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

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I'm a reporter, movie critic, columnist, freelancer for National Review and Slate, and founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute, which runs the invitation-only Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals








Book Reviews

Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn


Although he's not a scientist, NYT genetics reporter Nicholas Wade may be the single most invaluable figure in the human sciences today.

The Duke Lacrosse Brouhaha and the Hunt for Tom Wolfe's 'Great White Defendant'


"Every assistant D.A. in the Bronx … shared Captain Ahab's mania for the Great White Defendant. For a start, it was not pleasant to go through life telling yourself, 'What I do for a living is, I pack blacks and Latins off to jail.'"

Richard Lynn's Race Differences in Intelligence


A common stratagem, I've found, is to assume that IQ differences matter only if they are genetic in origin. Since no decent, civilized, right-thinking person could possibly believe that racial differences in IQ have any genetic basis, then racial and national differences in average IQ can't possibly exist. Except — whatever their cause, they do exist and do matter.

Undercover Economist Underperforms on Why Poor Countries Are Poor


The fundamental problem is that it doesn't really pay in Africa to be a good ruler.

Malcolm Gladwell Blinks Again


Malcolm Gladwell, perhaps America's highest paid print journalist, responds at length to my criticism of his bestseller Blink, and I fire back. Who wins? You be the judge.

Boys Will Be Boys: Reviewing Sax on Sex

Claremont Review of Books


Perhaps in a saner society, then, we would have less need for Leonard Sax's engaging combination of popular science exposition and advice guidebook, Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences. But parents as well as professors could benefit from it now.

American Gunfight


On November 1, 1950, two immigrant gunmen tried to  assassinate President Harry Truman in the name of Puerto Rican independence. They might well have succeeded if not for one of the great acts of individual heroism of the last century.

Everyday Economics: A review of Tim Harford's Undercover Economist

New York Post


TIM Harford evidently hopes his new book "The Undercover Economist" joins the apostolic succession of 2005's pop social science bestsellers that began with Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink." Just as the hugely popular "Freakonomics" by economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner flaunted a front-cover blurb from Gladwell, "The Undercover Economist" splashes Levitt's "Required reading" tribute over the title.

Genetic Engineering: How to Find Out What It Portends


Before bioengineering fully arrives, we still have time to figure out what we want to do and what we don't. But how? By studying honestly the human genetic diversity we see all around us - and learning how it already affects society.

The Freakonomics of Race and IQ


Freakonomics is a valuable book—because Levitt cautiously presses the envelope of what you are allowed to say in American mainstream discourse about IQ and race.

Richard Florida's Cities and the Creative Class

Washington Examiner


And, sure, booms and bohemians tend to correlate, but who really attracts whom to a metroplex? Do the engineers and salesguys actually pursue the gay art dealers and immigrant restaurateurs, or are Dr. Florida's footloose favorites more likely to follow the money generated by the pocket-protector boys?

Malcolm Gladwell  Blinks at Race


A demolition of the #1 bestselling book.

Tom Wolfe, I am Charlotte Simmons, and the Reality of Human Differences


What's most striking about Wolfe's version of Duke U. is how, after 35 years of institutionalized feminism, student sexuality hasn't progressed into an egalitarian utopia. Instead, it has regressed to something that a caveman would understand—a Hobbesian sexual marketplace where muscles are the measure of the man.

"You have to tell the truth:" The Bell Curve after 10 years


It’s constantly said in the Establishment Media that IQ and IQ tests have been "discredited." But the institution that has studied IQ testing in the greatest detail over the last 87 years—the U.S. military—remains utterly devoted to the value of cognitive tests.

Opening the Black Box of IQ and the Wealth of Nations


To open up the black box, I've created a table displaying virtually all the information Lynn and Vanhanen provide on each IQ study they used—not just the overall national IQ averages you've seen so far. 

Michelle Malkin's In Defense of Internment


Worries about Japanese attacks on the West Coast were not simply a rationalization to drive out the Japanese Americans. Serious decisions were based on these concerns. For instance, the huge Kaiser steel mill, where the Liberty boats were to be built, was situated well inland in Fontana, California, precisely to be out of range of Japanese battleships.

Flip-Flop on Feminism


A review of Steven E. Rhoads' Taking Sex Differences Seriously.

Presumed Alliance: Black vs. Brown


Compton, the spiritual home of West Coast gangsta rap, is notorious for its corrupt and dysfunctional black-run government. Still, a lot of people south of the Border have been down so long that even Compton looks like up to them.

Revolutionary Nepotism

The National Interest

Winter, 2004

Nepotism and dynasticism are on the rebound in politics, both abroad and at home. A major article in the prestigious quarterly The National Interest.

Remythologizing the Melting Pot


Since Tamar Jacoby admires the government's mass immigration system so much, she ought to have picked the contributors to her anthology Reinventing the Melting Pot the same way the government picks immigrants. For example, because most immigrants are admitted solely because they are the kin of earlier immigrants, Jacoby should have allowed other pundits to force her to hire their relatives as her authors. Or, in the manner of the U.S. Government's Diversity Visa Lottery, she could have let randomly chosen opinion mongers write her book. But, no, she chose the best essayists she could find. Why shouldn't we do same with immigrants?

Sarich & Miele: Race: The Reality of Human Differences


Many intellectuals pride themselves on how remote their theorizing is from mundane reality. After all, if daily life could provide evidence about the answers to lofty questions, we might not need so many intellectuals. And that subversive thought must be suppressed at all costs!

Along MLK Street


Jonathan Tilove has created a small coffee-table book called Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America's Main Street. The two (white) men visited a sizable fraction of the 650 streets named after Dr. King—and returned with a valuable impressionistic portrait of the blackest streets in black America.

Culture's Bell Curve: Charles Murray's Human Accomplishment

American Conservative


In 1997, Murray quietly began a huge project to rank objectively history’s most important discoverers and creators so that he could examine the causes and correlates of greatness. The result is his gracefully written and enthralling Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950.

No Excuses for Thernstroms' No Excuses


Our society suffers from the "Yale or jail" myth. We tell all American kids that if they don't graduate from college, they are doomed. They too often take that to mean they might as well start dealing crack right now.

The Not-So-Secret Cause of Bad Schools: Bad Students


“Bad schools impose indirect -- but huge -- costs on millions of middle-class families. In their desperate rush to save their children from failing schools, families are literally spending themselves into bankruptcy." -- from The Two-Income Trap

In Praise of In Praise of Nepotism


Brother acts are so fashionable in Hollywood today that somebody should make a movie about a screenwriter who can't get hired in Hollywood until he makes up a fictional brother for himself. I'd write the screenplay myself, except I don't have a brother ... Hey, that gives me an idea...

Karl Rove: Time for a Career Change?


Since conquering Iraq, the Bush Administration has been acting towards it with a timid indecisiveness disturbingly reminiscent of the Carter years. Rather than declaring martial law and immediately demonstrating to Iraqis who is in charge, the White House adopted a hands-off, laissez-faire policy. This seems based on the assumption that Iraq's looting louts, clamorous clansmen, mad mullahs, and café conspirators were as ready for self-government as would be, say, American Republicans. Conversely, under Rove, the Bush Administration has treated American Republicans as if they were a treacherous conquered tribe that must be ruled with a rod of iron. Clearly, the ideal solution would be to ...

Will America Retain a "Market Dominant Majority?"


Amy Chua's readable and eye-opening new book "World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability" documents just how pervasive ethnic inequality is around the world—and how much that drives the traumas we read about every day.

"A King Among Men: Arthur Jensen"


In an era of 900 page biographies, Frank Miele's short new book on IQ scientist Arthur Jensen has a highly readable format: it consists mostly of Q&A sessions.

Pinker's Progress


While Steve Pinker's The Blank Slate leaves me plenty of room to write a book on race, his handling of the topic has greatly improved over the years.

The Emerging Democratic Majority


Many of the arguments in Judis & Teixeira’s new book will be familiar to students of the VDARE.COM School of voting analysis. Indeed, the phrase "The Emerging Democratic Majority" probably first appeared in print as the cover line introducing Peter Brimelow and Ed Rubenstein’s 1997 National Review article "Electing a New People."

Mapping Human History


Olson stops every few pages to tell you that there are no races that have been absolutely isolated genetically since the beginning of time because—you will be shocked, shocked to learn this—humans have been known to outbreed. This makes Mapping Human History resemble a geology book that repeatedly admonishes the reader that the Earth is not flat.

Thoughts on IQ and the Wealth of Nations


The strong correlation between IQ and the wealth of nations demonstrated by Lynn & Vanhanen is of world-historical importance. From now on, no public intellectual can seriously claim to be trying to understand how the world works unless he takes IQ into account.

Pat Buchanan's Death of the West


I fear this is one of those books - like Herrnstein & Murray's The Bell Curve and Brimelow's Alien Nation - that are so powerfully argued that their entire topics get driven out of public discourse. Within a year, I suspect, anyone who dares to even mention global demographic trends will be shouted down as a "Buchananite."

"Seven Daughters of Eve"


Population geneticist Bryan Sykes has grasped a simple fact about population genetics that resounds emotionally with the average person, yet has largely eluded most learned commentators. Namely, genes are the product of genealogy. Each individual's genes are descended from some people, but not from some other people. Thus, Sykes discovered, people often feel a sense of family pride and loyalty to others, living and dead, with whom they share some DNA.

Pioneer Fundophobia


Twin studies go back to St. Augustine. He pointed to the differences between fraternal twins, such as Jacob and Esau in the Old Testament, to disprove the central tenet of astrology - that time of birth determines personality and fate.

Kicking Barone While He's Down 10/13/01
Perhaps Michael Barone has a Machiavellian plan in mind to use heavy immigration to drive whites out of the Democratic Party and into his Republican Party. Personally, I'm leery of this kind of political polarization along race lines. It may be inevitable, but shouldn't we try to explore ways as a nation to head this off? Democrats want the GOP to commit suicide chasing the chimera of conservative-voting minorities. As I predicted last January, the only minorities the GOP's diversity outreach effort had a good shot at picking up were Arabs and Muslims (by easing anti-terrorist rules). That ploy has proved a mistake.
A Major Review of Michael Barone's The New Americans 6/22/01
John Derbyshire, columnist for National Review Online, commented on this long essay: "Every once in a while I read something that makes me feel I ought to give up commentary altogether. This was one such. Why isn't Steve Sailer nationally famous? Rhetorical question--I know, I know..."

Multicultural Conservatism by Angela Dillard

National Review


"Black conservatives since Booker T Washington have traditionally focused more on uplifting the black poor, while black liberals have worked harder to help the black elite that W. E. B. DuBois dubbed the "Talented Tenth." The NAACP, for instance, cares more about restoring quotas at UC-Berkeley than doing anything that would actually help inner-city schools.

Sociobiology at Age 25

National Review


"Ironically, while the religious right futilely attacks Darwin's theory of what we evolved from, the left clamps down upon Darwin's theory of what we evolved to. The left has long denounced sociobiological research for validating what conservatives have assumed all along: that human nature--with its sex differences and its stress on individual, family, and ethnic self-interest--is an innate heritage, not a blank slate that can be wiped clean by speech codes, sensitivity workshops, and Gulags." 

The Reality of Race


"What is a 'race'? It is essentially a lineage, a family tree. A racial group is merely an extremely extended family that inbreeds to some extent. Thus, race is a fundamental aspect of the human condition because we are all born into families. Burying our heads in the sand and refusing to think clearly about this bedrock fact of life only makes the inevitable problems caused by race harder to overcome."

Seven Dumb Ideas about Race


"Many intellectuals now try to wish away the problems of race by defining "race" as merely a mass hallucination afflicting all of humanity - other than we few members of the Great and the Good."

The Unexpected Uselessness of Philosophy

National Post


"Is there a more prestigious job title than "philosopher"? Yet, in what other profession has more brainpower made less progress?  In his last book, Nobel Laureate physicist Steven Weinberg pointedly titled two chapters "The Unexpected Usefulness of Mathematics" and "The Unexpected Uselessness of Philosophy." Even the most esoteric math has helped him describe the cosmos. But the only value Weinberg ever found in reading philosophers was when they refuted other philosophers who had clouded his mind. While engineers or farmers or bartenders have all learned a trick or two over the years, philosophers mostly either rehash the same old mistakes or dream up new ones that are even more ridiculous."
Nobel Prose: Novelists vs. Economists

National Post


"A host of brilliant conservative writers have been passed over for the Nobel Prize: e.g., Vladimir Nabokov, Evelyn Waugh, Tom Stoppard, Tom Wolfe, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Luis Borges, Anthony Burgess, P.G. Wodehouse, V.S. Naipaul, Jack Kerouac, and John Updike."

Flunking The Big Test: Nicholas Lemann's book on the SAT fails to make the grade for moral seriousness.

National Post


"How can you, he asks, "create a classless society by establishing a system that relentlessly classifies people"? But the bigger question is one Lemann relentlessly dodges: Can you create a classless society at all? The Khmer Rouge came closest, but to enforce classlessness, they still had to have two classes: the killers and the killees."

Tutti-Faludi: I tee off on Susan Faludi's "Stiffed" and "Backlash"

National Review


Reviews of Books on Human Biodiversity

My reviews of books with a Human Biodiversity slant by authors like Tom Wolfe, Steven Pinker, Robert Heinlein, JP Rushton, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Dan Seligman, Dinesh D'Souza, and lots more.

The Nature of Nurture

National Review


The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do by Judith Rich Harris
Despite her many strengths, her Camille Paglia-like ambitiousness drives her to overstate both the novelty of her true ideas (that genes and peers matter) and the truth of her novel idea (that parent's don't matter).

The Half Full glass

The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability by Arthur Jensen
"Denouncing Jensen proclaims one's faith in empirical egalitarianism, which serves as the perfect excuse for ignoring the irksome demands of moral egalitarianism. By declaring that everyone could Be Like Me (if only they were properly socialized), the clever can, with clear conscience, continue to surreptitiously wage class war against the clueless." This is a hugely important, and shamefully neglected book, and my review offers a new perspective on the IQ wars.

For Richer, For Poorer

National Review


The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor, by David S. Landes
"Interestingly, many of the most striking racial differences can be thought of as resembling faint sex differences." I used this review to launch a potentially important trial balloon outlining the two major dimensions differentiating Asians from whites from blacks: Asians tend to be the most masculine in terms of mental skills, blacks the most masculine in terms of physical and personality traits, with whites generally in the mediocre middle.

Hysteria, His and Hers

National Review


Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture, by Elaine Showalter
"Hystories has elicited quite a backlash, with chronic fatigue sufferers proving the most energetic in hounding the author."
"We're Bad Too!" Hanging curveball of a complaining letter about my unfairness toward female child molesters from the Director of the National Judicial Education Program to Promote Equality for Women and Men in the Courts, & my response.

National Review



The Clash of Continents

National Review


Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond
"To Diamond, the three most important engines of history are location, location, and location."

The Ebony Tower

National Review


The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., et al
"To squeeze 2,709 pages into a size that coeds would find tolerably luggable, Gates & Co. had to specify paper of a thinness (and consequent transparency) seldom seen outside European public lavatories. So, stay close to a strong reading lamp and a bottle of aspirin."

All in the Family

National Review


Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives, by Frank J. Sulloway
"Despite heroic research efforts, Sulloway does sound at times like Matt Groening's 7th Type of College Professor: The Single Theory to Explain Everything Maniac. ('The nation that controls magnesium controls the universe!')"

The Secret Zora Neale Hurston

National Review


Zora Neale Hurston -- Novels and Stories (Vol. I) and Folklore, Memoirs and Other Writings (Vol. II), 1,800 words
"Thanks to feminism, never before has Zora (the first great black woman writer) been so widely read, but seldom has any author been so uniformly misread by her self-proclaimed (but self-absorbed) heirs."

Up the Amazon

National Review


Vamps & Tramps: New Essays, by Camille Paglia, 1,130 words
"The crazier the world gets, the saner Camille Paglia sounds."

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