I made the big time. Now I’m being smeared in a New York gossip column! The New York Daily News‘ professional tattletales Rush and Molloy (email them your thoughts on the subject at [email protected]) write:
Bad source code at NYT?
New York Times columnist David Brooks might want to do a background check on the next “expert” he quotes.
Brooks, the reigning conservative on the paper’s op-ed page now that William Safire is leaving, is coming under fire for his recent column about Red State “natalism” and birth rates in which he quoted writer Steve Sailer’s finding that President Bush “carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates.”
Brooks doesn’t mention that Sailer reportedly runs a Web discussion group whose members include white supremecists [sic] and anti-Semites.
Sailer also writes for vdare.com, which the KKK-fighting Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a “hate group.”
Brooks didn’t immediately respond to our E-mail.
But on political magazine The American Prospect’s blog TAPped, writer Garance Franke-Ruta asks, “Why is David Brooks promoting the work of a well-known eugenicist sympathizer who regularly indulges in racial stereotyping? … [It’s] journalism at its absolute shoddiest.”
In reply, I wrote back:
Dear Rush and Molloy:
Speaking of the kettle calling the pot black, Part 1, you didn’t mention that Ms. Franke-Ruta, amusingly enough, has herself been accused, at vast length, of racism by a civil rights activist organization who objected intensely to an article she wrote for The American Prospect.
To read the original indictment of Franke-Ruta’s purported racism, go here and scan down to “Special Report: In Attack on Hispanics, American Prospect’s Garance Franke-Ruta Is Accused of Journalistic Fraud.” I must confess that my eyes glazed over while reading about Franke-Ruta’s and The American Prospect’s alleged high crimes and insensitivities against Latinos. What I saw of it before nodding off seemed no more persuasive than what she wrote about me.
On the other hand, why should the benefit of the doubt be extended to Franke-Ruta if she won’t extend it to me? Good question. It’s often those who live in the glassiest houses who are most inclined to throw stones to distract from the fragility of their own abodes.
Speaking of the kettle calling the pot black, Part 2, you pass on the absurd accusation of the Southern Poverty Law Center that the online publication VDARE.com is a “hate group.” Yet, you make no mention that the SPLC has widely been documented to be mercenary and racially discriminatory. Click here for all the grisly details.
[Also, check out all the other organizations the SPLC has denounced for racism, such as the American Enterprise Institute!]
And to find out the kind of mainstream organizations that the SPLC denounces, click here.
So, why aren’t you out digging up scandalous dirt on the SPLC? It’s all over the Web, including some much more juicy stuff than this. It’s a disgrace that the American media tends to treat a discredited, but vastly rich and powerful organization like the SPLC, as if it is run by Mother Theresa.
Finally, let’s look at the nonsense Franke-Ruta writes.
She doesn’t deny that the facts Mr. Brooks cited from my article “Baby Gap” in The American Conservative (http://www.amconmag.com/2004_12_06/cover.html) are facts. Her behavior is a classic shoot-the-messenger attempt to help Democrats bury their heads in the sand. How is the Democratic Party ever going to put up an effective opposition to the Bush-Rove machine if they denounce those who tell them truth about the American voters?
The rest of her diatribe consists mainly of Joe McCarthyesque-guilt by associationism and out-of-context quotations from my hundreds of articles, none of which she attempts to refute.
The defining characteristic of anti-Sailerist diatribes like Franke-Ruta’s is multitudinous quotations from my writings with no attempt at refutation of their truth. The reader is simply supposed to be shocked, SHOCKED that anyone would dare write such politically incorrect things.
A few times, Franke-Ruta gets so worked up she can’t even be bothered to quote me out of context. I was particularly amused that she included my AmCon article’s concluding paragraph in full:
“Nobody noticed that the famous blue-red gap was a white baby gap because the subject of white fertility is considered disreputable. But I believe the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking. At least, it’s certainly more interesting.”
Apparently, by letting slip that I believe that the truth is better for us than ignorance, lies, or wishful thinking, I’ve condemned myself in the eyes of all of polite society. No refutation of my shocking faux pas is needed. All bien-pensants can instantly see how much better it is to bask in reputable ignorance.
Franke-Ruta seems to be convinced that I drew a correlation between Bush’s share of the vote by state and the total fertility of white women by state because I am a racist. No, I did it because I am interested in the facts.
[I of course also looked at the correlation of Bush’s share and the total fertility of all the women in the state, but the r-squared of that nonracial correlation was only 37%, compared to 74% for the correlation between Bush’s share and white fertility. For Franke-Ruta’s benefit, let me point out that 74% is twice as big as 37%. As for explaining to her what an r-squared is, well, …
The reality is that white fertility correlates with Bush’s share of the vote better than total fertility or nonwhite fertility does.
Since I published my “Baby Gap” article, I’ve found a demographic factor that correlates even better with Bush’s share of the vote by state: the average years married between the ages of 18 and 44 for white women. Here’s the scatter plot, with it’s spectacular correlation coefficient of r = 0.91:
Unlike with fertility, years married for all races correlates quite well with Bush’s share of the vote, but still significantly less well than years married among white women. You can read all about this factor here. And you can read about a third factor that also correlates super strongly with Bush’s share of the vote — lack of housing price inflation — here.
In 1943, George Orwell famously observed of this manner of thinking that puts all the weight on who says something and none on what he says:
“Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as ‘the truth’ exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as ‘Science.’ There is only ‘German Science,’ ‘Jewish Science,’ etc… This prospect frightens me much more than bombs — and after our experiences of the last few years that is not such a frivolous statement.”
Yet, there was an ironic and fortunate coda to Nazi disdain for objective truth that Orwell couldn’t have known in 1943. Luckily, it was precisely the Nazis disdain for “Jewish science” that prevented them from investing enough to develop the most frightening of all bombs — the atomic bomb. Historian Paul Johnson wrote in
Anyone, whether Hitler or Franke-Ruta, who evaluates assertions of fact based on the political correctness of the speaker is bound to be self-defeating, .
The tragedy in this case of course is that liberal smear artists like Franke-Ruta are, despite their similar attitudes toward truth, far from Nazis, and understanding what motivates voters is not destructive information like the secrets of the atomic bomb, but constructive knowledge. America needs the Democratic Party to be on top of its game, not to be wallowing in politically correct ignorance. The Democrats are the only organized American opposition to the Bush dynasty. But if they don’t want to understand why they lost, and prefer to slumber in self-congratulatory bigotry, they simply won’t be able to provide the effective political competition our country desperately needs.
As for Franke-Ruta’s Six-Degrees-of-Joe-McCarthy-guilt-by-association charges:
“Brooks doesn’t mention that Sailer reportedly runs a Web discussion group whose members include white supremecists [sic] and anti-Semites.”
[You really shouldn’t smear people as “white supremecists” if you can’t even spell the word right!]
If there are any anti-Semites on the discussion group, they would be vastly outnumberd by the Jewish intellectuals and scientists who are members.
As for white “supremecists” (sic), the group includes East Asians, blacks, South Asians, and about 10% of the whites have non-white spouses.
And get a load of what Ruta-Franke calles me: a “eugenicist sympathizer?” Ooooooh! Sounds bad! But what the heck is that supposed to mean? Anybody who sympathizes with Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Margaret Sanger, or George Bernard Shaw would be a “eugenicist sympathizer” because they were all staunch advocates of eugenics back in the day.
What’s particularly bizarre is that in the article of mine she cites http://www.vdare.com/sailer/pioneer.htm, I explicitly discuss my deep worries that new medical technology is increasingly making do-it-yourself eugenics, such as sex selection, available to parents. The potential social impact of this new free market eugenics concerns me greatly, and so I call for intensive study before we decide to let this cat out of the bag.
[Indeed, Franke-Ruta’s list of out-of-context quotes from me draws from a lot of my most liberal arguments! For example, she quotes my criticism of conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan for his attacks on blacks for practicing ethnocentrism and identity politics. She is also shocked by my article presenting evidence from 30 social science studies that male homosexuals do not choose to be homosexual, but instead generally exhibit gay traits long before puberty. I could go on at great length in this vein, as could anyone who follows the links in her smear to my articles.]
As for indulging in “racial stereotyping,” I am a science and sociology journalist whose work has been recognized by the highest scientific authorities. For example, Steven Pinker of Harvard, the superstar cognitive scientist who wrote the bestseller The Blank Slate, picked my “Cousin Marriage Conundrum” article, which originally appeared in American Conservative, for inclusion in his new anthology The Best Science and Nature Writing 20004. My article from early 2003 predicted, accurately, that nation-building in Iraq would be far more difficult than the Bush Administration was assuming because the Iraqi tendency to inbreed (half marry their first or second cousins) makes nepotistic corruption inevitable and makes it hard for Iraqis to cooperate beyond their intensely loyal inbred extended families.
In summary, you have aided Franke-Ruta in perpetrating “journalism at its absolute shoddiest.”
If you have anything to add, you can write to Rush and Molloy at [email protected]. Please be polite and avoid wide-ranging controversies.