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Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations
Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations
by Richard Lynn
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from $132.44

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a book for the liberals with the Darwin fish bumper sticker on their cars., December 21, 2014
This is a book for the people with the Darwin fish sticker on their cars. The liberals who believe in evolution, except when it comes to people.

Richard Lynn is profoundly out of intellectual fashion. He has been buried so deep that progressives are not even aware that they should be fervently ignoring this book. He has been consigned to oblivion. A measure of that oblivion is that Amazon prices the paperback at $132 and does not offer a Kindle version. Lynn's Ulster Institute's online store sells it for a fifth the price and offers a downloadable e-book for a third of even that!

Why is this book so dangerous.? Actually, it's not dangerous at all, because the very people who should read it never will. And they will not even be made aware of its existence.

The first chapter talks about the eugenics movement. As soon as Darwin came out with The Origin of the Species, and especially his second book, The Descent of Man, there was general consensus among the leading scientists of the day that human beings were products of evolution. We were just another species of animal, and subject to the same evolutionary processes that had created all the others.

Evolution is termed the survival of the fittest. Darwin's doctrine, polished by other imminent Britons such as Francis Galston and Herbert Spencer, is that the individuals who are best suited to their niche are the ones who are most successful in attracting mates and leaving offspring.

This is easy to see among wild species. A bull elephant seal manages a harem. He commands the right to mate with a large number of females. His genome is successful, while those of lesser males die out. The same is true for just about every species. If they are tribal, a pecking order among the males determines who has access to the females. Solitary animals, such as tigers. tend to have territories. An animal not strong enough to command a territory has very meager mating possibilities.

The same dynamics are visible among primates and among primitive humans. In almost all Stone Age human societies that anthropologists have been able to study, the leading men in the society have access to more women than the weaker men. They may command the right to three or four women. Top men in pastoral and agricultural societies might enjoy a harem of hundreds or even thousands. They certainly enhanced the breeding opportunities for dominant men.

The leading men in a society are work their way up through the ranks using physical strength, personality, and intelligence. They are the people who are most capable of getting things done, and most capable of enlisting the allegiance of the other men. There is thus a pecking order established. The top man takes what he wants, his supporters,at least get a single wife and are physically fairly safe. On down the line, the lesser males are usually left without women, and their genome is therefore left behind in evolutionary history.

Among domesticated animals, a similar process is at work. Human breeders are able to look for traits that are beneficial. They mate male and female with beneficial traits to improve the species. Thus we came up with hundreds of breeds of dogs specialized for different tasks, horses that are increasingly strong and fast, cows the produce more milk and meat, bigger potatoes and apples.

Selective breeding is nothing new under the sun, and it has been very successful in changing the genomes of domestic animals very rapidly over the course of in many cases a single human life. Witness the success of Luther Burbank in California, or the Russian Belyaev who bred the wildness out of silver foxes so to make them suitable for turning into fur coats.

Lynn starts out with a chapter on the history of eugenics. It is the belief and practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population. Eugenics came into being in the second half of the 19th century. It was evident to all of the leading scientists of that age, including Darwin himself, that human populations were subject to the same laws of evolution as every other animal. Moreover, these men observed that the law of survival of the fittest had gone by the wayside. Starting about the beginning of the 19th century, the industrialized societies of Europe had become sufficiently wealthy, and generous, that all classes of society were able to raise their children to adulthood more or less successfully. That being the case, and seeing that the less intelligent classes were having more children, they concluded that the general intelligence of the population was diminishing. There was widespread concern about this.

The question was raised, why do not the members of the upper class have more children? They seemed preoccupied with other pursuits. Some asked the question, though to most the answer seemed self-evident, as to whether or not the upper classes were indeed genetically superior in traits such as character and intelligence.

About this time the new science of statistics came into being. Two of its leading practitioners were Karl Pearson and Ronald Fisher. Pearson started his investigations with the question of human intelligence, Fisher started with the yields of crops used by the Guinness brewery to make beer. However, it was a fairly small world, and they wound up collaborating and supporting one another as they created this new science of statistics. It provided a powerful tool to investigate the hypotheses that had been proposed by the eugenics advocates.

Statistics allowed these researchers to state beyond the possibility of a doubt that what they hypothesized was true. People were becoming weaker generation by generation. They were becoming physically weaker, as medicine allowed people with genetic diseases and without resistance to bacterial and viral diseases to survive. People with weaker eyesight had no handicap. Hemophiliacs, and people with other debilitating diseases that would've killed them in childhood lived and were able to reproduce.

More alarming to these eugenicists was the observation that the lower orders of society, whose intelligence they were now able to measure and identify as being substantially lower than the average, were having more children. The reasons for this were obvious. The things that used to kill them no longer killed them, and in fact society through its altruistic welfare programs kept them alive. They recognized fewer moral constraints on their sexual activity. Therefore the poor had more children who survive to adulthood, and those children had more children.

Intelligence is a relatively straightforward construct to measure, at least when compared with character. But the statisticians did indeed come up with measures of the latter. Based on questionnaires, correlated by measurable statistics such as the incidence of criminality, educational attainment, alcoholism and the number of illegitimate children. What they found was that the least conscientious members of society, overlapping the least intelligent, but not the same, were also having more children.

This led to a highly related question. How heritable is intelligence? How heritable is character, which is now called conscientiousness in psychological jargon?

The answer that they came up with, one which has been found repeatedly over eight decades and more of research, is that intelligence is highly heritable. The figure is about 80%. Conscientiousness is a harder construct to define and measure, but the heritability appears to be on the order of 50%.

This means that if the people who are less intelligent and less conscientious are having more children, it must be assumed that their children are likewise less intelligent and less conscientious. The psychometrician's set out to determine whether this was so, and the bulk of this book consists of study after study investigating these theories.

The Darwin fish progressives who will condemn this book will certainly look for methodological errors and condemn this study or that because it is imperfect. Imperfection is absolutely the core concept of the book. No study is perfect, and in fact, every study has identifiable flaws. This is nothing new or surprising. In any sample of human beings taken for the purpose of measuring almost anything, questions can be raised as to whether or not it is representative of the population.

Critics of any social science research that they don't like always able to find fault with individual studies. One of the take-home points from this analysis is that every study is flawed in some way or another. Human beings are difficult animals to corral and measure. The sample size is not big enough, or it is not representative. In Lynn's analysis, single people and married couples without children were left out of some studies because the studies were conducted on children. Some studies excluded black people; some studies were taken in schools, so they ignored dropouts. There are always a large number of factors to consider.

Therefore, what any responsible social scientist does is to look at many studies and form a composite picture. A responsible social scientist will cite studies that support his thesis and also those that don't. That is certainly the case with Lynn's work. He points to studies that would support the idea of a dysgenic evolution of intelligence, and those the go the other way.

One key part of a study involves the analysis of sibling counts. The more siblings in a family the lower the average intelligence. Also, the lower the average measure of character traits such as alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking and other measureable factors and the lower the scores on personality inventory questionnaires.

In doing these studies, Lynn examines the intelligence of the parental generation and that of the children. The general assumption is that the average intelligence for the parents is the same as for the children. He also cites different studies on the heritability of intelligence, placing that number between 50 and 80%. He cites all the studies, and his personal opinion places it closer to 80%.

In another area of citing differences of opinion, he says that there is a regression to the mean. There are two ways of understanding it. The first is that it is an artifact of testing. An abnormally high score may simply represent a lucky day for the test-taker. The other regression to the mean is one that had been recognized previously by biologists, that is that individuals that are far above or below the mean tend to have offspring that are closer to that mean,. Gregor Mendel noticed that peas from exceptionally long pea pods give rise to plants bearing longer than average pods, but not as long as the parent.

Lynn himself was the first to notice that scores on intelligence tests rise from generation to generation. Moreover, the increases were not small. In some cases, such as postwar Japan, it was more than 10 points. The average has been generally said to be about three points per generation in the first half of the 20th century.

The rise in measured intelligence flies in the face of the dysgenics theory. Lynn, in this book, offers a number of explanations, but he rather modestly does not settle on any of them as being definitive. One obvious explanation is that nutrition in general continued to improve through the first half of the 20th century. It is well-known that a poor diet leads to a deficiency in intelligence. There was a lot of room to overcome that, especially in countries such as Japan and Korea where the measured increase was the greatest. The second factor is the increasing level and changing nature of education. Students become familiar with test taking. Certainly with SAT tests taking them repeatedly improves one's scores. The same is true on IQ tests. The designers of these tests do their utmost to make them free of cultural bias, but there is no way to get around the factor of familiarity with test taking in general.

A third factor has been raised which is that the nature of problems that people confront in modern life are different than those that occupied our grandparents' generation. People tend to think more in terms of the kinds of questions that appear on tests. At any rate, it was discovered that the IQ test items which were used in the 1920s and 1930s were simply too easy for testtakers in the 1950s and 60s. The items had to be rewritten to be somewhat more difficult; the tests were recentered. Whatever its cause, it appears that all of the improvement possible due to the Flynn effect seems to have been realized in England and the United States in the last few decades. The Flynn effect seems to have exhausted itself.

The increase of intelligence via the Flynn effect does not negate any of Lynn's observations regarding family size, character or race or anything else. The dysgenic factors covered in this book operate with or without the Flynn effect. The Flynn effect was merely an across-the-board countervaling force in operation over a few generations.

Lynn treats the Flynn effect by introducing another concept. There is a genomic intelligence, the potential intelligence provided by the DNA, and phenotypic intelligence, the intelligence actually expressed in an individual. Lynn says that it is phenotypic intelligence which has risen. The factors which used to depress the full expression of genotypic intelligence have been removed, and for most people measured intelligence is now closer to the genetic potential.

One factor which would support Lynn's thesis is that among the very bright, people with IQs over 130 or so, who presumably did not suffer from anything holding them back in the past, the numbers seem if anything to have diminished. There are not as many superbright people as a proportion as they were 50 or 100 years ago.

The top levels of achievement on the NLSY (National Longitudinal Survey of Youth) have fallen. The cohort of people who are at the top of the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Tests, for college admission) has shrunk over the years even as the tests have gotten somewhat simpler. It appears that intelligence among high school kids peaked about half a century ago.

In this book, Lynn takes the differences in average intelligence among the races as a given. This is consistent with previous of his books, among them IQ and the Wealth of Nations and Intelligence and Race. It is supported by virtually all psychometricians: Google Wikipedia's "Mainstream Science on Intelligence" for a summary.

I will raise another question in closing. Lynn and Earl Hunt are the last major figures in a generation of significant psychometricians. Arthur Jensen, the leading figure, died a couple of years ago. Perhaps a lack of talent, and the oppressive force of political correctness has led to a diminished number in the rising generations who can replace them. This means that there will be no advocates for what this reviewer would call unbiased science. The science of intelligence will be funded by governments, and government approved analyses are likely to be all that is available for publication. This is a tragedy for science, and it may well be a tragedy for the genetic outcomes of Western civilization. If we cannot see, and cannot express the problems of society, we surely will not be able to solve them.

The Roma: A Balkan Underclass
The Roma: A Balkan Underclass
by Jelena Cvorovic
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is a scholarly analysis of the Roma people. It should inform social policy with regard to other European minorities, December 3, 2014
This book is a scholarly analysis of the Roma people in the countries in which they are most heavily represented: Eastern Europe and the former Yugoslavia. It provides a history of the Roma, starting with their arrival in Europe around 900 years ago. It describes their reception by the host populations. At times they were welcome for their skills as metalworkers and their willingness to do work that others would not. Generally, and recently, they have been increasingly unwelcome.

The heart of the book is an r/K analysis of the type used by Philippe Rushton in his study of African, European and Asian populations. The thesis is that r-type reproducti involves having many children and making less in book investment in each of them. The Gypsies are certainly like that. The average gypsy woman per this study bears for children, three of which reach adulthood. They do not get much of an education or even much parental care. However, as members of a tightly knit community they seem to get enough attention to become thoroughly socialized.

There are chapters on Roma health and intelligence. Their health is dismal, with an average life expectancy about 10 years less and the host societies. Average intelligence varies from country to country, study to study. The figures for the studies cited in this book range from the low 60s to the low 80s. This puts the Roma just about on a par with native Africans, below African Americans, American Indians and middle Easterners.

The Gypsies were the first dark hued minority to arrive in Europe, and they have been the subject of the most attention. The United Nations, the Soviet Union and the European Union have each made extensive efforts to attempt to bring the Gypsies into the mainstream. they have attempted to get them to settle down, attend school, and hold regular jobs. All efforts have been conspicuous failures. The Gypsies are highly inclined to stick with each other rather than integrate into the mainstream society. They have no aptitude for school, and no interest even if they did.

The Gypsies have become a particular problem for Western European nations. Attracted to the generous welfare benefits offered by the likes of England and France, the Gypsies have moved westward as the European union removed impediments to migration. They are a drag on governmental resources everywhere. Efforts such as that by the Dutch to get rid of them by giving them airline tickets home didn't work: they created a carousel, with the same faces coming back time and again.

The case of the Gypsies should be of interest to social policy makers dealing with any minorities. It is a matter of evolution. When nature, or in this case society, creates a niche, organisms will emerge to fill that niche. This particular niche is money without working, and the Gypsies are only one among many social groups which have proven adept at filling it.

The Modern Gold Trading System: A New Vision for Investors
The Modern Gold Trading System: A New Vision for Investors
Price: $4.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Hamilton shows you how it should be done. Most of us are not dedicated enough., November 9, 2014
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Investing takes hard work. Hamilton has done it, does it, and shows you how. It is not rocket science, just diligence and persistent observation of patterns that he points out.

Confronted with such obvious facts, most people demonstrate the MEGO reaction. My Eyes Glaze Over. They do not want to be overwhelmed with so much data, so many things to remember. That, to be succinct, is why Hamilton is rich and they are not.

I bought the book looking for an explanation of how governments and central banks manipulate precious metals prices. Hamilton takes manipulation as a given and doesn't give it much more thought. The markets give signals which way they are going. That is enough to allow a trader to make a profit. Why they are moving, and the morality of what makes them move, is not of much interest to him.

The most useful insight in the book is the way in which all investing has changed. The 1934 Dodd and Graham classic on traditional market analysis is simply out of date. The way to make money is to understand how computers are programmed to trade and to get in sync with them. His discussions of high frequency trading and other modern techniques is essential for a modern investor. The unfortunate news is that the average guy, who could once hope to understand the game, now has to devote much of his life to the pursuit or recognize that the system plays him for a sucker and stay out.

Everyone's a Genius: Simple Tips to Boost Your Brilliance Now
Everyone's a Genius: Simple Tips to Boost Your Brilliance Now
Price: $9.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius is as genius does. It's what you do, not what others measure, that counts, November 9, 2014
This is an inspirational book. It is a two hour read, 130 very loose pages. The purpose is to inspire the reader to do what it takes to be successful.

Jen Fraser cites research by people such as Howard Gardner, famous for his "Multiple Intelligences," to say that genius is a hard thing to measure and is not essential. Anybody can succeed.

She has a lot of good advice for how to succeed. First and most important, make up your mind that that's what you want. Secondly, avoid all of the distractors, like Facebook and video games and drugs that divert your attention away from success. It does not take a genius to recognize the wisdom in these observations.

What does take genius, on Mrs. Fraser's part, is to pull absolutely perfect quotations from a great number of historical figures. Her genius is also on display in her graphic art. She is a gifted artist. And I would have to agree with her, not just gifted but also accomplished. It is clear that she recognized she had some talent and did what it took to take maximum advantage of the talent she had.

Mrs. Fraser shares a very revealing quote towards the end of the book. "I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say “I know, we could get Jen to Photoshop....” She is the person who can make things happen. You don't have to be a genius to do most things, you just have to set your mind to the task and see it through. In our age being able to use software, like she does, is a wonderful measure of a person's willingness to do what it takes to get the job done.

If you do it well enough, you can transition from being "a person who can do XYZ" to "the person to see for XYZ." That transition invariably requires all of the virtues that Ms. Fraser recommends. Intelligence doesn't hurt, but the other attributes are more within an individual's control. That is a central message of this book – take control.

Fraser disparages Mensa, the high IQ society, as mostly a bunch of self-absorbed naval gazers. I'd like to quibble with her on a couple of counts, neither of which detracts whatsoever from her argument.

First of all, they aren't that smart. The cut off is an IQ of 130, which is two percent of the population. If you discount the people who don't graduate, that's three percent of high school graduates. Take into account the fact that smart people usually go to the same schools, and I would bet that 15 percent of the people you readers graduated from high school with were Mensa candidates. It is simply not that selective.

Second, she would like to say that Einstein wasn't that smart, citing 160 as his estimated IQ. That would be one in 30,000, meaning that perhaps 10,000 living Americans are as smart as Einstein was. That can't be true. The top intellects of our time – Pinker, Dawkins, Hawking, Craig Venter, James Watson, Richard Feynman, John von Neumann and perhaps Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs and Steve Gates in business – are not nearly that numerous, and their achievements are nowhere comparable to Einstein's. Give true genius its due. Also note that they were all extremely curious.

Here I will turn one of Einstein's beautiful quotes back on her. "If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough." Very few people I know are intelligent enough to explain even simple theories. More important, most people are not curious enough to try. I would ask readers of this review to ponder whether you have ever wondered about, then explain in your minds, the following:

• Why is there dew in the morning?
• How many degrees above the horizon is the midsummer sun where you are?
• How did Columbus decide the world was round?
• How do bicycles balance on only two wheels?
• What is the theory of evolution?
• How did language develop?
• Why do we have both particle and wave theories to explain light?

Call it intelligence, curiosity or simply the ability to explain, they seem to run together. Curiosity is something born into every child. Fraser's challenge is for a person not to let go of it.

This is a wonderful book of inspiration. It is a great source of quotes. It is also something that might stand a prayer of getting read if given as a present to a high school child. Going back to Einstein, Jen Fraser has the gift of explaining it simply.

Face to Face with Race
Face to Face with Race
Price: $4.95

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taylor makes himself a pariah for speaking the common sense of a half-century back. Soviets excepted, November 8, 2014
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This is a short, accessible book. Fourteen articles by white people in situations in which they deal with Blacks (mostly) and Hispanics. It addresses the effects of forced diversity in schools, the military, construction trades, public safety and neighborhoods. He concludes with a chapter by author Geladiah Brown of Racism, Guilt and Self-Deceit which distills the high points of Brown's decades of experience in South Africa.

These are first-person accounts of how the facts that scholars spell out dispassionately in books such as Bell Curve, Race, Evolution & Behavior and Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis play out. Blacks in America average a full standard deviation lower in intelligence. This correlates directly with their much lower empathy for the suffering of (and suffering they inflict upon) their fellow man, their lesser ability to perform almost all jobs, whether or not they would be called "cognitively challenging," and their criminality.

Many of the authors have lived through the changes they describe. They write of a better balance before the liberal courts began to challenge every manifestation of unequal results as prima facie evidence of white prejudice and forced integration in all spheres of American life.

I myself witnessed it in my California childhood. All of society accepted DuBois' assessment that the "talented tenth" of blacks could compete on a par with whites, and should therefore provide moral leadership allowing the rest to rise to whatever levels their ability would permit.

About the time of Martin Luther King the argument shifted from achievement based on opportunity to entitlement based on a presumption of equality - an equality which self-evidently did not exist except as a figment of the wildest liberal imaginations. This was the '60s, however, and decades of scholarship yielded to wholly unsupported fantasies. This book documents some of the outcomes. I experienced a few - being confident that Black Army officers in Vietnam were more or less equal in ability with their white peers, whereas that was surely not true in enlisted ranks. Finding myself, as an employee of the world's largest computer company, which had the hubris to assume it could on its own right society's wrongs, working for people whose intellect I could not in the least respect.

As a parent, trustee and teacher in private schools I observed diversity first-hand. The schools were careful to limit their scholarship (in Washington D.C., black) students to about 15% of enrollment. They were of course careful to choose those most likely to succeed, in terms of family life and demonstrated ability. Nevertheless, the spectrum of ability distribution among Jews, Asians, Whites and Blacks was quite evident.

There were relatively few Hispanics. One science student constantly whined that she could not do written work because English was not her native language. Fine, I relented, do your report on the coqui (a frog, national symbol of Puerto Rico) in Spanish. It turned out she was a double threat - illiterate in both languages.

The writing is very consistent, and amazingly good to have come from the blue-collar authors. One suspects that they had quite a bit of editorial help. Their tone is relentlessly non-emotional, just-the-facts ma'am. It is probably no coincidence that this is exactly Jared Taylor's style. While I believe the incidents as reported, the voices do not seem wholly authentic.

Writing openly and honestly about the actualities of race in the United States is Jared Taylor's forté. He has recently expressed increased interest in the state of the races in Europe, which has some strong parallels. Replace the descendants of slaves with native Africans, and Hispanics with Muslims, and you have the picture in Europe. An important exception is that the situation cannot be blamed on slavery. Europe's racial problems are only a few decades old, dating back to the large-scale immigration of guest workers to Germany in the '60s, relaxed immigration requirements for former colonials of France, England and Portugal, and the more recent liberal-inspired humanitarian resettlements. Laurent Obertone has written about how this plays out in France, Thilo Sarrazin about Germany, and Jan Sjunnesson about Sweden.

Taylor finds common ground with the European nationalist movements, most especially the French. He speaks fluent French and is friends with many leaders of the French nationalist movement: Alain de Benoist and Guillaume Faye among them. Where he errs - another topic, admittedly - is in assuming that Vladimir Putin has the answer. Not at all. Moscow has become about 25% Muslim on Putin's watch, and Putin himself- not the Muslims - for his own political ends initiated a terror in Chechnya that wiped out about 20% of the population. He is now threatening Ukraine and the Baltics, not in the interests of the white populations, but rather rebuilding the Soviet Union, the collapse of which he considers history's greatest catastrophe. He could not care less what happens to white people in the process. He is killing them. We are "Russian-speaking" because it was forced on us repeatedly, against our will. Putin wants to do it again.

White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century, Taylor's book focusing mainly on the American situation, does not provide much guidance as to what to do. Retake control of the borders - then what? Whites are still being outbred, and still harbor an innate, however naïve and misguided, altruism. My call to Taylor would be to support still-white Eastern Europe against encroachment by the multiculturalists from the West and a revanchist Russian Empire from the east. We may need it.

Taylor does not advocate emigration. Given the current situation in the United States, well documented in "Face to Face with Race," he should include it among the options. The United States may be beyond salvation.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 30, 2014 9:42 PM PST

Thirty Seven: Essays On Life, Wisdom, And Masculinity
Thirty Seven: Essays On Life, Wisdom, And Masculinity
Price: $9.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classical scholar in today's manosphere, giving depth, meaning and resonance to our resistance to the feminization of society, October 12, 2014
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Return of Kings was just a fuzzy memory (I had reviewed founder Roosh V's book Bang Ukraine a couple of years back) until I read Ann Sterzinger's excellent write up on this book on Taki Magazine. I bought it yesterday and couldn't put it down.

Today I read a few articles on Return of Kings. They are good, but Quintus Curtius has to be about the best. This review is therefore just what it says - a take on his 37 essays, and a bit of an aside on a phenomenon of which I've only recently become aware, the "manosphere."

Most of the 37 essays deal with what it is to be a man. Curtius draws on classic sources, most significantly the Stoics, in his attempt to define what a man should be.

Virility, courage and resolve, perhaps best distilled into the single word "character," define a man in Curtius' world. Many of his essays focus on endurance and physical bravery: World War I hero/writer Ernst Jünger, people who survived catastrophes by sheer force of will, and those driven to prove themselves such as the tunnel rats of Vietnam.

Other essays address resolve in getting things done despite the pettifoggery, log rolling and indifference of those around them. The epic search for John Paul Jones' corpse, and that of Everest climber George Mallory. The fights to publish an authentic anatomy of the human body, and photographs of the Civil War. These efforts took courage of a different kind. It took men with the intellect to understand the importance of their missions, and the resolve to carry them out, often over thankless decades of toil.

Quintus only partially addresses the question of how a society forms such men. He is clear that today's society does not. Education and every avenue of socialization weakens, feminizes a man. Quintus is a classicist: he offers valuable pieces on ancient authors who are almost certain to be unknown to modern readers, and whose observations on the human condition and what it means to be a man are all the more relevant today.

He is not afraid to let his sources do the talking. "A Program of Education" presents without much modification Pier Paolo Vergerio's Renaissance era distillation of classical wisdom with regard to how to educate a man. The contrast with today's pedagogues, the likes of Alfie Kohn and the Sadkers, is striking.

Quintus does not delve more deeply into how a society forms men. It is an expensive process. That truly virile men may rise to the top, others must be tested and found wanting. Some die in the process. It takes a society, rather like the classical world, in which women bear many sons in the knowledge that not all will survive to adulthood, and not all of those will achieve manhood.

Contrast that with modern society, in which the little darlings - often adopted from other, more fecund peoples in order to avoid the bother of gestation and lactation - are endlessly shuttled by mothers or their surrogates, in car seats from (female) expert to expert in an effort to teach them how to be human. God forbid that any should perish in the process, or even that parents should conclude, whatever the justification, that any particular kid just doesn't have the right stuff to make it.

The upshot is that raising true men requires the commitment of women just as much as men. Like the women of Sparta, who admonished their sons to come back with their shields, or on them. This, in turn, requires a commitment to the notion that the society transcends the individual. We began losing sight of that truth with the Enlightenment, and it has been wholly ignored for the past century or more. The question is not our personal survival but that of our culture and genome. Putting the individual first, we have lost our society. Quintus is headed in that direction, but in his focus on virility in the individual he does not emphasize why a society so desperately needs it, and how society must achieve it.

Quintus has two essays on learning foreign languages. As I write this, working on my seventh language in my eighth decade, I have to say that he is a bit too demanding and too optimistic. Learning language takes both hard work, which he emphasizes, and talent. I recommend that anybody seeking to duplicate his success first contact 2LTI (Google it) to have your aptitude for foreign languages tested. No sense beating your head against a wall. Once you conclude that it is worth the effort, and you have the ability, his advice is very sound.

This is a beautifully written book. It will make any reader long for the classical education that has been absent from our educations for decades now. Given that you can't have the real thing, this is an excellent substitute. I recommend as well Full Circle : How the Classical World Came Back to Us, which ties the classical era back to our own.

Quintus says that classical authors, especially historians, looked at everything they wrote as a vehicle for moral instruction. He lives up to the standards of his idols. A five-star effort.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2014 9:29 PM PDT

Apes or Angels?
Apes or Angels?
Price: $9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A retired academic calls the political correctness for what it is, and tells the truth about evolution and race, August 11, 2014
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This review is from: Apes or Angels? (Kindle Edition)
For many years I have kept a collection of aphorisms on my web site. One I composed myself is in three parts:
• A fundamentalist doesn’t believe in evolution.
• A liberal believes evolution among humans stopped cold 50,000 years ago, when we migrated out of Africa.
• A realist believes in evolution.

This message is the core of Troost's book. He has read Darwin very thoroughly, as well as the authors like Daniel Dennett, E. O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins who carry on Darwin's tradition today. It is a pleasure to read a book written by a truly literate man, somebody able to draw convincingly on the wisdom of the ages.

Troost pulls no punches in describing the difficulties of writing in a politically correct time. Other reviewers note that his standing as a University of California professor was not enough to get him published by a major house. This is no accident, and no great tragedy. The leading intelligence researcher of the 20th century, Arthur Jensen, had to publish his magnum opus through such an unknown house because "The Bell Curve" made mainstream publishers afraid to touch it. The same can be said for Philippe Rushton, Richard Lynn, Tatu Vanhanen, Jared Taylor and many others.

Nicholas Wade, the science editor of the New York Times, was the apparent exception. Was. His 2005 "Before the Dawn," which Troost cites, was extremely bold, especially for a Times writer. His 2014 "A Troublesome Inheritance," however, provoked the Times to fire him. I hope his publisher, Penguin, has the courage to stand up to abuse. I mention Wade because Troost draws significantly on his work, also that of Cochran and Harpending and Stephen Pinker.

I was impressed that Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire gave this book good reviews. They are two of the boldest and most intelligent voices in the blogosphere. Their endorsement means far more than mine. Moreover, they are people that anyone with an inquiring mind should be reading. They are good about identifying the best contemporary thought on evolution. For that, read, the important implications of evolution, human biodiversity. For that read, difference among the races.

Troost devotes quite a bit of space to a discussion of religion. In this he seems mostly to be repeating arguments made by Dennett, Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and the rest of the gang who brought out books on the subject a couple of years back. Yes, fundamentalist Christians believe things that defy scientific explanation. And??? The more interesting question to me is why people believe, and more to the point, why religion may be fundamental to our mental health and our reproduction. The religious peoples of the world are the ones having babies. To heck with science, it is evolutionarily successful. Troost mentions but does not investigate this paradox. Sir Arthur Keith did so in his 1944 Evolution and Ethics, downloadable for free.

This book's great virtues are (1) the broad literature it references, classic and modern, and (2) the author's dedication to the truth, no matter how unpopular it may be. A five-star effort.

Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel
Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel
Price: $6.95

12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Testimony to the amazing power of propaganda and control of the press. Who is conning us today?, August 10, 2014
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The public is finally, after seventy years, wearying of the Zionist message. Supporters of Israel are encountering an uphill fight.

Weir's succinct, powerful account of the deceit, propaganda and political pressure surrounding the establishment of the Jewish state is finally falling on a receptive audience. The American public is awakening to the fact that it has been had. That our youth have been dying in the Middle East not to serve American interests but those of a foreign power. Weir's gift is to pull together what so many other books such as Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, New and Revised Edition and those by Noam Chomsky, mostly by Jewish authors, into a single, powerful, compact statement.

As a fourth grader in the 1950s I proudly wrote my first term paper on the subject of Israel. A heroic tale of kibbutzniks fighting against all odds to establish a pioneer nation in the empty deserts of the Middle East. In college I listened with interest to the stories told by Leon Uris, Saul Bellow and the legions of star authors, songwriters, dramatists and newsmen, who all seemed to be Jewish. What a coincidence! These gifted scribes are all telling somewhat the same story, about this brave new nation of Jews.

They were a hard crowd to please. When I attempted to ask some penetrating questions about inconsistencies in the stories, I was called variously a social Darwinist, a reactionary, and an anti-Semite. I don't like being called names. It caused the worst of all possible reactions. I started to think for myself, and resent those who called me names. Fortunately, I had no great position in society to lose, so it would not have been worth their while to attempt to undo me. They had bigger fish to fry. Which they did. But I came to the conclusion that I had been conned, and actually came to resent it.

We note that even today Israel's supporters, the neocons and whoever, never admit they are/were wrong and never give up. They constantly fill the dialog with controversy, disinformation and distractors. Now that the Israel story is being undone, I ask, who else? What other pack of lies?

There are two competing, contradictory packs of lies today. One is foisted on us by the progressive establishment in the United States: problems in the schools can be fixed with money; white bigotry is the source of the problems; the Federal Reserve is in control of the situation and printing money will work us out of this temporary impasse; immigration is good for us.

The other story, favored by libertarians of the Rand Paul/Pat Buchanan/Paul Craig Roberts persuasion, is that Russia somehow has the answer. Vladimir Putin is a true Christian who is being unjustly put-upon by a vindictive and corrupt West enamored of sexual deviancy, debt and other moral degeneracy.

Both stories - all stories, for there are certainly more - are supported by massive deceit and propaganda. The take-home point from Weir's account, for me, is that one should be very, very skeptical. Go with Andre Gide, quote, "Seek those who seeks the truth. Avoid those who have found it."
Comment Comments (92) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 8, 2014 1:12 PM PDT

A History Of Warfare
A History Of Warfare

5.0 out of 5 stars His discussion of irregular warfare and Clausewitz in particular is extremely relevant 20 years later, August 8, 2014
I did not review this book on Amazon because Amazon did not then exist. I picked it up after twenty years to read it to see if I could get any insights into skirmishes here in Ukraine.

Yes, I did. Most of the book describes the levels of war long ago. Warfare among primitive tribes and warfare with bladed weapons, and then warfare with gunpowder.

Equally important are the mentalities or the philosophies of the warring parties. Some, mostly the primitives, fought wars of limited engagement, not battles to the death but rather skirmishes. This even characterized the highly successful horse warriors such as the Mongols and the Huns. They would swoop in on and devastate an area. However, they were not committed to a battle to the death. If they met firm resistance, they would retreat.

The Greeks with their phalanx warfare represented another step. They were fighting for something they believed in, their way of government, their city state, and their society. And they would, in their phalanxes, fight to the death. This willingness to maintain their ranks and to bravely fight until it was done was adequate to defeat the Persians and a great many other enemies. It led Alexander the Great to conquer the world. The Romans improved on Greek tactics, and especially, improved on organization and weaponry.

Keegan says that the next great advent came from Islam. It was to unite the people behind an ideology, in this case religion. The Muslims' belief in the righteousness of their mission made them an overwhelming force. This happened again in the Napoleonic wars. It was the first war of mass conscription, in which all citizens of the country were armed and sent to the field to represent the interests of that country. Napoleon was able to overwhelm his enemies because the soldiers felt that they were citizens of France, not simply serfs and servants of some lord someplace.

European warfare developed a set of principles of war, articulated by Clausewitz in the early 19th century. There had to be a reason for going to war, an Enlightenment style, rational purpose for going to war. War was, as he wrote, the continuation of politics by other means. The Europeans adopted rules of warfare to prevent mass civilian casualties and to ensure relatively humane treatment of the wounded and prisoners. The objective was to win, not to annihilate the enemy. This set of rules worked fairly well for the century between Napoleon and World War I.

By the time of World War I the technology has changed so radically that it led to a murderous slaughter between motivated citizen soldiers. It left vast numbers of them dead. The same happened again in World War II. Keegan notes that the European powers fighting in these wars did have some respect for the opposition soldier, and took some care with the prisoners of war. Notable exceptions were Japan, which was barbaric in its treatment of Chinese in Manchuria and then the Europeans whom it took prisoner in the Pacific. Russia was not terribly careful with the Germans it captured. Keegan reports that 3 million out of the 5 million taken as prisoners of war died before the end of the war.

What is relevant today? The first thing is the use of irregular forces. The first six pages of Keegan's book are about the Cossacks. The very same Cossacks that Putin has resurrected as his palace guard in Moscow, and has sent to Ukraine as irregulars, insurgents, rebel forces to cause trouble in Ukraine's Southeast. This is not an accident. The Cossacks are, as Keegan reports, a border people, a tough people, and xenophobic and rather unprincipled warriors. The same adjectives apply even more to the Chechnyan mercenaries that Putin has sent to Ukraine. This is therefore a battle between a Ukraine which espouses European values and would like to consider itself a friend of the European Union and NATO, and the descendents of steppe horsemen who do not respect any of those conventions of war. The irregular and deceptive tactics that Putin has been using illustrate the difference in philosophy.

We see the difference again in Iraq, where religious fanaticism is carrying the day against a corrupt warlord type government installed by the West. It is happening as well in Afghanistan. The West simply does not have a means of fighting warriors who do not value their own lives or understand their own self-interest, as we in the West would like to conceive it. This is our own shortcoming. We simply do not see the world the way they do. In our decadent, self-centered way, we do not want to take the risks that they willingly assume in order to achieve ultimate victory.

I recommend this as a book for the ages. There are new chapters to be written, of course, after 20 years. I think that the most significant are the two just mentioned - Islam's wars against the West, and Russia's resurgence. But overall they stand well within the historical context that Keegan sets. He doesn't need to rewrite the book, just to add a chapter on the new manifestations of old phenomena.

It was a five-star effort in 1994, and remain so today.

Ukraine Diaries
Ukraine Diaries
Price: $9.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the confusion, suspicions and elation as Ukraine breaks free of a local despot only to confront Russia, July 31, 2014
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This review is from: Ukraine Diaries (Kindle Edition)
Andrei Kurkov is a novelist living in Kiev with his English wife and three teenage children. He is also a diarist - he has made a habit of practicing his craft by capturing his impressions of each day's events.

His diary rings true as just that - a diary. It is entirely in the present tense. It has not been redacted to look prescient, nor has the author gone to much trouble to ensure that a reader who is not familiar with Kiev, Ukraine and the politics of the area knows what is going on where.

The Maidan uprising and subsequent Russian invasion have been awash in propaganda, mostly from Russia though the West does its part. This diary serves as a database of observations by a (very alert and well connected) common man of events as they happened. He assumes that the readership of his diary shares the common knowledge of people in Kiev. He does not go out of his way to make the case that:
* President Yanukovych was Putin's choice for President of Ukraine, and Russia was deeply involved in installing and manipulating him.
* Therefore, the Russian FSB (national security service), successor to the KGB, played a large role in Ukrainian politics. Under Yanukovych Ukraine's analogous SBU did likewise, though their service of Ukraine's real interests after Yanukovych left has impressed this reviewer.
* Putin is aggressively working to reestablish Russia's empire. This has been evident through his wars in Georgia and Moldova, and his constant bullying of Ukraine Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Baltic states. He uses natural gas prices, promises of loans and trade restrictions to constantly jerk them around.
* The Moscow Patriarchy of the Orthodox Church is essential an organ of the government, subordinate to Putin. Peter the Great brought them under his control three centuries ago.
The evidence of the diary will convince the reader that these suppositions are correct. Kurkov makes a number of wry comments about the transparency of the lies offered by Yanukovych and Putin, and about Yanukovych's stupidity. This diary quote could have come from anyone in Kiev: " This country has never had such a stupid president before, capable of radicalising one of the most tolerant populations in the world!"

There are some very important terms that Kurkov does not explain. For example:
* The titushki are paid troublemakers that Yanukovych bused in from the countryside to cow the more civilized urbanites of Kiev. They are thugs: members of local fight clubs. They would be promised 400 hryvnya (then, about $50) to raise havoc. One of Yanukovych's many mistakes was to constantly stiff these thugs, paying them less than the agreed amount.
* The berkut were the highly trained riot police. They use tactics going back to the Roman "turtle" and improved during the US antiwar riots of the 60s and 70s. They generally moved in a phalanx, protected by large shields. They were armed with truncheons and rubber bullets. Disciplined as they were, they would probably not have used live ammunition without authority.
* The byudzhetniki (the root word is budget) are low-level civil servants, encouraged/coerced to turn out in support of the government.
Wikipedia will be useful for looking up others.

The diary describes where events took place. It will be convenient to keep Google Earth open in a window as you read the book. Important places are:
* Lazarevka is where Kurkov has his dacha, his country house. There are tens of places by that name. This has to be the tiny village 40 miles west of Kiev.
* The places he describes in Crimea are along the southernmost coastline, a beautiful and rugged stretch reminiscent of the Amalfi Drive, France's Corniche, or California's Big Sur.
* Downtown Kiev is quite small. It is a five-minute walk from Kurkov's house to Maidan, another five to the houses of parliament, and just another five to the presidential mansion. All of the action took place within ¼ mile of the main drag, Khreshetik, which is a bit more than a half-mile long.

The diary assumes that the reader is familiar with events. He does not describe the shootings on Maidan or the invasion of Crimea, assuming that the reader knows what is going on. It will be useful to have a chronology of events at hand.

This book ties in neatly with other books on Russia and the war. Letters from Russia (Penguin Classics) clearly describes the tsar's power, his instruments for projecting that power, and the country's foreign policy objectives. They have not changed in 175 years. Archie Brown's The Rise and Fall of Communism describes how it worked in the 20th century. Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin describes how Russia and Germany made Ukraine the bloodiest place on earth for a decade and a half. John Keegan's A History of Warfare starts with a description of the Cossacks - the same Cossacks that Putin has revived to serve as his palace guard and terrorists in Ukraine. Lastly, Putin's Wars: The Rise of Russia's New Imperialism describes the extensive planning that went into the wars in Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea and now Ukraine. Nothing is by accident.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2014 12:34 AM PDT

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