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From the Washington Post:

The Volokh Conspiracy Analysis
Sorry, but the Irish were always ‘white’ (and so were Italians, Jews and so on)

By David Bernstein March 22 at 12:54 PM

“Whiteness studies” is all the rage these days. My friends who teach U.S. history have told me that this perspective has “completely taken over” studies of American ethnic history. I can’t vouch for that, but I do know that I constantly see people assert, as a matter of “fact,” that Irish, Italian, Jewish and other “ethnic” white American were not considered to be “white” until sometime in the mid-to-late 20th century, vouching for the fact that this understanding of American history has spread widely.

The relevant scholarly literature seems to have started with Noel Ignatiev’s book “How the Irish Became White,” and taken off from there. But what the relevant authors mean by white is ahistorical.

I think they mean: could you get into the best country club in town?

Strikingly enough, the son-in-law of the founder/designer of National Golf Links of America in the Hamptons was Irish Catholic. Of course his dad had been elected mayor of NYC in 1880 as the Establishment candidate. This is not to say that being Irish Catholic was quite as ideal as being WASP or Scottish Presbyterian for getting into country clubs. Growing up wealthy and Irish Catholic was a good background for novelists of manners, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and John O’Hara. Snobbish but insecure is a motivating combination for novelists.

Those may be interesting sociological and anthropological angles to pursue, but it has nothing to do with whether the relevant groups were considered to be white.

Here are some objective tests as to whether a group was historically considered “white” in the United States: Were members of the group allowed to go to “whites-only” schools in the South, or otherwise partake of the advantages that accrued to whites under Jim Crow? Were they ever segregated in schools by law, anywhere in the United States, such that “whites” went to one school, and the group in question was relegated to another? When laws banned interracial marriage in many states (not just in the South), if a white Anglo-Saxon wanted to marry a member of the group, would that have been against the law? Some labor unions restricted their membership to whites. Did such unions exclude members of the group in question? Were members of the group ever entirely excluded from being able to immigrate to the United States, or face special bans or restrictions in becoming citizens?

Being black was so much worse than being any flavor of white that this whole mythology ought to be considered racist.

… Indeed, some lighter-skinned African Americans of mixed heritage “passed” as white by claiming they were of Arab descent and that explained their relative swarthiness, showing that Arab Americans, another group whose “whiteness” has been questioned, were considered white.

The Ben Ali Stakes, an annual Kentucky horse race, has been run since 1917. It’s named after the socially prominent 19th Century horse racing enthusiast James Ben Ali Haggin, a lawyer who’d made a fortune out of the California gold rush. He was the grandson of the Ibrahim Ben Ali, a purported Ottoman Janissary officer who somehow or other wound up in Baltimore where he married a Baptist lady and practiced medicine. (I have no idea if Ibrahim’s colorful story is true.)

This is not to say that early Americans favored massive Ottoman immigration, but that being a rare Turk in America was considered exotic and kind of cool.

Similarly, Mozart’s librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, a Jewish defrocked Catholic priest and pimp, was a huge hit with the locals when he finally washed up in New York City after a lifetime of misadventures had caused him to flee pretty much every other country he’d ever lived in one step ahead of the law or the debtor’s prison.

By contrast, persons of African, Asian, Mexican and Native American descent faced various degrees of exclusion from public schools and labor unions, bans on marriage and direct restrictions on immigration and citizenship.

In general, the more of a minority you were in a region, the more welcome you were. The closer you were to being a majority, the more discrimination against your kind. Being a Mexican in Schenectady was better than being a Mexican in the Rio Grande Valley. This rule of thumb even applies somewhat to blacks, but in general blacks were discriminated against everywhere.

… We know that light-skinned Cubans were considered white at least as of 1950 because (despite the trepidations of the studio) the public accepted Lucy and Ricky, in a way they would never have accepted a black-white or Chinese-white couple. American Indians were considered non-white, but if they assimilated and married whites their children were generally accepted as part of white society. Did you know that Will Rogers was 9/32 Cherokee?

In general, people these days are pretty bad about doing reality checks on the conventional wisdom.

When I’ve pointed this out to people, they often rejoin that people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries often referred to the “Irish race,” the “Italian race,” the “Jewish race.”

Americans seem to have completely forgotten that “race” started out meaning lineage. The English word “race” comes out of the horse race business. It probably traces back to an Arab word for descent or breed. The use of the word “race” for breed and for what Arab-derived Thoroughbreds are used for is not a coincidence.

We don’t bother to classify Thoroughbreds by color because we know their entire pedigree going back dozens of generations. In contrast, we classify people by color and other visible traits because we don’t know their family trees.


There’s a general feeling that the reason that non-Moore’s Law things keep getting more expensive (Cost Disease) is because we’re doing things wrong. And that may very frequently be. But I fear there are often good reasons for doing things more expensively today.

Presumably, the Oroville Dam main spillway was close to state of the art in the 1960s, but you live and learn. For example, here is an interesting article about the ruined 1960s Oroville Dam spillway based on the views of a professor who consulted on the construction of the new spillway at nearby Folsom Dam.

Folsom spillway

As I mentioned awhile ago, the new Folsom spillway started construction a little over nine years ago and, if all goes well, should be wrapped up this fall before the tenth anniversary of construction. The total bill for Folsom will be about $900 million.

But at Oroville, they’ve been spending an average of $4.7 million per day on emergency repairs since mid-February.

From the Chico, CA Enterprise-Record:

Oroville Dam: How a 21st-century spillway compares to Oroville’s 1968 structure

PUBLISHED: March 22, 2017 at 5:57 am

Oroville – In the nearly 50 years since the Oroville Dam was completed, construction methods have changed.

Chico State University construction management professor Chris Souder consulted on the Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway project which began construction in 2008 and is on pace to be completed in October.

He also got a tour March 1 of the work going on at the Oroville Dam through the engineering contractor Syblon Reid out of Folsom. …

“At Folsom they directed the concrete has to be extra straight and strong,” he said. “Anything that the water can grab onto at that velocity, it will tear apart.”

Souder said the “baffles,” the enormous concrete blocks at the bottom of the Oroville spillway, were designed to slow the water down, which lessens the destructive force. The Folsom spillway has larger, steel-plated baffles and an extra element designed to slow water down.

“Folsom stepped the slabs every 7 to 30 feet once the slope was more than 30 degrees and depending how steep the slope,” Souder wrote. “There were almost 70 steps to slow the water.”

If Souder were in charge of building the Oroville Dam spillway using modern methods, he said he would build it thicker with more reinforcing steel and anchor it to the rock.

The Folsom spillway is a minimum of 42 inches thick.

The Oroville Dam spillway concrete is only 15 inches at its thinnest by design.

After seeing the construction up close, Souder said the original work could have been better reinforced, but it was well-built at the time.

“We learn from mistakes and time,” he wrote in an email.

The construction management professor recommended building the spillway with concrete 3 to 5 feet thick (36 to 60 inches) and with a crisscrossing “double mat” of reinforcing steel bars (rebar) an average diameter of one inch (rebar size No. 8) spaced 6 to 9 inches apart.

The original work had reinforcing steel, but Souder said it could have used more.

“There is reinforcing in the existing concrete, however, it is extremely light. It appears they barely reinforced the top and bottom double mats and what they did place has a spacing no closer than 12 inches,” he wrote. …

In his experience working at the Folsom Dam spillway, Souder said the walls were a minimum of 30-feet tall and up to 80-feet at the bottom.

The Oroville spillway’s walls are only about 20-feet high.

Read the whole thing there.

The good news is that March has been pretty dry. It’s currently raining in Oroville, but they’re running about 47,000 cubic feet per second down the broken main spillway and the lake is at 848 feet (maximum 900 feet) and going down a few inches per day. In a few days they’ll turn off the main spillway and see how much new rubble has wound up in the river that needs to be dredged to let the power plant inside the dam run freely without being blocked by high water levels.

The problem is that that if they run the main spillway at less than 40,000 cfs, the water isn’t going fast enough to catapult far off the upper edge of the crater in the spillway. So slow water release erodes the concrete spillway uphill, which is very bad. Fast water release, in contrast, erodes the mountainside downhill.

They are hoping that 40,000 to 50,000 cfs is the sweet spot that optimizes the two problems.

The DWR is expected to announce two finalist plans for what to do about the broken spillway pretty shortly. So far I haven’t seen too many enthusiastic suggestions online about any ingenious things to do.

I suspect they’ll need to partially drain the lake and maintain it at a lower level for the decade or so they will work on a replacement spillway. The Oroville Reservoir might be about 1/8th (?) of the California Water Project capacity, so that’s not a crisis, but it’s not fun either. The standard in winter is to keep it 50 feet below the emergency spillway, but they may have to increase that to 75 feet or more.


From the NYT op-ed page:

The Truth About New York City’s Elite High Schools

This month, a select group of eighth graders in New York City found out that they were being offered a spot at some of the nation’s best high schools, the eight “specialized” city public high schools that include Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Tech and Bronx Science. About 28,000 students took the multiple-choice test required for admission, and 5,078 did well enough to secure a place.

This system, while it might seem meritocratic, in fact leads to a shocking inequity. Even though black and Latino students make up nearly 70 percent of public high school students in the city, they routinely represent only 10 percent of those offered admission to the specialized high schools. This year the city offered admission to only 524 black and Latino students.

The numbers are even lower at some of the most desired schools, such as Stuyvesant, which has space for nearly 1,000 freshmen and offered admission to only 13 black students. And while some of the specialized schools do have a high percentage of Asian-American students, many low-income students from lesser-represented ethnic communities are also left out.

I don’t know what that last sentence means.

In case, you are wondering, here is the latest data:

So, at Stuyvesant (the famous STEM public high school), 598 Asians were accepted, 204 whites, 67 unknowns, 28 Latinos, 13 blacks, 10 multiracials, and 6 Native Americans.

Back to the NYT oped:

The problem, which has grown worse in recent years, has to do with the way students are selected for these schools. The sole criterion is a student’s score on the multiple-choice admissions test.

The traditional hallmarks of a great student — consistently excellent grades, critical analysis skills, leadership and even performance on other state-mandated tests — are all irrelevant under the admissions policy. The test has many quirks that experts have said make it inappropriate for use as a sole criterion for admission.

Which is why Stuyvesant has collapsed in reputation in the 40+ years it has had an exam-only admission system and that’s why nobody writes op-eds complaining about how their race doesn’t get in enough.

Wait, that has happened, right?

For example, the material on the test is not taught in the city’s middle school classrooms; so it’s not as if students are being assessed on what they have learned in school over the years. It’s all about what they learn in test prep programs.

Perhaps what Hewitt is trying to do with the term “test prep” is to dogwhistle to New York City’s shrinking but still immensely wealthy and influential white community that they should support his demand for a fuzzier, more “holistic” admission system so that their white children will have a better chance of getting admitted to Stuyvesant instead of all these products of the Asian test prep juggernaut.

After all, Harvard U. keeps down the number of Asian students it lets in by keeping the admission process subjective by giving a lot of arbitrary power to admissions staffers to let in People Like Us.

Similarly, Harvard-Westlake, the top academic high school in Los Angeles, was discriminating against high-scoring Asian applicants way back in 1981. That year I had lunch with one of my old high school teachers, a scholar with a Harvard U. doctorate, who had moved on to teach at Harvard-Westlake. And he said Harvard-Westlake didn’t take the high test scores of Asian applicants all that seriously because they didn’t contribute as much to classroom discussions.

Amusingly, when the hit TV show “Mad Men” wrapped up a few years ago, its creator Matthew Weiner gave a series of interviews on the Meaning of It All, much of which seemed to do, in his mind, with the anti-Semitism he had suffered in 1981 as one of the few (in his mind) Jews at Harvard-Westlake. After all these years, Weiner was still angry that a local newspaper in 1981 had mentioned that Jews made up 40% of the student body at Harvard-Westlake. Weiner was convinced that this 40% figure was an anti-Semitic hoax to cover up the rampant anti-Semitism at Harvard-Westlake.

Since then, I’ve wondered if in 1981 I’d pressed my old teacher for more details about admissions and class participation at Harvard-Westlake, perhaps he would have expanded on the topic something like this:

“For example, one of my white students at Harvard prep is Little Matty Weiner. He’s touchy, paranoid, perhaps mad, but what he has to say in class is really interesting. You’ll hear a lot in the future from that little mad man!”

So perhaps Hewitt is trying to signal to New York’s white people to join him in his lawsuit to make Stuyvesant admissions more subjective and arbitrary so their kids would have a better chance. Why pay $175,000 to send your kid to private high school for four years when he could go to Stuyvesant for free … if he could only get in?

But does our society have any vocabulary for blacks like Hewitt to signal to white New York Times readers that they should team up against Asians? Will any white person reading this notice?

Back to the NYT op-ed

This is pure arbitrariness.

Or not arbitrary enough.

The flawed admissions policy, and the discriminatory results it yields, are the subject of a pending civil rights complaint my former colleagues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and I filed with the United States Department of Education on behalf of a coalition of organizations representing black, Latino and Asian students.

Asian students?

Why not white students? White students only get 35% as many acceptances into Stuyvesant as Asian students. Surely that would be prima facie evidence of disparate impact?

But Hewitt seems to lack any framework for making the notion of a black-white alliance against Asian grinds noticeable by all but his most discerning readers.

I see more and more evidence that the Current Year’s prime directive is understood not to be pro-black, but to be anti-white, even if being anti-white objectively works out to be anti-black in effect. Immigration policy is only the most obvious example.

Why is this happening in the largest and most diverse school district in the country? Part of this phenomenon has to do with a powerful narrative that has been woven — not about the test, but about the merit of black and Latino students.

So it’s all Charles Murray’s fault. If only Murray had been punched in the head more, this narrative wouldn’t have reduced black and Latino students’ test scores via Stereotype Threat.


Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

William Wordsworth

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!



Is this a map of 2016 Hillary voters or of 2015 gun violence?

From The Guardian last January:

Like income inequality, murder inequality in America is stark

To illustrate how much St. Louis is beset by Murder Inequality, The Guardian provided these two graphics. First, a utopian St. Louis of perfect Murder Equality:

Screenshot 2017-03-21 23.00.30

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Second, the real dystopian St. Louis of Murder Inequality:

Screenshot 2017-03-21 23.01.22

It may look like murder in St. Louis correlates with where blacks live, but you’re wrong! It correlates with racial segregation.

Anyway, we don’t call it “murder” anymore because “murder” is associated in the uneducated popular mind with “murderers,” which implies agency. Instead, we now call it “gun violence.” And gun violence “falls,” like the dew, if the dew mostly fell on black segregated neighborhoods.

Gun violence is a regressive tax that falls heaviest on neighborhoods already struggling with poverty, unemployment, and failing schools. The unequal burden of violence is also marked by intense racial disparities.

“It’s not about race, per se, it’s about how other conditions are racialized, are racially inequitable,” said Lauren Krivo, a Rutgers University sociologist who studies the geography of race and crime.

Occam’s Butterknife.


From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

Diversity Versus Debate

… America used to be able to afford nice things such as freedom of speech, science, and disinterested objectivity. But now we are blessed with diversity, peace be upon it, so we can’t tolerate our Western heritage anymore.

That raises a question that ought to be of interest to investors: Does the increasing campus hysteria and antirationality portend bad news for Silicon Valley? If students increasingly grow up in a culture in which the person with the most wounded feelings rules, will they be able to code emotionless computers as well as in the past?

Read the whole thing there.


From the U. of Oregon Daily Emerald:

Why Ta-Nehisi Coates’ $41,500 UO speech ended early
Cooper Green — March 10, 2017 at 4:16 pm

Ta-Nehisi Coates, renowned author and public speaker, left the stage at Matthew Knight Arena on Feb. 3 about 35 minutes before his contract with the University of Oregon suggested he would.

Coates, who began speaking to a crowd of 5,548 people at 6 p.m., was scheduled to speak until 7:15. Instead, he was off the stage by 6:40. His schedule also included a question-and-answer period with the crowd, which didn’t occur. …

For the speech and preceding UO events, Coates was paid $41,500. … Coates’ visit was tied to UO’s Common Reading program, which provided his book, “Between the World and Me,” to all first-year students at orientation in 2016.

… The talk was Coates’ fifth in five days, he announced during his speech. The evening before, he was at Oregon State University where he spoke from 6-7:30 p.m. For that event, he was paid $30,000, according to his contract with the university. …

Despite five consecutive speaking engagements, McFadden said Coates’ schedule wasn’t unusual.

“Speakers have that type of schedule all the time,” she said. …

You know, when you are making that kind of money, you can actually afford to insert a rest day in your schedule.

Click the links to read Coates’ full contract with UO and OSU.

Oddly enough, no students are reported to have chanted political doctrines to prevent interested onlookers from hearing Coates’ speech. Nor did masked vigilantes chase him around the campus and injure a professor hosting Coates.

But, unlike Charles Murray, Coates doesn’t possess anything as hatefully offensive as data and statistical analyses. Instead, Coates has an anecdote about an escalator.


From Reuters:


Norway unseats Denmark as world’s happiest country: report

By Patricia Reaney
March 19, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s happiest country in a new report released on Monday that called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the wellbeing of their citizens.

The Nordic nations are the most content, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released at the United Nations.

“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, said in an interview.

The aim of the report, he added, is to provide another tool for governments, business and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing.

Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top ten countries.

A.K.A., the Blue-Eyed Utopias.

Of course, these are just about the least happy-go-lucky countries on earth. Having a lot of worry-warts unsurprisingly contributes to Magic Dirt.

South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic were at the bottom.

Germany was ranked 16, followed by the United Kingdom (19) and France (31). The United States dropped one spot to 14.

Rankings aren’t based on actual happiness, but instead on what Jeffrey Sachs thinks ought to contribute to happiness:

The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.

According to a more authoritative source than Dr. Sachs, Modern Drunkard magazine, sub-Saharan Africans are pretty darn happy:

At first blush, this place seems gripped in pandemic suffering. A closer look reveals the true nature of southern Africa: It is a drinker’s paradise. Hundreds of miles of beaches with names like Monkey Bay and Candy Beach line the eastern coast of Mozambique and the enormous Lake Malawi, providing the perfect setting for canoeing, fishing, and drinking the hot days away. Homemade liquors and bottled beers are available at almost every roadside shack, some conveniently attached to rest houses where one can sleep off a particularly frightening bender in a cheap, clean bed. Pocket change will buy a round for the entire bar and, of course, the police have never, and I mean never, heard of a Breathalyzer.

Women do almost all the daily work in southern Africa: cooking, finding food, raising children, and tidying up around the hut, which leaves men free to spend the day pursuing more amiable interests, like drinking until they can barely stand or form sentences.

And because the possibility of finding a job is laughable and property ownership largely hereditary, there is no expectation that the people of this region become clock-punching cubicle drones or slaves to a mortgage. While they lack the amenities we Westerners couldn’t imagine living without—such as hot, clean water, electricity, or a life expectancy greater than 35 years—they do have the luxury of being able to relax with good friends and a few dozen drinks every single day of the year.

And, boy, do they drink. From the rooster’s first call to the hour when night descends—or until they collapse from drinking in the sun, which in that part of the world can burn like a death ray—Africa’s heaviest drinkers have it pretty good in both lifestyle and beverage selection…


From The Guardian:

Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion

A district will drop the Mercator projection, which physically diminished Africa and South America, for the Peters, which cut the developed world down to size

The Gall-Peters projection, which shows land masses in their correct proportions by area, puts the relative sizes of Africa and North America in perspective.

When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed.

Or they could have looked at the globe in their classroom.

The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. …

Mercator’s distortions affect continents as well as nations. For example, South America is made to look about the same size as Europe, when in fact it is almost twice as large, and Greenland looks roughly the size of Africa when it is actually about 14 times smaller.

Alaska looks bigger than Mexico and Germany is in the middle of the picture, not to the north – because Mercator moved the equator.

Three days ago, Boston’s public schools began phasing in the lesser-known Peters projection, which cuts the US, Britain and the rest of Europe down to size. …

“This is the start of a three-year effort to decolonize the curriculum in our public schools,” said Colin Rose, assistant superintendent of opportunity and achievement gaps for Boston public schools.

Yup, that’s his job title. Here’s the press release announcing his hiring:

Colin Rose has been appointed Assistant Superintendent of Opportunity and Achievement Gaps for the Boston Public Schools. In his new role, Rose will attack cultural and structural barriers and promote culturally sustaining practices enabling traditionally marginalized students to engage in rigorous curriculums and pedagogy in Boston’s schools, thus creating opportunity and access they need to close performance gaps.

Back to The Guardian:

The district has 125 schools and 57,000 students, 86% of whom are non-white, with the largest groups being Latino and black. After changing the maps, Rose said, educators plan to look at other subjects and shift away from presenting white history as the dominant perspective….

The respective merits of the Mercator and the Peters maps have long been debated. A spirited discussion about their implications even featured on an episode of the West Wing, in which characters argued for the Peters map to be used in US public schools and told the administration the Mercator projection had “fostered European imperialist attitudes for centuries”, creating an “ethical bias” for “western civilization” against the developing world.

Curriculum chiefs consulted map experts at the Boston public library and were directed to ODT, a company in Amherst, Massachusetts, that is the exclusive North American publisher of Peters projection maps.

Can’t get much more multicultural than Amherst, MA.

It doesn’t seem to occur to anybody involved that the Peters Projection demonstrates how there is plenty of land in Africa for Africans and plenty of land in Latin America for Latinos.

So it doesn’t make much sense for African and Latino migrants to overrun the smaller lands of the North.

Are the woke folk really that dumb that they don’t notice this?


By the way, why is Boston still in thrall to Northern Supremacism?


Baroness P.D. James’ murder mystery sequel to “Pride and Prejudice”

Among the classic novelists, Jane Austen (1775-1817) has been the most reliable moneymaker over the last generation. IMDB lists 72 movie or TV adaptations, with a huge acceleration starting in the mid-1990s. And that doesn’t include more free-form adaptations like Clueless and Bridget Jones’ Diary, which explains that when looking for your Mr Darcy, you should pass up alpha sexy bad boy Hugh Grants in favor of beta husbandly Colin Firths (who played Mr Darcy in the famous 1995 BBC miniseries).

From the New York Times:

Jane Austen Has Alt-Right Fans? Heavens to Darcy!

… But in an article published March 12 in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Alt-Right Jane Austen” (and illustrated with a drawing of the beloved British novelist in a Make America Great Again hat), Nicole M. Wright, an assistant professor of English at the University of Colorado, describes finding a surprising Austen fan base.

It started, she writes, when she noticed the provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos riffing on the famous first line of “Pride and Prejudice,” turning it into a dig at “ugly” feminists. …

But it has prompted the most sustained chatter among Austen scholars, a more reliably liberal bunch who, like Ms. Wright, emphatically reject white nationalist readings of her novels.

“No one who reads Jane Austen’s words with any attention and reflection can possibly be alt-right,” Elaine Bander, a retired professor and a former officer of the Jane Austen Society of North America, said in an email.

“All the Janeites I know,” she added, “are rational, compassionate, liberal-minded people.” …

But, now that you mention it, will Jane Austen have to go?

In the 1993 book “Culture and Imperialism,” the Palestinian-American literary critic Edward W. Said argued that Austen’s novel “Mansfield Park” glorifies the grand estates of England but is silent about the West Indian slave plantations that supported many of them. …

You know, it’s almost as if in husband-hunting, inequality is a feature not a bug in a beau …

In recent years, scholars have tried to find diversity in the seemingly all-white world of Austen, digging into subjects like Miss Lambe, a character in her unfinished final novel, “Sanditon,” described as a “half mulatto” heiress from the West Indies. (Yes, there is a scholarly paper with the title “The Silence of Miss Lambe.”)

But Ms. Wells said scholars teaching Austen at schools with “substantially multicultural students” still wrestled with a truth that must, perhaps, be uncomfortably acknowledged.

“Her characters are white, and her world is white,” she said. “What do you do with that?”

You know, Lin-Manuel Miranda might have some ideas on how to fix that …

Commenter Mark Caplan suggests:

Opening in 2019: Transfield Park.


From The Baffler:

The Hamilton Hustle
Why liberals have embraced our most dangerously reactionary founder

Matt Stoller

… But if you want to understand the politics of authoritarianism in America, the place to start is not with Trump, but with the cool-kid Founding Father of the Obama era, Alexander Hamilton.

I’m not just talking about the actual founder, though we’ll come back to him. I’m talking about the personage at the center of the Broadway musical, Hamilton.
The show is a Tony Award–winning smash hit, propelling its writer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, to dizzying heights of fame and influence. It is America’s Les Misérables, an achingly beautiful and funny piece of theater about a most unlikely icon of democratic inclusiveness, Alexander Hamilton.

… Miranda’s play is one of the most brilliant propaganda pieces in theatrical history. And its construction and success tell us a lot about our current political moment. Before it was even written, the play was nurtured at the highest levels of the political establishment. While working through its material, Miranda road-tested song lyrics at the White House with President Obama. When it was performed, Obama, naturally, loved it. Hamilton, he said, “reminds us of the vital, crazy, kinetic energy that’s at the heart of America.” Michelle Obama pronounced it the best art she had ever seen. …

Conservative pop-historian Niall Ferguson opened up a book talk, according to one witness on Twitter, “with a rap set to music inspired by Hamilton.” Former secretaries of the treasury praised it, from Tim Geithner to Jack Lew to Hank Paulson. So did Dick Cheney, prompting Obama to note that the wonder of the play was perhaps the only thing the two men agreed on. … Hillary Clinton quoted the play in her speech accepting the Democratic nomination, and told a young voter, “I’ve seen the show three times and I’ve cried every time—and danced hard in my seat.” …

Oh, boy …

… But Alexander Hamilton simply didn’t believe in democracy, which he labeled an American “disease.” He fought—with military force—any model of organizing the American political economy that might promote egalitarian politics. He was an authoritarian, and proud of it. …

Indeed, most of Hamilton’s legacy is astonishingly counter-democratic. His central role in founding both the financial infrastructure of Wall Street and a nascent military establishment (which supplanted the colonial system of locally controlled democratic militias) was rooted in his self-appointed crusade to undermine the ability of ordinary Americans to govern themselves.

To the people paying four figures for a ticket, that’s a feature not a bug. Not too many Jeffersonian yeomen, much less Jacksonian backwoodsmen, can afford the highest-priced show in Broadway history, which would have made Hamilton happy.

… In the roaring 1920s, when Wall Street lorded it over all facets of our public life, treasury secretary Andrew Mellon put Hamilton’s face on the ten-dollar bill. …

During the next decade, as populists put constraints on big money, Hamilton fell into disrepute. … By 1947, a post-war congressional report titled “Fascism in Action” listed Hamilton as one intellectual inspiration for the Nazi regime.

Hamilton the play is not the real story of Alexander Hamilton; rather, as historian Nancy Isenberg has noted, it’s a revealing parable about the politics of the finance-friendly Obama era.

But Stoller won’t touch the core of how Hamilton reveals the essence of the Obama/Hillary Era: Identity Politics Pimping Plutocracy:

Hamilton, or shall I say Hamilton! (i.e., the character in the musical, not the historical A.H.), is an immigrant, a nonwhite, and, maybe, secretly Jewish. And, as the star of a Broadway musical, an honorary gay.

That makes him Good.

And all that plutocratic stuff makes him better.


From The Atlantic:

Melinda Gates: The Tech Industry Needs to Fix Its Gender Problem—Now

“If we don’t have women in the tech space, we won’t even be asking ourselves some of the right questions.”


Long before Melinda Gates was famous for her philanthropic work, she was yet another woman trying to make it in the male-dominated tech world.

Gates started working at Microsoft in 1987, when it was still a small, scrappy company. But even for a woman with a degree in computer science and technical skills in her blood (Gates’ father was an engineer) she still had trouble figuring out precisely how she fit into the male-dominated industry.

Thirty years later, many women are still asking themselves that question. Women make up an even smaller share of computer-science majors than they did when she graduated, having fallen to 18 percent from 37 percent in 1984.

With the formation of her own company, Pivotal Ventures, Gates is joining the bevy of voices in tech who are calling for change. I spoke with her about her experience at Microsoft, how she is approaching the issue of gender diversity in the industry, and why creating more inclusive companies is critical for the future. …

Gillian White: Our latest cover story delves into problems with gender diversity in the tech industry by asking, why is Silicon Valley so awful to women? How would you would answer that?

Melinda Gates: It hasn’t been welcoming to women now for more than a decade. So it’s something that’s actually been going on for a long time and I don’t think you see it being worked on in a systemic way and I think it needs to be worked on in a systemic way. If that doesn’t get reversed, you’re not going to have young women wanting to go into the field. …

White: What’s at risk if more women don’t get incorporated into computer science and tech?

Gates: I think we’ll have so much hidden bias coded into the system that we won’t even realize all the places that we have it. …

White: How are you thinking about intersectionality as you pursue gender diversity?

Read the whole thing there.


Screenshot 2017-03-20 11.17.09

Back in the 1970s, liberals used to distrust the CIA, which drove the CIA crazy: “Hey, we’re all liberals here too!”

But now liberals love the CIA.


The downfall of numerous previously stable Bronze Age civilizations in the Fertile Crescent/Eastern Mediterranean around 1200 BC, leading to a Dark Ages of several centuries, is known as the Late Bronze Age Collapse (a.k.a., World War Zero).

But maybe the warmer weather civilizations didn’t so much collapse 3200 years ago as were knocked over, directly or indirectly, by newly dangerous northern or western barbarians?

Over the last 20 years, archaeologists have been digging up the site of a surprisingly large battle from the 1200s BC along the Tollense River between Berlin and the Baltic Sea. Previous thinking had been that Northern Europe was too underpopulated back then to support such large scale violence.

From Science:

Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle

By Andrew Curry Mar. 24, 2016 , 9:30 AM

About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can’t be found in any history books—the written word didn’t become common in these parts for another 2000 years—but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology.

Struggling to find solid footing on the banks of the Tollense River, a narrow ribbon of water that flows through the marshes of northern Germany toward the Baltic Sea, the armies fought hand-to-hand, maiming and killing with war clubs, spears, swords, and knives. Bronze- and flint-tipped arrows were loosed at close range, piercing skulls and lodging deep into the bones of young men. Horses belonging to high-ranking warriors crumpled into the muck, fatally speared. Not everyone stood their ground in the melee: Some warriors broke and ran, and were struck down from behind.

When the fighting was through, hundreds lay dead, littering the swampy valley. Some bodies were stripped of their valuables and left bobbing in shallow ponds; others sank to the bottom, protected from plundering by a meter or two of water. Peat slowly settled over the bones. Within centuries, the entire battle was forgotten.

A couple of things to keep in mind: the archaeologists’ estimate of 4,000 combatants is a back of the envelope extrapolation. So far they’ve found about 100 dead bodies while digging up about 10% of the potential site. If the rest of the site is 80% as productive as what they’ve dug up so far, that would be 800 dead bodies. If 20% of the combatants died, that would be 4,000 total combatants.

Or something like that.

An alternative theory is that this didn’t resemble the Battle of Gettysburg, but, perhaps, it was more like land piracy, with raiders attacking an armed caravan of merchants (being the Bronze Age and all, the most likely high value product to be transported for commerce was bronze and its key constituent tin).

Northern Europe in the Bronze Age was long dismissed as a backwater, overshadowed by more sophisticated civilizations in the Near East and Greece. Bronze itself, created in the Near East around 3200 B.C.E., took 1000 years to arrive here. But Tollense’s scale suggests more organization—and more violence—than once thought.

It took a long time for crops that originated in the Fertile Crescent to be optimized for the short growing seasons at northern latitudes. This fight took place at almost 54 degrees north, which is further north than Edmonton.

There was a general progression northward over the millennia in the west of the centers of power as agriculture adapted to higher latitudes. Europe is set extremely far north for a densely inhabited region (for example, Vladivostok in Siberia is only 43 degrees north) due to the Gulf Stream warming the higher latitudes, but it took a long time for crops to adjust.

“We had considered scenarios of raids, with small groups of young men killing and stealing food, but to imagine such a big battle with thousands of people is very surprising,” says Svend Hansen, head of the German Archaeological Institute’s (DAI’s) Eurasia Department in Berlin. The well-preserved bones and artifacts add detail to this picture of Bronze Age sophistication, pointing to the existence of a trained warrior class and suggesting that people from across Europe joined the bloody fray. …

As University of Aarhus’s Vandkilde puts it: “It’s an army like the one described in Homeric epics, made up of smaller war bands that gathered to sack Troy”—an event thought to have happened fewer than 100 years later, in 1184 B.C.E. That suggests an unexpectedly widespread social organization, Jantzen says. “To organize a battle like this over tremendous distances and gather all these people in one place was a tremendous accomplishment,” he says. …

Before Tollense, direct evidence of large-scale violence in the Bronze Age was scanty, especially in this region. Historical accounts from the Near East and Greece described epic battles, but few artifacts remained to corroborate these boastful accounts. “Even in Egypt, despite hearing many tales of war, we never find such substantial archaeological evidence of its participants and victims,” UCD’s Molloy says.

Or maybe Egypt, being the most easily unified nation-state, enjoyed the luxury of doing most of its fighting abroad, the way most of the famous battles of the English over the last 950 years, like Agincourt, Blenheim, Waterloo, and the Somme, are on the Continent?

In Bronze Age Europe, even the historical accounts of war were lacking, and all investigators had to go on were weapons in ceremonial burials and a handful of mass graves with unmistakable evidence of violence, such as decapitated bodies or arrowheads embedded in bones. Before the 1990s, “for a long time we didn’t really believe in war in prehistory,” DAI’s Hansen says. The grave goods were explained as prestige objects or symbols of power rather than actual weapons. “Most people thought ancient society was peaceful, and that Bronze Age males were concerned with trading and so on,” says Helle Vandkilde, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark. “Very few talked about warfare.” …

Standardized metal weaponry and the remains of the horses, which were found intermingled with the human bones at one spot, suggest that at least some of the combatants were well-equipped and well-trained. “They weren’t farmer-soldiers who went out every few years to brawl,” Terberger says. “These are professional fighters.”

Body armor and shields emerged in northern Europe in the centuries just before the Tollense conflict and may have necessitated a warrior class. “If you fight with body armor and helmet and corselet, you need daily training or you can’t move,” Hansen says. That’s why, for example, the biblical David—a shepherd—refused to don a suit of armor and bronze helmet before fighting Goliath. “This kind of training is the beginning of a specialized group of warriors,” Hansen says. At Tollense, these bronze-wielding, mounted warriors might have been a sort of officer class, presiding over grunts bearing simpler weapons.

But why did so much military force converge on a narrow river valley in northern Germany? Kristiansen says this period seems to have been an era of significant upheaval from the Mediterranean to the Baltic. In Greece, the sophisticated Mycenaean civilization collapsed around the time of the Tollense battle; in Egypt, pharaohs boasted of besting the “Sea People,” marauders from far-off lands who toppled the neighboring Hittites. And not long after Tollense, the scattered farmsteads of northern Europe gave way to concentrated, heavily fortified settlements, once seen only to the south. “Around 1200 B.C.E. there’s a radical change in the direction societies and cultures are heading,” Vandkilde says. “Tollense fits into a period when we have increased warfare everywhere.”

So maybe the Late Bronze Age Collapse in the Mediterranean had to do with billiard ball effects set in motion by the entrance of European warriors onto the historic stage?

For example, since the 18th Century it has been argued, with some but not complete persuasiveness, that the consolidation of the Chinese empire in the 3rd Century BC propelled the steppe barbarian Hsiung-Nu to the west. The Huns’ irruption into Eastern Europe hundreds of years later terrified the huddled masses of Germanic barbarians into begging Roman emperor Valens for permission to cross the Danube into the Roman Empire as refugees. (Sound familiar?) Valens, believing the barbaric refugees would be good for the economy, let them into Roman Empire in 376 AD, only to be killed by the refugees two years later, events that Gibbon saw as central to the sacking of Rome in 410, the subsequent Hun invasion of Italy in the 450s, the extinction of the Western Roman Empire in 476, and the ensuing Dark Ages.


From USA Today:

People are canceling their Iowa vacations because of Steve King’s words

USA TODAY NETWORK Kevin Hardy, The Des Moines Register

March 18, 2017

Commenter Kyle McKenna observes:

It’s 29°F in Dubuque right now. Gotta admire those ‘Social Grievance Warriors’ for the sacrifices they make, huh.

Iowa is the most pleasant-looking part of I-80 between South Pass, Wyoming and the Appalachians. My impression from roaring by on I-80 is that Charles Murray’s hometown of Newton is Peak Iowa Scenery.

On the other hand, I can also empathize with the character in a Jay McInerney novel who says: “I visited the Midwest once. There was nothing to see and nothing to keep you from seeing it.”


We haven’t checked in much with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer since he bought the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA for $2 billion from the besieged Donald Sterling three years ago.

Lately, billionaire Ballmer says:

“I’m a new owner and I’ve heard this is the golden age of basketball economics. You should tell our finance people that. We’re sitting there looking at red ink, and it’s real red ink. I know, it shows up on my tax returns. So it is real red ink.”

Forbes, however, says it’s hard to lose money on an NBA team because the owners outsmarted the players’ union in getting player salaries capped at 51% of revenue. He’s probably not making a big return on his vast investment, but he’s worth $29.9 billion, so what does he care?

Steve earned his $30 billion. Here he is in 2007 showing his business acumen when asked about the other Steve’s new product, the iPhone:

Ballmer’s probably writing off Clippers’ “good will” on his tax return. So, to be technical, it’s more like the taxpayers’ loss.

Ballmer was always an embarrassing boss but can you imagine having him for your dad?

From the Seattle Times:

With Ballmer’s aid, elite school pushed limits of prep-sports rules

August 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm Updated April 2, 2015 at 7:51 pm

While playing for Lakeside, star basketball player Tramaine Isabell lived in a $6 million mansion owned by a Lakeside parent.

By Mike Baker

By the time Steve Ballmer’s oldest son reached his junior year at Lakeside School, the basketball program was in disarray.

The Lions finished the 2008 season with just two wins …

An elite private school with an endowment of $190 million, Lakeside was better known for its academics, chess team and being the place where Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen began their alliance as students in the late 1960s.

Ballmer, however, was a basketball zealot who had been angling to own an NBA franchise, a goal finalized just last week with his $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers. Before he had a pro team to call his own — and with all three of his kids involved with basketball at Lakeside — Ballmer focused his attention on the high-school team.

Ballmer and his allies at Lakeside attracted basketball talent to the wealthy school and aided them with a series of questionable tactics that included a new basketball-focused nonprofit, cash for a coach, an unusual admissions process and weak enforcement of academic standards. One star player stayed at a $6 million mansion as he shuffled through three years of an academic schedule that almost ensured he wouldn’t get a Lakeside diploma.

“They relaxed their academic integrity to accommodate athletes,” said Dana Papasedero, who coached baseball at Lakeside for two decades.

The tactics may have violated Washington state’s prep-sports rules, according to a Seattle Times investigation. But it all paid off: In just five years, Lakeside went from winless in its district to district champs for the first time in a quarter century.

The Lions kept winning all the way up until an overtime loss in the 2013 state title game — the best finish in school history.

Ballmer, who spent his high-school years at Detroit Country Day School, grew up playing basketball and wishing he had the skills to do it well. …

Ballmer became the ultimate fan at his kids’ games, bellowing supportive cheers and comments at a volume that verged on obnoxious.

Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to have Steve Ballmer for your dad?

But in private, Ballmer expressed frustration with the team’s terrible performance …

“I’m going to open up a foundation, and we’re going to get black people in here,” Ballmer declared, according to Gordon’s testimony from March.


Following up the brouhaha in which white liberals got mad at Samuel L. Jackson for saying that the hit movie “Get Out” should have employed an African-American rather than an African-British leading man for distracting from the unity of the Hate YT mood, commenter Countenance notes:

Not black, Latin

To prove that black Americans are as interested in nationality as much as they are race, when black Americans complain about the lack of blacks in MLB, they are not mollified by the presence of black or mulatto Spanish language native Caribbeans or Latinos. They mean black Americans.

If Yasiel Puig’s distant ancestors were dropped off the slave ship in Virginia instead of Havana, he would be named Darnell Richardson, and be lauded as an example of blacks in MLB.

This raises an interesting question of how big a role does language play in racial solidarity. African-Americans don’t see Spanish-speaking Yasiel Puig as one of them, at least when complaining about how white people should do more for Diversity in MLB.

On the other hand, Daniel Kaluuya can do a pretty persuasive imitation of an African-American accent. It apparently sounds bogus to an expert ear like Samuel L. Jackson’s. But to the average nice white American liberal, it seems fine and they don’t know what Jackson is complaining about.


Silicon Valley is, of course, built on cognitive elitism, but few seem to get the joke:

Jordan, Terman middle schools to be renamed
Palo Alto school district trustees unanimously support finding new names

by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Mar 17, 2017, 3:51 pm

By the start of the 2018-19 school year, Palo Alto’s David Starr Jordan and Terman middle schools will be no more. The school board voted unanimously on Friday to rename both schools given their namesakes’ promotion of eugenics, a 20th century movement that believed in the superiority of particular races over others.

… Todd Collins, who previously said he supported finding a new name for Jordan but hesitated on Terman, said Friday that he recognizes how much names matter — particularly to the students, parents and community members who have testified about their experiences with racial exclusion or discrimination at school and the importance of protecting students against such harm.

Other trustees characterized renaming as a necessary decision, even if symbolic, particularly in today’s political climate.

“Given where we are as a community and as a nation right now, symbolism really does matter,” said Melissa Baten Caswell. …

Superintendent Max McGee said that the one-time costs of renaming — about $50,000, the committee estimated — could be funded through a school bond voters approved in 2008. (The bond covers facilities updates like new signage and painting.)

He said that renaming is not a “zero sum game” and that any cost associated with it will not mean taking funds from other programs or services.

Most board members expressed support for using the bond funds rather than district reserves, as had been previously suggested.

Collins urged against trivializing the expense. If there will be expenses outside the bond’s scope, he said, he hopes the community will step in to raise funds to defray those costs.

“Cost absolutely does matter, especially in our current budget deficit,” Collins said.

While both Jordan and Terman were renowned academic figures — Jordan as the founding president of Stanford University and Terman as a Stanford psychologist who created a prominent IQ test — they were also leaders in the eugenics movement. Those who support renaming argued their active promotion of eugenics made them unfit namesakes for public schools. …

The renaming of Terman is complicated by the fact that when the school reopened in 2001 it was named to honor both Lewis M. Terman and his son, Frederick, an accomplished electrical engineer often referred to as the “father of Silicon Valley.” The renaming committee said it found no evidence that Frederick was involved in eugenics.

They must not have looked too hard.

While some community members believe the name could be retained to honor only the son, others have argued that only a total name change will disavow the father’s legacy.

“Can we truly make a break with the name Lewis Terman if we retain Frederick? I think the answer to that is ‘no,’” said Board Vice President Ken Dauber.

Hereditary corruption of blood.

Sitting in the audience at the district office on Friday were Terrance and Jim Terman, the grandson and great-grandson, respectively, of Lewis M. Terman. They said in an interview with the Weekly after the meeting that they only heard of the renaming proposal recently, after a sermon at their local church on historical legacy.

They said that they don’t oppose renaming but hope the school will be formally renamed to honor Frederick.

“I feel like my grandfather is being thrown under the bus because no one has accused him of doing anything wrong, but there’s somehow the idea ‘because of his father he’s tainted,’” said Jim, whose middle name is Lewis. “That’s even more chilling — the idea that you’re not judged by your own actions or your own beliefs, but you’re being judged by your immediate relatives.”

Who is next?

Here’s a 2015 list by somebody named Rob Baker of once famous supporters of eugenics:

Marie Stopes

H.G. Wells

Helen Keller

George Bernard Shaw

Winston Churchill

William Beveridge

Theodore Roosevelt

Jacques Cousteau

John Maynard Keynes

Bertrand Russell

My view has long been that the engine of the current eugenics controversy is largely a proxy war between the two biggest winners of the 20th Century, Anglo-American WASPs and Jews, for historical bragging rights, with ethnocentric Jews such as Stephen Jay Gould retconning history to denigrate their chief ethnic rivals for honors. As I wrote in 2014:

Of course, an inevitable side effect of ethnic specialization was that each group didn’t have as much to brag about outside its specialty. For example, while Jews in the 20th-century United States could rightly boast of the accomplishments of physicists like Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman, they largely lacked role models among the great Darwinians in biology and psychology, who tended to be representatives of the WASP old elite.

By the 1970s, this state of affairs was becoming less tolerable to rising scientists such as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, and Leon Kamin. While Darwin’s immense prestige made his memory almost unassailable, their envy was focused upon a suitable scapegoat, Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton. …

A century before, Galton had launched an immense campaign to raise awareness about what he called “eugenics.” It was a long-term goal, like space exploration was in the 1920s. Galton and his followers knew that to make scientific progress they’d have to come up with breakthroughs in statistics, genetics, evolutionary theory, psychology, and so forth. For instance, in late middle age, Galton made epochal advances in statistics, inventing the correlation coefficient and regression analysis. Many other scientists were inspired to make more discoveries. …

John Glad, retired director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, wrote an important book in 2011, Jewish Eugenics, documenting the Jewish love-hate relationship with eugenics.

The most striking revelation is that, contrary to the current impression, Jews largely approved of eugenics until the end of the 1960s. (The most effective opponents tended to be Catholics, such as G.K Chesterton, author of 1922’s Eugenics and Other Evils.) Glad quotes endless Jewish spokesmen from the first seven decades of the 20th century to the effect that Jews had been practicing eugenic marriages for 3,000 years. The medical profession, which was largely secular and progressive, was enthusiastic about eugenics, and there was little evidence that the sizable number of Jewish doctors objected.

Rather, Jews didn’t contribute much scientifically to this quite productive movement because their city skills took them in other directions, such as becoming doctors rather than naturalists. To contribute to the Darwinian mainstream, it helped to be a smart country boy who grew up interested in plants, animals, and domestic animal breeding. Gould’s archrival Edward O. Wilson is a representative American version, an Alabama lad who couldn’t get enough of ants.

This is not to say that there weren’t important Jewish scientist contributors to the Darwinian / Galtonian tradition, but, just as Jews were in the forefront of the nuclear bomb and Germans of the ballistic missile (put them together and the world almost was blown up), Anglo-American WASPs dominated in the Darwin-Galton fields.

Using many hundreds of quotes from contemporary publications dating back to the 19th century, Glad traces the broad enthusiasm for eugenics among Jewish leaders, both progressive and conservative, assimilationist and Zionist, up through the 1960s.

Likewise, there were prominent Jewish intellectuals who intensely backed eugenics, such as Harold Laski, the British Labour Party’s leading intellectual between the wars (Laski had studied eugenics under Galton’s leftist protege Karl Pearson and had married a gentile lady who lectured on eugenics). But, in general, Jews tended to be leading polemicists more for things like Marxism, Freudianism, Structuralism, Randianism, etc. than for eugenics. They lacked a competitive advantage in the Darwin-Galton tradition, so they tended to concentrate on Marxism, Freudianism, and the like where they had home field advantage.

Then, following the rise of 1960s radicalism, Israel’s triumph in the 1967 Six-Day War, the UN’s 1975 vote to condemn Zionism as racism, and the subsequent Holocaust memorial movement, there emerged a new historical orthodoxy. Jewish intellectuals such as Gould systematically demonized eugenics as heavily responsible for the Nazis and much else that wasn’t good for the Jews. …

Meanwhile, Glad points out, Jews, both religious and secular, remain at the forefront of implementing eugenic techniques and technologies (although they don’t use the e-word anymore). For example, Dor Yeshorim, the Committee for Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases, was founded in the 1980s by Rabbi Eckstein after he lost four children to hereditary Tay-Sachs disease. Rabbi Eckstein’s system of premarital genetic testing has succeeded in largely eliminating this terrible tragedy from New York’s ultra-Orthodox community.

Likewise, Israel is a magnet for eugenics technology start-ups because Israel’s government and society are much more pro-eugenics—in part, to help win the War of the Cradle with the Palestinians—than are European regulators and cultures. For instance, in a 1993 survey of geneticists, 68 percent of the Israeli scientists agreed with the classic eugenic notion that “It is socially irresponsible knowingly to bring an infant with a serious genetic disorder into the world in an era of prenatal diagnosis” versus only 8 percent of German geneticists.

I’m thinking that of the list above, Churchill is presently off-limits and Teddy Roosevelt has too vivid an image today (although I would have said the same about Andrew Jackson 40 years ago).

Some of the others are too obscure, at least in the U.S.

Screenshot 2017-03-17 21.38.09There are, however, dozens of schools and parks named after Helen Keller, the amazing deaf-blind woman.

Demonizing Helen Keller over her support of eugenics would seem to be in bad taste, but who knows what the future will bring? Maybe in a decade Malcolm Gladwell will be telling Helen Keller jokes during sales convention keynote addresses and all the regional sales managers will be laughing uproariously as they feel morally superior to that … eugenicist.

But I suspect there will be a big push by neoconservatives to demonize the centrist economist John Maynard Keynes over his lifelong eugenics activism, from being founding treasurer of the Cambridge Eugenics Society to delivering a speech extolling eugenics in the last year of his life, 1946.

There is a lot of money available for anti-Keynesian efforts (of course, there is also a lot of money available for pro-Keynesian efforts). Keynes’ most prominent American acolyte, Paul Krugman, has so far avoided talking about that aspect of Keynes’ life. (Although Krugman is not a fan of Stephen Jay Gould.)

I wonder what the test case might be? Perhaps neocons will demand that the fifty-year-old British town of Milton Keynes be renamed Milton Friedman?

In case you’ve been as vaguely confused as I’ve been over the years, the name Milton Keynes was applied from an existing village to a new city founded outside of London in 1967. I always assumed it was named for some distinguished relative of J.M. Keynes (he had many — for example, his mother was Mayor of Cambridge). But it turns out that Milton Keynes an ancient village name, formerly Middleton Caynes in the 13th Century.

But, yeah, it’s Keynes’ family name, all right. The Keynes family started out as Normans named de Cahaines in the Domesday Book of 1086.

A commenter says:

The binomial name ‘Milton Keynes’ refers to the ancient Saxon village name, and the Norman lord of the manor as the suffix. It’s a quite a common usage in England.

Kind of like Cow Beef or Pig Pork: Loser Winner.

It’s audacious but not absurd to suggest that the two biggest winners in history are the Normans and the Jews, with JM Keynes as a representative of the Norman ascendancy even in the 20th Century.

So it’s not surprising that in this final round match-up of the two biggest winners, one side is waging a war of rhetoric on the other side.

At least it’s better than waging an actual war of nuclear bombs and missiles.


From the New York Times:

Producer Cancels ‘Miss Saigon’; 140 Members Challenge Equity

Published: August 9, 1990

The producer of the hit London musical ”Miss Saigon” announced yesterday that he was canceling the show’s Broadway production, which had already sold a record $25 million in advance tickets, because Actors’ Equity had denied permission for the English actor Jonathan Pryce to repeat his performance in New York. …

In a statement issued earlier by his London office, Mr. [Cameron] Mackintosh [the producer] said: ”In denying approval for Jonathan Pryce, Actors’ Equity has violated its own collective bargaining agreement with the League of American Theaters and Producers as well as its agreement with British Equity. Under these agreements, the only issue which Equity has the right to consider in making its decision is whether or not Jonathan Pryce is a ‘star.’ Equity has previously certified Mr. Pryce as a ‘star,’ when it endorsed his appearance on Broadway in 1984 under an H-1 visa. Therefore, there is no legal basis for their objecting to his admission for ‘Miss Saigon.’ ”

Equity, in its statement Tuesday barring Mr. Pryce, said that it could not ”appear to condone the casting of a Caucasian in the role of a Eurasian.” …

”It’s a legitimate argument they have, trying to insure that any racial minority is given full opportunity to work in the arts,” Mr. Pryce said. ”But I thought logic and reason would prevail.” … If the character is half Asian and half European, you’ve got to drop down on one side of the fence or the other, and I’m choosing to drop down on the European side.” …

A Broadway production of ”Miss Saigon,” a musical about an American G.I. and his Vietnamese girlfriend during the last days of the Vietnam War just before the fall of Saigon, would have provided roles for 50 actors, about 34 of whom would have been members of minority groups. Those jobs, as well as hundreds of others from possible touring companies, are now apparently lost. …

”Indeed, Equity has rejected our application solely on the grounds that Mr. Pryce is Caucasian,” the statement continued. ”By choosing to discriminate against Mr. Pryce on the basis of his race, Equity has further violated fundamental principles of Federal and state human rights laws, as well as of Federal labor laws.”

… The dispute over Mr. Pryce’s appearance on Broadway began when David Henry Hwang, the Tony Award-winning author of ”M. Butterfly,” and B. D. Wong, who won a Tony Award as best supporting actor in that play, complained to Equity.

You see, B.D. Wong felt he racially deserved the starring role of the half-French / half-Vietnamese character because Jonathan Pryce is 100% Welsh, and Wales is part of Great Britain, and Great Britain and France have often been enemies, whereas B.D. is 100% Chinese, and look how well the Chinese and Vietnamese have always gotten along. So you can see it is simple genetic arithmetic.

No, wait … that’s not it …

Instead, it’s much simpler: the Pryce is white and no Wongs make a wrong.

No that’s still too complicated. Okay, here’s the essence:

White is Bad.

Not white is Good.

Eventually, Mackintosh’s brinkmanship paid off and he opened on Broadway with the first ever $100 tickets. Pryce won a Tony.

But since then, no white man has been allowed to play the Eurasian role in the United States.

Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

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

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