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Monday, February 18, 2013

Sweeping Explanations and the Jews

In Peter Turchin on the Big Picture, Steve Sailer writes:

Peter Turchin is a professor at the U. of Connecticut who started out in zoology and ecology and has moved over time into human history from a quantitative standpoint, searching for general patterns. He was born in Russia (his father was prominent dissident Valentin Turchin). His historical theorizing benefits from his knowing much about Russia, which few Americans do.

Ah, I thought, maybe Turchin has something to say from a quantitative standpoint about the general pattern of jew oligarchs in Russia, which Sailer has previously discussed. In The Unbearable Innocence of Economists, for example, Sailer quotes Bryan Caplan:

The oligarchs are disproportionately Jewish. 90% of Russian Jews have left the country over the last 30 years, but 6 out of the 7 leading oligarchs have Jewish ancestry. This would be hard to explain if their success were primarily due to political connections - but expected if their success largely reflected entrepreneurial ability.

Sailer, projecting his own style, describes Caplan as "astonishingly naive". In this case Sailer indicates that he actually understands what's going on and who's responsible:

What happened in Russia in the 1990s was one of the great economic crimes in all history. And it happened largely with the approval of the American economists who were employed in large numbers, typically at American taxpayer expense, to advise the Yeltsin regime. Indeed, one of America's top economists, Harvard's Andrei Shleifer (Larry Summers' best friend), was in on the corruption himself. Yet, the economics profession has done nothing to chastise Shleifer for his crookedness that ended up being penalized $28 million by a U.S. federal judge.

Then he retreats into sarcasm.

"Russian" oligarchs. "American" economists. In most forums this is as deep as the discussion gets. To his credit, Sailer does occasionally broach the subject of jewish disproportions, and mocks explanations like Caplan's. His commentariat often digs even deeper, but it's also chock full of Caplans, ever ready and willing to provide more explanations. The problem with Sailer is, when it comes to jews, he so often acts as if he has forgotten things he previously demonstrated he understands.

Reading farther into his post about Turchin, it becomes clear that Turchin doesn't have any insights about jews, in Russia or anywhere else. Near the end Sailer quotes Turchin's Return of the Oppressed, concerning US immigration restriction in the 1920s:

It almost goes without saying that there was a racist and xenophobic underside to all this. The co-operating group was mainly native-born white Protestants. African-Americans, Jews, Catholics and foreigners were excluded or heavily discriminated against.

This is the jewish version of history, though Sailer lets it go without saying, once again retreating into sarcasm. At any rate he doesn't let it diminish his favorable opinion of Turchin, who he thinks is "on to something". Much of Sailer's commentariat responds by gushing about how fasinating and interesting Turchin's sweeping theories are, and many pitch in with their own. Ben Tillman took issue with one of the more egregious bits of goofiness:

My thesis is that the elites made a deal with the white working class with the New Deal. This lasted until the early 60's, when the affluence of the white working class started to worry the elite and they brought in blacks to cut them down to size, along with renewed immigration. The condition of the white working class has steadily deteriorated since then. The elite has acquired so much power through the media and law that they can't be challenged and the white working class has no representation anyway.

You left out the part where the one elite was replaced by another in the early/mid-60's, with the results you noted.

Indeed. This seems to be the point of such exercises. On the one hand there are lots of people, intelligent people, who are curious, interested and fascinated. They want explanations. On the other hand there are lots of other people, intelligent people, who literally make it their business to provide explanations. Explanations which conspicously avoid mentioning the jews, except perhaps to present them as hapless victims.

That's the overall impression I get of Turchin's work. As his Wikipedia page describes:

Peter Turchin has made contributions to population ecology and historical dynamics. According to, Turchin is one of the top cited authors in the field of Ecology/Environment. He is one of the founders of cliodynamics, the new scientific discipline located at the intersection of historical macrosociology, cliometrics, and mathematical modeling of social processes. Turchin developed an original theory explaining how large historical empires evolve by the mechanism of multilevel selection.[1] His research on secular cycles[2] has contributed to our understanding of the collapse of complex societies as has his re-interpretation of Ibn Khaldun's asabiyya notion as "collective solidarity".[3][4]

Of special importance is his study of the hypothesis that population pressure causes increased warfare.

As far as I can see most of this theorizing goes on without any critique of the outsized and deleterious influence of jews, whether in finance, media, law, politics or the academy, where so much of this jew-blind theorizing goes on. The problem isn't that there's any unwillingness to generalize about and criticize whole groups of people. Theorizing about Whites, Russians, Americans, elites, economists, etc. abounds.

As I've discussed on Age of Treason Radio, warfare, racial warfare, is how I interpret what's going on. Jews, for their part, wage war steathily, disguising it with copious hasbara, explaining that it isn't about jews, that "racism" and "xenophobia" are the real problems. In forums where race and borders are regarded as normal they argue instead that the real problem is White nationalism, neo-nazism or "anti-semitism". Whites, for our part, are largely unwilling to accept the nature or extent of this warfare. The most intelligent Whites, most capable of actually figuring out what's going on, are also the ones most terrified of being painted as stupid/crazy/evil. Ironically, they are eager to signal their intellect by entertaining sweeping theories, the more elaborate the better to compensate for astonishing naivete regarding the jews.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sailer actually has had some great insights on Jews, albeit circumspect and tempered. They've sure helped me along the way (in conjunction with his peanut gallery).

One "aha" moment for me years ago was his simple formulation about racial guilt: White guilt is about being too ethnocentric, Jewish guilt is about not being ethnocentric enough.

2/19/2013 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Conatus said...

Good post. I like Turchin's grand generalizations even if he does not acknowledge the Jewish Effects. He is kind of like Kondratieff and his Big Economic Cycles. As far as Jewish Effects are concerned, unfortunately we are no longer a nation of independent yeoman farmers who spoke their own mind. In 1820 85% of us worked on our own farms, grew our own food and were beholden to no one. Now we are all in a gigantic bureaucracy with a Human Resources Department. I think 95% of us work for someone else. If we don't absorb it by media osmosis, we are browbeaten by Fear of the Jews(see Sobran) if we dare to actually comment. So we learn to keep our lips zipped and smile uncomfortably at at the political correctness around us. Like "Jewish people are oppressed"(that's why their average income is twice the average Americans and they are a third of the US Supreme court). Turchin would be committing academic suicide to publish something cliodynamicly with Jewish Effects in it. Perhaps it will be in his Swansong book, when he is freed from temporal concerns, like the rest of us retirees.

2/20/2013 05:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've pretty much nailed it with Sailer. Really, all the paleos pretty much do the same thing - talk about some of the problems, occasionally hint at jews (or in Sailer's case, occasionally make genuinely insightful observation about jews), but end up just making excuses for them.

Guys like Sailer aren't helping things. They aren't leading anyone to the truth. They are just confusing people who are already looking for answers of their own accord.

2/20/2013 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sailer is another punch-puller.

Reading that exchange seven years later leaves me seriously confused. You've got Sailer acknowledging that whites are being displaced and proposing patriotardism as a solution, and Jared Taylor of all people had to explain to Sailer that his "citizenism" had already failed... My god.

Then Taylor says in dead seriousness, "The great, unanswered question in American—and world—history, is why the white man lost his nerve and went from warrior and colonizer to liberal and loser." Here's your answer: Jews.

Think about this. Sailer knows about racial differences and says we should avoid direct racial appeals to whites. Jared Taylor knows white civilization is imploding yet refuses to acknowledge the Jewish cause.

It's almost like each of them knows exactly where the fucking line is, and they know not to cross it.

2/20/2013 09:12:00 PM  
Anonymous ben tillman said...

Now I feel really stupid for having bought one of Turchin's books.

2/22/2013 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Rusty Mason said...

I worked with some Russians and a Pole during the 1990's and was able to see from the American press versions of events, as well as from the Russian and Polish versions of what happened over there that this story is very close to what happened. It was a total screw job upon the Russians by the Jews, both from in America and inside Russia. The Russians I worked with knew the facts but wouldn't say too much too loudly, but the Polish woman, whose entire family was murdered in WWII, was not shy about telling the truth.

2/27/2013 07:37:00 PM  

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