May 26, 2005

Colby Cosh will be happy

that pretty Carrie won "American Idol." He really doesn't like the Blood Sweat and Tears-loving Bo.

I defer to my wife's judgment on all matters vocal. My wife picked Carrie out as the likely winner a couple of months ago. She thinks these finalists might have been the weakest pair of singers out of all four years, but that it was still a good season. It was a lot closer than last year, when Fantasia, a sort of black Judy Garland with a great voice and absolute emotional transparency, ran away from the field.

One of the great things about "American Idol" is that you don't have to possess Madonna-like drive, assertiveness, and ruthlessness to do well, as you normally do in the music business. Natural talent will get you a lot farther on "American Idol" than in the real world of music, where whom you'll sleep with plays a big role. (Nobody much cared that judge Paula Abdul was exposed as sleeping with a male contestant a couple of years ago, but it would presumably destroy the show if one of the two male judges was caught in a scandal. A lot of judge Simon Cowell's appeal is that he'll tell pretty but talentless girls to get out of the business for their own good, which is not what powerful men in the music industry are known for always doing when confronted with hot babes desperate for a break.) For example, the first year's winner Kelly Clarkson had gone out to LA for a year, but had totally failed to get anywhere, so she went home discouraged to Texas. But she still had near-Whitney Houston / Mariah Carey quality pipes, so she triumphed on the show.

And the show will provide a lot of help in improving your presentation, as they did with Clay Aiken a couple of years ago, who started out looking pathetic (but sounding good) and ended up almost winning as the second coming of Barry Manilow.

"American Idol" is one of those rare healthy TV fads, like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" was six years ago, although "Idol" looks set to last longer.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Free speech down the tubes in Europe

Paul Cella notes this alarming news story about Oriana Fallaci, who was the greatest interviewer in the world back in the 1970s. She would bully and seduce (I don't know how literally) male newsmakers like Henry Kissinger into telling her amazing secrets in an attempt to impress her.

“Fallaci charged in Italy with defaming Islam.”

ROME (Reuters) - A judge has ordered best-selling writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial in her native Italy on charges she defamed Islam in a recent book.

The decision angered Italy's justice minister but delighted Muslim activists, who accused Fallaci of inciting religious hatred in her 2004 work “La Forza della Ragione” (The Force of Reason).

It's highly reminiscent of my blog item from last year:

French Court Declares Voltaire Obsolete:

"Former French actress Brigitte Bardot was fined 5,000 euros (6,000 dollars) by a Paris court for writing a book in which she declared disgust with her country's tolerance of Islam."

Whatever happened to: "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"? Oh, well, I guess Diversity Sensitivity is more important than freedom of speech.

Seriously, diversity, in practice, is the enemy of free speech.

A reader writes:

The Italians obviously are amateurs. They should take a lesson from Belgium, where the courts last year shut down *an entire political party.* The offending political organization was Vlaams Blok, which violated Belgian standards of decency by opposing immigration.

When opinion polls revealed that Vlaams Blok had become the most popular political party in Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium), the courts decided to put a stop to its activities by declaring the party to be racist. Reportedly, the political establishment in Brussels felt "uncomfortable" with the Vlaams Blok message. Reason enough to shut them down, don’t you think?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The Decline of the Conservative Intellectual

Ross Douthat of writes about how much intellectually stronger the conservative books were around 1990, even though they sell a lot more in 2005:

But all in all, I think it's safe to say that the Right of the 1990s and early Oughts has produced an (often dispiriting, for a young Turk like me) excess of talented journalists, but hasn't done nearly so well when it comes to raising up a new crop of major-league intellectuals. Why, the most controversial, conversation-starting conservative book of the last two years was probably Who Are We?, by Samuel Huntington - and Huntington is 1) quite old and 2) a Democrat.

I responded:

I quite agree. The extinction of the "Public Interest" periodical is symptomatic of the decline of the heroic first generation of neoconservatism -- typically, domestically-oriented social scientists -- into a second generation of foreign affairs-oriented propagandists.

One major intellectual problem on the right is the that the alliance of convenience between neoconservatives and the Religious Right over support for the Likud Party has caused the neoconservatives to miss out on the great intellectual excitement of the time: the rise of Darwinian analysis of human behavior. Commentary, for example, repeatedly runs articles arguing against Darwin's basic theory of 1859.

This keeps the neoconservatives from recruiting fresh talent. The most obvious example is the spectacularly talented Steven Pinker, whose 2002 book "The Blank Slate" was probably the most important/influential big book of this decade so far.

The first generation of neoconservatives would have been crazy for Pinker, but the current generation is leery of him because he is a Darwinian, and that fact sets off complicated "Is it good for the Likud Party?" calculations in their minds about whether publishing Pinker in their journals will endanger the Religious Right's support for Likud (although I doubt that the creationists would even notice).

Commentary still has good people writing for them like Dan Seligman so all is not lost, but the opportunity cost is very large.

The Decline of the Liberal Intellectual: Matthew Yglesias of the liberal American Prospect magazine saw my comment on why neoconservatives missed out on Steven Pinker and his Crimethink! alarm went off. He blogged:

In Ross' comments, the always-intersting Steve Sailer agrees this has happened and blames the Jews.

Fortunately, some commenters called Yglesias out:

Not at all what Sailer said.


Matthew is flat-out LYING about Sailer's comment.

Yglesias then wrote:

UPDATE: Slightly kidding about Sailer. He doesn't blame the Jews per se, he blames the influence of the Israel lobby on the contemporary American right. I'd be mad if I blamed something on the influence of the Israel lobby on the contemporary American right and someone characterized that as blaming the Jews. So, apologies on that score, I just don't find his theory very plausible.

Human beings have a strong tendency toward mindless hatred, and in today's climate, much of it gets directed toward people who tell new and/or uncomfortable truths.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

May 25, 2005

Finland's Secret:

The Washington Post has sent two reporters to Finland for several weeks to find out why Finland has "the world's best educational system, produces such talented musicians and architects, and has more cell phones per capita than Japan and America." They are writing a blog about their findings.

Sitting here in my pajamas in America, I could have saved the Washington Post all the expense. The most important reason why Finland is so Finlandy is because it is full of Finns.

According to the CIA World Factbook, the population of Finland is 93.4% Finnish. The big minority group at 5.7% is ... Swedes. Then comes Russians at 0.4%, and Estonians at 0.2%. Then there are the Sami (Laplanders) at 0.1%, and from what little I've heard about these semi-Asiatic reindeer herders, they sound OK to me. Roma (Gypsies) make up 0.2%, but lots of European countries have even more.

The number of Muslims in Finland was estimated at 15,000-20,000 as of 1999, which is a fraction of one percent, far less than in most other Western European countries.

At the very bottom of the Washington Post's Finland blog, in an interview with some Finnish philosopher about the wonderfulness of Finland, comes this exchange:

* Immigration. Do you have immigration? From where? How are immigrants treated? Do foreigners seek to become citizens of Finland? Is that possible?

A. We have immigration in relatively small numbers so compared to the US Finland is a very homogeneous society, which I think is a limitation. Immigrants can become citizens of Finland but here our attitudes should get much more open.

In other words, it ain't broken, so let's break it.

The possibility that Finland is so Finlandy precisely because it maintains its borders and thus can evolve a governmental and social system well-suited to a population that is 99% Scandinavian can only be hinted at in the American press.

A reader from India writes:

Finland is a bizarre country where the head of Nokia was once fined $250,000 for exceeding the speed limit on a highway (the Finnish fines are linked to the income of the offender). It is a country where pretty much everything runs like clockwork.

Would I want to live in Finland? No. Too boring. There is just something exciting about chaotic traffic, traffic jams, rampant corruption, politicians hurling chairs at each other, fistfights in state legislatures, dangerous criminals running the governments of some states, pollution all over the major cities, dry dusty country with no electricity for miles and full of villagers who never travelled more than 10 miles in their lifetime, bad roads with potholes that could swallow a few Ford Explorers, 100,000 people packed into a stadium with a capacity of 60,000 to watch a cricket match in which India plays Pakistan, atrocious movies that now pass for "Indian culture" with absurd dance routines and hideous storylines, teenagers with atrocious manners flaunting Daddy's money......etc etc etc.

If you've made your money, then you can relax in India, take a "ring-side seat" if you will and watch the fun. India offers more entertainment per day per capita than any nation in this world. Finland is boring. I'd die of boredom if I were in Finland.

An American reader writes:

Your Indian correspondent is right about Finland being boring, but the Finns are more aware of this than anybody and it forms a significant part of their humor. There was even a television series ca. 15-20 years ago about how excruciatingly dull this "average" Finnish man's life was. It made an appearance on either VH1 or MTV.

I lived and studied in both Denmark and Finland back in the '80s, long enough to get a feel for the peoples. Both are rare among Europeans in having a true sense of humor; most of the Continent tends to one of the extremes, i.e., crude slapstick, or bitter and way-too-vicious satire. But Danes, like their world-champion-humorist cousins in Britain, go for understated, droll irony, and Finns are the masters of deadpan. Imagine a whole country of Steven Wrights.

A Swedish reader writes:

If I'm not mistaken, Sweden, not Finland, always used to be on top on these education level rankings until we let in too many immigrants. The Swedish schools suffer from a kind of "no kid left behind" policy which pretty much means that, to some extent, the difficulty level of the education is lowered so that the "less talented" kids can pass. Of course the influx of many mid-eastern and African immigrants haven't helped much. I went to a "science & math" class in the Swedish equivalent to American High School in the late 90's. About 1/3 of the class was of non-European origin and most of the immigrant mid-eastern boys spent the lessons sitting in the back of the classroom talking loud. And this was supposed to be the most serious of them!

Back to Finland. Although only 5-6% of Finnish citizens nowadays speak Swedish, it used to be 15-20% 200 years ago. Many Finnish-speaking Finns in Western Finland have a lot of Swedish blood (and a lot of Finland-Swedes have some Finnish blood). These Swedes are to a large extent descendants of the Swedes that ruled Finland for 700 years until it was conquered by Russia in 1809...

In contemporary Finland there are, somewhat simplified, pretty much two kind of Swedes. First there are some 100 % Swedish rural provinces on the coast and the island province of Åland. Then there are the small minority of upper- and middleclass Swedes in the big cities (I think they are 10% in Helsinki and 25% in Turku, the old pre-1809 capital). Many of the most famous Finns belong to this group, e.g. Linux-guru Linus Thorvalds (who singlehandedly programmed the Linux kernel as a 20 year old), composer Sibelius, Moomin author Tove Jansson (she looks quite Finnish however) and Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, the great general who first won the Finnish civil war and later defended Finland twice from Stalin's forces in 1939 and 1944. It has been estimated that the Russians suffered 400,000 losses in total while Finland only lost 25,000 soldiers.

Although nobody in America knows his name, Mannerheim was one of the great heroes of the first half of the 20th Century, a patriot who did as much good for his county as any man in the first half of the 20th century. He was a general in the Imperial Russian army during WWI. When everything fell apart in December 1917, after Lenin's Bolshevik putsch, he went home and pulled Finland out of Russia before it descended into the maw of madness. He then won the short Finnish civil war against the Communists (his victory is why the American Communist Party, such as their perennial Presidential candidate Gus Hall, was heavily made up of Finns). He avoided getting to friendly with the Germans, which helped Finland's independence be approved by the victors at the Versailles conference. He then lost the first Presidential election, and eventually retired to private life.

He was recalled to command, and electrified the world by his defeat of the first Soviet attack in late 1939, before being overwhelmed by weight of numbers and having to give up some territory in 1940. Beginning in 1941, Finland fought the Soviet Union alongside Germany. German liaison officers rated the Finns as slightly better soldiers than the Germans, which means the Finns were the best soldiers in WWII. In 1944, Mannerheim negotiated with Stalin the end of the war. Mannerheim had kept Finland from getting too entangled with Germany, so Finland was the only country on the losing side that escaped occupation at the end of the war. It had to submit to supporting Soviet foreign policy, but Finland kept its domestic freedom.

Anyway, it is believed that the Finns struggling wars for independence in the last century has a lot to do with the fact that they are so resistant to letting in immigrants. Of course the Finnish climate and the difficulty of learning Finnish (a non-IE language) is not very tempting for most immigrants either. But the most important reason to why Finland hasn't received much immigrants compared to its Scandinavian neighbours is that is has been a much poorer country. In fact Sweden received hundreds of thousands of poor Finnish immigrants in the 50's and 60's. With the huge success of Nokia in the 90's the Finnish economy was suddenly much stronger and not surprisingly they began letting more immigrants in. I'm pretty sure that, with the possible exception for some Chiquita Banana Republic, there is no single country in the world that is so much depending on one single company as Finland is depending on Nokia.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Finally, a non-boring filibuster-related idea:

Finally, a non-boring filibuster-related idea: The fight over the Senate filibuster rules has been one of the dullest and most bogus in recent memory, with commentators on both sides shamelessly parroting arguments that they would scoff at if the partisan balance in the Senate were reversed.

However, Mickey Kaus says something interesting today in regard to the new compromise resolution:

Why, after all, are so many people in Washington attached to the Senate's "right to unlimited debate"? Is it because the filibuster--which effectively requires a supermajority to pass anything through the Senate-- guarantees "freedom of speech, freedom of debate and freedom to dissent in the United States Senate." (Sen. Byrd's modest version.) Or is it because the filibuster, and the exaggerated power it gives to both minorities and individuals, is the basis for much of the Senate's--indeed Washington's--corrupt cash economy? Without the filibuster, after all, senators in the minority party wouldn't be nearly as big a deal. They couldn't block legislation--so lobbyists wouldn't need to bribe them with campaign contributions. And honest, self-protective corporations wouldn't have to pay so many of these lobbyists to bribe them with campaign contributions.

Even most majority party senators would see some of their power drain away if the Senate became more like the House, organized efficiently along party lines so the majority could exercise its non-filibusterable power. Individual majority senators would be less like princes to be wined, dined and fawned over and more like party backbenchers. Corporations and interest groups wouldn't need to spend a lot of money bribing them either. And why would Boeing and GM want to pay for an army of ex-Senate aides to sweet-talk all 55 Republicans when one aide with the ear of Bill Frist would get the job done? ...

Still, I'm not sure it is so awful that there's more waste involved in influencing the Senate than there is in influencing the House, where all you need to do is pay off Tom DeLay.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Unaffordable Family Formation in San Francisco

Unaffordable Family Formation in San Francisco: Baghdad by the Bay is the foremost example of the Dirt Gap in action: a seven mile wide mountainous peninsula surrounded by salt water almost inevitably translates into a limited supply of housing and high prices:

Child Population Dwindles in San Francisco

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer

Anne Bakstad and Ed Cohen are starting to feel as if their family of four is an endangered species in San Francisco. Since the couple bought a house five years ago, more than a dozen families in their social circle have left the city for cheaper housing, better schools or both.

The goodbyes are so frequent that Carina, age 4 1/2, wants to know when she is going to move, too. Eric, 2 1/2, misses Gus, his playmate from across the street.

"When we get to know people through our kids, we think to ourselves, `Are they renters or owners? Where do they work?' You have to figure out how much time to invest in people," Bakstad said. "It makes you feel like, `Where is everyone going? Stay with us!'"

A similar lament is being heard in San Francisco's half-empty classrooms, in parks where parents are losing ground to dog owners, and in the corridors of City Hall.

San Francisco has the smallest share of small-fry of any major U.S. city. Just 14.5 percent of the city's population is 18 and under.

It is no mystery why U.S. cities are losing children. The promise of safer streets, better schools and more space has drawn young families away from cities for as long as America has had suburbs.

But kids are even more scarce in San Francisco than in expensive New York (24 percent) or in retirement havens such as Palm Beach, Fla., (19 percent), according to Census estimates.

San Francisco's large gay population — estimated at 20 percent by the city Public Health Department — is thought to be one factor, though gays and lesbians in the city are increasingly raising families.

Another reason San Francisco's children are disappearing: Family housing in the city is especially scarce and expensive. A two-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot starter home is considered a bargain at $760,000.

A recent survey by the city controller found 40 percent of parents said they were considering pulling up stakes within the next year.

Determined to change things, Mayor Gavin Newsom has put the kid crisis near the top of his agenda, appointing a 27-member policy council to develop plans for keeping families in the city... And voters have approved measures to patch up San Francisco's public schools, which have seen enrollment drop from about 62,000 to 59,000 since 2000...

"We are at a crossroads here," said N'Tanya Lee, executive director of the nonprofit Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth. "We are moving toward a place where we could have an infrastructure of children's services and no children."

Other cities are trying similar strategies. Seattle has created a children's fund, like the one in San Francisco. Leaders in Portland, Ore., are pushing developers to build affordable housing for families, a move Newsom has also tried.

For families choosing to stay in San Francisco, life remains a series of trade-offs. They can enjoy world-class museums, natural beauty and an energy they say they cannot find in the suburbs. But most families need two or more incomes to keep their homes, and their children spend most of their days being cared for by others.

"We have so many friends who are moving out and say how much easier life has been for them," Bakstad said. "If we can make it work in the city, we would love to stay. In a way, the jury is out."

As I pointed out in "Affordable Family Formation," the adults moving out to find affordable housing and schooling for their children are more likely to become Republican family values voters than the ones who stay and don't have children because they like the San Francisco lifestyle so much.

Now, some people move to San Francisco specifically because they don't have family values (e.g., a lot of gay men move there). But other people end up in a city because when they got out of college, that's where they got the best job offer. And people naturally put down roots wherever they are and adopt some of the local norms. An interesting question would be: What's the impact on your likelihood of getting married and on your average number of children if you take a job first in SF or NYC vs. Atlanta or Dallas?

That leads to a more general question that I'd like your advice upon: The extraordinarily high correlations between measures of family formation (such as the marriage rate and the birth rate) and Bush's share of the vote in the last two elections are obviously the result of two effects. More conservative people move to cheaper areas to have families, and, people who are living in more liberal, more expensive areas are less likely to go down the family path and become family voters because of the cost and culture of their urban area. But, how do I estimate the size of the two effects? My gut feeling is that correlations are driven 50% by people moving and 50% by people not moving and being affected by their locality.

But what is a good approach to quantifying this breakdown?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Can we please spell it "Koran?"

The Koran-flushing brouhaha has brought to light the multiple spellings of the Islamic holy book used by American journalists. Newsweek seems to spell it "Qur'an" and uses "Quran" -- and they are both owned by the Washington Post. To ease Google searches, could everyone please just spell it the way most Americans have spelled it for decades: Koran. It's also the easiest to pronounce and remember.

Of course, the point of changing the spelling in English is to confuse the non-elite, in order to make the elite feel superior. As I wrote three years ago in "The Name Game: Inuit or Eskimo?"

Considering how hard it is for English-speakers to correctly pronounce words even from other European languages that share our basic alphabet, asking Americans to accurately transliterate words from radically different phonetic structures would appear close to hopeless.

It's become common, for instance, for Western journalists to refer to the "Qu'ran" instead of the traditional spelling of "Koran," but virtually no American understands what sound the apostrophe in "Qu'ran" stands for. Nor could many even produce that sound properly...

Millions of people permanently lose the thread. Unlike academic specialists, they have other, more personally important things to think about than the changing names of distant ethnic groups. Thus, they never make the mental connection that the mysterious new Inuit their children are studying in school are actually those Eskimos that they liked reading about when they were the same age, or that these new-fangled Roma aren't Romans or Romanians, but are actually the Gypsies who play that wonderful violin music.

In breaking news:

As many as 25 people died and dozens more were injured during riots in Afghanistan today which erupted over what one Muslim cleric called "the U.S. media's desecration-by-misspelling" of the name of Islam's most holy book.

Indeed, American editors have failed to reach consensus on how to render the holy book's name. Some spell it with a 'K' others with a 'Q' and -- perhaps most offensive to Muslim sensibilities -- some insert a meaningless apostrophe in the middle of the word...

The cleric, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, denied that the latest uprising on the Arab street was simply part of the 'regularly-scheduled annual riot season'.

"Our previously-scheduled generic riots have been preempted by these special, issue-oriented violent mobs," he said. "Americans have nobody to blame but themselves for inflaming the passions of these peaceful religious people." -- Scrappleface.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

NeoconGate: The Movie

Reports say that the FBI will also charge Douglas Feith's boy Larry Franklin with having 83 classified documents in his house.

Wouldn't this make a great movie, the story of how a few poorly-paid but courageous and patriotic FBI agents try to root out espionage and treason despite the opposition to their investigation of everybody who is anybody in Washington D.C.?

Dana Milbank gives a cinematic depiction of the awesome clout of the leading opponent of the investigation, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in the Washington Post:

How much clout does AIPAC have?

Well, consider that during the pro-Israel lobby's annual conference yesterday, a fleet of police cars, sirens wailing, blocked intersections and formed a motorcade to escort buses carrying its conventioneers -- to lunch.

The annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has long produced a massive show of bipartisan pandering, as lawmakers praise the well-financed and well-connected group. But this has been a rough year for AIPAC -- it has dismissed its policy director and another employee while the FBI examines whether they passed classified U.S. information to Israel -- and the organization is eager to show how big it is....

Another fact sheet announced that this is the "largest ever" conference, with its 5,000 participants attending "the largest annual seated dinner in Washington" joined by "more members of Congress than almost any other event, except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union address." The group added that its membership "has nearly doubled" over four years to 100,000 and that the National Journal calls it "one of the top four most effective lobbying organizations."

"More," "most," "largest," "top": The superlatives continued, and deliberately. In his speech Sunday, the group's executive director, Howard Kohr, said the "record attendance" at the conference would dispel questions about AIPAC raised by the FBI investigation.

"This is a test, a test of our collective resolve," Kohr said of the "unique challenge" presented by the FBI probe, "and your presence here today sends a message to every adversary of Israel, AIPAC and the Jewish community that we are here, and here to stay." (The official text has two exclamation points after that sentence.) Kohr, without mentioning the fired staffers, told participants that "neither AIPAC nor any of its current employees is or ever has been the target."

As yesterday's session showed, the scandal isn't keeping the powerful from lining up to woo AIPAC. The morning brought Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the evening brought congressional leaders, and at a luncheon "debate" in between, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and informal administration foreign policy adviser Richard N. Perle tried to one-up each other in pro-Israel views.

I know! I'll call up and Dreamworks and get a meeting to pitch this movie idea. I'm sure they'll love it!

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

May 24, 2005



My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Asians in Canada vote Liberal

Combining two recent themes, here's a comment from "Matra" on the Majority Rights blog:

The situation in Canada may be of interest to some of you as most ethnic minorities here are Asian (the top 7 source countries for immigrants are all Asian) and when we talk about minorities in Canada we generally mean Chinese, Indian, Sri Lankan, etc.

In the last federal election (June 2004) the ruling left of centre Liberal Party once again managed to hold on to power (though with a minority government) mostly because the Conservative Party failed to make significant inroads in the metropolitan areas of Ontario, which have most of Canada’s immigrants. This despite a huge corruption scandal that caused the Liberals to lose a lot of its traditional support. Here are some observations about our election and immigrants (mostly Asians):

* Areas with more than a 20% immigrant population almost all went to the Liberals

* Every single Conservative Party seat in the Greater Toronto area was an area where fewer than 5% were ethnic minorities. I suspect it is also the case for the country as a whole.

* Even in metropolitan areas with a significant Asian vote, where support for the Liberal Party did decline, the main beneficiary was usually the socialistic NDP rather than the Conservative Party. With the exception of a couple of old trade union towns that was not the case in non-immigrant parts of English Canada where the Conservatives benefited from the Liberal decline.

* Unlike white Canadians there were no noticeable voting preferences based on class within the Asian communities. This despite the far greater importance these immigrants normally attach to class and status in other areas of life.

* As far as I know every single prominent political observer in Canada believes the Liberals last minute attacks on the Western/Albertan (ie white, “Anglo-Saxon”, evangelical, “redneck”,) character of the Conservative Party were DECISIVE in securing victory in metropolitan areas, especially Greater Toronto

* In provincial elections, which usually revolve around economic issues, the provincial level Conservative Party, does somewhat better in Asian immigrant areas, though not well enough to win the last election in 2003. It’s generally believed the Conservatives do better in provincial elections with Asians because Western Canada and all it conjures up (ie traditional white Christian Canada) is absent from the campaign.

* In French-speaking Quebec immigrants (more diverse and not quite as Asian dominated than the rest of Canada) voted for the party - almost always the Liberals - that was most likely to defeat the nationalistic Bloc Quebecois, which is supported almost exclusively by the ethnically French community.

Conclusion: Whether they are in English or French Canada immigrants from Asia and elsewhere, no matter what their economic status, nationality or religion is, overwhelmingly vote against the party they perceive to be most representative of the traditional majority culture of the part of Canada in which they live.

You might think that Canada would be one of the least corrupt political systems in the world, but as it became officially bicultural and now multicultural, it has descended into the gross Tammany Hall machine corruption of the AdScam scandal. The difference between Tammany Hall and Canada's Liberal regime, however, is that you could criticize Tammany Hall but you couldn't point out that the Liberal government was corruptly buying off French and immigrant votes without being very recently, criticizing the Liberals for their corruption wasn't allowed because that would be "racist."

A reader comments:

Why Asians are liberal in the Bay Area.

1. They want to fit in in the community so the Asian business community kisses-up to the politicians..who are liberal, the people follow the business community as to who to support and vote for (this especially describes San Francisco). When it comes to business they want a winner, who will almost always be a Democrat in the Bay Area. Confirm's your Blue state theory. They live in blue state and look to others to who to vote for. I see the Asian business community driving it a lot.

That makes a lot of sense: path dependency. If you do business in the Bay Area, LA, or NYC (where a large plurality of Asian voters live), it makes sense to join the local political ruling class, which is Democratic.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

May 23, 2005

"Vibrant" = Cant

Have you noticed that whenever some writer uses the words "vibrant" or "vibrancy," he is almost guaranteed to be yanking your chain? It's just like how for so many years the phrase "in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate" always preceded utter bilge.
Through the magic of Google, I found that I have published the word "vibrant" (in a non-mocking sense) once, for which I profoundly apologize to all my readers.
In contrast, Google says that the Wall Street Journal's has used "vibrant" 84 times. Here are some examples I gleaned from Google without subjecting myself to actually reading these WSJ opinion pieces:
"...President Bush is determined to keep the dynamism vibrant, and to encourage and empower the poor to take part in it, rather than to suggest they are ..."
To use "keep the dynamism vibrant" and "empower the poor" in one sentence, hoo boy, that's some fancy writin'! (By the way, what kind of "dynamism" is not "vibrant?" "Listless dynamism?" "Lethargic vibrancy?")
"... The Iraq I saw was a society on the move, a vibrant land with a hardy people experiencing the first heady taste of freedom..."

... and that is to reveal Baghdad as it truly is, a vibrant city, able and ready to welcome the world business community, ...
So, when your windows rattle in Baghdad, that's not a car bomb or IED going off, that's just the local vibrancy manifesting itself.

Back home in the USA, things are a-quivering, too:
... The new creative class craves a vibrant nightlife, outdoor sports facilities and neighborhoods vibrant with street ...

... We have a vibrant Islamic community of emigrants from across the world. ...

... Like California, New York City can boast a vibrant immigrant community and is a magnet for ...
Whenever I read about "vibrant immigrant neighborhoods," I wonder exactly which ones has the writer has been to, if any. Come to the vast immigrant neighborhoods of the San Fernando Valley and check out the vibrancy: there isn't any. They're boring, tacky, and low-brow. There's no culture beyond the video store. It was like that before, too, but 35 years ago we expected the place to improve a little with time, not regress.
And sometimes the political is personal:
But as times have changed, so have I. Today, as the father of two stunning daughters, and husband of a vibrant, sexy and successful wife who has ...
Perhaps this gentleman's vibrant wife will induct her stunning daughters into the intimate secrets of personal vibration and soon all three will be happily vibrating away.

Watching Foreign DVD's with the Sound Off

My wife was trying to fall asleep while I was watching the rip-snorting Brazilian gangster movie "City of God," so I turned the sound off. Hey, it's in Portuguese, so I'll just read the subtitles, right? No problem.

Well, it turned out to be a big problem because with the sound off, I could hear the voice in my head reading the subtitles ... and I'm a terrible actor.

I provided about as persuasive line readings as Rick Moranis did in that scene in Mel Brooks's "Star Wars" parody "Spaceballs," where, as the Darth Vader-character Dark Helmet, Moranis is playing with his Spaceballs action figures, doing both voices;

Dark Helmet: [In Dark Helmet voice] And now Princess Vespa, I have you in my clutches, to have my wicked way with you, the way I want to.

[In Vespa voice]: No, no, go away, I hate you! And yet... I find you strangely attractive.

[In D.H. voice]: Of course you do! Druish princesses are often attracted to money and power, and I have both, and you *know* it!

[In V. voice]: No, no, leave me alone!

[In D.H. voice]: No, kiss me.

[In V. voice]: Oh, oh, oh! Ohhhh, your helmet is so big!

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The End of Canada?

As you may (or may not) have heard, the ruling Liberal party trashed Canada's constitution by failing to call for new elections after it lost a vote of confidence (and then lost a few more votes). Instead, it stalled unconstitutionally until Prime Minister Paul Martin was able to pay off Conservative MP (and former Bill Clinton girlfriend) Belinda Stronach to switch to the Liberal Party in return for the most patronage-rich Cabinet post.

Colby Cosh notes:

What's not arguable is that the delay imposed last week on a formal non-confidence vote in the House of Commons has now--with the balance of power in the House teetering on the razor's edge--visibly become a banana-republic power tactic. Michael Bliss, who has forgotten more Canadian history than most of us know, wrote thus in the National Post on Saturday:

Canadians ought to realize that this week's breakdown of their Parliament is far more serious than any of the thuggish revelations from the Gomery commission. As of this weekend, we are in the historically unprecedented situation of having a Prime Minister who is clinging to office by recklessly disregarding the fundamental principles of our democracy. It is a shocking act of proto-tyranny, which justifies the extreme resort of intervention by the Governor-General.

The Ambler laments:

There is a great deal of ruin in a nation—but not an infinite amount. And by 19 May 2005, it could no longer be denied that Canada was used up, sucked dry, finished. On this day, the Liberals effaced the last vestige of Parliamentary sovereignty and destroyed thereby what little remained of Canada's legitimacy, legal and moral. On this day, the Liberals revealed the condition to which they—and their Mulroneyite Conservative allies—had reduced Canada. After this day, it can no longer be denied that ours is a gangster state whose sole animating principles are bribery, blackmail and theft. Whose sole remaining purpose is to continue pumping the lifeblood that provides vampiric sustenance to the Liberal Party, its oligarchic masters and its parasitic rainbow coalition that marches to the polls on election days, delighted to have traded our birthright for a mess of social programs.

Let the Liberals laugh. They'll be crying soon enough. That they have defiled everything noble about this country is of no account in English Canada, but the Québécois nation, a once phantom polity fomented by Liberal cynics as the most successful of its bribery-blackmail schemes, has become a real nation and has developed a self-respect that English Canadians can only envy. The Québécois will not forget Adscam; they will not forgive their humiliation at the hands of capo Chrétien and capo Martin. The Parti Québécois will be returned to power by 2008. It will call a third and final sovereignty referendum: neither money, the ethnic vote or the furious efforts of the quisling federalist class will prevent a Yes vote this time.

And that will be the formal end of Canada. The Liberals will demand we weep, but those of us who knew and loved the Old Canada will have no tears left. We wept when the Liberals—and their Mulroneyite Conservative allies—traduced, then trashed our British tradition. When it was demanded we "forget the Plains of Abraham."

We wept when Canada was declared first bicultural, then multicultural. When millions of fractious colonists were imported here, when it was it demanded we change our ways to protect their feelings, when New Canadian became synonymous with Better Canadian. When millions of native Canadians were made strangers in their own land and official discrimination became the price of being a member of the visible majority. When terrorism was introduced here and when our politicians rushed to succour the terrorists. [More]

The people of Canada would certainly have been better off breaking up a few decades ago rather than letting Trudeau placate Quebec by destroying British Canada as a nation-state.

Canada only seems boring. It's actually an important country where some dramatic and rather sinister processes have played out in slow motion. Although Canada's British-descended residents are as good citizens as you could want, Canada's transformation into a bicultural, and now multicultural state has inevitably reduced its politics to the kind of Tammany Hall machine politics that you found in multicultural immigrant cities in the U.S. If you want to understand Canada, Peter Brimelow's mid-80s book "The Patriot Game" remains essential.

The die was cast during the Trudeau Era. Since then the Liberal Government continues to fight secession by promising lots of tax money and breaks to Quebec, and by pushing bilingualism in British Canada while allowing Quebec to run a de facto monolingual province. This is a form of affirmative action for Francophones, who are much more likely to qualify for government jobs requiring bilingualism than are Anglophones. (Here's my UPI article on how bilingualism works against English-speaking Canada). Also, the Liberals import lots of immigrants, some of whom end up in Montreal and vote against secession since they don't want to live in a Francophone country. Quebec has some controls over immigration directly into its province from abroad, giving preference to people from Francophone countries, but just enough of the vast numbers of immigrants imported into Ontario filtered into Quebec to barely defeat secession in the last referendum a decade ago.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

May 22, 2005

Book Ideas:

Thanks for all the ideas for which book I should write first and keep them coming! Here's one from somebody with a close-in perspective"

Don't think of the book as hitting much more of a target than one of your articles. Many nonfiction thought/policy books (of the popular rather than academic kind, anyway) these days are essentially expansions of snazzy articles -- readily-identifiable topic, great angle, a couple of terrifically catchy phrases. "The Tipping Point." "South Park Republicans." "The Long Tail." Crunchy Cons. Bobos. One thing -- of course, one thing that has enough validity so readers actually say, "Hey, yeah, I notice that too!"-- that you can get people talking about for five minutes.

It's sad that this is what most bookwriting has become. But it isn't dumb -- it's one of the few ways a book (and a book author) can poke through the media fog for a few minutes. The key realistic thing to understand is that your goal is to get people talking about the book -- which means that you want reviews, features and interviews, and to get those you have to have that one resonant thing that'll give the writers and interviewers an easy 10 second pitch. Ah, I get it -- and then they've snagged their readership. Most of these books have more of a life as a media event than they do as traditional books.

There's a certain kind of book that creates a terrific stir in the press but that doesn't actually sell very well... But that's OK for the author -- he got his advance, he's now a book author, and he's got the cred you get from 1) getting a book published and 2) getting your topic and your angle taken seriously and chatted about. That can turn into lectures, panel appearances, etc -- which often means more money than the book, as well as an elevated stature. You're no longer a wannabe (so far as the game goes), you've arrived. And that has its benefits.

The superkey thing to avoid is thinking of a book as a place where you put it all -- all your observations and thoughts. No one wants that, at least not in a commercial sense. It'd be a lovely monument to your genius, but the publisher (and the public) could care less.

Important to remember that there are multiple levels of sales going on. You have to sell your idea to your agent. The agent has to sell it to an editor. That editor has to sell it to her boss. Both of them have to sell it to their sales force and their publicity staff. The sales and p-r people have to sell it to the bookstores and the press. Eventually everyone hopes to reach the public. Two points: publishing a book is a long process. And, because there are so many levels of sales involved (and because there's so much media fog out there), you pretty much *have* to polish your subject and your angle on it to a real sharp gleam. You don't want your book to be a nonstarter, just because you feel you have more to say.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Invasion of the Pod People:

Earlier this week, after longtime National Review Corner stalwart John Derbyshire mentioned a Pat Buchanan column, he was thuggishly warned by newcomer/hack/neocon enforcer John Podhoretz:

OH, DERB, DERB, DERB... [John Podhoretz]
...Beware praising those who have placed themselves outside the bounds of civil discourse. Really.
Posted at
11:53 AM

Today, the Derb responded:

HE MUCH BETTER NOW [John Derbyshire]
A lot of readers want to know how I'm getting on at the re-education camp. It's great! The food is terrific! We have games and stuff, and the nurses are really kind. I've learned a lot from the group sessions, too. You can be sure I shall never again give an approving mention to... Ow! Where do these electric shocks come from?

Posted at 12:08 PM

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Standard of Living by State:

Here's a table of the monetary standard of living by state, as calculated by median income for a family of four divided by the Accra's cost of living index. Minnesota has the highest standard of living, at least in terms of things money can buy (i.e., not weather). At the bottom are Washington D.C., Hawaii and California. Although Democrats tend to live in higher income states, they also live in higher cost of living states, so there is little correlation between a states monetary standard of living and its voting pattern.

By the way, author Thomas Frank has gotten a lot of mileage out of his book "What's the Matter with Kansas?" in which he contends that social conservative Republicans are exploited by wealthy Republicans. The rich right get from their alliance with the religious right the tax cuts they want, but the religious right don't get bans on abortion, pornography, etc. I think there's some truth to that, but considering that Kansas comes out with the 7th highest monetary standard of living out of the 49 states measured, it would appear that the overall answer to his question is "Not Much."

Median Income Family of 4 Cost of Living Index Standard of Living
Minnesota $77 100 $76
Illinois $72 99 $73
Wisconsin $69 95 $73
Colorado $72 101 $71
Delaware $73 103 $71
Missouri $64 91 $70
Kansas $64 92 $70
Virginia $72 103 $69
Ohio $66 95 $69
Indiana $65 94 $69
Iowa $64 94 $69
Pennsylvania $69 101 $68
Georgia $62 91 $68
Nebraska $64 93 $68
Connecticut $86 127 $68
Michigan $69 101 $68
Utah $62 92 $67
Washington $69 104 $67
Massachusetts $83 126 $66
Maryland $82 126 $65
New Jersey $87 134 $65
North Dakota $57 92 $62
South Dakota $59 95 $62
Tennessee $55 90 $62
Texas $55 89 $61
Alabama $55 93 $60
North Carolina $57 96 $59
South Carolina $56 95 $59
Florida $59 100 $58
Kentucky $53 91 $58
Oregon $62 107 $58
Vermont $66 114 $58
Idaho $53 94 $57
Arizona $58 103 $57
Oklahoma $50 89 $56
Nevada $63 112 $56
New York $69 124 $56
Alaska $72 129 $56
Arkansas $48 87 $56
Rhode Island $71 128 $56
Wyoming $56 102 $55
Louisiana $51 97 $52
Mississippi $47 91 $51
West Virginia $46 92 $50
Montana $49 98 $50
New Mexico $46 101 $45
California $68 151 $45
Hawaii $71 162 $44
District of Columbia $56 145 $39
Maine $60 NA
New Hampshire $79 NA


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer