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Charles Murray's "Human Accomplishment" Database Is Now Online

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Charles Murray’s book Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 came out in 2003 when he was still in the doghouse for The Bell Curve, before Coming Apart finally got him out. So almost nobody besides me paid it much attention. But I found it fascinating, a sort of Bill James Baseball Abstract for the history of the arts and sciences.

Murray has now put his Human Accomplishment database of 4002 eminent individuals online. You can download it into Excel.

Update: Commenter robot has copied into a Google Docs spreadsheet.

My 2003 review in The American Conservative explains Murray’s methodology and some of its strengths and weaknesses.

One thing that occurs to me is that Murray’s dispassionate disinterestedness appeals mostly to people of a meta-statistical bent (i.e., me). For example, his methodology says that two most eminent composers of Western music are Beethoven and Mozart in a close tie. My response is: that sounds about right, suggesting that his methodology passes this quick test of prima facie reasonableness. If it passes other tests of reasonableness, then it can be used to search for general patterns.

But reasonableness and general patterns are not very exciting. Many people would prefer an argument about why Beethoven could beat Mozart in a fight or vice-versa.

 

172 Comments to "Charles Murray's "Human Accomplishment" Database Is Now Online"

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  1. Here’s a googledocs import: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1MKVcE0zn6lgXPetpMBcce1UA0oY4Zz6q2AxFVebAhuc/edit?usp=sharing

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  2. Murray should have written two books:

    World Achievement up to pre-modern era.

    Western Achievement since the modern era.

    Even if we were focus only on the West, what happened in the last 150 yrs overshadows all that had happened in the earlier 3000 yrs.

    Such a revolution in thoughts and methods took place in the past 150 yrs that it makes little sense to compare that period to the rest of history.

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  3. Much like this year’s Oscars, blacks have (almost entirely) boycotted Murray’s data set: only 5 entries out of 4000.

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  4. Something tells that all 5 of those “accomplished” things because they lived in white countries (Obama, MLK) and happened to be pandered to for most of their lives.

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  5. Bach would have killed both their asses

    https://books.google.com/books?id=nGw_z0Z5SeoC&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=bach+student+knife&source=bl&ots=U9FhJbpDEa&sig=Or4icXPayDI2ay_jYwGZVcRTahg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZ4pXZqsLKAhVIvIMKHW0GBfsQ6AEIIDAB#v=onepage&q=bach%20student%20knife&f=false

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  6. “his methodology says that two most eminent composers of Western music are Beethoven and Mozart in a close tie”

    Bullshit, it’s J.S. Bach.

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  7. Beethoven being tied with Mozart, and Bach a close third, does sound about right, but I do have difficulties believing Wagner was a close fourth at 80/100 (even if I do love his music).

    I think its fair to say these lists have a pretty large margin of error when it comes to individuals but, much like IQ, become much more useful when arranged into groups and considered in aggregate.

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  8. Remember the Saturday Night Live 1970s sketch, “What if Napoleon had had a B-52 at the battle of Waterloo?” At the end of that we were promised an exposition of the question, “What if God and Superman had a fight?”

    Unfortunately, many of the reviews of Human Accomplishment tended to foccus on the relative merit of the top 10 or 20 picks. Human Accomplishment introducced (to me at least) the idea of the Lottke Curve; that even high competence is rare, but the supreme competence of certain individuals (e.g., Jack Nicklaus in golf) borders on the superhuman.

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  9. Mr. Murray, or is it robot, a small correction in your impressive work:

    Marie Curie is, sadly not a Jew.

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  10. Right: these lists are useful for providing you with fairly unbiased lists for coming up with new hypotheses. For example, going down Murray’s composer list and reading their biographies on Wikipedia, I noticed that a large fraction of the top composers who weren’t the sons of musicians (Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, etc.) were slated by their families to study either law (Wagner, Stravinsky, etc.) or medicine (Berlioz etc.). It makes sense now that I think about it: a large fraction of top composers came from upper middle class backgrounds (Haydn was a rare exception); and down through the centuries, doctor and lawyer were the most common professions to study for. So, a common event in the lives of great composers when young men is the struggle with their families over whether or not they’d give up this music nonsense and buckle down to studying law / medicine.

    (But Wagner really is a giant comparable in influence to Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach, although the earlier composers are less long-winded and thus less daunting these days.)

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  11. By the way, Benjamin Disraeli is.

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  12. Right. Eight years ago it looked like a lock that Tiger Woods would break Jack Nicklaus’s record for major championships (18).

    But that turned out to be really, really hard: Tiger is now 40 and still 4 short.

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  13. It’s Ilya Ehrenburg.

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  14. I suggest you’ve got the division much too late.
    I’d want to choose the era that included the great explorers, the reformers, and other early modern figures: Bacon, Shakespeare, Galileo etc. Come to that, Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, Kepler. To choose as “modern” an era that excluded Newton would be bonkers, in my view. Neither would exclusion of the great figures of the Industrial Revolution be sensible. That still leaves open the question of whether to go back far enough to include the Italian Renaissance.

    Moreover I’d stop my study at some usefully arbitrary date such as 1900, partly on the grounds that more recent men (they are mainly men) are harder to judge, and that their assessment is likelier to be distorted by the Age of Celebrity, and by nationalist sentiments. Or you could even stop with the publication of The Origin of Species: at that point European civilisation was thoroughly established: the rest has been details.

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  15. Here is an old saying in the music world:

    The angels play Bach for God and Mozart for themselves.

    Your Music May Vary

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  16. Alfred Einhorn is Jewish.

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  17. The angels play Bach for God and Mozart for themselves.

    That’s clever, but about backwards theologically, if one is speaking of the God who experienced the pathos of the cross. Bach’s almost all Easter and very little Good Friday. Mozart’s Requiem is all about Mark 15:34.

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  18. “his methodology says that two most eminent composers of Western music are Beethoven and Mozart in a close tie”

    Bullshit, it’s J.S. Bach.

    It’s just a matter of time before some commenter says it’s David Bowie.

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  19. “Such a revolution in thoughts and methods took place in the past 150 yrs ”

    https://www.census.gov/population/international/data/worldpop/table_history.php

    Such an overwhelming population explosion over the same period should produce an explosion of extraordinary talent also. No change in the nature of achievement is needed to explain the difference. Of course, the wealth to feed the people and give them time to learn and create has exploded even more so a much higher fraction of the talent should be achieving. That gives us two strong explanations of the difference. And there’s a third: tyranny squashing the ambitions of the unconnected has significantly softened in most of the world so more people are permitted to try something new.

    Indeed, the explosion of achievement is just what we should expect. It’s the dividend that liberal society and technology promised us and then delivered.

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  20. …but I do have difficulties believing Wagner was a close fourth at 80/100 (even if I do love his music).

    This method breaks down after the late 19th century because taste itself broke down. Starting with the top. How else can you explain the enormous attention given to Picasso?

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  21. ” At the end of that we were promised an exposition of the question, “What if God and Superman had a fight?””

    http://pbfcomics.com/271/

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  22. Oops. Didn’t mean to reply to Anon. I had started to but then just chose to reply to the main post. This site’s commenting system seems about 20 years behind the times.

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  23. Could be. I’m afraid of Americans.

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  24. I thought the point was Bach wrote mostly religious music, but Mozart did more secular stuff, so the angels play it to themselves to relax.

    What does the Other One listen to? Heavy metal?

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  25. I think a lot of Wagner’s late unpopularity has to do with the work of some of his disciples outside of the musical field in the last century, and some of the unpopularity of that work with some people who became prominent in intellectual fields afterward… ;)

    Though, yeah, he is long-winded. I tried to listen to him for antinomian purposes and fell asleep.

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  26. “How else can you explain the enormous attention given to Picasso?”

    Simple. Picasso was amazingly great. Again and again in different aspects art, Picasso found the essence of things and brought it out in new unimagined forms.

    http://jeremykun.com/2013/05/11/bezier-curves-and-picasso/

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  27. what happened in the last 150 yrs overshadows all that had happened in the earlier 3000 yrs.

    Actually, in his book Murray concludes that the rate of individual achievement was highest in the period 1600-1900 and declined after 1900. It is couterintuitive but it is what he gets from his data.

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  28. I thought the Beethoven, Mozart, Bach ranking was more or less arbitrary and subject to the “nearness” bias.
    My main question for Murray was what happened to Tesla?

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  29. OT but a recent case of a 20-year old German student killed after being pushed in front of a train in the Berlin underground.

    http://www.bild.de/regional/berlin/u-bahn/kommt-der-taeter-niemals-in-den-knast-44249644.bild.html

    Killer is a 28-year old Iranian refugee who had already stabbed a man at age 14. Unfortunately he’s been in Germany a while so not a Merkeljugend, but if any good comes out of the tragedy it’s that more and more eyes are being opened.

    I haven’t seen a mention of this story in the English-language international press.

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  30. “Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Balanchine ballets, et al. don’t redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history.”

    ― Susan Sontag

    The fact that Susan Sontag could make that statement and still remain a darling of the left tells me everything I need to know about modern progressivism. Since, as Murray’s work shows, almost all of modern civilization is a product of white people, progressivism is a war on civilization itself. I’m not terribly hopeful about civilization’s chances.

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  31. Tiger is done. He might have done it if he’d laid off the steroids and the hookers.

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  32. Psychologist don’t get much of a mention. I’ve just had a quick look and I only noticed Freud, Pavlov and Watson. I would have thought that Skinner was more influential than any of them and he is not even listed.

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  33. What does the Other One listen to? Heavy metal?

    Talk radio.

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  34. Any evidence in the data pointing to the superiority of the White race?

    Whoops, my bad!

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  35. I thought the point was Bach wrote mostly religious music, but Mozart did more secular stuff, so the angels play it to themselves to relax.

    Most people consider Osteen religious too, doesn’t mean he isn’t missing half of what religion is about (imho, the more important half). It’s the difference between a hospital and a wellness center.

    Mozart is always more stimulating than relaxing, but yeah pretty much straight comedy. Then his dad died and all hell broke loose.

    Relaxing? Not so much.

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  36. “Many people would prefer an argument about why Beethoven could beat Mozart in a fight or vice-versa.”

    Well, I guess that proves you don’t have to be a New York billionaire to be supercilious. How silly to pose an example of whether Beethoven could beat Mozart in a fight, since neither could fight a lick. If they did fight, I would bet on Mozart since Beethoven couldn’t see the punches coming. Some of us, however, have matters of greater cultural value to ponder: such as, will Peyton Manning beat Tom Brady today and make a final trip to the Super Bowl? I say yes he will.

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  37. Wagner’s operas about mythological characters who fight over the possession of a magic ring don’t seem that alien to modern nerd sensibilities.

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  38. This kind of list is very arguable and likely to simply start a lot of arguments. It sort of reminds me of that book about the 100 most influential people in world history, which I think went through a few revisions. That fellow (can’t remember his name, but I know he’s conservative) was touting the fact that the most important people were Germans or Scots, which, given my ethnic background, is kind of nice, but, let’s face it, vacuous. He also promoted the idea that Shakespeare was really Oxford, which really has no evidence behind it.

    Speaking of bragging rights, the breakdown goes like this (this is not complete):

    Germanic 592
    French 565
    English 441
    Italian 397
    USA 276
    Chinese 240
    Jewish 184
    Japanese 170
    Ancient Greek 147
    Slavic 115
    Dutch 101
    Indian 97
    Arabic 94
    Flemish 83
    Scots 76

    – So I guess the Germans and Scots win again.

    As per Wagner, I think ranking him in the top 5 is OK, but only because they weren’t testing for steroids in those days. More seriously, I would make two points about culture: First, it really is difficult to determine what makes someone “great”, and I’d like to know Murray’s criteria. For example, Robert Schumann is on the list, fine, I like him. But he ranks 42 while Schopenhauer is merely 25? And the other thing about Schumann is that he wasn’t really all that original. That makes no sense to me. And who is Katherine Mansfield? I mean I know she is, but …..

    Wagner was really the pioneer in motivic musical composition (Berlioz was earlier but less successful) as well as in long musical periods (started with Beethoven), as well as in chromaticism (Tristan), and modern opera generally; and he had a lot of followers, virtually all late 19th C music (e.g., R Strauss, Mahler, Bruckner) and virtually all 20th C music is indebted to him. So I can see it, but ……. meanwhile, no 20th C pop musicians I can think of made it.

    I don’t really understand the use of this list.

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  39. Bach.

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  40. It was a WW2 joke.

    You’re absolutely right that the guy who finds a way to wash the ‘Nazi’ off Wagner and market it could make quite a bit of money.

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  41. “But Wagner really is a giant comparable in influence to Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach”

    Biggest influence on movie soundtracks.

    Also influenced sensibility and has meaning outside music.

    ‘Wagnerian’ is often heard, but who says something is ‘Mozartian’ or ‘Beethovenian’?

    Also, the romantic concept of the artist is most enduring, and perhaps no one embodied the romantic spirit better than Wagner.

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  42. All this palaver that doesn’t place J. S. Bach head and shoulders above the rest of the composers is absolute lunacy. Including anyone whose work was later than about 1820 is a sign of your decadence. You people have no brains and no taste.

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  43. “I suggest you’ve got the division much too late.”

    You’re missing what I’m saying.

    West shot ahead of the rest so much in the past 150 to 200 yrs that something fundamental happened. It should be called the beginning of superhuman accomplishment. This is esp true in science and technology.

    The discoveries and advancements in science and technology in the past 100 yrs blew past all that had come before.

    So, if we’re gonna do a world survey, we have to compare various civilizations when they were somewhat comparable in development. It’s like you have to match middle weight with middle weight in boxing.

    But once the capitalist-industrial revolution took off, the West was like a super heavy-weight. It is so ahead in its accelerated growth and rise that it’s like matching Mike Tyson with middle-weights.

    Though the West was on the way of greater and faster progress long before the industrial revolution, other civilizations in the East and Middle East were holding their own against it.
    The changes were still incremental. But with the beginning of late modernity, forget it.
    I mean just compare the weapons of WWI with those of WWII. That was in less than 3 decades.
    And at the end of WWII, there was also jet engines and nukes.

    Suppose we were to focus only on western military. It would make no sense to compare the era of modern western military with all that had come before.

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  44. Mozart can be beautiful (I love his two piano quartets!) but Beethoven is in a class by himself.

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  45. Improvements in nutrition have probably hugely increased the number of near genius brains that form the pool from which super geniuses emerge.

    D. Trump might be reckoned as one in the future if he succeeds in breaking the mold of US politics. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are maybes. Woods changed the standards for golf. Bruce Jenner revolutionized the expectations of old women.

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  46. Any list that gives Bach an 86, while giving 100 to Mozart, is screwed up.

    Bach is The Man. All musicians know this.

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  47. ‘Actually, in his book Murray concludes that the rate of individual achievement was highest in the period 1600-1900 and declined after 1900. It is couterintuitive but it is what he gets from his data.”

    Well, if one traces the fundamental changes over 300 yrs and then compares it with the first 50 yrs of the 20th century, it may seem that way.

    But compare the first 50 yrs of 20th century with any 50 yrs from 1600 to 1900.

    Also, culture reaches a certain point beyond which it can no longer progress in any quantifiable form.
    While we can say classical music was a great advancement from folk music or church music, who can say Strauss was ‘better’ than Beethoven?

    So, science/technology ought to be treated in a separate book from the arts and humanities.

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  48. Sibelius is the greatest.

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  49. “The fact that Susan Sontag could make that statement and still remain a darling of the left tells me everything I need to know about modern progressivism.”

    What she said was sort of stupid, but I’m so tired of people on the right summing up her entire career on the basis of this radical chic prattle.

    Besides, some on the right said similar things about Jews: “Sure, Jews are a great people who contributed so much to humanity, but they still suck almighty and work like a virus.”

    In a way, hers was a secular twist on religious outlook. Jesus and Buddha may have been impressed by the power and riches of the world, but Buddha still saw all of life as a curse and Jesus thought humanity was crap unless it found salvation.

    Besides, greatness in science and stuff doesn’t mean a people are good.

    US is currently way ahead in science and etc. but it has become a moral and cultural cancer/pox upon the world, spreading filth, degeneracy, and ‘gay marriage’.

    Harvard produces lots of great individuals of achievement but I would say it is mostly a force of evil in the world.

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  50. It can be said that Picasso was the best natural graphic-arts talent born in his corner of Spain in his generation; but his true calling was to be a mere calligrapher, as he had no understanding of the human heart and no love of landscape. He cunningly parlayed his talents into a temporarily charming series of dry intellectual pastiches – remote Asiatic portraits, African style renditions of distant animals , little mathematical cubes stretched and curved and distorted, and so on. The talent he displayed is generally not recognizable as part of any tradition of great art. There are probably a hundred better painters from his generation in each of the fields we think of as Western painting – landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and ambitious canvases covering all those challenges. His sculptures -the ones I’ve seen, anyway – are worse than his paintings. His art is worth a lot because of his off-the-charts innate talent, and every once in a while something artistic shines through the pastiche (the fishermen at night, and his version of a pre-Raphaelite couple kissing, and his update of Redon’s roses during his pink period), but in everything he did his desire to please the customer is as obvious as it is in Thomas Kinkade or Andy Warhol or that guy who draws Garfield. But uber-wealthy anomalies like Picasso do not change the value of Murray’s historical method.

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  51. “Picasso was amazingly great.”

    True, but I don’t think his influence will be long-lasting.

    For starters, painting is a dead art.

    Secondly, the rise of technological art favors order and form over chaos and peculiarity.
    Likewise, Charlie Parker is a dead influence.

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  52. Did Susan Sontag know anything about Boolean algebra? Also I notice the accomplishments of a certain ethnic group are not listed.

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  53. I’ve had this problem. If you start to respond to another commentor and then change your mind, you have to hit the “CLICK HERE TO CANCEL REPLY” box.

    • Agree: AndrewR
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  54. This is why the book is disingenuous. It’s not impartial as Sailer says.

    Its methodology may be more or less impartial, but the book clearly has an agenda. Its point is ‘we whiteys are the best.’

    Nothing wrong with such theme. But it’s masked behind the ‘human’.

    I think Murray was getting at something like what Wade said in Troublesome Inheritance. White folks have the combo of intelligence and temperament for shooting past the rest.

    In a way, HA is like Bell Curve 2 but instead of saying ‘blacks are dumb’, it implies ‘whites kick butt, esp black butt, in everything.’

    If Murray wants to brag about his people, that’s fine. But his pretense of appreciating all of human achievement is bogus.

    It is like a Negro writing a book about ‘human athletics’ and filling the top 100 with 95 Negroes and claiming to be impartially interested in athletics the world over.

    This is why a book like German Genius is more honest.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-German-Genius-Renaissance-Scientific/dp/0060760230

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  55. Speaking of bragging rights, the breakdown goes like this (this is not complete):

    Germanic 592
    French 565
    English 441
    Italian 397
    USA 276
    Chinese 240
    Jewish 184
    Japanese 170
    Ancient Greek 147
    Slavic 115
    Dutch 101
    Indian 97
    Arabic 94
    Flemish 83
    Scots 76

    Confirms my feeling that the US is not so much the greatest civilization ever as that European civilization destroyed itself and we were left standing.

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  56. I think this site’s commenting system is pretty good, especially the 34 New Comments feature. It’s a lot better than Disqus, which blows dead dogs IMHO. I used to spend a lot of time on PJ Media especially Richard Fernandez, but then they tarted up their site with ads and stupid graphics and instituted Disqus, so not so much anymore.

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  57. Heavy metal?

    Metal comes from that forgotten half of religion. Job 38 and Matthew 23 and Psalm 50

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  58. Anonymous
    says:
         Show CommentNext New Comment

    JRR Tolkien? I hear the movies based on his books were pretty profitable.

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  59. Charles Murray is cool. He said in one of his posts, that he struts down the hotel hallway, shirtless, from the gym to his room, just to let the black maids see what they’re not going to get.

    That’s like some old school Alpha/Roissy/ Clark Gable shit there.

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  60. I’m not terribly hopeful about civilization’s chances.

    If a civilization can’t handle the likes of Susan Sontag of all people, it’s got bigger problems than mere progressivism, not that it helps.

    This particular civitas was from the beginning built with the help of the Spirit:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_City_of_God_(book)

    To imagine it can carry on just as well without that help, well, doesn’t seem exactly prudent.

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  61. You wouldn’t know actual human achievement if it ate your tortilla.

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  62. Interesting, but from a racial-biological point of view, is there a distinction between “Germanics” and “Scots”? Aren’t they all kinda Nordic squareheads?

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  63. A lot of them certainly *claimed* to worship Satan. I was mostly joking–I like a lot of metal, even if it is on the wimpier end. ;)

    I agree railing against the rich and powerful does call on a prophetic tradition in both the Old and New Testaments.

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  64. Without the steroids and hookers Tiger might have won less majors.

    When Greg Norman married Chris Evert, the testosterone surge temporarily knocked 15 years off his age, and he very nearly won another major at the age of 56. When McIlroy dumped Woz his game improved dramatically. Presumably there was a new squeeze helping his putting stroke.

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  65. No one has bothered to define “eminent” in context, so even John Lennon could be a contender.
    Beethoven is my favorite , yet Bach is without question the most important player in Western music. Both had two to three times the musical life which was left to Mozart, who was dead at 35. Wagner is a great composer and a revolutionary, but he should not fit into a top five list of great composers, although the whole eminent thingy does change things.

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  66. It’s not the Susan Sontag’s per se that worry me, it’s the great demographic tidal wave out of
    Africa that Steve keeps warning about, coupled with people who hold view similar to hers undermining the West’s will to resist. All it takes is one Obama or Angela Merkel to let open the floodgates.

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  67. Tiger is done. He might have done it if he’d laid off the steroids and the hookers.

    Yeah, those didn’t help him. But I think his swing was hard on his body and he was bound to hurt his back – which is what has basically killed his golfing career. No one has ever come back from 3 time back surgery at 40 to win a major. And given the level of competition – I don’t think Tiger will. IRC, he only has to win a few PGA tournaments to pass Sam Snead, but Jack’s Major record is out of reach. Given that he has a $Billion, there’s not motivation for him to kill himself by trying a comeback. Too much work.

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  68. “My main question for Murray was what happened to Tesla?”

    Tesla was an engineer, not a scientist. Does Murray have a ranking for engineers? If not, he ought to.

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  69. Susan Rosenblatt eh. Substitute “Jewish ethno-religion” for ” white race” and substitute a bunch of Jewish leading lights like Einstein et al, for Mozart et al, and try and have a career after that.

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  70. I do like how he distinguishes ancient Greeks so as to avoid confusion with the people who live in Greece today.

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  71. “I thought the point was Bach wrote mostly religious music,……”

    He didn’t. In fact his most famous works are not religious.

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  72. Low hanging fruit? E.g. with many scientific or industrial efforts, you now need a team to create an evolutionary improvement. Compare the Wright brothers and the sea of people who designed the 777.

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  73. “Though, yeah, he is long-winded. I tried to listen to him for antinomian purposes and fell asleep.”

    Mark Twain once remarked: “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds”.

    Actually, I myself like the sound of it, mostly. Taken as music, I think a lot of it is pretty good. However, I have no taste for the pretentious, self-important, I-am-a-world-historical-artist-and-culture-hero gesamtkunstwerk bullshit which underlay Wagner’s music.

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  74. He has a name. John Williams.

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  75. Picasso is not half as good as Curt Swan. Only guys who have drawn Superman can be concidered good artists in this century.

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  76. Anonymous
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    A lot of serious music people and classically trained types seem to say that Bach was the best, while more casual fans usually point to Beethoven or Mozart. I think Beethoven and Mozart are more appealing to casual fans because it sounds much more modern and contemporary. The Baroque style and harpsichord can sound a bit too exotic and weird to enjoy casually. Frankly, the harpsichord can sound downright creepy.

    Wagner is ok, but his music can sound very cheesy compared to Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart.

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  77. Mozart and Beethoven both thought Handel their superior, and Bach dropped everything to try to meet Handel when he heard he was in Germany.
    Why don’t we listen to the geniuses themselves on this point?

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  78. Since Murray uses the term “Germanic” anyway, he really ought to add the Dutch and the Flemish to make a Master Race total of 776.
    All possible joking aside – the Dutch total of 101 is hugely impressive, given their tiny relative population.

    • Agree: Spmoore8
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  79. I like the idea of rankings like this but some criticisms may be:

    1. Methodology consists of rankings by experts using books they published. It seems most of the books were published in 2-3 decades post WW2. Unsure if whether the experts were conditioned by the vagaries of their times and are too Western (not necessarily a bad thing).

    2. Leaves out social scientists such as economists like Marx, Adam Smith, Keynes etc or psychologists like Skinner, Calhoun and William James or even historians, anthropologists and other important students of human behaviours.

    3. Discoveries in ancient times are ‘harder’ due to absence of books, less leisure time, etc. In that respect the achievements of the Chinese and Greeks are a testament to the greatness of those civilizations relative to the dirge in the rest of humanity at those times. I believe the indexing methodology doesn’t really account for pioneer effects like that.

    The rankings by index contribution are:
    Germany/France (rough tie), Britain (incl Scots), China, Italy, Japan in that order. That matches my intuitive sense of history so the methodology despite my criticisms above seems to get the general gist in my opinion.

    Finally some of the categorization is a tasty debate in itself. The english and to a large extent, the Americans, have heavy Germanic ancestry (and perhaps also arguably French ancestry owing to the Norman Conquest). You could argue the root areas of modern civilization seem to be driven from that Franco-German engine room that has been the real cornerstone of Europe over the past century and a half.

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  80. Re Wagner: it is certainly not true that “virtually all late 19th C music” was written by followers of his. Have you perhaps heard of Johannes Brahms? He and his school were consciously opposed to what they considered Wagner’s disastrous influence. I don’t mean politically; many of the Brahmsian school were every bit as “Deutsch National” as Wagner and his followers. In fact, probably more so, as they mostly lacked the broader Wagnerian quasi-racial, quasi-religious pan-European vision.

    And you are forgetting Pfitzner, a greater follower of Wagner than, well, perhaps not Strauss, but certainly the absurdly over-touted Mahler. Make an effort to see who does the touting, and you’ll notice that they are generally the same people who are constantly denigrating (when not actually boycotting) sublime works by Pfitzner like Palestrina and Von Deutcher Seele.

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  81. I’m not questioning the man’s skill and talent, but his taste and judgment. If I want to look at polluted fish tanks, I’ll go to Joan Miró. He had a human side, and is more fun.

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  82. Well, *I* would question Picasso’s *visual* skill and talent, as well as his taste and judgment. Just take a brief dip into his writings, and you’ll quickly realize that you are in the presence of a charlatan who should have been exposed at birth.

    Painting & Sculpture were interesting endeavors up until the advent of photography. Since then, they’ve been all about money & fashion.

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  83. My Dutch ancestors are kvelling. ;-)

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  84. Brahms was born in 1831. People who followed him, like Raff, are mostly forgotten.

    Pfitzner is very good, Palestrina and Von Deutsche Seele are outstanding. I agree Mahler is overrated.

    I think Strauss had a better melodic gift than any 20 C composer. He was also a phenomenal craftsman. However, he tended to not be profound, which is important to some.

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  85. “…the guy who finds a way to wash the ‘Nazi’ off Wagner and market it could make quite a bit of money.”

    Maybe, but I doubt it. If anything, I’d guess that the Nazi association is more likely to get people interested in Wagner than to repel them.

    Like it or not, he is, quite clearly the most important musical figure born in the last 212 years. Even those who reacted against him, like Debussy & Stravinsky, would have been impossible without him.

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  86. “Biggest influence on movie soundtracks.”

    Right.

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  87. “Sibelius is the greatest.”

    Sibelius *might* have been the greatest, had he not succumbed to the bottle and burnt the manuscript of his 8th Symphony.

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  88. Schubert also greatly admired Handel.

    I’d replace Mozart with Bach, as others have suggested.

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  89. “Biggest influence on movie soundtracks” – yeah, prob’ly so – along with Rachmaninov & Ravel.

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  90. Newton is a transitional figure. As much as being modern he is also Babylonian, in that he believed in magic, in transformation of base metals into gold, believed in Astrology and that the heavens influenced human behavior, and crucially that nothing at all was random, that everything was pre-ordained.

    After Newton, these beliefs rapidly waned, due in no small part to his own works in physics and calculus. But the man himself might just as well be called the Last of the Magii as the First of the Scientists.

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  91. Brahms was born in 1833.

    Pfitzner was a good guy who tried his best.

    “Mahler is overrated?” – depends on who you’re comparing him to.

    “Strauss had a better melodic gift than any 20 C composer. He was also a phenomenal craftsman. However, he tended to not be profound…”

    Good summary. Strauss was quite the tune-smith. He tried for profundity in Die Frau ohne Schatten but missed pretty badly.

    His nearest brush with profundity was Metamorphosen – a pretty deeply felt work, I think.

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  92. I’d say Wagner and Richard Strauss, because of their use of motifs to enhance situations and provide commentary (as in their operas) but also directly because guys like Waxman, Steiner, Friedhofer and Rozsa came out of that tradition.

    On the other hand, a lot of film composers have mentioned Ravel, Rach, and even Respighi for color.

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  93. I agree that Bach probably hold pride of place before Mozart and Beethoven. Both men would have been nothing had they not set down and studied Bach. Bach essentially invented the fusion of styles that is known as “Western Classical Music”, so all the composers from 1750 through the death of Common Practice (1940?) are his less accomplished students.

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  94. Picasso wasted his talent, as even he admitted in his maturity. But there is no doubt, if one looks at his earliest student works, that he was monumentally talented in visual composition, draughting, and color. His early-inflated ego ruined his career.

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  95. I think that there is still much advancement to come in music. Look at how later composers took advantage of the piano vs. the harpsichord’s greater sound volume, tonal range, and emotional impact. And look at the huge market for music to influence emotion:

    *Commercials.
    *Movies.
    *TV shows.

    Indeed music can now be cheaper and more emotionally effective than ever before, replacing the John Williams type symphonies of Star Wars and Raiders with say, Paul Leonard Morgan’s electronica soundtrack for “Dredd.”

    And consider the Theremin. Other than the classic Star Trek series, not much use of it has been seen. But its cheap to make, a composer can use it as the principal instrument with a wide tonal range and loudness, and sounds eerie as hell.

    And what we are seeing in the arts is the marketplace/commercialization taking place in the West that we saw first in the military sphere. Private concerns making more and better and cheaper weapons each generation, something the Ottomans could not catch up with, despite having more people and money for hundreds of years. From say, Bach up through Wagner, powerful patrons provided the money and employment for artists; now it is the commercial marketplace; analogous to the movement from Da Vinci designing arms for say, the Duke of Milan to John Moses Browning doing so for Winchester, Colt, and FN.

    Point being that widespread commercialization, while problematic in other areas (no racial/cultural loyalty, globalist, etc.) provides a faster, deeper, more cataclysmic series of advances in technology and culture together than the old patron model.

    Picasso’s model of an artist providing galllery-bait for wealthy boobs is likely at the final bubble stage; and the real advances will be in the widespread commercialization of art in service of mass entertainment and advertising, which we’ve seen part of like Coca-Cola’s Santa from the 1890′s becoming the default image of Santa, into overdrive.

    Indeed if we are seeing a “War” of ordinary White people against both the Sontags and Elites of the world plus the Third World masses colonizing White nations and cultures, you would imagine technology will jump start and be jump-started in turn by that “War.” Given that WWII started with radar being a weird, fringe technology and ended with primitive ICBMs and the Atomic Age. With everything from advanced computerized cryptography and decrypting, to television guided remote control bombs in between the start and finish.

    For example, I would imagine in Europe and many other places, garages are filled with ordinary White men trying to create a laser or particle beam weapon that is NOT a firearm and definitely an equalizer in the mass Third World immavasion.

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  96. Does Gustav Holst’s Planets seems similar to some of the music in Star Wars?

    1:18

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  97. Still possible, though not probable. Obviously his physical fitness is an unknown to us and we have no idea what kind of potential he has. But I wouldn’t sell him short completely. He could win another one or two by the time he’s 50. Personally, I’d rather see Phil win the US Open, but I think that’s less likely than Tiger winning the Masters one more time.

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  98. No, symphonies 4, 5, and 7 are enough to make him the greatest.

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  99. I’d rather listen to Josquin de Prez than any of those three.

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  100. David Hume rated at only 35.9!?! Absolutely preposterous.

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  101. One could argue that Wagner also influenced rock music in ways that Mozart and Beethoven didn’t.

    Zeppelin was like Wagnerian blues. Rockerdammerung.

    Not only did Wagner influence movie music but his music has been used to great effect in films like APOCALYPSE NOW and EXCALIBUR.

    And Wagner’s love of scale and grandeur(that went way beyond the norms of his contemporaries) surely impacted the visuals of Lucas and Cameron.

    Bayreuth was like cinema before cinema.

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  102. Um…no…its Bach. Beethoven invented rock and roll–strident for it’s own sake. Bach is occasionally tasteless but much more often than not is sublime. Such moments are found in Beethoven but much less frequently.

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  103. …European civilization destroyed itself and we [the U.S.] were left standing.

    Where did the Europeans, and the Germans in particular, go wrong?

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  104. “…guys like Waxman, Steiner, Friedhofer and Rozsa came out of that tradition…”

    Not to mention Erich Wolfgang Korngold – who, like Rozsa, came *so close* to greatness.

    • Agree: Spmoore8
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  105. Where do they still have black maids? I remember seeing some at the Motel 6 in Grand Rapids about eight years ago, but none since. Unless you count Ethiopians.

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  106. I admire Bach more than Handel – but I love “Lascia ch’io pianga” more than “Erbarme dich, mein Gott.” These things are hard.

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  107. “Biggest influence on movie soundtracks.”

    Right.

    If you want a great movie soundtrack from the 1850s, you can hardly beat Charles Gounod’s St Cecilia’s Mass:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrpT2SJkj74

    The Church of St Agnes in St Paul would traditionally celebrate this Mass on the Sunday closest to their patroness’s feast day, which this year would be today. (They couldn’t find a Mass for St Agnes, but the two women suffered similar martyrdoms.)

    It just blows you out of the pews. The same church does Masses by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann, among others, but this is the one that sticks with you the rest of the season. No wonder Cecilia’s the patron of music!

    Gounod is more famous for his opera Faust and, especially, Funeral March of a Marionette, which Hitchcock fans can whistle from memory.

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  108. Anonymous
    says:
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    Tesla fell into obscurity after his death. He wasn’t that well known until the internet came around, when Tesla fans sort of resurrected his fame and reputation.

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  109. Anonymous
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    Papist drivel.

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  110. You could argue the root areas of modern civilization seem to be driven from that Franco-German engine room that has been the real cornerstone of Europe over the past century and a half.

    “European civilization is mainly the result of the blending of
    three historic elements, — the Classical, the Hebrew , and the
    Teutonic.

    By the classical element in civilization is meant that whole
    body of arts, sciences, literatures, laws, manners, ideas, social
    arrangements, and models of imperial and municipal government,
    — everything, in a word, save Christianity, — that Greece and
    Rome gave to mediaeval and modem Europe. Taken together,
    these things constituted a valuable gift to the new northern race
    that was henceforth to represent civilization. It is true that the
    barbarian invaders of the Empire seemed at first utterly indifferent
    to these things ; that the masterpieces of antique art were buried
    beneath the rubbish of sacked villas and cities, and that the precious
    manuscripts of the old sages and poets, because they were pagan
    productions and hence regarded as dangerous to Christian faith,
    were often suffered to lie neglected in the libraries of cathedrals
    and convents. Nevertheless, classical antiquity, as we shall learn,
    was the instructor of the Middle Ages.

    By the Hebrew element in history is meant Christianity. This
    has been a most potent factor in modern civilization. It has so
    colored the life and so molded the institutions of the European
    peoples that their history is very largely a story of this religion,
    which, first going forth from Judea, was given to the younger world
    by the missionaries of Rome. Among the doctrines taught by the
    new religion were the unity of God, the brotherhood of man, and
    immortality, — doctrines which have greatly helped to make the
    modern so different from the ancient world.

    By the Teutonic element in history is meant the Germanic
    race. The Teutons, though of course they had the social insti-
    tutions and customs of a primitive people, were poor in those
    things in which the Romans were rich. They had neither arts,
    nor sciences, nor philosophies, nor literatures. But they had
    something better than all these things ; they had personal worth.
    It was because of this, because of their free independent spirit,
    of their capacity for growth, for culture, for accomplishment,
    that the future time became theirs.

    https://archive.org/details/mediaevalandmod00myergoog

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  111. One could argue that Wagner also influenced rock music in ways that Mozart and Beethoven didn’t.

    But wasn’t Wagner himself heavily influenced by Beethoven?

    Like Hendrix, Mozart died too young for his genius to be as fully expressed as the others, but that influence is still there. Compare the Confutatis from the Requiem with Dio’s Holy Diver, for instance.

    Maybe I’m biased since my appreciation for classical music itself was kindled by performing the Requiem the week after an early Metallica concert.

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  112. Anonymous
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    Beethoven went deaf not blind.

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  113. https://youtu.be/HkS3UMpe3M0

    Protestant here but I still remember how fun it was when our choir sang the Sanctus from St. Cecelia’s Mass. The poor tenor’s solo is beautiful but punishing with those high G’s.

    I think this choir did a good job with it.

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  114. Papist drivel.

    Gounod, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann… that covers ‘em all!

    Still, it beats “four bare walls and a[n endless] sermon”. Especially by Anonymous.

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  115. The West took off well before the industrial revolution. Sure things got faster and faster during the industrial revolution but even in the 15th and 16th centuries the West (with few large cities to speak of) was already developing at a faster rate than much larger and older Eastern civilisations. Look at what the West did with gunpowder, fortifications and map making between 1400 and 1600, or visual arts between 1300 and 1500. No other civilisation was developing that quickly from a relatively modest base.

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  116. That’s the question, isn’t it? It’s easy to see when Europe leapt off the precipice – the First World War.

    As for earlier causes, the first seeds of modern leftism (and all the violent ideologies that trace their geneaology to those seeds) were sown during the English Civil War.

    One might go further and say that Christianity, specifically, the notions that everyone is equal in the eyes of God and every soul must be saved, ended up predisposing Europeans to be excessively kind and trusting towards outsiders.

    But really, as with all complex historical questions, the answer is, well, complex.

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  117. He wasn’t that well known until the internet came around, when Tesla fans sort of resurrected his fame and reputation.

    And overdid it more than a little. The sentiment that Tesla was better than Edison is now ubiquitous, but the phonograph alone was more important than all Tesla’s accomplishments put together.

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  118. It’s also widely believed to be the basis of the airship music in Super Mario Bros 3.

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  119. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45198217/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/stroke-genius-strikes-later-life-today/

    Einstein once said something to the effect that if a scientist doesn’t make his great contribution by age 30, it’s not going to happen. Although the above article argues that it should be significantly higher.

    Music is something different, but nevertheless at least in most contemporary music, there is not a lot of great value produced by people older than 40. So while Mozart may have left something on the table by dying at 35, I suspect he got to produce most of his great works during his lifespan.

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  120. I think the book you mean was by Michael H. Hart. He also has a politically-not-so-correct book called “Understanding Human History”.

    It’s nice to see Stefan George included, but if Gibbon got included, why not Jacob Burckhardt? Or Theodor Mommsen? Two great historians — it is said that the reason Mommsen did not finish his Römische Geschichte was that he was too disgusted by the late, decadent Rome.

    “Schopenhauer is merely 25″

    Nice to see Schopenhauer valued, he is easily one of the greatest thinkers, his writing style being beautiful, even Nietzsche couldn’t improve on it (though FN was a great writer as well; probably the two thinkers with the most beautiful prose).

    • Agree: SPMoore8
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  121. OMG, you’re right. I apologize profusely for my blunder. But, at least, I directly addressed the question posed by Steve Sailer: “Many people would prefer an argument about why Beethoven could beat Mozart in a fight or vice-versa.” I said I would pick Mozart in such a brawl, and I’m sticking with that pick and looking forward to the match that Steve Sailer will be promoting. Before I read Sailer’s blog, I didn’t realize that Mozart and Beethoven had any scores to settle, but you never know. That’s a good reason to read The Unz Review.

    BTW I will have to revise my scenario for the fight. In light of Beethoven’s true handicap, the referee will probably call the fight a TKO when Beethoven doesn’t come up out to the middle of the ring because he can’t hear the bell announcing a new round.

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  122. Here is a sum of index values by ethnicity for the Murray List:

    Ancient Greek 1771.53
    Ancient Roman 747.00
    Arabic 1436.82
    Australian 77.61
    Basque 14.84
    Black 33.98
    Bulgarian 4.90
    Canadian 140.02
    Chinese 5047.40
    Croatian 44.84
    Czech 292.80
    Danish 362.01
    Dutch 1164.87
    English 5348.89
    Estonian 7.42
    Finnish 57.72
    Flemish 603.53
    French 6536.30
    Germanic 6637.23
    Greek 151.78
    Hungarian 162.38
    Icelandic 9.31
    Indian 1302.34
    Irish 354.04
    Italian 4065.56
    Japanese 4488.58
    Jewish 2031.31
    Latino 54.19
    New Zealand 99.17
    Norwegian 226.30
    Polish 239.72
    Portuguese 59.01
    Romanian 29.33
    Scots 1346.05
    Slavic 993.33
    Slovenian 11.69
    Spanish 620.43
    Swedish 592.57
    Swiss 65.77
    USA 3131.81

    Here is table index value sums for Science and Art.West for a subset of the ethnicities:

    Ancient Greek Science 1001.47
    English Science 3900.74
    French Science 3538.22
    Germanic Science 4173.27
    Italian Science 1340.42
    Jewish Science 1476.81
    Ancient Roman Science 217.58
    Chinese Science 35.24
    Dutch Science 665.79
    Japanese Science 82.95
    USA Science 2616.87

    French Art.West 1044.05
    Germanic Art.West 429.67
    Italian Art.West 1631.03
    English Art.West 228.81
    Dutch Art.West 407.31
    Spanish Art.West 257.54
    Jewish Art.West 107.67
    USA Art.West 102.24

    Murray’s index system seems reasonable enough, though my quibbles more concern his rankings in math and science where intellectual “worth” can be more objectively determined than the humanities where: who knows? In this regard, Euler is ranked as the greatest mathematician ever (the only mathematician with index = 100); while I suspect that Newton (for sure) as well as Archimedes and Gauss top him in the view of most mathematicians. Some of Murray’s other odd choices: count the Swiss Bernoulli’s as French, the Swiss Euler as Germanic, and the English Paul Dirac (Born in Cornwall to an English Mother and Immigrant Swiss Father) as Swiss! (Come on Charles, are the Swiss an ethnicity or not? And if so, why not the Austrians as well.) He also applies the one-drop rule for the Jews, so that Neils Bohr loses his Danish identity and Hans Bethe and Wolfgang Pauli are not Germanic. Finally, his index value for the physicist James Clerk Maxwell (49) is out of line with his “electromagnetic” partner Michael Faraday (85).

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  123. Murray mentions that Euler coming in #1 in math is an artifact of the interaction of Murray’s methodology and Euler’s paper-a-day workaholism.

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  124. I really haven’t seen any in a while either, come to think of it, but we know that Murray’s verity is beyond reproach.

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  125. “Where do they still have black maids? I remember seeing some at the Motel 6 in Grand Rapids about eight years ago, but none since. ”

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn managed to come across one.

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  126. Ancient and Modern Greeks are the same people.

    http://dienekes.awardspace.com/articles/hellenes/

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  127. Wouldn’t Murray be wise, in the current climate, to produce three books? With Africans having a separate special achievement book?

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  128. So while Mozart may have left something on the table by dying at 35, I suspect he got to produce most of his great works during his lifespan.

    Good point. Maybe it wasn’t so much that his lifespan was too short, but that his father’s was too long.

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  129. Dominique Strauss-Kahn managed to come across one.

    She was imported, not American. But then, Murray didn’t specify which kind. He lives in rural Maryland, so maybe there are a few native black maids around. Or maybe he was at a hotel in DC, where there might be an Abyssinian or two scattered among the campesinas.

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  130. Ancient and Modern Greeks are the same people.

    The 1964 Yankees and the 1966 Yankees were the same franchise. In some cases, literally “the same people”.

    Their levels of accomplishment differed, too.

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  131. ‘Wagnerian’ is often heard…

    “Large Wagnerian mother”. Thank you, Lerner and Leowe.

    http://youtu.be/wefP_aEl6_I

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  132. I doubt it. It has not even been 300 years since the the Founding of the USA. Yet before that anniversary arrives over half of this nation will have become unrecognizable to those Founders. All of which has taken place in the literal blink of an eye. All without being invaded and occupied by a foreign army.

    It’s been approximately 8 times as long since the Ancient Greeks. Since that time the land has been conquered and occupied, and in one instance for almost 450 years. Additionally Greece is at the center of trade between Europe and the Middle East. It must have gotten a lot of foot traffic as well as the steady flow of ships from the Mediterranean.

    If the USA can be drastically changed in the blink of an eye without even being invaded, I can’t imagine Greece not being so as well. Just look at the past 20 years alone. Greece is getting a noticeable amount of newcomers. Am I supposed to believe that this has never happened before in the 2400 years since Alexander?

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  133. “She was imported, not American.”

    I know. I thought the opportunity to make a smutty joke was too good to pass up.

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  134. Ancient and Modern Greeks are the same people.

    Hard to believe, isn’t it? The one produced Aristotle and Plato; the other, gyros on pita.

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  135. Tesla was both a great inventor and a great physicist. He
    (and Edison) were candidates for the Nobel Prize in
    Physics in the 1930s, and an important unit in
    electromagnetism is named after Tesla. There is also
    a persistent rumor that Tesla and Edison were to share
    the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics but, supposedly, Tesla
    declined the offer saying, “I’m not going to share the
    prize with that tinkerer.” As a historical figure, Tesla
    won anyway since much of the alternating current machinery
    used around the world was his invention. Not bad for
    someone who, having been born and raised in Serbia,
    had the odds stacked against him since birth.

    I get the sense that Murray systematically undercounted
    the contributions of people from Central and Eastern
    Europe. He should have used Russian sources as well.
    I haven’t checked if Murray included Roger Boscovich,
    the great 18th century Croatian polymath who invented
    the concept of the field that ultimately replaced the
    paranormal concept of action at a distance in Newtonian
    mechanics. Faraday fully acknowledged Boscovich’s contribution.
    Another omission I noticed in Murray’s compendium was that
    of the 19th century Polish novelist Boleslaw Prus. I’m not an
    expert in literature but Joseph Conrad at least, thought he was
    better than Charles Dickens, and that’s good enough for me. Prus
    is most famous for the novel The Doll.

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  136. “Wouldn’t Murray be wise, in the current climate, to produce three books? With Africans having a separate special achievement book?

    Surely you don’t mean Africans’s achievements could be listed in just one book.

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  137. Reminds me of the great Dan Jenkins line about someone telling him Tiger was going to break all of Nicklaus’ records and be remembered as the greatest ever. Jenkins replied, “Call me after he has a bad marriage!”.

    Truer words were never spoken.

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  138. The theremin was a mid-show staple of Led Zeppelin concerts. Works nicely with Jimmy Page’s Aleister Crowley Dark Lord thing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtoVZ4eObg8

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  139. Hie thee to Portland, Maine. The number of Somalis working in the hotels has seemingly been increasing there for the past few years. I’d imagine that the Twin Cities would be the same.

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  140. Hard to believe, isn’t it? The one produced Aristotle and Plato; the other, gyros on pita.

    Not even that. The Turks did and then the Greeks tried to take credit for it. (Almost all Greek, Levantine Arab, Armenian etc. cuisine is Turkish in origin, although they’ll never admit it).

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  141. Strauss was profound once in a while, usually when voices were involved. Muc of his purely orchestral music is embarassingly vulgar (Till Eulenspiegel and Also sprach), with the Metamorphosen an obvious exception.
    But Salome and the Four Last Songsare staggeringly great, if in very different ways.

    I have a different candidate for the best melodic gift of the 2oth century: Franz Lehar, although I will concede at once that profundity nowhere comes into it.

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  142. I have checked the list for BirthCountry=Poland and have the following comments:
    Curie, Marie – aka Maria Curie-Skłodowska – ethnicity definitely Polish, not Jewish
    Keilin, David – ethnicity probably Jewish, not Polish (please see http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0012%2FMS%20Add.7953)
    Apollinaire, Guillaum -e birth country should be Italy, ethnicity – Polish mother, most likely Italian father

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  143. “his methodology says that two most eminent composers of Western music are Beethoven and Mozart in a close tie”

    “Bullshit, it’s J.S. Bach.”

    “Even if we were focus only on the West, what happened in the last 150 yrs overshadows all that had happened in the earlier 3000 yrs.”

    See, this is exactly why Murray’s book might be considered a good read, but not a serious academic exercise, considering that subjective elements come into play regarding who is the “best” at something, or what era is considered “most influential”, or which racial group has the most contributions to humanity.

    “The discoveries and advancements in science and technology in the past 100 yrs blew past all that had come before.”

    Obviously, 
without the work of that 3000 years of innovation, those discoveries within the past century do not happen. Moreover, today’s technology becomes relatively obsolete within a decade or two because of the emphasis on research and development. Exponentially, yes, the discoveries and advancements are fast and furious today compared to 500 or 1000 years ago, but that is because of the interconnected world that we live in.

    “Though the West was on the way of greater and faster progress long before the industrial revolution, other civilizations in the East and Middle East were holding their own against it.”

    Probably because the East and Middle East and Africa were being raped for their resources by the West at various points in time.

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  144. I’ve read Murray’s book & don’t have qualms about his methodology. But, his lists show that such listing is not very tenable. For instance, Nikola Tesla is not among top 20 inventors; Byron and Goethe are placed higher than Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, which is simply absurd; among mathematicians, Pascal is there- but not Henri Poincare, who is clearly more eminent mathematician. Also, top three physicists are Newton, Maxwell and Einstein- and one cannot see this in the list. How can we compare contributions of “older” mathematicians like Fibonacci and Viete with “moderns” like Hilbert or Cantor ? So, in my opinion, this book is funny & entertaining, but only as a rough sketch.

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  145. Bruckner over Brahms.

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  146. Mine too, particularly the one (well, cousin) who is on Murray’s list.

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  147. Turkish in what sense? They originated in Constantinople, which was less than half Muslim in population. And even the Muslims generally did not think of themselves as Turks.

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  148. I don’t really know what “profundity” in music is, anymore. Either it works, or it doesn’t, but music can work on many different levels. When I think about music that I find very moving — like, say, some of Schubert’s intermezzi, or a Bruckner Adagio, or a lot of Beethoven, or Sibelius #7 (just a random selection), then what I’m really talking about is that it has an effect on me; I’m not sure I know what the composer was trying to achieve, if anything.

    I can’t criticize Till Eulenspiegel for being vulgar, when on some level it is meant to be vulgar and the construction is anything but. As for Zarathustra, it is an early, and brilliantly put together bi-tonal piece, and there’s a lot more going on besides the famous fanfare.

    There’s actually very little in Strauss that I would call “profound”, but there is a lot that I find moving. I could go on for hundreds of lines about this, but, just as an example, something as simple as the intermezzo in which Daphne is transformed into a tree can be very touching, almost as touching as the last ten minutes of Wagner’s Parsifal. The difference is that there’s a depth to Wagner that just was not in Strauss’ arsenal. Strauss also wrote a lot of stuff that was not particularly distinguished. But it is always well-crafted and beautiful sounding.

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  149. My main question for Murray was what happened to Tesla?

    He’s there. Score of 17.77 in Technology

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  150. “My main question for Murray was what happened to Tesla?”

    Tesla was an engineer, not a scientist. Does Murray have a ranking for engineers? If not, he ought to.

    Tesla falls under Murray’s Technology category. His score is 17.77

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  151. It would be really useful to add further data to the HA dataset, including, for example, the actual birth city of the figure, the known SES status of the parents, perhaps the occupation of the father, the occupation of any known relatives, the type of education of the figure, etc. (Obviously, not all this information will be available for all figures, but that can be worked around to a degree.) If one is going to do a genetic/hereditarian analysis of such figures, these would be some obvious things to look at.

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  152. Bach:Euler::Mozart:Einstein::Wagner:Edison

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  153. What [Sontag] said was sort of stupid, but I’m so tired of people on the right summing up her entire career on the basis of this radical chic prattle.

    You miss the point.

    The point is that Sontag’s widely known remark began the anti-white clarion call. She codified the meme, as it were, gave it intellectual respectability, and opened a Pandora’s Box that has never been closed. Remember, she made that remark in 1967, when America was still a very white nation. Her comment was the Ur text of the entire anti-white movement, stoking the flames in academia where all such poison is born. It is hardly a coincidence that Hollywood and television shortly thereafter began its anti-white, Archie Bunker phase, which continues ever more virulently to this day.

    When confronted about it, she “recanted” by saying that “it slandered cancer patients.” How clever. How witty. Such frisson.

    This is a woman openly relishing the idea of white genocide. And if you read her full essay, it’s quite clear that she does NOT consider Jews to be part of the white cancer.

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  154. Murray’s first book, Losing Ground, is a real eye-opener about the details of the Great Society and what it did to the black family.

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  155. Since only a small elite play in the rarefied air of scientific discovery, literature, plastic arts, music, I would include functional politics in any list of human achievements.

    The British spread good government around the world. Many of the best places to live are former British colonies. The Continent gave us Kant, Hegel, Marx, Communism, socialism, Fascism. The Orient gave us despotism. Africa gave us warloards. The United States gave its citizens the freest nation in history.

    So if we are viewing with consideration of the good it has done mankind, certainly scientific discoveries have done much. Yet now days all discovered science is available in all countries. The benefits of a good government are rare. The vast majority of mankind lives under corrupt rule by force with few individual rights, and they lack the benefit of inventions not because it is impossible to bring to them but because the political system they live under won’t do it.

    In the People’s Republic of China they lived 50 some modern years in abject poverty, probably without running water in most of their hospitals because of a political system. Most hospitals in the Soviet Union lacked running water after they had put a man in space. Imagine a nurse drawing a bucket of cold water for your surgeon to wash in.

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  156. Let Anon make his facile excus