For a combination of demographic and ideological reasons few topics in American public life are more explosive than those involving race.
Racial factors obviously underlie a wide range of major public policy issues yet are almost always ignored by nearly all participants. However, every now and then a careless statement or uncovered document will suddenly bring these subterranean flows to the surface, producing a volcanic eruption of white-hot controversy. Thus American politicians and policy analysts, knowingly or not, spend most of their careers walking through mine fields and occasionally blowing themselves up.
Consider the newly released Heritage Foundation report sharply criticizing the fiscal impact of the proposed immigration reform legislation currently being considered by Congress. For a couple of days the focus had been on the green eyeshades issue of whether the multi-trillion-dollar claims had improperly failed to include dynamic scoring in their underlying econometric model. But then the debate suddenly took an explosively controversial turn when the media discovered that co-author Jason Richwine possessed a long paper-trail of highly heretical racial views, especially with regards to IQ matters.
Racial differences constitute the intellectual pornography of our American elites, and The New York Times, The Washington Post, and a host of web journalists are now eagerly covering this prurient debate, which seems likely to overshadow any analysis of the original 92-page report itself. Most mainstream conservative pundits have been sharply critical of Richwine, but a few associated with the VDare webzine, such as Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire, have risen to his strong defense.
Now from a personal perspective, I have very mixed feelings about the proposed immigration legislation and haven’t followed the ongoing debate in much detail. But less than 24 hours ago I noticed a huge upsurge in traffic to an article I’d published last year on racial IQ issues, and that caught my attention.
At the time it appeared my 7,500 word cover story had sparked a huge debate on the web, involving many dozens of overwhelmingly hostile responses together with nine follow-up columns of my own, totaling a further 15,000 words. But with the notable exception of a short column in the Boston Globe, the entire mainstream media maintained a studious silence on such a taboo subject, and that greatly irritated me. So perhaps the current outpouring of media commentary on Race/IQ may finally provide timorous journalists with the excuse they require to actually investigate this important subject and perhaps bring some of the major conclusions to a much wider audience.
And by purest coincidence, the same Dr. Richwine had also been one of my principal interlocutors in 2010, when publication of my major article analyzing Hispanic crime rates had similarly provoked a raucous debate on the web, a debate that was similarly almost totally ignored by the mainstream media.
If my findings on these important topics now attract broader attention, I’ll be the first to congratulate our journalistic community, since late is always better than never. And I’ll certainly owe a large debt of gratitude to the unfortunate Dr. Richwine.