December 11, 2006

Malcolm Gladwell strikes back!

Yesterday, Malcolm Gladwell of The New Yorker was calling me a "racist" from "the lunatic fringe" because, bizarrely enough, I believe that car salesmen intentionally discriminate against blacks and women. Today, his big complaint about me on his blog is, in effect, that I started iSteve.com way back in 1996 and haven't kept up with the times technologically. Because iSteve.com is an old-fashioned Front Page website, it can't display comments, for which he calls me a "chicken."

I do, however, use Blogger for archiving my blog entries, so I have now turned on Comments on my archive site, www.iSteve.blogspot.com. So, knock yourself out and comment away, Malcolm.

You know, Malcolm, instead of trying to come up with these brilliant chess moves like today's, maybe you should just go back to quoting me out of context and calling me the R word a lot.

The ostensible subject of Malcolm's ire lately has been the criticism Judge Richard Posner and I made of a section in Malcolm's bestseller "Blink" in which Gladwell, ever the loyal lackey of multi-culti capitalism, claims that the reason car salesmen offer higher prices to blacks and women is not because they are money-grubbing sons-of-guns out to extract every penny they can from every customer, but because the salesmen are innoncent victims of their own "unconscious prejudices." They just didn't realize "how egregiously they were cheating women and minorities."

Judge Posner and I were unimpressed with that line of reasoning, to which Malcolm fired back on his website about a year ago: "Sailer and Poser [sic] have a very low opinion of car salesmen."

You can read the whole spat here. You might find it amusing.



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

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Malcolm was engaging in hate speech against social scientists. He is using the most damaging slur in the contemporary lexicon - the R word - to smear all honest psychometricians."

How is that not quoting out of context? I'll repeat what I wrote at Mr. Gladwell's blog, remembering that this is before he even specifically mentioned you as a racist:

"Oh, please. That is just ridiculous.

"1. "Racist" is far from the most damaging slur in use today.

"2. It is NOT true that Malcolm was speaking about ALL psychometricians. Using hyperbole to complain about someone else's language choices seems questionable, at best. (I took out the word "honest" from your sentence, because using that word like you did is not honest.)

"3. Malcolm did not mention psychometrics. Not once. There is a difference between saying that some random guy in a bar calling all blacks dumb is a racist, and making "slurs" about scientists.

"4. Maybe if you cry harder, someone will listen to you. (Yes, that may have been unfair, but your bringing baggage into this discussion from other fights is not helping in any way.)"


Also, what about the other quote that Mr. Gladwell mentioned? ("The plain fact is that [blacks] tend to possess poorer native judgement than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society.")

Luke said...

Must say I'm a big fan of Gladwell now. I've wanted a comments section on your blog for ages!

matt said...

Anon wrote "Also, what about the other quote that Mr. Gladwell mentioned? ("The plain fact is that [blacks] tend to possess poorer native judgement than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society.")
Also, what about the other quote that Mr. Gladwell mentioned? ("The plain fact is that [blacks] tend to possess poorer native judgement than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society.")
"


The problem is that the quote here, as horrible as it sounds, the facts are not in despute. The question is are tthe problems of african americans a result of years of racism, discrimination and inequailty, poor cultural practices resulting from the former, or something innate like the inherited portion of G (IQ).

Would you doubt that less educated groups on average have poorer judgment then more educated groups? Isn't it logical that a group suffering massive descriminiation would have less education then groups afforded more opportunity.

This is a touchy area because mentioning group differences on average, may lead to discrimination against individuals. No one wants thats. However, ignoring group differences will not help in solving them. If you don't believe the causes are innate, you should be especially mindful of these differences.

Leopold Stotch said...

Hi Mr. Sailer,

I think allowing comments is a good idea.

I rarely go to Malcolm Gladwell blog, since I find it very hard to read him. He seems confused and use long sentences.

He should try writing simple sentences with simple words. But then he might have to change his views.

His basic argument is:

Sailer believe X about black people.
Therefore, Sailer is a racist.

All this is an attempt to put moral values in a question of facts. It is a confusion between desires and facts.

The real question is whether X is true. Not whether you feel good about it, not whether people who believe X are evil. All these questions are unimportant.

Leave morality out of it!

JM said...

Oh, come on “Leopold”: “He seems confused and use long sentences. He should try writing simple sentences with simple words.”. He uses long sentences because he’s INTELLIGENT and NUANCED, and he develops COMPLEX IDEAS. Not everybody has to act like a moron.

I don’t like the tit-for-tat nature of the dialogue that’s developed between him and Sailer, nor to I agree with Gladwell entirely in his system for identifying racism. But I have to point out that his arguments have been well thought-out and presented, whereas Sailer’s have been, well, screeds.

Anonymous said...

Matt wrote: "the facts are not in despute"

Yes, they are. It has not been proven that it is an innate characteristic of race (e.g., genetics). Therefore people do dispute the fact that it is "native" judgement. You even mention that.

"Would you doubt that less educated groups on average have poorer judgment then more educated groups?"

Not necessarily, but that doesn't mean their "native" judgement is in question. Nor does it mean that we need to condescend to them by offering society's "moral guidance". (Leaving aside the fact that morals are quite a separate issue from intellegence.)

How you can, on the one hand, say that they just might not have access to the same educational system (which is true), and at the same time say that Mr. Sailer's quote showed no traces of discrimination is, quite frankly, beyond me.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard of Steve Sailer until I read about him in Malcolm's blog so I decided to visit his site to find out what all the commotion was about. I have spent the last few hours reading his articles and one phrase keeps appearing in my mind: "this guy is a complete genius". So thanks Malcolm for letting us know about Steve, and more importantly, thank you Steve for isteve.com.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer doesn't care about black people

Anonymous said...

Love how people like Sailer and Derbyshire can make utter fools out of the mainstream "experts". Gladwell is being exposed as ajoke albeit a very rich joke.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer cares more about black people than your average rich white liberal who supports affirmative action yet lives in a gated community devoid of any "color". Sailer is just honest about the differences about ability and that just doesn't sit well with liberals since it doesn't fit into their egalitarian, masochistic worldview. Reality bites.

I must say that I find this spat b/w Gladwell and Sailer very amusing. Trying to paint Sailer as no better than David Duke is ridiculous if you take into consideration his debate with Jared Taylor which can be accessed at VDare.com.

I hope the Gladwell cult learns something from reading Sailer's articles but maybe I'm setting my hopes too high.

AwaWiYe said...

"The plain fact is that [blacks] tend to possess poorer native judgement than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society."

Of all the discomforting observations Steve will ever make, that is the one I suspect will generate the most heat. Take "race" out for a moment and generalize the proposition: one can identify, by various characteristics, groups who on average lack good judgement. The very foundation of all modern socialism and egalitarianism is that one group of peoples, A, is morally and intellectually equipped and somehow possesses the inherent authority to make decisions and take actions on behalf of another group of peoples, B, the latter of whom - in the starkest expression - don't know or won't do what's best for themselves; and, moreover, that A should be empowered in the enactment of such policies to exact tribute from a third goup of peoples, C, who don't know or won't execute what's best for others. That leaves group A dancing around how exactly to express a particular categorical assignment or recognize the existence of averages without expressing it indelicately.

matt said...

Anon wrote
"Yes, they are. It has not been proven that it is an innate characteristic of race (e.g., genetics). Therefore people do dispute the fact that it is "native" judgement. You even mention that."

You've completely miss my point, you are confusing the cause with the effect. The cause is in despute not the effect. That was my point.

I wonder what you think of the reported success of KIPP schools, are they condescending to their students by offering society's moral guidance?

Rast said...

I came here to post the same thing Luke did.

Anonymous said...

Comments on the isteve site are without a doubt the best thing to come out of this exchange. Let me say that I think Steve is a much deeper thinker and writer on race than Malcolm. But I don't think Malcolm deserves some of the childish insults I see over on his blog or here. He's a good writer and he finds interesting topics. I don't look forward to reading his articles in the New Yorker as much as I used to, I think the quality has declined; the article on Irish prosperity linked to demographics comes to mind. But he still deserves respectful rebuttals, not insults.

Anonymous said...

The spat between Sailer and Gladwell is unfortunately typical of the jew-on-jew violence which often takes place between columnists. I feel an academic study should be made about this phenomenon. With graphs and pie charts etc.

James Kabala said...

Sailer is not Jewish. I believe Jewish is one of the many ethnicities that make up Gladwell's ancestry, but I don't know whether he considers himself a Jew.
A comments feature will make a great website even better. (I hope - there is the potential for abuse by nutcases on both sides, but we will see.)

Sharniqua said...

Jim said:
"Oh, come on “Leopold”: “He seems confused and use long sentences. He should try writing simple sentences with simple words.”. He uses long sentences because he’s INTELLIGENT and NUANCED, and he develops COMPLEX IDEAS. Not everybody has to act like a moron."

Perhaps you should inform Strunk and White (Authors of Elements of Style). They obviously got it all wrong!

"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell."

Of course, if your aim is to write an airport book that maintains the current establishment dogma, you can't write in short, readable sentences. Then most people would be able to parse your arguments.

In short, when you make your money peddling bs apologetics for the establishment, you need to be smarter than to allow a fair fight. Anyone in a debate who is on the side of truth has an advantage that is difficult to mitigate. Gladwell should never have enabled comments in the first place.

Rob said...

Blogs and blog comments are the best weapon the little people have against corporate owned media. It's refreshing to see that someone like Steve Sailer can thrive in the Internet age, and someone like Gladwell can be challenged.

Luke said...

Contra james kabala above, I believe Steve Sailer once mentioned somewhere in passing that one of his biological parents was Jewish. His adoptive parents, on the other hand, I gather are Catholic. Either that or he is a convert to Catholicism.

Just the same, it is the quality of his ideas and the way he expresses them, not his religion or ethnicity, that set him apart. That, plus of course the extraordinary display of independence, indifference, disdain, or whatever it is, in the face of the pc establishment.

Luke said...

Oh, and one more thing readers should know about Steve Sailer. He's a journalist's journalist whose betters crib from him all the time.

Anonymous said...

The Negro is inferior. Steve Sailer has proven that in his various columns. Death to the Negro.

Heil Hitler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

neandertal said...

This must rank up there with occasions such as the fall of the Berlin wall. The opening of the door to Steve's comments section. A day I thought I would never live to see. I do hope it stays open, however, so it is sad to see mobies, probably from Gladwell's site, come over and stink it up on the first day. Like the comment above. A comment policy would be welcome.

Anonymous said...

Comments sections don't moderate themselves. Steve'll never put in the work to keep out the spam attacks, so he'll have to deputize one of his fans to do it for him. Heil Hitler.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I am not a troll. I am one of Steve Sailer's SS Soldiers. I am here to set the "PC" crowd straight on matters of race.

Here are a few facts you "PC" types must learn:

1. The Negro is inferior. Its IQ is so low it can hardly be classified as a human. It only acts on emotion, much like a wild beast. All Negroes must be caged like animals. Once the Hispanics have been deported, the Negro will do the jobs they did (except the Negro will have to be chained and whipped in order to make sure it does not try to escape).

2. All Hispanics are illegals and should be deported. If they tell you they are citizens...well, that is just a pack of lies. Don't believe them. They are sneaky like that. Remember...never trust a spic.

3. All East Asian males have tiny d*cks. You see, evolution has its trade offs. East Asian males have a big brain, but a tiny penis. That is why so many of their females date white guys.

4. Northern Europeans are the Master Race (sorry wogs, you dark-skinned bastards are not white). Northern Europeans are the builders of civilization. It is the duty (or the burden) of the Northern European man to civilize all of the backwards races of the world.

5. The Arab is an animal. He must be killed if found in a Western nation. Deportation is not enough. The Arab is a cancer and it must be eliminated.

6. The Jew is two-faced rat. The Jew has, through years of eugenics, developed a high verbal IQ. He uses his high IQ to trick the White Man (a.k.a. Northern European) into buying his pack of lies. The Jew will have to be given a one-way plane ticket to Tel Aviv.

Well, now that you know the basics, I will leave it up to my Furher, I mean, Steve Sailer to fill you in on the rest.

Good day, and Sieg Heil.

Anonymous said...

Save the Seig Heils for the rally. It's just Heil Hitler among friends.

Steve said...

"Hey, I am not a troll. I am one of Steve Sailer's SS Soldiers."

[yawn]

Anonymous said...

Matt said: "You've completely miss my point, you are confusing the cause with the effect. The cause is in despute not the effect. That was my point."

No, I did not completely miss your point, thank you. You can't use the term "native" (Mr. Sailer's word) about judgement without saying that there is something "innate" (your word) about a race that makes their judgement inferior.

You simply cannot accept that there is something in dispute about the cause and then agree with Mr. Sailer's agrument. The problem is in the use of the word "native". I think you missed my point.

"I wonder what you think of the reported success of KIPP schools, are they condescending to their students by offering society's moral guidance?"

Okay, fine, we won't leave aside the fact that morals are different than judgement, if you don't want. They are. Also, what does that have to do with "native" judgement?

Anonymous said...

Sailer very competently expresses opinions that are held by many academics who, owing to their position, have to engage in self censorship. Frankly, I doubt this comments section will add much value at all when email works better.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I really enjoy your writings and blog, but a comments section is a bad idea unless you have some trusted friends who can keep the spam and crud out.

You (fortunately for us) write very well about hyper-sensitive topics, and that only invites trolls who will drown out productive discussion.

tommy said...

To the anonymous commentator who wrote,

Heil Hitler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Using far too many exclamation points is the mark of a simpleton. Please, while tossing about your straw man arguments, your ad hominem attacks, and your ill-conceived sarcastic tripe, refrain from using an excess of exclamation points.

Thank you for your cooperation.

daveg said...

So far, Steve's lackeys have posted much better stuff to Gladwell's site than the reverse.

I guarantee if Sailer’s fans posted the same crap at Gladwell's site Steve would ask them to stop.

BTW, restricting posting to other bloggers can sometimes improve comments.

Aaron said...

awawiye,

I would still say that the difference comes in the word "native". If we agree that black people generally have less access to education, then we are not disagreeing that we should provide them with that education. That's what I'd say "socialists" argue for, which doesn't seem contradictory to me.

I'd still say the word "native" is the tripping point, as I've been arguing with Matt.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

One of the above trolls wrote,

"Steve'll never put in the work to keep out the spam attacks, so he'll have to deputize one of his fans to do it for him."

His expert opinion may prove true. It's the same principle as sporge attacks in the Usenet days. It's why I oppose comments for controversial bloggers like yourself.

Has anyone sensed a connection between Gladwell's polling of his readers whether to edit you out or not, rather than simply deciding himself, and the way his opinions have evolved toward consensus (possibly under selection pressure from his speaking engagements)?

Bright as he is, I consider Gladwell more of a literary politician now than a man of ideas. He has a paying constituency, as you've noted before.

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

WHITE POWER!

Steve, when are you coming out with your own version of Mein Kampf?

Zachary said...

I confess that I haven't read everything in the Gladwell/Sailer exchange, so forgive me if this has already been clarified. Is it correct to say that, in this instance, Gladwell considers Sailer a racist because he asserts that sales staff are consciously discriminating as opposed to unconsciously discriminating against minorities? This might be supportable if it could be construed that by this Sailer denies the possibility of unconscious discrimination, but I see no evidence of that. Does Sailer anywhere say that no one ever makes unfounded judgments based on outward appearances? Doesn't that,rather, sound something like Gladwell's thesis in "Blink" that it is often advantageous to go with the initial instant assessment of a situation?

Luke said...

I favor no censoring of comments for the time being. Let's see where it goes. So far the offensively "white nationalist" comments are patently the work of Gladwell fans who disapprove of Sailer's political incorrectitude. That they have recourse to such tactics is an indication of how weak they feel their real arguments are.

Theo_musher said...

My last three blog entries are about Gladwell's snit vs. Steve Sailer.

My opinion is that Steve is a serious thinker and researcher and has many important things to say but that he has made some statements that could have been made more constructively and diplomatically.

But that said I absolutely hate political correctness and censorship of controversial topics and think that the recent theory that there is no biological basis for race is just drivel.

Aaron said...

Luke,

That's unfair. 1. We have no way of knowing whether the white power people came from Gladwell's site or not. 2. Judging an argument based on whether idiots support it or not is foolish. There are idiots on both sides of this one. 3. Those are not the only arguments being put forth.

Anonymous said...

From the "LGF dictionary":

moby - An insidious and specialized type of left-wing troll who visits blogs and impersonates a conservative for the purpose of either spreading false rumors intended to sow dissension among conservative voters, or who purposely posts inflammatory and offensive comments for the purpose of discrediting the blog in question. The term is derived from the name of the liberal musician Moby, who famously suggested in February of 2004 that left-wing activists engage in this type of subterfuge: "For example, you can go on all the pro-life chat rooms and say you're an outraged right-wing voter and that you know that George Bush drove an ex-girlfriend to an abortion clinic and paid for her to get an abortion. Then you go to an anti-immigration Web site chat room and ask, 'What's all this about George Bush proposing amnesty for illegal aliens?'" The strategy has been frequently attempted on LGF and elsewhere, but has not been nearly as effective as Moby envisioned, since false rumors are easily debunked by fact-checking minions, and cartoonishly extreme commenters often get immediately identified as mobys and banned from LGF.

Luke said...

An additional reason not to censor "white power" spam from leftish sources, at least for now:

It manifests a new kind of bigotry directed towards certain classes of whites that is every bit as reprehensible as the racism and anti-Semitism of yesteryear. (Borat is another example of the same phenomenon, at least in my judgment.)

It is just a matter of time, I believe, before this kind of pc bigotry is recognized for what it is, at which point it will cease to be socially acceptable. Meanwhile it is useful to have examples on record, lest anyone doubt that it ever constituted much of a problem in the first place.

Aaron said...

Luke,

You seem to be saying that people annoymously commenting on blogs with things like "white power" is just as bad as slavery and the holocaust. Please tell me that's not what you're saying. And if not, how you are saying it is different.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Sailer to be racist, and the accusations of anti-semitism coming from white liberals engaging in some rather weak sarcasm, is even more lame. Steve openly admitted to having Jewish background, and he has condemned holocaust denial in the harshest terms. Furthermore, as someone with Jewish background, i never once got the impression that Steve possessed even a sliver of anti-semitism.

The only stuff by Steve that has ever bothered me was his article on Gypsies and some of his comments about Arabs.

Other than that, he's golden. Def. one of my top 5 favorite blogger's.

Anonymous said...

Hey, man, I am not a left-wing troll. I am simply a WHITE MAN who supports Steve Sailer's wish to cleanse the USA of the disgusting mud people.

I have read all of his articles and even go to other websites to defend Steve's ideas, no matter how far-out they might seem to the "PC" crowd.

Down with the "PC" crowd and their stupid hang-ups.

Anonymous said...

Hey, man, I am not a left-wing troll. I am simply a WHITE MAN who supports Steve Sailer's wish to cleanse the USA of the disgusting mud people.

I have read all of his articles and even go to other websites to defend Steve's ideas, no matter how far-out they might seem to the "PC" crowd.

Down with the "PC" crowd and their stupid hang-ups.


Keep it up! You are digging Malcolm in deeper and deeper.

Aaron said...

Keep it up! You are digging Malcolm in deeper and deeper.

Yes, because obviously Malcolm sent this person over here to say that. He has completely control over people. No, better still: that was Malcolm Gladwell.

Is that how these rumors get started that were referenced in the LGF part?

In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic.

tommy said...

I don't know if our left-wing Nazi wannabe is from Malcolm Gladwell's blog or not. However, from debating a character named "Chuckles" over on Gladwell's blog, I cannot help but wonder if the two are not the same person.

He definitely has a serious dislike for Sailer, and is, to say the least, a bit over the top. I wouldn't put it above him to come trolling over here. See his comments for yourself:

http://gladwell.typepad.com/gladwellcom/2006/12/imagine_my_surp.html

Anonymous said...

If you want to prove Malcom wrong, it would be easy to do: below each of your isteve articles, provide a link to the relevant comments section of your blog. Not only would you make it more difficult for Malcom to call you a "chicken", but it would probably make your web site more popular, since it would be easier to make comments. Sure, people can go to your blog and make comments now, but it would be much easier if all they had to do is click a link.

joshrandall said...

I was amused by the guy who was so quick to defend Steve against the charge of being in bed with that dreaded little lady,"Auntie Semitism". He mentions Steve-O has a "Jewish background". So he is "safe". Does that mean you expect The Stever to carefully 'edit' his comments(and thoughts?!) so as not to offend the Kosher Boys? I sure HOPE that is not the case,as that goes against everything all of us net-heads believe in,like telling the truth,even if it offends the Master Race. Like that recent Vanity Fair piece,where the Jewish neo-cons put on their dressess and run from this catstrophe in Iraq!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I think I now see clearly why Steve didn't think a comments section would add much to his site....

James Kabala said...

Of course, any Moby lackey who claimed Bush favored amnesty would have been correct.

dan g. said...

I'm not expecting much from this comments space. I think Steve's writing and ideas are strong enough to stand on their own and don't require being opened up to a free-for-all debate. Plus, the controversial nature of what he writes tends to provoke extreme comments, from both the right and the left, which will make reasonable debate difficult. And lastly, doing anything to appease Malcolm Gladwell is a mistake. I think it's been shown once again that appeasement doesn't work.

So keep up the good work Steve. I'll continue to read your blog while largely ignoring the comments.

Eluard said...

The “trip-up” word here is “rational”. “Rational” connotes behavior that we ought to engage in; rational beliefs are those we ought to have. To be rational is a most desirable thing in our modern, sometimes very irrational, world. Gladwell thinks that the discriminatory behavior of the car salesmen is morally wrong and therefore couldn’t possibly be the result of a rational strategy: it must be the result of blind prejudice. Steve thinks that such behavior is indeed a rational strategy, exploiting the weaknesses of the customers. And I have to say that it was unclear from the original posts whether Steve thought this behavior morally reprehensible or not. I think it was unclear to Gladwell as well.

However, the fault here is the use of the word “rational” for the maximizing of personal, or company profit. And if one does insist on using it this way then one should drop the connotation of morally desirable: a con man who cheats a pensioner out of her life savings may have adopted a rational strategy for maximizing his income but he is a scum-bag for all that.

Car salesmen who engage in the behavior here in question are eroding the civil fabric of our society: it is in our long term best interests that they not do so.

But there is another issue behind this that is being muddled and confused by all of this attention to the conscious or unconscious strategies of the salesman, and that is: why does such discriminatory behavior work? The answer can only be because women and blacks are less well-informed, less able to walk away from a bad deal. These weaknesses are there whether the salesmen are discriminating consciously or not. If saying this makes one a racist then I can’t see how Gladwell escapes being one as well. (Though I think it is plainly silly to claim that saying something true could make one morally reprehensible to this degree.)

Eluard

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