 2014 baseball season, 70% of Dodger fans haven't been able to watch the team on TV because of Magic's consortium's demands for more money. In today's Los Angeles Times, the TV reporter tries to see the bright side: it's like being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan in 1958, listening to Vin Scully on the radio describe the play of Pee-Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo, and Elmer Valo. (Scully has been the Dodgers announcer since Brooklyn in 1950.)
A hot night, Vin Scully on the radio: What's not to like?

For many, watching the Dodgers on TV still isn't an option 
On a summer night, who needs cable when you have Vin Scully on the radio?

By the time the first pitch was thrown out at Wednesday night’s Dodgers game, the thermometer on my patio in Irvine still registered in the mid-90s. Which, come to think of it, is the speed you like to see on a good fastball.

So we spent the evening outside ... So it was me, my wife, the dog, a couple of cold beers and Vin Scully on the radio (for the first three innings, anyway). Which really is how baseball should be followed, rather than on television.

Of course, watching the Dodgers on TV wasn’t an option. Our cable supplier is Cox, not Time Warner, which paid that obscene amount of money — reportedly $8.5 billion over 25 years — for the right to distribute the new Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA channel. Time Warner has since found it impossible to spread the costs around to other distributors like Cox and DirectTV. So those of us non-Time Warner customers can’t watch the Dodgers broadcasts.

But that’s OK. A persistent problem with cable television, and with professional sports, is the cost (I’ve written about ticket prices before). According to news accounts, the per-subscriber monthly cost for a cable provider to pick up SportsNet LA from Time Warner is $4.

That’s a deal if you’re a Dodgers fan who wants to watch the team on television. But it’s a waste if you’re not a baseball fan, or a Dodgers fan, yet you still have to pay that fee because cable companies refuse to sell access on an a la carte basis. 
And, in fact, if consumers paid only for the channels they wanted to watch, the individual cost for the Dodgers’ game channel would probably be significantly higher. 
So in a sense, we’re creating yet another economic divide, with low-income viewers or those who decline to pay exorbitant cable rates shut out from most television broadcasts, Dodgers or otherwise. Without cable, CNN, ESPN, USA Network and scores of other channels can’t be viewed. 
But Magic isn't racist, so it would be all good if he and his backers build their local monopoly by adding the Clippers to their bargaining power. Making Michael Milken richer is a small price to pay to express our loathing of racism.

Matt Ridley on "A Troublesome Inheritance"

Science journalist Matt Ridley, author of The Red Queen and the Fifth Viscount Ridley, reviews Nicholas Wade's A Troubled Inheritance in the Times of London.
Humans are not all the same under the skin 
Matt Ridley 
The Times 
Monday May 12, 2014 
There are genetic variations between races, but they don’t matter. It is co-operation that brings progress to our species. 
Is it necessary to believe that racial differences are small and skin-deep in order not to be a racist? For the first half of the last century, science generally exaggerated stereotypes of racial difference in behaviour and assumed that they were innate and immutable. For the second half, science generally asserted that there were no differences — save the obvious, visible ones — and used this argument to combat prejudice. 
Yet that second premise is becoming increasingly untenable in the genomic era as more details emerge of human genetic diversity. We will have to justify equal treatment using something other than identity of nature. Fortunately, it’s easily done. 
Human evolution did not cease thousands of years ago; it has been “recent, copious and regional”, in the words of Nicholas Wade, a veteran New York Times science writer and the author of A Troublesome Inheritance, an eloquent but disturbing book on genes, race and human history, which was published last week. ...
Perhaps people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have high average IQs because for centuries their ancestors worked almost exclusively in professions such as money-lending, where exceptional literacy and numeracy were rewarded with greater fecundity. Or perhaps Chinese people show greater conformity because for centuries those who could stomach Confucian rote-learning and obedience got to have more surviving children. These are no more far-fetched arguments than to suppose that ancestral Inuit with genetic adaptations for coping with the cold had more offspring. 
Nor is it implausible that over millennia of settled, agricultural and urban living, with the execution or ostracism of “skull-cracker” misfits, selection took place for tameness in the natives of Europe or India compared with say, New Guinea or the Amazon. Thanks to “soft sweeps” — where multiple existing gene variants change in frequency — evolution can work a lot faster than we used to think. ...
So Wade is absolutely right that the old assumption that human behaviour did not evolve much after the divergence of human races at the end of the old Stone Age has to be wrong. The comforting message that biologists sent to social scientists in the 1960s — that they were sure there was no biological basis for race, which could instead be regarded as a social construct — is bunk. 
True, the boundaries of races are blurred, and the differences between individuals dwarf those between average members of different races, but differences there are, and not just in skin pigment. The more we look, the more genetic variation we will find between races, as well as between individuals, so we had better get ready to deal with such discoveries, if only for medical reasons. Some diseases afflict certain races more; some drugs work differently in different races. 
However, I part company with the next step in Wade’s argument. He tries to explain too much of human history by gene changes. The industrial revolution started in Europe and not China, he suggests, partly because Europe had been preconditioned by genetic evolution for the sort of economic openness that sparked accelerating innovation. 
This is based on the work of the historian Gregory Clark (like Wade, an expatriate Briton in America who has written a fascinating new book about social mobility called The Son Also Rises). The evidence from the history of surnames, Clark says, “confirms a permanent selection in pre-industrial England for the genes of the economically successful, and against the genes of the poor and criminal”.
... But surely this was not anywhere near fast or large enough to spark the industrial revolution, let alone as important as factors such as the harnessing of fossil fuels or the invention of inclusive institutions and opening up to trade.

Clark's 2007 book was so important that I reviewed it across two articles in VDARE: first and second.
Just look at how quickly attitudes to homosexuality, say, have changed within a lifetime, with no time for gene changes.

WWG is rapidly assuming epochal importance in the Western mental landscape.
It may be harder to build and run a modern consumer society from scratch using only people whose ancestors were hunter-gathering for most of the past 30,000 years (native Australians, say) than by using only people whose ancestors experienced farming, cities, diseases, alcohol and literacy. But it would be far from impossible with the right institutions.

I think the Viscount went for a bridge too far there in choosing his example. He could have used, say, Maoris in his example. (Here's Clive James on an anthology of poetry supposedly by Aborigines, which he contrasts to a recent poem he really likes by a Maori.) The "right institutions" would have to include a near total ban on alcohol, which the Australian government has been trying in recent years, but I don't know with how much success.
There is a big reason that racial differences in mental capacity will not matter a jot, however many we find. Human achievement is not, despite what professors like to think, the work of brilliant individuals. It is a collective phenomenon. 
Every technology, every idea, every institution is a combination of many people’s contributions. There is no single human being on the planet, as Leonard Read famously pointed out, who knows how to make a pencil, let alone the internet, the economy or the government. 
The average IQ of a group, a team or a race matters little, if at all. What counts is how well they communicate, collaborate and exchange ideas. Give me a hundred thickos who talk to each other, rather than a hundred clever-clogs who don’t. This collaboration is surely the true secret of human achievement and the true reason that race does not count, not because we are all identical inside.

But can't clever-clogs talk to each other too?

That's a devastating comeback if the big problem is inequality among groups, which has been the conventional wisdom since the 1960s. If that's not really the big problem, then clever clogs and thickos talking to each other will lead to economic growth without necessarily radically changing the rank order of groups' economic potentials. And that's pretty much what we've seen.

As I tried to point out in my recent piece in Taki's, a lot of agitation is driven by juvenile jealousy over ethnic bragging rights. Biologist Stephen Jay Gould resented that the history of biology featured fewer great names from his group than the history of some other sciences, such as nuclear physics, so he concocted a giant, highly successful campaign to get people to believe that his largely WASP predecessors were evil pseudo-scientists.

The world we live in in 2014 is one that looks an awful lot like the one us bad guys describe ... and, guess what, it's not so bad.

May 14, 2014

NYT Editorial Board: Over 1% of military is transgender

The point of World War T is that it's being waged on behalf of a pointlessly tiny minority, yet it's hard for the media warriors not to try to pump up the numbers to make this supposedly major issue sound less trivial. Thus, the NYT editorializes:
Discrimination in the Military 

Three years after the demise of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” an estimated 15,000 members of the military still must lie about themselves in order to go on risking their lives for their country. When Congress eliminated the law against gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, the Pentagon left in place an equally unfounded prohibition on transgender people.... 
As with gay and lesbian soldiers, the issue is not whether transgender people can serve in the armed forces. The point is that they — including the estimated 15,000 of them now serving — have to cover up their identities. Some refrain from seeking necessary hormone treatment or other medical care, suffering anguish and risking their physical and emotional health.

This editorial twice asserts that there are an "estimated 15,000" transgender individuals "now serving" in the U.S. military. Yet, there are only 1,369,532 active personnel in the armed forces, which would imply that over 1% are transgender, which sounds wildly inflated. 

Sterling's iSteveish PR offensive working as expected

From the NYT:
The Opinion Pages | OP-ED COLUMNIST 
The AIDS-Shaming of Magic Johnson 
MAY 14, 2014 
"Smug-looking? Moi?
Charles M. Blow

The sheer volume of bile spewing from the mouth of the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, is staggering. But just as awe-inducing, and stomach-churning, is the unrestrained breadth of its variety, which makes putting the offenses in order — if one were inclined to — nearly impossible. 
But high on any list — on a par with the racism, sexism, misogyny, paternalistic plantation thinking and bias cloaked in benevolence — has to be Sterling’s attempt to AIDS-shame Magic Johnson. ...
“What kind of guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then goes and catches H.I.V.? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background.” 
And there’s more: 
“Here’s a man, I don’t know if I should say this, he acts so holy. He made love with every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS, and when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him. I hoped he could live and be well. I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children?” 
This line of attack on Johnson is one of the most revolting things to come out of this whole revolting episode. It feeds into the ignorance about the disease itself and the stigma attached to it that is an enormous hindrance to bringing it more under control in this country. 
Let’s start here: Contracting H.I.V. (or AIDS) is not evidence of a character defect. 
It is simply a disease and should be treated as such. The way that so many people, like Sterling, seem to separate out and shun people with communicable diseases — particularly sex-related ones —is outrageous and mustn’t be tolerated and glossed over.

So, don't shun people with sex-related communicable diseases. Your intolerance is intolerable. In fact, why aren't you having sex with them right now? What kind of bigot are you? Look at Donald T. Sterling -- he didn't want people to think he was having sex with a woman who was also having sex with an HIV-infected man. Isn't that the most disgusting thing you ever heard in your life? (Not the part about Donald getting Magic's sloppy seconds -- there's nothing disgusting about that. Don't even think about that. I mean, the disgusting part is about Sterling not wanting the public to think he's getting Magic's leftovers.)
... What we don’t need is a man of Sterling’s dubious motives and questionable character spreading pernicious misinformation and hurtful poison about a disease he seems to little understand.

Seriously, we live in an age that admires, above almost all else, slick professional marketing. And a big reason that Donald T. Sterling has so outraged the world is that he's such an awful, amateurish marketer.

Look how horrible-looking his countless ads in the L.A. Times have been for decades. Sterling has poor taste and a giant ego and is unable to discern amateurism from professionalism as long as he's the center of attention.

For example, as far as I can tell, Clippers owner Sterling is a man of similar personal character to the late Lakers owner, the universally admired Dr. Jerry Buss, two friends who did real estate business together. But Buss had the sense to pay to have Jerry West pick his team for him, while Sterling was content with the other 1960s Lakers living legend, Elgin Baylor. Sterling let Baylor run the Clippers for 22 years, finally dumping him when Elgin was older than Hillary would be when she's running for re-election 2020. In contrast, Buss hired smart white guys like West, Mitch Kupchak, and Phil Jackson for his front office, while Sterling stood by the not-so-smart black guy Baylor, who sued him for racial discrimination when Sterling finally fired Baylor after 20 losing seasons.

Thus, Sterling just wings a lot of stuff on his own instead of bringing in expensive experts to do it for him in a way that will meet with media approbation. I joked about Sterling getting all of his public relations strategies from this blog, but the press loves slick PR campaigns.

Much of political campaign coverage these days consists of marketing criticism. PR is a common second career path for journalists, so modern journalists admire well-crafted PR campaigns, and are horrified by obvious miscues like not remembering you've agreed to do your first interview with Anderson Cooper before raising the touchy issue of the guilt of people like Magic who may well have killed other people with AIDS for his own pleasure.

That's just poor PR. After such knowledge, what forgiveness?

The Democrats ought to worry about Hillary's health

Everybody is mad at Karl Rove, but not, of course, for all the good reasons for being mad at him. From the NYT:
Mrs. Clinton was hospitalized for a few days at the beginning of 2013 after sustaining a concussion, which led to a blood clot in a vein between her brain and her skull behind her right ear. 
“There’s nothing to it,” Mr. Clinton said of Mr. Rove’s remarks, pronouncing himself “sort of dumbfounded” at the suggestion. He did acknowledge that Mrs. Clinton had suffered a “very serious concussion,” and that it had taken her months to fully recover.

There's too much deference toward big shots in America. The health issues of Presidential frontrunners ought to be fair game. 

Serious health problems can have long term consequences, especially as you get older. I think it took me about ten years to recover from cancer and chemotherapy when I was 38. Currently, I seem to be -- knock on wood -- enjoying better health than I did in my 40s.

As you get older, it's harder and harder to spring back from health traumas. My mother had cancer in her early 60s. She lived another 16 years, but she remarked that because of it she went from middle-aged to old almost overnight. I doubt if Ronald Reagan ever really recovered from being shot in 1981 when he was 70.

Hillary will have just turned 69 on election day in 2016. If everything goes according to her plan, she'll be 73 when she's up for re-election. The Democrats should seriously look into Karl Rove's warning for their own good. 

The Republican have nominated a lot of older candidates lately and it hasn't done them much good. In the post-Reagan era, the three times the GOP won the White House their candidates averaged 59. The four times they lost their candidates averaged 69.

The four times the Democrats have won since Reagan, their winners averaged 48.5. The three times the Democrats lost, their candidates averaged 57.

Obviously, these sample sizes are tiny. Still, these numbers ought to give the Democrats pause before blindly adopting for Hillary's benefit the GOP's strategy of nominating elder statesmen who have come close in the past like Dole, McCain, and Romney.
In general, people now seem to be able to function at a high level longer than when I was young. That's a very good thing. 

Still, I'm concerned that improvements in plastic surgery and cosmetics have given us an unrealistic sense of our leaders as impervious to aging. Hillary, for example, looked terrific when she ran for President at age 60 against Obama. She may have looked better than when she was 30 and didn't believe in all that sexist nonsense about getting your hair styled by an expert, much less having a little work done.

But we shouldn't be so quick to police our skeptical thoughts about our rulers perhaps not being wholly superior to the rest of us.

P.S. What's the maximum age to command a nuclear missile submarine? All I can find is the average age of the Old Man:
How old is the commanding officer of a submarine? 
The average age of a Commanding Officer is 38-42.
That's a running joke in Heinlein's sci-fi novels for boys. The young ensigns on the starship all assume the Old Man is as old as the hills, but eventually you figure out that the venerable captain isn't quite 40.

The Continental v. British traditions since 400 AD

From the comments:
Henry Canaday said... 
How about the difference in British and German philosophical traditions as a factor in explaining the British advantage in evolution and the German-Jewish edge in physics? 
I think Einstein read Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” when he was something like 12 year old, perhaps just for fun. That is a profoundly humiliating thought. I read the book in my 50s and would be flattering myself to think that I understood 10 percent of the average page. But you can see how Kant’s emphasis on man’s ability to only perceive phenomena, how things must appear, and then to organize these perceptions in time and space, might have helped scientists who were studying the stars, light waves and atoms.

When young, Kant himself made major contributions to astronomical theory, such as the Nebular hypothesis.
In contrast, the British empirical tradition might have helped the thoughtful squire, who happened to observe that the mating of two sorts of cows commonly produced a bigger, better cow, to avoid obsessing about whether he was misjudging cow size and just count the damn cows.

On the other hand, it's hard to tell how much is hindsight imposing patterns on a lot of history that was pretty random. For example, if James Clerk Maxwell hadn't died at 48 in 1879, he might have gone on to come up with at least the Special Theory of Relativity after the Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887. And then I might be writing articles about the famous British knack for physics. After all, Newton was a Brit.

But, there remains a hunch that continental thinkers have tended toward top-down thinking while English and lowland Scottish thinkers have tended toward bottom-up thinking: e.g., Adam Smith on the self-organizing powers of independent businesses within a market, Charles Darwin on how inheritance with variation can originate species, and so forth. 

Paul Johnson's spectacular early book, The Offshore Islanders, a leftwing patriotic history of England in the key of Orwell, emphasizes what Johnson calls The Island Advantage, which includes the margin for error that natural defenses allows. In Johnson's highly creative retelling, the Continent is drawn toward trying to recreate the Roman Empire (e.g., the Roman Catholic Church) for mutual peace and thus their thinkers look for universal rules that would be best to impose upon all; while the Brits have a tendency to appreciate local initiative.

Johnson claims to be able to trace the British difference back before there was an England to Pelagius, a 4th Century Christian theologian who tangled with St. Augustine:
Pelagius (fl. c. 390-418)[1] was a probably British-born Roman ascetic who opposed the idea of predestination and asserted a strong version of the doctrine of free will.[2] He was accused by Augustine of Hippo and others of denying the need for divine aid in performing good works. For him (according to them), the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law apart from any divine aid. 

Is the Pelagius theory true? Johnson is an extraordinarily creative historian who tends to drive less gifted historians crazy. They tend to think he notices more patterns than may actually exist, and that he only gets away with it because he has such an inexhaustible supply of colorful supportive examples to pull out of his memory. 

Personally, I love Johnson, although I can also appreciate the criticism. For example, in one of his books (The Birth of the Modern, perhaps), he's criticizing some British policy he doesn't like, and then he turns on the British politician who most strongly backed that policy. Johnson sneers that this leader was consistently "unlucky," and then cites as evidence the guy's death from falling off his elephant during a tiger hunt in India.

I have a hunch that Johnson's chain of thinking proceeded in the opposite direction: he started with this wonderful fact about some modestly important British historical figure dying by falling off an elephant that he felt was so colorful that he had to work it into his book somehow, and then he built the framework of his opinions on the policy question around that kernel of killer anecdote.

(Or maybe I just suspect that because that would be what I'd do -- death-by-elephant is too great to pass up.)

I don't know if my supposition is true, and even if it were, it would still be merely an extreme example of Johnson's weaknesses as a reliable authority figure in historiography. 

But maybe that's the point. Johnson's not really that interested in the Continental tradition of developing authority in history. He sees himself more as a very British advocate of the marketplace of ideas, into which he regularly dumps a giant number of ideas for the marketplace to eventually sort out.

So, is his Pelagius idea correct? Beats me. I hadn't seen it getting much traction in the marketplace of ideas, but I just noticed that it provided the ideological basis for the 2004 Clive Owen movie King Arthur (which I've never seen). From Wikipedia's article on Pelagius:
In the movie King Arthur (2004), Pelagius is an unseen former mentor of young Lucius Artorius Castus, aka Arthur. Arthur champions Pelagius' ideals, including the belief that people are not inherently sinful, and that Grace may be attained through good works. This brings him into opposition with Roman Christian authorities, who believe that the inherent sinfulness of Man is justification for the conversion-by-torture of the Celts (a practice approved by Augustine to some extent, and used by his followers as justification for persecution of non-Christians[8]). Upon learning of Pelagius's excommunication and murder, Arthur realizes that the Roman ideal that he supported no longer exists. He breaks ties with the Roman Empire, and leads the Britons against the Saxon invaders.

So there.

UKIP leads polls for Euro Parliament

From Slate:
Right-Wing Anti-Immigration Party Leads Labor, Tories in UK Poll 
By Ben Mathis-Lilley

A controversial right-wing group known as the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP or Ukip) leads the traditionally dominant Labor and Conservative parties in polling ahead of next week's election of British representatives to the E.U.'s European Parliament. 

Why aren't conservative politicians in the U.S. studying what Nigel Farage is doing right?

Notice for the umpteenth time that "controversial" no longer means "new, daring, cool, sexy" in the liberal media, it means "bad."

May 13, 2014

Sailer: "The Strange Evolution of Eugenics"

From my new column in Taki's Magazine:
The Strange Evolution of Eugenics 
by Steve Sailer  
Predictably, responses to veteran New York Times genetics reporter Nicholas Wade’s new book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History are already starting to break down along ethnic lines. 
For example, the quite intelligent and extremely hostile anthropologist Jonathan Marks, who coined the term “human biodiversity” in 1995, continues his long-running War on Wade with some classic bile. 
Much of the anger at Wade derives from a sense that a victory that seemed like it had been won in the 1970s is slipping away as the human genome data pours in. Luke Ford interviewed Wade and asked: 
Would it be fair to say that many of the principal ideas in your book were taken for granted as commonsense wisdom say 70-80 years ago? 
Nicholas laughs. “I think a lot of that is true. People took it for granted that races existed and had a biological basis. … Many social scientists now say they don’t think that races exist. And the fact that the genome says otherwise is, as you say, a throwback to the wisdom of 70 years ago.”

Read the whole thing there.

Nobody is interested in disinterestedness anymore

Via Zero Hedge
Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, has expanded its Board of Directors by bringing on Mr. R Hunter Biden as a new director.

Yes, Hunter Biden is the son of the Vice President, who was in Kiev last month.

I guess the logic of this is that America is now engaged in a great struggle with a country run on the basis that Vlad knows a guy who knows a guy (which is how Russia spent $50 billion on the Winter Olympics). So, much as they may regret it, our rulers have no choice but to throw out traditional Anglo-American scruples and go to the mat with the Kremlin, matching them rakeoff for rakeoff, nepotistic deal for nepotistic deal.

And may the biggest yacht in Monte Carlo win.

Lex's PR advice for The Other Donald

I stopped reading's extremely hostile celebrity gossip when founder Brendon got booted by the owner a few years ago, but I see his replacement Lex is evolving well. Here's his take on what Donald T. Sterling should have said to Anderson Cooper.

Are there medicines to help Indians resist alcohol?

From the NYT:
Effective Drugs to Curb Alcoholism Are Ignored, Study Finds 
By ANAHAD O’CONNOR   MAY 13, 2014 
Two medications could help tens of thousands of alcoholics quit drinking, yet the drugs are rarely prescribed to patients, researchers reported on Tuesday. 
The medications, naltrexone and acamprosate, reduce cravings for alcohol by fine-tuning the brain’s chemical reward system. They have been approved for treating alcoholism for over a decade. But questions about their efficacy and a lack of awareness among doctors have resulted in the drugs being underused, the researchers said. 
Less than a third of all people with alcohol problems receive treatment of any kind, and fewer than 10 percent are prescribed medications.  
In the new study, which was published online on Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, a team of researchers based mostly at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill compiled findings from the most rigorous trials of medications for alcoholism in the past few decades. Ultimately, they analyzed data on roughly 23,000 people from 122 randomized trials. 
The researchers focused on a measure known as the “number needed to treat,” an indicator of how many people need to take a pill for just one person to be helped. The study found that to prevent one person from returning to drinking, the number needed to treat for acamprosate was 12; for naltrexone, the number was 20. 
By comparison, large studies of widely used drugs, like the cholesterol-lowering statins, have found that 25 to more than 100 people need treatment to prevent just one cardiovascular event. 
According to federal data, roughly 18 million Americans have an alcohol abuse disorder. Excessive drinking kills about 88,000 people a year and costs the health care and criminal justice systems billions of dollars. 
“These drugs are really underused quite a bit, and our findings show that they can help thousands and thousands of people,” said Dr. Daniel E. Jonas, the lead author of the new study and an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina. “They’re not blockbuster. They’re not going to work for everybody. But they can make a difference for a lot of people.”

Since there appear to be biochemical routes to help combat alcoholism, I'd like to see a smart philanthropist like Bill Gates put some serious money into a research program to find out the optimal ways to help American Indians fight the alcoholism scourge. Substance abuse is a horrible problem on Indian reservations, and the white man bears a large measure of responsibility for coming here and introducing firewater to a race genetically unprepared for it.

North American Indians presumably haven't yet evolved the genetic defenses against alcohol that Mediterranean peoples have developed over the last ten thousand years. Notice that in the Book of Genesis, scandalous stuff happens when ancient patriarchs like Noah and Lot get dead drunk, but by the time of the New Testament, people seem to drink responsibly at the Wedding Feast of Cana and the Last Supper: evolution in action.

Native American cultures often put a lot of effort into scrounging up various natural intoxicants (peyote, the peace pipe, etc.), but they were hard to find. That cultural emphasis was disastrous when palefaces showed up offering to trade jugs of distilled corn liquor for pelts.

There are a bunch of stupid laws in the U.S. restricting the genetic research on American Indians that might help figure out exactly what kind of anti-alcoholism drugs could help them most, but Canada, oddly, seems somewhat more open for research and Mexico is another option (although Mexican Indians, who had more technically advanced civilizations, developed their own alcohol before Columbus).

African-American cultural homogeneity

From the NYT:
Different N.B.A. Loyalties for Black and White Neighborhoods
MAY 13, 2014
Nate Cohn

It is no secret that the N.B.A. is especially popular among black Americans. About 45 percent of people who watched N.B.A. games during the 2012-2013 regular season were black, even though African-Americans make up just 13 percent of the country’s population. 
In addition to being numerous, African-American fans also seem to have different patterns to their N.B.A. rooting. Hometown basketball teams tend to earn a lower share of Facebook “likes” in heavily black areas. Many black fans instead seem to gravitate to teams with national followings, like the Heat and Lakers, over the local team.

There's nothing wrong with this. After all, NBA teams are not like old time European soccer teams that actually were manned by locals, they are hired gladiators mixed randomly. So deciding to root for Oklahoma City because you like Kevin Durant even though you couldn't find Oklahoma on a map makes as much sense as rooting for the local team.

There are no doubt multiple reasons for this, but one point I don't see made too often is that these days African-Americans have a strikingly homogeneous national culture. Sure there are local variants, but the culture is largely propagated by electronic media and defines itself in opposition to national white culture as seen on TV, so it's pretty much the same everywhere.

Donald Sterling wisely turns to iSteve for his P.R. tactics

I just got back from mailing my invoice to The Donald T. Sterling Corporation for all my public relations gambits that Sterling used in his triumphant interview with Anderson Cooper tonight. 

If you are going to launch a giant PR offensive to restore your battered reputation, always remember to turn first to this blog to see what I think would be epic for you to say (e.g., How many people did Magic Johnson kill by giving them AIDS?), and then say the exact opposite. Unfortunately for Sterling, he's not getting any younger, so he appears to have forgotten the part about saying the opposite. But as the links below will indicate, Sterling sure remembered everything else I posted here.

From Sports Illustrated:
Clippers’ Donald Sterling attacks Magic Johnson, says he should be ‘ashamed’ of HIV


Disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling launched into an extended tirade against Magic Johnson in an interview with CNN, saying that the Lakers legend should be “ashamed” of being HIV-positive and suggesting that he hasn’t financially supported minority communities. 
Making his first public statements in the 16 days since his initial racially-charged audio leaked, Sterling apologized for his comments in an interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° and said that he was “asking for forgiveness.” 
But when the topic turned to Johnson, the 80-year-old Sterling launched into multiple, extended diatribes against one of the most popular NBA players of all time. 
“What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done? He’s got AIDS,” Sterling told CNN. “Did he do any business? Did he help anybody in South LA?” 
Sterling was just getting started. 
“What kind of guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he goes and catches HIV,” he said. “Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. And what does he do for black people? He hasn’t done anything.

“Here’s a man I don’t know if I should say this, he acts so holy. He made love with every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS, and when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him. I hoped he could live and be well. I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children? You know, because he has money, he’s able to treat himself." ...

Well, that will persuade the media and the public to rethink this whole question of who is the Good Guy and who is the Bad Guy. It will be just like the end of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes" when the whole mob suddenly realizes that the lone truthtelling brave little boy billionaire is right and therefore they were all wrong and hypocritical and venal. That kind of thing happens all the time ...
As Sterling and Cooper’s discussion continued, the Clippers owner tried to draw a distinction between the Jewish community and the African-African community in how each community supports its own members.

Good thinking ... This part I didn't actually recommend, but Sterling is clearly getting into the iSteve spirit and improvising nicely:
"I told you about the loans"
“The Jewish people have a company and it’s for people who want to borrow money for no interest,” he said.

They do?
“We want to give them a fishing pole. We want to help people. if they don’t have money, we’ll loan it to them. There is no African-American …. I’m sorry. they all want to play golf with me, everyone wants to be with me.” 

Good work! Comparing blacks to Jews is a surefire road to mass popularity and media approbation.

"You do know who runs this town,
don't you?"
But, next time, Donald, don't forget to mention how everybody knows that Hollywood isn't run by the Jews, it's run by the Gay Jews.

Maybe work in a Bryan Singer conspiracy theory angle.

For example, you could say that your good friend Rip Torn called to tell you this whole Clippers whoop-tee-doo was concocted as a red herring to distract from the Real Story.

"Party's at my suite. Wear your
full dress Wehrmacht uniform."
Trust me, that would go over great.
Sterling also said that Johnson leaked quotes from a conversation the two had had since the first tape was released by TMZ and said that Johnson “lulled” him into remaining quiet after the controversy first began. 
“I’m hurt that he called me up and he said don’t do anything,” Sterling told CNN. “[He said], ‘Wait until you hear from me.’ Then someone called me later and said he doesn’t want to be involved. And then he released the tape I sent to him. That I talked to him in confidence.” 
Sterling believed Johnson wanted him to wait because, “I think he wanted me to do nothing so he could buy the team. He thought the whole thing would be resolved in two weeks.”

So, yeah, as I wrote back in April, it sounds like Magic set Sterling up to get control of the Clippers. Was the set-up after the tape was released? Or was it before? It would be interesting to know how much contact there was between Magic and V. Stiviano.

"I make Jorge Ramos
look like Anderson Cooper."
And how much discussion was there of the Clippers between Magic, his backers in Guggenheim Partners such as CEO Mark Walter, and, my favorite speculation, between the Guggenheim COO Todd Boehly and Boehly's backer, Mike Milken.
The CNN interview is the first since Sterling was caught on tape berating his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, for posting a photo of Johnson to her Instagram account while making a series of racist remarks. ...
Then, in comments that leaked out last week, Sterling allegedly admitted that “jealousy” fueled his initial comments about Johnson and other African-Americans. 
"I'm not actually involved."
“The girl is black. I like her. I’m jealous that she’s with other black guys. I want her,” Sterling allegedly said, according to “I never thought a private conversation would go anywhere out to the public. … I didn’t want her to bring anybody to my game because I was jealous. I mean, I’m being honest.”

That's exactly what I theorized on April 27th. Straight out of Moliere. Now it could be that Sterling is just lying -- he has a lifelong track record of being a terrible person -- but the Jealous Elderly Cuckold theory always made sense.
Johnson, for his part, was furious when the tapes first became public, pledging never to attend a Clippers game until Sterling was removed as owner.

Furious, I tell you, Magic was furious when the tapes first became public.
As it became clear that Silver was intent on pushing out Sterling, Johnson’s name was rumored as a possible buyer for the Clippers, and he called on Sterling to sell the team in multiple interviews. 
“I would definitely take a look at [buying the Clippers] because I am a businessman,” he said, according to the AFP. “But we here in Los Angeles, whether it’s myself or somebody else, we just want an owner who will include everybody, who will understand diversity and not include all races of people.” ...
Donald Sterling is reportedly battling cancer, and Shelly Sterling suggested in a recent interview that her husband could be suffering from the “onset of dementia.”

So, like maybe when Sterling gets my invoice with the printouts of all my blogposts giving him almost all his best ideas for the Anderson Cooper interview, he won't remember that he didn't actually hire me and just whip out his checkbook. (Darn. I should have included a self-addressed stamped envelope.)

Okay, Donald, you don't have to pay me for the part about how the Elders of Zion give free loans to all Jews while blacks would rather golf than fish -- that was all yours and it's genius stuff.

The Demented Billionaire niche sounds like a promising market for my knack for coming up with what exactly will most please contemporary America. (Call me anytime, Sheldon!)

More from what's turning into Steve Illustrated:
Clippers owner Donald Sterling on V. Stiviano: ‘She’s a street person’

... Asked specifically about Stiviano, the 80-year-old Sterling broke down in tears, painting her as a “good person” that he cared about, while also pointing out her disadvantaged background. 
“She’s a good person, she’s a beautiful person,” Sterling said. “There’s 15 of her, 15 children, 15 Hispanic kids, sisters and brothers (in her family), and she supports them all. Perhaps she’s made some mistakes. I thought she cared for me. I was stupid. How could a girl care for a man 51 years older? She wouldn’t release those tapes. She’s not a bad person. ...
“I made such a mistake,” he told CNN. “I thought that woman really cared for me. but thank God, this has all come to the light, because it could have been worse. I don’t know what she wants, I don’t know how it happened.” 
Sterling also told CNN that he believed Stiviano “baited” him into making the comments. 
“I don’t know why the girl had me say those things,” he said. “Yes, I was baited. That’s not the way I talk. … When I listen to that tape I don’t even know how I could say words like that. I’m not a racist. I love people. … An 80-year-old man is kind of foolish, and I’m kind of foolish. I thought she liked me and really cared for me. I guess being 50 years older than her, I was deluding myself.”
You heard it here first.