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April 2002

 

Lots of good stuff on Le Pen from UPI. James Bennett's Anglosphere column points out:

 

The greatest danger with Europe is not from the little Le Pens seeking to return to inward-looking national protectionism and hatred of foreigners. It is from Eurocrats seeking to construct a grand Euro-Lepenisme of inward-looking continental protectionism and contempt for non-"Europeans" [i.e., European Union supporters]...In the search for enemies, it's pretty obvious who will be Candidate Number One. America, already a favorite whipping boy economically, politically, and culturally, will be further elevated as Europe's main rival. As for internal enemies, the European Union is defining a class of "xenophobes" whose xenophobia is evidently exhibited primarily by opposition to the European Union. Ironically, openly Zionist Jews may soon find themselves categorized as "xenophobes."

 

Veteran analyst Marty Sieff, a former speechwriter for Bibi Netanyahu, predicts that Le Pen could actually win next Sunday:

 

That 28 percent of [far left] voters who rejected Jospin in the first round because they thought he was going to sell out French national interests to the EU are certainly not going to swing behind Chirac in the second round when they know he embraced those policies all the more enthusiastically. On the contrary, they are far more likely to rally round Le Pen because he has unabashedly championed restoring the French national currency, the franc, and putting national interests ahead of the faceless bureaucrats in Brussels as well as the imagined sinister corporate American masterminds in New York and Washington.

 

Well, maybe, but I'll predict Chirac will win 66-34. [Shows what I know about French politics!] You have to realize how much the French Left hates Israel (see Chris Caldwell's new cover story in the Weekly Standard). Le Pen is far more sympathetic to Israel they are. Here's what he told the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz:

 

"In my judgment, there is a basic popular sympathy for Israel in France, but the demonstrative sympathy tends to go to the other side. In the current conflict, the French media is pro-Arab for two reasons: The large Arab and Islamic presence in France combined with the weight of the billion Muslims in the world, and the fact that Sharon is a rightist. The hostility would be less if a leftist prime minister was pursuing exactly the same policy. The government would have preferred not to take a stand, but the constant presence of the Israeli-Arab conflict on our television screens made it an issue that could no longer be avoided. The result is that you [Israel] are now experiencing what we experienced in the war in Algeria: The Israeli government says that it is a victim of terrorist activity, but this activity is less visible than the military strikes. I belonged to the 10th paratroop division that was ordered to destroy the terror in Algiers. This was after a series of terror attacks against civilians in public centers. The division did wipe out terror, and it didn't do this by being gentle with the terrorists. A war on terror is a brutal thing... I completely understand the State of Israel, which is seeking to defend its citizens." - Le Pen

 

Of course, Israelis are not going to appreciate being compared to France's defense of its huge settlement in Algeria (now extinct), but the comparison seems apt. Further, the Jewish State is something of a model for what Le Pen would like the French State to be. Israel keeps tight control over who gets to immigrate; encourages Jewish culture, religion and the Hebrew language; privileges Jews over non-Jews in terms of property rights (most of the land of Israel is off-limits for purchase by its Arab citizens) and political rights (the unwritten law has been that Arab MPs can't be used to form a majority in the Knessett); unilateralist in foreign policy; and so forth. Finally, as I've mentioned before, Le Pen and Sharon are men cut from the same rugged cloth. One difference between Sharon and Le Pen, though, is that the Frenchman has no obvious territorial ambitions.

 


Life or Something like it - Angelina Jolie's attempt at a chick flick. What's with her Australian Aborigine look in this movie? Here's my review.

 


Advanced opinion
has long advocated mass immigration into European countries to prevent a rebirth of anti-Semitism by diluting their homogeneity and thus making nationalist sentiment impractical.  Well, like the guns of Singapore, this policy proved to be pointing 180 degrees in the wrong direction - the real anti-Semites in countries like France turned out to be the immigrants. Plus, the anti-nationalist EU-loving mainstream politicians of Europe have shown an anti-Israeli streak that borders on anti-Semitism. Why? I suspect because Israel represents the opposite of what the European Union is trying to accomplish: the emasculation of the nationalist impulse. The Jewish State is a pre-1914-style heredity-based nation-state, with some of the same kind of territorial fears and ambitions that brought nationalism into disrepute in contemporary Europe.

 


Check out the letter in VDARE giving a nicely balanced view of what's behind Jean-Marie Le Pen's electoral success. Also, in my introduction I included a link to a fascinating interview of Le Pen by the excellent leftist Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. What I'm struck by is how similar in personality Le Pen and Ariel Sharon are. If they had been accidentally exchanged at birth, Le Pen would no doubt be sending bulldozers into Jenin these days while Sharon would have horrified all establishment opinion by making it to the finals of the French election.

 


I met Hernando de Soto,
the Peruvian economist, at the annual Milken Institute shindig tonight. He's one helluva guy. He gave me some ideas for how America really could help Mexico by getting it to put in place the property rights structures needed to allow Mexicans to make a decent living at home with their families.

 


Guess who's gay the Andrew Sullivan way! - It's always fun to speculate on which prominent conservatives are closeted homosexuals. One method I've found is to watch whom Andrew Sullivan extols. It's far, far from fool-proof, but when Andy gets all fired up over somebody for several days, the odds that the object of his enthusiasm is gay are definitely greater than random. For example, he chose for his Book Club, The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg, who is an out homosexual. It's kind of a Gay Rightwinger Mutual Admiration Society over at AndrewSullivan.com. Not that there's anything wrong with that! (The only thing Testosterone Andrew likes more than promoting his fellow gay conservatives is denouncing identity politics, especially when blacks are guilty of favoritism toward their own kind.) Hey, doesn't it seem like Sullivan writes a lot about the wonderfulness of Matt Drudge?

 


The Scorpion King is # 1 at the box office. It's not bad, but the only thing special about this medium budget sword and sorcery movie set in ancient Canaan (not Egypt) is wrestler The Rock, who looks well-poised to become the next action superstar. The bad guy in The Scorpion King is - prepare to die of surprise - an English-accented white man with Hitlerish-sounding intentions to impose "order for 1,000 years" on the "free tribes." The tribes, oddly enough, are each internally multiracial, which must be a surprise to anthropologists. Fortunately, The Rock is around to lead America (oops, I mean the free tribes) to victory over the English Nazi toff. Although it embodies the same racial conventions as other recent adventure films like The Time Machine and Atlantis - noble Tiger Woodsian multiracials battle Northern European oppressors - it's less schematic and more of a good-natured pastiche of ancient legends from all over.

 

I wrote an article last summer on wrestling, race, and The Rock (I know an awful lot more about professional wrestling that I care to, courtesy of my sons). An excerpt: "Race, of course, remains a potential danger spot in any American enterprise. Fortunately for the World Wrestling Foundation, it has found the perfect post-racial man in its biggest star, "The Rock," the wrestler who bills himself as "the most electrifying man in sports entertainment." A third generation pro wrestler, The Rock (born Duane Johnson) is a hybrid offspring of America's two most muscular racial groups. His maternal grandfather, Chief Peter Maivia, was the first Samoan star, while his father Rocky Johnson was the WWF's first African-American Tag Team champion. Yet, The Rock looks neither Samoan nor black. Instead, he gives the impression of being some sort of future human, a superbly handsome specimen from a race that will someday evolve from all that is most formidable in existing humanity."

 


In a supposedly huge upset, France's far right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has driven the Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin into retirement by beating him for the second spot in the May 5th runoff with incumbent President Jacques Chirac. Of course, it shouldn't have been a surprise: Le Pen always does better in elections than in polls, where the vast prejudice again him intimidates some of his supporters into telling pollsters they will vote for somebody else. Further, on one huge issue - Muslim immigration - Le Pen has been proven right. The disgusting pogroms against French Jews and the pusillanimous response of the French state is a direct result of the massive immigration of North Africans.

 

To amuse yourself, note how few articles about Le Pen's showing draw any connection between Muslim immigration and the current pogroms. In the American media establishment eyes, any Europeans against immigration must be incipient Nazis. After all, proper-thinking people know that the only solution for European anti-Semitism is massive immigration. Of course, it's worked out exactly the opposite, with Jew-hating Muslim immigrants now holding the whip hand in many French cities, where the gendarmes worry that if the North African youth are not permitted to run amok against the Jews, they'll riot against everybody, as the Muslims did in Britain last year. But don't expect ugly reality to interfere with the popularity among American media elites of such a beautiful theory.

 


Number 2 Pencil
, psychometrician Kimberly Swygert's blog, is devoted to defending standardized testing.

 


Jenin and Black Hawk Down - In my review of the ultra-realistic war movie last January, I pointed out the inherent dilemma that a superior military has when invading a city whose armed men are willing to fight from their own homes with their women and children by their sides. Do you send in lightly armed infantry to spare the non-combatants, but suffer a lot of losses yourself (as we did in Mogadishu in 1993)? Or do you go in heavy and flatten their homes, but suffer a PR disaster? In my review, I discussed these alternatives in the context of an assault on Baghdad, but, clearly, the Israelis ran into this same tough choice in Jenin. They appear to have started out light, but after losing men, switched to heavy tactics, using bulldozers to flatten Palestinians' homes so they could avoid the boobytrapped streets. Israel won the battle, of course, but at the cost of diplomatically catastrophic TV coverage. We need to think hard now about which we would choose in case the Iraqis use Somalian-Palestinian methods to defend Baghdad.

 

 

So, why are gay men more prevalent as actors in the theatre than in movies? Lots of reasons, no doubt, but one that stands out is the title of that Sondheim musical: Applause. Generally speaking, straight male actors don't mind doing the same take 26 times in row in front of a bunch of bored Teamsters, as long as they ultimately get paid off in terms of money, fame, women, and power. Gay actors, in contrast, tend to place a much higher value on adulation from a live audience.


Gay libertarian Jonathan Rauch
argues in The Atlantic that "social conservatives should support same-sex marriage" because the contemporary coolness of gay men is making marriage unfashionable among straights. Maybe. But are we all that sure gays are really becoming cooler? Sure, everybody says so. But are straight men actually acting that way? There is a lot of evidence that since about 1969, when a riot by bereaved drag queens at the Stonewall Bar who were drowning their sorrows following Judy Garland's funeral launched the Gay Lib era, straight men have been increasingly fleeing from gay-heavy pastimes and institutions. "Not that there's anything wrong about that," as Seinfeld and Costanza would nervously proclaim when protesting they weren't gay.

 

Consider the musical. This was widely perceived as the Great American Art Form until the American public's increasingly sophisticated gaydar detected its disproportionate appeal to gay men. Of course, plenty of the great figures in the history of the musical - Richard Rodgers, Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse, Fred Astaire, P.G. Wodehouse, and the like - were straight. Yet, over over the last three decades, the musical has increasingly become a gay ghetto as no longer clueless straight guys have taken to avoiding it.

 

Therefore, I've long suspected that allowing gay men to get married (in what will, no doubt, often be elaborately theatrical ceremonies) will make weddings even more distasteful to straight men than they are now. And that would be bad for society since the character of a society is determined overwhelmingly by its straight men, especially by their attitudes towards marriage

 

This suggests, by the way, that the long term threat to the American Catholic Churched posed by its youth-fondling scandal is that it is exposing the extent to which homosexuals pervade the Church hierarchy, thus alienating straight men. (Even the gay-dominated New York Times - where 75% of the people sitting around the table deciding what goes on the front page are homosexual, according to its top reporter Rick Berke - has finally admitted that the scandal is driven not by pedophiles but by fairly conventional male homosexuals feeling up adolescent and teenage boys. 

 

There are lots of countries like Italy and Mexico where the male population largely shuns the Church, in part due to the perceived effeminacy of the priesthood. The U.S. Catholic Church was spared this for a long time due to the high masculinity levels of Irish priests, but that era appears to be well over. This does not bode well for the influence of the American Catholic Church. In any society, straight men will always provide most of the leaders.

 

 

Here's my review of Sandra Bullock in "Murder by Numbers." It's a laborious, visually gloomy, and generally distasteful police procedural. Eventually, though, it shines an interesting light on how the existence of the death penalty helps ruthless cops bring bad guys to justice.

 


John Derbyshire's
near-rave review for Dinesh D'Souza's new 9-11 book What's So Great About America seems pretty much on the money: "I therefore stand in awe of him for having done so brilliantly well what I do not think I could have done." Unfortunately, Derb's caveat is accurate as well:

 

"... this book does not contain any striking or original insights. Most of what the author has to say will be familiar to anyone who reads conservative magazines or visits websites like this one. What's So Great is not pioneering political science: It is pop-political science. That's OK. There is hardly any work a writer can more usefully engage in than to bring to a large, general audience ideas that have been worked over and polished smooth by small cliques of interested parties."

 

Still, as talented as Dinesh is at this, I think he's got more in him than that. His is one of the most lucid voices in the Conservative Echo Chamber, but, especially since 9-11, it's getting awfully crowded in there, with countless guys creating blogs to tell you - for free! - why America is better than, say, Iraq. Dinesh has reached a point in his life - pushing 40, a husband, a father - where he's seen enough of the world to take a deep breath and write that Big Book that would stake out some new perspective beyond the Echo Chamber.


The Running Tribe of Kenya - Here's John H. Manners' fascinating article about the three million member Kalenjin tribe of the Kenyan Highlands. They win about 3 of every 8 medals awarded in world-class distance running. Manners, who has lived and run among the Kalenjin, offers an evolutionary explanation.


Kenyan Rodgers Rop fended off fellow Kenyan Christopher Cheboiboch at the finish line "Dog Bites Man!  Kenyan Wins Boston Marathon!"
Running offers one of the clearest ways to study human biodiversity as I pointed out in National Review.


Can you guess
where this quote appeared? (You may have to read it twice because the prose style is intentionally oracular.)

"Although more powerful by far than astrology, molecular biology is not appreciably different in kind, the various celestial houses having about as much to do with human affairs as the various genes."

Ms? Mother Jones? Tikkun? Nope, it was in the Weekly Standard (3/18/02), in a book review by creationist David Berlinksi. Yo, Dave, have you ever met identical twins? Yo, Bill K., are you trying to make conservatives into laughing-stocks by publishing high-brow fools like Berlinksi?


An Alert Reader writes:

Here's something you might have missed...because it's away up in Maine.

"Professor Accused of Racist Remarks" His crime? Saying, "Do you know that on average blacks have a lower IQ than whites?" [Of course, that's the one thing in the Bell Curve Debates that all informed controversialists agree upon.]

It has been picked up by the Boston papers, which of course want this guy hung from his thumbs for uttering something every liberal knows can't be true, there are differences among races. The truly amusing bit is that the prof doesn't really seem to believe it particularly... he was just provoking the students (successfully, I guess). A committee of diversicrats is on the case, so in due course "justice" will ensue. Hope he's working on his thumb exercises.

And here's something predictable: the complaining student is a worker from the university's Diversity Nook or whatever they call it there. She is stumbling through a lightweight course ("majoring in communications") at age 36. What a pity and a loss to society, that discrimination has held her so far back. Why, she might have been a towering giant in education policy or something.

Race is not Color: There's a general assumption among Americans that skin color determines race. Consider, though, golfer Vijay Singh, the 2000 Masters Champion and second round leader this year. Singh is of Asian Indian descent (and born in Fiji.)  Yet, Singh is very dark (a lot darker than Tiger Woods, as you can see below), but he's obviously not sub-Saharan African. As you can see, Singh has Caucasian features. Further, the media doesn't treat him as if he is "black" ((i.e., having a significant number of fairly recent ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa). Nobody cared when he won his two major championships. If he was African, there would have been no end of whoop-tee-do. The point is that when you wonder what race somebody is, you are in fact asking not what his skin color is, but who is in his family tree. Skin color can be one clue to genealogy, but it's a very crude one.
 

Will William F. Buckley Jr.  be thrown out of the conservative ranks for denouncing Ariel Sharon's scorched earth campaign? The grand old man of the American Right delivers a stinging rebuke to the War Fever crowd:

"My vote is that General Sharon's offensive is the stupidest campaign in recent memory. Defined here as a campaign that has: solved nothing, increased Israel's problems, intensified Palestinian hatred of Israel, estranged many Europeans and Americans, and fanned Islamic hostility."

I hope it's not that bad. Obviously, Israel has do something. In his prime, Sharon was a brilliant battlefield tactician. But he's an old man now, and, besides, his strategic sense was always iffy. Over the years, has any single man done more to alienate Israel's more objective well-wishers? There is a fascinating untold story about why some great Reagan Administration patriots like Caspar Weinberger hate Sharon. (I don't know the details, although I can guess.)

The only long run "solution," such as it is, would be for Israel to figure out a defensible border, tear down the settlements beyond the border, and build a Berlin Wall along that boundary to prevent all physical contact between Israelis and West Bank Palestinians. (This has worked on nearby Cyprus for a quarter of a century.) They can't blow you up if they can't get next to you. Even Andrew Sullivan agreed with that today. (Perhaps Andrew was between his testosterone injections when he wrote that?)

In contrast, trying to make peace with the Palestinians is doomed. Their hotheads are even less likely to accept Israel's right to exist than Americans today would be willing - if the War in the Pacific had turned out differently - to accept the right to exist of a "Shintoist State" that had taken control of the visually similar California coastal region. (Think about that analogy for awhile. It helped me understand the Middle East a lot better. And keep in mind that we Americans are a lot less inclined to hold grudges than Arabs are.) 

But, what kind of permanent solution can devastating Palestinian cities achieve? Suicide bombing takes very little "infrastructure." The Palestinians are outbreeding the Israelis. The Palestinians will outnumber the Jews by 2020 in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The handwriting is on the wall.

The state of Israel avowedly exists for the good of a single, hereditarily-defined group (see the "basic law of Israel," the Law of Return, for the heredity-based definition of who can immigrate to Israel). I suppose this statement will be controversial, but it shouldn't be. It's the reason Israel is "the Jewish State." There are plenty of other states that exist to be the political expression of a single extremely extended family: Japan is a good example. Iceland is another. Hereditarily-defined states can work reasonably well, fostering harmony, democracy, and human rights (as Japan and Iceland do), but only as long as the state rules over its own racial group and no other large group. Otherwise, it generally must become a racial security state, like the old Afrikaaner-run South Africa. The Israelis have better things to do with their lives than be the Palestinians' prison guards. Israelis need to return to their roots as a people that shall dwell apart. Mr. Sharon, put up this Wall!

And as Ron Unz argued today, the American Right has better things to do with its time than be a repetitious mouthpiece for the more extreme members of the Israeli Right.

More on Richard Lynn's fascinating book IQ and the Wealth of Nations - The glamorously mysterious La Griffe du Lion ("The Claw of the Lion") - the Zorro of statisticians - slashes into the debate with an intriguing Q&A about Lynn's data on national differences in IQ. [Link now fixed.]


"The Other Side of Paradise"
- my review of the interesting little family drama about a Mormon missionary in Tonga.


"The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man." -  G.K. Chesterton, 1922.

"Christianity has always asserted the equal worth of all human souls, and this belief has inspired many of the great humanitarian achievements in Western history, such as the abolition of the slave trade. Science, of course, can neither prove nor disprove spiritual equality. That would be a defect in a scientific theory, but it is a blessing in a religious doctrine. Darwinism, however, made the whole of Christianity seem outdated. The new prestige of evolutionary biology encouraged egalitarians to discard that corny creed of spiritual equality and instead assert the shiny new scientific hypothesis that humans are physically and mentally uniform. But that, paradoxically, put progressive egalitarians on a collision course with Darwinian science . . . because Darwin’s theory of natural selection requires hereditary differences. That's what natural selection selects: those genetic variations that happen to reproduce themselves more than their genetic rivals in a particular environment. To talk about hereditary differences, however, is to talk about the political hot potato of “race.” For there is no bright line between “family” and “race.” A race is merely an extremely extended family that inbreeds to some extent. Note the full title of Darwin’s big book: The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." - Steve Sailer, Thatcher Presentation, 1999

"Nuclear-Tipped Interceptors Studied: Rumsfeld Revives Rejected Missile Defense Concept" - WaPo. Thank God for Rummy. Hit-to-kill is a terrific way to test our interceptors, but you don't go duck hunting with a rifle. You use a shotgun. When the real ICBMs are inbound, I want us blasting away at them with the equivalent of a shotgun - nuclear-tipped interceptors.


Here's a review from Commentary of sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson's new book "The Future of Life" that, while it reflects the neoconservatives' typical dislike of the natural world (did you know that Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb lived in an apartment overlooking Central Park for decades, but never went for a walk in it?) eventually, grudgingly, comes around to admitting that it's basically a good thing that there are people out there who care as much for species preservation as Wilson does. 

I appear to have radically changed Wilson's views on "biophilia." I wrote to him in 1994 after he produced two books on the subject (Biophilia and The Biophilia Hypothesis) that naively claimed that people have a natural love of nature, as shown by experiments showing that people love grasslands, like the savannah where we presumably evolved in East Africa. Therefore, he argued, in a big non sequiter, we should preserve rain forests because people love nature. I explained to him, and he agreed, that people like some nature - grasslands - a lot more than they like other nature (jungles), which is why all over, say, Southeast Asia, they are plowing under jungles to build golf courses. Lots of men love golf courses because they are a kind of Disney-version of the primordial East African savannah, where we evolved as hunters.

Wilson has now reversed course and taken up my argument that human love of savannahs can be a threat to biodiversity in non-savannah environments. Although we shouldn't exaggerate the size of the threat - the biggest threat is not converting other landscapes into golf courses and lawns, but into croplands. But as global population growth slows and genetic engineering makes crop yields rise, conversion into farmlands will presumably slow, and conversion into pleasure grounds will rise. Currently golf courses cover maybe a couple of million acres in Americas, and lawns cover several times more, with those figures increasing as business move into grassy "campuses."

An analogy: at this point in my life, I don't really care about the preservation of the great architecture of the past, but I have cared about it at other times, and maybe my kids or potential grandchildren will care someday. So, I'm glad that fuddy-duddies like Prince Charles campaign for preserving fine old buildings. They may be extremists, but without some extremists, nobody would have the energy to do much of anything, and the compromise we'd arrive at would be less optimal. The same goes for environmentalists.

Further, although I've only flipped through Wilson's new book, it seems to contain a lot of practical suggestions for making environmental protection less costly or even profitable

In summary, it appears that Wilson continues to grow as a thinker even while he returns again and again to the two main themes in his life: a Promethean urge to connect all the fields of science, and a love of bugs.

Does any pundit come up with as many embarrassingly dumb columns as Maureen Dowd of the NYT? Here she announces that the solution to the Baby Bust is for humans to act like bonobo chimps, who supposedly "lead extraordinarily happy existences... There's no battle of the sexes in bonoboland. And there's no baby bust." 

In NR back in 1999, I exploded the Bonobo Myth so beloved of feminists in my aptly titled "Chimps and Chumps:" "A bonobo chimp troop resembles an omnisexual commune run by Madonna and Little Richard," complete with pedophilia. Bonobo life sounds about as appealing as a case of the clap. Further, they do indeed suffer a baby bust: "Bonobos are Darwinian duds. As appealing as their genetic programming may be to the students and faculty of Smith College, their genes have not succeeded in replicating themselves widely: there are fewer than 10,000 bonobos alive, no more than 1/20th the number of those testosterone-addled common chimps."

Dowd is just about the last True Believer in Anita Hill-Era Feminism left in big time opinion journalism. The major improvement in the American intellectual climate during the Nineties was the near complete collapse of feminism. Sure, the feminists have walled themselves into positions of power in lots of institutions, but almost none dare come out to argue their case anymore.

Dowd's main psychological problem is a near-pathological sensitivity over whether she made the right choice in pursuing career over family. Consequently, she obsessively browbeats female dissenters who don't validate her life choice. Since feminists hate to admit that not all women agree with them, Dowd tries to point the finger of blame at men, telling them they should act like a different species!

Dowd is only a lurid example of the general female tendency toward conformism. Women want to do what all other women are doing and they want all other women to do what they are doing. There's a fundamental evolutionary reason for this: an individual woman is simply more valuable in a Darwinian sense than an individual man, so they tend to be cautious and conformist. If an individual man tries something different from all other men in the tribe, and dies as a consequence, well, it's sad, but some other guy will step in an impregnate his woman for him. In contrast, if a woman dies from doing something eccentric, the tribe's reproductive capacity is permanently diminished. 

So, Dowd's fanaticism is perfectly understandable. The only problem is that, as the remarkable Time cover story (a perfect sign of the moribund intellectual status of feminism) shows, Dowd's kind of self-absorbed reasoning has ruined the happiness of millions of women by depriving them of ever having a child.


The Human Biodiversity revolution
in intellectual discourse is finally starting to catch on, with younger South Asian-American scientists in the vanguard: After I featured Razib's website, I received this email.

"I'm a South Asian geneticist with a new weblog and a long time reader of your site - but I'm not Razib. Just a coincidence that we started around the same time. Anyway, if you want you can check out my site at capitalist.blogspot.com. I'd appreciate any comments you have ... I'd ask you not to divulge my secret identity. I could get railed during the tenure process if anyone could connect my name to these comments.".

It's a good one. By the way, this geneticist's site provides the following list Human Biodiversity links:

iSteve
La Griffe Du Lion
Fred On Everything
Razib
Inspirited
Chris Brand


Francis Fukuyama Imagines a Terrifying New Drug:
The End of History guy is back with Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution." The first chapter is called, "A Tale of Two Dystopias," and in it he gets very worried about the potential development of new psychoactive drugs. Here's the scary picture he paints of the effects of futuristic drugs: "Stolid people can become vivacious; introspective ones extroverted; you can adopt one personality on Wednesday and another for the weekend."

Uh, Francis, people are already using a drug to make themselves more vivacious and extroverted on the weekend. You might even have heard of it: it's called "beer."

This is not to say that drugs won't have a big impact on human behavior in the future. But what I am saying is that the best way to predict what that will be is to study the impact of drugs in the past and right now. The same goes with genetic technologies. If Fukuyama honestly wanted to understand what the manipulation of genetic diversity will bring in the future, he'd examine the social impact of existing genetic diversity - e.g., racial differences. But that would threaten his highly successful career. Here's my "The Future of Human Nature" as an intro to the topic.

David Brooks argues in The Weekly Standard that Europeans don't like Ariel Sharon's Israel because the Jewish State is "bourgeois" and Europeans suffer from "bourgeoisophobia." I think, though, David is just using the word "bourgeois" here to mean "good," rather than what it actually means. Sharon, himself, would be offended by being called bourgeois. He sees himself as the embodiment of more ancient virtues: he entitled his autobiography Warrior, not Businessman. The entire Zionist project was distinctly antibourgeois. It was heroic, romantic, anti-capitalist, socialist, collectivist, risky, nationalist, militarist, agriculturalist, trade unionist, anti-individualist, ethnocentrist, feminist, myth-driven, and on and on. If the Zionists had wanted to be bourgeois, they could have made a lot more money by moving virtually anywhere else in the world, or even by buying Baja California from Mexico. The Zionists tried to de-bourgeoisify Jews by creating a national economy in which Jews would hold all the jobs, including farmer and soldier, rather than just the bourgeois middle-man-minority jobs at which they made much money, but also elicited dangerous resentment from other peoples.

From an ideological standpoint, it's more than a little strange that the mouthpieces of the American big business Right in America are so attached to this offshoot of the 19th Century European romantic nationalist Left. The neoconservatives should be complimented for rising above narrow doctrinaire prejudices to warmly embrace a country founded on principles they oppose. Ideological purity isn't everything. 

What the neocons shouldn't do is distort the nature of Israel to paper over the contradictions in their own views. For example, Larry Kudlow writes in NR: "A free-market Israel has every right to defend itself." But, Israel's hardly a free market paragon - it ranks a mediocre 56th out of 123 countries on the Economic Freedom index. And, surely, Larry also believed that Israel had every right to defend itself back in 1980 when it ranked a miserable 93rd out 107 countries in economic freedom? What nation shouldn't have a right to defend itself? So, why do Brooks and Kudlow make up transparently obvious rationalizations like this? Why not just admit that there are other things deserving of loyalty in this world besides bourgeois values and the free market?

 

The return of the white B-baller: A reader writes:

What do you make of the following trends?

-In this year's NCAA Men's Final Four, three of the four teams had white point guards. Further, a team with three white starters, Indiana, made it to the title game.

-White European players are having a greater impact on the NBA:

--Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA, is a 6'10" blonde German, NBA All-Star, and perhaps one of the most dangerous players in the league. Spain's 21 year old Pau Gasol most likely will win rookie of the year honors (beating out, among others, his teammate and last year's college player of the year, Shane Battier). 21 year old rookie from Moscow, Andrei Kirilenko, is the fourth leading scorer for the Utah Jazz, and recently, shut down the player many compare to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant. Besides Nowitzki, Dallas also starts Steve Nash, 6' white player from Canada. 

- The Sacramento Kings, the best team in the NBA based on record, is relying heavily on starter and second-leading scorer Predrag Stojakovic (Belgrade) and Turkish back-up Hidayet Turkoglu.

-The USA now relies on pros to win in the Olympics. After thoroughly dominating with pros in the 1992 Summer Games, the USA has gradually become less dominant against the World -- specifically Europe. In the 2000 Summer games, the US won by 2 points in the semi-final game against Lithuania. In the Gold Medal game, France was within four with four minutes to play before losing by 10. Granted, the 2000 Summer Olympic team did not include Shaq or Kobe Bryant, but subtract the two best players from the 1992 Olympic Team and they still would have averaged 30 point wins.

Do these trends present new evidence in which to question the assumed physical advantages blacks have in basketball? Or is it a numbers game: from a greater pool of players as more white European's take basketball seriously, more whites would emerge as elite players.

I suspect that the American style of play has become a little too dominated by black b-ball culture for optimum effectiveness. For example, American basketball players don't seem to shoot from the outside as well as they used to - free throw percentages are lower than in past generations, and outside field goal shooting is probably worse too. That's likely because today's NBA players spent less time shooting by themselves when they were growing up. And that's primarily due to the decline of white players in the NBA. Whites typically are rich enough to have their own driveway to shoot in by themselves. Blacks, in contrast, tend to congregate at public courts and scrimmage non-stop - that's great for developing passing and defense, but not for grooving the outside shot. Also, the increasingly black American basketball culture has emphasized defense over the last 20 years. So, you get lots of highly athletic quick guys with good jumping ability, but not enough guys with the eye-hand coordination to put the ball in the basket from more than 3' away. There's not much difference between blacks and whites in hand-eye coordination, but blacks have a higher likelihood for being quick enough to be top defenders.

Also, the NBA right now has a lot of 25 year olds who were impressionable adolescents during the worst of the crack epidemic and they absorbed a lot of the atrocious attitudes going around a decade ago that remain embodied in gangsta rap. The next generation might be a little better, since the crime rate is way down.

Also, we are finally starting to see NBA-quality players from the basketball-crazy Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy, and Turkey. Before, European players were almost all from Slavic or Northern European countries. People tend to grow taller in those countries than in the Mediterranean lands. Maybe they are catching up in height?


Mark Steyn
might be the best all-around pundit in the English language, since he understands the interactions among politics, popular culture, and what Camille Paglia calls sexual personae. But even Steyn has fallen for a direly silly new fad among conservatives with bad cases of war fever: lionizing the Iraqis. He writes, "The Iraqi people are secular, tolerant, literate, the antithesis of those wacky fundamentalists in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. ... Once you've got rid of the ruling gang, it's the West's best shot at incubating a reasonably non-insane polity."

I see this assertion more and more frequently, as the febrile logic takes ever greater hold of the once impressive intellects of the conservative press. With a straight face, we are assured that, while the rest of the Arabs are a bunch of savages, Iraq is the Germany of the Middle East. It just needs a U.S. imposed democratic government to resume its high rank among civilized nations. Iraq then will become a light unto the gentiles and lead the Arab world out of barbarism. You don't believe anybody could say that without giggling? The WSJ editorialized, "This is why we believe the best chance for peace in Palestine, and for stability throughout the entire Middle East, goes through Baghdad. Iraq is a serious country with a proud history ..." 

Iraq? A proud history? What is the WSJ talking about - Sumer? Babylon? Haroun al-Rashid's Baghdad back in Charlemagne's time? Guatemala, with its Mayan ruins, had a prouder history in the last millennium than Iraq. Iraq has a proud history of backstabbing and cowardice.

Is there any evidence that the Iraqis are the most likely candidates in the Arab world for restrained self-rule or is this just a delusion to justify a war? I mean, if you are going to consider the "sophistication" level of the Arab populations, wouldn't Lebanon be at the top of the list? Wouldn't the Palestinians be up there too? At least before they launched their on-going "war of the cradle" that is swamping the sophisticated elites with hordes lower-class youngsters? Wasn't Egypt a be a beacon of culture and tolerance, with a Nobel Prize-winning writer, before the peasants outbred the sophisticates? Isn't Syria also secular? Doesn't Jordan at least have a sane monarchy? Isn't Morocco the favorite destination of French fashion designers looking for boys? Isn't the Sultan of Oman a huge Gilbert & Sullivan fan?

Maybe, I'm wrong about Iraq because I've been reading Bedouinphiles like T.E. Lawrence and Wilfred Thesiger who despised the Iraqis, but I don't have a good feeling about Iraq's future prospects. But are there any Iraqophiles? (At least among people who have been there?) If not, what does that say about Iraq? Am I missing something?

One measure of a country's capacity for self-rule is its warmaking capability. Paradoxically, nation-states that are good at killing their foreign enemies tend to be be cohesive and harmonious at home. So, how good is Iraq at fighting its enemies? According to Greg Cochran, war-gamers assign a man-for-man power rating to the armies of the world. Iraq has the lowest rating. In one war, a whole bunch of Iraqi soldiers surrendered to an Italian journalist.

This delusion could have disastrous consequences after an American invasion. Which Iraq are we talking about? We could easily shatter Iraq into three or more pieces, but if we invade with the notion of making Iraq into a model nation-state, we're going need more than all the king's horses and all the king's men to put Humpty-Dumpty together again. Do we want to fight the Kurds and the Shi'ites to keep Iraq whole, so it can be a good example to the rest of the Middle East?

I suppose the Kurds of northern Iraq could rule themselves (although they fought a civil war in 1995), except that an oil-rich Kurdish state would inevitably get into a war with Turkey by supporting Kurds inside Turkey. The Turkish army would invade and crush independent Kurdistan in order to preserve Turkish national unity. The slaughter, though, would undo much of Turkey's vaunted (and exaggerated) progress toward being an Islamic "normal country," and send Turkey reeling away from its European aspirations and into the Middle Eastern morass.

Maybe the Shi'ites of the south could rule themselves, but how clear-cut are the demographic borders between Shi'ites and Sunnis? If the two groups overlap, you are headed for trouble. A Shi'ite state on the Iranian border would tempt Iran - a country with much greater potential for becoming a "normal country" than Iraq - into foreign adventurism, which could be fatal to the chances for internal reform.

And how many tribes are there among the Sunnis?

It looks to me like the Axis of Evil speech was the direct cause of America now getting stuck waist deep in the Big Muddy River of the ever-lasting Israel-Palestine race war. By saying we were out to get Iraq, we made ourselves dependent on the acquiescence of the Arab countries that we need for bases from which to launch an invasion. That in turn made us hostage to Yasser Arafat, who has cranked up the violence in the Holy Land to get America to put more pressure on Israel.


Razib,
my expert on South Asian population genetics, has a new human biodiversity-oriented blog. It's quite interesting, but, Razib, please, lose the white-text-on-light-blue-background format.

Long lost Evelyn Waugh book reissued! The greatest prose stylist of the 20th Century's 1939 travelogue on Mexico, Robbery Under Law, has been reissued, finally. Buy it here.

No Permanent Enemies: Much of the conservative war party in the press has been pushing the idea recently that Arabs and/or Muslims are America's permanent enemies. A quick look at the historical record, however, shows that in the 104 years since American became a world power in the Spanish-American war, we have had dozens of temporary enemies, but not a single permanent one. Here is an incomplete list of all the countries that have been our enemy at some point over the last 104 years: 

Afghanistan - 2001; Angola - 1975 CIA involvement; Austria - WWI, WWII; Bulgaria - Cold War; Cambodia 1975-1979; China - 1949 - 1972; Croatia - WWII; Cuba - 1959 on; Czechoslovakia - WWI, Cold War; Finland - WWII; France - WWII Vichy; Germany - WWI, WWII, East Germany in Cold War; Grenada - 1983; Guatemala - 1954; Hungary - WWI, WWII, Cold War; Iran - 1954, 1979-on, Axis of Evil; Iraq - Desert Storm, Axis of Evil; Italy - WWII; Japan - WWII; Laos - 1975 -; Libya - 1986; Mexico - Pancho Villa Raid; Mongolia - Cold War; Nicaragua - 1980s Cold War; North Korea - Korean War, Axis of Evil; Panama - 1989; Philippines - Insurrection of 1900; Poland - Cold War; Romania - WWII, Cold War; Russia - Cold War; Somalia - 1993; Spain - Spanish War, sort of during WWII; Syria - 1970-on; the rest of the Soviet republics - Cold War; Turkey - WWI; Vietnam - Vietnam War.

I'm sure I'm missing a few. 

Permanent friends over that period? Well, as Lord Palmerston would have predicted, not many: basically just Britain and its offshoots of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 

I doubt that there is anything that dooms us to be permanently at daggers drawn with Islamic nations. In fact, the nation that has enjoyed cordial relations with America longer (at least when it wasn't colonized) than any other is Arab - that's Morocco, which was exchanging ambassadors with us since long before Britain burned down the White House. And we get along swimmingly with Oman, a Muslim country that was in the Dark Ages until about 1970.

Obviously, there is something to this clash of civilizations stuff, but the trendy notion that we must be at permanent war with a billion Muslims sounds like an idea that will seem terribly outdated in a decade or two.

The Human Biodiversity Reading Club: I thought I would start to periodically list important articles and books I'm reading in order to generate discussion about them. Andrew Sullivan's been doing this for a few weeks and is making rather a lot of money off the little kickback that Amazon gives you for touting books. Good for Andrew. It's one of the best ideas yet for making money off personal web journalism.

I'm going to start off, however, with something free, a 7-page article called "In Our Genes," which proposes a "model system for understanding the relationship between genetic variation and human cultural diversity." A rather interesting and important topic, no?

It's by two friends of mine, Henry Harpending of the U. of Utah, who is a rare combination of mathematical geneticist and field anthropologist (inventor of the important Dad vs. Cad distinction), and by Greg Cochran, the brilliant rocket scientist turned evolutionary theorist. The title is a pointed rejoinder to Not in our Genes, the famous anti-sociobiological tract by the neo-Lysenkoist scientists Richard Lewontin, Steve Rose, and Leon Kamin, although it's also an attack on the evolutionary psychology party line handed down by John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, which Steve Pinker enthusiastically summed up as "differences between individuals are so boring!" (I've since managed to persuade Steve that differences between individuals are a tiny bit interesting.)

Harpending and Cochran's paper starts off rather technically but it soon turns into a wild ride through some of the biggest questions out there about humanity.

My Review of the new movie version of Dave Barry's "Big Trouble."

Publisher Addison-Wesley just asked me for permission to reprint my most popular article "Is Love Colorblind?" (on interracial marriage) as a reading in an upcoming college textbook entitled The Craft of Argument. It's a little humbling to realize that I did my best work five years ago, while finishing chemotherapy and wondering what the bone marrow biopsy would show. As Dr. Johnson suggested, apparently such circumstances can wonderfully concentrate the mind.

The Other Shoe Drops for "A Beautiful Mind" - In my Oscar wrap-up last week, I wrote, "Oddly enough, however, the Best Picture victor did not suffer from any political controversy over its failing to mention that Nash's long-suffering wife, Alicia, is Hispanic." Well, surprise, surprise, in the LA Times on Monday, a functionary for La Raza ("The Race") wrote an article entitled "Why the Whitewashing of Alicia Nash?" With a straight face, the LAT illustrated with a picture of the very white-looking Alicia Nash (unfortunately, not on the web). Her uncle Enrique claims they are the bastard offspring of the Archduke Rudolf. Here's a suggestion for why the movie failed to mention Alicia is from El Salvador: upper class Salvadorans don't exactly have the best of reputations in liberal Hollywood circles (or any circles, for that matter). For elaboration, see Ollie Stone's enormously entertaining Salvador, with James Woods in his greatest role.

NCAA Madness! - Court testimony shows that former U. of Michigan star B-Baller Chris Webber was paid $280,000 by a Wolverine "supporter" from the 8th grade through his sophomore year, when he took Michigan to th e Final game. I say: good for Webber! The University made millions off him. Whites seldom get it, but African-Americans generally understand, in so many words, that the NCAA is a monopsonistic wage-fixing cartel. Here's my article on how to fix this scam: "What Lenin Knew About College Sports."


Better Be Careful What You Wish For Dept.: Apparently, it never occurred to the neocons that if they persuaded the U.S. to smite their foes in the Middle East, such as Iraq and Iran, then America's special relationship with Israel would have to be cranked down, as Dick Cheney's recent trip to the Mid East to find bases for an Iraq invasion and the accompanying tilt away from Israel showed. (See this Weekly Standard editorial for a classic example of Don't-Get-Itness.) Back in September I wrote:

The neo-conservatives need to wake up to realize that if America really takes up the Imperial Burden in the Middle East like the Wolfowitz Wing is demanding, then America's special relationship with Israel is history. Support for Israel is purely a matter of domestic idealism. The American institution that thinks in the broad picture - the State Department - has always found Israel to be a nuisance.

The more the U.S. becomes responsible for running the whole Mid East, the more of an inconvenience Israel becomes. Republics can indulge warm and idealistic commitments precisely because their foreign entanglements are limited in number; empires must be cold and calculating because their burdens are so manifold.


The Cyprus Solution: The reason Palestinian suicide bombers can blow up Israeli citizens is because Israel lets them walk up and stand next to its citizens. The nearby island of Cyprus had nonstop violence between Greeks and Turks until a wall was built dividing the island into two separate spheres. In the quarter century since, there have been very few killings. To paraphrase Robert Frost, good fences make non-homicidal neighbors.

Sure, Palestinians could blindly lob mortar rounds over a wall, but with the kind of radar tracking artillery suppression technology that Israel has now, that could be stomped out. Plus, the Israelis are working on an exciting missile defense system using armed drones to blast enemy ballistic missiles during their slow and vulnerable boost phase.

A wall would be expensive for the Israeli economy in the short run, since the Israelis rely on the Palestinians to be low wage hewers of wood and drawers of water. But, it would be truer to the original Zionist conception of building a separate economy where Jews performed all the jobs, not just the middle man minority jobs that Jews specialized in elsewhere. Anyway, the Israelis can always bring in less dangerous immigrants from places like Thailand to do the grunt work.

March 2002

"Analysis Finds Race Disparity in School Tests" reports the NYT in what I call America's Longest Running Series of 'Dog Bites Man' Stories. Has anyone ever seen a newspaper article where a school district (not a single school) didn't come out with this general ranking of Asian and whites doing better on tests than Hispanics and blacks? The renegade statistician who calls himself La Griffe du Lion explains how to convert these kind of test scores into standard deviation terms here. In school districts all over the country, the white-black testing difference comes out to right around 1.0 standard deviations. La Griffe finds this same result in all sorts of different fields, such as the racial difference in rate of uncountable ballots in the 2000 Florida election. He calls the one standard deviation gap  The Fundamental Constant of Sociology.

Some Answers to My Dumb Question about why don't we put nukes on our missile defense interceptors:

- "At a recent discussion held in DC by Jim Pinkerton's group, Bradley Graham, who just published a book on the subject, said that setting off nukes over either one's own territory or someone else's territory was just TOO controversial. That's why the book was entitled "Hit to Kill," that's what they have to do." 

- "Sure. That's how the proposed Sprint/Spartan system worked back in 1970 and it's lots more effective - specially when you consider that the X-rays reach out quite a distance in vacuum. But we might, in the process of attenuating a massive nuclear attack on the US, create a little fallout - wouldn't want that. Better to die. This is one of a big class of important technical decisions that are fundamentally nuts."

Hmmmhmmm ... maybe it wasn't such a dumb question after all? Another reader suggested:

- "Here's my take. No one would probably have a problem if low-level fall-out happened during a response to an ACTUAL ATTACK; but people (the press, international community, citizens) would be up-in-arms having this fall-out happening, perhaps, 20-50 times over the next 10-15 years during the necessary TESTING of the system."

Excellent point. Clearly, "hit to kill" is a terrific way to practice. If we get good enough to "hit to kill," our nuclear-tipped interceptors would be that much more effective. The problem is we aren't developing nuclear-armed interceptors. The solution would be to build them, but test them with proximity-fused non-nuclear high explosive charges.


My review of robin Williams in
Death to Smoochy.

A reader replies: "The development of birth control has probably made priestly celibacy a less attractive option. If marriage no longer means having a large and demanding family, fewer men will want to become priests. I forget where I read this (Fukuyama? Tiger ? iSteve?), but if families are smaller, fewer parents will direct a child to become the priest or nun in the family. They'd rather have grandchildren. Of course another factor is that economic growth and the decline in discrimination against Catholics in mixed, or formerly occupied Catholic countries like Ireland and Poland means that there are more jobs available for educated Catholics."

My dumb question: It's exciting that the Pentagon's missile defense system prototype has three times in a row physically struck a dummy ICBM in tests over the Pacific. But why are we even trying to "hit a bullet with a bullet?" When you try to shoot down a  flying object, you don't use a rifle, you use a shotgun or an anti-aircraft gun. So wouldn't it make more sense just to load anti-missile missiles with low fallout nukes and vaporize any incoming ICBMs that are in their general vicinity? Help me out here, folks.Career Opportunities

The dress designers for bony actresses Jennifer Connelly and Gwyneth Paltrow continue to take abuse for how awful their clients looked at the Oscars.Jennifer Connelly at 2002 Oscars Yet, the real crime is what these women have done to their own bodies. One of America's wisest coeds wrote to me, "Carving a naturally fleshy body type like Jennifer Connelly's [left] down to the mannequin she is today [right] also plays hell with a woman's hormonal system. When a C-cup like Connelly loses so much weight that she barely has any breasts to speak of, her hormones are thrown perilously out of whack. This can cause mood swings, menstrual irregularities and it can even compromise the immune system. I suspect that this is why actresses like Calista Flockhart and Angelina Jolie adopt instead of tackily giving birth themselves. A woman who maintains a body fat percentage far below her genetically determined minimum fights a daily war with nature. Of course, bearing children is the most archetypal surrender to body fat. Get thee to an adoption agency. Could fat phobia be at least partially responsible for dropping birth rates?"

One of America's wisest socialists asked this question in response: "What is the relation between a woman's size and her reproduction rate? For most of human history it was probably pretty close to straight-line positive [i.e., the less malnourished she was, the more children she had]; but now in advanced nations I would guess that it is some sort of Bell Curve-like figure, with very fat and fashionably thin women having far fewer children than the averagely "overweight" women in between. (The mere fact that average women can be described as overweight is in itself interesting.)" Anybody know of any studies?

Image: Sharbat GulaThe new issue of National Geographic reveals that after 17 years, the magazine has found the subject of its most popular photo ever: that green-eyed Afghan Pashtun refugee girl. It's remarkable how much power that rare eye-color mutations hold over the human imagination.

Human Biodiversity Watch: Jennifer Connelly's diet: Sure, she's got an Oscar now that she's starved herself down to the official shape for a prestige actress, but can she be healthier and happier looking like this today (above left) than when she looked like that (above right)? Perhaps the emotional instability of so many top actresses stems from their being famished all the time? Hunger doesn't make you a happy person.

The Oscars & diversity: Halle Berry's acceptance speech - Why are actresses like that? Raymond Chandler explains. Plus, Denzel Washington & Ben Stein's Law. Here's my article.

Tiger Woods' new girlfriend - Here's Swedish model Elin Nordegren, who was formerly the Tiger Woods girlfriend Elin Nordegrennanny for golfer Jesper Parnevik. For the improvement of the species, let's hope Tiger and his new tigress get married and have lots of extremely attractive children. By the way, I correctly predicted that Tiger would break up with Joana Jagoda, his previous girlfriend (see her picture here), when, in a one of those Great Moments in Feminism, she announced she couldn't accompany him on tour anymore because she was going off to law school for three years. I'm sure, Joana, that you'll enjoy filing writs or whatever it is lawyers do, but, you had your mitts on the most eligible bachelor in American history and you let him get away because you had to go to law school?

"Globalization Proves Disappointing" reports the NYT. "Globalization, or the fast-paced growth of trade and cross-border investment, has done far less to raise the incomes of the world's poorest people than the leaders had hoped, many officials here say. The vast majority of people living in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and the Middle East are no better off today than they were in 1989..." On the other hand, hundreds of billions in private investment have poured into China.

So, what's the story behind the story? Capital flows to where wages are low but IQ's are high - pre-eminently China, where the average IQ is two points higher than the U.S. already, according to Richard Lynn's IQ and the Wealth of Nations. China's IQ advantage is likely to grow greater in the future as the Chinese get better fed and educated. In contrast, these other regions (with the exception of the self-destructive Argentineans) average IQ's of 90 or less, sometimes considerably less.

This is not to disparage free markets - there's really no alternative. The point is simply that, at any point in time, humans will differ greatly in productive capacity, so not everyone benefits from economic competition to the same extent.

For years, Michael Medved has insisted that Hollywood's love affair with R-rated movies hurts the industry financially. Following angry Congressional hearings in 2000 about how Hollywood marketed R-rated films to children, the industry finally started to de-emphasize them. Did this political meddling hurt the bottom line? Or was Medved vindicated? Here's my analysis of the box office data.


Minorities Get Inferior Medical Care, Even with same Insurance plans, Study Finds
-
NYT - Let me explain what's really going on, because the article of course fails to. It's too satisfied with abstract explanations like "racism." If you want good medical care, you can't leave it up to your doctor. You have to get on the Web and research what's wrong with you and what the possible treatments are. Then you have to stand up to your doctor and make him do what it takes to cure you. White people are a lot pushier with their doctors than black people, so they get better medical care.

For example, I had a horrible, convulsive cough for six weeks. I went to my doctor and he prescribed some stuff, but none of it worked. Then the coughing became debilitating - I'd suddenly start coughing, then gasping for air, then gagging, then vomiting. That kind of cuts down on your social life (although I was losing weight nicely on the Blow Chow Diet). So, I got on the Internet and figured out I had Whooping Cough (pertussis). My doctor didn't believe me - whooping cough is rare these days - but I had a stack of printouts showing that my symptoms were precisely those of whooping cough in adults. So, I eventually badgered him into giving me Erythromycin, the antibiotic for pertussis. Within two days, the coughing was under control (although it comes back when I overwork).

So, to improve health care for blacks, encourage them to probingly question their doctors and to do research on the web.

This illustrates something I try to do - relate big political, social, and racial issues to daily life. Too many journalists just use a prefabricated set of abstract concepts for thinking about race, and never examine how it actually plays out in the real world.

Is the new version of E.T. worth going to a theatre to see? Here is my review.


New, Improved Oscars - Here's my article suggesting awards to reflect what modern Hollywood is really about: Best Carcinogenic Product Placement, Best Career-Enhancing Divorce, Least Unexpected Change of Sexual Orientation, etc.


Can anybody make sense out of Andrew Sullivan's latest venting on the Catholic Church's youth-molesting scandal? As usual, Andrew seems to have decided that it has something to do with the Church discriminating against gays, although by any reasonable standard it would appear the Church was too forgiving of priests who acted out on their gay impulses. Anyway, that's why Andrew is a superstar of personal web journalism - even when he's denouncing identity politics, everything ends up being about his own complex identity. And, basically, that's what people are interested in - personalities, not logic. Those of us who strive for objectivity and logical consistency in our observations about the world just aren't as humanly interesting as a walking mass of contradictions and sensitivities like Andrew.


I want to come back to this fascinating question of why demanding celibacy and chastity of priests no longer appears practical. Or, in other words, why until not that long ago did European Christian societies assume that lots of people were never going to marry? My guess is that until fairly recently, lots of people tended to be too hungry, tired, cold, and ill to feel particularly strong sexual urges. Sure, the healthiest always tended to be plenty lusty, but perhaps a sizable fraction didn't.


Al Gore shaves off his beard - The main purpose behind having a beard is to make your jaw look larger and thus more manly. (A beard can also serve to cover up jowls and a spotty complexion.) I have a weak jawline, so I look better with a beard. (At least, that's how I feel when I look at myself in the mirror.) The problem with this is that the whole world has figured out - on a subliminal level - that guys with mediocre testosterone levels grow beards to make themselves look studlier. So, everybody assumes that a man with a beard is just a professorial-type trying to cover up his wimpy chin. That's why when I was a corporate executive, I always shaved off my beard when I needed to look for a job. Granted, this let everyone see how unformidable my jaw was, but that was less damaging than covering it up with a beard and thus encouraging them to assume it was even less dominant-looking than it actually is.

(Allen Mazur did a great little study where he showed people pictures from the 1950 West Point Yearbook and asked them to guess which cadets rose to the rank of general. Having no other information, people tended to pick the young officers with the strongest jaws and other masculinely handsome features - and they turned out to be correct more often than not.)

This popular (and fairly accurate) prejudice against men with beards caused Gore no end of trouble over the last year, and needlessly, because he has an impressive jaw. (Of course, it didn't help that Al refused to engage in basic beard-care. Gore had the classic "Go to hell, World" scruffy beard, which, while understandable after all he went through, wasn't helping him look like 2004 Presidential timber.)

What Gore really needs to work on is his lisp. No, he doesn't have a lithp, he has a lisssssssp. As Harry Shearer of The Simpsons told me, Gore tends to make super-sibilant "s" sounds. Darryl Hammond on Saturday Night Live had Gore's lissssssp impediment down perfectly. This tends to be a gay male trait, although our lack of accurate terminology causes confusion over this: Very few gays lithp, but quite a few lissssssp. Lissssping plagues gay choirs. This speech impediment damaged Gore's image with the public, making him sound more prissy and less manly than Bush, despite all the objective evidence that Gore is highly masculine. If Gore didn't lissssp, he'd be President today.

Neo-centrist Mickey Kaus has an excellent attack on amnesty for illegal immigrants on his site. I certainly don't mind quietly persuading influential people like Mickey, but it would be nice if they'd come out of the closet and publicly admit to reading VDARE.

Twin Questions - One fascinating finding is that identical twins, who are virtually 100% genetically the same, still tend to differ somewhat on IQ and personality measures. One particularly intriguing finding is that they seldom fall in love with the same person. Also, twins raised together aren't a whole lot more similar than twins raised apart. How come? I've got a few ideas, which I'll mention soon, but I'd like to hear yours.


I solicited from California initiative heroes Ward Connerly and Ron Unz some unsolicited advice for Bill Simon about issues to campaign on against Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis: find out what they have to say.


Who should be up for an Oscar but isn't?


My review
of Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy in Showtime.


My review
of The Time Machine.


Will there be a debate between Jonah Goldberg and myself on the scientific meaningfulness of race? To me, it sounds like a lot of fun. Jonah knows a lot about dog breeding - a field that features both close similarities and major differences with race in humans - so that could be a good starting point. Polite encouragement can be emailed to JonahEmail@aol.com.

How to prevent anti-Semitic paranoia: So, it turns out that Carl Cameron's five-part series that was briefly posted on FoxNews.com in December before being spiked was on to something when it reported Israelis were spying in the U.S.. At least, that's what The Forward, the fine Jewish newspaper of New York, reported in an article entitled, "Spy Rumors Fly on Gusts of Truth." Apparently, at least a few of the many Israelis arrested after 9/11 were Mossad agents keeping an eye on Muslim extremists in the U.S. (Too bad our spooks weren't.) The Forward denies that they had any inkling that 9/11 was going to happen.

It's confusing though, because the same reporter in the same issue of The Forward published another article called, "FBI Probe Defuses Israeli Spying Rumors." The argument in this one is that the scores of Israeli "art students" detained since 9/11 for spying on government agencies weren't Mossad agents, but were Israeli mobsters scoping out the DEA probably to help themselves deal more Ecstasy. (An earlier Forward article reported that Israeli organized criminals have cornered 75% of the American market for ravers' favorite drug.) These two stories are not necessarily fundamentally contradictory. There could have been two separate intelligence gathering operations going on - one run by Mossad, the other run by gangsters. Or, they could have been in some way linked, as the CIA and the Chicago Outfit were in the Castro assassination attempts. Just as I like to point out that the line between freedom fighter, terrorist, and gangster can be awfully thin, so can the line between gangster and intelligence agent, as so many KGB agents have shown over the last decade.

Obviously, I don't know what was going on. One thing I am certain about, though, is this: The mainstream press only encourages anti-Semitic paranoia when it shies away from publishing true stories about the activities of Israeli spies and gangsters. In particular, they are throwing red meat to the paranoid set when they post articles, then try to delete them. Don't they know that nothing disappears on the Web?


Perhaps the Catholic Church's boy-groping scandal will cause the New York Times to publicly reassess its condemnation of the Boy Scouts for discriminating against adult homosexuals who want to lead boys into the woods. I doubt it, though.


Shouldn't the term "homophobic" - literally, "fear of homosexuals" - apply to institutions like the New York Times and Newsweek? They are obviously intimidated about reporting facts about which the homosexuals in their newsrooms would ask, "Is it bad for the gays?" Star reporter Rick Berke of the NYT told a gay journalist group, "There are times when you look at the front-page meeting” of the Times and “literally three-quarters of the people deciding what’s on the front page are not-so-closeted homosexuals.”


As the Catholic priesthood's boy-fondling scandal runs its course, I suspect that calls to end the Church's 1,000 year old policy of priestly celibacy will mount. It's hard to tell from news coverage whether the victims are mostly pre-pubescent or post-pubescent boys, but even in the gay-intimidated current journalistic environment, it's clear we are talking about boys, not girls.

Clearly, the Catholic Church can no longer recruit many young heterosexual men to a life of celibacy the way it did in the glory days of the Irish-American Church in the first half of the last century. This strikes me as reflecting one of the big overlooked changes of the 20th Century - the spread of the idea that everyone would, should, and deserves to get married. I don't know the statistics, but I gather that throughout much of Western European history, a sizable minority of the population didn't marry. Even in Victorian England, there were lots of professions in which marriage was difficult - domestic servants, sailors, army officers, Oxford dons, and so forth. 

Anthropologist Peter Frost has talked about how one of the distinguishing features of Western Europe, going back into barbarian times was late and non-universal marriage. 

The 1950's, which seem to us like the bedrock era of unchanging stability, may have been the first time when the universality of marriage became economically feasible in the U.S.

All in all, this seems like a happy change. As I've argued before, monogamy (one man-one wife) may be at the heart of Western individualism and freedom. This trend spread that notion of sexual democracy even farther.

However, the spread of the notion that everyone should have an active sex life has obviously caused big problems for the Catholic priesthood. The Church doesn't like to move fast - it has seen lots of fads come and go. But this one seems permanent. 

Ending celibacy would also set the stage for dealing with the issue of female ordination a few decades in the future. The Church can't afford female ordination now because it would turn the priesthood into an overwhelmingly gay male and lesbian-dominated institution, further alienating the straight male laity. But a few decades of building back up the proportion of straight men in the priesthood would put the Church in position to open the doors to women as priests.

One of the least predicted phenomena of recent decades was the emergence of a huge number of people with brilliant technical skills in South India. As far as I know, nobody saw it coming. It doesn't fit either standard cultural theories (e.g., the "center" flourishes at the expense of the "periphery" - until recently, you couldn't get much more peripheral than Bangalore) or evolutionary theories (e.g., cold winters may select for high IQ, but South India is awfully warm). 

A young Bangladeshi-American population geneticist named Razib Khan has done one of the few studies in this area, confirming via survey that professors of mathematics in India are disproportionately Southerners. Razib wrote to me:

"South Indians (from my experience) seem to have somewhat of an inferiority complex visa vis the north, especially the Hindi cow-belt. This is partly because of the north's cultural domination. But it's also because southerners are small and darker. If fact, I would hazard to guess that many northern fathers would object to their daughters marrying a southerner purely on racial grounds-backed up of course by traditional caste prejudices.

"This being said-pretty much everyone also agrees the southerners are damn smart. Smarter than the average northerner. Doesn't seem to matter though-the northerners are still higher on the pecking order anyhow. Kind of like High School. Jocks, not nerds, rule.

"By the way, I happen to think there probably isn't much evolutionary advantage in the ability to figure out higher level topology in mathematics. I have to think genetic drift is important in this sort of thing."

Genetic drift (i.e., randomness) might well be the answer, but it's kind of the Theory of Last Resort for when we can't come up with anything else. Of course, I sure haven't come up with anything else other than "maybe it has something to do with caste," which isn't exactly a theory. Does anybody have any other suggestions? What role does caste play in this? (My impression is that caste is essentially Jim Crow-style segregation taken to surrealistic extremes. Does that make sense?)  3/03/02


Why are there so many extremely smart people from the South of India? I mean, there's certainly nothing lacking about the big, fairer-skinned folks from the North of India, but the small, dark-skinned Dravidian-speakers from the South are something. 

Here's my review of Mel Gibson's Vietnam movie We Were Soldiers. How does Randall "Braveheart" Wallace's new war movie compare to Black Hawk Down and Apocalypse Now? Find out.

Fascinating review by J.P. Rushton of Richard Lynn's IQ and the Wealth of Nations in VDARE. Lynn's book lists average IQs for scores of nations, from Equatorial Guinea on the bottom to Hong Kong on the top.

I take a somewhat more optimistic view of the data than Rushton. The correlation Lynn found between IQ and per capita income is extraordinary, around 0.75 - maybe the highest correlation ever seen in the social sciences for a world-historic issue like this. As a former marketing researcher, I have some doubts about how demographically representative the samples from each country were (I haven't seen the book yet), because t's extremely expensive to get a perfectly nationally representative sample. But keep this crucial point in mind: better data would almost certainly raise Lynn's correlation!

But which way does the arrow of causation run? It probably runs both ways. Higher IQs lead to higher average incomes (for obvious reasons), but higher incomes probably also lead to higher IQs. If the latter wasn't true, it would be very hard to understand why African-Americans outscore Africans by 15 points (an entire standard deviation). 

The good news is that it should be possible to set off a virtuous cycle of higher IQs leading to a wealthier, more civilized society that in turn leads to even higher IQs, and so forth. In fact, this has probably been happening in a lot of the world. But how could we fully ignite this process in the low IQ portions of the 3rd World? There's probably no way short of 22nd Century genetic engineering to make Equatorial Guinea into Hong Kong, but it ought to be possible to do something to raise the next generations' IQs.

But we don't really know yet. Education probably helps. But there may be other, cheaper ways that focus on alleviating biological problems that prevent people from reaching their genetic potential in intelligence. Perhaps some IQ-cognizant philanthropic computer zillionaire should fund intense research into how to raise IQ's in 3rd World countries. (Hey, Larry Ellison - this is how you could trump Bill Gates at saving the world!) A rise of just a few points could mean a big improvement in the workings of these countries. Lynn and the New Zealand scholar James Flynn, working separately, have shown that raw IQs scores have been rising in many countries - the Lynn-Flynn effect - but we know very little about what causes this or how significant it is. Lynn himself has demonstrated that malnutrition hurts IQ, but we need to know more the precise mechanisms. Perhaps getting enough of certain nutrients early in life can make a modest but significant difference. Arthur Jensen thinks that is likely. 

Further, I strongly suspect, based on twins raised apart data, that infections sap IQ. Tropical countries are more germ-ridden than temperate countries. Unfortunately, we really don't know much about which germs knock a few points off IQ. This is something that ought to be studied in depth. But practically nobody is doing it because IQ researchers are considered the devil's spawn these days.


School Testing:
Here's a long WaPo story attacking the trend toward using standardized testing to rank elementary schools. It makes some good points, but, like most thinking on the subject, it misses the essential problem with the kind of testing Bush promotes: Schools should be evaluated on how much value they add to their students. Today, though, schools are mostly ranked on the IQs that their students bring to schools, which in modern America are probably 50% or more genetically determined, and much of the rest of the variance in IQ appears related to random infections and the like, not schooling. It's unfair to the principle of, say, Malcolm X H.S. to downgrade him compared to the principle of Beverly Hills H.S., just because his kids do worse on tests. He could do be doing a great job relative to the raw materials he has to work with.

To make school comparison testing useful, every 6 year old in the U.S. should be given an IQ test - and by an independent tester, not the school. From then on, schools should be evaluated by their students' performance on achievement tests relative to their aptitude at age 6.

One reason we seldom hear this logically obvious idea of testing for value added is because colleges' reputations rest 90% on the high school SAT scores of their students. But that topic is largely off limits, because the media is run by people with fancy resumes who don't want the reputations of their colleges' besmirched by objective research into whether the college is actually any good at educating.


"Since Anita Hill, the chief weapon of the Washington right has been character assassination," says the NY Times' op-ed columnist Frank Rich, who seems to be impervious to embarrassment over anything he writes. Funny, I seem to recall it was Clarence Thomas who was the first victim of character assassination. Thanks, Frank, for setting us straight., the chief weapon of the Washington right has been character assassination," says the NY Times' op-ed columnist Frank Rich, who seems to be impervious to embarrassment over anything he writes. Funny, I seem to recall it was Clarence Thomas who was the first victim of character assassination. Thanks, Frank, for setting us straight.

In reality, of course, Anita Hill's absurd campaign against Thomas did make Bill Clinton's impeachment almost inevitable. Clinton rode to the Presidency in 1992, "The Year of Women in Politics," in large part on the back of the Anita Hill brouhaha. But it was obvious to anybody, like myself, who had spent time in Arkansas that Gov. Clinton had been hitting widely on state employees. Under the silly standards that the Anita Hill foo-fraw drummed up, Clinton was surely much guiltier of sexual harassment than Thomas. What proof do I have of this chain of logic? I predicted it all in December, 1992 in my article "A Specter Is Haunting the Clinton Presidency."


Anti-Teutonism is the anti-Semitism of the elite:
Check out this hilariously biased NYT article slurring a German-speaking Swiss patriot who works tirelessly to preserve Switzerland's unique (and remarkably successful) national character. The nearly-hysterical reporter's assumption is that Switzerland must take in a few million immigrants so it will become "diverse," and thus no longer so irritatingly diverse from the rest of Europe. (Sounds like the media's opinion of Utah!) In reality, Switzerland, with its four national languages, is one of humanity's rare triumphs of language diversity co-existing in a republic with liberty and peace. Here's my article on how Switzerland accomplishes this remarkable feat.