Sign up for Steve Sailer's
email updates,
including important articles and movie reviews not posted here.
Just send a blank email here

Steve Sailer's Website

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - Orwell

E-mail me

Web Exclusives Archive

 

Steve Sailer's iSteve.com Home

Email me 

 

For Other  commentaries, go to
iSteve.com Exclusives Archives

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: July 2002

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: May-Jun 2002

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: Mar-Apr 2002:

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: Jan-Feb 2002

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: Dec 2001

 

August 2002

 

Film of the Week: 'Mad Love' from Spain by Steve Sailer
Because life is too short to spend any of it reviewing "Fear Dot Com," I went to see "Mad Love" without knowing what it was. I sort of expected a remake of the 1995 drama "Mad Love" in whi
ch teenaged Drew Barrymore falls in love with handsome lunk Chris O'Donnell, but then develops severe mental problems. This "Mad Love," however, turned out to be a fairly good subtitled historical melodrama from Spain originally called "Juana la Loca," after the Castilian queen known to history by that name. Yet, though I was off by a half millennium, this art house "Mad Love" proved to have the same basic plot as Drew's "Mad Love."

***

 

One interesting sex difference is how much more women than men appreciate vocal athleticism in singers (e.g., Whitney Huston, Mariah Carely and Celine Dion), while men seem to prefer guys who can barely croak out a tune (e.g., Lou Reed, Neil Young, and a bunch of rappers). For example, Kelly Clarkson made the top three of American Idol even though she just stands in one place and barely moves while she sings. But, she can sing the hell out of a song, and that has (rightly) impressed the show's largely female fans.

***

 

What our 1999 attack on Serbia accomplished: "Fewer than 200 of the 230,000 non-Albanian residents of Kosovo driven from the province after 1999 have returned to their homes." "Kosovo has become the European capital for trafficking in human beings and the most important transit point for drug smuggling on the continent." "The near outbreak of full-scale civil war in Macedonia last year was the first case in history in which a member-state of the United Nations was the victim of aggression launched from a U.N. protectorate."

***

 

Richard Poe carries on the Great Debate (Silly Season version) that I started awhile back over Vin Diesel vs. Denzel Washington as Hannibal the Carthaginian. I'd go with Vin as more authentic-looking, but it would sure help if he could read his lines as well as Denzel. How about this compromise - Vin plays Hannibal, but Denzel dubs his voice?

***

 

The Zimbabwe pogroms reveal the Achilles heel of multiracial South Africa - you can have sensible majority rule for years, but when a powerful politician sees his grip on office threatened, his natural response is to play the race card. One year of violence cancels out nineteen years of peace. If you are a South African white, does it make sense to invest in your property when it's increasingly clear that at some point in the future, a demagogue will send mobs to your home to seize your land and abuse your loved ones? Are you smart enough to sell out just before the Zimbabwe-style crisis hits and the market crashes? Not bloody likely. So, if you are white, why wait for the coming day of doom? Get out now, while the getting is still good. And without white and Indian human capital, what is South Africa but just another mineral rich sub-Saharan country like, at best Botswana, at worst the Congo?

 

The wise Nelson Mandela initiated a strategy for the black ruling class in South Africa of transferring wealth from the non-blacks to themselves at a rate that would not scare off the white and Indian wealth creators. (Of course, this doesn't leave much left over for tens of millions of impoverished blacks. And, there's always the temptation to tolerate enough criminal violence to scare a steady flow of whites into selling out cheap to the black elite and skedaddlng abroad.) This cozy arrangement could go on for many decades before South Africa's economy is destroyed (South African whites are awfully wealthy), except that South Africa is not at present a secure oligarchy. It's supposed to be a democracy. And that means that some day a politician will try to outbid his rivals by appealing to the masses through large-scale property seizures, as in Zimbabwe, precipitating a crisis that will leave South Africa virtually all black. 

 

If anybody believes in a more optimistic future for South Africa, can you please explain why?

***

 

Video of the Week: 'A Knight's Tale' by Steve Sailer -- Coming out on Tuesday is the "Superbit" DVD version of that amiable medieval adventure from 2001, "A Knight's Tale." That's the movie with that love-it-or-hate-it opening where the spectators at a joust, peasants and nobles alike, lustily sing and clap along ("bam-bam-bomp") to the 1978 jock rock classic "We Will Rock You" by Queen.

***

 

Interview: Are stereotypes of homosexuals true? by Steve Sailer -- To paraphrase Mark Twain, everybody talks about sexual orientation, but Michael Bailey is one of the few scientists who rigorously researches it. The Northwestern University psychology professor is among the most respected figures in the field of objectively investigating homosexuality.

***

 

Here's an excellent resource: "Human Races Archive: Human Evolution, Genetics, Anthropology, and Archaeology Portal." Highly recommended.

***

 

"Why Arabs Lose Wars" - A terrific article by a retired U.S. colonel who had the frustrating job of trying to train the armies of our Arab allies. Fortunately, they proved impervious to our help.

 

Reader Update: Q. What's the only thing Arab generals learned from their Russian military advisers?

 

A. Keep retreating until the first blizzard.

***

 

COMMENTARY: How tolerant are the British? by Steve Sailer
"Since Sept. 11, there has been much chest-thumping among American professional pundits -- and even more so among the countless amateur "bloggers" who have sprung up on the Web since the terrorist attacks -- over the superiority of all things American compared to anything European."

***

 

An alert reader sent in this picture (left). Try your hand at guessing where he's from.

 

I've now put the the answer below.

 

Hints: Here are some fine guesses from a reader: "1. A Berber from Tunisia; 2. A Caucasic Man from Ossetia or Circassia; 3. A Volga German gentleman whose ancestors where forcibly (and usually murderously) uprooted to Central Asia." 

 

A not so fine guess from me was that he might be Swiss.

 

All wrong, though. Personally, I think he looks like Eric Idle of Monty Python, but the background of rock and ice doesn't look much like Olde England. 

 

Answer: I am informed that this fellow is a native of the mountains of Northern Pakistan, presumably close to the porous border with Afghanistan. If he moved to America, as a Pakistani he would officially be an "Asian-American" and thus eligible for special low interest loans from the Small Business Administration. I still think, no matter what the OMB says, that he looks like Eric Idle.

 

I am told he speaks a non-Indo-European language isolate - in other words, his ancestors were presumably in place before the Aryan invasions of India about 3500 years ago. I'll try to find out what his exact tribe is. 

 

Perhaps he's related to the  Kafiristani/Nuristani, the people featured in Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King." Some of these fair-haired pagans sought refuge in Pakistan when the Amir of Kabul waged jihad against them in 1896. In Kipling's story, Daniel Dravot is sure he can rule the Kafiristanis without trouble because they look just like Englishmen. (I've seen a picture of a Kafiri who looks like he could be Sean Connery's brother.) He turns out be mistaken that looks equate with culture. (John Huston wanted to include that twist in his movie version, but he ended up filming in Morocco and couldn't get enough fair extras, so he went the opposite way and used Michael Caine's very dark Indian model wife as Dravot's bride Roxanne, who was blonde in Kipling's story.)

***

 

''The wonderful thing about women's music is that it was the strongest, most powerful organizing force for lesbians in the United States next to softball" -- NYT. It's amusing to see that the NYT Magazine has finally noticed that folk music has become dominated by lesbians (I pointed this out back in my "Why Lesbians Aren't Gay" article in 1994.) Of course, that raises the question of whether acoustic guitar music can call itself "folk" anymore if it caters to just 1% of the folks in America, and that a particularly hostile and resentful 1%.

 

The article makes a few stabs at why lesbians love "folk music" so much more than anybody else. Let me suggest that "women's music" tends to be extremely verbal and not very ambitious musically because that's how women are. The number of brilliant female composers in history, or today, is minimal. Most of the musically interesting women around - Liz Phair, Chrissie Hynde in her younger days - are overtly heterosexual and maternal. In contrast to women's music with its endless songs about relationships, a musically talented male group like REM could make a name for themselves despite most of their first half dozen albums' lyrics being incomprehensible. (What is "Radio Free Europe" about?)

***

 

Also, the man who killed folk music as a mainstream style was Bob Dylan when he picked up the electric guitar, that manliest of instruments, in 1965 to play "Like a Rolling Stone." Dylan had always wanted to be a guitar rock star like Elvis, but rock and roll was in the doldrums after Elvis got drafted, so he hopped on the folk craze. But when the Beatles came along, Dylan switched back to rock, rightly seeing that as the fastest track to superstardom. (Dylan's overwhelming need to be a star explains why he wasted so many years on his stillborn movie career, despite lacking any screen presence.)

 

"The Free Trade Fix" is a long a thoughtful article on the successes and failures of globalization. It would be much more explanatory, however, if the average IQ of each nation mentioned in the article was listed, since IQ correlates at the very high .73 level with per capita GDP. Economists spend a vast amount of time debating over what trade and tax policies different nations should follow, but the truth is that within the narrow range that is practiced these days (e.g., Malaysia on the left, Taiwan on the right), laws matter a lot less than who your citizens are. The East Asian countries follow an interesting variety of economic policies, but they all do better than the sub-Saharan countries. I wonder why?

***

 

Another arms race - You may have noticed that kids are suddenly disappearing from campgrounds and beaches. Last summer, many of the campgrounds in Kings Canyon N.P. were almost empty by the Wednesday before Labor Day. How come? They are back in school. Schools are starting earlier and earlier. Why? To give kids more time to cram before their high stakes tests. Of course, this just means the school year ends earlier in spring, so no extra learning gets done overall.

 

In much of the North, summer runs right up through Labor Day, then ends abruptly. Several times, I can recall it being in the eighties on Labor Day in Chicago, then only in the sixties the very next day. On the other hand, summer doesn't really start in Chicago until early June. I endured quite a few Memorials Days that never got out of the forties. Further, this screwing around with traditional vacation schedules is bad for business. Business slows down in summer as parents take vacations with their kids, especially in August, then revives with a bang on the Monday one week after Labor Day and runs flat out until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The best solution would be to make the week before Labor Day the designated national goof off week by moving Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday from it's unloved position in the dead of winter to the last Monday in August, when it would commemorate MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech on 8/28/63 at the Lincoln Memorial. (Here's my article on this.)

***

 

Here's a sensible column, "'Race' reemerges in a PC world," from the Boston Globe, of all places. "The impulse behind banning the term ["race"] was political and historical rather than scientific... It is the fundamental and characteristic error of what we today call political correctness (it had other names at other times) to think that verbal and terminological changes can erase facts. Facts are impartial, even when unpleasant. They are reality, and the reality has to be dealt with, not made to disappear by changing how it is spoken about. However seductive it is to disguise facts by censoring the language in which they are named or through the invention of a vocabulary of positive connotations (which Orwell called ''Newspeak''), they remain facts."

***

 

Film of the Week: Paltrow in 'Possession' by Steve Sailer

The denizens of the movie business are routinely derided as soulless philistines with no appreciation for great literature. Yet, judging by how many prestige novels the film industry buys up each year and turns into predictably unprofitable movies, it's clear that movie people love literature a lot more than the paying public does.

***

 

"Turkish officials have warned that they are prepared to go to war to prevent the Iraqi Kurds from declaring a kind of mini-Kurdish state within Iraq.The Turkish government fears that such a state with control over key oil resources around Kirkuk might incite Turkey's repressed Kurdish population to rebel. "We are by no means finished discussing things with the Turks," one official said. Kurdish officials said the American dialogue with Ankara about the prospect for an American-led military campaign against Iraq had been far more contentious than the Bush administration had conveyed publicly."

"Anti-Baghdad Talks Shunned by Top Kurd"

NYT, 8/15/2002

 

"Turkey definitely does not want an oil-rich Kurdish state with its own army on Turkey's southeastern border. The Kurdish rebellion against Turkey in the last decade cost 37,000 lives, according to the Turkish government. Would the Kurds, who have known an uncertain and shifting degree of autonomy within Iraq since the Gulf War, welcome or attack invaders coming from Turkey? It's hard to say. Kurdish politics is volatile, with Kurdish factions occasionally aligning with Iraq, Turkey or Iran in order to wage war against other Kurdish parties. Still, it could well be that to bring Turkey into the war, the United States would have to betray the Kurds. America has largely been untouched by Kurdish violence, but selling out the Kurds could make another dangerous enemy."

Steve Sailer, UPI, 12/3/2001

***

 

World According to Golf by Steve Sailer

Why does modern man (and, to a much lesser extent, modern woman) spend so much money building golf courses? Why does the modern American golf course appeal so strongly to the male eye? A number of scientists now believe that a love of golf course-like landscapes may be hardwired by evolution into many human brains.

 

 

You guys know your human biodiversity. Everybody who wrote in to answer the latest where-is-he-from question got it right. The 4'-6" 24-year-old (right), who appears to wear his clothes with the casual confidence of a Gap model, is an aborigine of Australia. Yet, he's not at all an Australian Aborigine, who tend to be fairly tall and highly robust. Knowledge of the existence of N.E. Australia's pygmy negritos has been suppressed within Australia for 30 years in the interest of the politically correct dogma that there were no racial divisions between Australians before the evil Europeans arrived.

***

 

Film of the Week: 'Serving Sara' - Come August every year, the movie business shoots its wounded, releasing doomed movies that don't deserve a more desirable date earlier in the summer. A standard example is "Serving Sara," a comedy you would quickly forget except for one scene that you wouldn't want to remember involving "Friends" star Matthew Perry, an impotent bull, and a shoulder-length rubber glove.

***

 

Guess where Brother Harry (right) is from. 

 

Answer: This is Brother Harry Gereniu, head of the Melanesian Brothers, an Anglican order. They are based primarily in the Solomon Islands, east of New Guinea, home of Guadalcanal of WWII legend.

 

Solomon Islanders have a lot of different looks depending on what particular island they are from. Jared Diamond reported, "By the end of my first trip through the Solomons, I too could match people to their islands by their skin and hair and eyes." This little Solomon girl looks like she could be the daughter of Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child and Art Garfunkel.

 

Your guesses were of a particularly high degree of accuracy. It's interesting that nobody thought Brother Harry was African.

***

 

Casus Belli with Iraq - For several years, the U.S. has had a perfectly traditional, perfectly legitimate reason for booting Saddam around: he hasn't been living up to the promises he made in the 1991 ceasefire agreement to not build weapons of mass destruction. In contrast, our attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 was much harder to justify under traditional notions of the law of nations. (Recall that we did not strike in response to ethnic cleansing; the ethnic cleansing was in response to NATO's first strike on Belgrade.)

 

It was pathetic that we let inspections in Iraq lapse. We could have made inspections work by the simple step of announcing that if the weapons inspectors were obstructed in the slightest way in their attempts to search any structure in Iraq, said structure would cease to exist before the sun rose again. That's what cruise missiles are for, dammit.

 

Anyway, now one of Saddam's flunkies has rejected resumption of inspections, so that clears the way on that front. (Important questions still remain, though, such as the delicate Turkish-Kurdish question or the simple one of how are we going to rule Iraq - we certainly haven't shown any talent for the job in Afghanistan.) 

 

One interesting question is why in all the zillions of words the neoconservatives have churned out in their war fevers, they've barely mentioned this perfectly valid casus belli. The only explanations that I can come up with are that A. They feared Saddam would agree to inspections, leading to the destruction of his weapons programs, and thus the elimination of the stated reason for war; and B. That the precedent of invading Iraq because it is violating its contract with us would be too restrictive on their greater ambitions. We don't have that kind of traditional casus belli with most of the other countries that Wolfowitz and company want to invade after Iraq. They want to establish the more convenient precedent of might makes right.

***

My recent article "It's All Relative: Putting 'Race' in its Proper Perspective" was an an attempt at a rational definition of "racial group" - "an extended family that is inbred to some degree." This definition is intended to be simple; short; understandable by the general public; and in line with the traditional definition of "race" as a "genealogical line; lineage; family" [American Heritage Dictionary, 1978]. But it is also intended to be logically rigorous; non-arbitrary; powerful at making predictions; and broadly useful in scientific, political, and social discussions.

 

In a recent public email, the always interesting anthropologist Peter Frost of Université Laval offers some comments. Peter wrote:

 

"I won't get into a longwinded debate about the word "race." The line between populations above and below the species level is an arbitrary one and I don't believe that species emerge ex nihilo. Whether one wishes to call the latter populations "races," "clusters," or "biological populations" holds little importance for me. But they do exist and they merit scientific study."

 

Peter and I are certainly in agreement that "racial groups" or "clusters" or "populations" or whatever you want to call them do exist and deserve scientific study.

 

One big question, though, is what to call them.

 

Intentionally jargonish terms like "biological populations" and this-could-mean-anything terms like "clusters" are popular among scientists because they keep the public in the dark about what is being studied. I can certainly understand why scientists working in the field of race would prefer bland terms that don't attract hostile attention from the politically pious.

 

Still, there are ethical concerns about trying to keeping scientific knowledge away from people who could use it for their own benefit. It is now becoming clear that racial differences in genes impact both the likelihood of contracting certain diseases and their optimal treatments. The New York Times reported on July 30, 

 

"Challenging the widely held view that race is a "biologically meaningless" concept, a leading population geneticist says that race is helpful for understanding ethnic differences in disease and response to drugs. The geneticist, Dr. Neil Risch of Stanford University, says that genetic differences have arisen among people living on different continents and that race, referring to geographically based ancestry, is a valid way of categorizing these differences."

 

 Dr. Sally Satel wrote a similar article in the New York Times Magazine last Spring entitled "I Am a Racially Profiling Doctor."

 

Unfortunately, terms like "biological populations" and "clusters" don't mean anything to patients or even to most doctors. The term they are familiar with is "race." The more information about racial differences in disease susceptibility and optimal treatment that is hidden away from people via euphemisms, the more will die.

 

Those who are scared of using the R-word, however, might consider compromise phrases like "ancestral groups" or just plain "peoples." "Genealogical groups" would be good, except that it is a neologism. You can call them "Sailerian Groups" for all I care, but partly inbred extended families exist, their existence is extremely important for how humans behave, and the best plain English term for them that I've ever found is "racial group."

***

 

Richard Poe has a fine new column applying my "It's All Relative" definition of race.

***

 

My "It's All Relative" article explaining my definition of race -- "Racial groups are extended families that are inbred to some degree" -- has elicited other definitions. Here's one from physical anthropologist Ralph L. Holloway at Columbia U.

 

"Races are open dynamic breeding groups which display some restriction of gene flow with neighbors (through endogamy, geographical and or cultural factors), and which show observable and thus measurable patterns of phenotypic and genotypic frequency differences with other breeding groups. Contact zones often show intermediate values of both phenotypic and gene frequencies from the more central distributions of the breeding groups, and the variation, both genotypic and phenotypic, is usually clinal [Could it be anything else?] Such breeding groups, to borrow from Vincent Sarich, are "fuzzy sets". These groups are dynamic because their gene frequencies (and the resulting phenotypic and epigenetic expressions) are always changing given the ubiquity of sociocultural and environmental/ecological changes. The number of such groups, and their subsequent classification is largely, but not entirely, arbitrary, depending mostly on the degree of gene flow between groups. Thus, the number of such groups are also continually changing, and their identification must be dependent on the questions asked and the relevance of the biological data to answer them. In general, the largest breeding groups are found on different continents, but it also possible to differentiate populations with continents to varying degrees."

 

This one sounds pretty good to me, but I prefer very short definitions in which longer ones like this are implicit. It helps you focus on cause and effect. On the other hand, this one contains answers to most of the obvious objections to my mini-definition, so it's certainly useful too.

***

 

What's the only way to have kept the stock market from crashing? To have kept it from going up so ridiculously high in the first place. Look, I'm sorry our portfolios are no longer worth umpty-ump gazillion megabucks like back in April 2000, but let's face, it's not like we had earned it or that we deserved it or anything.

***

 

I'm terribly sorry to hear of the death Sunday in a plane crash of Galen Rowell, the Ansel Adams of color photography. Of all the artists in America over the last 30 years, Rowell was the supreme transmitter of the sublime. No artist ever undertook greater physical exertions for the sake of beauty. 

***

 

"New Tactic to Prevent AIDS Spread" reports the NYT. Twenty years into the AIDS epidemic, what new tactic could the health establishment possibly have come up with? Well, they are finally going to try asking HIV-positive homosexuals not to infect the uninfected. Apparently, it's never been officially done before. Of course, this is hotly controversial. You really have to read this story to believe it. It's just another reminder that a long time ago the fight against AIDS got subordinated to the more pressing issue of preserving gay self-esteem.

***

 

Alternative Medicine - The public should not be told that it must choose between scientific medicine and alternative medicine, since many will then choose alternative and die because they forego scientific medicine. On the other hand, in moderation, alternative remedies can sometimes function as useful complements to scientifically-approved medicine. Think of alternative medicines as a vast, jostling, largely talentless mob of would-be stars who all want to be America's Idol. A few of them will indeed pass multiple auditions and join the ranks of scientific medicine. 

 

The term alternative medicine covers a vast array of treatments. I see no reason to reject alternative ideas a priori. 

 

Much of what's called alternative medicine is Chinese in origin. The notion that the immensely practical Chinese people never hit upon anything useful in medicine is prima facie silly. Lots of now-scientifically accepted drugs emerged out of folk medicine, such as aspirin. There's no reason to assume this process should be over by now.

 

 It's important to note that some alternative treatments are crossing over into mainstream medicine. Echinacea's usefulness as a short-term immune booster when you feel a cold coming on (just don't take it long term) has already been documented.

 

It's also important to note that most remedies aren't going to work for everybody. Chinese remedies, for instance, may tend to work better on the Chinese. Or there could be treatments that only work for, say, 2% of the population, but do those few a lot of good. This effect could be below the level of statistical significance for all but the most expensive double-blind study, but remain popular on the marketplace because actually do work for a few.

***

 

One big question is not globalization vs. isolation, but globalization vs. regionalization. Say a U.S. manufacturing job is going to be lost to one of two countries: Mexico or China. Over the last two years, Mexico's economy has plateaued in large part because these kind of jobs are no longer going to Mexico but to China. Mexico has pretty good workers at pretty low wages, but China offers high potential workers at what are currently low wages.

 

Are we indifferent whether the job goes to Mexico or China?

We will probably get cheaper products if it goes to China. I would argue that we are better off demographically and in terms of national security, however, if the job goes to Mexico. The more decent jobs there are in Mexico, the fewer Mexicans feel compelled to sneak illegally into the U.S. Individual Mexicans are about 50-100 times more likely to sneak into America than Chinese. Second, although the Mexican ruling class has never liked us, Mexico poses no military threat in any conceivable timeframe. In contrast, China's national image is increasingly wound up in an urge to play Wilhelmine Germany to our Edwardian England ... not a reassuring precedent.

***

 

It appears from this article that the People's Liberation Army generals (and presumably their political masters) don't actually want to conquer Taiwan, they just want to enjoy a perpetual World Crisis over Taiwan. The longer and louder it goes on the more the PLA will get lots of nice shiny weapons and the Communist Party will get to whip up national pride over China's Great Power status and race hatred of Americans by blustering that, "Real Soon Now we are going to attack America's ships in the Strait, yeah, we're really mad, somebody better hold us back, we can't control ourselves any longer," etcetera etcetera forever. 

 

Of course, as August 1914 showed, this kind of thing is prone to unfortunate accidents, or as the Argentine ruler's invasion of the Falklands shows, sometimes things get politically dicey enough back home to inspire the powers that be to take extraordinary steps to stay in power, like grabbing some offshore islands. So, I'm guessing that the basic American strategy ought to be to periodically state that we would of course defend Taiwan, but otherwise act like the topic is too boring to talk about. Also, we ought to lean on the Taiwanese to shut up about pointlessly metaphysical steps like declaring the sovereignty that they already indubitably hold de facto.

***

 

Mark Steyn, the Prince of Pundits, issues a call to "destabilize" the Middle East. Hope it works, but I do recall another August, 88 years ago, when Europe's best and brightest young men wanted to destabilize Europe. The instability that began in August, 1914 turned out to be probably the worst thing that every happened in history.

***

 

Films of the Week: 'XXX' & 'Blood Work' by Steve Sailer 
Action heroes old and new are in the theatres this week as 72-year-old Clint Eastwood's detective thriller "Blood Work" vies with 35-year-old Vin Diesel's heavily hyped "XXX." The latter is a trashy but entertaining-enough cross between a James Bond movie and one of those '80s action films where muscle-bound, thick-tongued heroes grunt out witty one-liners while shooting giant guns.

***

 

Somebody is trying to get me killed. Some jerk forged my email address, which I've had for six years, onto an email he sent to to all sorts of Death-to-Israel-type discussion groups. The forged email contains an anti-Islamic essay originally written, I've discovered, by somebody named Carl Pearlston. Hey, I stick my neck out enough in what I write. I don't need anybody else putting words in my mouth to taunt easily excitable folks in my name. Anybody know how I protect myself from forgery?

***

 

I've received a few suggestions for good blogs. These aren't quite right for me to put up permanent links to, but you may enjoy them: 

 

Harvard economist Brad DeLong

Pop culture writer Jimmy Guterman

***

 

Calling Bloggers! I have only limited space in my Links section to the left, but I am looking for a few interesting blogs to add. I don't get a huge number of visitors, but they are an elite crowd hungry for more. By "interesting blogs," I mean (among other things) "Not Another Instapundit Clone." I am bored beyond words with blogs that specialize in giving you, day after day after day, More Reasons to Hate Muslims. Yeah, okay, I get it. In fact, I got it a long time ago.

 

Obviously, my favorites would be more blogs like Gene Expression. But, if you read my stuff, you can see my interests are, shall we say, broad. My apologies in advance to anybody who applies but doesn't get a link - it's just that my space is quite limited.

***

 

Score one for Cavalli-Sforza - One of the great Stanford population geneticist's theories had taken a beating in recent years, but now it appears to be much truer than was thought over the last three years. We appear to have moved from Cavalli-Sforza's thesis that most of modern European genes come from Middle Eastern farmers who moved into Europe after the invention of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent about 10,000 years ago; to the antithesis proposed by people like Sykes and Richardson that 80% of the genes are descended from hunter-gatherers indigenous to Europe since they arrived from the Middle East about 30-40,000 years ago; to Chikhi's synthesis that the mix is about 50-50, with more Middle Eastern farmer genes in the southeast and more ancient hunter genes in the northwest. The technical issues are hugely complex, but Henry Harpending of the U. of Utah, one of the world's top mathematical population geneticists says this latest paper sounds like the real deal. It uses much more sophisticated math models than recent ones.

 

In any case, Europeans are almost all of Middle Eastern origin. The question is whether most came 30k-40k years ago or 5-10k ago. I've never seen much in the way of social implications for the modern world from any of these alternatives, but it is nice to know.

***

 

Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full? Dept. A reader wonders, "Instead of denouncing Arabic societies for being held back by Islam, perhaps we should congratulate them for clinging on to some social capital, rather than descending into sub-Saharan social anomie."

 

As Robert D. Kaplan has pointed out, Islamic societies in the Middle East have remarkably low rates of street crime, probably due to Islamic indoctrination. They also have minimal AIDS rates. Saudi Arabia is a dismal place, but, despite the absurd rock-star like wealth that suddenly descended on it in 1973, it hasn't yet descended into complete VH1 "Behind the Music"-style moral collapse. How many other medieval societies could survive that kind of instant riches? Elvis couldn't, and he was a very nice, very polite young man who'd been raised right by his parents.

 

Now, if you are a highly reasonable and urbane Arab man of the world, like, say Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, I suspect your base opinion would be that Islam is all Arabia has and without it, chaos would ensue.

 

Sub-Saharan Africa was largely held together by fear that if you broke the social rules, somebody would place a curse on you. Then, modern ideas came along and moral behavior collapsed into the AIDS epidemic.

***

 

La Griffe du Lion, the Zorro of statisticians, is back with a new quantitative essay, "The Effect of Urban Flight on IQ Distribution.

***

 

Here's a confused NRO essay called "What Is Racism?" by Mark Goldblatt. Boy, does he need to read my "It's All Relative" piece explaining what race is.

***

 

Video of the Week: 'Lord of the Rings' by Steve Sailer 

***

 

Richard Poe has an interesting article entitled "Why I Am (Probably) a Paleoconservative."

 

I have to say that the neo vs. paleo war strikes me as largely a playing out of New York City ethnic rivalries in the conservative intellectual sphere. Neo-conservatism came into existence in the 1960s when formerly hard-left Jews (such as Nathan Glazer, Irving Kristol, and Norman Podhoretz) turned their backs on leftism and joined forces with more moderate Northeastern Catholics like Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The main opponent was the left, but as the left has shrunk in importance, intra-conservative ethnic squabbling has come more to the fore with the Jews and (to a lesser extent) the Catholics battling the WASPs for status.

 

Personally, having been raised in Los Angeles a continent and a generation removed from the 1948 Trotskyist vs. Stalinist squabbling at CCNY that obsesses some prominent neoconservatives to this day, all this NYC in-fighting seems a little remote to me. I have one foot in all three camps (I guess that makes me a campstool): I'm Catholic; I've always assumed I'm biologically half-Jewish (I'm adopted); and I'm an Anglophile and an admirer of WASP culture. So, I wish everyone well.

*** 

 

In articles about the movie "Signs," crop circles are generally described as "hoaxes" made by "pranksters," but a far better term would be "folk art." Here's a link to the spectacular "Top of the Crops for 2002," as chosen by CircleMakers.com, a group who will come and stomp out whatever design you want. Check out their Weetabix Crop Sign.

***

 

Here's just a heads-up about a Major Article I have appearing in VDARE this evening (Friday) ... at least that's the plan.

Update: My "What Is Race?" article is now up.

 

By the way, sociobiologist Frank Salter of the Max Planck Institute reached almost the identical conclusion, independently of me. We are both huge fans of Pierre L. van den Berghe's great 1981 book "The Ethnic Phenomenon."

***

 

Film of the Week: Mel Gibson in 'Signs' by Steve Sailer
The nerd audience has become Hollywood's most prized market segment, but hotshot writer-director M. Night Shyamalan doesn't care.

***

 

Dr. Stephen O'Brien, a geneticist at the National Cancer Institute, said that the conclusion that race was not a valid concept "comes from honest and brilliant people who are not population geneticists."

 

This is from "Race Is Seen as Real Guide to Track Roots of Disease," another terrific article in the NYT (of all places) by Nicholas Wade.

***

 

Analysis: That curious immigration lottery by Steve Sailer

One of the U.S. government's more obscure yet curious programs received some unwanted publicity on the Fourth of July when Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet killed two Jews at the Israeli El Al Airline counter of Los Angeles International Airport. He was only in the U.S. because his wife had won permanent residency through the Diversity Visa Lottery, which hands out 50,000 visas annually to applicants chosen at random. What is this Lottery?

***

 

My interview with perhaps the longest flourishing songwriting team of the rock era on how they do it:

 

"The husband-wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil is the exception to the rule that in the rock era, hot songwriters burn out fast. They are now in their fifth decade as a songwriting team. Their biggest hit -- the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling," which Mann & Weil co-wrote with Phil Spector in 1964 -- is perhaps the biggest hit anybody ever wrote. The BMI performing rights organization named it the Top Song of the Century because it's the only song to have been played more than eight million times on American radio."

***

 

Should you redshirt your preschooler? More and more parents are holding their children, especially their boys, back for an extra year of preschool so they'll be older than their classmates. But, I ask in this article, is this setting off an arms race?

***

 

Eric Lien asks why so many people on the right assume that immigrants automatically want to assimilate into American culture and the only thing holding them back is multiculturalist ideologies and institutions. Personally, I like American culture a lot, but, let's be frank, what we are really good at is self-government with liberty ... and entertainment. In a lot of other areas, though, American culture is mediocre. 

 

That reminds me of one of the most interesting aspects of Theodore Dalrymple's celebrated book "Life at the Bottom." Dalrymple is a doctor at a hospital in the white slums of Birmingham, England. His descriptions of Britain's white underclass are so hair-raising that you begin to sympathize with why Muslim immigrant parents in England might do all the horrible things they do to their daughters, like keep them out of school and marry them off without their consent to a first cousin back home in Pakistan -- Anything to keep them away from underclass English lads.

***

Godless Capitalist (I keep telling him that capitalism works better among the God-fearing who worry about the fires of Hell as well as the SEC, but, kids these days, they never listen) has a good entry on the planned Haplotype Map, a second stage to the Human Genome Project. It will study the genomes of Nigerians, Northwestern Europeans, and Northeastern Asians. With that line-up, it should provide some genetic explanation for Rushton's Rule that the three races almost always come out in that order on any trait. 

 

By the way, there is some extremely exciting news from a team based at Howard U. about racial differences in a gene of particular import for social behavior. It agrees with exactly what I've been predicting geneticists would find ever since my famous "Is Love Colorblind?" article. More on this later.

***

 

Here's one hilariously telling sentence from Andrew Sullivan in a paragraph bemoaning the growing trend toward Americans actually thinking about the proposed Iraq Attack, rather than adopting the Sullivan-proposed philosophy of "Ours is not to question why / Ours is to do or die." Andrew opines, "Those of us who think the majority of Americans decided last September that war with Iraq was essential to our present and future security had better be prepared." You probably remember last September rather vividly. Do you remember that happening? I sure don't. Rather than relying on Andy's somewhat, shall we say, subjective memory, perhaps we should rely on the Constitution: Bush should call for a Congressional Declaration of War on Iraq. This sentence is just a reminder that the neo-cons are trying to hustle the rest of us into a shooting war before we've thought it through.

***

 

A comically horrible story of family life in Pakistan from Newsweek involving blood feuds between two inbred wings of an extended family and a child bride being handed to an octogenarian relative to wed as compensation. I'm sure the warbloggers will see it as reason to invade all these backward places, but have any of them thought about what it would be like to try to rule them?

***

 

We're finally getting open discussion of the Iraq Invasion. Here's an NYT article containing one trial balloon. I call it "Black Hawk Down: The Sequel." It's an airdrop right on Baghdad to grab/kill Hussein and his central command, like a massive version of the 1993 attempt to chopper in an seize warlord Aidid in Mogadishu. The advantages are that, presumably, Hussein wouldn't use biological or chemical weapons on his own capital city. Also, we wouldn't need Iraq's neighbors to allow us to launch a tank invasion from their territory. I assume we could launch it from aircraft carriers.

 

The disadvantages are that helicopters and parachutists are a lot more vulnerable to hand-held weapons than are main battle tanks. This plan would level the battlefield and give the Iraqis a fighting chance. This would be a nice cheap way to end the war if Saddam's inner circle of troops intends to surrender immediately. If they fight, though, it offers Saddam his best chance to win at least a battle.

 

In combination with a tank invasion, however, this sounds like a good knockout punch to keep in reserve. Saddam's only hope of stopping our tanks is with bio/chemical weapons. If we charge right through those out in desert, by the time our tanks reached Baghdad's suburbs, his inner circle might be thoroughly demoralized and ready to give up. So, then, using intelligence from traitors about Saddam's whereabouts, we airdrop right on top of whichever palace he's in and deliver the coup de grace without having to fight our way through the streets of a huge city.

***

 

Here's my interview with John Gardner, the pro-vouchers socialist who is on the reform-oriented Milwaukee school board. His latest project is to break the "Yale or jail" syndrome and let non-academic high school youths know they can have a good future making decent money in the skilled trades if they buckle down.

***

 

Tom Ricks has an important article in the WaPo on why the Pentagon brass is a lot less enthusiastic about invading Iraq than the neo-cons and the bloggers. One of the Joint Chiefs' three major concerns is something I pointed out last year, but has been almost completely off the media radar since. The military is worried about:

 

How to predict the costs of a post-victory occupation, which presumably would require tens of thousands of U.S. troops, not only to keep the peace and support the successor regime, but also to prevent Iraq from breaking up. A major goal of U.S. policy in a post-Hussein Iraq would be to prevent the creation of an independent state in the heavily Shiite south, or an independent Kurdish state in the north. To fulfill U.S. promises to Turkey and Arab states that Iraq would remain whole, a defense official said, "I think it is almost a certainty that we'd wind up doing a campaign against the Kurds and Shiites." That would represent a striking reversal of administration policy of supporting the Kurds against Baghdad.

 

Going to war against Saddam is one thing, but if it entails the USA then having to militarily crush the poor Kurds and take their de facto independence away from them ... well that's something else entirely. 

 

Another of the three issues bothering the Pentagon (along with Saddam's bio-weapons) is:

 

How to engage in urban warfare in Baghdad, especially with the large numbers of military and civilian casualties that such a battle likely would cause.

 

I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but I explained the tradeoff facing America in my review of "Black Hawk Down" last January: "The movie also implicitly asks the numerous proponents of invading Baghdad to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: If the men of Baghdad prove willing to fight from their own apartment buildings, as Aidid's did, do we follow the Clinton administration's precedent of sending in only light infantry no better armed than the enemy? Or, do we protect our own men by calling in heavy weapons to flatten their residential redoubts, with their women and children in them?"

 

The point is not that I'm some sort of military genius, the point is that you can go see a goddam hit movie or read a National Geographic article about the Kurds and immediately grasp that before we invade Iraq, we need to think through certain issues. In the final analysis, I have a hard time saying we shouldn't conquer Saddam, mostly because he so deeply deserves it, but before Congress passes a Declaration of War, I want to know how we are intending to deal with these problems.

 

Of course, nobody in Washington other than the Pentagon wants a Constitutionally-mandated Declaration of War. The Congress droids want to avoid responsibility for making a tough decision. Essentially, as Josh Marshall pointed out, the neo-cons want to pull a Gulf of Tonkin and hustle us into a shooting war in Iraq fast, before anybody realizes there are issues. And all the warbloggers just want to denounce as anti-Americans anybody who wants to think rather than emote on the subject. 

***

 

I'm updating my old movie reviews and recycling them when they become available at the video shop on DVD or VHS:

 

Video of the Week: Costner in 'Dragonfly' by Steve Sailer
"Dragonfly," starring Kevin Costner, is the perfect ghost story for people like me who don't like ghost stories because we are complete wusses about scary movies.

Video of the Week: 'Collateral Damage' by Steve Sailer
Ironically, one of the minor bits of collateral damage from the World Trade Center attacks was the action movie "Collateral Damage," in which Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a fireman who vows revenge on the terrorist who killed his wife and son.

***

 

I've always had a hard time taking seriously the threat of Mexican-American separatism. (Mickey Kaus worries about it a lot more than I do.) The irredentist urge to reclaim the land lost in 1836-1848 among Mexican-Americans has always been severely bogged down by the simple fact that Mexican immigrants are here because they wanted to get the hell out of Mexican-ruled territory. That's why Mexican-American radical intellectuals tend to favor an independent Aztlan (with themselves in charge, no doubt). If, however, Mexico were to develop a competent government, one that Mexican-Americans could take pride in, then irredentism would grow. That's the general pattern of history, as seen in Wilhelmine Germany and recently in China, where economic growth has unleashed anti-American nationalism. That, however, is a risk I am well prepared to take. America needs a well-run neighbor to the South. I'm trying to jot down ideas on how we could help Mexico achieve civic competence. Any suggestions?

***

 

Carlos writes:

 

"The catch with any affirmative action plan (whether it's by race or, as in California, the whole queen for a day "overcoming adversity" criteria) is that you have every opportunity to lie and almost no risk of being caught. How can a college admissions board or an SBA loan committee prove you wrong when you say that your mother is from Argentina (hey there are blonde people in South America -- even if their forefathers landed on those shores via U-boat)?"

***

 

 

Steve Sailer's iSteve.com Home

Email me 

 

For Other  commentaries, go to
iSteve.com Exclusives Archives

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: July 2002

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: May-Jun 2002

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: Mar-Apr 2002:

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: Jan-Feb 2002

iSteve.com Exclusives Archive: Dec 2001