Unz on Race/IQ: Super-Flynn Effects in Germans, Jews, and Hispanics

Although the vast majority of the angry responses greeting my Race/IQ article focused on a few of the ethnicities I had examined—Irish, Mexicans, Italians—my coverage had actually been quite broad, and I presented a large number of IQ gaps whose existence seemed inexplicible from a strictly genetic perspective.

Indeed, the first example I cited was the case of Germany, which showed a consistent IQ gap of 5-10 points between East and West, despite the two populations being genetically indistinguishable. Since Communist East Germany was dreary but hardly suffered from Third World levels of malnutrition or physical deprivation, I argued that a biological cause was unlikely, and that the difference was therefore almost certainly due to socio-economic or cultural factors.   Naturally, my critics either ignored or ridiculed my analysis. The central argument of my piece had been that although GDP and IQ were highly correlated, the direction of causality might well be from the former to the latter, and this attracted much derision. Continue reading

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Unz on Hispanic Crime: A Postscript

Determining American reality is sometimes difficult due to the flaws of government statistics, with the contentious subject of race and crime being a perfect example.

The FBI publishes a Uniform Crime Report, providing a vast quantity of public data on crime and arrest statistics, including the recorded race of offenders. Anyone interested in learning the crime rates of blacks or Asians may easily do so, these days with merely a few clicks of the mouse on the Internet. However, Hispanics are categorized as an ethnicity rather than a racial group, and are therefore usually aggregated with whites, making it impossible to obtain Hispanic rates of criminality in the same easy manner. Continue reading

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Unz on Race/IQ: A Coda on Mexican-American IQ

Although the claims regarding Irish IQ had unexpectedly attracted so many of the angry attacks on my recent Race/IQ series, it seemed quite obvious to me that this represented merely a stalking-horse for the related question of Mexican IQ. Continue reading

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Buckley’s Unlikely Heir: Alexander Cockburn, 1941-2012

Buckley’s Unlikely Heir: Remembering Alexander Cockburn, 1941-2012
The American Conservative, September 2012

I first encountered the writing of Alexander Cockburn in the early 1990s on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, where he served as a regular columnist. Given that Alex was one of the premier radical-left journalists of our era, this highlights the unique background of the man. Continue reading

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Almost a Century Ahead of The New York Times

As people are probably aware, I’ve recently written a few articles and subsequently participated in various Internet discussions. But for most of the last decade, stretching back well into the 2000s, my time was largely absorbed by a major software project, namely the creation of the UNZ.org content-archiving system.

This system, although somewhat crude and utilitarian in its outward design, was intended to digitize and conveniently present many dozens of mostly vanished publications, and the millions of pages of high-quality content-material they encompassed. As I have pointed out elsewhere, much of our understanding of the world of even forty or fifty years ago contains the serious lacunae produced by survivorship bias, and this difficulty is compounded when we consider the world of 1900 or earlier.

Many of the influential thinkers, prestigious publications, and important articles of that bygone era are almost totally unknown today, even to many specialists, and the vacuum produced by that loss of historical knowledge has often been filled with the implied histories of modern Hollywood movies and television shows, some of which are occasionally not totally accurate or realistic. Indeed, a casual perusal of the major writings of the past often seems somewhat akin to entering a science fictional alternate-reality, in which America took a different turn in the 1920s than we know it actually did. Except that in this case, the alternate-reality we are exploring is the true one, and it is our assumed understanding of the past which turns out to be mostly fictitious. Continue reading

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Unz on Race/IQ: Irish IQ & Chinese IQ

One of the many surprises I’ve encountered when reading the dozens of web pages and many hundreds of comments attacking my Race/IQ analysis is the overwhelming focus of these critics upon my Irish data. Although I discuss similar ethnic IQ evidence regarding the Greeks, Balkan Slavs, Southern Italians, Dutch, Germans, and various other European peoples, it sometimes seems like the attacks on my Irish analysis are more numerous than those against all these other cases combined, perhaps even if we also throw in all the examples dealing with East Asians and every other non-Irish race on the planet.

One obvious explanation might be the possible ethnic origins of many of these anonymous racialist bloggers and commenters. For example, when I pointed out that Lynn had devoted many years of personal research in Ireland and eventually concluded that they were clearly a low-IQ race, several commenters angrily denounced Lynn, one going so far as to call him an anti-Irish bigot of KKK- or Nazi-like proportions. But if so many people want to attack the Irish Front of my analysis, and suggest I’m just dishonestly cherry-picking the data to fabricate a fraudulent case, perhaps we should indeed take a closer look at the Great Irish IQ Question. Continue reading

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Unz on Race/IQ – Is It “Game Over”?

Given the vast outpouring of agitated and angry remarks by those bloggers and commenters whose long-cherished beliefs have been challenged by my Race/IQ article, it’s always very nice to discover a supportive voice, even if I might not necessary agree with absolutely every single point made.

For example, Jason Antrosio’s popular academic blog “Living Anthropologically” just yesterday published a lengthy analysis of my article and the controversy it had generated under the very flattering title “Race IQ—Game Over.” The author, a professor of anthropology on the East Coast whose blog has accumulated a remarkable 8,800 Likes, suggested that my analysis might constitute a far more effective refutation of the “strong hereditarian IQ position” than those previously made by such notable academics as Jared Diamond and Stephen Jay Gould, whose “extremely weak rebuttals…would be dismissed, in a kind of ‘that’s all you have?’ sort of way.” He now suggests that individuals seriously challenged by racialists on the topic “can declare game over on Race/IQ—see Unz 2012.” Continue reading

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Unz on Race/IQ: Response to Lynn and Nyborg

Richard Lynn has now produced a lengthy and detailed rebuttal to my article Race, IQ & Wealth questioning his theories, as has Helmuth Nyborg, another leading IQ expert and strong supporter of Lynn.  Their analyses have been published or highlighted on several prominent racialist websites, and I am herein providing my own rejoinder.

First, I will admit to being a bit confused about Lynn’s overall position.  Although he often seems to be endorsing my viewpoint in its generality, he seems to strongly dispute nearly all the specific details. Continue reading

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Unz on Race/IQ: Incorporating the Racialist Perspective

As I’ve often told my friends over the years, the careful investigation of racial and ethnic differences presents huge difficulties in present-day American society.

On the one hand, the topic is a very interesting and important one, especially in a society with America’s enormous diversity, but the powerful social taboos surrounding such discussions have dissuaded the vast majority of skilled and objective academics from dipping more than a toe into these treacherous waters.

Therefore, this vacuum of discussion has been filled by a considerable number of small but energetic racialist websites and bloggers, usually maintaining anonymity, whose research competence tends to be very mixed and whose analysis is usually molded by a gripping ideological framework. But with neutral academics being AWOL, the data collected by this racialist community is often the only game in town. Continue reading

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Unz on Race/IQ: The Boston Globe Takes Notice

If New York is America’s finance capital, with Los Angeles filling the same role for entertainment and Silicon Valley for technology, then surely the Boston area constitutes our center of academic and intellectual life, being home to a host of top universities such as Harvard, MIT, BU, Tufts, and many others. Partly for this reason, most estimates of average educational levels and “intelligence” have placed the Bay State at or near the very top of the rankings.

Thus, with Boston making much of its living from the intellect-processing industry, it is hardly surprising that the first major media discussion of my article Race, IQ, and Wealth should appear in the Boston Globe, these days owned by the New York Times Company. The piece provided an excellent (and quite favorable) summary of my major points, and featured a large photo of Charles Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton, the grandfather of modern intelligence testing, with a version of the piece also running in the print edition of the Sunday Globe.  I very much hope this is an early indication that coverage of my analysis will gradually begin extending beyond the hostile racialist websites which have so far represented its primary audience.

What Do IQ Differences Really Mean?, Josh Rothman, The Boston Globe Continue reading

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Unz on Race/IQ: The Rural/Urban Divide

As I have recently mentioned to several people, I had been aware of the large anomalies and logical inconsistencies in the Lynn/Vanhanen IQ model for nearly a decade, and had repeatedly pointed them out on various Internet discussion forums. But since nobody ever paid the slightest attention to what I was saying, I finally decided to write up and publish my Race, IQ, and Wealth.

However, although 80% of my piece consisted merely of setting down in print what I already had long known, I did make some fascinating additional discoveries, the most significant being the seemingly enormous impact of rural/urban conditions upon the tested IQ of white European populations. Continue reading

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Unz on Race/IQ – Rejecting the Ostrich Response

The central finding of my recent article “Race, IQ, and Wealth” was a simple one.

Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen today rank as perhaps the world’s leading academic advocates of the theory that the innate IQ of a given nation is fixed and determines its international success on a host of major economic and social criteria. Yet even a cursory analysis of the actual data which they accumulated and presented actually disproves their own hypothesis, given the huge IQ variations between genetically-indistinguishable groups and in national IQs over just a generation or less. So it strikes me as mighty peculiar that theory proposed in “IQ and the Wealth of Nations” had been immediately refuted by the evidence presented in “IQ and the Wealth of Nations”, but nobody seemed to have noticed this during a decade or more of heated, bitter discussion.

The Lynn/Vanhanen theory is hardly a totally obscure one. For example, if you Google the specific phrase IQ+”Wealth of Nations”, you will find some 103,000 search results, certainly small potatoes compared to “Lindsey Lohan”, but not exactly nothing. And many of those webpages are themselves blogposts, including vast numbers of comments, at least a portion of which were ferociously hostile to the ideas of Lynn/Vanhanen. One would think that Lynn/Vanhanen foes somewhere along the way would have thanked those scholars for graciously debunking their own theory. Continue reading

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The East Asian Exception to Socio-Economic IQ Influences

Sidebar: The East Asian Exception to Socio-Economic IQ Influences by Ron Unz
The American Conservative, August 2012

In “Race, IQ, and Wealth,” I examined the pattern of IQ scores for various European peoples as presented by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen inIQ and the Wealth of Nations and noted the considerable evidence for a large socio-economic influence. In nearly all cases, impoverished, rural populations seemed to exhibit far lower IQ scores than affluent, urban ones, even when the populations compared are genetically indistinguishable. Furthermore, these lower IQs often rise rapidly once conditions improve, in what might be called a “Super-Flynn Effect.” Continue reading

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Race, IQ, and Wealth

Race, IQ, and Wealth by Ron Unz
What the Facts Tell Us About a Taboo Subject
The American Conservative, August 2012

At the end of April, Charles Kenny, a former World Bank economist specializing in international development, published a blistering attack in Foreign Policy entitled “Dumb and Dumber,” with the accusatory subtitle “Are development experts becoming racists?” Kenny charged that a growing number of development economists were turning towards genetic and other intrinsic human traits as a central explanation of national economic progress, often elevating these above the investment and regulatory issues that have long been the focus of international agencies.

Although Kenny suggested that many of his targets had been circumspect in how they raised these highly controversial ideas, he singled out IQ and the Wealth of Nations, published in 2001 by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, as a particularly extreme and hateful example of this trend. These authors explicitly argue that IQ scores for different populations are largely fixed and hereditary, and that these—rather than economic or governmental structures—tend to determine the long-term wealth of a given country. Continue reading

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How I Made Mitt

How I Made Mitt by Ron Unz
Romney owes his only win to English for the Children
The American Conservative, July 2012

With Mitt Romney now the de facto Republican presidential nominee, I sometimes recall how I inadvertently launched his political career a decade ago, which is less implausible than it might sound.

Unlike the vast majority of previous major-party presidential candidates, Romney has a remarkably slender record of election victories, having previously won just a single race, his 2002 election as governor of Massachusetts. Continue reading

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The Mortality Paradox; or, The Health Benefits of Cyanide

In recent weeks my description of the possible scale of the Vioxx Disaster has begun getting a little coverage on the web and in the British press, leading to some strong “push back” by people who say I can’t possibly be right. They may certainly be correct in their opinion, but I think their reasoning is mistaken, so I thought I’d briefly summarize the analysis once more, emphasizing again that the evidence is purely circumstantial.

I realize most readers may be growing increasingly weary of Vioxx mortality disputes—I certainly am—but given the tens or more likely hundreds of thousands of American deaths at issue, adding a few short paragraphs of text seem not totally unwarranted. Continue reading

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Thalidomide II and the Silence of the American Media

A couple of years ago, Pulitzer Prize winner Sydney Schanberg, one of America’s most celebrated Vietnam War journalists and a former top editor at the New York Times, explained to me the sad realities of our major newspapers. According to him, there was generally a strong inverse relationship between the geographical distance separating a newspaper’s headquarters and the willingness of its top executives to probe for malfeasance and corruption. So while the New York Times was always very eager to have its zealous investigative journalists plumb the depths of suspected scandals in Chicago, or even better in Kabul, Moscow, or Beijing, a similar scrutiny of improper doings a mile or two away in City Hall or upstate in Albany was normally far less encouraged. Continue reading

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Robert Caro and the Lost History of the 1960s—Plus a Vioxx Note

The recent publication of the fourth long volume of Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson demonstrates how much even the relatively recent printed past has almost totally disappeared from current consciousness.

Consider the 1958-1964 period covered by Caro’s current narrative, an era which might reasonably be called the political peak of Cold War liberalism, in which Caro focuses on the political maneuvers leading to Kennedy’s nomination and Johnson’s difficult years in the vice presidency. Many people have argued that the major political decisions made during the 1960s largely shaped modern America, but it is equally true that the political decisions described in Caro’s volume largely shaped those same 1960s. Yet what determined the political tide of those years and which media narratives shaped those decisions? Continue reading

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“When Half a Million Americans Died and Nobody Noticed”

Such was the provocative title under which Alexander Cockburn ran a recent column discussing my China/America article in The Week, a British-based news magazine which claims a total American print circulation of over 500,000. We’ll see whether anyone notices that column either.

Cockburn’s question referred to my examination of the American mortality figures surrounding the heavily-promoted anti-pain drug Vioxx, released by Merck in 1999 and pulled from the market in 2004 after a published FDA study indicated it seemed to double the risk of heart attacks and strokes and had probably been responsible for at least tens of thousands of American deaths. I had noted that the major shifts in total American mortality bracketed by Vioxx’s introduction and recall—shifts which were concentrated in exactly those age-groups taking Vioxx and were due to the aforementioned heart attacks and strokes—may actually point to a total death-toll an order-of-magnitude greater than that initial scientific estimate. Continue reading

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Announcing the Unz Historical Research Competition, $10,000 First Prize

As some of you already know, I recently released a content-archiving website, www.unz.org, which had absorbed most of my time and effort over the last few years.

The website makes freely available a vast quantity of high-quality content material, including the archives of numerous important publications published during the first half of the 20th Century and earlier. Most of this important source material—millions of pages—has never previously been available to anyone except on the dusty shelves of major research libraries. Continue reading

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The Long Decline of The London Economist

Once, long ago, at the very close of the 1970s, I discovered a most remarkable periodical.

Published on newsprint so thin as to almost be translucent, mailed out twice each fortnight tightly folded in a plain brown wrapper, it called itself a “newspaper” rather than a magazine, carried no bylines for its articles or masthead for its issues, and in its style sometimes almost seemed a strange intellectual residue of pre-war Old Europe, often ignoring the many shibboleths and taboos which so infested respectable American journalism. Its great intelligence and its plainspokenness were enormously refreshing, and with a minuscule circulation of around 50,000, few of them Americans, I felt that I had discovered a wondrous secret source of true world knowledge. Such was the old London Economist under Norman Macrae, its longtime Deputy Editor and shaping influence. Continue reading

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Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison

Sidebar: Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison by Ron Unz
The American Conservative, May 2012

In contrasting China and America, pundits often cite our free and independent media as one of our greatest strengths, together with the tremendous importance which our society places upon individual American lives. For us, a single wrongful death can sometimes provoke weeks of massive media coverage and galvanize the nation into corrective action, while life remains cheap in China, a far poorer land of over a billion people, ruled by a ruthless Communist Party eager to bury its mistakes. But an examination of two of the greatest public-health scandals of the last few years casts serious doubt on this widespread belief. Continue reading

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China’s Rise, America’s Fall

China’s Rise, America’s Fall by Ron Unz
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
The American Conservative, May 2012

The rise of China surely ranks among the most important world developments of the last 100 years. With America still trapped in its fifth year of economic hardship, and the Chinese economy poised to surpass our own before the end of this decade, China looms very large on the horizon. We are living in the early years of what journalists once dubbed “The Pacific Century,” yet there are worrisome signs it may instead become known as “The Chinese Century.” Continue reading

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Unz on the Minimum Wage – Bloomberg Editors Say “Let’s Make a Deal…”

With our chattering classes now totally focused on the overriding question of whether the political contributions of Romney’s Wall Street cronies or those of Obama will first reach the billion dollar mark, only a few scattered voices have focused on matters which impact the remaining 99.9% of our citizenry.

In particular, recent weeks have seen Counterpunch’s Alexander Cockburn devote a whole series of his columns in web and in print to what he has reasonably entitled “The Most Vital Issue in American Politics Today,” namely a large hike in the national minimum wage. Continue reading

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Unz on Immigration – Politics and CNN/Fortune

As everyone is well aware, the last 72 hours have seen an astonishing transformation in the American political landscape, with a pugnacious Newt Gingrich coming from far behind to crush Mitt Romney in South Carolina, and now take a substantial lead in looming Florida and perhaps nationwide as well. A remarkable political comeback indeed.

Gingrich’s rise has been fueled by his avowed status as the champion of the conservative common man, today sorely aggrieved not merely by the notorious “media elites”, but also by the Republican political elites, as exemplified by their wealthy, tall, and handsome private-equity standard-bearer from Massachusetts. Continue reading

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