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I don't know for sure that Palo Alto, CA, the home of the venture capital industry and next door to Stanford U., is really the highest IQ town in America. The highest test score public schools in America are in Lexington, MA, a suburb preferred by Boston area college professors. And I imagine tiny, rich... Read More
I've been dealing with car problems, but as always, lots of stuff is happening. What do you think?
From an op-ed in the New York Times: By the way, some of these Census Bureau ancestry figures, where respondents are asked to identify with a single European nationality, rise and fall due to fashion. Choosing "German" has been rising and "English" has been falling, but I doubt if the underlying genetics are changing very... Read More
Academic historians dislike the concept that history is often made by groups of individuals plotting together in confidence, even though one obvious way to get big things done is to make plans with your friends and allies while keeping your rivals in the dark as long as possible. One exception is the late Georgetown history... Read More
Carl Zimmer reports in the NYT: In other words, with "the Yamnaya" we're likely talking about more or less the people also known as the Proto-Indo-Europeans, who used to be called the Aryans. ... Until about 9,000 years ago, Europe was home to a genetically distinct population of hunter-gatherers, the researchers found. Then, between 9,000... Read More
The surrender of Japan in the late summer of 1945 remains one of the more argued-over events in history, even though it happened in the absolute full glare of world attention and it made complete sense. It's worth going over the various causes once again, in part because it shows how hard it is to... Read More
From my movie review in Taki's Magazine:Everyone says history is written by the victors, but it’s actually written by the historiographers. For the first century after 1865, white Southerners wrote most Civil War histories and almost all the accounts of the subsequent Reconstruction. Their anger over the postwar military occupation was transmitted in two vastly... Read More
Here are excerpts from my new VDARE.com column. It's a long one.The Texas Board of Education has voted to include in the state’s history textbooks facts more favorable to conservatives. Needless to say, this has provoked condemnations from the national Main Stream Media. That’s because any challenge to the Left’s post-1960s dominion over the past... Read More
Here's the opening of my new VDARE.com column:As I've been rereading Professor Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison's three-volume Oxford History of the American People from 1964, I've been thinking about the old Protestant Establishment.Morison (1887-1976) was himself a leading member of the Protestant Establishment (liberal Boston Brahmin wing). His extraordinary career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard... Read More
From the New York Times:Saint-Gaudens was the greatest American sculptor of the late 19th Century. Gibbs was a phenomenally accomplished physicist, chemist, and mathematician.In general, the honorees reflects the tastes of the high-brow electors. For example, the first cohort of 29 elected in 1900 includes botanist Asa Gray, to whom Darwin addressed the 1857 letter... Read More
Dennis Dutton's Arts & Letters Daily has a heap o' links, and Ross Douthat has a good column.Let's party like it's 1989 with songs about the Berlin Wall:David Bowie: Heroes, 1977: Video / Lyrics (and here's a terrific live version video, supposedly from a show in Berlin in 2002; it doesn't have as much of... Read More
I'm rereading Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison's Oxford History of the American People. The second volume was fairly dull until the democratic age arrives with Andrew Jackson, after which it's consistently comic. For example, here's a bit on the 1836 campaign by Vice President Richard Johnson, whose supporters chanted in answer to William Henry Harrison's claim... Read More
I'm reading H.W. Brands's biography of Benjamin Franklin, The First American. Franklin's life has a comic aspect (in both the Shakespearean sense of turning out happily and in the absurdist sense of the improbability of it all) in that he's successful at practically all the multitudinous projects he turns his hand to. Franklin figured out... Read More
In traditional Western cultures, below the rank of aristocrats, romantic and sexual impulsiveness was a major threat to social standing. The punishment in terms of class standing for out-of-wedlock births was so harsh that the illegitimacy rate among women in England in 1200-1800 was stable at around 3-4%, even though women didn't marry on average... Read More
Over on Taki's Magazine, my Wednesday column is up about the upcoming PBS documentary by Ken Burns, who created the superb The Civil War in 1990:Please read it there and comment about it here.My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer
One important finding in Charles Murray's 2003 book Human Accomplishment is that during the rise of the West from 1500 onward, most major civilizations outside the West were stagnating culturally -- even in categories where they only compete against themselves (e.g., Arabic Literature, Chinese Literature, Indian Literature, Chinese Painting, Indian Philosophy, and Chinese Philosophy).Only the... Read More
One of the odder figures in 20th Century American history was Sen. Joe McCarthy's chief counsel, Roy Cohn, whose infatuation with another McCarthy staffer, handsome young G. David Schine, was used by Dwight Eisenhower to destroy McCarthy in 1954. Cohn went on to become a prominent NYC shady attorney before dying of AIDS in 1986... Read More
Barack Obama's inaugural day is upon us…and Obamamania hasreached such comic dimensions that I can't bring myself to think seriously about it. So let's step back and consider Obamamania's closest analog: the extravagant “Trudeaumania“ that propelled an obscure law professor to the prime ministership of <st1:place w:st="on">Canada in the fateful year 1968. Pierre Elliott Trudeau... Read More
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has a new book out, The Soul and Barbed Wire: An Introduction to Solzhenitsyn by Edward E. Ericson Jr. and Alexis Klimoff, that serves as both biography and critical appraisal of the late literary giant's work. It's readable and reasonably short at 270 pages. It's only $13.50 in paperback at Amazon.And... Read More
Razib at GNXP offers a useful summary-review of Peter Turchin's ambitious "War and Peace and War," in which Turchin offers three theories to explain much of human history. I offer my thoughts in the GNXP comments.My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer
... is not its reliability, which isn't bad. Instead, in its obsession with being trustworthy, it is determined to lack style, to wage a relentless war against insight and panache. In other words, it's boring.Obviously, Wikipedia doesn't pay writers, so it typically gets what it pays for in terms of quality writing. Worse is its... Read More
When I was a kid, somebody started saying that outfielder Joe Rudi of the Oakland A's was the most underrated player in baseball. After a few years, he was famous for being not famous. By 1974, he was second in the press' league MVP voting even though he was only the second best hitter on... Read More
One of my long-term interests is human interest in the unpredictable. I've argued that much about human behavior is reasonably predictable (e.g., Beverly Hills schools will have higher test scores than Compton schools for a long time to come), but that we are more interested in the unpredictable.For example, sports conferences are typically artificially structured... Read More
A baroque-era harpsichord piece was playing on the car radio tonight, and I got to thinking how nicely the harpsichord, with its calm clockwork-like sound (due to its inability to change volume), symbolizes the spirit of the age of reason, so reminiscent of Newton's clockwork universe, which was such a popular image in the 18th... Read More
A few years ago, I read a book by historian Bernard Bailyn, To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders. It contained a chapter on the wonderfulness of the Federalist Papers, as written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, comparing them to the Anti-Federalist Papers, written by a bunch of losers... Read More
I don't have anything new to say about the Supreme Court's Second Amendment decision, so here's what I wrote in 2004: Original Intent of the Second Amendment: I haven't really been into guns since I desperately wanted a BB gun for my 9th birthday (see "Christmas Story" for details), but my son and I did... Read More
A friend responds to my posting last week on Irish economist-farmer Raymond Crotty's lactose tolerantcentric theory of world history: Raymond Crotty 's sweeping review of history (Histories in Collision, mentioned by Steve Sailer on his blog) is maybe sometimes a little too sweeping, but interesting all the same. One of the things that is going... Read More
I'm a fan of ultra-ambitious History of Everything books that try to explain the whole world in terms of the author's pet ideas, such as Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, Michael H. Hart's Understanding Human History, and Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms.So, I was surprised to stumble upon one such book that I'd... Read More
Last year I visited the Gettysburg Battlefield for the first time. The only other famous battlefield I've been to is Waterloo.This got me to thinking how few classic battles have been fought around the world in recent decades, with two armies engaging bravely and competently at a fairly defined location. Much recent warfare has either... Read More
All these discussions of the important but mysterious topic of what kind of President Barack Obama would turn out to be remind me of how hard it is to forecast anything about the intersection of politics and personalities.For example, I just stumbled upon this extraordinary example of how the leading men of the age can't... Read More
So, who should be the most famous Americans?The most disinterested and careful attempt to measure the scholarly consensus regarding the most important individuals in history in the arts and sciences is Charles Murray's 2003 book Human Accomplishment. His methodology is described in my review in The American Conservative and in my interview with Murray, but... Read More
In The Atlantic's recent list of 100 most influential Americans, which was voted on mostly by historians who have written for The Atlantic, Ross Douthat does the math:Still, certain patterns are evident. The list tells us, for instance, that though we may be a nation of immigrants, it’s the native-born who are likely to shake... Read More
Vanishing American pointed me toward this USA Today story:Here's a quiz: Get a pencil and paper and jot down the 10 most famous Americans in history. No presidents or first ladies allowed.Who tops your list?Ask teenagers, and they overwhelmingly choose African-Americans and women, a study shows. It suggests that the "cultural curriculum" that most kids... Read More
Are you ever in a situation, such as when shopping, where it's about time to finally make a decision, like between buying the GyroXdisk 6800 or the MutantBlaster 970, and so you announce, "I choose the ...," but then you are immediately surprised at what came out of your mouth? As the salesman is ringing... Read More
Because no good movies get released in late August, I took the opportunity to review a classic DVD: When your television dies, a trip to the home entertainment showroom, with its massed ranks of the latest monitors all displaying the same glorious nature documentary for convenient comparison shopping, will quickly convince you that your initial... Read More
One of the enduring mysteries of American history is why the The Sixties! didn't begin until the decade was almost 40% over. The general flavor of 1960-1963 was similar to 1954-1959, but then everything quickly changed. Many people who lived through that time have observed that the turning point was John F. Kennedy's assassination, but... Read More
Just this weekend, we poor dumb Americans finally learned for the first time about one of the most important Soviet atomic bomb spies: George Koval, a GRU-trained agent who penetrated the Oak Ridge and Dayton atomic bomb manufacturing plants, then fled back to the Soviet Union in, apparently, 1948. The U.S. government interviewed people who... Read More
Cultural historian Jacques Barzun will turn 100 on November 30, 2007 at his home in San Antonio, Texas. His parents ran a salon in pre-War (that's pre-Great War) Paris where, according to Arthur Krystal's New Yorker essayArtistically, Barzun feels, it's been pretty much all downhill since the Archduke was assassinated, back when precocious little Jacques... Read More
Intellectual property rights are a snooze-inducing topic for everybody except, apparently, rabid libertarians who hate to pay for their entertainment, but they can have far-reaching consequences. Here's an excerpt from my 2005 American Conservative article on "Hollywood's Skin-Deep Leftism:"Keep in mind that Hollywood's relationship with the outside world is tenuous. It's a self-absorbed community and... Read More
From the New York Times: By WILLIAM J. BROAD He had all-American cover: born in Iowa, college in Manhattan, Army buddies with whom he played baseball. George Koval also had a secret. During World War II, he was a top Soviet spy, code named Delmar and trained by Stalin’s ruthless bureau of military intelligence. Atomic... Read More
Larry Auster has a long review of a book I reviewed over the summer, Michael A. Hart's Understanding Human History. Here's an interesting section: The reason for Hart's low opinion of India become evident from his similarly (and unfashionably) low opinion of ancient Egypt. Egypt, he tells us, was not nearly as important a civilization... Read More
Last week, VDARE.com ran the first portion of my review of Gregory Clark's "Brief Economic History of the World," in which I considered Clark's initial topic: why did the Industrial Revolution start in England. Today, I consider the second, and more important subject of his book: why has the Industrial Revolution spread to some countries... Read More
[See also last week's A Farewell To Alms: Why Did The Industrial Revolution Happen Where It Did?] In A Farewell to Alms, economic historian Gregory Clark asks: Why has the Industrial Revolution of the last two centuries caused a Great Divergence, making some nations so rich, while others have stayed so poor. This is a... Read More
The old British Labour Party suffered a fundamental conflict of interest as a governing party:- As the Government, it was supposed to run the nationalized industries in the interest of the nation;- But as the Parliamentary representative of the labour unions, including the huge unions at the bloated and money-losing nationalized industries, it was supposed... Read More
An ambitious and provocative new book by University of California at Davis economic historian Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World attempts to explain two huge questions: Why did one part of the human race finally break out of the"Malthusian trap"—in which growth in per capita income is washed... Read More
The ambitious History of Everything book has been an important genre at least since Sir Walter Raleigh's The Historie of the World. The most popular example of recent years: Jared Diamond's 1997 bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel. Diamond attempted to explain the always-interesting question of who conquered whom over the last 13,000 years without mentioning... Read More
As every schoolboy used to know, the episodes of group migration into the British Isles were remarkably few between the NormanConquest of 1066 and the beginning of modern mass immigration after 1945: the French Huguenot refugees, the modest flow of Ashkenazi Jews, and a few others. Nevertheless, in recent years thepolitically-correct elites on both sides... Read More
The Mainstream Media has finally noticed what VDARE.com has been reporting for years: the constant incursions by Mexican military units into American territory, typically while guarding drug and immigrant smugglers. By one estimate, the Mexican military has violated our largely unfenced border 231 times in the last decade. [Reports Cite Incursions on U.S. Border, By... Read More
Last Friday, The New World, a fictionalized account of the (most likely nonexistent) romance between Captain John Smith of Jamestown and the Indian princess Pocahontas in 1608, rolled out nationwide to 811movie theatres. It is currently boring senseless any filmgoer naïve enough to believe the rapturous reviews in much of the prestige press. That's particularly... Read More
The Bush Administration's Invade-the-World-Invite-the-World strategy of throwing our weight around abroad while not bothering to secure the borders at home threatens to lead to some nasty blowback in the future. In the past, a similar combination of policies—the conquest of Puerto Rico in 1898 combined with the opening of our borders to Puerto Rican immigrants... Read More
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


PastClassics
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?