Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Distributional Coalitions: Tribes,Classes, Lobby Groups

The intrusion of messy reality into economics generates most of its intellectual issues. The world escapes the simple axioms of market exchanges mediated through freely negotiated prices. An American economist called Mancur Olson wrote “The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation and Social Rigidities” in 1982. It discussed issues not within the scope of either monetarists or Keynsians, namely how economies do not work according to the ideas of either schools.

For Olson, the question to be answered was why some economies were performing better than others after World War 2. Why, for instance, was Britain in such a mess (pre-Thatcher) and Germany and Japan increasing in wealth by leaps and bounds?

Olson observed the behaviour of what he called “distributional coalitions”, which are normally economic associations but which can morph overtime into castes, tribes, or even races. Usually we call them “special interest groups”, and usually we think of them as things like the dairy farmers, or other organized economic groups with formal legal status which seek legal or regulatory privileges (professional associations, banks, etc). Olson pointed out that they are usually small, they exercize disproportionate power, they reduce efficiency in the economy, they slow a society’s adaptation to change, and once successful, are exclusive and seek to limit the diversity of incomes and values of their membership.

His final rule of interest groups was:

9. The accumulation of distributional coalitions increases the complexity of regulation, the role of government, and the complexity of understandings, and changes the direction of social evolution.

Olson pointed out how expensive it is for anyone to discriminate racially (or any other way) as individuals, but by contrast, how rewarding it is to discriminate when it is done collectively. South Africa, in the apartheid days, could engineer much higher standards for whites by keeping blacks out of skilled and semi-skilled work.

Moreover, a racially, linguistically and culturally distinctive group finds it easier to maintain a multi-generational coalition. “The linguistic and cultural similarities will reduce differences in values and facilitate social interaction, and … this reduces conflict and makes it easier to generate social selective pressures.” (p.159)

And here is the kicker: if you can reinforce the “distributional coalition” with inbreeding – marrying within the tribe, the class, the group, the caste – you will make the group work better over time. This is called “endogamy”.

Unfortunately, the promotion of prejudices about race, ethnicity, culture and intergroup differences in lifestyle will also make the coalition work better. The inculcation of these prejudices will increase the probability that the members will follow the rule of endogamy and strengthen selective incentives by interacting socially only with their own group, of their own accord.” (p160)

A good deal of whatever I learned as a kid from the osmosis of attitudes about the other tribe in Quebec, the French Canadians, reflected this truth of behaviour, and they had stronger if not deeper prejudices against us “English” (not a  tribe, really just a foreign bourgeoisie). A distributional coalition can be an ethnic majority as well as an ethnic minority. I am not saying that the prejudices of each tribe were unfounded; I am saying that looking at each group, the English in Quebec, or the French in Quebec, as a distributional coalition, generates some insights. It suggests that wherever you see strong barriers to intermarriage, you might be in the presence of a distributional coalition, as well as that of a tribe, caste, or religion. It also suggests that when barriers to intermarriage are falling, a distributional coalition is fading out.

Olson was suggesting that racial and other forms of discrimination can work as the enforcers of the privileges of a “distributional coalition”, but note that, in his view, he makes no assertion that we have some innate drive to discriminate  – an issue on which he is silent. He says that maintaining  in-group marriage (maintaining racial, tribal or religious boundaries) will strengthen the distributional coalition over time, indeed, it is the only way to maintain it over long periods of time.

In conclusion, Olson’s views balance the problems caused by instability against the problem s caused by distributional coalitions.

On the whole, stable countries are more prosperous than unstable ones and this is no surprise. But, other things being equal, the most rapid growth will occur in societies that have lately experienced upheaval but are expected nonetheless to be stable for the foreseeable future.

In short, they have had a chance to purge themselves of distributional coalitions.

 

 

 

 

 

Sending more gasoline to put out the fire

The White House announced that Attorney General Eric (“My People”) Holder was being sent to Ferguson Missouri to oversee the federal response to the shooting.

Local police continue to exercise little restraint. The photo below shows police advancing with weapons drawn, which is contrary to what they do in the military, where a gun is not pointed unless a shot will be taken.

Police Shooting Missouri

An insightful article on the situation in Ferguson by Daniel Greenfield is here.
It is bracingly cyncial, and captures the truth.

Obama’s election marginalized Jesse and Al. Jesse Jackson was shoved aside, muttering something about cutting off a part of Obama’s anatomy on FOX News. Sharpton became Obama’s messenger boy to the black community while scoring a teleprompter reading gig on a liberal cable news network.

Jackson and Sharpton were displaced and made irrelevant by Obama. Their old way of monetizing racism through protests and private organizations is as out of date as pay phones and cassette tapes.

Obama’s way of monetizing racism for fun and profit is infinitely more sophisticated. Where Sharpton and Jackson pretended to be community advocates collecting tribute from white politicians and companies in exchange for “controlling the anger” of the black community (a community that usually consisted of a few dozen outside thugs that they had imported), Obama plays both sides.

The old community agitators “negotiated” racial tensions with white liberals. The agitators and liberals profited while the working class populations of both races that they exploited lost out. Obama however negotiates these tensions on his own, playing both the agitator and the liberal at the same time.

The new community organizers work for the Justice Department. The agitators shouting through bullhorns are dinosaurs. The government now has a monopoly on racial agitation and racial violence. Obama can use the DOJ, its teams, its investigations and the media to turn the tension on or off.

Sharpton looks unimaginably crude compared to Holder. Wright sounds like a clown compared to Obama. Their empty posturing and hysterical displays of racism have been replaced by actual power. Obama can do what Sharpton and Wright couldn’t; he can merge political power and symbolic power, law and outrage, together into an arsenal of votes, violence and guilt.

I had not really understood the term “race baiter” before but seeing Eric Holder in action over the past few years, I think I am beginning to understand it.

If you want to understand the origin of the phrase Eric “My People” Holder read this exchange from a report on US Senate proceedings concerned with Black Panther voter intimidation, from 2011:

Attorney General Eric Holder finally got fed up Tuesday with claims that the Justice Department went easy in a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party because they are African American.

Holder’s frustration over the criticism became evident during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) accused the Justice Department of failing to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission investigation into the handling of the 2008 incident in which Black Panthers in intimidating outfits and wielding a club stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia.

The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.

“Think about that,” Holder said. “When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, and to compare what people were subjected to there to what happened in Philadelphia—which was inappropriate, certainly that…to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all, for my people,” said Holder, who is black.

Can you imagine a white US Attorney General speaking specifically of his race as “my people”? Can you envisage the reaction? So yes, I call Eric Holder a race baiter, because he thinks he is the chosen agent of retribution for every slight administered to black people. He is unfit to be Attorney General. He is heading to Ferguson to oversee more riots, or rather, oversee federal response to the riots.

Physical beauty matters

That is one of the many reasons I like the monarchy. It celebrates health, youth and beauty, in the right measure and at the right time. It rejects the acceptance of ambi-sexual, obese blobs called “Pat”, and their ideological flat-mates in academia.

1406571401448_wps_5_GLASGOW_SCOTLAND_JULY_28_

Here we see Prince Harry charming the fit Australian girls, as they charm him. Being heir to the throne is a tough job, but for a time in your twenties and thirties, being a Prince must be a lot of fun.

1406571399528_wps_3_Prince_Harry_with_players

Here is the future

I once read a book by Bernard Fall about the siege of Dien Bien Phu. He said the French designers of the forts placed only 9 feet of earth on top of their dugouts, but a 155mm. shell takes 12 feet of earth to stop its blast. (Maybe the figures were 12 and 15, but they were of that order). Hence the French, who perfected military engineering in the 17th century, failed to follow the implications of what they already knew to be true when they built Dien Bien Phu. So the first days of the Viet Minh artillery barrage stove in their dugouts, and to cite Thucydides, “the strong will do what they will, and the weak shall suffer what they must”.

I think about multiculturalist proponents of “all cultures are equal”, and “race is just a social construct”, when I see figures such as those shown in the series of bell curves below. Like the builders of Dien Bien Phu, we tend to think we can hold back the implications of statistically different racial intelligence achievements by shaming, firing, thought crimes trials, special tribunals, head start programs, affirmative actions, “trigger warnings”. “white privilege” conferences, and preventing “hate” – any negative expressions towards any conceivable group except whites.

Leonard Cohen once wrote:

“Though altars were built in parliaments, they could not shelter men”

So society will become more fractious, less cooperative, less trusting, more fearful, less accomplished, and inevitably more segregated (racially, class-wise, ethnically) and all these negative outcomes will continue, as far as I can see, indefinitely into the future, all the time we prevent any thought or action that challenges and refutes the cultural-Marxist hegemony, indeed, almost regardless of what we do.

And like the French at Dien Bien Phu, we will suffer what we must because we have ignored facts which we knew but forgot in our huge arrogance. There are days when I think our civilization is rapidly going downhill. This is one of them. Sorry about that. I may feel better tomorrow.

BellCurve

Fire on the Moon: the accomplishment gap

Norman Mailer wrote a book called “Of a Fire on the Moon“. It dealt with the first landing by men on the moon, in 1969: American, and men, and as it turns out, white. I steal this from Frank Kersey.

“Mailer writes of a party he attended in Houston while the three white astronauts were completing the journey to the moon.

“At the party, he encountered a usually loquacious black Ivy League professor (who espoused some form of ‘black power’ and mentored black students on campus), who was uncharacteristically laconic and drinking heavily. Mailer writes: “He was normally so elegant a man that it was impossible to conceive of how he would make a crude move – now, you could know. Something raucous and jeering was still withheld, but the sourness of his stomach had gotten into the sourness of his face. His collar was a hint wilted.” (p. 124)

“It is here Mailer unloads with the most masterful part of his book, observing the source of the black Ivy League professor angst:

“But there were other reason for drinking as well. America had put two White men on the moon, and lifted them off. A triumph of White men was being celebrated in the streets of this city. It was even worse than that. For the developed abilities of these White men, their production, their flight skills, their engineering feats, were the most successful part of that White superstructure which had been strangling the possibilities of his own Black people for years. The professor was an academic with no mean knowledge of colonial struggles of colored peoples. He was also a militant. If the degree of his militancy was not precisely defined, still its presence was not denied. 

His skin was dark. If he were to say, “Black is beautiful” with a cultivated smile, nonetheless he was still saying it. Aquarius had never been invited to enter this Black man’t vision, but it was no great mystery the Black believed his people were possessed of a potential genius which was greater than Whites. Kept in incubation for two millennia, they would be all the more powerful when they prevailed. It was nothing less than a great civilization they were prepared to create. Aquarius could not picture the details of that civilization in the Black professor’s mind, but they had talked enough to know they agreed that this potential greatness of the Black people was not to be found in technology. Whites might need the radio to become tribal but Blacks would have another communion. From the depth of one consciousness they could be ready to speak to the depth of another; by telepathy might they send their word. That was the logic implicit in CPT. If CPT was one of the jokes by which Blacks admitted Whites to the threshold of their view, it was a relief to learn that CPT stood for Colored People’s Time. When a black friend said he would arrive at 8 p.m. and came after midnight, there was still logic in his move. He was traveling on CPT. The vibrations he received at 8 p.m. were not sufficiently interesting to make him travel toward you – all that was hurt were the host’s undue expectations. The real logic of CPT was that when there was trouble or happiness the brothers would come on the wave. 

Mailer noted what the moon landing meant to the concept of black superiority and black power in a now forgotten book chronicling the Apollo 11 mission

Well, white technology was not built on telepathy, it was built on electromagnetic circuits of transmission and reception, it was built on factory workers pressing their button or monitoring their function according to firm and bound stations of the clock. The time of a rocket mission was Ground Elapsed Time, GET. Every sequence of the flight was tied into the pure numbers of the time line. So the flight to the moon was a victory for GET, and the first heats of the triumph suggested that the fundamental notion of Black superiority might be incorrect: in this hour, it would no longer be as easy for a militant Black to say that Whitey had built a palace on numbers, and numbers killed a man, and numbers would kill Whitey’s civilization before all this was through. Yesterday, Whitey with his numbers had taken a first step to the stars, taken it ahead of Black men. How that had to burn in the ducts of this Black man’s stomach, in the vats of his liver.

Aquarius thought again of the lunar air of technologists. Like the moon, they traveled without a personal atmosphere. No wonder Blacks had distaste for numbers, and found trouble studying. It was not because they came – as liberals necessarily would have it – from wrecked homes and slum conditions, from drug-pushing streets, no, that kind of violence and disruption could be the pain of a people so rich in awareness they could not bear the deadening jolts of a civilization on each of their senses. Blacks had distaste for numbers not because they were stupid or deprived, but because numbers were abstracted from the sense, numbers made you ignore the taste of the apples for the amount in the box, and so the use of numbers shrunk the protective envelope of human atmosphere, eroded that extrasensory aura which gave awareness, grace, the ability to move one’s body and excel at sports and dance and war, or be able to travel on an inner space of sound. Blacks were not the only ones who hated numbers – how many attractive women could not bear to add a column or calculate a cost. Numbers were a pestilence to beauty. 

There was something to be said after all for arriving on time. CPT was excellent for the nervous system if you were the one to amble in at midnight, but Aquarius had played the host too often.

“You know,” said the professor, “there are no Black astronauts.” 

“Of course not.”

“Look,” said the Black professor, “do they have any awareness of how the money they spent could have been used?”

“They have a very good argument: they say if you stopped space tomorrow, only a token of the funds would go to poverty.”

“I’d like to be in a position to argue about that,” said the Black. “Damn,” he said, “are they still on the moon?”

“They took off already,” said Aquarius. 

“No trouble?” 

“None.”

If the Blacks yet built a civilization, magic would be at its heart. For they lived with the wonders of magic as the Whites lived with technology. How many Blacks had made a move or inhibited it because the emanations of the full moon might affect their cause. Now Whitey had walked the moon, put his feet on it. The moon presumably had not spoken. Or had it, and Richard Nixon received the favor and Teddy Kennedy the curse? Was there no magic to combat technology? Then the strength of Black culture was stricken. There would not be a future Black civilization, merely an adjunct to the White. What lava in the raw membranes of the belly. The Black professor had cause to drink. The moon shot had smashed more than one oncoming superiority of the Black.  (p. 125-127)

 

Norman Mailer wrote this in 1969. Magical thinking by American black intellectuals persists (see Ta-Nehisi Coates below). It will not get them to the moon, it will not make manna drop from heaven, it will not stop them from killing each other in astonishing numbers. Nothing will, except the same virtues that every other people on earth, including other Africans, have used to advance themselves. Industry, thrift, chastity, family, faith, diligence, and learning. There is no magic in this, and that is probably a strong reason why the traditional virtues are of no interest to so many of them.

My injury gap needs reparations

The  American Negro  writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, in a long article in the Atlantic magazine, argues that black Americans are owed reparations from the American federal government for the American black experience of slavery.

To ignore the fact that one of the oldest republics in the world was erected on a foundation of white supremacy, to pretend that the problems of a dual society are the same as the problems of unregulated capitalism, is to cover the sin of national plunder with the sin of national lying. The lie ignores the fact that reducing American poverty and ending white supremacy are not the same. The lie ignores the fact that closing the “achievement gap” will do nothing to close the “injury gap,” in which black college graduates still suffer higher unemployment rates than white college graduates, and black job applicants without criminal records enjoy roughly the same chance of getting hired as white applicants with criminal records.

When you make an argument for special economic privileges on the basis of race, as Coates does, it is vital to brush aside all previous attempts to remedy the situation of American blacks, and to place the the issue in a territory of pure feeling. In effect, Coates argues that any measures that close the achievement gap will not resolve the injury gap, the felt sense of injury for which no economic or practical measure is or can be sufficient. My people are angry, my grievance is  permanent. Pay up.

The more the black intelligentsia insist on the existence of white supremacy, the more I am inclined to believe it myself.

Here is Jared Taylor’s eloquent dismissal of this tripe.

The idea of reparations has a hypnotic effect on blacks. Not only does it console them with the idea that black failure is someone else’s fault, it comes with the intoxicating fantasy that money will drop out of the sky.

Let me make something perfectly clear. American blacks are an ethnic group, not a race. Africans wherever they may be in the world are a race, a term we use for the fuzzy set of people more related to one another than to outer groups. Ghanaians, Nigerians, Barbadians, Ethiopians, and so forth, are some of the people whose ancestry is African. African-Americans, as they are now known, are an ethnic group, formed by the same processes of inbreeding by which every tribe and nation has ever been formed. Afrikaners, and  French-Canadians are tribes or nations that have come into existence in the course of colonization of new continents (for them). In the same way African Americans are quite distinct from more recent African immigrants to the United States, and if you ever want an interesting conversation, talk to an African or black Caribean immigrant taxi driver about their African-American fellow citizens. If you move gently and allow the conversation to open up, you may be astonished how much their views of African-Americans  resemble your own.

Cultures that invest time and effort into self-improvement do not have time for perpetual “injury gaps”.

 

 

Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” has been published

The most important book of social science since The Bell Curve has been published this week. It is called “A Troublesome Inheritance” by the science writer Nicholas Wade. You should read it.

Here is an excerpt from the review of Wade’s book by Charles Murray, co-author with Richard Hernnstein, of the Bell Curve.

 

Before they have even opened “A Troublesome Inheritance,” some reviewers will be determined not just to refute it but to discredit it utterly—to make people embarrassed to be seen purchasing it or reading it. These chapters will be their primary target because Mr. Wade chose to expose his readers to a broad range of speculative analyses, some of which are brilliant and some of which are weak. If I had been out to trash the book, I would have focused on the weak ones, associated their flaws with the book as a whole and dismissed “A Troublesome Inheritance” as sloppy and inaccurate. The orthodoxy’s clerisy will take that route, ransacking these chapters for material to accuse Mr. Wade of racism, pseudoscience, reliance on tainted sources, incompetence and evil intent. You can bet on it….

“A Troublesome Inheritance” poses a different order of threat to the orthodoxy. The evidence in “The Bell Curve,” “Male/Female” and “A Blank Slate” was confined to the phenotype—the observed characteristics of human beings—and was therefore vulnerable to attack or at least obfuscation. The discoveries Mr. Wade reports, that genetic variation clusters along racial and ethnic lines and that extensive evolution has continued ever since the exodus from Africa, are based on the genotype, and no one has any scientific reason to doubt their validity.

And yet, as of 2014, true believers in the orthodoxy still dominate the social science departments of the nation’s universities. I expect that their resistance to “A Troublesome Inheritance” will be fanatical, because accepting its account will be seen, correctly, as a cataclysmic surrender on some core premises of political correctness. There is no scientific reason for the orthodoxy to win. But it might nonetheless.

So one way or another, “A Troublesome Inheritance” will be historic. Its proper reception would mean enduring fame as the book that marked a turning point in social scientists’ willingness to explore the way the world really works. But there is a depressing alternative: that social scientists will continue to predict planetary movements using Ptolemaic equations, as it were, and that their refusal to come to grips with “A Troublesome Inheritance” will be seen a century from now as proof of this era’s intellectual corruption.

It is my conviction, based on observation, that the tenured university social scientist is one of the least curious, least fact-driven, least analytical of people. He and she is the hierophant of a dogmatic revelation that asserts that race is a social construct, that human evolution stopped 30,000 years ago and that man is inherently equal but for an evil existing “system” which promotes inequality. In all important respects humans are the same, except of course, as regards our position for or against “the system”, which position acts as the sole relevant criterion of moral worth. Their ability to internalize and spout the religion of social science got them their jobs. They are priests of an ideology, which has the force and status of an established church. Do not ask them to understand what they are paid not to understand.

 

Abortion and Race

Gleefully tossing a salad composed of the two most toxically loaded subjects ever, I came across this statistical analysis of pregnancies, abortions and births by race, based on national US figures :

 

In 2008, while 69% of white pregnancies resulted in a live birth, only 49% of black pregnancies led to live births. The abortion rate for white women was 12.4%, and the rate for black women was nearly three times higher, at 35.6%. Thus, despite a higher pregnancy rate than whites, black pregnancies are much less likely to result in a live birth, largely because of their dramatically higher abortion rate.

The article is found here.

I am having   very politically incorrect thoughts here, such as: is this the reason no one on the conservative side in the States, apart from genuine Christians, is much concerned by abortion anymore?

The most offensive idea yet

I came across this on Edge.org. Jonathan Haidt describes himself as a secular atheist Jewish leftie. That he may be, but he is also the most interesting social scientist writing today, exceeding Pinker, in my view. Haidt is one of the few lefties who understands what conservatives believe and why they believe it, and rather than being repelled, is genuinely sympathetic.

Haidt was among many scientists asked “what will change everything?”  Haidt’s answer attacks  the contention that “race is skin deep and does not really exist” a belief that dominates social discourse.

The answers by scientists to that question, found at the hyperlink above, ought to satisfy your appetite for important thoughts for many months to come.

Here is Haidt:

FASTER EVOLUTION MEANS MORE ETHNIC DIFFERENCES

The most offensive idea in all of science for the last 40 years is the possibility that behavioral differences between racial and ethnic groups have some genetic basis. Knowing nothing but the long-term offensiveness of this idea, a betting person would have to predict that as we decode the genomes of people around the world, we’re going to find deeper differences than most scientists now expect. Expectations, after all, are not based purely on current evidence; they are biased, even if only slightly, by the gut feelings of the researchers, and those gut feelings include disgust toward racism..

A wall has long protected respectable evolutionary inquiry from accusations of aiding and abetting racism. That wall is the belief that genetic change happens at such a glacial pace that there simply was not time, in the 50,000 years since humans spread out from Africa, for selection pressures to have altered the genome in anything but the most trivial way (e.g., changes in skin color and nose shape were adaptive responses to cold climates). Evolutionary psychology has therefore focused on the Pleistocene era – the period from about 1.8 million years ago to the dawn of agriculture — during which our common humanity was forged for the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

But the writing is on the wall. Russian scientists showed in the 1990s that a strong selection pressure (picking out and breeding only the tamest fox pups in each generation) created what was — in behavior as well as body — essentially a new species in just 30 generations. That would correspond to about 750 years for humans. Humans may never have experienced such a strong selection pressure for such a long period, but they surely experienced many weaker selection pressures that lasted far longer, and for which some heritable personality traits were more adaptive than others. It stands to reason that local populations (not continent-wide “races”) adapted to local circumstances by a process known as “co-evolution” in which genes and cultural elements change over time and mutually influence each other. The best documented example of this process is the co-evolution of genetic mutations that maintain the ability to fully digest lactose in adulthood with the cultural innovation of keeping cattle and drinking their milk. This process has happened several times in the last 10,000 years, not to whole “races” but to tribes or larger groups that domesticated cattle.

Recent “sweeps” of the genome across human populations show that hundreds of genes have been changing during the last 5-10 millennia in response to local selection pressures. (See papers by Benjamin Voight, Scott Williamson, and Bruce Lahn). No new mental modules can be created from scratch in a few millennia, but slight tweaks to existing mechanisms can happen quickly, and small genetic changes can have big behavioral effects, as with those Russian foxes. We must therefore begin looking beyond the Pleistocene and turn our attention to the Holocene era as well – the last 10,000 years. This was the period after the spread of agriculture during which the pace of genetic change sped up in response to the enormous increase in the variety of ways that humans earned their living, formed larger coalitions, fought wars, and competed for resources and mates.

The protective “wall” is about to come crashing down, and all sorts of uncomfortable claims are going to pour in. Skin color has no moral significance, but traits that led to Darwinian success in one of the many new niches and occupations of Holocene life — traits such as collectivism, clannishness, aggressiveness, docility, or the ability to delay gratification — are often seen as virtues or vices. Virtues are acquired slowly, by practice within a cultural context, but the discovery that there might be ethnically-linked genetic variations in the ease with which people can acquire specific virtues is — and this is my prediction — going to be a “game changing” scientific event. (By “ethnic” I mean any group of people who believe they share common descent, actually do share common descent, and that descent involved at least 500 years of a sustained selection pressure, such as sheep herding, rice farming, exposure to malaria, or a caste-based social order, which favored some heritable behavioral predispositions and not others.)

I believe that the “Bell Curve” wars of the 1990s, over race differences in intelligence, will seem genteel and short-lived compared to the coming arguments over ethnic differences in moralized traits. I predict that this “war” will break out between 2012 and 2017.

There are reasons to hope that we’ll ultimately reach a consensus that does not aid and abet racism. I expect that dozens or hundreds of ethnic differences will be found, so that any group — like any person — can be said to have many strengths and a few weaknesses, all of which are context-dependent. Furthermore, these cross-group differences are likely to be small when compared to the enormous variation within ethnic groups and the enormous and obvious effects of cultural learning. But whatever consensus we ultimately reach, the ways in which we now think about genes, groups, evolution and ethnicity will be radically changed by the unstoppable progress of the human genome project.