More On The New Orleans Nightmare: Why We Have To Talk About Racial Reality Even If John Podhoretz Says We Can`t
fourth anniversary of 9/11, I`m reminded that
response to the terrorist attacks was to evoke
Rudyard Kipling`s 1919
poem with the funny-sounding name The Gods of the
Copybook Headings. ("Copybook headings" are
the stern ancient maxims that English schoolboys once
had to write at the top of their notebook pages.)
were living in trees when they met us. They showed us
each in turn
Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly
we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of
we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the
March of Mankind…
that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world
all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for
surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will
Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter
Now, in the wake of the shameful
anarchy in New Orleans, our elites are again confronted
with the need to relearn some unfashionable, politically
But whether they will remains much
I don`t like watching my fellow
American citizens of any color suffer the horrors of
anarchy. So my September 3rd VDARE.com essay "Racial
Reality and the New Orleans Nightmare" expressed
anger that all levels of government had made the happy-clappy
multi-culti assumption that, in case of hurricane, the
politicians, police, and people of New Orleans would all
pitch in together like
Good Samaritans to help each other out.
In many places, survivors will do
that. But the demographics and culture of New Orleans
were always prohibitive.
My article elicited a firestorm of
rage from the pundits. As when
television news broadcasts hours of
blacks behaving badly, enormous pressure builds up
amongst the commentariat to denounce furiously the first
person who is so crass as to mention what everybody can
see with their
lying eyes. Almost all these condemnations of me
have been of the now-traditional
point-and-sputter ilk. The critic can`t think of any
facts or logic to disprove my argument. So he merely
gesticulates about what an awful person I must be to
say such a horrible thing.
For example, the thuggish
John Podhoretz at National Review`s Corner
demonized my article for
purportedly containing the "the
most disgusting sentence [sic] yet written about Katrina."
My disgusting “sentence”
(paragraph, in fact) turned out to be merely:
All this is now common
parlance, more or less. What you won`t hear, except from
me, is that "Let the good times roll" is an
especially risky message for African-Americans. The
plain fact is that they tend to possess
poorer native judgment than members of
better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral
Yet, my essay has been one of the
most emailed-out in VDARE.com history, and for precisely
the same reason the media folks hated it: because it
explained honestly the reasons behind the ugliness we
could all see.
Our mainstream media is so
intellectually hamstrung by self-censorship, so lacking
in a conceptual vocabulary for describing
racial realities, that after watching blacks
tormenting blacks night after night in New Orleans,
shooting at the
boats trying to rescue their fellow
African-Americans, all the pundits could do was scream "white
prescribe massive new
spending on urban
poverty—despite all the evidence that the last War
of Poverty made the New Orleans Nightmare worse by
already tenuous family structure.
The revelations of the succeeding
eight days have vindicated my original analysis.
While partisan talking heads
continue to blame whichever level of government is
controlled by the opposition, my criticism of each,
along with the culture and residents of New Orleans, has
stood up well:
- Bush`s appointee to run the
Federal Emergency Management Agency, political hack
Mike Brown, turns out to have been a failed
horse show bureaucrat.
- Louisiana`s state government,
while perhaps somewhat less at fault than the
federal and city governments, once again lived down
to its notorious Latin political heritage of
incompetence and demagoguery.
- And the
performance of the
black-run New Orleans government, especially its
police force (which was
gutted to make room for unqualified blacks after
the African-American takeover of city politics), was
Each of these failures of
government was unsurprising, given their
Even more controversially, I
pointed out that officials should have expected that the
population that failed to evacuate would be numerous,
improvident, poor in judgment, laced with criminals, and
highly dangerous to each other.
Even when New Orleans`s police
force is not otherwise occupied with looting and
fleeing, the city`s overall murder rate is
ten times the national average. Among that fifth of
the population who did not evacuate, the homicide rate
would have been something like 30 times the national
Hundreds of school buses were left
lined up in a flooded parking lot because residents were
supposed to offer rides to their
neighbors without cars. But let`s think through a
common situation. Imagine you are a single mother on a
poor street who owns a car. After you`ve loaded up your
family to evacuate, to which car-less neighbor are you
going to offer your one empty seat: the churchgoer on
your left or the gang-banger on your right?
But if you and all the other decent
people flee your street, who is going to stop the
left-behind criminals from looting your hard-earned
So you decide to stay behind—only
to be forced to flee to the Superdome or the Convention
Center when the
Everybody should have assumed that
when the hammer finally came down, the New Orleans
Police Department would
fold and underclass thugs would run amok, making it
unarmed rescue workers to do their jobs. Rescue
can`t proceed effectively when workers fear for their
lives from violence. How enthusiastic would you
be about going out in a small boat to haul survivors off
their rooftops if you needed to wear a heavy bulletproof
vest that would drag you right down to the bottom if you
The first priority of government in
Hobbesian place like the impoverished `hoods of New
Orleans must be to provide order. The government should
have planned to helicopter combat troops in and do
what it takes to restore order: tear gas, rubber
bullets, even live ammo if necessary.
is supposed to mention the barbarism likely to break
out, so nobody in government initially acted as if they
had a serious problem on their hands.
For instance, according to the
New York Times, the hapless FEMA boss Mike Brown
"that the lawlessness surprised him."
Why didn`t anyone discuss
realistically how the people who were going to be left
behind by the
city`s feckless evacuation effort would behave?
Because they were overwhelmingly black. And, as the
Two Minutes Hate conducted over my essay shows, you
can`t talk about that if you want to keep your job.
In fact, it`s much safer for your
career if you train yourself never to think about it
sizable majority of the 365,000 African-Americans in
New Orleans had the assets, prudence, and/or friends or
family to get themselves out of town before the
hurricane, something like 100,000 were left behind.
And, as we all saw on TV for
several horrible days, the survivors were not, on
average, the most civic-minded.
Yet they were still human beings
and American citizens. They shouldn`t have to survive in
Government, at bottom, is supposed
to maintain a
monopoly on violence. And that`s exactly what was
Donald Rumsfeld catastrophically
refused to stop the looting that broke out in the
wake of our conquest of Baghdad in 2003, government
agencies delayed disastrously in doing what it took to
put down the chaos in New Orleans.
(I`m going to focus now upon IQ.
But it`s not the only racial difference. For over a
decade, VDARE.com contributor Professor
J.P. Rushton has been documenting that for a host of
measures, not just IQ but also behavioral, Northeast
Asians and West Africans tend on average to stand at
opposite ends of the spectrum with Europeans in the
(Of course, you don`t have to read
Race, Evolution, and Behavior to see this for
yourself: Anybody who lives in a cosmopolitan big city
and hasn`t noticed this general pattern must not get out
(What are particularly relevant to
the New Orleans disorder are the large racial gaps in
crime rates. My next VDARE.com article, on the evening
of Sunday September 18th, will review a major new study
of racial differences in crime, as revealed by
government statistics of
imprisonment, and victim surveys, to be published by
American Renaissance. For example, this report
provides the first estimate I`ve yet seen of
Asian-American imprisonment rates. They turn out to be,
to the surprise of nobody with eyes in their heads,
about 1/30th the African-American rate.)
The racial IQ distribution,
however, is something that`s both powerful in impact and
relatively simple to understand. So all semi-numerate
public-spirited citizens owe it to their country to take
time to familiarize themselves with it.
- start with the vexed question
of the innateness of the IQ gap;
- then discuss its size,
- then show that those on the
left and right who claim that IQ is meaningless are
either uninformed or hypocritical, and finally
- air a new and helpful idea on
one small step we can take regarding this massive
fact of American social life.
The innateness of the IQ gap
A bugaboo that often paralyzes
rational thought about IQ is the controversy over
whether or not the racial IQ gap stems solely from
environmental differences, or has a hereditary component
as well. Yet, this question isn`t terribly relevant for
thinking about planning better for urban disasters. As
Thomas Sowell has pointed out, IQ is fairly stable
throughout one`s lifetime. So
environmental interventions in the hope of raising
black IQ would take at least one generation to work. So
we can say for sure that the IQ gap will be around long
enough to make it worth understanding.
My New Orleans Nightmare article
was exposed to a lot of
scientifically illiterate loathing. But I had a
couple of genetic aces up my sleeve: I knew that later
in the week, the leading American scientific journal,
Science, would publish two blockbuster papers by U.
of Chicago geneticist Bruce T. Lahn about the global
distribution of brain development genes.
genes involved in determining the
size of the human brain have undergone substantial
evolution in the last 60,000 years, researchers say,
suggesting that the brain is still undergoing rapid
evolution…They report that with microcephalin, a new
allele arose about 37,000 years ago…Some 70 percent or
more of people in most European and East Asian
populations carry this allele of the gene, as do 100
percent of those in three South American Indian
populations, but the allele is much rarer in most
the other gene, ASPM, a new allele emerged some time
between 14,100 and 500 years ago, the researchers
favoring a mid-way date of 5,800 years. The allele has
attained a frequency of about 50 percent in populations
of the Middle East and Europe, is less common in East
Asia, and found at low frequency in some sub-Saharan
These findings are far from
definitive on the IQ innateness question. But I can
assure you there will be more announcements to come
about these two brain genes that will be most
interesting. And more brain genes with politically
incorrect racial distributions are likely to follow.
What we can say for sure is that
Darwinian logic suggests there`s something about
sub-Saharan Africa that prevented these brain gene
variants from becoming common there—either the Sahara
reproductively isolated from the rest of the world
while these genes were spreading, or the sub-Saharan
environment wasn`t conducive to the survival of people
with these genes.
The size of the IQ gap
The size of the black-white racial
gap in IQ has been studied for over 80 years. Of course,
the answer is purely probabilistic. To say that blacks
on average have lower IQs than Asians or whites
is not to say that all blacks have lower IQs. In
fact, about six million African-Americans possess higher
IQs than the average white.
The most comprehensive
investigation of the size of the white-black IQ gap was
carried out by
Philip L. Roth of Clemson and colleagues in a 2001
"Ethnic Group Differences in Cognitive Ability in
Employment and Educational Settings: A Meta-Analysis,"
in the academic journal Personnel Psychology.
They looked at 105 different
studies covering 6,246,729 individuals and found an
overall average difference between whites and blacks of
16.5 IQ points, or 1.1 standard deviations. The 95
percent confidence interval runs merely from 1.06 to
1.15 standard deviations (in other words, there is
strong agreement among the 105 studies).
(By the way, Roth et al.
found that the IQ gap between non-Hispanic whites and
IQ tests are typically set up so
the average score is 100 and the standard deviation is
15. Because IQ scores fall according to a normal
distribution (or "bell-shaped curve"), you can
use the NORMDIST function in Microsoft Office Excel, or
web applet, to see where different IQ scores appear
in percentile terms.
For example, if the average white
IQ is 100 and the average black IQ is at 83.5 (according
to Roth`s meta-analysis), then the typical black falls
at about the 14th percentile among the white population.
The most readable and up to date
discussion of the white-black IQ difference is Charles
Inequality Taboo" in the September 2005 issue of
John Podhoretz`s father Norman has been Editor or
Editor-at-Large for the last 45 years, during which time
the elder Podhoretz has given
strong support to Murray`s book
The Bell Curve.)
As I pointed out in VDARE.com
two weeks ago, Murray presents tentative evidence
suggesting that in recent years the IQ gap may has
narrowed to 14 points, which would put the median black
at about the 18th percentile among whites.
The black-white IQ gap is not the
end of the story. I`ve been
arguing for close to a
decade, IQ tests probably do not measure well
cognitive skills that blacks may tend to be better
at than are whites and East Asians, such as
improvisation. Life consists of trade-offs, so perhaps
it`s not startling that New Orleans,
home to the great black
improvisatory art form of jazz, did not display
tremendous talent at planning ahead for this inevitable
But, nevertheless, the IQ gap does
You thought the IQ test has been
officially discredited by somebody or other? Not
according to the Supreme Court and the military.
an article of faith among many liberals that I.Q. has no
meaning, it`s culturally constructed, and should never
be used to judge people`s intellectual ability. But
suddenly, when I.Q. is the means by which to rescue
retarded criminals on death row, I.Q. is just fine,
thank you very much."
Roughly 10-20 percent of the
overall black population is now ineligible for capital
punishment (compared to approximately two percent of
whites and one percent of the Asian-Americans). Among
the survivors at the Superdome and Convention Center, it
would hardly be surprising if a
quarter or more were so unintelligent they are
legally immune from the death penalty.
Now, let`s be clear. I`m not
saying that low IQ people are not morally culpable or
that they lack free will or all those other metaphysical
issues that are fun to stay up all night talking about
in the dorm room.
What I am saying is that
policymakers need to plan for the likely problems that
have been shown to be statistically correlated with
having large numbers of low IQ people around.
But, how can any public servant
make plans based on realistic assessments of how a
particular population is likely to react in an emergency
if the entire subject of racial behavioral
differences is a career-killing thought crime?
Those were our fellow human beings
and our fellow Americans in New Orleans. But we let some
of them die because we`ve been terrified to make plans
based on politically incorrect facts.
The meaningfulness of the IQ gap
tested with a ridiculously high IQ as a child, and I was
pretty proud of that till I got to the Army and found it
didn`t count for anything… we should not pretend
[IQ tests] are an objective basis for science."
Well, go tell it to the military,
which has been giving IQ tests to enlistment applicants
since the First World War.
Almost nobody in the media is aware
of the vast investment the U.S. military has made over
the last 88 years
in IQ testing of potential recruits, and the huge
number of correlation studies they have done comparing
soldiers` IQ with their actual performance. I was only
barely aware of it myself until I spent hours last fall
military psychometricians for my
article showing that John F. Kerry scored a bit
lower on his officer application IQ test than George W.
Bush did. (This was the report that
Tom Brokaw asked Kerry about on the NBC Nightly
Because the U.S. military knows
that bad things tend to happen to low IQ soldiers—and to
their comrades who have the misfortune to be standing
nearby—since 1991 only about one percent of new
enlistees have IQs below the 30th percentile (i.e., an
IQ of about 92). (See Table 2.8 in this
Defense Department report.)
Last year, the Army announced that
because of tribulations in meeting recruitment quotas
due to the Iraq War, it would up its share of new
soldiers scoring below the 30th percentile all the way
Even a guerilla war isn`t making
the military enthusiastic about inducting volunteers
from the bottom 30 percent of the Bell Curve.
Stop and think about that for a
second: well over 80 million Americans lack high
enough IQs to become a buck private in our high-tech
I bet you`d never heard that from
the mainstream media!
percent of white recruits scored in the upper half of
the mental aptitude test (compared with 61 percent of
white youths in the national population), while 59
percent of black recruits scored in the upper half
(compared with 14 percent of the black youths
In other words, the Army`s black
enlisted personnel score just as well on the general
aptitude test as typical white Americans—although not as
well as white recruits. (African-American
officers average even better, of course.) That shows
the impressive patriotism of blacks who possess many
options in life.
On the other hand, a sizable
majority of all blacks are ineligible to enlist. This
has created a social problem that nobody has
noticed…because you aren`t allowed to talk about race
We like to imagine that the
military frequently instills character-building
discipline in underclass
ghetto youths raised by
single mothers. But, in fact, it hasn`t let in many
truly poor blacks since the
collapse of the Soviet Union allowed the military to
get leaner and meaner.
Black enlistees are well above the
national black average in IQ. They come from families
15 percent higher income than the national black
new and helpful idea about the IQ gap
But perhaps there`s an opportunity
for a government program that might actually improve the
morals of the poor. So I`d like to end this perhaps
bleak summary of the basic facts of American urban life
with an idea I`ve been kicking around for years.
I want to tell you first, though,
about a young African-American man I knew from a rough
neighborhood in Chicago.
High school wasn`t easy for him,
but he stuck it out, stayed out of trouble, and got his
degree. He went to work at
McDonald`s, where the boss liked his attitude and
the way the other kids followed his lead, and put him on
the management track. But he messed up the paperwork too
many times and got fired.
He started hanging out with loser
friends and had a minor scrape with the law. He decided
then that he didn`t want to waste his life and that his
best shot at getting on the right path was the Army. It
offered the purpose and order he craved.
The recruiting sergeant liked him a
lot, seeing leadership potential in him. Everything
looked promising, but then he flunked the military`s IQ
test (the one used throughout
The Bell Curve), the
Armed Forces Qualification Test. Like more than 80
million other Americans would have done, he didn`t score
in the top 70 percent.
However, the recruiter was so
enthusiastic about this young man that he offered him a
special chance: the Army would pay to send him to a
lengthy training program where he`d live in a barracks,
wear a uniform, and cram for the AFQT.
He found there that he loved
military life. And the military liked him: he won
the award as the best cadet in his class. Fired up, he
went home, and took the AFQT again.
And flunked once more.
Sadly, we don`t live in
Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above
average. The tautological fact is that 30 percent of
Americans are going to score below the 30th percentile
The tragic conundrum is that the
young men like this fellow who could most benefit from
serving a hitch in the Army, the decent but not too
bright 18-year-olds who are on the knife-edge between
getting their act together and falling into a lifetime
of drugs and crime, are the ones least likely to make
the Armed Forces` cognitive cutoff.
Now, the military exists to win
wars. Modern weapons are so lethal and so
complicated that the Pentagon is perfectly sensible
in only wanting easily trainable recruits. The military
isn`t a social program. Indeed, much of what success it
has as a social program originates from its
asking soldiers, unlike the participants in the old Job
Corps, to serve larger moral goals—duty, honor,
country—than merely their own financial advancement.
Perhaps, though, our country could
make good use of a Disaster Relief Corps, one with the
discipline of the military but somewhat less rigorous IQ
requirements, accepting young men down to, say, the 10th
percentile (80 IQ, which is the legal minimum for
soldiers). Many young men
want the chance to be
heroes, which is why small towns get by with
volunteer fire departments. Those ambitions should
Disaster Relief Corpsmen would wear
uniforms and train for a year on a base, learning to
fill sandbags to fight floods, perform first aid,
control crowds, and other basic skills that would have
been useful in New Orleans.
After that they`d go home and
serve, say, six years in the Disaster Relief Reserves,
spending one weekend a month training (where they`d also
take a drug test to keep them on the straight and
When the worst happened, each
community, instead of
waiting passively for FEMA functionaries to fly in
from around the country, would have 19-25 year old men
on hand ready to take initiative to organize and protect
their neighborhoods…rather than loot them.
Of course, this program would only
offer a modest remedy for the terrible social problems
we saw in New Orleans. Maybe it wouldn`t work at all.
I`m sure somebody could come up with a better plan.
But to get this crucial
conversation started, the media, left and
“Righteous Right,” have to stop demonizing
anybody who mentions the hard facts about IQ and racial
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and