February 16, 2008

Unaffordable Family Formation in the Islamic World

The NYT reports on how the rising age of marriage in Middle Eastern countries contributes to the rising Islamic fervor.

CAIRO — The concrete steps leading from Ahmed Muhammad Sayyid’s first-floor apartment sag in the middle, worn down over time, like Mr. Sayyid himself. Once, Mr. Sayyid had a decent job and a chance to marry. But his fiancée’s family canceled the engagement because after two years, he could not raise enough money to buy an apartment and furniture.

Mr. Sayyid spun into depression and lost nearly 40 pounds. For months, he sat at home and focused on one thing: reading the Koran. Now, at 28, with a diploma in tourism, he is living with his mother and working as a driver for less than $100 a month. With each of life’s disappointments and indignities, Mr. Sayyid has drawn religion closer.

Here in Egypt and across the Middle East, many young people are being forced to put off marriage, the gateway to independence, sexual activity and societal respect. Stymied by the government’s failure to provide adequate schooling and thwarted by an economy without jobs to match their abilities or aspirations, they are stuck in limbo between youth and adulthood.

Egypt has lots of education but few seem to learn any skills worth paying for:

Mr. Sayyid’s path to stalemate began years ago, in school.

Like most Egyptians educated in public schools, his course of study was determined entirely by grades on standardized tests. He was not a serious student, often skipping school, but scored well enough to go on to an academy, something between high school and a university. He was put in a five-year program to study tourism and hotel operations.

Five years "studying" tourism?

His diploma qualified him for little but unemployment. Education experts say that while Egypt has lifted many citizens out of illiteracy, its education system does not prepare young people for work in the modern world. Nor, according to a recent Population Council report issued in Cairo, does its economy provide enough well-paying jobs to allow many young people to afford marriage.

Egypt’s education system was originally devised to produce government workers under a compact with society forged in the heady early days of President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s administration in the late 1950s and ’60s.

Every graduate was guaranteed a government job, and peasant families for the first time were offered the prospect of social mobility through education. Now children of illiterate peasant farmers have degrees in engineering, law or business. The dream of mobility survives, but there are not enough government jobs for the floods of graduates. And many are not qualified for the private sector jobs that do exist, government and business officials said, because of their poor schooling. Business students often never touch a computer, for example.

On average, it takes several years for graduates to find their first job, in part because they would rather remain unemployed than work in a blue-collar factory position. It is considered a blow to family honor for a college graduate to take a blue-collar job, leaving large numbers of young people with nothing to do.

It's not totally clear why all this contributes to increased Islamic fanaticism, other than that's what they always seem to do over there when they have a problem: get more fanatical.

Marriage also plays on important financial role for families and the community. Often the only savings families acquire over a lifetime is the money for their children to marry, and handing it over amounts to an intergenerational transfer of wealth.

It's not clear from this what "the money for their children to marry" is for -- presumably, some mixture of a home, furnishings, and a fancy wedding ceremony.

But marriage is so expensive now, the system is collapsing in many communities. Diane Singerman, a professor at American University, said that a 1999 survey found that marriage in Egypt cost about $6,000, 11 times annual household expenditures per capita. Five years later, a study found the price had jumped 25 percent more. In other words, a groom and his father in the poorest segment of society had to save their total income for eight years to afford a wedding, she reported.

The result is delayed marriages across the region. A generation ago, 63 percent of Middle Eastern men in their mid- to late 20s were married, according to recent study by the Wolfensohn Center for Development at the Brookings Institution and the Dubai School of Government. That figure has dropped to nearly 50 percent across the region, among the lowest rates of marriage in the developing world, the report said. In Iran, for example, 38 percent of the 25- to 29-year-old men are not married, one of the largest pools of unattached males in Iranian history. In Egypt, the average age at which men now marry is 31.

Egypt's population is now 80 million and growing 1.7% per year. It's three times the size of New Mexico, but only 0.5% of the land (i.e., the banks of the Nile) are devoted to permanent crops.

The Egyptian total fertility rate is down to 2.77 babies per woman per lifetime, so Egypt's population problem, which looks rather like a classic Malthusian trap, is slowly being resolved by the classic Malthusian method of delayed marriage and strict controls against illegitimacy leading to fewer births, just as in England before the Industrial Revolution. Of course, 2008 is after the Industrial Revolution, so you'd think they could come up with something better.

The only good idea the government has come up with is to cut down on the cost of wedding ceremonies by turning them into a mass production operation, like high school graduations:

In Egypt and in other countries, like Saudi Arabia, governments help finance mass weddings, because they are concerned about the destabilizing effect of so many men and women who can not afford to marry.

The mass weddings are hugely festive, with couples, many in their late 30s and 40s, allowed to invite dozens of family members and friends. ... The couples were ferried to an open-air stadium in 75 cars donated by local people. They were greeted by a standing-room-only, roaring crowd, flashing neon lights, traditional music, the local governor and a television celebrity who served as the master of ceremonies for the event.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

February 15, 2008

"Value Voters"

My big "Value Voters" article summarizing my theory that the affordability of family formation is what drove states to vote Republican or Democrat in both the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections, the famous Red State -Blue State gap, is now online at The American Conservative. Readers who have been with me since 2004-2005 won't find too much that's wholly new in it, but the purpose is to summarize years of research that has dribbled out across a dozen articles and blog postings in one accessible essay.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

"There Will Be Blood"

Here's my full review of the Oscar Best Picture nominee in The American Conservative:

"There Will Be Blood"

No movie of 2007 sounded more promising than "There Will Be Blood," which stars the titanic Daniel Day-Lewis in a loose adaptation of Upton Sinclair's 1927 roman a clef novel about prospector Edward L. Doheny, Oil!

In 1893, Doheny sank the first oil well in Los Angeles, digging 155 feet down by hand. His oil discoveries all over California and Mexico (where he employed a private army of 6,000), enabled him to give his son the most imposing house in California south of William Randolph Hearst's San Simeon, Greystone, a 55-room Beverly Hills mansion with a private bowling alley (where the last scene of "There Will Be Blood" was filmed).

During the Harding Administration, however, Doheny, a Democrat (but an open-minded one), became entangled in the Teapot Dome scandal. After receiving a no-bid contract to drill on Navy lands, he sent his son and son's secretary with a "loan" of $100,000 in cash to Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall.

Outraged, the muckraking socialist Sinclair wrote a verbose but well-researched novel about oil, "the black and cruel demon," leavened with some surprisingly affectionate depictions of the old rascal. If Sinclair had waited two more years, though, he would have had the perfect climax. In 1929, having been acquitted of conspiracy, Doheny was still facing trial on bribing Fall, when his son and his son's secretary, both potential witnesses, died at Greystone in a murder-suicide. Who had murdered whom? The police quickly blamed the underling and the newspapers went along.

The Doheny affair was not forgotten, however, by a Los Angeles oil industry executive named Raymond Chandler. When he drank himself out of a job in 1932, Chandler tried writing detective fiction. The ambiguous Greystone killings became the archetype for Philip Marlowe's cases, with Doheny Sr. perhaps the inspiration for the dying General Sternwood who hires Marlowe to launch The Big Sleep.

It would be hard to go wrong with source material this vivid, and harder still with Daniel Day-Lewis (Butcher Bill in "Gangs of New York") as the oilman. This is only the eighth movie Day-Lewis has appeared in since he won the 1989 Best Actor Oscar for "My Left Foot," in which he played an angry Irish slum lad so disabled by cerebral palsy that he can't speak, yet who becomes a famous painter and writer using the only part of his body he can control.

Day-Lewis claims he felt like a discriminated-against outsider growing up in England because of his half-Irish and half-Jewish ancestry. In reality, his Protestant Irish father, C. Day-Lewis, was the Poet Laureate of England, while his Jewish grandfather, Sir Michael Balcon, was the head of England's most beloved movie studio, Ealing, when Alec Guinness made his comedies. Day-Lewis's combination of English privileged-class panache and American Method Acting self-absorbed intensity has made him possibly the most formidable of all contemporary screen presences.

And, in the hands of the Bard of Studio City, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, maker of such memorable San Fernando Valley-obsessed films as "Boogie Nights" and "Punch-Drunk Love," "There Will Be Blood" had the potential to displace "Chinatown" as the Southern California period masterpiece.

Yet … despite a handful of great scenes, the strangely apolitical "There Will Be Blood" turns out to be just another movie about movies. Anderson entrances the critics with countless references to film school staples such as "Citizen Kane." For example, Day-Lewis's mid-Atlantic accent is lifted from John Huston's villainous tycoon in "Chinatown," which in turn points to Huston's classic about greedy prospectors, "Treasure of the Sierra Madre." The ominous, annoying orchestral score by Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood is nearly identical to György Ligeti's buzzing insect music used by Stanley Kubrick in "2001." Indeed, by the (perhaps intentionally) comic conclusion, the oilman has devolved into "2001's" ape-man, clubbing someone's head in, although with a bowling pin rather than a bone.

Regrettably, there's not enough to entertain the non-cinephile during the abstract, glum, and static first two hours. Have you ever had that nightmare where you are back in a college on Final Exam day, but you haven't read a word all semester? I wonder if Anderson similarly woke up and realized he had made 120 minutes of a movie starring the world's greatest actor, but had barely given him anything to do. Whatever the explanation, the last 40 minutes suddenly consist of Day-Lewis overacting shamelessly. It's silly, but at least it's lively.

Rated a soft R mostly for art house cred.


If you sit through the whole thing, make sure to stick around through the credits to hear the tremendous third movement of Brahms's Violin Concerto, which will make you feel a lot better on the walk to the parking lot. I have no idea what Brahms's Violin Concerto has to do with anything else in the "There Will Be Blood," but I have no idea what anything in the movie has to do with anything else in it.

On World Socialist Web Site, David Walsh offers more details on just how badly Paul Thomas Anderson blew it by draining all the politics (and most of the realism and rationality) out of Upton Sinclair's novel. It's quite helpful to read something written from such an old-fashioned leftist point of view (in contrast to contemporary leftism, which is all about status-seeking).

Why did I like Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love" so much, yet was so frustrated by "There Will Be Blood," when they were both highly irrational depictions of mentally unbalanced characters?

It's not that I knew the real story of Edward L. Doheny when I saw the movie and was frustrated that Anderson left out all the best parts. I'd been to his son's mansion, which is now a park, and knew sci-fi writer Larry Niven was descended from Doheny, But I wasn't aware of Doheny's connections to Teapot Dome, the murder-suicide in Greystone, or how the case inspired Raymond Chandler. I may act like a know-it-all in my movie reviews as I fill in the background on whatever the movie is about, but I'm really just looking stuff up on Google a few hours before deadline. (Why almost no other professional critics ever use, oh, say, Wikipedia to find out anything about the subjects of the movies they review is beyond me.)

No, I'd looked forward to the movie, saw it, didn't think the sum of the parts was equal to its impressive pieces. Then, I went home, read parts of Sinclair's novel, and then looked up the real Doheny story, and was amazed by how much more cinematic was the true story than was than the plot of the film.

In "Punch-Drunk Love," Adam Sandler's character isn't quite right in the head, and you feel his pain. You watch, almost from within his head, how his mental illness messes up his career and his personal life and feel sorry for the poor bastard. You rejoice when he finds true love at the end, even though you know it's just a fairy tale. (Among many other implausibilities, Sandler has seven sisters and he must do battle with four brothers.)

In contrast, the Daniel Day-Lewis character's insanity doesn't seem to be related to anything. It doesn't prevent him from getting incredibly rich, but it doesn't seem to help him either. His madness just suddenly manifests itself whenever he's in the presence of this one guy he hates for no particular reason.

Also, please do see Kevin Michael Grace's short, witty reviews of this film and two other Best Picture contenders, "Juno" and "No Country for Old Men."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Stuff whiterpeople like

An anonymous commenter offers a terminological suggestion that gets to the competitive white-versus-white heart of the people described in StuffWhitePeopleLike.com:
I vote for calling them whiterpeople instead of whitepeople. Then we could say "That's mighty whiter of you," etc.

Plus it would google better.

Speaking of the perils of family formation among whiterpeople, see "Parent Shock: Children Are Not Decor."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

What's the deal with McCain's face?

Readers have pointed out to me that there's this ... thing on McCain's left cheek, and have wondered whether his skin cancer has come back.

I'm hoping it's just scar tissue left over from one of his two earlier struggles with melanoma. When my six cycles of chemotherapy for lymphatic cancer were over in 1997, the CAT scan showed that where once had been the tumor, which had been the size of a Polish sausage, there was something still there a little smaller than one of those cocktail weiners you eat from toothpicks at receptions.

"Give me a couple more blasts of chemo, Doc! I'm tough, I can take it," I whimpered.

"No, don't worry about it, it could be just scar tissue," he said.

"How can I not worry about it?"

But, it was just scar tissue. (Knock on wood.)

Still, it would be nice if the media occasionally explained what that thing on the Presidential candidate's face was. They write so many zillion words about the Presidential election, but so few of them seem to have much bearing on obvious questions we should be asking candidates.

I suppose I could call up from Google Images, say, fifty pictures of McCain's face over the last seven years to do a statistically valid study of whether or not the thing is changing in size (or if it occasionally shifts to the right side of his face, like Marty Feldman's hump in "Young Frankenstein"), but that would require me to look at 50 pictures of McCain's face, so, to hell with it.

UPDATE: To be serious, the problem with the left side of his face apparently goes back to his nine-hour surgery after his 2000 campaign. Worried about cancer, the doctors took out a lot of lymph nodes and some muscle too.

Speaking of McCain's face, a reader writes:

And what is the deal with his cheeks? His face seems to have settled, like semi-melted jell-o, and he's got two little face love-handles bulging grossly, possibly anomalistically, to 3 and 9 o'clock. I write as an expert on jowls as mine form a perfect O-ring about my ever-diminishing head, as if I'm wearing a NASCAR tire.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Has there ever been a year when so few people were interested in the upcoming Academy Awards? If they had canceled the show due to the writers' strike, would anybody have noticed?

Here's my full review from The American Conservative of "Atonement," which is nominated for Best Picture. However, it's not nominated for Best Director, so it's unlikely to win. That fifth Best Director nod went instead to "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," which would be a lock for the Worst Title Oscar. (My review of "Diving Bell" [which, by the way, is a mistranslation of a French word that means something else] will be out in The American Conservative this weekend.) Anyway, with that exciting build-up, here's my review of "Atonement:"

Many successful date movies, such as "Casablanca" and "Gone with the Wind," have combined a love story for the ladies with a war for the gentlemen. With his 2001 bestseller Atonement, the immensely clever Ian McEwan pulled off the novelistic equivalent, pasting together a scandalous country house romance and the Fall of France. The film version is a likely nominee for the Best Picture Oscar because it's yet another purported attack on the English class system that actually revels in gorgeous Period Porn.

McEwan constructed his book not only for both sexes, but also for the middle and upper brows. For the book-buying masses, Atonement delivers a pre-modern melodramatic plot, and for the critics, a post-modern self-conscious commentary on the novelist's privileges and responsibilities.

One dark night in 1935, Briony, a writing-obsessed 13-year-old rich girl, briefly glimpses a tuxedoed man ravishing her sultry 15-year-old cousin Lola. A budding novelist eager to connect the dots, Briony leaps to the conclusion that the statutory rapist is the housekeeper's son, Robbie, the ardent new lover of her older sister Cecilia. (Robbie is played by James McAvoy, the callow doctor in "The Last King of Scotland," and Cecilia by the bony beauty Keira Knightley of "The Pirates of the Caribbean.") The more often Briony tells her story to the police, the more she almost believes it.

Five years later, the wronged Robbie is out of prison and in the defeated British Expeditionary Force, trudging toward the beach at Dunkirk, hoping to return finally to the still-waiting Cecilia. Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Briony pens a novella about the 1935 incident in the style of Virginia Woolf, full of fine writing about "light and stone and water" but no action, and sends it to the literary magazine Horizon. Its real-life editor Cyril Connolly, whom Evelyn Waugh often skewered in his books, replies with a kind rejection note, gently pointing out that even the "most sophisticated readers … retain a childlike desire to be told a story, to be held in suspense, to know what happens." McEwan himself told an interviewer that Atonement is an attack on "modernism and its dereliction of duty in relation to what I have Cyril Connolly call 'the backbone of the plot.'"

Briony struggles with this manuscript (and her guilt) for the rest of her life, completing it only in 1999. In the coda, a TV interview with the 77-year-old Briony (now played, majestically as always, by Vanessa Redgrave), we learn that the story we've just watched is her 21st but most autobiographical book. The elder Briony explains that the happy ending, however, in which her younger self confesses her perjury to the reunited lovers and to the world, is her invention, a respite for her readers from the truth that Robbie died at Dunkirk and Cecilia was soon killed in the Blitz. At the end, Briony wonders, "How can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God?"

"Atonement" the movie is such a faithful adaptation of the book that it never seems to occur to screenwriter Christopher Hampton and director Joe Wright that a film about a novelist playing God is an oxymoron. Authors can act like deities in their pages, but once they sell the film rights, they're impotent demiurges.

These filmmakers, though, are too in awe of McEwan's metafiction to notice that the storyline glass is both half-full and half-empty. It's swell that a vaunted master of contempo lit-fic has gone slumming enough to offer us proles a dramatic plot; but projected 50-feet high on the screen, McEwan's concoction doesn't make all that much sense.

Briony's lie is so shaky that we're expecting to see next a lurid courtroom donnybrook, complete with, say, a jailhouse wedding and witnesses breaking down in tears on the stand a la Perry Mason. McEwan, however, having ineptly plotted himself into a corner, simply skips ahead a half decade and ushers in World War II to distract us. (And all that McEwan has to say then is that war is a Dantean inferno, something that William Tecumseh Sherman said earlier and better.)

And if "Atonement" is about the power of fiction to harm and heal, what's the point of having the lovers die in the war? Correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression has always been that WWII wasn't actually the fault of a 13-year-old girl with an over-active imagination. It was Hitler's fault.

Rated R for disturbing war images, language, and some sexuality.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

February 14, 2008



Stuff white people like ... #62 Knowing What's Best for Poor People

White people spend a lot of time of worrying about poor people. It takes up a pretty significant portion of their day.

They feel guilty and sad that poor people shop at Wal*Mart instead of Whole Foods, that they vote Republican instead of Democratic, that they go to Community College/get a job instead of studying art at a University.

It is a poorly guarded secret that, deep down, white people believe if given money and education that all poor people would be EXACTLY like them. In fact, the only reason that poor people make the choices they do is because they have not been given the means to make the right choices and care about the right things.

A great way to make white people feel good is to tell them about situations where poor people changed how they were doing things because they were given the ‘whiter’ option. “Back in my old town, people used to shop at Wal*Mart and then this non-profit organization came in and set up a special farmers co-op so that we could buy more local produce, and within two weeks the Wal*Mart shut down and we elected our first Democratic representative in 40 years.” White people will first ask which non-profit and are they hiring? After that, they will be filled with euphoria and will invite you to more parties to tell this story to their friends, so that they can feel great.

But it is ESSENTIAL that you reassert that poor people do not make decisions based on free will. That news could crush white people and their hope for the future.

The term "white people" is implicitly defined on stuffwhitepeoplelike.com as whites who are obsessed with winning status struggles over other whites. I like the idea of having a term that refers precisely to the group so deftly skewered on stuffwhitepeoplelike.com. Perhaps whitepeople, with no space, as in the middle part of the URL, would be a useful term.


Speaking of stuff whitepeople like, Slate.com justifies its existence with this article.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

February 13, 2008

Nobody Knows Nothin'

All these discussions of the important but mysterious topic of what kind of President Barack Obama would turn out to be remind me of how hard it is to forecast anything about the intersection of politics and personalities.

For example, I just stumbled upon this extraordinary example of how the leading men of the age can't see even months into the future. It's a 1910 book review from the New York Times of a biography of Porfirio Diaz, the 80-year-old dictator of Mexico, who had ruled it most of the time since the 1870s, during which period Mexico enjoyed civil stability and technological progress. It features a symposium of 200 leading men of America and Canada praising Diaz to the skies.
PORFIRIO DIAZ OF MEXICO; The Life and Work of the Master -- Builder of a Great Commonwealth Set Forth in an Entertaining New Volume by Jose F. Godoy.

March 19, 1910, Saturday

Section: The New York Times SATURDAY REVIEW OF BOOKS, Page BR1, 1504 words

PORFIRIO DIAZ, President of the Mexican Republic, should be a very happy man, for he not only enjoys the ardent admiration of the civilized world but knows he has fairly earned, it. No public servant ever had more perfect reward, than his, and no public servant ever was more deserving. It would be hard to exaggerate his deserts, so great and wonderful have been the results of his life's work for his country. ... The well-informed person knows that nobody can write about Diaz with praising him in generous phrases.

For example, Elihu Root, Teddy Roosevelt's Secretary of State and winner of the 1912 Nobel Peace Prize, said:
"It has seemed to me that of all the men now living, President Porfirio Diaz was best worth seeing ... I look to Porfirio Diaz, the President of Mexico, as one of the greatest men to be held up for the hero worship of mankind."

The book review continues:
That is the common view of those who have contributed to Mr. Godoy's symposium, and undoubtedly that is the view the world taes of the great Mexican. Mr [Andrew] Carnegie [steelman and philanthropist] thinks Diaz is perhaps the greatest of all those who stand as the heads of nations, 'for,' he remarks, 'he is at once the Moses and Joshua of his people.' ...

He has held the office continuously since [1884], and if nothing unforeseen takes place will be re-elected for a term of six years in the coming July. ... Mr. Godoy believes the republic is now in such a state of prosperity and enlightenment that there need to be no fear of its backsliding. He is confident the days of revolution and civil war will never return.

The punchline is that later that same year, 1910, the Mexican Revolution broke out after Diaz cheated to win re-election and jailed his opponent. The next year, Diaz fled to exile in France. The Revolution raged for most of the decade and killed between one and two million people.

Perhaps a general rule can be extracted from this, however: Presidents-for-Life should try not to live too long.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Do lie detectors work?

There's a TV game show on now where they hook contestants to a lie detector machine and ask them personal questions.

Do lie detector machines actually work? Or do they work only on people who are innocent most of the time, but are no use on the kind of sociopaths who commit most crimes? Or are they basically just an intimidating prop that can assist somebody who is good at asking questions to break down somebody who is good at lying? (I suppose I could watch the show and see if that helps answer my question, but that would require me to break my rule of not watching more than three minutes of TV at a time.)

Similarly, have there been any advancements in polygraph technology in decades? I haven't heard of any. Kind of makes you wonder ...

In contrast, in the mid-1890s, my Swiss grandfather was a delivery boy for an optical glass company. One of his customers was physicist W.C. Roentgen, who was using the tubes my grandfather trundled in to invent the X-ray machine, for which he won the first Nobel prize. (Later, my grandfather, knowing a good thing when he saw it, became an international X-ray machine salesman.) The point of this digression is that scanning the inside of the body really works, so they keep inventing new scanners: x-rays, then CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans. What about polygraphs?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

February 12, 2008

New Australian PM offers apology to Aborigines (but no money)

And, no, they they don't get their continent back, either.

But, that's not the point. The point is that all the white folks in Australian politics feel really good about themselves today. The Washington Post reports:

In a historic vote that supporters said would open a new chapter in Australian race relations, lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously adopted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's motion to apologize to Aborigines on behalf of all citizens. ...

The apology is directed at tens of thousands of Aborigines who were forcibly taken from their families as children under assimilation policies that were not abandoned until the middle of the last century. ...

The apology ends years of divisive debate and a decade of refusals by the conservative government that lost November's elections.

Rudd received a standing ovation from lawmakers and from scores of Aborigines and dignitaries invited to witness the event. Many wiped away tears.

Rudd ruled out compensation, however ...

This popular "Stolen Generations" topic was the subject of Philip Noyce's acclaimed 2002 movie "Rabbit-Proof Fence" about three half-white girls in the 1930s who are forcibly taken from their loving, caring Aboriginal communities by a racist Australian official (played by Kenneth Branagh) and put into boarding schools, from which they run away to go back home by following Australia's long rabbit-proof fence that divides agricultural land from waste land..

What possible reason besides genocidal racism might Australian authorities have had for taking children away from the custody of their Aboriginal mothers?

Obviously, none whatsoever. Don't even think about anything you've ever learned about the home life of Aborigines. Force yourself not to think the word Alchoholism. Don't think about why Britney Spears lost custody of her children, either. That had to be pure racism, too.

If any explanation other than racial genocide even flits across your mind, then you're a genocidal racist.

The bizarrely ironic thing is that the star of "Rabbit-Proof Fence," an illiterate 11-14 year old half-Aborigine girl named Everlyn Sampi, hated working on Noyce's grueling movie and kept running away. She'd be found and returned to Noyce.

When it was over, Noyce, who had grown fond of his unruly star, became alarmed at the fate awaiting her if she returned to her alcoholism and sexual abuse-stricken community. So, like the evil Branagh character in his movie, he enrolled her in ... a boarding school. Noyce mused, "I found myself thinking, ‘I have to look after her. She can live with us. I’ll send her to school."

But, she didn't like Noyce's boarding school and, just like the character she played in the movie, left for home.

Australian columnist Andrew Bolt has the instructive story of Noyce and his star here, and historian Keith Windschuttle puts it in larger perspective in the New Criterion here.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

How good was Obama at running the Harvard Law Review?

Not so hot. On Volokh.com, somebody calling himself LawStatMan goes all Bill James on the citation record:

Obama’s vol. 104 is the least-cited volume of the Harvard Law Review in the last 20 years

I've run electronic searches to determine the number of times Obama’s volume 104, and every other volume of the Harvard Law Review published during the last 20 years, has been cited in all law reviews during each subsequent year for which full data is available (starting in the year after the last issue of each volume appeared, and running through 2006, the last year for which full citation data is currently available).

The results of my searches are in a PDF which you can download here: http://www.mediafire.com/?bxdzmmtuanx.

Some highlights, using only the first 12 years of citations to each volume, where available (obviously, the more recent volumes have fewer years of citations available):

1. Obama’s volume 104 (1990-91) has been cited an average of 170 times a year. That is, it was cited 2045 times in the first 12 full years after publication (i.e., 1992 to 2003). It has been cited at the lowest rate of any volume published in the past 20 years.

2. By comparison, for all other volumes published during the past twenty years for which at least a year’s worth of data is available (vols. 101 to 103, and vols. 105 to 118), they have been cited an average of 262 times a year -- a rate 54% higher than the citation rate for Obama’s volume.

Did LawStatMan do his calculations right? Did he get the time periods aligned properly? Beats me. I know far more about how to analyze the really important stuff -- baseball statistics -- that I do the stuff that influences the clerks of senescent Supreme Court Justices.

Another commenter cites a paragraph from p. 11 of a leftist book about Harvard Law School in those years, Eleanor Kerlow's Poisoned Ivy: How Egos, Ideology, and Power Politics Almost Ruined Harvard Law School (1994):

"Obama was friendly and outgoing, but the class succeeding him wanted a tougher editor to lead them. [David] Ellen, quiet and fair-haired, had graduated summa cum laude in history and science from Harvard College in 1987. He had worked at The New Republic in 1989, the summer before starting law school, and was seen as someone who would be a more rigorous blue-penciler."

There doesn't seem to be any record of Obama publishing anything in his own journal. The commenter who say he's a former editor of HLR claimed on Volokh:

"The law students on the Review all have the right to publish at least one piece (typically they publish at least their third-year papers, which they have to write anyway), and many publish at least two pieces. It would seem surprising if Obama published nothing at all in the very Review over which, he has so often boasted, he presided as President."

Okay, assuming all this is true, what are we to make it?

1. Obama was, objectively speaking, a lousy president of the Harvard Law Review.

2. It's difficult to say how hard Obama tried. He was apparently keeping his grades up (he graduated an impressive magna cum laude), was planning his big book on race and law, advising Blair Underwood of "LA Law," and his heart was in Chicago, where his girlfriend and political future resided. After all, who cares about the Harvard Law Review (other than those clerks of feeble Supreme Court Justices)?

3. This doesn't prove it, but it fits in with the theory that Obama was intentionally avoiding leaving a paper trail "to maintain my political viability" (as Bill Clinton explained his complicated draft-avoidance plan back during Vietnam).

4. Obama got a lot more out of the Harvard Law Review than the Harvard Law Review got out of him.

5. Obama didn't show particular management skill, although he showed political ability in getting himself elected as the compromise candidate of the conservative minority at Harvard Law School. (But then we already knew that he's good at giving an "I have understood you" impression. On the other hand, he's evidently managing his campaign well enough.

6. By the standards which we demand of our Presidents, being the worst editor of the HLR in two decades is really pretty good. If George W. Bush had been editor, it would have looked like the Beavis & Butt-Head Law Review, but with more drunken nicknaming. And W. got better grades at Yale and scored higher on military aptitude IQ tests than John Kerry, who almost got elected President. Kerry had to go Boston College Law School, even though he may well have been the most celebrated person in America to apply to law school that year.

7. It does suggest a strategy that might make McCain's campaign a little less hopeless against Obama. He could say:

"Obama is a state-of-the-art B.S. artist who tells everybody what they want to hear. Everybody loves him because they think he agrees with them, but that's because he has spent his whole adult life not telling anybody what he really thinks. In contrast, lots of people hate me because I'm always saying what I really think."

Of course, the problem is that a lot of people hate McCain for very good reasons. What McCain really thinks is often maniacally disastrous. But, McCain does let us know what's on his mind. You have to give him that much credit.

8. To return to the pressing question of who is The Real Obama, one of the more boring possibilities is that he really is the technocrat with a long laundry list of minor reforms that his website lists. Perhaps Obama wants to be President not to unleash any master plan, but because he's always felt that getting elected President would fill the father-shaped hole in his soul that his traumatic family background left him. And while he's enjoying the therapeutic benefits of being President, he might as well try to push through some little high IQ changes in 401-k regulations or whatever.

After eight years of a President who knew he was too lazy and bored to manage a lot of details, so he decided to roll the dice on about three giant policies -- invade the world, invite the world, and in hoc to the world -- and see what happens, an era of technocratic reform might be welcome.

9. On the other hand, the cultish insanity Obama has elicited this winter might be going to his normally cool, calculating head. His Super Tuesday speech:

“We are the ones we've been waiting for, we are the change that we seek.”

sounds like he's auditioning to take over Keanu Reeve's Neo role in the next sequel: "Matrix: Re-Election."

In summary, the combination of a secretive individual like Obama, mass hysteria, and a press terrified of being smeared as racist for asking tough questions means that we shall be living in interesting times.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

February 11, 2008

"Barack Obama is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life."

Hearing old acquaintances' opinions of Barack Obama is starting to resemble hearing old Korean War buddies' opinions of Raymond Shaw.

Fine, but what would he do as President? And what would he do in a second term as President, when he doesn't have to run for re-election? Who would he nominate as lifetime federal judges? When it comes to those minor questions, nobody who knew him in the early 1990s at Harvard Law School remembers him saying anything terribly relevant, "beyond a general emphasis on diversity and social and economic justice." Which sounds very anodyne, until you realize it's code for more quotas, more immigration, more multiculturalism, and more tax & spend.

Fortunately, in these days of electronic databases, we can look up what a public figure has published in the past on controversial topics. A couple of readers have now done searches looking for Obama's published contributions to public debate in the 1980s and 1990s.

Unfortunately, despite the enormous amount of talking about politics Obama did during those years, he doesn't appear to have put much of anything down on paper where it might come back to haunt him in a future campaign.

Reader Sideways comments:
LexisNexs law gives 4 hits for author Obama, all years. 2 from 89 with Obama as noted as a researcher for the author, one that simply borrows "the Audacity of Hope" title, and one that has nothing to do with him at all.

A search for Obama in the body, ignoring the earlier searches and before 1999 turns up one mention of "Dreams of My Father"

So, yeah, nothing much.

I ran a few other academic/legal searches for the heck of it, nothing came up. It's so little I suspect I'm doing something wrong.

Reader Planetary Archon Mouse comments:

"A Lexis-Nexis search pulled up a few mentions of Obama between Jan 1, 1980 and Dec 31, 1996. Most of it wasn't too interesting -- news articles about his being named to head the Harvard Law Review and thanks for his input on articles written by professors. (Although one of those articles, by Lawrence Tribe, is about what law can learn from modern physics, and is quite laughable. I wonder what Obama would say now about it..it was written in 1989, and he's probably smart enough now to stay away from a topic like that.)

The only thing specifically published by Obama, apparently, was a 1994 NPR vocal contribution, in which he went way out on a limb and ... took the side of all right-thinking people everywhere:

Charles Murray's Political Expediency Denounced

HIGHLIGHT: Commentator Barack Obama finds that Charles Murray, author of the controversial "The Bell Curve," demonstrates not scientific expertise but spurious political motivation in his conclusions about race and IQ.

Can anybody find anything else he published?

If not, we're faced with a puzzle. Here we have the president of the Harvard Law Review, who was later employed as a Lecturer at the U. of Chicago Law School for eight years. Yet he has apparently never published a law journal article.

What about in the popular press? He was a glamorous figure as first black president of HLR, and was given a book contract while still in law school. (His original outline was for a nonfiction polemical book on race and the law -- I'd sure like to see what he had to say.) He was, at least in part, the model for Blair Underwood's character on the hit TV series "LA Law." His contributions on public issues would have been widely welcomed. He was, by his own testimony, obsessed by politics and social change. Yet, he managed to leave a remarkably thin paper trail before he had pollsters to advise him.

With one fat exception -- a massive autobiography, whom nobody except Shelby Steele appears to have read with any comprehension. Everybody else just seems to absorb a sense of Obama's mellifluousness from it, and then gets bored before long, but never holds their boredom against Obama, who seems like such a nice young man.

So, what would he be like as President?

My original surmise a year ago still seems the most plausible: that Obama doesn't know either. His head is in the center and his heart is way to the left. Whether his head or his heart would win when he has attained the summit of power and can finally take off the mask that he has worn all these years remains a mystery, even to him.

P.S., I outlined a strategy of what the GOP would have to do to beat Obama in "Would McCain Go to the Mat with Obama?", based on the strategy they used the last time a Republican beat a fresh face with a funny name running for President.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Obama's Mom

Update: If you are interested in understanding how Obama's mother, not his father, made him the man he grew up to be, my new book on Obama is now finished (and even proofread!). You can read it free online (or soon order a copy). Chapter 2 is devoted to her, and it offers the freshest and most powerful explanation of why Obama called his life (in the subtitle of his autobiography) "A Story of Race and Inheritance."

The PDF of my book is 1.8 meg and you can read it here.


Here's my original blog post:

Now, that it's the dead of winter again, reporters are digging once more into Obama's upbringing, mandating additional expense-account research trips to Honolulu.

Here's a long article from the Chicago Tribune "Obama's Mom: Not Just a Girl from Kansas," which reveals a few things of minor interest about the Senator's late mother, whom he likes to stereotype in speeches as rooted deep in the heartland of America in order to balance off the exoticism of his name.

Her first name was ... Stanley. Her father, Stanley, who sounds like a goof, wanted a boy so much that he named her Stanley Ann. She appears to have gone through high school using the name "Stanley," as part of her "Juno"-esque striving for attention as a nonconformist, and only later switched to "Ann."

Obama makes a big deal about her being from Kansas, but she spent her adolescence in the Seattle suburbs. Her parents dropped out of their Protestant church and started attending Unitarian services. She was a high school atheist, leftist and feminist. But soon after her father moved her to Hawaii, much to the surprise of her high school friends, she got pregnant and quickly married the father, just like so many other more conventional teenage girls during the Baby Boom.

Of course, the new husband was a bit of an attention-getter. And there was the problem of his already having a wife back in Kenya, although that's not mentioned.

The descriptions of her sitting around having rap sessions with Obama Sr. and the other developing nations students at the U. of Hawaii are exactly like the equivalent passages in John Updike's 1978 novel The Coup in which the future dictator of Kush sits around at McCarthy College in Franchise, WI from 1955-1959 shooting the bull with the tiny number of nonwhite students plus his white girlfriend, who he will bigamously marry after a pregnancy scare.

One of the themes of Obama's autobiography is his being weirded out by his youngish mom being sexually attracted to dark men. And there's an undercurrent of Obama being freaked out by the realization that his mother pretty much wrecked her life through her attraction to unreliable Third World men and unreliable Third World countries, but, if she had been more sensible, where would he be? This is the kind of thing that leaves Obama sighing deeply over the tragic conundrums of fate, while less self-absorbed people would have a laugh.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Unfortunate Sons

USA Today reports:
The U.S. population will soar to 438 million by 2050 and the Hispanic population will triple, according to projections released Monday by the Pew Research Center. The latest projections by the non-partisan research group are higher than government estimates to date and paint a portrait of an America dramatically different from today's.

The projected growth in the U.S. population — 303 million today — will be driven primarily by immigration among all groups except the elderly.

"We're assuming that the rate of immigration will stay roughly constant," says Jeffrey Passel, co-author of the report.

Even if immigration is limited, Hispanics' share of the population will increase because they have higher birth rates than the overall population. That's largely because Hispanic immigrants are younger than the nation's aging baby boom population. By 2030, all 79 million boomers will be at least 65 and the elderly will grow faster than any other age group.

The projections show that by 2050:

•Nearly one in five Americans will have been born outside the USA vs. one in eight in 2005. Sometime between 2020 and 2025, the percentage of foreign-born will surpass the historic peak reached a century ago during the last big immigration wave. New immigrants and their children and grandchildren born in the USA will account for 82% of the population increase from 2005 to 2050.

•Whites who are not Hispanic, now two-thirds of the population, will become a minority when their share drops to 47%. They made up 85% of the population in 1960.

•Hispanics, already the largest minority group, will more than double their share of the population to 29%.

•Blacks will remain 13% of the population. Asians will go to 9% from 5%.

Nobody ever, never, ever thinks about this, but how is affirmative action going to work when the beneficiaries outnumber the benefactors? It's exactly like the social security problems down the road as the retiree to worker ratio rises, but we've all seen millions of words about that and practically nothing about the analogous affirmative action problem.

As John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater sang in "Fortunate Son:"

And when you ask them, how much should we give?
Ooh, they only answer more! more! more!

P.S. Well, I've thought about it -- here's one of my articles crunching the numbers. And here's another that explains why black leaders almost never criticize affirmative action privileges for brand new immigrants who just got off the plane.

The crazy thing is that everybody just wants to argue -- pro or con -- over affirmative action for blacks. Critics of quotas want to attack preferences exactly where the argument in favor of them is strongest -- that America owes something to the descendants of slaves. In contrast, nobody would claim with a straight face that we owe anything to Argentineans who have just got off the jumbo jet from Buenos Aires, and yet they benefit from quotas too! But the future will be dominated numerically by quota-eligible Hispanics, not by quota-eligible blacks.

It's also worth pondering what proportion of those 438 million people in 2050 will have been born to unmarried women. Just from 2005 to 2006, the number of babies born to married white women fell 0.4% while the number of babies born to unmarried Latinas grew 9.6%! The Hispanic illegitimacy rate is now up to 50%. What will it be in 2050? What does this portend for law-abidingness, education, social capital, technological innovation and a host of other good things that are correlated with intact families?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Where's Obama's paper trail?

Sen. Obama is a highly gifted writer who has published two large books. We can assume that the first, his 1995 autobiography, wasn't ghost-written because, although it's very well-written, it's also quite boring due to his monomaniacal focus on the topic of "race and inheritance." A professional hack would have insisted on punching it up with more funny stories to make it more entertaining.

So, here's a man with a major talent for expressing himself in writing, and who has been obsessed with social change and politics for his entire life. Yet, where are the articles commenting on current affairs written by Obama before his focus-tested emergence on the national stage a few years ago?

Maybe there are bunch of them out there, but I sure haven't heard of any.

Consider that for eight years, Obama held the job of "Lecturer" at the University of Chicago Law School, the same title as his colleague, federal judge Richard A. Posner. During that period, Posner published, roughly, one quadrillion articles. But Obama, so far as I can tell, doesn't seem to have published anything.

Sure, Obama was busy being a state legislator, but Posner was busy being the top judge of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and writing more decisions than any other judge in America.

Now, it's often been said that the reason Posner isn't on the Supreme Court is because he has such a lengthy paper trail, which the Democrats would howl over if a Republican President ever nominated him for the Supreme Court.

My impression is that Obama has played his cards very close to his vest from a very early age in order to preserve his viability as a Senate or even Presidential candidate, or as a Supreme Court nominee.

That shows a striking level of self-disciplined ambitiousness, which could seem reassuring or scary, depending on how you look at it.

It also suggests that his personal political views during this long period before he assembled a team of focus-testers were not of the happy-clappy "bring us together" ilk that he's pushing today. After all, what would be the long-term harm of writing a few articles urging bipartisan understanding if that's what he really believed in during the 1980s and 1990s?

Instead, this logic suggests that he realized all along that expressing his personal political views distinctly on paper could come back to haunt him in his drive for national power.

Can anybody do a Lexis-Nexis search for the 1980s and 1990s? He did a lot of interviews around 1991 when he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review, but he's awfully good at playing interviewers. (Amusingly, actor Blair Underwood spent some time with Obama around then to do research for his character on "LA Law.") So, did he write letters to editors or anything like that?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

February 10, 2008

Would McCain Go to the Mat with Obama?

Here's the opening of my new VDARE.com column on the election:

Will McCain Go to the Mat with Obama?

By Steve Sailer

The collapse of long-time frontrunner Rudy Giuliani allowed rival invade-the-world invite-the-world candidate Sen. John McCain to squeeze out plurality wins in winner-take-all primaries, while his hapless foes were winning races where delegates were allotted proportionally. The Mainstream Media (MSM) has now anointed McCain as the presumptive Republican nominee.

Yet Republicans clearly aren't happy about McCain's flukish luck. That was shown by his dismal performance on Saturday, February 9th, the first election day after Super Tuesday. Even with only Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul left in the race, Senator McMentum received just 42 percent of the vote in Louisiana, 26 percent in Washington and 24 percent in Kansas.

The odds still favor McCain scraping across the line, due to his early windfall of delegates. But I would guesstimate that, even without a Huckabee miracle comeback, there's about a 5%-15% chance that McCain won't actually be running for President when Election Day finally grinds around—nine long months from now.

Does anybody have a contingency plan? One may be needed, because McCain is 71 years old. He has twice been struck by cancer—in 1993 and in 2000, when he underwent a 9-hour operation.

And McCain doesn't have the most placid, reticent of personalities in an era that has made crucifying white males for "gaffes" into a national spectator sport (James Watson, Don Imus, Trent Lott, etc. etc. etc.)

At this point, responsible immigration-restrictionist opinion-molders, such as John O'Sullivan, Mickey Kaus, and Randall Parker, tend to favor a Democratic victory as the least awful outcome, especially a win by the uninspiring Hillary Clinton rather than by the dangerously charismatic Barack Obama. They argue that McCain would muffle GOP Congressional resistance to a revived Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill. They think a Democratic president would galvanize Republican opposition, as did Bill Clinton when he defeated George I, leading to a GOP Congressional victory in 1994.

But I'm in no mood to be responsible. I'm looking for only one thing from Election 2008: entertainment. I want to see mud slung everywhere.

Obama currently leads McCain in head-to-head polls by 7-8 points. So I'm going to offer McCain a little unsolicited advice on what he'd have to do to win.

I don't, however, expect McCain to take my suggestions. I expect him to choose to lose, in the politically correct manner that will preserve his image in the eyes of his Main Stream Media acolytes, rather than to do what it takes to get elected President.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Affordability of Family Formation

The February 11 issue of The American Conservative, the one with John McCain and his crypto-slogan "Invade the World / Invite the World" on the cover, features my long article "Value Voters," which sums up my theory of how the affordability of family formation drives the Red State -Blue State divide. I've published it in bits and pieces over the years in AmCon, VDARE, and my blog, but I finally had the space to lay it out fully. It's not online.

Here's the opening:

No matter who wins the 2008 presidential election, pundits will afterwards hypothesize feverishly about why the country is so divided into vast inland expanses of Red (Republican) regions versus thin coastal strips of Blue (Democratic) metropolises. Yet, judging from 2000 and 2004, few will stumble upon the engine driving this partisan pattern, even though the statistical correlations are among the highest in the history of the social sciences.

The Republicans lost the popular vote in 2000 while advocating a "humble" foreign policy, and won in 2004 while defending a foreign policy that Napoleon might have found bombastic. Yet, all that happened from 2000 to 2004 was that virtually every part of the country moved a few points toward the Republicans. The relative stability of this Red-Blue geographic split suggests that more fundamental forces are at work than just the transient issues of the day.

Neither Jane Austen nor Benjamin Franklin, however, would have found the question of what drives the Red-Blue divide so baffling. Unlike today's intellectuals, they both thought intensely about the web tying together wealth, property, marriage, and children. Thus, they probably would not have been surprised that a state's voting proclivities are now dominated by the relative presence or absence of what I call "affordable family formation."

First-time readers of Pride and Prejudice frequently remark that Austen's romance novels are, by American standards, not terribly romantic. She possessed a hard-headed understanding of how in traditional English society, wedlock was a luxury that some would never be able to afford, an assumption that often shocks us in our more sentimental 21st century.

Economic historian Gregory Clark's recent book, A Farewell to Alms, quantified the Malthusian reality under the social structure acerbically depicted in Austen's books. The English in the 1200-1800 era imposed upon themselves the sexual self-restraint that pioneering economist Thomas Malthus famously (but belatedly) suggested they follow in 1798. By practicing population control, the English largely avoided the cycles of rapid growth followed by cataclysmic famines that plagued China, where women married universally and young. The English postponed marriage and children until a man and woman could afford the accouterments suitable for a respectable married couple of their class.

In the six centuries up through Austen's lifetime, Clark found, English women didn't marry on average until age 24 to 26, with poor women often having to wait until their 30s to wed. And 10 to 20 percent never married. Judging from the high fertility of married couples, contraceptive practices appear to have been almost unknown in England in this time, yet, merely three or four percent of all births were illegitimate, demonstrating that rigid pre-marital self-discipline was the norm.

Remarkably, a half century before Malthus's gloomy and Austen's witty reflections on life and love in crowded England, Ben Franklin had pointed out that in his lightly populated America, the human condition was more relaxed and happy. In his insightful 1751 essay, Observations concerning The Increase of Mankind, Franklin spelled out, with an 18th Century surfeit of capitalization, the first, nonpartisan half of the theory of affordable family formation:

"For People increase in Proportion to the Number of Marriages, and that is greater in Proportion to the Ease and Convenience of supporting a Family. When Families can be easily supported, more Persons marry, and earlier in Life."

He outlined the virtuous cycle connecting the Colonies' limited population, low land prices, high wages, early marriage, and abundant children:

"Europe is generally full settled with Husbandmen, Manufacturers, &c. and therefore cannot now much increase in People… Land being thus plenty in America, and so cheap as that a labouring Man, that understands Husbandry, can in a short Time save Money enough to purchase a Piece of new Land sufficient for a Plantation, whereon he may subsist a Family; such are not afraid to marry …"

Franklin concluded: "Hence Marriages in America are more general, and more generally early, than in Europe."

The Industrial Revolution broke the tyranny of the Malthusian Trap over food, but the supply of and demand for land never ceased to influence decisions to marry and have children. As America's coastal regions filled up, affordability of family formation began to differ sharply from state to state (disparities partially masked over the last few years by subprime mortgages and other financial gambits). CNN reported in 2006:

"More than 90 percent of homes in [Indianapolis] were affordable to families earning the median income for the area of about $65,100. In Los Angeles, the least affordable big metro area, only 1.9 percent of the homes sold were within the reach of families earning a median income for the city of $56,200."

When I lived in the Midwest, from age 24 to 34 I attended numerous weddings, but as my social circle matured, the invitations naturally dried up. Yet, when I moved back to my native, but now much more expensive, Los Angeles in 2000, I suddenly started being invited to weddings again. Like male characters in a Jane Austen novel, four of my seven closest friends from my high school class of 1976 got married and bought houses for the first time in their early forties.

Similarly, the cost of childrearing varies more across the country than ever before. A study of Census data by the New York Times found that "Manhattan’s 35,000 or so white non-Hispanic toddlers are being raised by parents whose median income was $284,208 a year in 2005."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Pakistani First Cousin Marriage in Britain

From the Times of London:

A government minister has warned that inbreeding among immigrants is causing a surge in birth defects - comments likely to spark a new row over the place of Muslims in British society.

Phil Woolas, an environment minister, said the culture of arranged marriages between first cousins was the “elephant in the room”. Woolas, a former race relations minister, said: “If you have a child with your cousin the likelihood is there’ll be a genetic problem.”

The minister, whose views were supported by medical experts this weekend, said: “The issue we need to debate is first cousin marriages, whereby a lot of arranged marriages are with first cousins, and that produces lots of genetic problems in terms of disability [in children].”

Woolas emphasised the practice did not extend to all Muslim communities but was confined mainly to families originating from rural Pakistan. However, up to half of all marriages within these communities are estimated to involve first cousins.

Medical research suggests that while British Pakistanis are responsible for 3% of all births, they account for one in three British children born with genetic illnesses.

Arranged first cousin marriages are also a vehicle for immigration fraud -- they are a way to bring in more family members.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer