September 1998

American Renaissance magazine
Vol 9, No. 9 September 1998



Quotas in the San Francisco Fire Department
The Definitive Word on Intelligence
O Tempora, O Mores!
Letters from Readers


Quotas in the San Francisco Fire Department

A report on ten years of mischief.

Burning Building

Credit Image: Eric Hensley / Wikimedia

Why does the fireman slide down the pole? To get from the dormitory to his truck as quickly as possible. This is child’s-play, even fun for most of the class of 36 who went through 15 weeks of training for the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) beginning in July, 1997. But one member of the class opted out of the century-old brass-pole slide. Why? She is afraid.

This is part of the legacy of federal judge Marilyn Patel of the California Northern District Court, a Jimmy Carter appointee and former lawyer for the ACLU. Well known for her social-engineering decisions, she has halted the firefighting careers of scores of white men in favor of less-qualified minorities and women.

In 1988 she issued a consent decree, demanding a 40 percent minority and 10 percent female fire department. This, she said, would make up for past discrimination. Indeed, women had not been allowed in the SFFD, but nothing prevented minorities from applying. The first black joined in 1955; the first Asian two years later, and there has been a sprinkling of Hispanics since the turn of the century. Though proof of racial discrimination was supposedly necessary, it was never found; Judge Patel shoved her consent decree down the throat of the SFFD anyway.

Women on the Force

In order to hire women, the department had to throw out all the old strength standards and replace them with “tests” that wouldn’t stress the average teen-age boy. One such test requires the applicant to raise a 24-foot wooden ladder to vertical. To make it easier for the new breed of diverse firefighters, the base of the ladder is attached to the ground with a metal hinge. No one seems worried that there are no metal hinges bolted to the sidewalks in front of buildings in San Francisco.

Another test requires the applicant to drag a 40-pound cloth dummy across a polished cement floor and out the door. Needless to say, the average person removed from a burning building weighs a lot more than 40 pounds and may prefer to be carried rather than dragged. If there is any dragging it is usually across a wet carpet.

Physical strength is important not just for getting the job done but for staying alive. Firefighting ranks high among the most dangerous professions in the country, and only the ideologically blinded fail to realize that it takes stringent physical and mental standards to keep death and injury rates down. When reporters asked former New York City Mayor Ed Koch about ethnic diversity in his department, he said he was more interested in whether someone could get a 200-pound mayor out of a burning building.

San Francisco, it appears, was not listening.

I remember when the first Asian woman was hired in the early 1990s — it was front-page news. One local paper called her the Jackie Robinson of the SFFD, who had cracked that old devil, the color line. Her first fire — a smoldering sofa and the wall behind it, which could have been handled with a five-gallon portable pump can — revealed the truth. When she and her crew got back to quarters they sat with coffee and, following custom, critiqued their performance at the fire. While they talked, she sat alone, near tears, asking herself why she had chosen this terrible job, moaning about her frightening experience.

At her next fire, she was part of the first engine company to arrive at a small hotel with the fire confined to one set of rooms. Realizing how shaky our Asian-American heroine actually was, her officer gave her the least dangerous assignment. As they rushed in the front door she was to connect one end of a 100-foot hose to a standpipe water outlet in the hallway while they took the business end directly to the rooms on fire. As they crouched in the doorway waiting for the water, it began to heat up. “Give us the water; where’s the damn water?” they yelled down the hall to the woman.

The water never came. It got so hot the men were driven from the building, barely able to save their hose. They found the woman outside wandering around doing make-work — picking up axes and straightening hose. Naturally they wanted to know why she hadn’t given them water. She said she had been told in training that if it gets too hot, just leave. So she left her crew in the hot spot without even connecting to the water source.

Thankfully, she has been taken from the field and given the position of fire prevention inspector. This much-desired job entails no night work, no danger, brings a 10 percent raise and is awarded only after months of study and successful performance on a competitive examination. Somehow, she never had to take the test.

Then there was the first Hispanic woman firefighter, another prodigy. In the early 1990s when a local San Francisco Spanish television station heard that she had graduated from the Division of Training and had been assigned to a station in a Hispanic neighborhood, they sent a crew to film this Latina role model during her daily drills. After she dropped the most light-weight ladder (the 24-ft. wooden fire escape ladder) on her own head for the third time, they politely excused themselves and left.

Her training supervisor asked her if she would like him to design a weight-training program so she could improve her strength. She didn’t answer. Instead she made two telephone calls; one to her lawyer and one to the fire department EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) officer with whom she filed a sexism complaint against her supervisor for suggesting she lacked strength. During her 15-week session at the Division of Training her supervisors said she was too weak to be a firefighter but their recommendation that she be terminated was ignored.

At present, this lady holds the fourth highest rank in the SFFD, having been hand-picked by the black, politically correct, Chief of the Department to head the diversity training programs for the SFFD. Her accelerated promotion from “lieutenant” (also an affirmative action quota gift promotion) to Deputy Assistant Chief was an unparalleled four-rank leap. It took her only eight years to rise to the lofty station of fourth in command in a 1,500-member department — a level rarely reached in fewer than 20 years and only through competitive examination.

Apparently the pressure is proving too much for her. She has been stopped twice by the police for drunk driving. Both times she was in uniform, behind the wheel of an official fire department sedan. First-time on-duty drunk driving normally carries a penalty of 60 days without pay; a second offense has been known to result in termination. So far, this inspiration to womanhood, hired and promoted far beyond her knowledge and experience, has suffered no penalty.

The undeserved weight of command has taken a toll on other women officers as well. One lady lieutenant and the engine crew she commanded were first to arrive at a house fire in a living room over a garage. Standard SFFD practice required her to take her crew with hoses up the front stairs, kick in the door, and put out the fire. She made a chicken-hearted assessment and changed tactics. After telling her crew to “Get back, it’s too hot,” she ordered them to attempt to break the living room windows with the hose stream, hoping the water would magically find its way to the fire. It didn’t; in fact the windows wouldn’t even break.

The second-arriving lieutenant and his crew knew what to do. They shouldered her aside, took her hose from her, ran up the stairs, kicked in the door and put out the fire. The embarrassed woman officer did the expected and filed a complaint with the department’s EEOC office, claiming that the brutish crew made sexist remarks when they took her hose and put out the fire. Back in quarters, following the fire, the cowardly woman officer, thinking she was alone, was seen in tears, muttering to herself and punching herself in the face. At the next annual SFFD charity chili cook-off, one group of chefs wanted to use her warning, “Get back, it’s too hot!” as their motto but decided against it for fear of another EEOC complaint.

There was another lady lieutenant who was so short she couldn’t push the overhead door to the compartment containing the portable air packs to the open position above her head. The door kept coming down on her helmeted head and she couldn’t take her air pack from its storage rack. When passersby noticed her plight, they began to giggle and make unflattering remarks. This caused the young officer such distress she abandoned her air pack, went around to the other side of the hook and ladder, sat on the running board, and hid. She never joined her crew inside the burning building.

I once had the unique experience of working alongside a woman who could not break a sheetrock wall with her standard 8-pound ax. Her lieutenant became so vexed that he broke the wall with the back of his hand. In my 30-year career in the SFFD I never saw another firefighter unable to break sheetrock with an ax. For decades, the upper age limit for hiring was 33, yet this remarkably unfit woman had been hired at age 44; her previous job was decorating cakes. As an indication of how reliable she is, she was recently nick-named, “Defective Equipment.”

Dumbing the Tests

The problem for minorities — blacks especially — has not been the physical but the mental demands of the job. For decades a test comparable to a college entrance exam guaranteed that the SFFD hired and promoted only men with well above-average intelligence. The need to increase the number of minority firefighters, many of whom fail even basic intelligence tests, means that the written exam has been notoriously dumbed down. Now one test question actually asks: “Which is more difficult, pushing a wheelbarrow up a ramp or on the flat?”

In the early 1980s race and testing mischief took a tortured turn when, for the first time, San Francisco hired an outside testing company at a cost of $250,000 to design the promotional exam for the rank of lieutenant — the lowest supervisory rank. In the past, the Civil Service Testing Office had made up all promotional examinations for the city, but this was to be a special exercise to eliminate “racial bias” in the lieutenant’s exam.

The testing company interviewed firefighters for weeks to determine the proper questions for the examination. It asked every ethnic firefighter association, the firefighters union, and representatives from City Hall to evaluate the new exam to see if it was race-neutral. Everyone agreed that it was.

The test was given and scored. Approximately one third of the Asian, Hispanic and white test-takers passed, but only 12 percent of the blacks. The Black Firefighters’ Association (BFA), which had previously agreed that the test was race-neutral, now decided it was biased, but only against blacks. A judge agreed, and made the city come up with a promotion plan more equitable to blacks.

The city agreed to pick names at random from the 330 highest-scoring finishers, but only a Fire Department Assistant Chief and the black female attorney representing the BFA would do it — behind closed doors. When the “random selection” was over, only non-whites had moved up the list, and whites had only moved down. One white went from 15th to 75th place. The names of some whites simply disappeared and were replaced with the names of low-scoring non-whites. One of the unjustly promoted benefited from having one Pacific Island great-grand parent.

One black “lieutenant” was returning from a fire drill with his engine crew when he noticed (possibly for the first time) the lake just south of San Francisco from which the city gets its water (for fire hydrants, too). He turned to his engine driver and asked if that was the [Pacific] “ocean” or “the [San Francisco] bay.” The lake is about 300 yards across.

Another quota-hire lieutenant told his engine crew to respond to an alarm in a parking lot and look for a “Cadillac.” The computer print-out in his hand plainly said to look for a “cardiac,” that is to say, a heart-attack victim.

Some incidents of intellectual failure have been more frightening. When looking for a way to get from the roof of an adjoining building to a burning hotel, a black quota-hire lieutenant ordered one of his crew to jump across the span separating the structures. They were 4 stories above the ground and everyone had already been evacuated from the burning hotel. The firefighter refused to obey the ridiculous order.

In the spring of 1996 at a wind-whipped house fire, the actions of two quota-hires may have resulted in serious consequences: One firefighter died and another is permanently disabled. The first hook and ladder arrived lacking one of its crew, a black woman. She later admitted she wanted to get a sound sleep, so she went to bed wearing ear-plugs and didn’t hear the alarm. At the same fire, the non-white driver of the first engine company, probably coddled through the training course, could not figure out how to deliver water from his pumper to the seat of the fire. Whether the failures of these two quota hires positively caused the two tragedies is not certain, but they didn’t help.

Hand-picked Incompetence

So what has the department learned, since the consent decree, about how to hire firemen? In November, 1996, 7,000 men and women sat for the watered-down SFFD written entrance examination. Three months later a list of the highest scoring 2,100 was released. In July, 1997, the first group of 36 recruits began the 15-week training course at the Fire Department’s Division of Training.

Not surprisingly, only 12 of the 36 had actually placed among the top 36 on the examination. The remaining 24 were hand-picked from the list of 2,100 — also-rans selected to fill race and sex quotas. Naturally, not one of the anointed 24 is a white man. Fifteen of the training class were women, though only three women placed in the top 36.

Scores for the hand-picked 24 ranged from 45th place (Asian male) to 59th (Asian male) to 95th (white female) to 248th (Asian female) to 631st place (black female). To get their last black woman the ethnic and gender bean counters dropped all the way to 954th place.

This is what the department does in order to strike a racial “balance” In that class of 36 there were five white men and five white women. In the next training class of 42, there were also five white men and five white women. In the third training class of 42 — undergoing training this summer — there are only four white men.

What does this sort of preference mischief mean in real, human terms? One young white man placed in the top 30 out of the pool of 7,000. Two of his close relatives were San Francisco firemen. He is an outstanding athlete, having captained and quarterbacked his high school football team. Though it is not required, he had prepared for the SFFD by earning a two-year degree in Fire Science, and is certified as an Emergency Medical Technician. This man, who had been preparing literally all his life for the job was passed over for a woman who, it now turns out, is afraid to slide down the pole.

Fortunately, he was included in the next training class.

When a firefighter-in-training fails any of the physical tests requiring a partner, he or she may select a specific partner for the mandatory re-test. During one afternoon of retesting, no fewer than 13 undermuscled women chose this young athlete to help them get through their tests. Remarkably, even the politically correct instructors told the next batch of weaklings to pick someone else.

Eye-witnesses report that this class averages only two standard pull-ups. When certain members of the class practice lifting and raising the 6-man, 425 pound, 50-foot wooden extension ladder, the instructors must remove the fly (the extendible portion) so that feeble trainees can lift the fire department’s most versatile ladder. This eliminates nearly one-third of its weight but virtually negates its usefulness.

Obviously, the SFFD has learned nothing from the manifest foolishness of its hiring policy. It is run by people who think like Gloria Steinem who, in a recent television interview, said she didn’t care if women were not strong enough to carry people over their shoulders out of burning buildings. Presumably she would be happy to be dragged down stairs by her ankles, banging her head on each step, so long as she is dragged by a woman.

Rewards via the Courts

The consciousness of race and sex that now pervades the department has proven to be a remarkable temptation for minority and women firefighters looking for financial rewards via the courts. A copy of Playboy on a dormitory table becomes sexual harassment. A reference to eating watermelon becomes racial discrimination, as does demanding that a minority fire inspector show up on time at the office. If you ask real questions when a “facilitator” is conducting a diversity workshop, that’s racial intimidation.

There have been hundreds of complaints filed with the department’s EEOC office in the last decade. Each incident must be investigated according to EEOC guidelines, each investigation takes weeks, and each costs the SFFD nearly $20,000. Most months there are a dozen or more on-going investigations. These terrible costs have so compromised the firefighting budget that the department no longer has enough money for uniforms and safety shoes.

Some investigations have paid off handsomely for those who can find “racism” around every corner. In the late 1980s, when the four blacks in a training class of 30 were repeatedly making perfect scores on the weekly written exams yet failing their field trials, an investigation revealed that a black instructor had been giving them the test questions ahead of time. When this stopped, test scores for the blacks nose-dived. Neither the instructor nor the four cheaters were reprimanded. But the last laugh was theirs. A couple of years after graduating from the Division of Training the four filed an EEOC complaint, claiming that they had been unfairly stigmatized as “cheaters.” A court ruled in their favor and the City of San Francisco was forced to give each of them $35,000.

One of the most firmly-held convictions of the race quota-mongers is that occupations must precisely reflect the percentage of each ethnic minority in the community. Yet, while San Francisco has only an eight percent black population, the officer ranks in the SFFD are 34 percent black. Overall, the black SFFD membership has achieved 132 percent of the original consent decree goal while the Asian firefighter goal lags at only 58 percent. Early this year the Asian American Firefighters Association hired a lawyer to present this fact before the Fire Commission, but black favoritism in hiring continues unabated.

There is no more glaring example of the pro-black, anti-Asian bias than the November 1997 hiring of the son of a black Assistant Chief (a high rank he achieved through preferential promotions). Fifty-two Asian applicants (and quite a few others) got higher test scores than the black, but he was hired and they were not. Midway through the 15-week training course he hurt himself and could not do field drills and exercises. In the past, an injured recruit would be washed out and allowed to come back for the next class, but this son of a quota-hire black chief was put on “light duty” for the remainder of the training class and graduated to the field after “completing” his training.

The present Chief of the SFFD is the former president of the Black Firefighters’ Association. He was appointed by San Francisco’s black mayor, Willie Brown. He thinks the selection process is still “biased” and wants to eliminate the written examination entirely. He says he will institute what he calls a “West Point-style” process of classroom teaching and volunteering. Applicants completing this training will then be “randomly” assigned a number by computer, and the department will then hire the lowest numbers. One can only guess at the abysmal depths to which the SFFD will sink if it is to hire firefighters at “random.”

There may be important reasons for this. Judge Patel has promised that after 10 grueling years, her consent decree is to end on Nov. 1 of this year. Mayor Brown says that “the [preference] process is now institutionalized to ensure that no matter which administration is in charge at City Hall, the San Francisco Fire Department always reflects the diversity that is uniquely San Francisco.”

In 1996, the people of California approved Proposition 209, which forbids sex and race preferences in hiring. When a federal court order ends, a city or county falls under that prohibition. If the SFFD finally does abandon race and sex preferences, random selection may be the only way for Willie Brown and his friends to get what they want.

In 1996 Mr. Batz retired after 30 years in the SFFD. While he was still on active duty he wrote about firefighting for the Jan. 1996 AR under the pen-name of Robert Charles.

• • • BACK TO TOP • • •


The Definitive Word on Intelligence

An important milestone in the study of the mind.

Arthur R. Jensen, The g Factor, Praeger Publishers, 1998, 648 pp., ISBN: 0275961036, $39.95

Arthur Jensen of U.C. Berkeley is one of the greatest social scientists of our time. He virtually single-handedly resurrected the scientific study of intelligence, and he has been at the center of many breakthroughs in this field. Needless to say, he is a courageous man, who has never let hysterical opposition or even death threats keep him from studying some of the most important and contentious issues we face.

The g Factor by Arthur Jensen

The g Factor is only the latest of the many publications that resulted from what can now be seen as a watershed event: the 1969 appearance in the Harvard Educational Review of Prof. Jensen’s famous article on the heritability of IQ and how difficult it is to raise. This article not only reestablished the connection between genetics and intelligence but set the direction of Prof. Jensen’s career. He has since written countless articles in this field and three major books: Educability and Group Differences (1973), Bias in Mental Testing (1980), and now, The g Factor.

These books chart the recent remarkable progress in the study of intelligence. If Prof. Jensen had so dominated any less controversial field he would certainly be a candidate for the Nobel Prize. Unfortunately, his real stature is recognized only by a small number of specialists and professional colleagues, but the implications of his work continue to reverberate through the larger society. Whatever recognition he may ultimately receive, his work has gone far to set the study of mental ability once more on a firmly scientific basis.

The g Factor

This book is an investigation of the nature of intelligence, the extent to which it is under genetic control, and its uneven distribution between individuals and groups. The first part is a complete and sometimes technical treatment of “the g factor” itself, which appears to be a unitary mental ability underlying all activities we think of as requiring intelligence. “Factors” are the end result of a mathematical procedure called factor analysis, and the g factor is the “general” factor of intelligence, first hypothesized by the British psychologist, Charles Spearman (1863-1945). Spearman thought of g as a direct analogy to the “G” of physics, that is Newton’s gravitational constant. Spearman’s view, substantiated by almost a century of research, was that g is of central importance to psychology just as g was to Newtonian physics.

G can be thought of as the undifferentiated raw cognitive power of the brain. It cannot be directly measured, but it manifests itself in all types of cognitive activity, and people who are good at one kind of mental test tend to be good at all of them. To use the statistical term, a person’s different abilities are correlated, and similar abilities tend to correlate most closely with each other. For example, someone who is exceptionally good at any mathematical test is likely to be very good at all mathematical tests — but he is likely to perform well on verbal tests, too. As we will see, g is at work when even the smallest demands are made on the mind.

If people take enough different kinds of mental tests, their scores can be analyzed for factors, or the tendency of the correlations between similar abilities to cluster in groups. There will be factors for such things as verbal, musical, mathematical, and spatial manipulation abilities. Further analysis of these factors reveals a fundamental factor common to them all, which is the g factor.

We can therefore imagine a series of different factories in the brain, all powered by the same energy source. One of the factories manufactures solutions to mathematical problems, while another produces correct understandings of words and sentences. Other factories produce solutions to other kinds of mental problems, but all of them can be thought of as running off a common power source, which is g.

People differ in the efficiency of their individual factories, which is why smart people have different strengths in different areas despite being smart in a general sort of way. But people differ most significantly in the level of the general power source, or g. Someone with an IQ of 100 may have a math factory that is relatively more efficient than his verbal or music factory, but even in math he is likely to fall well behind someone with an IQ of 130 whose math factory is relatively less efficient than his verbal factory. It is the difference in levels of power available to all of a person’s factories that produce the marked differences in ability that characterize our species.

Many kinds of mental performance can be taught and people can show improvement, but what is improving is an ability that is not g. As Prof. Jensen explains, “At the level of psychometrics [mental testing], ideally, g may be thought of as a distillate of the common source of individual differences in all mental tests, completely stripped of their distinctive features, of information content, skill, strategy, and the like.”

Interestingly, Prof. Jensen reports that it is at the highest levels of g that people show the most variation in abilities that are independent of g. Thus, very intelligent people may have markedly different mental ability profiles despite similar levels of g. If all the factories are getting lots of power from their common source, some of the factories are likely to be unusually efficient so that the pattern of different levels of efficiency can differ considerably from one smart person to another.

Some critics have complained that g is not real because it cannot be measured directly and must be derived by a complex statistical process. Prof. Jensen shows that it is not, for this reason, artificial. If there were no g factor, sophisticated mathematics could not coax it into existence. Moreover, the same g factor is found in all human populations, and can be derived from the results of mental tests prepared by people who have never heard of g or who have even doubted there was such a factor. g can be calculated only because it exists, and in that sense is purely objective. Prof. Jensen believes that it reflects one of the basic functions of the brain, and that although all normal people share the same biological structures they differ greatly in the efficiency of certain neurological processes.


Direct assessment of brain functions gives strong evidence that g is a real, physiological phenomenon, and Prof. Jensen has been a pioneer in using what are called elementary cognitive tasks (ECTs) to study intelligence. The simplest sort of ECT involves a test device with two push-buttons. The subject holds down the black button while he waits for a light to go on inside the smaller, white button. He then presses the illuminated button as quickly as possible. This measures two things. The first is reaction time: the time between the light going on and the subject taking his finger off the black button. The second is movement time: the time it takes the subject to move his finger from the black button to the illuminated button.

Obviously, this is a very simple (indeed, elementary) task, though tests of this kind can be made more complicated. For example, there can be a number of smaller buttons that can light up in different patterns, requiring the subject to make slightly more complicated decisions before moving his finger. We do not think of this sort of thing as mentally demanding — no one ever “fails” these tests — but the neurological processing that goes into these very simple tasks is closely related to intelligence.

Prof. Jensen has found that reaction speed is strongly correlated with g level, but that the highest correlation is between g and consistency of reaction time. With a set of scores from various different ECTs, it is possible to achieve a 0.7 correlation with g as calculated from conventional IQ tests. This approaches the g correlation (0.8) of Ravens Progressive Matrices, the IQ test that comes the closest to measuring g itself. Surprising as it may seem, careful monitoring of the processes that underlie ECTs can give results that are so reliable they rival pencil-and-paper tests.

ECT performance matches group differences in intelligence. It is worse in children than in adults, and better in gifted children than in normal children. Blacks have quicker movement times than whites while whites have quicker and more consistent reaction times. Asians do slightly better than whites, and performance for no group improves with practice; ECTs appear to measure something basic to the brain.

Another direct assessment of mental processing is the inspection time test. This uses an instrument called a tachistoscope to throw an image on a screen for a very brief period. Starting at the millisecond level, which is too quick for anyone to see the image, the exposure is gradually increased until a subject can just make it out. There is a correlation of .54 between speed of inspection time and IQ — remarkably high for a task that is so different from an IQ test. Once again, the test seems to be measuring a neurological process closely associated with mental processing.

Yet another direct assessment is the study of brain waves. Prof. Jensen explains that a wave pattern called average evoked potential can be analyzed in specialized ways that show a surprisingly high correlation with IQ.

Finally, researchers have devised something that is essentially a direct test of brain efficiency. The brain’s fuel is glucose, or simple sugar. When a radioactive isotope of glucose is injected into a subject’s blood stream it is possible to measure the rate at which the brain takes it up and metabolizes it. When rate of metabolism is measured while subjects are taking an IQ test, the high scorers use less sugar than the low scorers, with a remarkable correlation with IQ of around .7 or .8. The less powerful brains get wrong answers despite burning more fuel. If we return to the analogy of the brain as composed of factories, the common power supply simply appears to be less efficient.

If advances continue to be made in direct assessment of the brain, conventional IQ testing may be superseded. This would certainly silence any complaints about “test bias.”


Because the issue of whether education or environment can influence IQ levels is central to so much policy-making, The g Factor thoroughly covers the question of heritability. Kinship and adoption studies have provided some of the most illuminating data on this question, and Prof. Jensen reports them in detail.

Some of the most significant findings are the correlations of IQs of identical twins reared in the same family (.86), identical twins separated at birth and reared in different families (.75) and fraternal twins reared in the same family (.60). That identical twins separated at birth should have more similar IQs than fraternal twins reared by the same parents is perhaps the single most powerful argument for the view that genes have a greater effect on IQ than environment. As Prof. Jensen points out, “similarities in the MZA’s [monozygotic (identical) twins reared apart] environments cannot possibly account for more than a minute fraction of the IQ correlation of +.75 between MZAs.”

Studies of siblings and adopted children likewise confirm the power of heredity in determining differences in IQ, and it is now generally agreed among specialists that 60 to 80 percent of human IQ variation is due to genes. This does not mean, however, that the remaining environmental influences are well understood or can be used to raise IQ. As Prof. Jensen explains, “a large part of the specific environmental variance appears to be due to the additive effects of a large number of more or less random and largely physical events — developmental ‘noise’ — with small, but variable positive and negative influences on the neurophysiological substrate of mental growth.”

What is this developmental “noise”? “[S]uch effects as childhood diseases, traumas, and the like, as well as prenatal effects such as mother-fetus incompatibility of blood antigens, maternal health, and perinatal effects of anoxia and other complications in the birth process, could each have a small adverse effect on mental development.” These appear to be the kind of non-genetic factors that influence IQ, and they are not the sort of thing that can be easily manipulated.

As Prof. Jensen makes emphatically clear, the non-genetic influence comes only slightly, if at all, from what are called between-family differences: education of parents, social status, family income, school quality, etc. Liberals believe that these are the crucial factors that make people different from each other, but liberals are wrong. IQ (like other personality traits) is astonishingly impervious to any but the most degraded and unfavorable environments.

Prof. Jensen calls the environmentalist view “the sociologist’s fallacy.” It is true that children from wealthy homes tend to be smarter than children from poor homes, but wealth does not make them smart. They get genes for intelligence from their smart parents, and their parents are likely to be well off (and have homes full of books and speak in complete sentences) because they are smart. Of course, children do differ from their parents in intelligence, and these differences explain how families rise and fall. A person’s IQ has a correlation of .7 with his own adult socio-economic status but only about .4 with that of his parents.

Error though it be, the sociologist’s fallacy has driven not only an enormous number of government uplift programs but several well-publicized private efforts to raise the IQs of poor black children. Prof. Jensen reviews the results of the Milwaukee Project, Head Start, and the Abecedarian Project, some of which made extraordinary attempts to improve environments.

In some cases, the early results were very encouraging: gains of 20 or even 30 points compared to control groups. But as Prof. Jensen convincingly argues, what the children learned at intensive “infant stimulation centers” and the like was information and strategies that helped them take the tests. g very probably did not change. In most cases, administrators did not give a battery of tests and attempt to calculate g. Instead, they gave the same test at different ages and rejoiced to find improvement.

Professor Jensen gives a striking example of how training can improve test results without raising g. He notes many children’s IQ tests have a memory component: How long a string of letters or numbers can the child repeat back to the tester? Most adults can’t remember more than about seven numbers, but with lots of practice and training, people can remember as many as 70 or even 100 digits. They can do this because they develop a specific strategy or skill, not because their memory or g level has improved. The tricks a person uses to remember 70 digits are so specialized, in fact, that they do not even help the same person remember more than an average number of letters (rather than digits)!

Children who took part in these widely-acclaimed IQ-raising programs probably learned specific skills of this kind during the thousands of hours of instruction they received. But even the most intensive enrichment programs had virtually no permanent effect on school performance or IQ, which suggests that g itself was unchanged. Prof. Jensen concludes that IQ cannot be appreciably increased by specialized education.

It is true that the IQ test scores of children are affected to some degree by the environment their parents make for them. This is almost certainly because they learn more facts and absorb test-taking strategies and not because the love and care of good parents improves g. In fact, as children grow older they create environments that suit their own genetic endowments, and Prof. Jensen is categorical about what then happens: “By adulthood, all of the IQ correlation between biologically related persons is genetic . . . [T]he environmental contribution to the familial correlations is nil.” Surprising as it may seem, once a child grows up, his IQ score is similar to that of family members only because he is genetically related to them, not because they spent many years in the same household.

Racial Differences

Prof. Jensen is equally forthright in explaining that genes account for the well-established IQ differences between the races. First, he points out that approximately half — or 50,000 — of the genes that vary in human beings play a role in brain functions, and that 30,000 affect the brain exclusively. It would be astonishing if genes did not play a central role in intelligence and if the races, which differ physically in so many ways, did not differ in brain function.

He also offers an arresting refutation of the fashionable view that race is purely a social construct and is not biological. Prof. Jensen likens race to the visible colors. A rainbow forms when the wave-length of light changes continuously and uniformly, but we do not perceive a continuous change. Instead, we see distinct bands of color. Though there may be some blurring of race at the edges because of cross mating, races are as distinct as the bands of visible color. Prof. Jensen also cites the increasingly persuasive genetic evidence for the biological distinctness of different populations (see figure, below).

A number of elegant demonstrations based on the principle of regression toward the mean strongly suggest a genetic origin for group differences. This principle is a biological law according to which parents who are at the extremes of any trait are likely to have children who are less extreme. Two very tall parents are likely to have children who are not quite so tall, and two very short parents are likely to have children who are not quite so short. In the children, these traits revert toward the average, or the mean. The same effect is found in intelligence, but the mean toward which the black IQ regresses is a full 15 points lower than the white mean.

Therefore, when black couples and white couples are matched for IQ, the black/white IQ difference in their children increases as parental IQ increases. In other words, high IQ is an anomaly in all races, but more of an anomaly for blacks than for whites, and the children of high-IQ blacks regress further because they are regressing toward a lower mean.

Prof. Jensen reports a study of high-IQ children in one school district that provides more evidence for the difference in means. When white and black students were perfectly matched for IQs of 120, the average IQs of the siblings of the whites was 113 whereas the average IQs for the siblings of the blacks was 99. Among blacks, an IQ of 120 is simply a much greater deviation from the norm than it is for whites, and this is reflected in the IQs of their more ordinary siblings.

Guide to Genetic Distances Between Population Groups

Genetic distance between any two groups is represented by the total length
of the lines separating them.

Regression toward the mean explains something that has always baffled the “sociologists:” children of low-income whites (and Asians) get better SAT scores than the children of high-income blacks. If environment controls IQ, the children of wealthy blacks should be enjoying the benefits of good environment. They are, but those benefits are meager and do not make up for the effects of heredity and the lower mean toward which black children regress.

There is no non-genetic explanation for group differences that can account for phenomena of this kind, but they are perfectly consistent with widely accepted principles of genetics. Specialists understand the force of arguments of this kind, which is why the view that “racism” and other environmental factors cause the black/white IQ gap persists mostly among the ignorant — who are the great majority.

More strong evidence for a substantially different biological mean for IQ is found in studies of the low end of the IQ distribution curve as well. Mental retardation — IQs below 70 — is generally of two types, familial and organic. Familial retardation occurs in children who are otherwise normal but were simply dealt a very poor hand of the genes that affect intelligence. Given a normal distribution of intelligence, a few people are inevitably going to have very low IQs, just as a few will have very high ones. Organic retardation, on the other hand, is caused by clear biological defects, like Down’s syndrome (Mongolism) and children who suffer from it are obviously abnormal.

An important racial difference lies in the fact that half of whites with IQs below 70 are organic retardates but only 12.5 percent of the blacks are. The source of this difference is the racial disparity in naturally occurring distributions of intelligence. Given that the distribution curve for black intelligence is shifted approximately 15 points toward the left, a substantially larger proportion of otherwise normal blacks will fall below an IQ of 70.

The opposite is true at the high end of the curve. The percentage of whites with IQs higher than 130 is 20 times that of blacks. Because there are approximately six times as many whites as blacks in America, in real terms there are perhaps 120 times more whites than blacks with IQs at this level. This is why, without racial preferences, it is impossible to admit large numbers of blacks to competitive universities or to promote them to challenging positions.

Brain and head size studies likewise confirm the biological origins of group differences. It is now well established that brain size correlates with intelligence, and Prof. Jensen reports that the heads of black newborns are a full .4 standard deviation smaller than those of whites. When black and white children are matched for brain size they have the same IQs. (Webmaster note: See correction here.)

Likewise, it has long been known that near-sightedness, or myopia, is correlated with intelligence; children with IQs over 130 are three to five times more likely to be nearsighted than children with normal IQs. There seems to be no functional, cause-and-effect connection between myopia and intelligence, but a pleiotropic relationship exists in that some of the same genes affect both traits. Intelligence and myopia are somehow “side effects” of each other to some degree. Prof. Jensen finds that myopia is most common in Jews, next in Asians, then in whites, and least common in blacks — precisely the distribution one would expect. Moreover, reading does not cause myopia. An oculist can examine the eyes of children who are too young to read and who are not yet near-sighted, and accurately predict whether they will need glasses later in life.

It is well known that the test score gap between blacks and whites varies from one IQ test to another, and that the gap narrows on the least abstract, most information-laden tests. Prof. Jensen explains that the real difference lies in the extent to which a test measures g; the more g-“loaded” a test is and the fewer specific non-abilities it measures, the greater the black/white gap.

Like many others who have studied the question, Prof. Jensen finds that the racial gap in IQ is increasing because of dysgenic birth patterns. In both races, less intelligent mothers are having more children than more intelligent mothers, but the disproportions are higher among blacks than whites. Also, since blacks have children, on average, two years earlier than whites, the generation time for blacks is shorter and dysgenic effects spread more rapidly.

One of Prof. Jensen’s most interesting racial findings is that the average IQ difference for blacks and whites in the same social class is 12 points — almost as great as the average difference between the two races (there is an average 17-point difference between any two people in the population picked at random). This is explained not only by preferential policies but also by racial differences in IQ distribution. If, for example, a demanding profession requires a minimum IQ of 125, blacks in that profession will tend to have IQs that cluster at the minimum, whereas whites will show greater variety. Because of this effect, the IQ gap between blacks and whites in the same social class narrows as one moves down the social scale.

Prof. Jensen finds that the geographic distribution of IQ is also uneven. For both blacks and whites, there is a continuous gradient that rises from the south towards the north and west. The gradient is sharper for blacks than whites, and both gradients are apparent in pre-school children, so regional differences in education do not explain it.

It has been widely reported that from infancy black children develop motor skills more rapidly than whites. Interestingly, Prof. Jensen finds that lower-class children (both white and black) develop more quickly than upper-class children, which suggests that slow maturation and high intelligence are correlated not just between races but within races.

For the most part, Prof. Jensen does not make policy recommendations; the facts alone are persuasive enough. He does point out, though, that life itself is a kind of continuous intelligence test, and that high g is one of the most important ingredients of success. He explains that scores on a highly g-loaded test are the best indicators of performance on any but the most specialized jobs. IQ is an excellent predictor for performance even on jobs that require manual dexterity and coordination. To a remarkable degree, g is the central mental characteristic of humans. Of course, intelligence is not everything. It takes more than brains to become a doctor — it takes persistence and discipline, too — but persistence is not enough. For many things, a certain level of g is indispensable, and low g cuts off desirable options at every stage of life. Low g is therefore a more accurate predictor of achievement than high g, since a lack of intelligence cannot usually be made up for by other qualities whereas high intelligence can be wasted.

When people with low g are scattered through otherwise normal communities it affects only individuals. Friends and relatives step in to help them. However, as Prof. Jensen points out, when people of low intelligence gather in large numbers, as they do in welfare housing, society falls apart. Prof. Jensen notes that in America there are now entire apartment blocks in which, even with welfare, the residents cannot get by without help from social workers. Dysgenic trends and increased immigration of low-stock mean areas like this will only expand.

In this connection, Prof. Jensen makes some interesting observations about adult illiteracy. Most people assume that the cause is poor schooling, but he argues that the problem is usually not the process of decoding written language but understanding it. Most illiterates do no better on reading comprehension tests when the selections are read to them than when they try to do the reading themselves! Illiteracy, in Prof. Jensen’s view, is much more a problem of low g than of somehow not learning how to read.

There are a few points on which Prof. Jensen’s data differ from results AR has reported elsewhere. Some researchers have found that although the average IQs of men and women are the same, a greater standard deviation for men means that more of them are bunched at both high and low IQs. Prof. Jensen does not find sufficient evidence to draw this conclusion. He does confirm the standard sex differences in verbal and spatial abilities and even reports that some higher mammals show the typical male superiority in spatial ability. He also writes that in addition to their well-known advantage in verbal ability, one of the largest sex differences favoring women is in something called “speed and accuracy,” which is similar to clerical checking.

Prof. Jensen also takes up the question of why black women are so much more successful than black men. They are more likely to graduate from high school and college, pass high-level civil service tests, and enter skilled professions. This difference is not found among whites, and some researchers have wondered if black women may have a higher average IQ than black men. Once again, Prof. Jensen finds no such difference — but he offers no other explanation.

Prof. Jensen also differs from researchers who explain part of the black/white crime rate difference in terms of high black testosterone levels and an inability to defer gratification. He argues that population differences in g alone explain differences in crime rates. He notes that criminals of all races have IQs that are some 10 points below those of their siblings, and finds that within the same ranges of IQ, blacks and whites have essentially the same crime rates.

More than Generous

Needless to say, Prof. Jensen has spent his career disagreeing with others, and from time to time in The g Factor he must explain why his critics are wrong — and he is always a gentleman. Even with those who have disagreed with him in strong terms, he is more than generous in pointing out the parts of their theories that may be correct, and couches his own criticism in the gentlest terms. He treats his wildest, least scientific critics to nothing more than dignified silence: The names of Leon Kamin and Stephen Jay Gould do not even appear in an otherwise exhaustively researched and footnoted work.

The g Factor is not an easy book to read. Prof. Jensen writes clearly and repeats explanations when it would be unreasonable to expect perfect recall in his readers, but he writes for an informed, even specialist audience. He has already begun collaboration with a journalist on a more popular version of The g Factor. But those who are willing to invest the effort this book requires, will find that it is the monumental work of an extraordinary mind. A review can only begin to touch on its breadth and detail. This book is likely to become one of the landmark works in psychology, and it is the great good fortune of our society that a man of Prof. Jensen’s stature has made his career in this crucially important but thankless field.

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O Tempora, O Mores!

Truth and Reconciliation

Amy Biehl was an American Fulbright scholar who went to South Africa in 1993 to help register blacks for the nation’s first all-race election in 1994. After she dropped off some black friends in a Cape Town township, she was spotted by other blacks who beat, kicked, and stabbed her to death because she was white. The 27-year-old died on the sidewalk, pleading for mercy.

Her four killers were initially sentenced to 18 years in prison but have now been freed by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission has determined that their crime was “political,” since they chanted “one settler, one bullet” as they killed her and claim they were fighting apartheid.

The parents of Miss Biehl have preached reconciliation from the start, and long ago “forgave” their daughter’s killers. They approved the men’s release with the following statement: “We hope they will receive the support necessary to live productive lives in a nonviolent atmosphere. In fact, we hope the spirits of Amy and those like her will be a force in their new lives.” They also said: “We must never forget people who lost their lives in the struggle. We must honor them in discovering new approaches — non-violent partnerships — to create the South Africa which Nelson Mandela, Amy and those who perished dreamed of — a new, multi-racial, democratic nation.” (AP, Amnesty Board Frees U.S. Student’s Killers, The Augusta Chronicle, July 29, 1998, p. 14A.)

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has also granted a full pardon to three blacks who attacked a Cape Town church just one month before Miss Biehl’s murder. They stormed into the packed, evening service at St. James Church, tossed two nail-studded grenades into the congregation, and opened fire with automatic weapons. They killed 11 people and wounded 60. The slaughter took place in the summer of 1993, only months before the all-race elections and more than three years after the Pan African Congress was unbanned and Nelson Mandela was released from jail. The Commission nevertheless believes that the killings were justified in the struggle against white rule. (Chris Smit, St. James Massacre Killers (Black) Receive Amnesty, Freedom 2000 SA News, July 25, 1998.)

Mexican Nationalism

Last month, we reported on Mario Obledo, a “Hispanic activist” who threatened to burn down a billboard warning against the dangers of illegal immigration. Mr. Obledo, who has been nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton, was also secretary of California’s Health and Welfare Agency from 1975 to 1982.

According to the Sacramento Bee, while he was secretary, he passed over qualified whites to hire non-whites. Mr. Obledo’s response to these charges? “The Bee accused me of reverse discrimination, and I plead guilty. I brought hundreds and thousands of minority people into state government . . . I consider that my greatest accomplishment in life.” (Sacramento Bee, February 16, 1998, p. A1.) It is also reported that Mr. Obledo routinely wore a Mexican-flag lapel pin while he was a state of California department head.

Killed Because She Was White

On July 16, 1997, 38-year-old Helen Wyatt was taking an evening walk near her home in the Lincoln, Nebraska area. Hector Gonzales, a 32-year-old Hispanic whom she had never met, attacked her without provocation, stabbing her 17 times. Her wounds were so deep that the county coroner called the murder a case of “overkill.”

A man who became friends with Mr. Gonzales while the two were in jail says Miss Wyatt was killed because she was white. “He [Gonzales] was just mad at some white people,” he explained. “He said he was out to kill a white person.” Although county attorney Gary Lacey is pushing for a first-degree murder conviction, there are no reports of any “hate crime” charges. (Butch Mabin, Witness: Wyatt Slain Because She was White, Lincoln Journal Star, July 22, 1998.)

Sports and Race

It is often claimed that “racist” owners are willing to hire black athletes but keep them out of management. In fact, as the following chart shows, blacks hold coaching and management positions well in excess of their percentage of the national population. (Michael Lynch and Rick Henderson, Team Colors, Reason, July 1998, p.21.)

Racial and Ethnic Composition (%)
White Black Hispanic Other
Total U.S. Population 73 12 11 4
NBA Players 20 79 0 0
General managers 72 28 0 0
Coaches 67 33 0 0
Staff 77 17 2 3
NFL Players 31 66 1 0
General managers 83 17 0 0
Coaches 75 24 1 0
Staff 80 15 3 2
MLB Players 58 17 24 0
General managers 97 3 0 0
Coaches 76 14 10 0
Staff 72 18 9 0

Best Minds are Baffled

Researchers at Vanderbilt University report that even when black and white households have the same incomes, whites are twice as likely to have computers in the home and to use the Internet. When comparable families of blacks and whites do not own computers, whites are five times more likely to find computers some place else — in libraries, for example — and connect to the Internet. The researchers pronounce themselves baffled by these findings and are worried about blacks being “excluded” from the information on the world wide web. (Color-blind Web Not Supported by Research, Sacramento Bee, April 28, 1998.)

‘In Sacajawea we Trust’

It appears that Sacajawea, the Indian who guided Lewis and Clark, will join George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson as a face on an American coin. This year, the House approved a new one-dollar coin by a vote of 411 to 7, but it was to have the Statue of Liberty on one side and an eagle on the other. Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-NC) objected to Lady Liberty: “I think this would be a terrible oversight and a slight to the women of the United States.” Apparently there had to be a “real” woman on the coin, so in June, an eight-member “Dollar Coin Advisory Committee” met to decide who it would be.

The short list came down to Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman in a combined image, Sacajawea, the Statue of Liberty, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Bessie Coleman, the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license (though she fell to her death in 1926 — her plane turned upside down and she wasn’t wearing a seat belt).

The committee chose Sacajawea, but no one knows what she looked like. No one even knows what tribe she was from, though she could have been a Shoshone. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is expected to make the final selection this fall, and is likely to give Sacajawea the thumbs up. Question for the historians: Was Sacajawea a citizen of the United States? (John Miller, Money Changers, National Review, July 6, 1998, p.23.)

‘I Might Even Stay’

A Kenyan “refugee” in England is suing the government to give him a welfare allowance in cash rather than in food coupons. Mr. M, whose name cannot be revealed because he is party to litigation, wants to be able to spend his allowance on cigarettes and alcohol. “I should not have to waste my benefits on over-priced frozen vegetables. I deserve decent African food and, as someone with refugee status, that’s exactly what I should get,” he explains.

Mr. M, who was watching a pornographic video when reporters spoke to him at his well-equipped apartment, did not come to Britain planning to be a refugee but learned of the advantages of persecution after he arrived. “I told the authorities about my terrible life back home in Kenya and then Hackney Council [the local government] found me a flat and started paying my benefits,” he explains. He has since run up a £23,000 ($35,000) government-paid legal assistance bill trying to get his benefits in cash rather than food vouchers. He also gets free psychological counseling for alleged post traumatic stress syndrome.

“I’d always heard of Britain as a good place to go when I was in Kenya,” he said to reporters. “If things improve I might even consider staying here.” (Peter Allen and Barbara Davies, Why do I have to Shell out my Benefit on Tesco Frozen Peas? Daily Mail (London) July 6, 1998, p. 26.)

In the mean time, in Gloucestershire County, the local authorities are changing the language so as not to offend immigrants. Road signs reading “accident blackspot” used to indicate the most dangerous stretches of roadway, but will henceforth say “accident hot spot.” Staff have been ordered no longer to use the offensive word in documents. (End of the Road for Accident Blackspot, Daily Mail (London) July 25, 1998, p. 7.)

Safe Sex

Frank Turner, black news anchorman at a Detroit area television station (WXYZ-TV) has been fired after it was learned that he spent thousands of dollars on telephone sex. This came to light only after a former girlfriend publicly accused him of running up as much as $30,000 on her credit cards, mostly to support his habit. Mr. Turner is protesting his firing. “It [telephone sex] is not illegal,” he points out. “It’s the safest sex you can have. What’s the worst thing that can happen? An ear infection?” (Tim Kiska, Channel 7 Firing Came Over Phone Sex Issue, Ex-anchor Says, Detroit News, June 23, 1998, p. E1.)

Help Fight Immigration

There is an easy, free and effective way to use the Internet to fight immigration. Roy Beck has a web page,, which is dedicated to lobbying Congress. You can use the page to send faxes free of charge to your Congressmen, Senators, various conference chairman, and even the whole Congress. All you need is a password and a user name, which you can get on-line.

You can pick the faxes you want to send. They focus on such things as overpopulation, American workers rights, citizenship, crime, and environmental damage. According to Mr. Beck his effort is having an effect. The faxes helped scuttle key aspects of the 245i amnesty and could help defeat Senator Spencer Abraham’s efforts to increase legal immigration. He says the faxes have also helped persuade Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey to back off on legislation favoring more immigrants.

Costa Rica Fights Invasion

Costa Rica is the whitest and most prosperous nation in Central America. It is also facing an invasion of non-whites, mostly from neighboring Nicaragua. After Bolivia, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas, and has an unemployment rate of 50 percent. Laborers sneak into Costa Rica to find work on farms or construction sites. Some 500,000 to 700,000 Nicaraguan migrants now make up 15 percent of Costa Rica’s population and the country has had enough. “Costa Rica is not prepared to deal with this massive immigration;” says immigration director Eduardo Vilchez Hurtado. “It is interfering with our system of social services and job availability,” he says, adding, “we can’t carry Nicaragua’s problems on our backs.” (Juanita Darling, An Immigration Dispute Far South of the U.S. Border, Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1998.)

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Letters from readers

Sir — With regard to your August article about the American Colonization Society, I knew most American statesmen before 1950 or so did not care much for blacks, but I never knew so many wanted to send them back to Africa. Ironically, it seems that the lack of what today is called “big government” played a major role in the ultimate failure of the colonization effort. Who knows what might have been achieved with more government support?

Of course, it is sobering to realize there was a time when the American elite frankly acknowledged blacks to be a “troublesome presence.” Today, it would be impossible to find a public official who would admit this openly. We seem to have missed our best chance to solve the American race problem.

Norman Getz, New London, Conn.

Sir — Gedhalia Braun is shrewd to note that black loyalty to the ANC may very well fall apart in the 1999 elections, with the result that whites could regain some political power. However, this would do whites no good in the long run, for they will never have enough power to bring back the safe, well-run conditions that prevailed under white rule. A few more seats in the legislature will serve only to implicate whites in the continuing mismanagement and decay, and to lull whites into thinking they still have some influence. Besides, as Mr. Braun points out, no one doubts that if whites ever had any real success at the polls, the ANC would call out the military to annul the election.

The only long-term solution that will preserve any kind of European civility in South Africa is an independent white state. Whites could have had a real chance if they had not been so greedy with their “homelands” policy. If territories like Venda, Transkei, and Bophuthatswana had been spacious, viable black homelands rather than niggardly slivers of scrub it is just possible that other nations would have recognized the wisdom of partition. As it is, if whites ever do get a homeland — and they must if they and their culture are to survive — it will be they who will have to content themselves with slivers of scrub.

Alexander Zhivkof, Amsterdam, Holland

Sir — In his concluding article on South Africa, Gedhalia Braun argues that sensible policies will be, “impossible so long as everyone assumes that the very idea of fundamental racial differences is somehow shameful and morally abhorrent.” Quite true. But AR must now acknowledge that “he who says A must say B.”

If race is significant, what about sex? Sensible, healthy societies cannot exist without an understanding of sex differences. Pauline Hanson, Golda Meir, and Margaret Thatcher are significant not because they signal a grand age of improved government through matriarchy but because they reflect a dearth of intelligent male leaders — which is a sign of weakness.

W. Edward Chynoweth, Sanger, Calif.

Sir — I have long observed the incoherence Mr. Jackson pointed out in his review of Roberto Suro’s book, Strangers Among Us. Mr. Jackson notes that Mr. Suro describes the many failures of Hispanic immigration only to exhort whites to work harder to make it succeed. Never does he suggest the obvious: Send the immigrants home. Of course, this is nothing more than the usual blame-whitey game played from a different angle.

If blacks shoot each other and have children at age 13, whites must devise redemption for them. If Africa and Asia are swamps of degeneracy, whites must drain the swamps. If Mexicans can’t pass driver’s license tests in English, whites are criminal for expecting them to. If Santeria witch doctors want to slit the throats of goats in their Florida apartments, whites must be appreciative. (There are nonracial variants on this theme: Since homosexuals like to bugger each other the rest of us must find a cure for AIDS. Since women want to be firemen, we must accept more deaths when houses catch fire.)

It is only in this context of complete white capitulation that Mr. Suro can advance his program of even more disastrous Hispanic immigration without being hooted right out of the market. His book is just one small part of the zeitgeist. It is the insanity that surrounds us that makes his contribution to it possible.

Steven Kempleman, Sylacauga, Ala.

Sir — Prof. Levin is at his incisive best in the July review of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. As he points out, Prof. Diamond “explains a fact before making sure it is a fact,” and therefore his elaborately spun theory of climate, geography, plant and animal life, etc., is utterly besides the point.

Prof. Diamond is clearly a bright, knowledgeable fellow. Why doesn’t he know the facts about race and IQ? Or does he know but is trying to trick us? The research is now too far advanced, the data too overwhelming for any thoughtful person who takes the time to investigate the question to remain unconvinced. Ignorance is now as inexcusable as deception.

Christina Green, Omaha, Neb.

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