Steve Sailer on Grand New Party

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Steve’s review of Grand New Party is up. He suggests that much of GNP is laced with Sailerian wisdom; I think that’s a fairly plausible point, though Ross & Reihan might claim other sources for the derivation of particular observations or datum. I’ve read about 3/4 of Grand New Party. I don’t talk much about politics because I don’t feel like I know much about it, and frankly, I don’t allocate many cognitive cycles to the topic (though I do follow politics via my RSS, it’s mostly a passive pursuit). Nevertheless, I’ve liked GNP mostly because the argument and perspective is relatively thickly scaffolded with data which is of a fundamentally apolitical character. I can say the same of one of the few other political books I’ve read in the past year, Brink Lindsey’s Age of Abundance. I’ll be putting up a review of GNP at my other weblog soon; I suspect it’ll be the first positive review of a right-wing book on Scienceblogs, so I’ll count myself a trailblazer after I click “post”!

Update: Ross clarifies (I found the UK working class descriptions to be the sore thumb as well).

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30 Comments

  1. Douthat is the guy who whined because he slacked his way through an Ivy League school and no one forced him to study. Lots of other people were studying at that school, just not him. 
     
    Anyway, I don’t expect much of him. I read occasional Atlantic pieces by him, and I’ve been underwhelmed. He seems to be trying to disengage mimself from the Bush Administration and pretend that that stuff didn’t happen.

  2. As an aside, I miss Godless Capitalist’s frequent political blogging. Sure I know it irritates moderates and sympathetic lefties, but it sure was entertaining while it lasted.

  3. john, 
     
    well, someone who is viscerally liberal probably will have issues because this is fundamentally a pro-conservative work. but like i said, there’s a lot of good data. since i don’t have strong political leanings (though i probably lean dem this cycle) i didn’t mind the spin they put on the data. i was just more concerned with the facts & figures. i would have preferred notes though since i do like to look things up, and despite what i said above, there aren’t any charts or figures which might illustrate the data more densely.

  4. i got a slight bit vicious on the comments to ross douthat’s entry

  5. @ben – offered a definition of racism 
     
    “Someone who, even when confronted with the individual characteristics of a given person which deviate from that person’s group, continues to judge that person primarily as a member of their group (be it black, jew, white, whatever), without regard to those characteristics.” 
     
    i’ve observed that what gets called racism is any statement which reflects negatively on minorities. the exception is when such a statement implies that the negative outcome is caused by an external harm. sexism is similarly identified in any statement that reflects negatively on women, except where it is implied that women are a victim. similar statements about racial majorities or men do not get labeled as racist/sexist. 
     
    statements such as “men are overrepresented at the extremes of the IQ distribution” are taken as morally similar to telling a young girl that she shouldn’t be a scientist (see the seed gnxp thread on women in science). the equivalence of such statements to sexism/racism follows naturally from that interpretation. there actually is some utilitarian logic here — making such a claim really may deter women from pursuing science owing to an irrational interpretation of that empirical claim. so perhaps we should refrain from saying anything that reflects negatively on anyone? of course not — at a net utility level there’s no reason to believe that the small-scale harm done by discussing such empirical findings isn’t off set by greater gains in other areas, such as easing tensions. of course, there’s also the highly defensible position that even a harmful truth is better than a benevolent lie when it comes to social policy.

  6. i’ve observed that what gets called racism is any statement which reflects negatively on minorities.  
     
    that’s unfortunately the case. this is the informal definition a lot of people have floating around in their head. it includes everything from stereotypes (which are generally true, except in the case of two warring groups or in situations where there’s little contact between the groups) to controversial scientific opinions which touch on race. 
     
    you see it used in other ways too, though, depending on the setting. ever since the 60′s it’s also been given a complex makeover in academic circles whereby it refers to some confusing and ill-defined kind of “structural oppression” (in other words, minorities can’t be racist against majorities). complete bull. 
     
    however, to me, its vitally important that a strong and consistent definition of racism be maintained. this means something akin to what MLK said about judging by character instead of skin color. what not being racist is, is when you meet someone– when you get to know them– you treat them on the basis of the *individual* impression you get from them, not as a representative black or mexican or white. 
     
    statements such as “men are overrepresented at the extremes of the IQ distribution” are taken as morally similar to telling a young girl that she shouldn’t be a scientist 
     
    while i agree this is a fallacy worth countering (albeit politely and respectfully), there is some significant history behind this, and some understandable reasons why people draw the lines where they do in regards to political correctness. e.g, it’s worth noting that people like the IQ researcher Chris Brand actually do use IQ science as a bludgeon to argue for discouraging young women or blacks from science (see his amazon review of the blank slate for a prime example). the fact that Steve links to him, and anti-semite Kevin Macdonald, let alone the fact that he rallies for and writes for VDARE which hosts a WN like Jared Taylor, shows that it’s not so easy to “draw a line” at where prejudice begins sometimes. Steve is a standard deviation to the center from these guys, and based on my readings of him over the years I can say that he doesn’t appear to be prejudiced/racist, and that his arguments *definitely* deserve debate, but I can’t say that it’s completely silly for people to have an uneasy reaction to his views. 
     
    i defended steve there on that thread because of the golden rule. i’ve cited steve in conversations with friends, and he’s sparked a couple of interesting ideas in my head. he’s been brash, insensitive, etc., but so what? if i were in ross’s position citing steve, or steve’s position writing that controversial stuff he writes, i wouldn’t want to be character assassinated without any respect to reasonable argument. to assume that this guy is a “racist” or “vermin” on the basis of him having unpopular views really goes against my values of free speech and thought. 
     
    there actually is some utilitarian logic here — making such a claim really may deter women from pursuing science owing to an irrational interpretation of that empirical claim. 
     
    i agree. that’s why i think discussions of human biodiversity require *extra* respect and agreeability and search for common ground (unless the person you’re talking with resorts to character assassination) as compared to the usual discussion/argument. there’s several reasons why i think this both instrumental and ethical.

  7. re: Brand, McDonald, et al. — thanks for pointing that out 
     
    i think discussions of human biodiversity require *extra* respect and agreeability and search for common ground 
     
    i think i could be convinced of that position, but have to draw the line at the peer reviewed literature and scholarly discussions — per gottfredson. this is why i’m still in favor of the hammer approach to PC in academia.

  8. i’ve observed that what gets called racism is any statement which reflects negatively on minorities. 
     
    look at this. check the comment thread….

  9. though Ross & Reihan might claim other sources for the derivation of particular observations or datum 
     
    or 
     
    ‘The writers could claim they got some facts elsewhere’. 
     
    I propose a war on latin derived words! especially ones ending in ‘ion’. Join me and we’ll fly the flag of warm and cuddly anglo-saxon nouns and active verbs. It will be a grim fight, not a difficult enterprise.  
     
    Our weapon.

  10. …the fact that Steve links to him, and anti-semite Kevin Macdonald, let alone the fact that he rallies for and writes for VDARE which hosts a WN like Jared Taylor, shows that it’s not so easy to “draw a line” at where prejudice begins sometimes… 
     
    I think the argument is that these guys have as much right to be heard as any run-of-the-mill chauvinistic black, Jewish or feminist commentator from whom anti-white/Christian/male rhetoric is routinely tolerated. I find Brand pretty entertaining though rather creepy. I never read McDonald, so I can’t comment on his anti-semitism. I simply don’t agree with Taylor – I have no sense of ‘white’ solidarity – but here’s his latest VDARE column – neither he nor McDonald are frequent contributors – a bit rough perhaps, but bad enough to taint VDARE contributors generally? He even directly addresses your concern – “that’s why i think discussions of human biodiversity require *extra* respect and agreeability and search for common ground”. At least he sounds more reasonable than MoeLarryAndJesus:) 
     
    All that aside, you did great work, ben, trying to find that common ground in Douthat’s thread. If nothing else, it made it pretty clear why Ross might have been reluctant to give full credit to Sailer for any of his ideas!

  11. that’s the argument, although i think it assumes that white nationalism is pretty much the inverse of black nationalism or zionism. if the latter two weren’t based on historical grievances, they would be just as deplorable (and, methinks, just as rare) for being pure bigotry and ethnocentrism, but that’s not the case so i think the comparison doesn’t hold while a white nationalist could make the argument that white people have been targeted as whites throughout certain points in history, i really think that no honest person can look at a history book and say that whites have been the victims in any serious sense. this is not a double standard, i don’t think, because by this logic irish and italian nationalists are on par with jewish or black.

  12. Ben, 
     
    Do you really think ethnic nationalism is innately deplorable, or just that it is dangerous and leads to deplorable outcomes more often than not? I ask because there seem to be instances where ethnic nationalists can get their way without any ill effects that I can see, and perhaps even with benefits. For example, when the Czechs and Slovaks peaceably divided Czechoslovakia between themselves following the fall of the Soviet Union, they ended a great deal of bickering. At least according to Wikipedia, relations between the two groups are better than they were prior to the seperation.  
     
    I am aware that this is an extraordinary case and that ethnic nationalism is rarely pursued so peacefully. But I can’t find anything morally wrong with the mutual decision made by the Czechs and Slovaks in this situation to divide their nation up along ethnic lines.

  13. For example, when the Czechs and Slovaks peaceably divided Czechoslovakia between themselves following the fall of the Soviet Union, they ended a great deal of bickering. At least according to Wikipedia, relations between the two groups are better than they were prior to the seperation.  
     
    did wiki outline the weird way this happened? it was really a top-down affair where klaus basically boxed-in the slovak leader who was bluffing. not that it didn’t turn out well. 
     
    i don’t think ethnic nationalism is malevolent as such. but it has been pathologized among white americans to such an extent that a disproportionate number attracted to white (as opposed to irish or scottish or whatever) identity tend to have bizarre and unattractive personalities. an analogy to libertarianism and atheism can be made.

  14. here’s a great comparison: cajuns vs. quebecois.

  15. Well, the wiki article didn’t put it in quite those words, but did make it clear that the Velvet Divorce was a top-down affair, in contrast to the Velvet Revolution which preceeded it.  
     
    Agreed regarding white nationalists being a bunch of nutters, mostly.  
     
    The reason I asked Ben to clarify is because I think that the stigma attached to ethnic nationalism among whites in the U.S. (and elsewhere, but more so in the U.S. and other parts of the Anglosphere I think) leads to some knee-jerk assumptions regarding How Things Ought To Be in areas of the world where American whites have real influence. I don’t know enough about Iraq to make any policy prescriptions there, but I think the idea that the people there might be better off if the country were divided up among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds (and perhaps Assyrians though they are so few in number and most seem to have left, since they are such a target of aggression) is at least worth considering. Won’t happen, though, at least partly because the mostly white Americans pulling the strings over there consider ethnic nationalism backwards at best, and therefore direct their energies in the opposite direction regardless of which option is more viable.

  16. marc, but we had no problem pulling kosovo apart from the serbs. i don’t think the major issue with iraq partition has to do with idealistic assumptions anymore, i think those are gone. rather, 
     
    1) iraq is a big country to partition in three equal parts, and lots of other countries are going to get nervous at the precedent (ok, presidents of other countries) 
     
    2) the oil is in the non-sunni regions, so you have one of the major natural supporters of partition being disincentivized for economic reasons.

  17. Hm. Ok, I admit that I based my assessment on a few conversations I had with committed neocons (guy-in-the-street types, not people with any influence) several years back.  
     
    Points taken regarding the importance of the distribution of oil throughout Iraq and the possible effects partitioning the country would have on the heads of other states to our decision to keep the country intact.

  18. i don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with ethnic nationalism– just a lot of the stuff done in it’s name. i don’t think it belongs as a force in US politics (and neither do most US citizens, fortunately), but that’s not to say that it’s wrong for other countries to incorporate it. things like equality before the law and democracy are more important to me than whether a country want to maintain a certain ethnic composition. 
     
    the world would be a lot safer, but less interesting, without ethnocentrism. same goes for the existence of males.

  19. this can be read two ways: “i don’t think it belongs as a force in US politics (and neither do most US citizens, fortunately)”. obviously, most US citizens do play a role in politics, with very entertaining results.

  20. things like equality before the law and democracy are more important to me than whether a country want to maintain a certain ethnic composition. 
     
    one might make an argument that without a dominant majority ethnic group it is hard to have equality before the law and democracy. the reasoning is that this dominant ethnic group is so secure that it has a strong investment in the idea of the polity as an extension of its own identity, as opposed to the polity being a tool in the realpolitik game between ethnic groups of roughly similar size. the way that one can keep a balance between ethnic groups is by formalization of the millet system and/or radical decentralization, the lebanese and swiss solutions respectively. 
     
    to make it concrete, i think that i as a non-white american am likely to experience more “vibrant” communal institutions and legal transparency in a mostly white area as opposed to one where there’s a lot of cultural diversity because inter-ethnic tension is simply part of the landscape in those situations. this doesn’t mean that diverse metropoles, for example, don’t have advantages and good qualities vis-a-vis western mass, vermont or minnesota, to give some examples, but if you want scandinavian style transparency you need scandinavian style homogeneity. 
     
    now, if a population totally turns over over *thousands* of years genetically it might not matter if they maintain *cultural* continuity. e.g., the example of the hellenization of large numbers of ethnic albanians in greece during the 19th century is an example. or the shift of turkish speaking orthodox refugees in greece to a fully greek identity as their children learn greek. or, the shift toward arab speech and identity across north africa from egypt to the mahgreb. or the assimilation of hugenots and germans to a dutch calvinist identity among the afrikaners.

  21. one might make an argument that without a dominant majority ethnic group it is hard to have equality before the law and democracy 
     
    that’s an interesting argument i’ve lightly pondered for a long time, never having looked into it historically (hence, i have no clue what the “swiss” and “lebanese” solutions actually are/were…gotta look into that, I guess). it does seem to be the pattern that a market dominant minority really pisses the poor majority off. if that’s indeed the rule, a prudent ethnicity-blind immigration policy could still be pursued which required that a certain optimal percent of immigrants be skilled and/or educated.

  22. a prudent ethnicity-blind immigration policy could still be pursued which required that a certain optimal percent of immigrants be skilled and/or educated. 
     
    What would be the argument for that percent being less than 100?

  23. What would be the argument for that percent being less than 100? 
     
    First off, let me preface by saying that there’s an argument for not pursuing such a policy, in any degree, in the first place. It’s not a given that a nation exists to maximize the wealth of its people. It’s surely not an axiom that I accept. There are plenty of other political philosophies that set different priorities. 
     
    Ok, but we’re working from the “national utilitarian” axiom for now, ok. From this perspective, the argument for the percent not being 100 is that an economy benefits from, and surely requires, unskilled workers in some degree. Division of labor. I’m not claiming that the US needs more unskilled workers, mind you, as I haven’t researched the subject in depth, I’m just saying that the raio would vary depending on what’s needed from the economy at a given point.

  24. Thanks – was an honest question, believe it or not. 
     
    It’s not a given that a nation exists to maximize the wealth of its people. 
     
    I agree, but I think it’s a fair goal of nationhood to maximize its people’s quality of life (which is certainly not the same thing as wealth). And I think that implies preserving as much as possible its legacy and traditions while pursuing economic growth and dealing with the encroachments of modernity.

  25. That Douthat thread was funny.  
     
    It’s really interesting how a lot of lefties will basically drop their ideology to lash out at you when they’re in attack mode (viz. calling Sailer gay). Another example was that time that some Scienceblogs lefty wrote a page and a half long vicious racial attack on Razib, as a “parody” of course. And I can’t even remember the number of threads in which some Atrios minion or another told me to go eat a squishee (or the equivalent).  
     
    It reminds one of nothing so much as the USSR’s 180 turn from International Communism to Russian patriotism when under attack by Germany. When push comes to shove, the attack instincts are the right-wing instincts. Even committed pacifist Einstein pushed nuke development when his people were at risk.

  26. apparently the entire thread has been gutted by the admins there, leaving it incoherent. a shame, because i thought the poo-flinging anger was the most informative part of it.

  27. it has been pathologized among white americans to such an extent that a disproportionate number attracted to white (as opposed to irish or scottish or whatever) identity tend to have bizarre and unattractive personalities.  
     
    That’s right, and it has a self-reinforcing aspect to it. When the psychos are posting about how “Ron Paul’s Black and Hispanic Government Gangs want to rape you on the Fourth of July”[1], it does tend to make a normal person think twice.  
     
    H-bd seems to attract two personalities — hyperrationalists and Stormfront type criminals/animals. Both of them are sort of low on the social empathy scale. But they’re obviously very different :) 
     
    [1] Too good to make up…you think I’m kidding?

  28. ben g (7/16/08 2:03pm) – 
     
    On that Russ Douthat thread, I presume the admins deleted the comments that blatantly violated theAtlantic.com’s terms of service in response to a note I sent to Douthat, and added as Comment #167 (it’s now #103). 
     
    The 64 poo-flinging-focused comments were disappeared this afternoon without leaving any “comment removed” notices. So, yeah, the thread is now rather incoherent. The Sailer-haters are rehabilitated, and the good humor of those (like you) who responded to abuse with reasoned argument will be misunderestimated. My remarks on incivility and impersonation will mystify any new readers of the thread.

  29. “I simply don’t agree with Taylor – I have no sense of ‘white’ solidarity -” 
     
    Racial “solidarities” of anyone can be depressing. I mean how can you trust a person who states up front that they are for their own race first and foremost. And many of us have to trust people not of our race every day. 
    If such feelings were justified at one time, people may entirely define themselves forever by them and keep milking them for all they’re not worth. See that everywhere. 
     
    However, these “solidarities” depend on circumstances. Where you live, for one thing. 
    There is a scene in the 1932 novel, The Good Earth, set in 19th century China, where the protaganist, who has fled to the big city to save himself and his family from famine in the northern countryside, sees a European for the first time asks a fellow rickshaw puller “what” it is. Once he hears the explanation, for the first time in his life, this ignorant peasant becomes conscious of being Chinese, of a certain race having black hair, black eyes, and other features. Conversely this discovery also made him feel less of a stranger in a strange land. Before seeing a person of another species, he’d felt like an alien in the big city. So a sort of “solidarity” was born in him. 
     
    Also, “solidarity” might just mean you find yourself having more common ground or like ways of thinking. That you see yourself in certain historical figures of your own race or ethinicity. Sorry–you can’t really escape it if you’re up against the wall.

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