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iSteve Blog

Lex at What Would Tyler Durden Do points out the logical weirdness in the current condemnation of all-world NFL running back Adrian Peterson for beating one of his four year old sons with a stick in a rare attempt at interacting with one of the uncertain but no doubt large number of children he has spawned, while giving a pass to Peterson procreating at random.

Adrian Peterson Defenders Don’t Get It

I’m all for leaving the government out of the bedroom, the bathroom, and the shed where you whip your boy with deciduous branches. … But Adrian Peterson isn’t really a dad. He’s a football player who likes to stroke his ego by impregnating women so the world may know the power of his seed. … He didn’t even know he had one kid until that kid was beaten to death. He may have as many as seven kids around the country.

Every summer Peterson hosts a Meet Dad Camp at his estate in Texas where his multitude of bastards get a couple weeks bowing down to the peacock before receiving some Vikings swag and a Greyhound ticket back to their moms. Just because you pay the court ordered child support and you like to brag about your reproductive powers doesn’t make you dad. Charles Barkley says all the black dads in the South whoop their kids like this. Great. … Make the Lorax weep with all the trees you fell just to make the perfect switch. But you can’t lacerate your rent-a-kid the day before he’s packed in the FexEd box and delivered back to his real home. Get some perspective. Adrian Peterson isn’t a throwback disciplinarian. He’s just a pretend dad who likes to hit kids with real sticks.


Bryan Curtis writes in Grantland:

During the Donald Sterling fiasco, I argued that the sportswriting class had gone from holding a range of political opinions to fusing into a single, united liberal bloc. You can see that in the coverage of Goodell, too. Reading sports this week is like being on a Nation magazine cruise.

That happened a long time before the Donald Sterling fiasco. When was this not true? The mass of not very bright sportswriters has been true believers in liberal dogmas for maybe four decades. I can recall the sports media’s crusade to get George Allen (father of the future Republican Senator) fired as coach of the Washington Redskins in the mid-1970s, which was very much a self-conscious junior varsity repeat of Woodward-Bernstein’s crusade to overthrow Richard Nixon: If the Washington Post news section could take down the President, then the Washington Post sports section should take down the Redskins’ coach, who reminded them of Nixon for complicated 1970s reasons.

Curtis goes on:

What happened to the sports press? Two things. The lethal snipers at Deadspin and other sites give covering fire to lefty sportswriters who might leave behind the old nonpartisan tone. There’s no longer a punishment for being liberal, and there’s a lot of potential reward on Twitter. Moreover, writers who don’t toe the line know they’ll be punished for speaking up. I suspect that a lot of semi-political types feign agreement or don’t comment at all.

Then there’s the crack-up of local newspapers, which for decades incubated writers whose politics were as ragged as a congressional backbencher’s. The baseball writer Roger Kahn and I talked recently about his days covering Jackie Robinson for the New York Herald Tribune. Kahn told me that the sports editor of a Cincinnati paper once came up to him, pointed a finger at Robinson in the batter’s box, and said, “The jig is up. Get it?” Nitwits like that used to preach to big chunks of America.

Uh, you know, uh … Jackie Robinson hasn’t been up to bat since he retired in 1956, which was 58 years ago. And Roger Kahn stopped working for the New York Herald Tribune in 1953. I’ve been remarking a lot on how the liberal conventional wisdom has zero sense that they’ve been in charge of racial attitudes for a long, long, long time now, but once you notice that, the evidence for this blindness to chronology is everywhere.

The basic cause of such intense crimestop among run of the mill lumpen sportswriters is that the reigning ideology is all about equality; but sports are all about inequality.

What complicates this generalization, however, is that there’s a lot of evidence that many of the smartest sportswriters aren’t true believers.

Sure, a lot of smart New York Jewish sportswriters like Kahn were liberals for reasons of family, neighborhood, and ethnic loyalty. But for most of the other sportswriters, there’s a negative correlation between intelligence and fervency of belief in the liberal pieties. For example, the three greatest golf writers of all time were probably Bernard Darwin (Charles’ grandson), Herbert Warren Wind (the WASPiest, most assimilated Jewish guy ever), and Dan Jenkins, loyal son of Fort Worth. I doubt if any of them would be terribly comfortable writing under the mindset restrictions required by Deadspin.

Similarly, I doubt if Frank Deford, Bill James, or Bill Simmons are all that enthusiastic for the current dogmas. The brightest of the younger generation, David Epstein (author of The Sports Gene, which President Obama bought on his annual bookstore Christmas shopping trip last year), is an HBD guy. The best black sportswriter, Jason Whitlock, is a Bill Cosby type social conservative. The best retired superstar pundit is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose views aren’t too dissimilar to those of the conservative satirist Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker trio who cast him in Airplane! Nate Silver isn’t very liberal at all for a gay Jew.

Similarly, creative works about sports are much less dogmatic about ideology than is journalism. Ron Shelton’s movies, Arliss, The League, Eastbound and Down, and the sports-related episodes on Larry David’s shows are all politically incorrect.

Average sportswriters are vaguely aware that their mental superiors don’t believe the nonsense they proclaims so stridently, and that generates resentment and the hope that they can take down the top dogs and grab their spots.


Paypal cofounder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel spells out in the WSJ something that I learned in B-School after having majored in econ as an undergrad (unfortunately, I never figured out how to do it in practice):

Competition Is for Losers
If you want to create and capture lasting value, look to build a monopoly, writes Peter Thiel

… “Perfect competition” is considered both the ideal and the default state in Economics 101. So-called perfectly competitive markets achieve equilibrium when producer supply meets consumer demand. Every firm in a competitive market is undifferentiated and sells the same homogeneous products. Since no firm has any market power, they must all sell at whatever price the market determines. If there is money to be made, new firms will enter the market, increase supply, drive prices down and thereby eliminate the profits that attracted them in the first place. If too many firms enter the market, they’ll suffer losses, some will fold, and prices will rise back to sustainable levels. Under perfect competition, in the long run no company makes an economic profit.

The opposite of perfect competition is monopoly. Whereas a competitive firm must sell at the market price, a monopoly owns its market, so it can set its own prices. Since it has no competition, it produces at the quantity and price combination that maximizes its profits.

To an economist, every monopoly looks the same, whether it deviously eliminates rivals, secures a license from the state or innovates its way to the top. I’m not interested in illegal bullies or government favorites: By “monopoly,” I mean the kind of company that is so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute. Google is a good example of a company that went from 0 to 1: It hasn’t competed in search since the early 2000s, when it definitively distanced itself from Microsoft MSFT +0.28% and Yahoo!

Americans mythologize competition and credit it with saving us from socialist bread lines. Actually, capitalism and competition are opposites. Capitalism is premised on the accumulation of capital, but under perfect competition, all profits get competed away. The lesson for entrepreneurs is xclear: If you want to create and capture lasting value, don’t build an undifferentiated commodity business.

And here’s Thiel’s very clever Ask Me Anything at Reddit to promote his new book Zero to One on startups.


In Ezra Klein’s Vox, which doesn’t allow reader comments, Dylan Matthews writes a long article:

The Case for Open Borders

“What would you think about a law that said that blacks couldn’t get a job without the government’s permission, or women couldn’t get a job without the government’s permission, or gays or Christians or anyone else?” George Mason economist Bryan Caplan asks. It’s a pretty easy question. Obviously, such a law is discriminatory on its face, serves no rational purpose, and is unacceptable in a liberal democracy. But Caplan continues: “So why, exactly, is it that people who are born on the wrong side of the border have to get government permission just to get a job?”

This is Caplan’s elevator pitch for open borders, an idea that for years was treated as deeply unserious, as an extreme straw man that nativists could beat up in the course of resisting more modest efforts to help immigrants. It had its defenders — philosopher Joseph Carens primary among them — but they were relatively lonely voices.

Nobody remembers nuthin’ … At the absolute peak of its influence in the 1984 through 2000 era, the Wall Street Journal repeatedly editorialized for a five-word Constitutional Amendment: “There shall be open borders.” Open Borders’ isn’t some lonely genius’s great new idea, it is the traditional reductio ad absurdum of one of the dominant ideologies of the age.

We are also treated to a long interview with Bryan Caplan on the need for Open Borders.

As Caplan himself observed last year:

Think about it like this: Steve Sailer’s policy views are much closer to the typical American’s than mine. Compared to me, he’s virtually normal. But the mainstream media is very sweet to me, and treats Steve like a pariah. I have to admit, it’s bizarre.

This pattern can be explained by a general trend among, say, intelligent commenters dissenting from mainstream media increasingly sounding like me. In response to repeatedly losing the arguments over immigration with anonymous commenters, the MSM is becoming even more extremist and thus turns to Caplan’s not-quite-right-in-the-head moral absolutism to justify their positions.


From Slate:

Life Is Random

Biologists now realize that “nature vs. nurture” misses the importance of noise.

By Cailin O’Connor

Is our behavior determined by genetics, or are we products of our environments? What matters more for the development of living things—internal factors or external ones? Biologists have been hotly debating these questions since shortly after the publication of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Charles Darwin’s half-cousin Francis Galton was the first to try to understand this interplay between “nature and nurture” (a phrase he coined) by studying the development of twins.

But are nature and nurture the whole story? It seems not. Even identical twins brought up in similar environments won’t really be identical. They won’t have the same fingerprints. They’ll have different freckles and moles. Even complex traits such as intelligence and mental illness often vary between identical twins.

Of course, some of this variation is due to environmental factors. Even when identical twins are raised together, there are thousands of tiny differences in their developmental environments, from their position in the uterus to preschool teachers to junior prom dates.

But there is more to the story. There is a third factor, crucial to development and behavior, that biologists overlooked until just the past few decades: random noise.

Sure, but the existence of random noise in development means that twin studies actually underestimate the importance of Nature relative to Nurture. Some of the differences between identical twins, including identical twins raised apart, are not caused by Nurture but by random noise. But because the default assumption is that differences between identical twins are caused by Nurture, the existence of random noise means that Nurture is overrated in importance.

Besides the third factor of noise, there are also fourth and fifth factors: sibling rivalry and the need for role players. These also tend to exaggerate the role of Nurture in twin studies.

For example, I know two identical twins who have meticulously documented their differences. One told me that his eyesight was 20-22 while his brother’s was only 20-24. At present, one twin wants to be an actor while the other wants to be an engineer. If they were raised apart they might well be be more similar.

It’s not uncommon for twins to insist they are fraternal, not identical, out of the narcissism of small differences: the Hamm gymnasts were convinced they weren’t identical because their hair swirls in different directions and the Olsen twins insisted they are fraternal.

Moreover, identical twins are often pulled apart by society’s need for them to play different roles. Consider the former NBA players Jason (7′-0″) and Jarron (6′-11″) Collins. They are both natural centers, but teams don’t need two centers. Playing together through college, the slightly better Jason was the center while Jarron was relegated to power forward. If they had grown up separately, both would have likely played center on whatever amateur teams they were on.

The Grant brothers of the 1990s NBA grew up playing together so Harvey was the shooting forward while Horace was relegated to being a skinny power forward. Interestingly, Horace had a better NBA career, perhaps because he had to work harder as a youth.

Here’s a Taki’s article I wrote back in 2010 on identical twins.


In the Unz Review, anthropologist Peter Frost writes:

First, most Britons have been living in denial. Few wish to believe, at least openly, that organized gangs are preying on school-age girls. Fewer wish to believe that the gangs are overwhelmingly non-white and largely Muslim. And even fewer wish to believe the extent of the problem: perhaps one in ten of Rotherham’s white families, if not more. It all sounds like vicious propaganda that only ugly hate-filled people could believe.

Yet it’s true. So what comes next? Many disillusioned antiracists will likely end up seeing Islam, and not racism, as the problem. The solution will therefore be to secularize Muslim culture and replace it with an assimilated, Westernized version, like modern Christianity.

Politically, anti-Islamism is attractive. It has the merit of framing the problem in ideological and not racial terms. It is also likely to win over much of the political elite, particularly those who have backed previous military interventions in the Muslim world and would like to see more.

But will it work? Let’s assume anti-Islamists are not sidetracked into cheerleading a new round of foreign interventions “to get to the root of the problem.” Let’s also assume the focus is on assimilating Muslims living in Britain. Unfortunately, not only will this approach fail to solve the problem, it will actually make things worse.

In a Western context, assimilation does not mean giving up the restraints of one culture and taking on those of another. It means the first but not the second. Immigrants leave an environment where behavior is restrained mainly by external controls (shaming, family discipline, community surveillance) and they enter one where behavior is restrained mainly by internal controls (guilt, empathy). To the extent that assimilation happens, external social controls will weaken and may even disappear, but they will not be replaced by internal mental controls. There is no known way to give people a greater capacity for guilt and empathy than what they already have. No such psychotherapy exists. This is true even if we assume that population differences in these two traits are due solely to cultural conditioning, and not to inborn tendencies.

I suspect there actually are ways, but the effective ones are alien to contemporary sensibilities, involving as they do sticks as well as carrots. Instead, the contemporary efforts of well-meaning liberals like Nicholas Kristof are typically to denounce white racism in ever more strident terms, in the hope that nonwhites will (somehow) notice that this is really meant for them as a triple bankshot lesson to start behaving more like the typical Scarsdale resident.

But is there any evidence this ever works?

Assimilation is already making things worse by dissolving traditional restraints on behavior and leaving nothing in their place. Keep in mind that grooming is largely absent from the 1st generation of Britain’s Pakistani community. It’s much more present among young men of the 2nd and 3rd generations. They are very much into contemporary Western culture and are freely borrowing those elements that appeal to them the most.

Ali G …


As far as I can tell, the opening salvo in World War T was the long, celebratory article “A Pioneer, Reluctantly” in the New York Times on May 10, 2013. It was about transsexual mixed martial arts fighter Fallon Fox’s heroic struggle to overcome outdated prejudices and be allowed to beat up women for money.

Here’s an update on last night’s MMA bout from Knuckle Junkies:

In the co-main event, Fallon Fox and Tamikka Brents engaged quickly with Fox unleashing a brutal barrage of knees from the clench opening a nasty cut on the forehead of her opponent. Brents had no choice but to pull guard, and worked from an open guard before Fox passed and would eventually take the back. That is where Fox rained down punches and put the on the hurt Brents, who was unable to answer or improve her position and forced a stoppage to the fight.

Fox improves to 5-1 as a professional, and pleaded with the promoters from Invicta to give her a shot in her post-fight interview with Mylas Copeland. Brents drops to 2-2 and looked to have sizeable swelling on her left eye…

Ray Rice beating up his fiance (now wife) is the worst thing in the history of the world because Rice is a man, but Fox beating up women for money requires our You Go, Girl approbation because Fox is an ex-man.


Tyler Cowen handwaves in the NYT:

Why the Economic Gender Gap Will Eventually Close

… As a former chess player, I am struck by the growing achievements of women in this great game — one in which men were once said to have an overwhelming intrinsic advantage. (Among the unproven contentions was that men were better at pattern recognition.) Although women were never barred from touching the chess pieces, strong female players were few in number.

These days, many more women play very well, and the gap between the top men and women in the game is narrowing.

But is that even happening anymore? The Polgar sisters were extremely impressive in their primes, and Judit Polgar was a legitimate top ten contender for a number of years. From Wikipedia:

Judit Polgár (born 23 July 1976) is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history.[1] In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, at the time the youngest to have done so, breaking the record previously held by former World Champion Bobby Fischer. She is the only woman to qualify for a World Championship tournament, having done so in 2005. She is the first, and to date, only woman to have surpassed the 2700 ELO rating barrier, reaching a career peak rating of 2735 and peak world ranking of #8, both achieved in 2005. She has been the #1 rated woman in the world since 1989 (when she was 12 years old).

But Polgar recently retired, and Marginal Revolution commenter US claims that there is only one woman still in the world top 250:

The current best active female player is Yifan Hou (2663 elo, #87 on the fide rating list), the only active female player with a rating above 2600 (top ~250 or so).

My general impression of the career world is that young women rapidly narrowed career gaps in the 1970s, but not much has happened to gender gaps among young people at elite levels over the last 30 or so years.

(There’s a very different trend of downward drift among average and especially below average males, but that’s a pretty distinct trend from the static or widening gender gaps in the really good jobs, like in Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood. For example, no woman has ever been nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography.)

By the time I got my MBA in 1982, it was simply assumed that women could, would, and should go into virtually all corporate careers men went into. (The only word of caution I can recall being given to female MBA students at UCLA in 1980-82 was that ambitious women, especially gentile women, shouldn’t try for a career in Los Angeles department stores: you had to be a Jewish man to get to the top in L.A. department stores. Although I’m constantly reading news stories about discrimination in the Bad Old Days, for some reason I haven’t heard a single mention of that kind of bias in the 33 years since …)

I don’t see much change in the numbers for young people in the three decades since then. If there had been much change since then, there wouldn’t be the 2012-2014 hysteria about male privilege, would there?

Overall, I’m constantly struck by how elastic the past is to the Dominant Narrative. We’re out a couple of generations or so from the pre-feminist era, and yet the standard assumption behind most journalism on gender gaps is that it was only yesterday that young women were told they shouldn’t be trying for careers.

You know how people are always telling you that history is actually really interesting if you don’t worry about trivia like dates? Well, that’s not history, that’s just propaganda. History is dates. If you don’t know the date when something happened, you can’t do the single most obvious reality check on your theory of causation: if you claim that X caused Y, the minimum you need to know is that X came before Y, not afterwards.


To this day, most public school teachers are Nice White Ladies, so something must be done, according to an NYT Room for Debate topic:

The teaching profession is dominated by women: Three-quarters of all teachers in kindergarten through high school are female, and in elementary and middle schools, women account for more than 80 percent of the educators.

What’s more, more than 80 percent of America’s teachers are white, even though minority students are expected to outnumber white students in public schools for the first time this year.

How can the teaching profession become more diverse in terms of gender and race or ethnicity?

Education Realist points out that the Drive for Diversity stalled out due to earlier Education Reforms. Teacher qualification tests were toughened up in some states, and Congress passed a law in 1998 intended to drive out of business bad education schools whose graduates couldn’t pass the test. Instead, the ed schools, no fools, just dropped affirmative action and stopped giving out diplomas until students had passed the state professional exams:

Ed schools had been accepting and graduating students who they knew wouldn’t pass the licensure test, in the name of affirmative action. Faced with a threat, they sacrificed their ideology and commitment to collect money from underprivileged students wanting a college degree, and made a new rule: No pass, no diploma. …

The strategy wasn’t free. Ed schools couldn’t commit affirmative action, at least not as most colleges do. …

But alone among all the professions, the majority of prospective undergraduate teachers are now required to demonstrate that they have a given skill set (set by each state, much to the feds’ chagrin) at some point before they graduate. At the graduate level, they have to pass the test just to get in. Ed schools can’t use a different standard to accept black and Hispanic candidates. They are limited to those blacks and Hispanics that can both pass the tests and want to be teachers. And most ed schools aren’t selective, so those candidates are in, anyway.

This all came about because reformers and politicians had this bizarre delusion that the quality of the ed school had something to do with the licensure test pass rates, when in fact the licensure pass rates have everything to do with the quality of the student body.

So the 1998 law and the follow-on restrictions of NCLB, restrictions based on a profound underestimation of an average teacher’s intellect, didn’t even come close to having their desired impact. Meanwhile, the laws inadvertently took away the dream of teaching for many black and Hispanic teachers. The media steadfastly ignores this and wonders gravely where all the black and Hispanic teachers went.


You may wonder why local news media across the country typically treat The Gap in school achievement test scores as some sort of scandalous local phenomenon that must be rectified by redoubling efforts. One reason is because local “community organizers” see The Gap as easy money.

For example, Alejandra Matos reports in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Minneapolis schools seek to end contract with achievement gap group

Article by: ALEJANDRA MATOS , Star Tribune Updated: September 11, 2014 – 11:42 PM

District says consulting group not hitting its goals.

Minneapolis public school officials plan to stop payment on a $375,000 contract with an organization that they say has not fulfilled its pledge of working with students and parents in the North Side’s most struggling schools.

The group, Community Standards Initiative (CSI), “has yet to meet its goals and … is not on track to meet its obligations,” said Stan Alleyne, a school district spokesman. “We will not pay them additional funds if they are unable to fulfill the terms of the contract.”

School officials awarded the contract in May, without competitive bid, to CSI, a nonprofit organization run by community activists Al Flowers and Clarence Hightower. They got the contract after strong lobbying by DFL [Democratic Farm Labor Party -- the Minnesota wing of the national Democrats] state Sens. Bobby Joe Champion and Jeff Hayden, who serves as deputy majority leader in the Senate.

One source said Hayden and Champion threatened to withhold state aid if Minneapolis school officials did not approve the contract.

Alleyne confirmed “we had members of the [local legislative] delegation that reached out to us, urging us to support the work of CSI.”

Hayden said Thursday the idea that he and Champion bullied or threatened the school district is “inappropriate language to use.”

The district’s decision has created a clash with an organization run by two of the North Side’s most well-known and politically connected community activists. …

CSI formed to address the district’s vast achievement gap for black students. Hightower is the registered leader of the organization, which he runs through his church. The organization has no website, office or phone number.

In the community, Flowers has been the public face of the organization. He is currently embroiled in an issue with the city after alleging misconduct during his arrest in July when police were checking on his daughter for violating the terms of her electronic home-monitoring.

Some interesting background on Mr. Flowers from Judith Yates Borger in the MinnPost:

Flowers has pressed legal action against the city six times since 2004. His sister, Alisa Clemons, has been involved in eight employment administrative hearings against the Minneapolis Police Department and two lawsuits in the last 10 years. The city paid her a total of $737,500 to settle both suits. …

To date, the Flowers side of the lawsuit ledger is in the black for $3. The city’s side is in the red for $194,003 [for legal fees], and counting. …

His sister, Alisa Clemons, believes the same.

Clemons, a former Minneapolis police sergeant, filed her first suit in 1997. She was fired after the city accused her of sending hate mail to herself and other African-American police officers. When an arbitrator ruled that there wasn’t reasonable proof that she wrote the letters, she was reinstated in her job, with back pay. She sued and the city paid her $400,000 to settle.

Her second suit charged the city with racial discrimination. Clemons says her superiors wrote her up for minor infractions that would not have been noticed had they been committed by a white officer, such as parking her car improperly. She said she was ordered to scrub riot helmets and called “Buckwheat.” She said the other officers wouldn’t back her up on police calls. She settled in 2001 when the city offered her $337,500 to resign.

Clemons also filed suit in connection with her brother’s 2004 action after he was thrown out of the NAACP meeting.

This was when the NAACP called the cops to throw Flowers out of their meeting.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle dismissed her claim that police used excessive force when she came to Flowers’ aid. A jury later found Clemons not guilty of obstructing justice.

Total cost to the city in defending against her charges? $24,761, plus her $737,500 in settlements.


Why are the New York and Washington media so obsessed over matters of local governance in tiny Ferguson, MO? For example, the latest evolution of national media thinking on the Lessons to Be Learned from the Michael Brown crime spree shooting of an unarmed teen is that the Big Issue is that other half-pint municipalities outside of the city of St. Louis give out a lot of tickets to poor blacks, who often don’t show up to pay them, and then get in serious trouble.

Some of this is no doubt classic speed trap behavior aimed at exploiting outsiders, while some of it is quality of life enforcement aimed at getting residents, especially newcomers, to behave better and not ruin property values.

Before the Interstate Highway System, speed traps were common in small towns on the way between big metropolises. The local cops would pay their salaries and more by pulling over city slickers going 1 mph over the idiosyncratic local speed limit.

Even with the Interstate Highway System, state troopers in states that don’t get a lot of tourists like Indiana and Connecticut are notorious sticklers for enforcing speed limits. For example, in 1986 I got a $128 ticket for going 73 mph at the bottom of a long downhill straightaway on an empty I-84 on a sunny day in May. The trooper was surprised that I hadn’t heard the news on the local stations that they were setting up speed traps for the Memorial Day weekend. I explained that I was from Chicago and had just flown into New York on business and was now going to Boston for a vacation, but that just sort of explained why I was the ideal kind of clueless nonresident to help balance Connecticut’s budget.

Mexican cops take this another level by having sergeants auction off the best spots to ambitious patrolmen, who are allowed to dismantle warning signs and then shakedown violators for bribes. For example, my father got a ticket in 1975 in Mexico City by attempting to drive the wrong way down a six lane one way street to get to the Palace of Fine Arts tourist attraction. The cop who whistled us over had apparently taken down the Do Not Enter sign. He told us that we’d have to spend all day in the rat-infested police station. Eventually my father got the point and gave the cop a five dollar bill and away we went.

The greater St. Louis area has a very large number of small municipalities, so speed traps make sense since cops are likely to catch a high proportion of outsiders rather than local voters.

But, St. Louis suburbs tend to give out a lot of citations to residents, too, for unneighborly behavior like parking a nonfunctional car on your front lawn. To the New York Times Editorial Board, this is just irrational racism because it has disparate impact on blacks newly moved into the suburb from the slums of St. Louis.

But, it’s helpful to look at an AP article by Corey Williams about a black majority suburb of Detroit called Southfield, in which the long-time resident middle class blacks strongly support the black police chief in issuing citations to the Detroit ghetto blacks who have been moving in. The veteran black residents want to get their fellow blacks to up their game and start conforming to suburban norms.

Three years ago, Lamar Grace left Detroit for the suburb of Southfield. He got a good deal — a 3,000-square-foot colonial that once was worth $220,000. In foreclosure, he paid $109,000.

The neighbors were not pleased.

“They don’t want to live next door to ghetto folks,” he says.

That his neighbors are black, like Grace, is immaterial. Many in the black middle class moved out of Detroit and settled in the northern suburbs years ago; now, due to foreclosures, it is easy to buy or rent houses on the cheap here.

The result has been a new, poorer wave of arrivals from the city, and growing tensions between established residents and the newcome …

People like John Clanton, a retired auto worker, say the new arrivals have brought behavior more common in the inner city — increased trash, adults and children on the streets at all times of the night, a disregard for others’ property.

“During the summer months, I sat in the garage and at 3 o’clock in the morning you see them walking up and the down the streets on their cell phones talking,” Clanton says. “They pull up (in cars) in the middle of the street, and they’ll hold a conversation. You can’t get in your driveway. You blow the horn and they look back at you and keep on talking. That’s all Detroit.”

The tensions have not gone unnoticed by local officials.

“I’ve got people of color who don’t want people of color to move into the city,” says Southfield Police Chief Joseph Thomas, who is himself black. “It’s not a black-white thing. This is a black-black thing. My six-figure blacks are very concerned about multiple-family, economically depressed people moving into rental homes and apartments, bringing in their bad behaviors.”

For example, “They still think it’s OK to play basketball at 3 o’clock in the morning; it’s OK to play football in the streets when there’s a car coming; it’s OK to walk down the streets three abreast. That’s unacceptable in this city.”

… With so many empty houses available, rents also dipped by hundreds of dollars. Renters increased from about 13,100 in 2006 to 15,400 in 2009.

Now, suburbs closest to big cities are “bedeviled” by the same problems that helped spur urban flight decades ago, Schragger adds. “And you’re seeing further flight out. Rising crime levels, some rising levels of disorder.”

These were the things that prompted Richard Twiggs to leave Detroit 23 years ago for the safety, quiet and peace of mind Southfield offered.

“The reason suburbs are the way they are is because a certain element can’t afford to live in your community,” adds Twiggs, a 54-year-old printer. “If you have $300,000, $400,000, $500,000 homes you’re relatively secure in the fact that (the homeowners) are people who can afford it.

“But when you have this crash, people who normally couldn’t afford to live in Southfield are moving in. When you have a house for $9,900 on the corner over there — that just destroys my property.”

The pride that comes with home ownership and a large financial investment in the property is missing, says Clanton, who lives across the street from Twiggs on Stahelin, about a half-mile north of Detroit. Back yards are deep and mostly tree-shaded. Sidewalks are few.

“I treasure what I bought,” Clanton says. “I want to keep it, but I don’t need somebody to come in and throw their garbage on mine. Why would they come and make our lives miserable because they don’t care?”

Though they acknowledge they would lose money by selling their current homes, Clanton and Twiggs are contemplating moving further north. …

Southfield officials say one solution to changing neighborhoods is blight enforcement, other ordinances and costly fines. The idea, said the police chief, Thomas, is not to chase people away, but to help them assimilate.

Soon after Grace, the telephone company analyst, moved into his house, he was cited for parking a small trailer on the property and storing interior doors outside. These are things that would have drawn little notice in Detroit amid the crime and failing schools, he said.

He paid $400 in fines, got rid of the doors and put the trailer in paid storage.

… He was fined $200 for noxious weeds because the grass was too high and dandelions covered much of the front lawn.

“It wouldn’t happen in Detroit,” he says. “Your property is pretty much your property. I think, here, they are going a little overboard.”

Now, why in the world are media elites in Washington and New York so worked up over this kind of petty enforcement in inner ring suburbs in the middle of flyover country aimed at assimilating slum blacks?

There are a lot of reasons, but one shouldn’t totally discount self-interest, no matter how much it’s buried under layers of sanctimonious rationalizations.

In recent decades, the two gentrifying media capitals have been successfully driving out American-born blacks. They’ve been prodding African-Americans to leave with things like stop and frisk in NYC.

White people in New York and Washington thus want to grease the skids under African-Americans to make it as easy as possible for them to leave valuable urban land and head for dumpy suburbs like Ferguson. These kind of ticky-tacky citations that suburbs use to keep from turning into slums might discourage some urban blacks from moving out of gentrifiable inner city, so they must be demonized in the national press.

As I’ve mentioned before, underclass blacks are a giant hot potato that practically every municipality wants to hand off to somebody else. I don’t think there is any single best solution: there is just always going to be a lot of arguing and politicking over this. My one moral suggestion is that these discussions be honest and open about what everybody is up to. I’m particularly disgusted when the people holding the Megaphone in rapidly gentrifying New York and Washington get to use their media monopoly to demonize random nowheresvilles like Ferguson, and distract from their own efforts to drive out poor blacks to those nowheresvilles.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Ferguson Shooting 

Economist Bryan Caplan writes in regard to a fellow Open Borders advocate:

Topher remarks that “it’s hard to explain America’s current immigration policies without assuming a lot of quiet support” for citizenism. But he actually establishes a broader point: it’s hard to explain any country’s policies on any important issue without assuming a lot of quiet support for citizenism. Indeed, silent citizenism is baked into countries’ very perceptions about what issues are important.

Right. We live in a world of about 200 countries, a world that for all its flaws, is relatively peaceful and prosperous. And the basis of that order has been a set of assumptions about what the purpose of government is that both Caplan and myself call citizenism. This set of ideas have been almost forgotten among elites in 21st Century America, but it’s not hard to find it well stated:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The difference between Caplan and me is merely that he wants to take this order based on citizenism and blow it up, while I don’t.

That’s why I’m a notorious extremist.


Like the cigarette industry, the publishing industry responded patriotically to WWII by selling their wares to military personnel at very low costs. The upmarket (non-pulp) paperback had been introduced at the end of the 1930s, selling books for a quarter that had previously sold for a daunting two bucks in hardback. But the paperback business really took off after the War with the return of soldiers and sailors who had become addicted to reading quality paperbacks in their bunks.

Yoni Appelbaum writes in (a non-clickbait article in) The Atlantic:

Some of the selections were idiosyncratic. In 1945, Council picked out an older novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that had never achieved popular success. It sold just 120 copies the previous year, and another 33 in 1945 before going out of print. The 155,000 copies of The Great Gatsby that they shipped out to the troops dwarfed all its previous print runs combined. Buoyed by that exposure, it would go on to become one of the great publishing successes of the 20th century.

Fitzgerald was immensely popular at times before his death in 1940, but The Great Gatsby wasn’t.

That reminds me of my idea for the next movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby. I don’t think the novel stands alone well as a movie. But in the context of American history — of who these stories about giant parties appealed to — it’s a great story.

But I think a movie would benefit from a prologue and epilogue focusing on one reader, say, a Marine in a troop transport leaving San Francisco Bay on his way to Iwo Jima. He’s scared, he’s bored, and he’s not very interested in the books. The little town he came from didn’t have a Carnegie Library and there were always endless chores to do on the farm. Finally, a friend tells him he ought to try this book by Fitzgerald. The Marine in the troop transport falls under the spell.

Fade into Nick Carroway’s memoir … Fade out out on “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” as the transport ship passes back under the Golden Gate Bridge. The Marine goes to college on the GI Bill, becomes an English teacher, and assigns his students The Great Gatsby. He never quite conveys to them that this book about the 1920s is really, at least to him and his generation of fellow GI Bill English teachers, a book about reading about the 1920s during the 1940s.


According to the NYT:

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of legal black African immigrants in the United States about doubled, to around one million. During that single decade, according to the most reliable estimates, more black Africans arrived in this country on their own than were imported directly to North America during the more than three centuries of the slave trade.

There are about 100 times more blacks in the U.S. today than arrived via the slave trade.


The New York Times Editorial Board remains all over the most pressing problem of our age: matters of local administration in a modest-sized suburb 955 miles from the New York Times Building:

A Step Toward Fairness in Ferguson

The racially torn city of Ferguson, Mo., took an important step on Monday when the City Council announced proposals aimed at remaking its troubled court system and creating a civilian review board for the Police Department. …

For the reforms to be truly meaningful, they will need to be adopted by neighboring towns in St. Louis County that have similarly unfair legal systems, which appear to single out black motorists for traffic and streets stops.

As you may recall, the Prestige Press hasn’t really been able to get their acts together on what exactly The Issue is in Ferguson.

At first Ferguson was going to be about white cops randomly shooting angelic unarmed black babies who never did a thing in the back, about how the high death rate among black boys is due to racist whites hunting them down and killing them in cold blood.

But the convenience store security camera footage and three autopsies deflated that myth. We now see that a 292 pound adult already on a crime spree attacked a police officer from outside the police cruiser (something I’ve almost never heard of before) and somehow the gun went off inside the police car in the fighting. Now, it’s quite possible that the police officer subsequently over-reacted, but, you know, they’ll sometimes get a little too agitated in the moments after you’ve almost murdered them with their own gun. Adrenaline and all that …

I got involved a few years ago in investigating the fatal shooting in my neighborhood of an 18-year-old by an over-excited federal agent. I encouraged the grieving mother to sue, and the family eventually was awarded $3 million by a judge. On the other hand, I didn’t lead a pogrom or paint “Snitches Get Stitches” on the wall of the convenience store I burned down by mistake.

Then the media decided that the Real Problem was cops dressing up in quasi-military gear. That’s what was causing the anti-snitching riots. So, the cops stopped … and the riots went on.

Then the problem was that there aren’t enough blacks on the city council. But a national study showed that blacks are quite capable of electing each other to city councils.

Then it was going to be a lack of black cops, but it turns out that the one study done of the subject in Florida found that the more black cops on a force, the more police brutality.

Then it was going to be Redlining, which the FDR administration did setting up the FHA. It’s always Redlining. (Except when it’s Reverse Redlining.)

And of course it was also always the legacies of Jim Crow and slavery, which only seem to grow in strength as they disappear into the distant past.

Lately, national attention has focused like a laser beam on the contention that various other small municipalities in the St. Louis area are … speed traps!

In reality, you have countless examples every month of Blacks Behaving Badly. Mostly, the national press ignores this as dreary local police blotter stuff.

But every so often it gets the idea that it can run with some provincial incident as Proof that white racism is the dominant problem of our times. In most of these cases, however, it turns out when all the facts come in that the incident the national media chose to obsess over is really just another piece of crap case of blacks behaving badly. You might think that would be humiliating to all the Big Foot Media Types who fell once again for the latest over-inflated fiasco. But the Power of the Megaphone means that you never have to say you’re sorry. You just change the subject to … uh … uh, speed traps in neighboring towns!


Not Michael Brown, complains Imran Siddiquee in “The Atlantic”

In The Atlantic, Imran Siddiquee informs us that Richard Linklater’s well-regarded autobiographical indie film Boyhood (which I briefly reviewed here), which mashes together the life stories of Linklater and his star Ethan Hawke growing up in Texas a generation ago, doesn’t tell us about the life of Michael Brown.

Not Everyone’s Boyhood

Extraordinary as it is, Richard Linklater’s film avoids the topic of race in ways that are all too common for its genre, for Hollywood, and for America.


… Richard Linklater may have set out to tell one, small story; not the entire story of America. But as long as society continues to present lives like Mason’s as what’s normal, the childhood of people of color, like Michael Brown, will be seen as variant—as other.

Not Michael Brown, either

As you may have guessed, Imran Siddiquee looks less like Michael Brown and more like the convenience store clerk whom Michael Brown shoved around on that security camera footage we’re not supposed to remember seeing. (Of course, it’s smart in careerist terms to hitch your wagon of victimization to the African-American locomotive, no matter how implausibly.)

But that’s not the point.

The point is that all People of Color and/or Women are oppressed by white men like Richard Linklater continuing to make a disproportionate share of the best works of art. Sure, Linklater worked for a heroic dozen years on Boyhood. But why don’t white men just stop making good films and writing good books? Granted, the world would be an uglier, drearier place, but nonwhites like Imran Siddiquee would feel less racial resentment and inadequacy.

And that’s what really matters.


As commenter polynikes suggests, Donald Sterling’s Revenge upon NBA owners is like Montezuma’s Revenge upon gringo tourists in Mexico. Long may it reign …

The precise mechanisms of the Bruce Levenson Affair involving the Atlanta Hawks are coming more into focus today. When I wrote my Taki’s Magazine column on it back on Monday, I added, “Or it could be backstabbing among the consortium of co-owners.”

And that appears to be the case, according to an ESPN column by Jason Whitlock. The airing of dirty laundry is part of a long-running war between the Hawks’ Atlanta-based minority owners (using “minority” in the financial, not racial sense) and Levenson, the Washington-based controlling owner.

As I said, the crazier the rules become for witch-sniffing in America, the more the more clever will exploit them.

The atmosphere among NBA owners has become a little like that among Bolshevik bigshots in the 1920s-1930s Soviet Union, as memorably described in Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. When the reigning ideology is both nuts and officially unquestionable, even the true believers running things have a clammy feeling that somewhere in their past they must have slipped up and let slip out loud some bit of deviationism from the line of political correctness. And anything they’ve ever done can be used against them. So perhaps the safest policy is to go on the offensive and denounce their colleagues before they can be denounced. If your rival gets the drop on you, probably the smart play is to issue a full denunciation of your own right-deviationism and attempt to depart on your own terms.

It couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of guys than NBA team owners.

By the way, Jason Whitlock’s column has lots of other good things in it. Whitlock has long dominated the small but honorable niche market for being the black guy who is allowed to write smart, sensible things about race and sports. He now has company in the form of NBA all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who has started to contribute columns to Time trying to use wit to calm the periodic outbreaks of mass psychosis in the media over white racism in the NBA.


From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

As you’ll recall, NBA team owner Donald Sterling was recently purged for being secretly taped objecting to his self-promoting mistress posting pictures online of the black superstars she consorts with in his absence. Sterling vowed to get vengeance by digging up the private remarks of other NBA owners on race.

Now Bruce Levenson, the controlling owner of the Atlanta Hawks, has announced he will sell his stake in that floundering franchise as self-punishment for writing a 2012 memo about how to attract more white fans to Hawks games. Is this Sterling’s revenge?

Read the whole thing there.


Subprime mortgages have a rather poor reputation, so the marketing campaign to bring them back concentrates on how they are good for blacks and Hispanics:

Are Subprime Mortgages Coming Back?
SEPT. 9, 2014


… The federal government — seeking to formalize this new caution — has imposed a host of rules, starting with requiring banks to document that borrowers can repay the loans. “We’ve locked down mortgage lending to the point where it’s like we’re trying to avoid all defaults,” said William D. Dallas, the chairman of Skyline Home Loans, who has three decades of experience in the industry. “We’re back to using rules that were written for Ozzie and Harriet. And we’ve got to find a way to help normal people start buying homes again.”

Remember when “Ozzie and Harriet” = “normal people”? Now it means an unrealistically high standard: married white people. And the U.S. is, proportionately speaking, running out of married white people. So the money men want to get back to hustling subprime junk to unmarried Hispanic high school dropouts.

It seems, in other words, as if it might be time for the revival of the subprime-lending industry. Long before these risky loans were blamed, in part, for helping usher in the financial crisis, subprime lending was embraced as a promising antidote to the excessive caution of mainstream lenders. After all, key mortgage rules were first written in the middle of the last century, and they still reflect old-fashioned economic assumptions. It’s still easiest to qualify for a mortgage if a household has one primary breadwinner who is paid a regular salary, has a history of repaying other loans and has enough money saved or inherited to make a significant down payment. Indeed, mainstream lenders have a long history of using race as a proxy for risk, like the refusal to lend in entire “redlined” neighborhoods.

Funny how we keep hearing more and more about redlining the further into the past it recedes. After we get done paying Slavery Reparations, then we’ll hear about Redlining Reparations.

Last week, the attorney general’s office in New York filed suit against a Buffalo lender, Evans Bank, saying it redlined an area of east Buffalo that is home to more than 75 percent of the city’s African-Americans. (Evans Bank has denied this charge.) Similar lawsuits have recently been filed in Los Angeles and Providence, R.I. Goodman and her colleagues found that those excluded from credit in 2012 were disproportionately African-American and Hispanic households.

Of course, those who defaulted on their mortgages in 2008-2009 were disproportionately African-American and Hispanic households. Here’s the big 2013 study by Bayer et al.

But, as far as I can tell, practically nobody knows that.

The subprime solution has always been relatively simple. Instead of offering fixed terms to anyone who meets “prime” standards, terms are tailored to borrowers. People who are judged less likely to repay loans are charged a proportionately higher interest rate. Before things got out of hand during the last decade, subprime lending offered opportunity for many people, including minorities and immigrants, whose economic lives, like the Sleimans’, did not conform to the mortgage industry’s traditional expectations.

Most subprime borrowers continue to repay their debts and live in their houses. But even in the industry’s heyday, subprime lending had critics who argued that it deepens underlying economic inequalities between those with money and those who must borrow it. They would prefer to focus on improving economic opportunities or loosening restrictions on housing construction in desirable areas, like coastal cities, where prices are highest. And their arguments have certainly been buttressed by an industry that has a habit of behaving badly — overcharging customers who cannot easily tell the difference between a reasonable-risk premium and an inflated interest rate and persuading investors to pump money into those loans.

Hindsight is supposed to be 20-20, but looking back a decade, this NYT economics reporter is still convinced that the subprime lenders, most of whom went bankrupt in 2007-2008, charged too inflated a risk premium.

Binyamin Appelbaum is an economics reporter for The Times.


The subprime calamity of 2007-08 was prepped by a lot of propaganda about how they were good for blacks and Hispanics then too. That was necessary because there had been an earlier and fortunately smaller subprime bust at the beginning of the 21st Century. But nobody can remember exploded diversity marketing campaigns of the past. Every tired argument is new and persuasive because crimestop — protective stupidity — keeps us from learning from the events we all read about in the newspapers.


Karen Kaplan reports in the L.A. Times:

DNA ties Ashkenazi Jews to group of just 330 people from Middle Ages

Albert Einstein and all other Ashkenazi Jews can trace their roots to a group of about 330 people who lived during the Middle Ages, a new study finds.


So says a new study in the journal Nature Communications. An international team of scientists sequenced the complete genomes of 128 healthy Ashkenazi Jews and compared each of those sequences with the others, as well as with with the DNA of 26 Flemish people from Belgium. Their analysis allowed them to trace the genetic roots of this population to a founding group in the Middle Ages. …

… Despite their close ties with Europe, no more than half of their DNA comes from ancient Europeans, the researchers found. Only 46% to 50% of the DNA in the 128 samples originated with the group of people who were also the ancestors of the Flemish people in the study. Those ancient people split off from the ancestors of today’s Middle Easterners more than 20,000 years ago, with a founding group of about 3,500 to 3,900 people, according to the study.

The rest of the Ashkenazi genome comes from the Middle East, the researchers reported. This founding group “fused” with the European founding group to create a population of 250 to 420 individuals. These people lived 25 to 32 generations ago, and their descendants grew at a rate of 16% to 53% per generation, the researchers calculated.

The LA Times article comes illustrated with pictures of Einstein and some guy who isn’t Einstein.

Here’s the abstract:

The Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population is a genetic isolate close to European and Middle Eastern groups, with genetic diversity patterns conducive to disease mapping. Here we report high-depth sequencing of 128 complete genomes of AJ controls. Compared with European samples, our AJ panel has 47% more novel variants per genome and is eightfold more effective at filtering benign variants out of AJ clinical genomes. Our panel improves imputation accuracy for AJ SNP arrays by 28%, and covers at least one haplotype in ≈67% of any AJ genome with long, identical-by-descent segments. Reconstruction of recent AJ history from such segments confirms a recent bottleneck of merely ≈350 individuals. Modelling of ancient histories for AJ and European populations using their joint allele frequency spectrum determines AJ to be an even admixture of European and likely Middle Eastern origins. We date the split between the two ancestral populations to ≈12–25 Kyr, suggesting a predominantly Near Eastern source for the repopulation of Europe after the Last Glacial Maximum.

There has always been a lot of controversy, scientific and political, over the ancestry of the Ashkenazi Jews who founded Israel: are they from the Holy Land or from Europe? This study comes up with a 50-50 split, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to long-time iSteve readers: arguments that go on for a long time tend to be more or less 50-50 propositions.

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.

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